A RAILWAY carriage arrived at its final destination yesterday as the centrepiece of Swindon’s newest youth centre.

The Platform Youth Centre on Faringdon Road took delivery of a Mark II First Great Western first class buffet carriage, which will sit in the centre’s main hall.

Local residents and passersby stopped to watch the delicate operation as the 30-seat carriage was manoeuvred into place by a 150-tonne crane.

Despite the cramped conditions Swindon Commercial Services managed to get the £10,500 carriage into place within three hours.

Coun Garry Perkins, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for children services, said: “It went in perfectly and everyone who was watching it looked thoroughly impressed.

“Now they will concentrate on bricking up and finishing off the inside. We are still very much on target for opening at the end of the month.”

Coun Perkins said the carriage would have pride of place in The Platform, which is housed in he former railway museum, and act as a reminder to young people of Swindon’s heritage.

He said: “It is important and the young people recognise that too. It was their decision to call it The Platform because of that connection with the railway and this will be another reminder.

“It will also be a space they can call their own. They can use it to relax, play computer games, eat or whatever they want. It will be up to them to decide what to do with it.”

Borough architect Nic Newland was the man in charge of the operation and admitted he gave a sigh of relief when the carriage was finally swung into place at around 12.30pm.

He said: “It was difficult because you have a very heavy carriage being manoeuvred in quite a tight space. But we anticipated starting at 9.30am and that’s what we did and aside from a few slight scares it went very smoothly.

“It was a big job but everyone worked hard and now it is in position ready to be a part of the centre.”

The £1m youth centre will eventually feature youth activities such as pool, table tennis, computer games, discos and the creative arts.