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Disused train carriage in Canterbury to become holiday let

By Jodie Nesling

A disused train carriage that once graced the railway tracks of Canterbury is to be transformed into a quirky holiday let.

Built in 1961, the compartment was re-purposed as a chicken shed and was also used as shelter for hop pickers in the region.

But when a new housing development on the farmland was built, the carriage was left there and became part of the garden of Michael and Teresa Robinson’s home, in Hollow Lane, when they moved in 11 years ago.

The disused railway carriage is in a garden
The disused railway carriage is in a garden

Mr Robinson, 61, explained: “It was here when we got here. We used it for storage at first.”

After fixing the leaking roof, Mr Robinson decided to make use of the unusual fixture. He said: “In the end I thought we had to either use it or lose it.”

Taking inspiration from people staying in repurposed shepherd’s huts, they got to work, drafting in architects and builders.

The carriage weighs about five tonnes and measures eight by two metres and, once complete, will see it become a holiday let featuring all mod cons, including a wood burning stove.

Adds Mr Robinson: “It’s a 20-minute walk to the cathedral and is very well connected to get to London. We have bike racks installed and we think cyclists and walkers will enjoy the surrounding countryside.

Builder Barry Smith of Bekbuild and Owner Michael Robinson near the carriage
Builder Barry Smith of Bekbuild and Owner Michael Robinson near the carriage

Work on the project has already commenced and is likely to be completed by April.

Martin Godden, site manager, says it's one of the more unusual builds he and his team have taken on.

He said: “It’s going to look stunning when it’s done; we are going to keep the doors as we want to keep the look.

“It will be a bedroom and then we will build a substantial building on the side for a kitchen, living room and bathroom.”

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