Scots train man revamps rust heap into £4,000-a-head luxury carriage


A SCOTS train enthusiast has converted a rusted and broken-down train carriage into a £4,000-a-head luxury rail cabin.

Engineer Nigel Woolford, 58, re-designed the “Swift” carriage from scratch after saving it from the scrapyard just over two years ago.

After a £750,000 revamp the old rust heap now includes an African hardwood interior, state-of-the-art LED lighting and Michelin star quality dining.


The train took two years to transform
The train took two years to transform


The completed cabin will be used as part of the Royal Scotsman rail service ferrying visitors on the same route used by the steam engine in the Harry Potter movies.

Father-of-five Nigel said: “It’s been an incredible project to be involved with and a proud achievement for us.

“Seeing Swift completed and working as part of one of the finest trains in the world is really something.

“The challenge of building new railway carriages for luxury trains does not come along every day.

“But this has been totally hand built from the shell up and we managed to do it all on time and on budget.”

The Royal Scotsman has been running since 1985 and was bought by the world-renowned Orient Express group in 2005.

Nigel’s business Assenta Ltd based in Edinburgh has the maintenance contract to look after the rolling stock of five-star carriages.

He said: “We look after everything from the wheels, brakes and draw gear to the interiors, water system, lights and heating – everything that is needed to keep a train running as well as everything you’d expect to find in a five star hotel.

“Essentially the Royal Scotsman is a luxury hotel on wheels. No-one who is passing through Rannoch Moor at 30mph while they take a piping hot shower stops to think about how the lights or water delivery works – it’s just expected.

“They just want to admire the scenery and know they are about to enjoy a superb breakfast.”


Around £750,000 went into converting the run-down carriage
Around £750,000 went into converting the run-down carriage

The train takes just 36 passengers across its nine carriages including an observation car, two dining carriages, a library and a wine store.

The new Swift dining carriage will form part of a series of carriages named after birds that already include Snipe, Finch and Raven.

Nigel added: “It is s only about 20m by 2.5m and you have to work with what you have got to produce something that not only matches the rest of the train but is fit for purpose.

“That means quality and luxury as well as functionality. I can do many of the engineering aspects of the work but what I can’t do personally I source other experts to work to my designs.

“I try wherever possible to use Scottish-based companies both for manufacturing and interior fittings.

“Many of the people who work in the rail industry, particularly in an engineering capacity are train enthusiasts. They live and breathe trains and most love steam.

“I love what I do, building and maintain luxury, and bespoke carriages.

“I love the whole Edwardian thing when it comes to rail. The carriages were decorative and decadent and the lifestyle of the people who owned and operated these trains was fantastic.”


Guests will have to fork out thousands for the luxury travel package
Guests will have to fork out thousands for the luxury travel package



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