27 December 2017

KIDDERMINSTER – Two historic carriages, including one that was part of the Flying Scotsman, have been vandalised, forcing volunteers to reduce services during the festive period.

The wood on the Flying Scotsman carriage was ruined by spray paint, while the other, an art deco-style carriage dating from 1938, was covered with a large white paint patch and the word “BANKSY”. The graffiti was found by workers at the Severn Valley Railway in Kidderminster yesterday.

John Davies, the assistant station manager, described the situation as “soul destroying”, adding that repairs would be “very costly”.

A spokesman for Severn Valley Railway said: “It is truly heart-wrenching to see painstakingly restored carriages ruined by mindless acts of vandalism. The hundreds upon thousands of hours involved in restoring our carriages is a testament to our volunteers, and we can’t begin to put into words how this makes us feel, especially at Christmas.”

The railway is run mainly by volunteers and enthusiasts who welcome tens of thousands of visitors on the 16-mile-long scenic route from Kidderminster in Worcestershire to Bridgnorth in Shropshire. “We will bounce back and ensure our beautiful carriages are back up and running in 2018,” the spokesman said. “I wouldn’t like to guesstimate the repair bill.”

The carriages will be sent to the railway’s warehouses to be restored by volunteers and specialists.