A nearly century-old RAILWAY car has been restored and returned to service on Hythe Pier.

The Hythe Pier Heritage Association (HPHA) held a small ceremony to mark the completion of the project, which involved the work of the local Men’s Shed and the support of engineers from Blue Funnel, which operates the Hythe ferry.

Restoration work began in July 2020 but progress has been halted by repeated blockages from Covid. It featured new side frames constructed from Iroko hardwood and marine grade plywood panels, new safety glass, and vintage electric lighting units. The seats were also repainted.

Nigel Hasted, grandson of railway engineer Gerald Yorke, was at the restoration unveiling ceremony

Funding for the project comes from a grant from the Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation and the local community through events and donations.

HPHA project manager Tina Brown said she was “delighted” that the cart was back in service and thanked everyone who contributed to the project.

The wagon was originally the first of two ordered by the owners of the pier at the time, before the railway was installed, and it arrived at the end of May 1922.

The second car, arriving a month later, was taken out of service for the next restoration project.

The carriage has been fully restored (photo: Alan Titheridge)
The coach has been fully restored (photo: Alan Titheridge)

In addition to getting the wagon back on track, HPHA hosted a christening ceremony for locomotive 16307. The event for the 104 year old tractor named Gerald Yorke was attended by Nigel Hasted and Sara Richardson, grandchildren of Gerald Yorke , who was the consulting engineer for the Hythe Pier railway project.

Mr. Yorke oversaw the installation of the railway which was commissioned in July 1922 and continued to act as a consulting engineer until the late 1940s.

The locomotive was originally built for use in a World War I munitions factory and was one of three purchased from the War Office in 1920. One of the other two still operates on the dock, while the third has been demolished for spare parts decades ago.

The tractor also underwent some work, with engineers reproducing parts of the ironwork and renewing the mechanics. The Men’s Shed made new luggage racks, a boxing compartment and gave it a new coat of paint.





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