Above: The railway carriage on the low-loader in Deptford High Street, February 2008. Notice that it only just cleared the railway bridge.
Above: The railway carriage on the short length of railway track, 29 March 2008, ready for conversion into a cafe.
In February 2008 a railway carriage was installed on a short length of railway track beside Deptford High Street. It was sited on land that is being redeveloped to create a new public square near Deptford Station, along with a large housing development, designed by Richard Rogers.
The public space, with a weekend creative industries market, shops and galleries, is intended for a new heart to Deptford High Street. As well as rebuilding Deptford Station, the old inclined plane, built to move railway engines onto the new tracks which opened in 1836, will also be restored to its former glory.
The 35 tonne 1960s South East railway carriage made its way from Essex by road, on a low-loader, on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2008. It travelled at a painstaking two miles per hour down the A11. The carriage was transported to Deptford at midnight, clearing the nearby railway bridge with inches to spare.
Above: The railway carriage in July 2008 enjoying good use as a cafe by patrons sitting inside and also outside on the specially constructed decking.
The carriage was converted into a cafe / bistro and proved to be very popular. Over the weekend it drew crowds of people who enjoyed the unusual surroundings – as well as the good breakfasts !
Above: Wording on the hoarding, 11 October 2014, expressing the hopes of the locals that the railway carriage will return to its old spot.
Sadly, in 2014 the railway carriage had to be removed to facilitate the building work that was under way to complete the new square and renovate the inclined plane. As can be seen from the sign on the hoarding, the locals are very much hoping that the carriage will be returned when all the work is completed.