Belfast Telegraph

Back on track... the carriage that had gone off the rails

By Linda Stewart

The last remaining carriage from Ireland's Festival Express – built to mark the Festival of Britain – is carrying passengers once again.

No.728 is thought to be the sole survivor of the train, which ran between Londonderry and Belfast in the 1950s.

Since its withdrawal in 1991 it was used as a waiting carriage for families visiting the Downpatrick and Co Down Railway.

It has taken volunteers of all ages nearly two years and 10,000 hours of work to restore the carriage, originally built in 1951.

The vehicle began full restoration in July 2012.

The interior was refitted with as-original comfortable moquette seating and wooden panelling, major mechanical work was carried out and it was fitted with four wheelchair bays.

It formed the park-and-ride service on St Patrick's weekend.

DCDR chairman John Wilson called the work a "marvellous job".

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