1894 London and North Western Picnic Saloon

picnic saloon elevation and plan
London & North Western Picnic Saloon


The coach body was used as a family home for 60 years until the owner Hannah Bacon passed away.  Her family Alan Bacon, who was brought up in the coach, and Marjory his wife donated the coach to RDRPS with a sum of money towards the restoration in 2004.

Sadly, as evidenced in the attached pictures, the coach has suffered from years of exposure and the interior bears no resemblance to the original depicted in drawing no:2191; all the interior panelling and furniture is either missing or damaged beyond repair.


The coach body has now been moved to its new location.  A foundation of sleepers and a series of 8” x 4” RSJs now forms a solid and level structure for the reconstruction to start and to ensure that the body remains square.

Currently we’re removing what remains of the interior including a modern partition, plumbing, electrics and a kitchen sink and cataloguing what we find.  In doing so we have found the original body number stamped on the old WC door being 189.  These numbers were changed when in the early 1900’s smaller companies such as LNWR were amalgamated to become London, Midland and Scottish, the LMS number being 589.

Creating cover to protect what remains and to allow the continuing work is critical, and in this the current yard proprietor has been most supportive in the positioning of the coach adjacent to a stack of large containers.  He’s also leased us an elderly lorry body for storage and a workshop.

As we dismantle the coach, every part will be numbered and either reconditioned or replaced.

picnic saloon elevation and plan


A project team from the Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society has embarked on the restoration of a London and North Western Railway D 85, 30 ' 1” Picnic Saloon from the Victorian era.


Built at Wolverton works in 1894, this is the second of two such remaining picnic saloons to be left out of several hundred.  It was built to drawing No: 2191 with copies below showing the upholstery shaded to give an impression of the full Victorian luxury.  An example of what the coach will look like when finished can be seen at the right.

This project is being supported by the Marr Partnership

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

The Picnic Saloon sitting on a four wheel chassis, before its move from the lay-by to the new location

Updated 13/10/16


For the moment the main participants are from Monymusk, another stop on the old Kintore to Alford line. We have Bill Youngson, Doug Harper and Fergus McGhie who jointly have 211 years of experience in vascular surgery, subsea and offshore project management and painting and decorating.  That should just about suffice! We will also welcome other help from volunteers with practical skills in joinery and carpentry.


RDRPS would like to recognise the encouragement and invaluable advice being given by Tony Lyster from the Picnic Saloon Trust based at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton.  Tony and colleagues are well advanced with the restoration of the other remaining LNWR Picnic Saloon which interestingly spent several years as a Croquet Pavilion!  In recent years they have donated several items to our coach including a whole section to replace the gap in the side.  Thank you Tony.

The Trust also has a new website, see the details at : http://www.picnicsaloontrust.co.uk/


Whilst the RDRPS has started with self-funding, we are delighted to announce that we’ve been awarded a significant sum towards the restoration by The Marr Area Partnership Initiative.

The coach will take many hundreds of hours to complete all of which with the exception of specialist services will be provided FOC by the volunteers.  The interior being mahogany, birch panelling, carpeting and luxurious buttoned upholstery will require significant expenditure in the later part of the restoration.  We shall be pursuing other fund raising methods in time.


Some of the exterior fittings such as brass handles and roof ventilators are missing so if anyone is aware of where these can be sourced then please let us know.

Contact Fergus McGhie for further information, volunteering and finding of bits :



The attached video shows excerpts of the period when from 1944 and for 60 years the LNWR Picnic Saloon served as a home for Bill and Hannah Bacon.  

After the second world war when houses were in short supply, the redundant Picnic saloon was converted to provide a home for Hannah where she her raised son Alan.

He and wife Marjory donated the saloon to RDRPS in 2004 on Hannah's death, along along with a sum of money contributing to the transport and restoration.


PROGRESS REPORT - 12th July 2018


The various clips show the Picnic Saloon as the core of a comfortable home, the couple on their wedding day and subsequent removal and journey north to Aberdeenshire where the saloon was stored for 12 years before restoration commenced in October 2016.

RDRPS intend that when the restoration is complete, the picnic saloon will be named 'Hannah' and will be used for weddings, celebrations and corporate events.



Well, although our small team has been drawn away from the project to build our new platform closer to the town of Banchory, we have been able to get back to the picnic saloon in the last few weeks  We are now well settled in the large shed and taking advantage of the dry and indeed electricity "on tap".  We are very much obliged to Bert McIntosh of McIntosh Plant Hire supporting us with this ideal working environment. 

Our core team of Bill, Alex, Mike, Doug and myself are applying existing and, learning new skills as we proceed. All 4 rotted corners have been reconstructed and rotted and missing sections of the flooring too. We are now close to having completed the re-skinning the exterior with very high quality (expensive) marine plywood. We have sourced mahogany to start the remaking of the damaged and missing window frames; interestingly and shockingly expensive it costs some £4,400 per cube! Thank goodness we don't need too much!

The exterior of the roof has been stripped and sanded back in preparation for application of a layer of 3mm marine plywood to provide a smooth and stable surface for the new roofing material. In saying this the 124 year old pitch pine planking is in wonderful condition.

As Bill and Alex work on the exterior, Doug has been making templates for the complex exterior beading supported by Mike who has drawn a complete scale drawing on the coach side replicating the beading and then tracing them to ensure that we have a full set for the beading templates.   

Much of what we have achieved is captured on the attached pictures; you may note some of the exotic head gear being being used given the sanding of lead based paints and the like!

We continue to be cash strapped and suffered a real disappointment this month learning that we had failed in our application to the Institute for Agricultural Archaeology.  This would have given us the funds to complete the interior and the chassis which needs extensive work; some £20,000.

Looking ahead we hope to have the exterior sanded then coated with the WEST epoxy method within the next few weeks and to have the roof prepped for the application of Sarnafil which is being kindly supplied and applied by Buchan's the roofing specialists from Alford. For those not familiar the WEST system (Wood Epoxy Saturation Technique) was developed for marine application on yachts built from plywood and is intended to ensure that the Picnic Saloon will last for another 100+ years in our harsh Aberdeenshire environment.

Hover mouse to pause slideshow