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.

“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.