Sunday, 11 November 2012

Old Railway carriges


wendy

I love dreaming of staying in quirky or unusual places and included in my list is beach huts, house boats, gyspy caravans, and old railway carriages.

I first saw this railway carriage to rent many years ago with Under the Thatch and it sparked my initial interest in them. What a fantastic location on the Welsh coast! It used to be so popular that it was fully booked up for at least a year in advance.




Going to the seaside either on holiday or on a day trip became popular in the Victorian era, partly as with the growth of the railways the seaside was more accessible. At the beginning of the 20th century the Brighton Railway company sold off some railway carriages for £10 and these were purchased and see this picture here of how one was taken to its final location close to the beach. They became some of the first beach chalets!
When soldiers returned from the First World War there was a national shortage of housing and at the same time small railway companies were amalgamated resulting in a surplus of railway carriages. These carriages provided desperately needed accommodation.  Land was cheap and there were no planning laws and so many of the carriages ended up in locations close to the sea. This  link shows a postcard  of the bedroom of one of these carriages in the 1920's. Buying two or more railway carriages and building a bungalow around them was a cheap way of having a home.

There are still over 5,000 railway carriages in use in Britain and it is thought that at least 400 of these are over 100 years old. Here is a sample of a few that you can stay in (not all of them are Victorian) - this first one being in West Dorset close to the sea - click on the links below the captions for more pictures and details.

Railway cottage Eype



Railway carriage Holste Arms, Burnham Market, Norfolk


Lounge
Railway carriage in Shropshire near Ironbridge

1950's styled carriage in Scotland by the loch - what a view


 Are you aware of any converted railway carriages where you live? Have you ever stayed anywhere unusual? If you have I would love to hear about it. We have stayed in a converted pig sty and also a sheep barn - I'll leave those for another time!

Now finally to the GIVEAWAY ..........

Congratulations to the winner of " The wonderful weekend book by Elspeth Thompson" - the  lucky winner selector from the random number selector was  Freda from live simply-simply live. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. If you  all haven't had enough of railway carriages Elspeth's blog describes the journey of renovating her two Victorian railway carriages.

Welcome to my new follower Fran from Bonnie of Clyde she is renovating a barge and appeared as a new follower after I had written this post and before I had posted it, how's that for timing!

I'm now off to carry on dreaming of a holiday in one of these carriages!

Postscript -my dream came true almost a year later we stayed a weeks holiday in a railway carriage and it was better than I dreamed off - see here.

Sarah x

41 comments:

  1. Brilliant Sarah! Both blogpost and prize! (Can't find your e mail....) Thank you so much.

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  2. Also..it looks as though you will be winning MY GIVE-AWAY as you are the only one who has commented yet! How strange is that?

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  3. Hi Sarah, my uncle & aunt have two railway cottages that they rent out for visitors, http://www.dunpuffin.co.nz/. It's a long story but Nelson was the first place in NZ to have a railway in 1875, and then due to a number of circumstances but mainly geographical isolation and lack of money it was all over in 1955 before being connected to the main trunk line. There are still faint remnants of the railway around our district. I'd love to stay in a railway cottage, not to sure about the pig sty!! S:)

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    1. Your uncle and aunt's railway cottages look lovely, what a shame they are so far away in New Zealand.
      Sarah x

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  4. I too love old railway carriages. My Grandad had two in a field next to the farm where he lived. One he'd converted to a garage for his car and the other as a workshop. I used to love playing in them especially opening and shutting the window on the carriage door.
    June

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    1. Thank you for sharing this memory. It must have been such fun playing in them!
      Sarah x

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  5. Lovely blog hmmm I would love to stay in a railway carriage, a canal boat, a ligthouse to name but a few. Annie x

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  6. Hello Sarah:
    The railway carriages you show here do look exceedingly luxurious. We can well imagine that to stay in one would be absolutely wonderful.

    When we lived in Herefordshire, a restaurant was sited in a set of railway carriages and, although we never went ourselves, the local talk was that it was excellent. Certainly far better fare than that usually to be found on the railway.

    Congratulations to Freda on her prize. Elspeth Thompson was such a talented writer, such a sad end to her lamentably short life.

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  7. How I would love to stay in one of these carriages. I never knew that they existed ! They are are in the most charming locations.
    Congratulations to Freda on her prize..
    Thank you for taking us on this railway carriage tour Sarah.
    I would like to explore more into them.
    happy week val

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  8. Hello Sarah - I have never really thought about staying in a railway carriage but several of them look very appealing. I have given thought to the romance of travelling in a gypsy wagon, but having to care for a horse too on the journey makes it seem more of a challenge than a holiday.
    Congratulations to Freda on your giveaway.

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  9. Hi Sarah, I had never heard of railway carriages being transformed into 'a house' to live in. This is so very special and the 'carriages' look very cosy. And there's the location and the view of course!
    Bye,
    Marian

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  10. Yay! I spent weekends and holidays in a train carriage at the top of a hill one year when a relative lived in one. It was gorgeous! It was a steep dirt track to get to it so it felt even more special to have it plopped up the top there. Such a wonderful experience.

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  11. There is two, side by side, not far from where my sister lives. They have been refurbished and look great, I always wondered about their history, thanks for enlightening me! :)

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  12. I remember years ago visiting my Grandparents near Dymchurch in Kent and there were quite a few of these dotted around on the land behind the sea wall that people had made into really nice homes. I guess it must have been easier to get permission to put a "movable" building on land that possibly could have flooded, but I thought they were really sweet and I've always hankered after one in the garden! xx

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  13. We used to stay in a converted railway carriage on the I.O.W when I was a child I loved it, later on it was again converted into several small beach huts.Talking of Eype I recommend Downhouse Farm Higher Eype http://downhousefarm.org/ for lovely walks, views, and superb food

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    1. Down House Farm is one of our favourites, there is nothing like sitting in the garden and looking at distant views of Portland the food is always so good too.
      Sarah x

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  14. I love to come here because I know you will have a sea-breeze just for me. THANK YOU! Anita

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  15. Love them! There used to be lots around when I was a kid and I always envied those families that got to stay in them. But those contemporary ones in the photos are even more the ticket!!

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  16. What a great idea! I had no idea there were railway carriages that people can stay in. The next time I come to Britain I am going to look into spending a night in one. That carriage in Scotland looks like just the right one! I am thinking they probably cost a lot of money to stay at though.

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  17. There are railway carriage holiday homes close to where I live in Cornwall, on the main Great Western Line from London to Penzance. Here's a link -

    http://www.railholiday.co.uk/olv.htm

    Friends of mine stayed last year and said how lovely the carriage was - but they hadn't realised it was right at the side of an active line. They didn't appreciate the early morning trains!

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    1. We have seen the ones at St Germans and it's on our list of places to go. We wake up early so hopefully the early morning trains wouldn't be much of a problem.
      Sarah x

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  18. LIving in a railway carriage what a good idea. I don'tk now if it is common in our country but I like it.

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  19. Hello Sarah
    The carriages are facinating, I have been lucky enough to be taken on the Orient Express and one on the carriages had a cocktail bar with a baby grand piano and fully deck out bar with stools and sofa's surprising what they can fit in them ....Congratulations to the giveaway winner
    Happy week
    Thea x

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    1. That must have been an amazing experience.
      Sarah x

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  20. I'd love to stay in any one of those carriages, they all look amazing and very spacious too. We have stayed overnight in a house without a roof or front door, does that count as unusual?

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    1. Yes I would have said that was unusual! I hope you didn't have any rain!
      Sarah x

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  21. Oh very nice Sarah, at my holiday in Australia we sleep in a train in Undara near to the lava tubs. But this wan looks must nicer than were we wear. I like the stuff in the train nice colors to. The winner of you glve away congratulations, and for you thank for your give away. Have a nice week, greetings Petra.

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  22. It must be fun spending your holiday in one of these luxurious railway carriages. I hope you will get your holiday one day! I am still dreaming of spending a few nights on the Orient Express :-)

    Madelief x

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  23. I almost forgot. Congratulations to Freda for winning your giveaway.

    Happy new week!

    Madelief x

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  24. Hi Sarah,
    It all sounds so romantic staying in one of the luxury railway carriages, must get in my wish book!
    I am like Madelief and fancy spending a few nights also on the Orient Express and have just read that Thea has done just that, how lovely!
    Interesting post Sarah, thanks for sharing..
    Congrats to Freda for winning the give away too!
    Love Maria x

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  25. There is a converted railway car restaurant , The Sidecar, in town, but I have never seen one converted for living. Each of them is amazing and wonderful. Thanks for introducing me to something new.

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  26. A little bit late, but congratulations for your 100th post. And congratulations to Freda. I followed Elspeth Thompsons blog, loved her writing, and her ideas. I still remember reading her husbands post, some diseases are so devastating and dreadful.

    Stunning railway carriages, I don't know if some are here in Holland.
    When my children were little we sometimes stayed for days in a Tipi, they loved it. And a friend has lived for years in a Yurt, every year at a different place. Very tempting, just pack up your house and move. I'm to much a collector.
    Groetjes, Gerda

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  27. How lovely these carriages are, the Hoste Arms is quite close to me & I stayed there once but I never knew they had a railway carriage to stay in! My favourite is the Scottish one I think. x

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  28. It was a joy to look at all the posts I missed – the pictures are superb. I’d love to rent a railway carriage – is there a list of them somewhere for rental purposes? We may go to the UK for our next trip, next spring. Your autumn photos were stunning. Have a great time on your holiday.

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  29. Thank you for the mention. I love these railway carriages and could quite happily live in one. Xxx

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  30. Awesome interiors!

    Have a great day!

    xoxo, Juliana | PJ’ Happies :) | PJ’ Ecoproject

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  31. I've always thought I'd love to live in an old railway carriage ... perhaps I'll retire to one!

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  32. oh - I would like to live in a railway carriage. That is all I can say as I am a little green around the edges...oh dear
    x

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  33. How fabulous.

    I'd love to stay somewhere quirky and unusual - though it will probably be when the kids are older.

    Nina x

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  34. I love this post! While I haven't really stayed any where quirky as of yet... I do have fantasies about living in an unusual space. I have my eye on an old barn up the road and there is a beautiful church way down in the woods that I think would be beautiful and inspirational place to live. Cheers!

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  35. Now I'm torn. Would I rather have a shepherd's hut on wheels or a railway carriage? I think the railway carriage might win.

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