About the Society

The aims of the International Railway Preservation Society (IRPS) are wide-ranging but broadly fit into the following categories:Archive shot of CIWL car

  • The preservation of historic railway related artefacts that would otherwise be lost.
  • The preservation of historic information (predominately Wagons-Lits based) that would also otherwise be lost.
  • The preservation of skills that would otherwise be lost that we are able to pass onto future generations

On the physical restoration aspect we are based at the Nene Valley Railway (NVR), Peterborough, England. At the core of the Society will always be Wagons-Lits Restaurant Car no. 2975 and Sleeping Car no. 3916 which we are restoring. Both are owned by the NVR and the IRPS has been set up as a support and friends group as custodians of these vehicles. 3916 is our current focus of attention, whilst 2975 will only have preventative maintenance work until 3916 is complete and operational. However over the years we have also become custodians of a number of other railway artefacts and vehicles from both the Continent and the UK as well as a collection of local brickwork artefacts that are historically significant to the local Peterborough area. For details on all our projects please see the Restoration page.

To help preserve these vehicles we are working with the NVR and the railway’s Travelling Post Office Group to build a state of the art facility at Ferry Meadows Station. ‘The Night Mail Museum’ will have a museum building, running shed and restoration facilities on site for all our work. It will also house our extensive archives that will be available for inspection. Please see The Night Mail Page  for more information.

YTb Class 3916 under restoration at WansfordAs important as the physical restoration of these vehicles is the historical side to the Society. Members receive our biannual journal ‘Les Grands Expresses Européens’. This is full of articles on IRPS restoration projects, updates on other cars and their various states from around Europe and historical articles. There is significant input from members who are leading historic experts on Wagons-Lits and Continental rail travel and we welcome input from all members.

The Society has recently published our first book on the Night Ferry Service which is available through ­our online shop.

We have an ever expanding archive which has the Late George Behrand’s collection at its heart. As well as thousands of photographs there are important and unique documents and artefacts from the very start of CIWL right through to the present day. These are available for inspection with prior arrangement (See the contact page for details on how to get in touch). The Night Mail Museum will house the archive once it is built and items will be more easily accessible for the general public.