IT’S a first-class idea that provides an express alternative to other accommodation.

The Old Station, in Allerston, near Pickering, North Yorkshire, is a former railway station and carriages which have been converted into a home and guest house.

It is comprised of three self-catering railway carriages that do not look out of place in an area which is so enthusiastic about trains.

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But the fact they have been converted internally into luxurious lodgings sets them apart from the usual forms of carriage.

The business is owned by Carol and Mark Benson.

“We were looking to set up a lodgings business in the area and I liked the station immediately,” said Mrs Benson, 54, a motherof- two. “I found this place and said to my husband ‘I want to buy it. It’s very sad and rundown’.

“The problem, as my husband pointed out was, ‘Where are we going to put the people?’, and then it came to me – in the carriages, of course.! The rest is history.”

The station now welcomes people of all ages, with children arriving in the school holidays and retired folk throughout the year.

The 45-year-old carriages are first class, historicallyspeaking, offering a lounge, kitchen, two or three bedrooms and a bathroom, with central heating and mod-cons such as TVs and DVD players. They also retain many features from their functional days as train carriages.

Mrs Benson and husband, 55, who still has a day job as a surveyor for Network Rail, made the railway station their home.

“It’s just as it was when it was a working station,” she said. “We step out the door onto the platform and the carriages are situated as if they are pulling into the station – but they don’t move.”