A heritage railway is looking to restore one of just three surviving GWR railcars, a type of train that was first introduced in 1933 and were in service right through to the 1960s. Although 38 of these single-unit railcars were built, just three now survive, and the Kent & East Sussex Railway (K&ESR) owns one of them.

GWR No.22 AEC Diesel Railcar at Didcot Great Western Railway Centre – photo by Andrew Bone

The restoration of 1940’s GWR Diesel Railcar W20 is the K&ESR’s longest running and most complex restoration project. After more than 25 years of steady progress, they now say that they need your help to get W20 across the finishing line so that it can, once more, play a leading role at the K&ESR and join the celebrations for the 50th birthday of K&ESR’s reopening in 2024.

The heritage railway is two-thirds of the way to raising the necessary £60K required to complete the restoration and provide for ongoing conservation, thanks to a grant of £20K from the Association for Industrial Archaeology and a matching pledge from the railway itself.

They now need to raise the remaining £20,000 to complete the restoration, and you can support the restoration project here.

(c) K&ESR

Built in 1940 for the Great Western Railway, the railcar W20 was originally one of just two that was built with dual-range gearboxes, which uniquely enabled it to run on both branch and mainline rail routes.

The railcar arrived at K&ESR in 1966, but had to be taken out of service in 1972 for repairs, and hasn’t been back on the rails since.

Commercially, for the heritage railway, if they are unable to run steam trains, having a working railcar gives them more flexibility to keep running public heritage trips.

The K&ESR operates a heritage railway along 10½ miles of railway between Tenterden and Bodiam. They were also the same organisation that brought a steam loco to the DLR earlier this year.

The other two surviving railcars are at the National Railway Museum and at the Didcot Railway Centre.

(c) K&ESR

This article was published on ianVisits


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The post The heritage railway restoring a GWR Diesel Railcar appeared first on ianVisits.