Railway Vehicle Preservations
Our most extensive restoration to-date. Pigeon van No.4050 was built at York in 1940. Despite being wartime it was turned out in full varnished teak (one of the last to be so treated - see 70442E ). Pigeon traffic was once very important to the railways and these vehicles conveyed huge numbers of pigeons from major cities and towns out to country locations where the pigeons were released for the race back home. 4050 remained a pigeon van until BR ceased such traffic in the 1960s. Repainted blue (an by now renumbered 70427) it continued in use (with its guards accommodation now enclosed) as a general brake and parcels van until withdrawal. Preserved by RVP in 1976, it too went to Chappel was painted maroon, and ran with the LNER TPO set on the GCR from 1982 to 1990. Over an eight year period from 1991 to 1999, this vehicle was extensively restored to its as built condition (at a cost of over £15,000 - using only volunteer labour). The result is the only restored railway pigeon van in the UK and has enabled us to recreate "pigeon trains" for the first time in railway preservation. The unusual nature of this draws not only large crowds but also won Leicester Heritage awards "Best Special Event" in 2000. 4050 remains in service running with the TPO set or parcels trains and acting as a guards van on GCR passenger trains at other times. In 2008, with its original owners having passed away, it was purchased by RVP Ltd with the assistance of a grant from the Science Museum's PRISM fund (to allow it to continue in use on the GCR in an appropriate setting).