Yorkshire's golden age of railway evoked by 1950s buffet car set to wow passengers on heritage line

It evokes images of a bygone world of railway travel, where the elegance and style of the journey was as important as the destination.

Nick Stringer, the chair of the Pickering-based LNER Coach Association, enjoying the Elizabethan buffet car
Nick Stringer, the chair of the Pickering-based LNER Coach Association, enjoying the Elizabethan buffet car

And now travellers on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway will be able to dine in splendour on a faithfully restored buffet car from the 1950s, as they enjoy scenic journeys through some of Yorkshire’s most beautiful countryside.

The buffet car originates from the British Railways Elizabethan Express, which ran non-stop from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley in 1953.

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The Capitals Limited train was renamed in celebration of the Queen’s Coronation and the buffet car formed part of a service that took six hours and 30 minutes between the two capitals.

Carriage and wagon manager Aaron Marsden by the historic buffet car

The buffet car has been transferred from the Llangollen Railway to the line which begins at Embsay, in Craven.

Its interior has been restored to its former glory, and bosses on the steam railway line are hopeful that it will be in service in time for its Christmas timetable.

The buffet car will serve drinks and light refreshments to passengers as they take in views of the countryside surrounding Bolton Abbey.

Nick Stringer, the chair of the Pickering-based LNER Coach Association, which facilitated the transfer, said: “It’s the only surviving carriage of its kind, and we’ve managed to get it back up.

“Passengers can expect things like pre-dinner drinks and it’ll be good for parties, receptions, and weddings, it’ll form part of a day out on the railway in style and elegance.

“We are an organisation specialising in preserving and restoring railway carriages for future generations. We have many running on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway but we try to spread them around a bit.

“A massive amount of work went into restoring this. You have to touch every surface and of course make sure it conforms to today’s safety standards too. There was an awful lot of stripping back to bare metal, repainting and refurbishing everything.

“An awful lot of volunteer man hours went into the restoration of this.”

For Mr Stringer, the project is just one of a number that marks his passion for heritage railways.

He said: “When I retired 10 years ago, I went to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and saw this vehicle with a varnished teak finish, and I just thought ‘wow, I’d love to be involved in the restoration of these vehicles’ because I thought they were something worth keeping for the future, not just as museum pieces but for passengers to travel in and to really enjoy the luxury of a bygone age.”

“Nostalgia is a key word, It takes you back to a bygone age. The interiors have this wonderful nostalgic elegance for the public to enjoy.”