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Victorian railway carriage returns to Ballater after 100 years with the help of FirstGroup
Thursday 31 January 2008
An authentic reproduction of a Victorian saloon carriage, as used by Her Majesty Queen Victoria to journey between Windsor and Ballater in 1869, arrived in Ballater today (Wednesday 30 January 2008) with the help of FirstGroup.
The arrival of the carriage fulfils a suggestion made by HRH Prince Charles to give the public a chance to see at first hand the extraordinary beauty and detail of his Great, Great Grandmother’s personal favourite form of travel. The £450,000 project has been funded by European Regional Development Fund, Scottish Enterprise Grampian, VisitScotland, Heritage Lottery Fund and FirstGroup, the UK’s largest bus and rail operator.
The railway carriage was craned in to the Old Royal Station in Ballater at 11am. In what was a complex operation the 15 tonne carriage, which is 10.5m long, 2.5m wide and 3.8m high, was suspended over the station roof by a 400 tonne crane before being set down at the back of the station.
Based in York a team of ten people has painstakingly hand-crafted the carriage so it exactly mirrors the original, with help and expertise from local transport operator First TransPennine Express.
The carriage was carefully protected by bubble-wrap for its long journey by low-loader from York to Ballater.
Moir Lockhead, Chief Executive of FirstGroup, said: “It is a privilege for First to help replace part of our proud rail heritage and return it to Scotland. First has worked with a number of organisations to ensure that the carriage mirrors Queen Victoria's original. The painstaking work and attention to detail invested has been very worthwhile - we are delighted with the stunning quality of the finished carriage. I am sure that visitors to Ballater will be very impressed and gain a real insight into the travelling style of Queen Victoria."