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The "Barnum" Open 3rds

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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, purpose unknown (roof racks were not fitted on the Barnums until LNER days - at this time they were just above the windows and are empty). Photo: W.H. Whitworth, LNER Press Section TO/72, author's collection.

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Revised caption.

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

Rest unclear...

Note the absence of a brake end near the tender, as if the leading 4 carriages were an addition. Non-gangayed 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.

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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 while this may or may not 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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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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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 (TO) "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.

It is, so far, the only example I have found of a Barnum being deployed as part of regular express formation and I suspect that the picture below with B3 No 6167 in charge was the same working.

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The carriages

An overview of a more complex subject than first meets the eye for there used to be two kinds of 3rd Open 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

Running numbers were, respectively, 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. The GCR's historical claim to fame arises from the fact that when introduced in 1910 they marked 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 not entirely 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. Perhaps 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 lavatory 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. The 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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In service

The 32 "Barnums" could have provided for three 10-coach trains but in practice, excursion trains varied in length between 7-11 carriages and all-"Barnum" formations seem to have been rare, partly because many were distributed among the larger stations for, I would suggest, chartered parties requiring their own carriage to be attached to a normally timetabled service. Use as strengtheners is unlikely.

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An excellent example of how most excursions were made up, using stock to hand. 8B Atlantic No 1086 heads a down excursion made up to 7 carriages and many different types with three "Barnums" leading, from the allocation to Marylebone; followed by three Parker-style; and a non-gangwayed brake end:

BTO

60'

Barnum

  TO

60'

Barnum

  TO

60'

Barnum

  TO

60'

Parker style

  TK

46'6"

Parker

  TO

60'

Parker style

BT

50'

London Suburban

They've been arranged tidily, but what a variety! Note that two 60ft Parker-style TO had been included. They 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. The London Suburban BT on the far end would have resulted from a shortage of gangwayed brake ends in high summer.

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 appear to have been relatively thin on the ground and, instead, a Parker BTK was put at the north end.

I might have expected a cetaring carriage in the formation but in this GCR view, none was provided. At the far end of the train, a conventional matchboard carriage was added, possibly a TK or a CK (excursions were known to provide a few 1st class seats). A possible explanation may be that it was a composite with 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 a hybrid formation with 5 Barnums and 2 other types. Photo: LGRP.

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An old LGRP print whose caption may be suspect but states "11F No 509 Prince Albert 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. Inclusion of the non-gangwayed clerestory meant that the "Barnums" would have been isolated from the rest of the train. One senses a little difficulty providing carriages for this working. Photo: LGRP.

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A grand picture of an above-average excursion during the mid-1920s is captured behind B7 5470 in the Pennines. Note the contrast between the two styles of end vestibule grab handles.

The train gets hard to decipher towards the far end and scrutiny of the original suggests that this was a complete "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, deliberately deployed from the pool, which became easier 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

An underlying question is, was it 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. The GC Section may well have been more on the ball in this regard and there is evidence of the practice more widely in LNER days. The concept was elevated in 1935 by converting matchboard RCs into Kitchen Cars (and similarly on other parts of the LNER). Photo: Real Photographs.

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Another picture has come to light and it's a rare view of a "complete" train of Barnums in an excursion on the GNML. As was normal with a decent long distance excursion, a catering carriage was added, in this case a restaurant car:

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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 working

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 Tourist Train Sets 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.

Formation and the "Barnums"

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.

- 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.

The catering

A detail view is much magnified and hence quite coarse, but it's possible to see the restaurant car with its branding and, around it, "Barnums" with their differing end vestibule grab handles. Author's collection.

- Being a fairly long-distance excursion, an ex-GCR 60' restaurant composite to GC.4M2 of 1911-13 was provided, in near original condition. In 1935 they were rebuilt as kitchen cars to GC.5G4. They are shown in the Hugh Longworth book but wrongly captioned as GC.4M2, as a "Barnum", and with an "attendant's toilet", which was introduced in the RK to 5G4.

- The restaurant car could have been there to serve normal meals - or only light refreshments: Buffet cars were not provided on the LNER until 1932 (in rebuilds from pre-Grouping Open stock) and the practice was also developed of using a Restaurant Car to provide a buffet service. Both options are feasible: we're really talking about the versatility of older stock.

A modelling note - Jidenco/Falcon Brass introduced etchings for some matchboard carriages (CK, TK, BCK) and TO, BTO (the two "Barnum" designs) and the company has recently been acquired by Dart Castings. However, there never was a restaurant car which makes a realistic train hard to model. GC.4M2 was the most common design used not only in timetabled expresses but, as seen here, with excursions. When I was building carriages full-time for a living, this was the most requested item, but I was never able to get a manufacturer to run with the idea. With the advent of CAD it would also be easier than ever to tweak the artwork for a GC.4M2 RC and also produce its successor, the 5G4 kitchen car which lasted until c1959 and the BR maroon era (separate topic coming up).

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An undated view, probably from the 1930s before this loco was modified with Caprotti valve gear (in 1938) shows B3 No 6167, formerly Lloyd George, passing through Woodhead station on the ascent to the summit with an Up express that may have been the "North Country Continental" which deployed a "Barnum" TO at the head as a through carriages 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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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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GCR carriages - 60ft matchboard: are here.

GCR carriages - Barnums: are here.

GCR carriages - 50ft London Suburban: are here.

Modelling GCR clerestories: is here.

Milk vans: are here.

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