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Historic Train Carriage – ECJS 189

Did you know that Lincrusta Walton (as we were then known) had a special range of designs specifically for railway carriages? We were delighted to learn about the restoration of carriage ECJS 189 carried out by Frank Holmes Fine Décor alongside conservator Helena Brazil.

ECJS Dining Car No.189 is one of the world’s oldest surviving dining carriages, yet in 1998 it was a week away from destruction. Once working on the London – Edinburgh/ Aberdeen ‘races to the North’ run and part of the Flying Scotsman train.

‘East Coast Joint Stock’ was the name given to carriages built by the collaboration of three railway companies that made up ‘East Coast Railway’.

Originally built by the Great Northern Railway Carriage works in Doncaster in 1894, 189 was a third-class dining car with 42 seats in three saloons. When ECR became LNER in 1923, 189 would have been relegated to secondary duties, before being withdrawn from service in 1927.  Due to its durable construction in rot resistant teak, the carriage found a new life as a workshop on a farm in Yorkshire, where it remained for six decades before being salvaged.

As part of the restoration of the carriage back to its 1909 condition, LNERCA brought in Helena Brazil, who with only the original black and white photograph to work from, identified the Lincrusta border as one of two probable designs. Directors of LNERCA chose the design to reinstate, then Helena arranged for samples to be 3D printed from this 2D catalogue image.

Next Helena asked Frank to use his skills to ‘first cast’ and then add in the fine detail in by hand before recasting to prepare masters for mould making.

First cast of 3D models for making of Lincrusta border moulds
Image: Frank Holmes Fine Decor.

The team then spent a week in the LNCRA workshop in Pickering to produce 450 feet of ‘straights’ and 12 of the corner designs on site then we re-instated the Lincrusta borders to the Clerestory ceilings.

Montage of images showing restoration of LNER train carriage using Lincrusta restoration kit
Image montage by Frank Holmes Fine Decor

The project was not without its challenges, having to find solutions to the curvature of the ceiling, but the results are spectacular.

The new borders were then later gilded by LNERCA volunteer Neil Cawthorne.

LNERCA volunteer gilding the Lincrusta borders
Image: Dave Cullingworth, LNERCA

The restoration project for the rest of the fixtures is ongoing. We can’t wait to see Carriage ECJS 189 returned to its former glory!

For a more detailed insight into the history of the carriage and the process, check out Frank’s blog.

LNER Coach Association

LNERCA is a volunteer run charity formed in 1979 to preserve and restore ex-LNER and constituent companies’ carriages that would otherwise have been scrapped.  This work by the LNERCA now means that we can once again experience what it was like to travel in the pre-nationalisation era.  To learn more, check out their website. Featured image: ECTS 189 c. 1909 courtesy of LNERCA.


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