EXPERTS are to restore the outside of Queen Victoria’s historic royal carriage for the first time in 50 years, thanks to a private donation.

Set to last 18 months, the project at York's National Railway Museum will involve a complete overhaul of the saloon carriage sides and roof.

Conservator Helen de Saram said: “Queen Victoria’s Saloon is loved by visitors from all over the world and is undoubtedly one of the museum’s most popular attractions.

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“However, despite being well cared for, the years are beginning to show."

Built in 1869, originally as two carriages linked by a corridor connection, one of the first of its type, the saloon was adapted into one carriage in 1895.

Lavishly decorated, it originally cost £1,800.