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The "Barnum" Open 3rds

This topic has been re-written with two main sections:

- The carriages
- In service

and the latter divided into 7 parts, through GCR, LNER and BR days with new material added, explaining the different practices, many not previously recognised. I'm preparing a proper account using paper, ink and stuff for they were a key step in GCR and LNER operating practices and design of new stock and ways of working in the 1920s and '30s; meanwhile I hope this overview will help.

NB: the nickname "Barnum" only applied to the 60' 3rd Open stock designed in 1910 for excursion traffic - and not (as has recently been published in BR Pre-Nationalisation Coaching Stock by Hugh Longworth and is confusing people), for all subsequent 56' and 60' matchboard carriages which had a different body shape, were built gangwayed and non-gangwayed, for express and suburban traffic, including catering vehicles, which I am covering separately.

NB: It has been written in Main Line that:

"Between 1910-16 eight additional Third Opens were built to three designs based on the original Barnum design [but with] rounded exterior contours [and] greater leg room".

What actually happened is that unrelated and completely new designs were produced in 1911 and 1916, nearly all shorter (56') as Dining Cars with 48 seats arranged 2:1 for use with Restaurant Cars. There were six side doors, no end vestibules, and normal toilets. I've reproduced a Diagram and picture under Catering in the matchboard era in "GCR London Express Passenger Workings" (see link below).

The carriages

When it came to 3rd Class Open carriages there was a division between two types with seating arranged:

   2:1 for use as dining cars alongside restaurant and kitchen cars
   2:2 where the main use was for excursions.

In principle either could be used for either application (if not as satisfactorily, of course) and when the telegraphic codes were created, the LNER used "TO" for both types. In the carriage rosters the right choice could be covered by stating the number of seats, the 2:2 version having one third more. For a 60ft carriage it was TO(48) and TO(64), respectively. In BR days a difference in codes was finally established by adding a prefix "T" which the LNER had previously used to indicate the green & cream Tourist stock with 2:2 seating.

Robinson designed matchboard versions of both kinds and there were several catering types but the excursion one was covered by two Diagrams with thirty-eight built:

   TO = 32
BTO =    6

These were to GCR Diagrams 5G1 and 5E1, respectively, with running numbers, again respectively, subsequently prefixed by the LNER with a "5":

89, 94-7, 153, 160, 238, 252, 396, 465, 482, 657, 661-2, 664-6, 668, 670, 684, 698, 700-2, 710-4, 718-9.
146, 155, 222, 695-7.

The GCR was not alone for other companies also built excursion-dedicated stock, albeit mostly after the Grouping of 1923 and the GCR's historical claim to fame arises from several novel features and, when introduced in 1910, a turning point on the GCR from conventionally panelled and beaded carriages to varnished teak matchboarding below the windows and, at the van ends, all the way up to the roof. The BTO and TO designs acquired the rather jolly nickname of "Barnum". However, they were hardly precursors of the general service matchboard designs which began to be built from the following year, 1911.

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It's convenient to show the Diagram for the BTO first because all the relevant stuff is displayed. Note how, although it's greatly over-stated in the drawing and not at all realistic (many carriage Diagrams exaggerated the body profile), there was no curved tumblehome below the waist: it was flat and vertical. The upper half was also flat but angled back almost imperceptibly, especially at the van end where it is almost impossible to see with the naked eye. This contributed to a rather boxy appearance and, some would say, "continental" or "American" appearance. This profile was not repeated: subsequent matchboard designs had a conventional outline with an elegantly curved tumblehome below the waist.

The narrow end vestibule - at both ends of the TO and BTO - was also not to be repeated. Indeed, Robinson spurned end vestibules with doors for all his future designs (except for a restaurant composite of 1913). In addition, all the doors opened inwards and, even more unusually, the passenger doors had no droplights, only fixed glazing, in four panes. This, too, was not to be repeated. In truth, the only new design feature that was continued was the use of teak matchboarding. It seems that Robinson wanted to make a statement with carriages for excursion use and cultivate the traffic, for which rickety old bangers on six wheels had been a staple for some time (as did Gresley some years later with his "Tourist" stock).

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The 2:2 seat layout limited the space for a complete toilet with W.C. (water closet) and wash basin so, instead of providing a longer one, they were separated and placed on opposite sides of the corridor.

