£90,000 Heritage Lottery grant to help create accessible North Staffs brake coach

A HERITAGE Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £89,600 has been given to the Foxfield Railway-based Knotty Coach Trust for the restoration of a unique four-wheeled North Staffordshire Railway Brake Third coach.

The grant, together with £15,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, allows the Knotty Trust to start work immediately on its £15,000 Accessible Coach Project.

A cross-section complete with wheelchair compartment.

It will see the physical remains of the 1880s coach restored by Stanegate Restorations Ltd to provide additional seating and braking capacity for the popular Knotty Heritage Train, and will incorporate modifications to allow access to passengers with mobility and other impairments.

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An extra £10,000 has been donated by Professor Peter Worsley in memory of his late father, with the remaining £35,000 balance of the funding coming from the trust’s own fundraising activities.

David Charlton, of Stanegate Restorations, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the next phase of Knotty Coach Trust’s development of a Victorian train.

“Besides being able to use our craftsmen and women’s skills to restore a piece of our railway heritage, it will provide something the Victorians did not consider building, an accessible vehicle.

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A CAD visualisation showing the North Staffordshire Railway Accessible Brake Coach exterior. KNOTTY COACH TRUST

“Additionally, the project will allow us to take on an apprentice, enabling us to pass on the skills required for future restoration projects.”

The project is expected to be completed in a little over a year’s time, with the coach entering service from April 2019 onwards.

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