Sunday 31 January 2016

Campaign to save the iconic Camping Carriages at Dawlish Warren

GRAND OLD LADIES: But the end is in sight for these converted railway carriages, now too costly to maintain as holiday accommodation. Picture Alan Craig.

Article in Dawlish Gazette Wednesday 2nd December by Ellen Grindley
accessed online  31st January

AN iconic railway camp site at Dawlish Warren is to close after rising repair and restoration costs made it financially unviable.
Brunel Railway Camping Park, Beach Road, will open for its last season next summer after more than 50 years.
The eight converted railway carriages – with many original features – are run as holiday accommodation by a non-profit making association but although the operation breaks even the coaches are in need of expensive upkeep.
Tracy Baker, general secretary of the Great Western Railway Staff Association, which runs the park, explained: ‘Although the coaches break even, their upkeep and restoration is very expensive and they are in need of some tender, loving care.
‘I still think that the site could be run as a going concern and it would have been lovely to see it continue, but no one has come forward.’

There's a Facebook group Save Dawlish Warren Railway Carriages!

It seems that the iconic carriages will be scrapped in October; at the end of this season.

To stop this happening, the site needs to be listed with Historic England.

Here's 2 emails sent:

I was just invited to join a Facebook group called Save Dawlish Warren Railway Carriages!
I see from an article in the Dawlish Gazette - 2nd December - that you would prefer the wonderful site to remain, but of course the costs of maintaining the ageing coaches is prohibitive. - I think I'm emailing the GWR staff association???
I wonder if you would consider getting your site listed with Historic Buildings? If this was successful, you would then qualify for loadsamoney under the Heritage Lottery Grants and the Department of the Environments and all sorts. Also, there might be a keen team of conservationists who might be willing to help with the work.
Monica Lang
Starcross History
Details of recipient etc:
from: Monica Lang
date: 30 January 2016 at 21:54
subject: Saving your wonderful holiday railway-carriages park

 Dear Ruth Garner
The iconic Dawlish Warren Camping Coaches are to be demolished at the end of the 2016 season in October.
Sophie Pearce did a piece on Spotlight Southwest on January 29th. You can contact Sophie on
Here's the website for the Brunel Camping Coach Park Railway Holiday Accomodation
There's a Facebook group Save Dawlish Warren Railway Carriages!

I'm hoping that the site can be listed as of historic importance - which will be a passport to some funding to renovate and preserve this important site
Please can you tell me how to get the site listed? I couldn't locate it in your Southwest Register 2015 Heritage at Risk…/sw-har-register20…/
Yours sincerely
Monica Lang
Starcross History
from: Monica Lang
date: 31 January 2016 at 13:13
subject: Dawlish Warren Camping Coaches


  1. A genuine informed source tells me that the sea air has taken it's toll on the coaches and that they really are not worth saving. All the 'decent bits' went years ago too. Sorry and all that...

    1. Thankyou for the information. The old coaches may not be preservable,but the Dawlish Warren Camping Coaches park is something of a local icon. It's been going for 50 years. The coaches could be replaced with different rolling stock. see Railholiday Cornwall, and their ongoing restoration projects with different types of rolling stock.
      It's possible that this site could be designated as of historic importance. Historic England Southwest are to look at the case. Perhaps the site could be designated as a conservation area? That would ensure the continuation of Railway Camping Carriages at this iconic site.
      The site is owned by the Great Western Railway Staff Association. It is their stated intention to close the site after August 2016.They would like to clear the site and sell the land, but are looking for commercial offers to buy the coaches and the land.

  2. Historic England do not consider this site to qualify for listing. They have suggested we contact our local council. Teignbridge will reply by March 25th. Representativers from Teignbridge, and from the Great Western Railway Staff Association, have been invited to attend tonight's meet, which will discuss the site

  3. This piece of our heritage is gone. The site is closed. The camping carriages need TLC. Could there be a future with replica railway carriages? Is there a holiday park in the area which might consider adding this dimension?


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