Sir Winston Churchill's Funeral Train

From 30 January to 3 May 2015 the Southern utility van S2464 was 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 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built using a second-hand underframe which had been retrieved from a LSWR suburban coach of October 1905 which had been withdrawn in 1927/8.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 negotiations for the release of the van were undertaken by Ivan Godfrey O B E. The mayor of the City of Industry, Mr David Perez, arranged a "Gift to the British People" and the Swanage Railway Trust became the custodians. In that year the van was thus shipped from Los Angeles to Southampton.

Subsequently the NRM Shildon has done a fantastically comprehensive high quality restoration funded by the Friends of the NRM.

As of 2020 S2464S is in a safe covered place at the ONE:ONE museum project at Margate.

S2464_02 Winston Churchill's funeral coach beautifully restored by CTMS at the East Somerset Railway, is posed outside the engine shed on 14 October 2009.

Photograph: R.Bellchambers

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.

Photograph: Churchill Funeral Centre

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

Photograph: 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_05 In November 2014 Terry Bye visited Shildon and provided SREmG 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_07 Proof of Pedigree - an axle box cover.

photograph by Terry Bye

S2464S End Detail

photograph by Terry Bye

S2464_10 Finally set up with the "Churchill Final Journey" "Sight and Sound" facility at the NRM in Shildon

photograph by Geoff Allen

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Sir Winton Churchill's funeral train 1

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Bogie Utility Vans

This page was last updated 10 April 2020

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