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Railway Carriages as Holiday Homes

Updated on May 2, 2016

Holiday Ideas: Static Railway Carriages

If you are a railway buff, or on the lookout for unusual accommodation for your next holiday, why not consider renting a converted railway carriage?

The idea is not new: the Times newspaper once wrote about two 19th-century railway carriages in West Wittering in West Sussex "that have been turned into a seaside holiday home after the First World War and have now been saved from the scrapheap" (Times OnLine, May 19th 2008).

Today, there are several locations, and indeed various types of rolling stock to choose from. The following are some examples that stood out during my research. If you are thinking of buying your own railway carriage for conversion I have included a special section about that too.

Aberporth Express, Wales
Aberporth Express, Wales

Aberporth Express: "Wendy"

Aberporth, Wales

Enjoy some of the finest views in Wales from The Aberporth Express - a converted Edwardian railway carriage located on the coastal footpath between the sandy beaches at Aberporth and Tresaith.

This railway carriage was built around 1905 as a sleeper coach that travelled on the Great Western Railway. This particular coach was called 'Wendy' after the character in Peter Pan (published the year before). Having travelled the length and breadth of the Great Western line between England and Wales, 'Wendy' was eventually retired from service in 1937. She has lovingly been restored back to her 1930s condition. In 2007 Wendy was featured in an article in The Guardian newspaper

Holiday Coach - Caledonian Camping Coach Company
Holiday Coach - Caledonian Camping Coach Company

Caledonian Camping Coach Company

Loch Awe, Scotland

The Holiday Coach is located on the shores of Loch Awe, just below The Loch Awe Hotel. From her vantage point, holiday makers can enjoy spectacular views of the loch and the ruins of Kilchurn Castle.

The coach was built in 1956, is a British Railways Mk1 model (number 4494) and was used to carry passengers on the busy London to Edinburgh line. She was moved to her present location in the 1980s and converted to a café known as 'The Loch Awe Tea Train'.

Many of her original features have been retained by the owners and she comprises of 2 bedrooms, kitchen, shower, sitting room and a dining room made up to look like a period restaurant car.

Coalporrt Station Holidays
Coalporrt Station Holidays

Coalport Station Holidays

Shropshire, England

Coalport Station is located in the Severn Valley and used to be part of the railway line running from Shrewsbury to Bridgnorth.

Due to low usage, the route was closed and part dismantled in the late 60s. The Severn Valley Steam Railway now runs part of it as a popular heritage line running both steam and diesel locomotives.

Coalport station itself is a private home and hosts two ex-British Railways Mk1 coaches offering accommodation for 4 to 6 people. They are loated near the historic Ironbridge Gorge, close to a river and surrounded by trees. The rural setting is complemented by traditional pubs serving local food and ales.

Los Dos Vagones - Argentina
Los Dos Vagones - Argentina

Los Dos Vagones

Magdalena, Argentina

If you fancy combining your railway interest with a trip to South America then the Rural Tourist Lodge "Los Dos Vagones" ( The Two Boxcars) might be just the ticket (pardon the pun!).

The Lodge is located in the County of Magdalena which enjoys international recognition due to the presence of some outstanding natural features. An example of this is the "Parque Costero del Sur". It was declared a Natural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO, and is an excellent place to visit if you are a nature lover.

The recycled railroad boxcars have a maximum capacity of 6 people each, and consists of two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and all the usual basic features you would expect.

Old Luggae Van in Cornwall
Old Luggae Van in Cornwall

Railholiday Travelling Post Office

St. Germans, Cornwall, England

Railholiday is a family enterprise based in Cornwall which offers you a choice of three sympathetically restored carriages:

A British Rail Mk1 Corridor Coach sits adjacent to the platform at Hayle railway station. This carriage retains most of its original features and is within easy walking distance of Hayle Beach.