In the van end - single sliding doors were provided, which were alright if well maintained, but otherwise prone to stiffness. This concept had been introduced during the 1900s as an external feature of bogie vans and Robinson was to use again in his matchboard BG of 1913-14, but the "Barnum" BTO of 1910 was a complete one-off - it was the only passenger-carrying vehicle to be fitted with sliding doors and they were placed internally. After these episodes, the concept was abandoned altogether in favour of hinged doors. The end vestibule door for the guard was fitted with a droplight, but the ducket, which the GCR normally provided on both sides, was omitted. The guard was expected to stick his head out. No hand brake was provided either; it was a little spartan and with the sliding doors, probably draughty, too. By contrast, sliding van doors on the GNR were of the "plug" type which sealed better, but they too were eventually abandoned by Gresley who, after the Grouping, began to provide a heater as well. Conditions for the guard, often primitive at first, gradually got better.

The underframe layout - became the standard one for 60ft carriages, carried on Spencer 10'6" bogies with heavy journals. This was arguably a case of safe, over-engineering and 8ft bogies were used for 56ft carriages. In 1909, when the GNR had introduced a similar carriage length of 61'6", it had also fitted a longer bogie (10') but within a few years Gresley's 8'6" bogie was available and a heavy version was only used where it was really required. It's an interesting aspect of the thinking behind these "Barnum" opens and their intended use for cheap-fare excursion traffic.

Originally fitted with dual braking for use all over the country, the LNER began removing the Westinghouse brake in the very late 1920s.

Over the years other aspects of the design were modified and these are described under the photographs. Author's collection.

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An official photograph taken in 1910 at Dukinfield of newly-built TO No 153. Originally some of the large windows were droplights and the nearest one can be seen lowered by a couple of inches. This was a grand feature which the GNR and LNER used in some of its 1st class carriages but in practice the ventilation was not so good and in the "Barnums" it was changed later. In the photograph, a combination of the play of light, fresh varnish and cleanness make a stunning impression but, alas, this did not last in service. One suspects that they weren't visited by the carriage cleaners as often as the main line trains. Photo: Gorton negative, Doncaster Dwg Office, author's collection.

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TO No 153 on the same day which, from a lower and more end-on angle, isn't as flattering with the recessed end vestibule and its large grab handles contrasting with the rest and more streamlined body. The door handle is difficult to identify and looks like a conventional door knob! The British Standard scissors gangway shows well. Photo: Gorton negative, Doncaster Dwg Office, author's collection.

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TO No 5700 in late LNER condition, seen in the 1940s, possibly at Mansfield. In the vestibule, the large grab handles are a different style, a variation when construction was spread over several years. Changes to the body and roof are described in the next two pictures. Photo: Author's collection.

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Captured on 28th May 1949 is "Barnum" TO No E5712 at Gorton, recently shopped and still in varnished teak.

The ventilation in the body has been revised significantly. It looks like four of the windows have had their droplights sealed and toplights installed with sliding lights. This modification would not have been undertaken lightly. The LNER recognised a lack of ventilation on hot sunny days in the corridors of Gresley designs where there were large fixed windows and began to increase the number of toplights in new construction from 1938 so this upgrading could have been carried out around the same time, or perhaps the problem was worse and a start was made earlier? I can't help thinking that a saving by not fitting roof ventilators proved to be a short cut that had to be rectified later.

On the roof, three changes were made: racks for destination boards; a long curved rainstrip; and on the cornice above the doors, a slimmer rain deflector. Photo: Author's collection.

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A marvellous view of a "Barnum" BTO is undated but the late BR lettering - the number appears to be E5695E - suggests the late 1950s and either maroon or possibly plain brown. Starting from the near end, the recessed end vestibule shows the different door provided for the guard with a droplight and a lever door handle. The depth of the sliding van doors lacks grace but the door handle is so small that one can only imagine that these were good, free-running fixtures. The lettering is partly concealed but there is a scribbled note on the Diagram which suggests that it would have read "Load 3 Tons Distributed".

The modified roof, windows and toplights with sliding ventilation are the same as on TO Nos 5700 and E5712 above. Once again, a full set for each window was not provided, only half of them. Photo: R.S. Carpenter.

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A preserved "Barnum" at Loughborough, (GCR No 664) shows how grand these carriages were when freshly built or overhauled. And such a tonic after all the black & white pictures which barely do them justice. The LNER replaced the lavatory end windows, originally etched with the GCR crest, by plain versions. Photo: Author's collection.

