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Report - Coventry Railway Centre - March/April 2009

Adders

living in a cold world
Regular User
#1
Taken over two seperate visits, altogether went with ILWS, God and Annette. It's a cool place, although small and a bit trashed in parts. Nice little wander around, and thanks to God and his mighty car key saw some nice preserved trains.

Some infoz;

The site is managed by the Coventry Railway Centre Limited, and is home to a sizeable collection of preserved electrical multiple units, which is the most diverse and historically significant collection of EMUs in the UK, containing unique items that are the last survivors of once typical and numerous classes. There are also some other railway vehicles on site which are owned by third parties. The land is leased from Coventry City Council, though interestingly it is located just outside the city boundary and is in Warwickshire.

The site was originally established, as the Coventry Steam Railway Centre, in 1986 by a group who set out to preserve Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 tank loco number 1857. The group established the site and located the loco and other collected items of motive power, rolling stock and infrastructure including Little Bowden Junction Midland Railway Signal Box there. The land was previously used as part of the municipal water treatment works and there was never any railway infrastructure there until the creation of the Centre.

Never blessed with a large membership progress was slow and by the mid 1990's had slowed to near stop. The late nineties saw one of the original founders retire due to ill health and he sold his interest in the site to a consortium of Suburban Electric Railway Association (SERA) members, except the tank engine which was sold to another railway. By 2004 the other founders had called it a day and SERA took over sole running of the site's future.

The centre is not currently open to the public, although group and individual visits can be admitted by prior arrangement. The site purely serves as a storage and restoration base for the eventual Electric Railway Museum project and is not to be mistaken for an operational heritage railway, which it has never been. The SERA, as operators of the site, have considered developing it into a museum but are unable to commit to a long term undertaking until a lengthy lease on the site can be secured.

The track layout comprises two three road fans of sidings. Those at the end of the site adjacent to the Midlands Air Museum are complete with a headshunt that runs through a 40 metre cutting that was excavated by the members of the original steam centre in the early nineties. The sidings nearest Rowley Road are unconnected at the time of writing. The sidings are protected by an inner fence to create a secure compound to deter unwelcome visitors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_Railway_Centre
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