Two steel-bodied bogie carriages which have worked on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways since 1980 have been purchased by the Golden Valley Light Railway. Carriage 119 was delivered in March 2016 and 118 will follow in 2016. They will provide much-improved accommodation for our passengers and give us a substantial increase in passenger capacity.
Carriage 119 was built at Boston Lodge Works in 1980. During the winter of 2006-7 the interior was refurbished, new flooring installed and the seating re-upholstered. In June 2009 the carriage was transferred for use on the Welsh Highland Railway in response to heavy loadings following the launch of services through the Aberglaslyn Pass. 119 continued in service on the WHR during 2010, eventually being transferred back to the FR at the end of the season.
Since then it has remained in regular service and received an interior clean up and exterior repaint just before high summer 2013 and was withdrawn and replaced with a new Super Saloon carrying the same number in late 2014. Carriage 118 is of similar design, having been built in 1977. In 2010, it joined 119 in providing additional passenger accommodation on Welsh Highland services.
The underframe on which carriage 119 sits, was built by the Metropolitan Amalgamated Railway Carriage & Wagon Company (later the Metropolitan Carriage Wagon & Finance Company) in 1923. Between 1909 and 1926, the IOMR mounted two old 4-wheeled carriage bodies, on newly build underframes, to create 26 'new' bogie carriages.
In 1967 the bodies were removed and the bogies and underframes, now called conflats, were used for the short lived container scheme. They then languished at Douglas, loaded with containers, before eventually being sold to Manx Metals in 1974. Nine of the 10 underframes were subsequently purchased by the Ffestiniog Railway.
By now the underframe was known as R10, on which the Ffestiniog Railway in 1980, using components from buses, built Carriage 119, one of the &Tin Carr& family. During the winter 2006-7 the interior was refurbished. including re-upholstered Seating. The exterior was painted in a slight variation of the usual livery and new doors fitted. In June 2009 this carriage along with &sister& 120 was transferred for use on the WHR, in response to heavy loadings after the launch of services through the Aberglaslyn Pass.
119 continued in service on the WHR during 2010, eventually being transferred back to the FR at the end of the 2010 season. Since then it has been in service, and had an interior clean up and exterior repaint into the more usual red and cream livery just before High Summer 2013. 119 was withdrawn and replaced with a Super Barn of the same number in 2014.
After the arrival of carriage 119, it was intended to take delivery of the next carriage to retired by the FR, carriage 117. On reflection, plans were altered and the GVLR, will now take delivery of carriage 118 in 2016.
As only carriage bodies were purchased from th FR, carriage 119 was placed on accommodation bogies, whilst two bogies that were acquired from Poland in 1991, were refurbished and braked to modern standards. Part way through the refurbishment of the second bogie, the opportunity arose, to acquire four refurbished, South African bogies. For a short while carriage 119 will sit on the ex Polish bogies, before they are replaced by ex South African bogies, so we have a standard design of bogie and brake gear under both carriages.