Secondly, the Travelling Post Office wagon is located on a railway siding adjoining the platform at the village station of St Germans in Southeast Cornwall. Lastly, an old luggage van is parked on the western end of St Germans Station

The site is mentioned in The Guardian and was featured on the BBC's Great British Railway Journey television program. Railholiday also features on Facebook.

Sleeperzzz in the Highlands of Scotland
Sleeperzzz in the Highlands of Scotland

Rogart Railway Station Sleeper Coaches

Pittentrail, Scotland

Stay on a first class train in the scenic Scottish Highland village of Rogart, beside a working railway station.

You have a choice of carriages named after Scottish whiskies:

Clynelish and Glenmorangie both have four bedroom compartments, each sleeping two. Both carriages have a shared kitchen, dining room, living area and two toilets and showers.

Glenfiddich comprises two self-contained sections. One section has two beds in one compartment. The other has two compartments, sleeping two in each. Both sections have their own independent facilities.

Waitomo Express, New Zealand
Waitomo Express, New Zealand

Waitomo Express

Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

This 1950s passenger carriage is situated near the popular Waitomo Caves in the Waikoto region of New Zealand. The word Waitomo derives from the Maori language: wai for water, tomo for sinkhole; in other words "water passing through a hole".

The carriage itself has 3 separate rooms and sleeps up to 4 people. It is located in a secluded part of a farm, thus offering peace and quiet away from the crowds.

Derelict Railway Carriage
Derelict Railway Carriage | Source

Buying Your Own Railway Carriage?

Looking for inspiration, suggestions, ideas?

If this lens has captured your imagination and you are considering owning your own disused railway carriage to convert as a home then the following information may provide a useful starting point:

Railway Carriages in the Press

Rail Carriage Hotels: Britain's Best
Vintage rail carriages make a fun and romantic alternative to hotels and guest houses. Clover Stroud looks at Britain's best. Telegraph, published 24th May 2010.

Stock Suppliers and Brokers

C.A.R. Services Ltd

A UK-based broker of railway rolling stock, including coaches and locomotives.

Railserve Directory

A comprehensive directory of links for all things related to railways including useful lists of suppliers in North America.

WNXX

Comprehensive information of UK Locomotives and carriages either in service, stored or decommissioned. Also includes a section of rolling stock for sale.

Village Underground in London
Village Underground in London | Source

Other Ways to Use Old Railway Carriages

Funky ways that is...

Children's Hospital Radio Station

In 2005 Great Ormond Street Hospital in London received an unusual donation which was to become the new home for the in-house radio station: a 1983 Jubilee Line underground railway carriage! The wheels, batteries and some of the seats were removed and the carriage was sliced in two and re-attached at a right angle to fit into the building.

Artist Studio

A collection of old London Underground railway carriages have been hoisted onto a disused railway line and turned into flexible office space and artist studios. The conversion forms part of the Village Underground project. The site is a section of the Broad Street Rail Viaduct that splits the Shoreditch area into two. The viaduct was built in 1848 and used to run for 8,6 miles but had been left derelict for over 20 years.

© 2011 Charles Nullens

Your Thoughts Please

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    • profile image

      Alghero 4 years ago

      @geosum: anche io consiglio

    • profile image

      Alghero 4 years ago

      interssante lens

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Great idea. I'll consider it on my next trip over.

    • profile image

      placeborick 4 years ago

      Iv lived in bridgnorth for years but never heard of the coalport carriages! Brilliant

    • StillPlaysWithT profile image

      StillPlaysWithT 4 years ago

      That's an awesome idea:)

    • caravancat profile image

      caravancat 4 years ago

      I often see railway carriages converted to holiday homes when I am travelling around Devon and Cornwall by train. The only thing that puts me off a bit is the fact that they seem to be right by the side of railway lines.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 4 years ago

      I'm fascinated by carriages. Wonderful lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wow, some of these are amazing, I would love to spend a week in one but I doubt if I could drag the wife there!

