The East Lancs Railway has long been a cherished gem in the heart of Lancashire, preserving the region’s rich railway heritage and providing an enchanting experience for visitors and history enthusiasts alike. This historic railway line, which runs through picturesque landscapes and quaint towns, recently received a significant boost from the Autosave Group. Their generous sponsorship of a coach refurbishment project is a testament to their commitment to preserving the railway’s legacy.

Autosave Group is renowned for its commitment to corporate social responsibility and community engagement. Our ethos of giving back to the communities we serve has made us a trusted name in the region. Our latest endeavour, sponsoring the refurbishment of a historic railway coach, demonstrates our dedication to preserving history and supporting local initiatives.

Before delving into Autosave Group’s sponsorship, it’s essential to understand the significance of the East Lancs Railway. Established in 1846, this railway has been a time capsule, transporting visitors back to the golden era of steam locomotives. It stretches for 12 miles, offering passengers a chance to relive the magic of train travel as they journey through the scenic landscapes of Lancashire.

Preserving a historic railway like the East Lancs Railway is no small task. The coaches and locomotives require constant maintenance and refurbishment to ensure their authenticity and safety. However, these restoration projects often come with significant costs, making it challenging for such heritage sites to maintain their operations.

The partnership between Autosave Group and the East Lancs Railway, and the sponsorship of a coach refurbishment project not only provides financial support but also showcases our commitment to the local community and its history. It supports a vital piece of Lancashire’s railway history, which is now preserved for future generations.

The East Lancs Railway is a significant tourist attraction, drawing visitors from far and wide. The sponsorship not only supports the railway itself but also contributes to the local economy by increasing visitor numbers to the region. We feel that this showcases what can be achieved when businesses and communities come together to protect their heritage.

Heres a little history about the coach…

M14019 was built by British Railways at Swindon as part of Lot 30668 and entered traffic in April 1961. The bulk of its working life was spent on the West Coast main line from London Euston and it would have featured regularly on Anglo-Scottish expresses, as well as services to Manchester and Liverpool. Later in its life, it also saw extensive use on Motorail services to and from Scotland. With the introduction of more modern rolling stock, it was transferred to less prestigious services and finished its career with British Railways running daily between Cardiff and Manchester or Holyhead. In all probability, the coach covered over 2,000,000 miles during its 27-year working life.

In April 1988, M14019 was purchased by a group of enthusiasts based on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire, who wished to use it as a support vehicle to accompany their steam locomotive City of Wells on excursions round the country.   After a quick repaint, it ran some 2,750 miles behind City of Wells that year, attaining a top speed of 93mph near Salisbury on 24 July.   Returning to the Worth Valley Railway, M14019 was then restored to a high standard, both internally and externally, and saw use on both ordinary services and prestigious diner trains on the preserved line.   With the withdrawal of City of Wells for major overhaul, the decision was taken to hire the coach to other locomotive groups who needed a support coach.   During the period 1989 – 2012, M14019 ran a further 60,000 miles in private ownership, mainly on the national network, reaching all corners of the country from Penzance to Aberdeen and being hauled at different times by no fewer than 18 steam locomotives.   Sadly, it was during one of these hire periods that the coach was almost destroyed by fire at Crewe in June 2003.  However, the insurers decided that it was worth saving and it was subsequently rebuilt by Rampart, Derby at a cost of £35,000.

With the decision of the owners of City of Wells to sell their locomotive to the East Lancashire Railway in 2017, it was felt by shareholders in M14019 that the best future for the coach would be to reunite it with the locomotive for which it had originally been purchased in 1988.   Sale of M14019 to the East Lancashire Railway was therefore concluded in June 2017 and we all wish it a long and
happy life at its new home.