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Cover of a Great Western
Railway brochure advertising
'Camp-Coach' holidays.

 

 

 

History

 

 

Camping Coaches

Below are two examples from the heyday of Camping, or Camp Coaches. These are cards from the 'Senior Service' 'British Railways' collection from 1938, and 'Ogden's' cigarettes 1936 collection of 'Modern Railways'. The interior image shows how basic these original carriages could be. The CCCC at Blue Anchor shows how much more comfortable today's camping coaches can be!

 

 

The CCCC at Blue Anchor is a GWR Toplight Corridor Third Carriage built in 1914 - so it will be 104 years old in 2018! At present most of the toplights are still blocked up but we are very much hoping to rectify this in a later phase of the restoration.

←―    BEFORE the latest restoration, showing the blocked 'toplights'.

The Great Western Railway (GWR) started camping coach holidays in 1935 after the LMS (London Midland and Scottish Railway) got in first with the idea just 2 years earlier.

Blue Anchor was in the first group of four GWR locations. Camping coaches have been located at Blue Anchor almost continually ever since.

GWR Camping-Coach brochure ―→

 

After external restoration, the CCCC is looking
more like how it should!
 

Historic and technical details of the carriage can be found HERE

The 'Toplight' has been at Blue Anchor since the 1980s. It was converted from a regular railway carriage to a camping coach, after some 45 years of running in service, It went to the Brunel Camping Coach Park at Dawlish Warren in 1957 and stayed there for over 20 years until being moved to its present location.

It has now spent more than half its life as a camping coach!

British Rail Camping Coaches across the rail network were finally withdrawn by BR in 1971.
 

The branch line from Taunton to Minehead, including Blue Anchor station, was closed by British Rail in 1971, at the tail end of the Beeching closures. It was rescued by volunteers and reopened in Easter 1976 as the West Somerset Railway, with trains running between Minehead and Blue Anchor.

A comprehensive history of the line, complete with other information about the railway and the surrounding area, can be found on the ...

West Somerset Railway Site

The company is supported and largely staffed by the West Somerset Railway Association. The WSRA also has a website...

West Somerset Railway Association

 

 

The coach has been 'immortalised' in a jigsaw puzzle depicting Blue Anchor station. It can be seen in one of a pair of puzzles called "Working Together" by Barry Freeman manufactured by Gibsons. A copy of this jigsaw is kept at the carriage for its visitors to try.