The Pros and Cons of a Converted Railway Carriage

Living in a converted railway carriage has its fair share of both positive and negative aspects. It’s for you to decide whether it’s worth the investment.

converted railway carriage

Following on from our article on what a converted railway carriage can be used for, it would be appropriate to fairly discuss what the advantages and disadvantages are of living in one are. With a converted railway carriage being such a departure from a normal type of home environment, it can be expected that there are going to be some major downfalls as well as eco-friendly selling points. Here’s what they are:

Pro 1: Older converted railway carriages can be very cheap

With the rough price of an older converted railway carriage being between £5000 – £30,000, it’s hard to argue that it isn’t good value considering the surprisingly large size of them.

Pro 2: Converted railway carriages are a very green form of construction

If your focus is on making your new home as green as possible, you’re in luck. At least with a converted railway carriage you will already not have used any new materials to construct your new home apart from a few little things such as steps, lighting and insulation.

Pro 3: Converted railway carriages will provide an original home that will be a talking point amongst friends, family and the community

You may get quite a few visitors to your new home who you don’t even know. There will probably be quite a bit of interest from local people and rail enthusiasts who are interested in the work you’ve done to it. You would definitely be in possession of a home which is different from everyone else’s, and being different is always going to get you noticed. Being known as someone who is promoting the salvage of things like old railway carriages instead of letting them be destroyed is not a bad thing at all.

Con 1: Older converted railway carriages aren’t as well insulated as newer ones, which are guaranteed to be more expensive

Old converted railway carriages might be cheaper to buy, but they’ll be more expensive to fit sufficient insulation and more efficient heating in. With their thinner, overly conductive wall material, you’ll have a hard job feeling warm in the winter and less hot in the summer. Newer trains will naturally have better insulation, but you’ll be looking at a very huge price tag to buy one in the first place.

Con 2: Converted railway carriages can also be very un-green

You may not be using many building materials, but you’ll have to figure out a way of transporting the carriage to where you want it to be. This will likely require some kind of very large, heavy road vehicle, which needless to say will not be good at all for carbon emissions. Railway carriages are extremely heavy and cumbersome and are only easily transportable on rail lines. For some advice on appropriate road transport and who to contact for such a haulage, take a look at this short aid. Also, as mentioned above, older carriages aren’t going to be easy to insulate.

Con 3: Older converted railway carriages will need regular maintenance

Whatever money you save and notability you gain could be short-lived if you don’t regularly maintain your railway carriage house. Old carriages in particular will need lots of internal and external maintenance to the paintwork and structure to keep it from succumbing to general wear and tear, weather damage, and the inevitable alterations to fit in modern appliances, pipework and wiring.

Image: Martin Deutsch

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