KEEPING the wheels turning is a real challenge and the focus of activity might be thought of as being Haworth Shed, the home of our locomotive workshop.

But it is at Oxenhope where our Carriage and Wagon volunteers spend their time making sure that we have a fleet of carriages ready for service.

We regularly run trains consisting of five carriages, often more, and when we are running a two-train operation, that's a lot of carriages to prepare for each day's service.

In addition to the core fleet of 1950s and 1960s British Railway carriages, we have two sumptuous Pullman dining carriages, a carriage converted to a full kitchen vehicle, two carriages that convey a real ale bar, and the wagons that we use for freight duties on the railway.

There are also a number of vintage carriages, some of which are under the care of the Vintage Carriages Trust, based at Ingrow station, and some from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Trust at Oxenhope, which all need particular attention because most of these vehicles are over 100 years old.

The skill and craftsmanship involved in carriage restoration and maintenance require very special joinery skills, particularly for the older wooden-bodied vehicles, but even our more everyday fleet has wood panelling throughout the interior.

These more modern vehicles, which are themselves now around 60 years old, require specialist metal bodywork expertise, because they are prone to rust.

In addition to the bodywork, we have a team of volunteers who focus on the fabric for the seating as well as qualified experts who maintain the running gear (the brakes and the wheel sets, etc).

We have invested heavily in facilities for our carriage fleet over the years, including building a 'running shed' at Oxenhope, and have made significant improvements to the workshop facilities and the exhibition shed, where we house a number of special carriages and out-of-service locomotives.

Most recently we have been installing a mezzanine floor in the workshops, which will give us much-needed storage space for the spare 'bogies' (the name of the wheel sets under each end of the carriages) as well as improving the working environment for the volunteers.

We have also installed a walkway that allows a safe means to access a carriage's roof, to allow painting and other maintenance duties.

All of this work goes on within Oxenhope shed, and visitors rarely get to see behind the scenes of this fascinating hive of very specialised and highly skilled activity.

Visitors can often see the workshops at the Vintage Carriage Trust, at Ingrow, which gives them an insight into the work involved in maintaining an increasingly elderly carriage fleet.

I do hope this will help you to appreciate the amount of expertise and effort that goes into maintaining our carriage fleet, which is such an important part of our efforts to offer you a journey back in time.

If you do have skills that you could offer to help maintain and restore carriages, please do get in contact, either to me directly or by e-mailing

We are running every weekend and daily during the school holidays. Timetables can be found by visiting