Oh Mr Porter, what shall I do? Well, how about letting the train take the strain and book in for a unique ‘journey’ into a piece of Herefordshire’s past.
The last train left Eardisley station way back in the 1960s, but thanks to some expert restoration work, a Victorian railway carriage now standing at the Green Lane platform is ready and waiting for a step back in time.
Farmer Steve Layton, proprietor of the award-winning Orgasmic Cider Company based at the family farm, Great Parton, explains how the 131-year-old carriage – which went on to become home to a retired Eardisley porter – had languished for years in a cottage garden.
However, now its Great Western Railway livery has been re-applied, seats reupholstered, even the doors can be slammed shut with vintage leather straps.
Restored to former glory, the Green Lane Carriage can now be rented for holidays under the Air BnB scheme.
“It was finally decommissioned in 1920 and ended up in a nearby garden,” says Steve. Built in 1886, it had once carried passengers on the Cambrian Line until the company was taken over in 1898 by GWR, and finally sidelined at Eardisley.
“A chap who had been a porter at the station lived in it,” says Steve. This meant his retirement was spent amid the familiar sights, sounds and bustle of station life.
“The cottage was eventually sold to us and the carriage was still there in the garden.” So with the expertise of Eardisley builder Paul Davies, it was lovingly brought back to its Edwardian glory days.
“It has hot and cold water, heating with electricity and a little fire grate,” says Steve.
His family came to Great Parton in 1930, where trains ran past regularly between Hereford and Eardisley en route to Brecon.
“I can just remember the trains coming across the fields at Eardisley,” says Steve.
He praises Paul for his dedication to the restoration. “He is very keen on vintage craftwork,” he explains.
Thanks to his efforts, air bnb guests will now be able to look across to the Black Mountains in the way passengers would have done more than a century ago.