The Caledonian Railway is an entirely volunteer run heritage railway based in Brechin, Angus, and like all heritage railway, every penny made through operating trains goes back into the upkeep of the railway.
However, on Wednesday 6th April, 2016, between 10pm and 11pm, the beloved and highly popular LMS brakevan was subject to an arson attack, which after an hour long battle with the flames, the fire was finally extinguished. A big thank you must be given to the local Police and Fire Services for their assistance on the night. This has, unfortunately, left the body of the vehicle being completely destroyed, and while it is terrible that this has happened, the situation could have been a whole lot worse.
As can be seen from the images in this article, the fire has ripped through the wooden-bodied vehicle, and it is essentially a shell, with all of the internal fixtures being destroyed.
With the resounding response and all of the kind words of support given to us from the community, a Crowdfunding campaign has been set up in response due to the many kind offers of donations and support from the members of the public. It is estimated that the total cost of rebuilding this historic brakevan will be between £20,000 and £25,000. However, there is an initial fundraising goal of £5,000 which will contribute towards the costs of the restoration work.
Sadly, this historic van was restored over the winter of 2014, where five of the hard working and dedicated volunteers spent four months painstakingly restoring this brakevan to working condition. The van was saved over 30 years ago from scrap, and has been used on engineering trains and in service most weekends. The improvements to the van helped the volunteers in the winter months rebuilding the line, giving them a warm place for shelter.
As can be seen in the image above, the volunteers went to collect the brakevan themselves once they purchased it from British Railway.
It is a shame that after all our hard work now gone, the van was practically destroyed, with the society saying that there has been a significant drop in volunteer morale.
You can read the BBC News article about this, along with an interview with the volunteers about the incident and how important the brakevan is to the society.
I have linked the page at the top of this article, and hope you can help the society reach their goal. The campaign ends on Saturday 7th May, so please do what you can.
Thanks for Reading.