Accessibility and the need for a second Accessibility Coach
It has been acknowledged for some time that one of the serious weaknesses in our carriage fleet has been the lack of a second accessible carriage and in addition the railway found itself very short of a second BR Mk 1 corridor brake. With this in mind a BSK, suitable to provide a solution to both was sought, the BSK’s large luggage space readily convertible into an attractive spacious wheelchair accessible compartment.
One became available not far away at Embsay that was surplus to their requirements and the opportunity to buy it became a reality. The photos show that at best this carriage could be described as rundown but after careful consideration of its condition, the work required and the cost, a proposal was put to the KWVR Trust for a grant to cover its purchase and restoration. Despite appearances however it is in quite good order, but will still need a considerable amount of work before it is fit to use. As well as funds from the Trust, grants have also been forthcoming which allowed purchase and restoration to proceed.
Progress to date
The coach arrived by road in June, but with little work initially undertaken, as our Carriage & Wagon Department readied the fleet for use in our ‘Back in Steam’ programme and as Christmas approached, were rather busy getting the CL back in service and turning the SLOs into compartment coaches ready for the Elf Express. So there was a heavy backlog of other priorities plus the added project of restoring and converting our “new” BSK to the priority list.
However, the BSK is subject to grant funding so a lot of effort has now gone into the coach as the attached photos show. The external work is progressing and the rotten floor in the large goods area, to be transformed into a comfortable fully wheelchair accessible compartment, has largely been removed. There’s still a huge amount to do including asbestos removal by external specialists from the passenger compartments, but at least the whole project is now underway.