What The Scottish Daily Express Said


Families going gff the rails in search of budget breaks.

By Brian Swanson

SPARTAN but comfortable, railway carriages converted into holiday homes were once a familiar sight at remote stations in Scotland.

Cheap foreign holidays all but killed them off but now, in the credit crunch, they're making a comeback.

The latest carriage to be converted for a use as a holiday home was officially opened yesterday on the banks of Loch Awe, near the village of Dalmally, Argyll.

The coach, which once ran on the Edinburgh-London line, was used as a tea-room from the mid-Eighties until last year, when it was converted by London-based TV producer Daniel Brittain.

He also runs Dunrobin Castle station museum in Sutherland and formerly lived in a converted railway station in Caithness.

Mr Brittain said: "This kind of holiday is more popular because of the credit crunch, with people harking back to their youth.

"There is a simple charm about staying in a railway coach."

The British Railways campingcoaches were popular for summer holidays for struggling families in the Thirties.

Sites grew up at 30 stations in Scotland from Aboyne, on Royal Deeside, to West Kilbride, in North Ayrshire, as well as at 100 stations in England and Wales.

They were phased out by British Rail in 1971, leaving just a few in private hands.

Mr Brittain said: "There was a coach on the lochside from 1952 for 10 years.

"Though pretty basic it was very popular because of the amazing views over the loch. I've kept as much as possible of the railway atmosphere but it is more upmarket than the original camping coaches."

His coach, a British Railways Mark 1, number 4494, was built at York in 1956. It now has two bedrooms, a fitted kitchen, shower, sitting room and a dining room.

Prices range from 350 to 450 a week depending on the season. The Loch Awe camping coach is believed to the fourth in Scotland to be reopened for use by families on self-catering holidays.

The others are in St Andrews, which charges 130 a night for bed and breakfast, Glenfinnan, Inverness-shire, which sleeps 10 and charges 12 a night, and Rogart, Sutherland, which sleeps 20 and charges 14 a night.

Kate Roach, who runs the Rogart business with husband Frank, said: "We get a lot of repeat business but we are also seeing an increase in people who are telling us that they want a different type of holiday and, because of the credit crunch, they want to holiday in this country."

See also the write-ups in
'The Guardian'
'Heritage Railway',  'The Scotsman'
'The Sunday Post'.