• Andrew P.M. Wright

Match funding pledge to help public donate £9,210 so work can resume on new carriage shed


Photograph: Andrew P.M. Wright

A match funding pledge is being made by the Swanage Railway Trust to encourage the public to donate £9,210 in ten days and reach a target of £65,000 so work can resume on building a much-needed £240,000 carriage storage shed.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters, the Herston Carriage Shed Appeal has raised £46,580 since it was launched in March, 2021.


A registered charity, the Swanage Railway Trust is now pledging to match fund every pound raised for the Appeal between 21 and 30 June, 2021 – or sooner if the £65,000 target is reached before the end of the month.


The £65,000 needs to be raised by the end of June so that the steel structure of the building can be ordered before being delivered to the site and constructed during the winter of 2021 with the new carriage shed being completed during 2022.


Swanage Railway fund-raising chairman Randy Coldham said: “Our carriages are currently stored outside and exposed to the weather all year round. This new covered accommodation is urgently required to help protect our most historic and valuable heritage carriages, the oldest of which is more than 80 years old.


“These irreplaceable vehicles will significantly benefit from covered protection against the elements to improve their lifespan between overhauls while also reducing the time and expense associated with their maintenance.

“The largest structure ever built by the Swanage Railway – and covering two tracks in an area of more than 1000 square metres – the new carriage shed will be fully enclosed on its south side to ensure our vehicles are protected from the most extreme weather.


“Nearest the railway line, the north side of the carriage shed will have cladding halfway down from the roof to enable the natural circulation of free-flowing air for ventilation,” added Mr Coldham who is also a volunteer signalman on the Swanage Railway.


Work on the new carriage shed – east of Herston Halt on the outskirts of Swanage – began in January, 2020, but stopped at the end of March, 2020, when the Government introduced the first national Covid-19 lockdown. Work resumed in May, 2021.


Before the work had to stop last year, contractors had managed to complete the foundations for the steel structure that will span two tracks and be capable of storing ten carriages – including the Swanage Railway’s historic heritage carriages.


Randy Coldham explained: “Due to the carriage shed’s proximity to the running line, construction can only take place during the quieter winter months when the line between Herston Halt and Swanage is not being used.


“So far, we have raised £223,580 thanks to donations – as well as generous legacies and bequests – and we hope that our supporters will join the Swanage Railway Trust in closing the gap of £18,420 by the end of June so that the order for the steel frame, side cladding and roof can be placed and the shed be built this coming winter to protect our historic heritage coaches.


“We are hopeful that the public will help us to close the funding gap and allow the carriage shed to be completed by the start of 2022 so it can protect some of our historic carriages from the ravages of the winter weather,” added Randy.

The new carriage shed at Herston will be 131 metres long, have a height of 6.5 metres, a width of 9.2 metres and cover an area of more than 1,000 square metres.


The project manager for the Herston carriage shed is Swanage Railway Trustee Nick Coram – a volunteer operations department locomotive driver and fireman – while the consulting engineer is Jim Peters of Such Salinger Peters in Bournemouth.


The Swanage Railway has produced a video about the Herston Carriage Shed Appeal which can be viewed below:

To make a donation to the Herston Carriage Shed Appeal, go to: https://www.swanagerailwaytrust.org/carriage-shed-appeal.


The Swanage Railway welcomes new volunteers and anyone interested in finding out more should contact Swanage Railway volunteer recruitment and retention officer Jonathan Evans on 01929 408466 or email iwanttovolunteer@swanagerailway.co.uk.


Story and photograph by Andrew P.M. Wright,

Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer.


Note: an earlier version of this news item previously appeared here.