The body of H&BR 3rd Class/Brake carriage No.1 is the Stock Fund’s latest acquisition, having been donated by the National Museum of Wales in 2012 and moved to its new home at the Elsecar Heritage Railway on Friday 1 February 2013.
No.1 is one of the 85 four-wheel carriages and luggage vans, supplied by three different builders for the start of passenger services in 1885. The carriage is from a batch of only three 3rd Class/Brakes and was constructed by the Ashbury Railway Carriage & Iron Co of Manchester.
In 1919 it was sold, together with five all 3rd Class carriages, for further use on the Neath & Brecon Railway. This Company together with all the other independent South Wales Railways were absorbed into the Great Western Railway with the railway grouping of 1 January 1923. Thus the mighty GWR acquired no less than thirteen ex H&BR four wheelers, the Cardiff and Rhymney railways also having acquired four and three examples respectively.
No.1 became GWR 4257 but was withdrawn in 1925 and its body sold off for use as a shed in the curiously named Monmouthshire village of The Narth.
Fast forward to 1986 and the carriage body is acquired by the National Museum of Wales as the last known surviving item of Neath & Brecon Railway rolling stock. It is initially moved to a Museum store in Penarth and in 1998 transferred to a new Collections Centre at Nantgarw, some eight miles northwest of Cardiff.
Following a review of its transport collection the National Museum of Wales decided that No.1, along with some other carriage bodies, was now surplus to requirements, which meant that after going through the de-accessioning process it was available for transfer to the Stock Fund.