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Churchill Funeral Carriage to be Restored

Railway Van No. 2464 Has Long and Varied History

Churchill_Funeral_carChurchill’s Funeral CarriageOne of the stranger stories that The Churchill Centre has been covering for more than forty years is the fate of the railway carriage that bore Sir Winston Churchill’s body following his State Funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to his final resting place in Oxfordshire on January 30 1965.  According to a story that appeared last month in the Daily Mailthe Southern Railway luggage van no. 2464 is now to be fully restored in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death next year.

The carriage was originally built in 1931 to transport simple goods, such as vegetables and newspapers, around the country; during the Second World War it was used as part of two evacuation trains. The original umber and cream Pullman colours were restored in the 1960s. In 1966 the carriage was moved to Southern California, a complex saga covered in the pages of The Churchill Centre’s journal Finest Hour all through the early 1970s. The carriage served as a historical display for some years before it was returned by the City of Industry, California in 2007.  It is now being refurbished at the National Railway Museum in Shildon, where it will be exhibited early next year once work is complete.

Senior Curator of rail vehicles at the National Railway Museum, Anthony Coulls, told the Daily Mail: “Until the 1960s, the carriage was a fairly normal goods van. It carried things like vegetables and newspapers, goods that needed to go from place to place as soon as possible. The carriage shows how the every day can become something quite important, and it is assured of its place on the national stage because of the part it played in Churchill’s last journey. It is not a glamorous steam engine but it is something that is of great importance to the nation.”

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