Some of you may have noticed that a number of larger vehicles (mainly coaches but a few loco’s and wagons too) have left the railway over the last few of years. In particular, the disposal of surplus coaching stock has gathered pace in the last 12 months. The clearout of unwanted vehicles started in the summer of 2005, during my first year as Traction & Rolling Stock Director. An assessment was made of the medium-long term needs of the railway in terms of coaching stock and the status of all private restoration projects was also reviewed at Board level. For disposal, the larger vehicles have been looked at first as they would deliver the greatest space saving. Since then, 24 coaches have left the railway and a further 5 have been sold and are now waiting to depart. 4 long-term resident diesel locomotives have departed and another is due to leave shortly. A handful of wagons have also gone. There will be a further push on disposal of surplus vehicles this year.
The carriage departures were mainly onward sales to other heritage railways although as many were privately owned, it was of course the decision of the owners as to what they did with their vehicles.
Many of the vehicles that have left were very dilapidated and were frankly an eyesore when viewed from the passenger trains. I hope that this season, the view from the window will be much improved. I know that the Carriage & Wagon department are pressing ahead with more refurbishments of coaches and wagons, many of which will be in use during the steam gala in May. C&W's efforts will further enhance what visitors will see when they visit the GWR.