Thai restaurant in Tom Cruise train carriage gets the go ahead for Pitlochry family

A family’s plan to convert a old first-class railway carriage whose roof Tom Cruise runs along in the coming Mission Impossible 7 film into a Thai restaurant has been accepted by councillors after a four year-long battle.
Isara and Fergus McCallum and their daughter MiaIsara and Fergus McCallum and their daughter Mia
Isara and Fergus McCallum and their daughter Mia

The McCallums have faced several knock backs trying to get permission to build The Wee Choo Choo in a car park beside Pitlochry train station.

The innovative development involves using the carriage, which the family recently bought, as the restaurant and an ex-ministry of defence rail brake wagon, which they own, as a converted kitchen.

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The 1950s Norwegian-built carriage was repainted in French railway livery for the movie stunt, in which the steam train plunges off a cliff. The delayed film is due out in July.

Some of the objections to the family’s restaurant included concerns from locals over the development taking up parking space in the popular tourist town.

But, as of Monday, planning officials at Perth & Kinross Council confirmed in an email to the McCallums, seen by The Scotsman, that the lease to the site in the car park was theirs.

"We are absolutely over the moon,” said Fergus McCallum, 58, whose wife Isara and daughter Mia will be running the new restaurant.

"We have gone through a lot of hurdles over the last few years and this is an absolute dream come true for us.”

The restaurant plan was initially approved by Perth & Kinross councillors in April 2021.

However, it faced a wave of objections, including concerns over parking as the site would lead to a loss of up to 12 parking spaces, so councillors voted not to lease the spaces for business use.

A report by SYSTRA, commissioned by the council, was then carried out to see if there was adequate parking in the town, which it found there was, Mr McCallum said.

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This report was then challenged in November last year – another setback for the family – with objectors saying the findings were flawed.

But Mr McCallum, a train enthusiast and pharmaceuticals marketing executive, said the report was then repeated and it came to the same conclusion that parking was not an issue in the town.

The lease was then advertised again about a month ago, and the McCallums’ bid was accepted on Monday.

The carriage and wagon – which the family have had repainted in the original blue and white British Rail livery – are currently being stored in Derby until the site is prepared for them to be moved north.

"It feels good to be saving these amazing trains from going to the scrap and to have a new life breathed into them,” Mr McCallum said.

“We will be building tracks in the car park for them to sit on, just ten metres from the Highland mainline, so it will look spectacular.

"They will look in place with the local architecture.”

Mr McCallum added: “Our concept is unique, and it’s been in the making for years now.

"We want to give people high end and top quality Thai food in a 1930s style dining car.

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"It will add more vibrancy and colour to what is already in Pitlochry.

"We are really looking forward to getting this going.”

The McCallums said, all going well, The Wee Choo Choo will open in the autumn.



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