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Later developments

It may be argued that Robinson's Barnums established a new approach for excursion traffic via long bogie carriages with a simple and uncluttered open layout, only served by external doors in the end vestibules, and I describe in the section "More LNER services" below how Gresley took these concepts further. I don't think that this sequence of developments has been observed before.


Barnums in service

Barnums were designed for the excursion traffic and it's fitting to look at a sample handbill first:

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This battered handbill from 1913 advertised twice-weekly half-day excursions in May from Nottingham to Marylebone and was produced by the GCR's travel agents, Dean & Dawson. It is impossible to tell what kind of carriages were provided, nor how many but a couple of things stand out:

- it was a "corridor" train with catering.
- the small print states rather ambiguously that when full catering wasn't available, "light refreshments" were supplied. This is an early example of restaurant cars being used to provide what would later be called a buffet service.
- departure was at 11.12am, arrival Marylebone at 2.45pm, return at 12.40am. Flexibility was offered by an earlier return on the Down 6.20pm (Bradford express) or on the Sunday, at 5.30pm (Manchester express) but as can be seen, tickets for return by an express were normally more expensive - almost double and treble the half-day rate. It was a device to discourage excursionists from using better-appointed timetabled expresses.

In practice - there were big differences between full and half-day excursions, and the distance covered, which led to widely varying stock being used - from 6w carriages to bogie stock, non-gangwayed and gangwayed. Often in combination.

There is a belief that complete trains of Barnum carriages were operated by the GCR but the evidence points to their use in small quantities, mixed with other carriages. Large formations have so far only been found c1930, a few years before the LNER started building Buffet Tourist Trains. Afterwards, the Barnums were dispersed.

Some non-excursion uses have also to light. I have therefore divided the subject into separate parts.

1 - The heaviest excursions

At first, there wasn't enough open stock to provide for a really heavy excursion and normal practice was to use elderly stock cascaded out of front line line express service, ie.
- pre-matchboard gangwayed carriages (Parker 46'6" and Parker-style 50') and
- pre-matchboard non-gangwayed carriages (50' clerestory and London Suburban)
to which a few Barnums could be added.

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8E No 365 Sir William Pollitt is supported by another Atlantic with a train of at least 12 carriages at an unknown location. The back of the print was captioned "Down Sheffield Special" and it looks like a heavy excursion made up with a great variety of carriages going back to 1899. Leading are:

  T

50'

non-gangwayed clerestory

  T

50'

non-gangwayed London Suburban

  TO

60'

Barnum

  TO

60'

Barnum

BTK?

46'6"

gangwayed Parker

  ?

50'

gangwayed Parker-style

...remainder unclear

Note the absence of a brake end near the tender, as if the leading 4 carriages were an addition. Non-gangwayed stock was normally placed outside the gangwayed carriages anyway. The rest of the train is alas too blurred to resolve. Photo: H. Gordon Tidey sepia postcard, author's collection.

A tricky point is whether or not catering had been provided but was further back in the train and cannot be seen? But it should be borne in mind that when Dean & Dawson advertised excursions, from Nottingham to London and back, for example, they were pointedley described as "Corridor Dining Car Expresses" and it's unlikely that non-gangwayed carriages as seen in the train above would have been allowed. The handbills also stated that "Light Refreshments" could be provided - what was later called a buffet service.

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The LNER version heads north with a "Marylebone-Leicester" 10-carriage excursion behind B3 No 6165 Valour. The date can be estimated by the loco's aquisition of side screens to the cab in 5/1933 and allocation to Neasden 1933-34 and late '35-'38. Not all the carriages can be made out although the leading four are clear:

  TK

61'6"

Gresley

BTK

61'6"

Gresley

  TO

60'

Barnum

  TO

60'

Barnum

... remainder unclear

It is possible that there was a catering carriage further down the train but I cannot be sure. Either way, it's another example of small numbers of Barnums still being deployed with heavy excursions on the GC Section. Photo: Author's collection.

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2 - Intermediate size GCR excursions

These were generally around 7 carriages long and a higher proportion of open carriages could be deployed.

