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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Cash needed to save Churchill van
The Southern Railway parcels and luggage van
The van forms part of an attraction at a Californian golf court and resort
A campaign to save the railway van used to carry Sir Winston Churchill to his final resting place has been launched.

The parcels and luggage van has formed part of a mock English railway station on a golf course in Los Angeles since shortly after his funeral in 1965.

But it has now been declared surplus to requirements by its owners who have donated it to the "British people".

The Swanage Railway Trust needs 40,000 to transport it to its new Dorset home and save it from the scrap yard.

The historic Southern Railway van number S2464S was repainted in Pullman colours and decorated to form part of the wartime leader and prime minister's funeral train on 30 January, 1965.

Broken up

Later the same year, it was exported to California, USA, to be used as an attraction on a golf course at a resort hotel.

David Perez, Mayor of Los Angeles City of Industry, which owns the van, has now offered it "as a gift to the British people".

If the Churchill Project appeal succeeds, the van will be brought to Swanage Railway in Dorset and restored, but if it fails it will be broken up.

Steve Doughty, deputy chairman of the Swanage Railway Trust, said: "We are endeavouring to avoid any possibility of the historic van being broken up and are now seeking support for its return to the UK because of its historical importance."

The special funeral train was hauled by a locomotive that bore his name and that is now at the National Railway Museum in York.


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