    • greenqueen09 profile image

      Laura 5 years ago from Australia

      I like the idea.

    • VictoriaKelley profile image

      VictoriaKelley 5 years ago

      Great Ideas on how to recycle old carriages.

    • AstroGremlin profile image

      AstroGremlin 5 years ago

      If you ate dinner in one of these you could chew chew in a choo choo.

    • profile image

      denman4 5 years ago

      Until reading your lens, I had never heard about renting a converted railway carriage. What a neat idea!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      Interestingt lens and very informative.

    • profile image

      MintySea 5 years ago

      These look so cool

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 5 years ago

      Overnight in a Red Caboose in Pennsylvania. Such a unique mini-vacation and beautiful drive. Sweet lens, thanks. Blessings.

    • profile image

      Curt001 5 years ago

      Wow what a unique lens. Never seen anything like it, great idea!

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      How cool! I love it!

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 5 years ago

      That is an awesome idea:)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      What a great idea! I've never heard of such a thing! Angel Blessed.

    • profile image

      Track29 6 years ago

      I say the more time you can spend in a railway carriage the better!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is a very unusual and interesting idea; I really enjoyed this lens.

    • profile image

      virgoansun 6 years ago

      Great Lens - really enjoyed it.

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      What a lovely lens. I think I'll bless it.

    • tcorbs profile image

      tcorbs 6 years ago

      Very interesting, I've never seen anything like this.

    • efriedman profile image

      efriedman 6 years ago

      Interesting use of railway carriages. I am now featuring this lens on my How to Ride European Trains.

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 6 years ago

      Great lens!

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      A fascinating lens

    • Holidayhomerent profile image

      Holidayhomerent 6 years ago

      Very original and very cleverly interesting! Coool!

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 6 years ago

      What an amazing idea for a holiday. Sort of like a narrow boat but static :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What a wonderfully novel idea to reuse railway carriages as holiday homes, I sure would love to stay in one!

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 6 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Love the way these carriages are restored and used again. Don't actually know if they do that in Holland too. Haven't seen it yet, but probably they do.

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 6 years ago

      I love this lens!! I had no idea and now, thanks to railway-carriages-as-holiday-homes, I do! My favorite book when I was nine years old was "The Boxcar Children." I suspect anyone who loved that children's story would appreciate this lens.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Nice lens! I have a friend in Sasolito California who had one of these.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 6 years ago from UK

      THis bought back memories!!!

      When I was a child, we always used to use Brithish railways camping coaches. Marvellous fun and camping in a main line ( tho' somewhat out of the way) station. Our favourite was Dolgellau. I remember holidaying with several aunts, uncles and cousins, A great tie was had by all. Didn't realise it was still possible. Thanks for the info.

    • charlesn profile image
      Author

      Charles Nullens 6 years ago from London

      @dahlia369: Thank you very much, I appreciate it ;-)

    • profile image

      HelenHoliday 6 years ago

      Very interesting! I would love to visit England and stay in one of these charming rail cars.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I see lots of retired railroad cars being used in Colorado. Some are used for vacation homes and many are used for storage. I always thought it would be fun to restore a railroad caboose to use as a cabin. Very interesting subject. Thanks!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      Nicely done & great resource. ***Angel blessed*** and featured on "My Life with Angel Wings" lens ... :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Interesting idea

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      Oh, my! What an interesting idea! I had never thought of railway cars. Great lens on a unique topic.

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 6 years ago

      Marvelous lens!! At Didcot Railway Centre they have restored a railway carriage which had been a home which I can now see was a mistake but may be otherwise it would have been demolished

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      what a great idea - thumbs up

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 6 years ago

      I would definitely vacation in one of these.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      Perfect office!! - nice lens Charles

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      oh my goodness, I have just found my ideal home, how unique and quirky are these railway carriges, this is fabulous, wonderful and truly blessed by an Angel