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8B Atlantic No 1086 heads a down excursion made up to 7 carriages and many different types in which 5 opens were included, albeit only three of them "Barnums" - which led the train. Following them were the older carriages, tailed by a non-gangwayed brake end:

BTO

60'

Barnum

  TO

60'

Barnum

  TO

60'

Barnum

  TO

60'

Parker-style

RT

50'

Parker-style

  TO

60'

Parker-style

BT

50'

London Suburban

They've been arranged tidily, but what a variety! Note the trio of Parker-style carriages behind the Barnums which include two 60ft Parker-style TOs. These dated from 1906-07 when six had been built on 6w bogies as 3rd class dining cars - they created quite a stir - but as matchboard catering was built they became increasingly surplus to requirements and could be cascaded for use as general service opens in excursions. In between them is a 3rd Restaurant car of 1903, also relegated after matchboard catering arrived. It's a rare example of the GCR providing catering in an excursion for which the now-relegated RTs would have been a good choice, whether offering cooked meals or a buffet-style service.

The London Suburban BT on the far end would have resulted from a shortage of gangwayed brake ends in high summer. Pity the occupants for they would not have been able to reach the catering.

Note, by the way, how clean these London-based "Barnums" are compared with the ones from further north. Photo: Author's collection.

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Another 7-carriage excursion from Marylebone, this time behind 11E No 432 Sir Edward Frasier, heads north through Charwelton after picking up water on the troughs. On this occasion 5 "Barnum" opens with a single BTO were provided with corridor coaches outside them.

Barnum BTOs were relatively thin on the ground and, on the north end of the train, a Parker BTK was used instead.

This time, no catering was provided. At the far end of the train, a conventional matchboard carriage was added but it looks like a TK or a CK (excursions were known to provide a few 1st class seats). A possible explanation may be that a composite had its 1st class seats placed at the station buffers end for the boarding convenience of the upper class travellers; it became a common practice at terminal stations but in this case it is hard to be sure. The upshot is that this was another mixed formation with 5 Barnums and 2 other types. Photo: LGRP.

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3 - Excursions for small parties

For modestly sized, privately booked excursion parties, by a club or society, for example, where only 1-2 carriages were required, they were attached to normally timetabled expresses, either travelling the whole route of the express or only part of it. It was a common practice and it is evident that Barnums were distributed around the GCR's principal stations with such traffic in mind. These carriages were normally placed behind the tender where they could look like strengtheners. There had been a period c1900-1905 when the GCR was short of carriages and when pressed, had used non-gangwayed carriages as strengtheners but this died out after more Parker-style carriages were built and then, of course, the matchboard versions.

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An old LGRP print whose caption may be suspect but states that 11F No 509 Prince Albert is passing Ashby Magna "on an Up Bradford Express". It's not clear enough for me to analyse the formation beyond a non-gangwayed 50' clerestory 3rd and, ahead of it, two Barnum TOs which, I suspect, were serving a chartered excursion party from Bradford. The non-gangwayed clerestory would have separated them from the main body of the train and its catering and it's not clear if it had been added as a strengthener to the main train or the excursion. Indeed, it may have been added deliberately to prevent 3rd class excursionists on cheap fares from availing themselves of the restaurant car. Photo: LGRP.

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An unusually heavy express which is being double-headed, this time by 8B No 263 and 11D No 1020 near Leicester in September 1921. The back of the card is captioned "Down Manchester" and this may be plausible, after a Bank Holiday, for example. It is evident that six carriages, the body of the train, are carrying nameboards and included a restaurant car.

On the rear is an unidentified and unboarded carriage and, behind the loco, two similarly unboarded Barnum TOs. Whether they had been added for an excursion party or as strengtheners is impossible to tell, nor if they would have travelled the whole way or been detached en route, at Sheffield, for example.

It's only fair to add that nine heavily loaded carriages were too much for a GCR Atlantic on the difficult route that was the London Extension. Photo: anonymous, author's collection.

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Class 1 (LNER B2) No 424 City of Lincoln sweeps down from Woodhead through Guide Bridge with a heavy 9-coach express for Manchester.

I am unable to identify the service and can only say that six of the carriages are carrying roof destination boards - two on the rear are not, and neither is the Barnum which has been placed inside the leading brake (roof racks were not fitted on the Barnums until LNER days - at this time they were just above the windows and are empty). The Barnum could have been for an excursion party travelling the whole route of the timetabled express and been deliberately placed inside the leading brake. Photo: W.H. Whitworth, LNER Press Section TO/72, author's collection.

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4 - In express service as a 3rd class dining car

This was rare and could happen if a normal dining car with 2:1 seating wasn't available and only a Barnum with excursion-style seating of 2:2 could be found. This was known to happen on other parts of the LNER with a Gresley 2:2 TO and it was abnormal because the tables were smaller and more cramped. As soon as a carriage with the right arrangement was available it would be put back into the formation. It's a good example of the practical reality of any human endeavor, really, with operating rules not set in stone as some modellers like to believe.

The two examples I have are from late GCR and early LNER days when Marylebone's express sets were dominated by matchboard carriages. As the years passed and more full-length dining cars became available, the need to use a Barnum as a stand-in would have disappeared.

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Revised description:

9P No 1169 Lord Faringdon departs Marylebone with a Down express which, remarkably for the period, has been strengthened behind the tender by two non-gangwayed carriages - a 50' London Suburban 3rd (T) and a 56' matchboard composite (C). As usual, neither was carrying destination boards. The London Suburban carriage dated from c1905 but the composite was recently built in 1920, which gives a date for the picture of the last years of the GCR. It is hard not to view the company's continued provision of non-gangwayed and suburban carriages for long-distance catering expresses with dismay.

  T

3rd

50'

London Suburban

  C

1st/3rd

56'

matchboard

BTK

3rd brake

60'

matchboard

  TO

3rd open (dining)

60'

matchboard

  TO

3rd open

60'

Barnum

RC?

1st/3rd restaurant    

60'

matchboard

... rem. not visible

In the middle of the main part of the train the catering has also been strengthened. Leading is a TO(dining) [to GCR 5C6 or 5C7 with 2:1 seating], behind which a second dining car was inserted by using a Barnum TO [with 2:2 seating]. At least it looks like it had been shopped recently and was looking quite fresh. It wasn't granted destination boards. The restaurant car beyond is hard to identify but may be an RC to GCR 5M2. Photo: F. Moore's Railway Photographs, author's collection.

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The second example was captured a few miles further north near Harrow where the gradient of the route built by the Metroplitan Railway steepened to 1:90 and shows the 3.20pm express to Manchester behind B3 Earl Beatty after it was renumbered No 6164 c.11-7-25. This mid-afternoon express left Marylebone as a medium size formation of 5 GCR carriages and, on the rear, alas out of sight,1-2 LMS coaches for Halifax, to be detached at Penistone. At Sheffield a GCR Locker composite (to be described separately) was attached, travelling between Bournemouth-Bradford, also for detachment at Penistone.

On this occasion the dining car in the catering pair (RF,TO), normally a 48-seat type with 2:1 seating, was replaced by a Barnum and the substitute is not carrying destination boards. Photo: Author's collection.

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It's hard not to view these two pictures with dismay for not only was an excursion carriage deployed for the catering in these two long-distance expresses, so was a pair of suburban carriages with no lavatories nor access to the catering. This practice seemed to have been knocked on the head in the late 1900s yet it was being revisited some 15 years later. Not until the LNER was established were the London expresses on the former GCR operated entirely with gangwayed carriages and no suburban or excursion stand-ins.

5 - In express service as a through coach

Using an all-3rd class Barnum for this purpose was extremely unusual, hard to explain, and only one example has been found, in LNER days, in the "North Country Continental" which was a complex service running between Harwich-Manchester-Liverpool and a core of 50' GER/ex-GER vehicles, including the catering. Gresleys modernised part of the non-catering.

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Ex-GER B12 No 8557 in the late 1920s has the "North Country Continental". The caption on the back of the print states that it's the Up train but it looks to me like the Down train at Torside, between Sheffield and Manchester. The GE Section provided the loco as far as Manchester and the carriages, too. In this case they comprise two Gresley 61'6" (BTK,CK) followed by ex-GER 50' catering (RF,TO), tailed by another ex-GER carriage (BTK).

At the front was a through carriage between Lincoln and Liverpool for which a 64-seat 60' 3rd Open "Barnum" was rostered. It's condition was close to as-built plus the addition of destination board racks. Boards were probably not carried because the service was unique (and the train was frequently revised). By contrast, the main body of the train was carrying triple destination boards. The Barnum was shown in the roster for 1929 but had gone by 1937.

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An undated view, probably from the 1930s before this loco was modified with Caprotti valve gear (in 1938) and the carriage roster was changed (by 1937), shows B3 No 6167, formerly Lloyd George, passing through Woodhead station on the ascent to the summit with the Up "North Country Continental" and the Barnum TO at the head as a through carriage between Liverpool-Lincoln. Destination boards were not provided but gangway adaptors would have been fitted to allow passenger to reach the rest of the train and its catering.

The Barnum's carriage windows are as originally built but roof racks for destination boards have been added. It's not possible to tell whether or not a curved rainstrip had also been fitted. Photo: R.S. Carpenter.

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6 - More LNER services

The GCR had introduced the Barnum Opens for its excursion traffic but I have found no evidence from GCR days of complete or nearly complete trains of Barnums, nor with the addition of catering. The LNER is known to have provided substantial catering with its excursions on the GNML, which until the mid-1930s were made up in the classic old style with elderly carriages. There was a transition period in the late 1920s and early '30s when Gresley moved towards the use of dedicated 64-seat 3rd Opens (with a similar capacity to the Barnums) in 1927-28 by building an all steel design (D.28) of which 12 were for the GC Section and 9, the GN Section. Here is an example:

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D11 No 5503 Somme is seen in the late 1920s/early 1930s near Wadsley Bridge with a Marylebone-Manchester express. Behind the loco where there might previously have been a pair of Barnums for an excursion party are two Gresley all-steel TOs to D.28. Note that, once again, a non-gangwayed 50' London Suburban carriage was placed between the Open 3rds and the main train, presumably to keep the excursionists out of the main train and its top-drawer catering. Photo: Author's collection.

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In the 1930s ex-GCR RCs were converted to kitchen cars (RK) for running with excursions and on the GN and NE, conversion began of other carriages to Buffet Cars. The LNER seemed to wise up about providing catering on excursions and the most important development followed in the mid-1930s with construction of the Buffet Tourist Trains containing 2 buffet cars and painted a gay green and cream colour - which the GC Section began to borrow. "Standard" teak panelled open stock was also built, for all regions, notably to D.186 TO which could run with a higher level of catering such as a restaurant car or a kitchen car.

In this light, it is interesting to see two pictures from the transition period in the late 1920s/early 1930s showing GC excursion sets dominated by Barnums plus catering.

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The first view was captured behind B7 5470 in the Pennines (from Manchester at Torside)? The train gets hard to decipher towards the far end and scrutiny of the original suggests that this was a Barnum formation with a matchboard restaurant car 4th from the far end. It would have been one of the 56' or 60' RCs of 1911-13, such as GCR 4M2, deliberately deployed from the reserve catering pool, which grew in size after Gresley RFs started being provided for expresses on the London Extension.

Hence the 9-carriage train was made up:

BTO    3rd open brake
  TO    3rd open
  TO    3rd open
  TO    3rd open
  TO    3rd open
RC     1st/3rd restaurant car
  TO    3rd open
  TO    3rd open
BTO    3rd open brake

Note the contrast between the two styles of end vestibule grab handles. An underlying question is, was the RC being used to provide a restaurant service, or something lighter, buffet-style? It helps to bear in mind that the GCR had been unique in dabbling (and failing) with buffet cars in 1899 in expresses. This would have been a new venture. Photo: Real Photographs.

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Another picture shows a "complete" train of Barnums in an excursion on the GNML, again with a restaurant car added:

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There is much to say about this picture, beginning with the date, which is unknown. The best that I can offer is between 1927-34, based on the loco livery and the catering. Photo: Author's collection.

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The back of the print states "Langley Troughs", which I believe is correct, but also "Up Sheffield Excursion" - which I am not sure about. To begin with, C1 No 4421 was a Doncaster loco from 1927-47 and is likely to have been working a train between Doncaster-KX. Excursions from Sheffield to London were more likely to have been rostered for a Sheffield or GC section loco and run to Marylebone. My best suggestion would be a complete GC Section set borrowed by the GN Section at a time before the Buffet Tourist Trains were built (and the GN Section took quite a large number but the GC took none. Thereafter the GC Section would borrow TTS from the GN Section).

A related puzzle is that there's no foliage on the trees so it wasn't a summer excursion and a solar calculator gives an approximate time of 4.30pm and arrival at King's Cross of getting on for 5.30pm, which is unusual and I cannot explain.

The 8-carriage train was formed with:

BTO    3rd open brake
  TO    3rd open
  TO    3rd open
RC     1st/3rd restaurant car
  TO    3rd open
  TO    3rd open
  TO    3rd open
BTO    3rd open brake

A few points about the Barnums and aspects described in the main body of this topic:

- There were two types of handrail at the end vestibule and both versions stand out clearly in the two pictures above.

- The Barnums were modified by the LNER by fitting toplights in the matchboarding above some of the large picture windows. The main point here is that in this picture, none of the Barnums had been modified and this endorses an earlier rather than a later date for the picture.

- Roof destination boards had already been fitted and they show quite well. No boards were being carried, which was normal with excursions.

7 - Later developments

Construction of new trains and carriages for excursions led to a gradual dispersal of Barnums into the secondary fleet of pre-Grouping carriages.

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This picture is the most curious that I have come across on this subject. Taken on the GNML at Sandy at an unknown date in the early '30s, it shows a secondary GN Section Ordinary Passenger heading towards King's Cross with a 4-set made up with ex-GNR carriages:

BCL

1st/3rd brake

58'1 1/2"

BT-CL (twin)

1st/3rd brake

ex-6w

B (6w)

brake van

Unfortunately the camera was jarred at the moment of exposure which has given rise to a doubling of horizontal lines and made analysis of details difficult. For example, the two goods wagons behind the loco: they would have been fitted with AVB or through pipe but I cannot tell if they are flat or bolster wagons. They would have been detached somewhere en route by the train engine. Secondary services on the GNML were much used for conveying all sorts and that includes the two carriages on the rear.

On the far end there appears to be a Howlden 45' bogie van. Inside it is the remarkable sight of a fresh-looking ex-GCR TO "Barnum" and I can only suggest that it was being ferried south for transfer to Cambridge where Barnums were known in LNER days. Photo: anonymous, author's collection.

A thought crosses my mind for modellers of the GN Section that such a movement could easily be modelled, with almost any kind of recently refurbished carriage.

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This view reached me as a small contact print and it's a relatively rare service view of a Barnum BTO. The date was c1938 and the location is just south of Woodford & Hinton, by the SMJ over-bridge on the approach to Culworth Junction. In the distance the signals are off for the Banbury Branch.

In charge is Sheffield's C1 No 3287 with what looks like a summer Saturday extra for Bournemouth and the sunny south. The formation is a classic "made up" one with a miscellany of carriages including LNER Gresleys and pre-Grouping carriages with what looks like an ex-ECJS TK and, behind the tender, a brake end for which a Barnum BTO was found. Photo: J. Suter Collection.

Condition of the carriage is the later version with toplights and sliding ventilators added, plus destination boards on the roof and a curved rain strip. The lavatory window, originally with an etched GCR coat of arms, would now have been plain.

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In BR days the Barnums remained in excursion trains and I have seen two pictures of them in the North of England, in each case a single one behind the tender. Here is an example at Hull Paragon in July 1949.

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Ex-NER Class A6 No 69796 is moving a train of empty stock which has the air of a summer excursion "made-up" set with a variety of ex-LNER and pre-Grouping carriages. The rear of the train is concealed but the leading six coaches can be made out:

  TO

60'

ex-GCR Barnum

  TK

52'6"'

Gresley

BTK

61'6"'

Gresley

BTK

45'

ex-GCR Parker

BTK-TK

52' (twin)

Gresley (SP)

.... remainder not visible.

The steel-panelled twin had been built in 1935 for the GN Section's "steel quintuple sets". The oldest carriage in the train that's visible was the ex-GCR Parker from the turn of the century. The "Barnum" was 38 years old and would have lasted for a further half-dozen years until displaced by slightly less old stock. Note how much of the loco and train was still of pre-Grouping origin. Sights like this were common in Summer and continued well into BR days, in this case for excursions to York or the coastal resorts. Photo: Real Photographs.

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A note for modellers

The record so far shows a variety of operating practice and it depends on your period. There is no evidence of all-Barnum trains although in mid-LNER days an attempt was made with an ex-GCR matchboard RC (Dia 4M2). In the GCR period the easiest way to use Barnums would be as a pair (TO,TO) outside a main line express, possibly separated by an older, non-gangwayed carriage. As the Barnums aged in late LNER and BR days the odd one could be added to a relief or an excursion, in both cases where a jumble of older carriages was deployed.

GCR carriages - 60ft matchboard: are here.

GCR London Extension - express passenger workings: is here.

GCR carriages - Barnums: are here.

GCR carriages - 50ft London Suburban: are here.

Modelling GCR clerestories: is here.

GCR horse boxes: are here

GCR milk vans: are here.

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