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Olden Life: What were railway camping coaches? By Bill Riley

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Camping coach at Goathland, 2009

What were railway camping coaches? By Bill Riley

In the 1930s, rambling was popular – anything to get away from the city smoke and into the clean air of the countryside. The LNER (London and North Eastern Railway) served most of the eastern side of the country. In 1933, it hit on the idea of converting ten elderly railway coaches, due for retirement, into holiday homes and siting them in quiet, country stations. The scheme took off and was quickly followed in 1934 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and Great Western Railway (GWR). In 1935, the Southern Railway (SR) followed suit. By the end of the year, there were 215 railway camping coaches, as they became known, in 162 stations up and down the country, providing reasonably priced self-catering accommodation in rural locations. Internally, three of the coach compartments became bedrooms with double bunks, while a living/dining area, kitchen and bathroom occupied the remainder of...

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