SEmG

Sir Winston Churchill's Funeral Train

From 30 January to 3 May 2015 the Southern utility van S2464 goes on view at the National Railway Museum together with Battle of Britain locomotive 34051 (Originally 21C151) "Winston Churchill" as part of the Churchill Final Journey display commemorating the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill 50 years previously
 
The coffin being transferred to the funeral train 30 January 1965 S2464_01
 

The van was originally built in Ashford in 1931 and in true Southern tradition was built using a second-hand underframe which had been retrieved from a LSWR suburban coach of October 1905 which had been withdrawn in 1927/8. As Churchill's health deteriorated plans were made for his funeral and in 1962 the van was repainted in umber and cream to match the Pullman cars that would be used to carry the mourners. It was stored from then until January 1965.

After his state funeral on 30 January 1965, S2464 was used to take the great war-time leader's coffin from Waterloo to Handborough in Oxfordshire from whence it went to its final resting place at Bladon, near Blenheim Palace.

Later that year, after its official duties were completed, the van was saved from probable scrapping by Darius Johnson of City of Industry, Los Angeles and it was exported to a recreation resort in San Francisco, California where it formed part of a display together with a mock English railway station. This clearly had the effect of saving it for posterity as with British Railways it would probably have had an uncertain future.

By 2007 it seems that the display was no longer viable and the "Churchill Project" appeal to repatriate and restore the van was organised by Steve Doughty from Swanage Railway Trust, which runs the Swanage Railway. In that year the van was thus shipped from Los Angeles to Southampton.

 
S2464_02 Winston Churchill's funeral coach beautifully restored by CTMS at the East Somerset Railway, is posed outside the engine shed

Credit: R.Bellchambers, 14 October 2009

 
Restoration work was undertaken by the East Somerset Railway where it was put on display at the end of October 2009 before being returned to the Swanage Railway for display.
 
Having been returned to the Swanage Railway

Churchill Funeral Centre

S2464_09
 
S2464_03 Arrival at the NRM's "Locomotion" Exhibition at Shildon

The Northern Echo

 
Leading up to the "Churchill Final Journey" display at the NMR's Locomotion Exhibition at Shildon substantial further restoration to the wooden panelling was required.

The Northern Echo

S2464_04
 
S2464_05 In November 2014 Terry Bye visited Shildon and provided SeMG with these images of S2464S with restoration under way for the "Churchill Final Journey" display

photograph by Terry Bye

 
The Southern Railway's builders plate

photograph by Terry Bye

S2464_06
 
S2464_07 Proof of Pedegree - an axle box cover

photograph by Terry Bye

 
S2464S

End Detail
S2464_08

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This page was last updated 6 January 2015

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