Newcastle 12th December 2019 · Stately Trains and the Autocar

Presenter: Stephen Middleton

Stephen Middleton, Chairman of the NER 1903 Electric Autocar Trust, presented “Stately Trains and the Autocar” to 24 members and visitors at Newcastle on 12th December. Starting in 1992 with ex GER no.8, the former saloon of Edward, Prince of Wales, Stephen reviewed the restoration of the coaches in the Stately Trains collection based at Embsay. We learned the reasons for the carriages’ acquisition and the stories, rich with anecdotes, of their restoration as they were added to the fleet, and how they are used today to generate income to sustain their continued preservation. The eight-year saga of the NER electric autocar followed, from rescue from a Yorkshire field to its return to service and subsequent receipt of the H.R.A.’s prestigious Manisty Award for its outstanding contribution to railway heritage. The break for seasonal refreshments – many thanks to all who contributed – was followed by the restoration of LSWR No. 17, Queen Victoria’s personal saloon used in 1887, her Golden Jubilee year. Now returned to its magnificent splendour, this and other Stately Trains carriages now routinely carry passengers on our preserved railways letting thousands of people enjoy the experience, as we did when learning about the work of Stephen and his colleagues.