A carriage of convenience

The new engine should hopefully increase capacity for train rides
The new engine should hopefully increase capacity for train rides

Devotees from the Kingdom of Fife Railway Preservation Society (KFRPS) will shortly be moving their century-old Norwegian coach under cover before inviting the community once again to ‘sponsor a seat’.

Leven’s best-known group of rail enthusiasts acquired the carriage earlier this year, intending to renovate and convert it into a passenger-transporting vehicle which can run during special events.

We need some cash in the bank to fund the initial phases of the rebuild but a rolling programme after that will see us okay

KFRPS hopes local businesses and individuals will want to sponsor a seat and help fund the transformation, which mainly involves expensive refurbishment of the carriage and the replacement of external timbers.

The aim is to provide a 30-seater coach to raise passenger-carrying capacity during open days and special occasions at the Kirkland sidings base, near Burnmill.

At present, members can only accommodate around a dozen people on board its working diesel engine, ‘River Eden’, while the adapted coach would double capacity and increase comfort, safety and accessibility.

Vice-chairman Jim Rankin said once the KFRPS shed had been safely cleared to accommodate the carriage, work would begin.

“We are slowly getting sponsors in and there were a few interested people taking away leaflets at the Vintage Vehicle Rally to consider applying too,” he said. “We need some cash in the bank to fund the initial phases of the rebuild but a rolling programme after that will see us okay.”

Around 2000 people attended the rally but only around 500 could enjoy a run on the train, which was running at full capacity all day, said Mr Rankin.

“The Norwegian coach will double capacity and increase comfort too. It is such a good investment.

“Not all the 2000 visitors would probably want to have a run in the train but being able to accommodate 50 per cent is much better than 25 per cent.”