Gwili Vintage Carriage Group at the Gwili Railway
Taff Vale Railway Coach No.145
This Taff Vale Railway designed coach was built in 1874 by the Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Works in Birmingham.It had five compartments for Third class passengers and was mounted on a four wheeled underframe.
Although it had five separate compartments they were not divided off by separate walls and therefore was open from one end to the other.
It was painted maroon with white panels above the waist and straw coloured lining.Lettering on the doors indicating Third class and the coat of arms of the Taff Vale Railway appeared twice on each side.
Some of the Taff Vale Railway's Third Class compartments were upholstered and others were not. No 145 is one of those fitted with wooden seats for the increased number of miners and dockers requiring transport to and from their workplace along the Taff Vale Railway lines.
Similar seats can be found in Taff Vale Railway coach No 220.
After some years the coach was taken out of normal service by the introduction of more modern,comfortable and bogie fitted coaches.
The coach was then renumbered 0145 and along with the other coaches in the fleet would have been fitted with vacuum brakes about 1878,gas lighting to replace oil lights in 1893 and should have been fitted with steam heating equipment in 1912 but we can not find any evidence of this alteration.
The Taff Vale Railway amalgamated with the Great Western Railway on the 22nd March 1923 and 0145 was renumbered 4006 on the 19th May.
Of the 408 Taff Vale Railway coaches taken into GWR stock,all were renumbered but most of the older stock was not repainted knowing that their days were numbered under GWR control.4006 was repainted,lined and lettered in GWR livery with the garter crest emblem of the GWR replacing the proud Taff Vale Railway emblem of 1836.It only lasted another three years being withdrawn from service on the 20th March 1926 having served this community for fifty two years.
It is assumed that the body was shortly afterwards sold by the GWR to a farmer in Devon.Most of the body was soon clad in corrugated iron and the coach converted into a hen house.The five doors on one side were sawn in half to give the hens access and all the seats were removed.
It remained in this condition and use for eighty years and was recovered in late 2006 and returned to Wales.It is now stored pending a decision on how best to proceed with its restoration.It no longer has gas lights,roof ventilators,door handles or seats and an initial examination suggests that the remaining ten doors, most of the floor, all the glazing and the external paneling on one side will need replacing.
It is now the oldest standard gauge coach surviving from a Welsh railway company and our aims are to restore it to the condition it was built in and return it to passenger use - including the wooden seats.
Click here to find out more about the Gwili Vintage Carriage Group.