Stoke & Staffordshire

Prisoners to help restore WW1 wagon in Staffordshire

The wagon Image copyright The Knotty Coach Trust
Image caption The wagon will be rebuilt in the HMP Dovegate workshops

Prisoners are to help a steam railway restore a World War One railway wagon.

The Knotty Coach Trust, based at Foxfield Steam Railway and HMP Dovegate are set to work together on the £20,000 project.

The six-tonne wagon will be restored at the prison workshops, to develop prisoners' skills in things including woodwork, metalwork, painting and heritage restoration.

Trust chairman Mark Smith said it was a "total rebuild".

The wagon was used to transport ammunition and supplies from British factories to the trenches of the Western Front in France and Belgium, the trust said.

It was built in Derby Works by the Midland Railway and converted by the British War Department in 1917, the trust added, later being used at an army depot before ending up in a quarry in North Wales and was rescued from scrapping in 1987 by a member of the Foxfield Railway Society.

But it has deteriorated after being stored outside for 30 years, Mr Smith said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The railway wants to display the wagon to commemorate the work of women in munitions factories in World War One

Once complete and fully operational, it will go on display at the railway in Blythe Bridge.

Mr Smith added: "We want to commemorate women's role in the First World War, making munitions and supplies to send out and so we are going to have a display about what the wagon carried and the sort of things the women made to send over to the troops."

The work is funded by money from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation and donations in memory of a British soldier who died in 1918.

John Hewitson, Serco Contract Director at HMP Dovegate, said: "The range of opportunities for skills training are tremendous."

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites