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GCR carriages - matchboard non-gangwayed

This is quite a big subject, about secondary carriages built from 1911 that lasted well into BR days. Please note that the titles to the Diagrams used the letter "O" as an abbreviation for ORDINARY, a term much used for non-gangwayed secondary carriages (it did not mean "Open")!

Described wrongly in a recent publication as "Barnums", they were initially intended for Marylebone Outer Suburban service and there were 5 basic types: F, C, T, BC, BT. Among them were variations in:

- length of 60' and then 56'
- layout of composites re number of compartments and their position
- lavatory versions
- armoured ends with anti-collision fenders.

As if that wasn't complicated enough, as the years passed many 1st Class compartments were regraded to 3rd class so Fs and Cs became Cs and Ts - which was common across the LNER. There's a bonus here for modellers because it means that a kit can be finished in different guises.

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Class 2 No 870 in 1912 at a time when the class had been displaced from principal expresses, many being at Sheffield Neepsend, for example, and, like older 4-4-0s all over the country, were given a new role in longer distance secondary services. The train is passing Abbey Lane Sidings just north of Leicester Central and is believed to be the 12.32pm (SO) from Nottingham.

Revised caption:

This was an Ordinary Passenger but it's carrying Express lights. I have now found a similar picture, of a 6-set with 50' non-gangwayed clerestory carriages behind a Class 9K 4-4-2T (LNER C13) that is also carrying Express lights and it seems that at this time, the Ordinary Passenger service between Nottingham-Leicester, despite stopping at all stations along the way, carried Express lights for PR reasons. Competition with the parallel service provided by the MR may have been a factor. The photographer was unable to resolve this and, like many others when faced with an apparent mismatch, described the train on the back of the print as "semi-fast". I've covered this ground elsewhere and that the 1960s stopping service which carried express lights was also misappropriated this designation by enthusiasts. The term "semi-fast" had a genuine operational meaning which I shall be covering as a dedicated subject.

The carriages show what a recently introduced train of Ordinary matchboard stock could look like (only a pity about the older 50ft clerestory strengthener on the rear)! All the matchboards in this view were 60' and built 1911-12, and the formation didn't offer a single lavatory. Then again, the end to end journey only took 50 minutes, with five stations along the way scheduled for stops of only 1-2 minutes each:

BT

  3rd brake

  3A9

  C

  1st/3rd composite

  3L5

  T

  3rd

  3B5

BT

  3rd brake

  3A9

  T

  3rd

  50' clerestory

Both brakes ends are the BT(7) type. Photo: author's collection (and a relatively modern print, blank on the back but for the date. It looks like a Bradshaw picture).

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60' 3rd brake

There were five Diagrams, a mixture of conventional and lavatory versions:

Built

Type

Diagram

LNER Code (1938)

------

-----------

-----------

-------------------------

1911

BT(6)

3A7

5086

1919

BT(6)

3A8

5087

1912-13

BT(7)

3A9

5088

-----------

--------

-----

------

1919

BTL(6)

4A3

5094

1919

BTL(6)

4A4

5095

As can be seen, the BT(6) was the most common version introduced in 1911 and built again in 1919. The slightly larger capacity BT(7) was an addition of 1912-13 and in practice, quite numerous.

The more luxurious lavatory version, a relatively rare type in the UK and usually intended for Ordinary Passenger or longer distance Outer Suburban traffic, was a further addition in 1919 when the GCR built 12 of them.

Armoured ends were fitted to two of the Diagrams of 1919 (3A8 and 4A4).

Diagram 3A9

The BT(6) type was the most common one and I've chosen this Diagram of a BT(7) because it's not too different in style and because it shows well in two train pictures. Built between 1912-13, all the standard Robinson features can be seen with the normal 3rd class compartment width of 6ft and guard's duckets on both sides.

Running numbers were: 653, 656, 857-866 (12)

Repaired Diagram, authors collection.

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An unusual picture, perhaps, but a fine view of a BT(7) in service. It's early LNER days and Neasden's D10 "Director" No 431c Edward A. Beazley has been put on an Ordinary Passenger (a Neasden Top Link unbalanced working?) and is about to call at Rothley.

The main formation is a 4-set of London Suburban 50' carriages now earning its keep further north (probably BT, F, T, BT) and the more modern matchboard brake has been added to make the formation up to 5 carriages. Photo: author's collection.

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60' composite

There were four Diagrams of this simple composite without lavatories:

Built

Length

Layout

Diagram

LNER Code (1938)

------

---------

----------------

-----------

-------------------------

1911

60'

FFFFTTTTT

3L4

5121

1912-13

60'

TTFFFFTTT

3L5

5122

1919

60'

TTFFFFTTT

3L6

5123

1920

56'

FFFFTTTTT

3L7

5124

Note how the initial design was superseded by placing the 3rd Class over the bogies and the 1st Class in between where the ride was better, but the old style came came back in 1920 (when the length was also reduced).

The last two Diagrams of 1919 and 1920 had armoured ends.

Diagram 3L5

This is the composite in the 4-set behind the Class 2 4-4-0 above.

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This 60' composite was built in 1912-3 and the drawing above is restored from a faint original. They had running numbers:
223, 256, 651, 659, 843, 844 (plus prefix "5" in LNER and BR days).

A similar one was built in 1919, No 1239, but with armoured ends to Diagram 3L6.

A faint note states that at least one was declassed in 1941 to all-3rd class, new No 51973. Repaired Diagram, Photo: Author's collection.

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In this charming view from Wrexham on 13th August 1950, N5 No 69349 waits with a secondary 4-set to Hawarden Bridge with a train of assorted types going back to around 1905-15.

BT

50' London suburban

  T

50' clerestory

  C

60' matchboard

BT

50' London suburban

For the 1st class passengers, a 60ft matchboard carriage was provided, the most modern one in the train, or the least old, if you like! See Diagram above. The barely visible 3rd brake at the far end is inside out. Photo: Author's collection.

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60' Third

The most numerous type of which there were two Diagrams:

Built

Diagram

LNER Code (1938)

------

-----------

-------------------------

1911-13

3B5

5038

1919

3B6

5039

Most were built to the first Diagram (31). When more were added in 1918 (4), they had armoured ends and anti-collision fenders

Diagram 3B5

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The drawing on the Diagram shows the design well, a high capacity concept which seated 120 passengers and was to be unique on the LNER. Note the generous 10'6" bogies, a significant advance on the 8ft bogies used previously. with shorter carriages. Leg room, however, at 5'10 1/2" was so-so, arguably reflecting the intended main use of these carriages.

Running numbers were:

159, 247, 269, 300, 322, 326, 328, 355-6-7, 361, 375, 378, 393, 459, 483, 491-2, 516, 523, 526, 640, 648, ,652, 654, 663, 801-2-3-4.

Repaired Diagram, author's collection.

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This is a pretty well-known picture of 9K (LNER A5) No 450 in 1912 heading a rush-hour Outer Suburban train north of Marylebone. It's not generally realised that the formation of London Suburban carriages has had the 3rd in the body of the train modernised by a recently built matchboard version to Dia. 3B5. Photo: Real Photographs, author's collection.

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9P (LNER B3) No 1164 Earl Beatty was captured at Rothley c1922. Despite appearances, this was actually a Leicester-based Ordinary Passenger 3-set which shuttled up and down the line and, last trip of the day, went to Cleethorpes. The next morning it ran back as a Cleethorpes-Leicester express, which is what the photograph shows.

The 3-carriage formation was (BC, T, BC) with a 60' 3rd in the middle. Photo: Author's collection.

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A fine picture taken on Friday 6th July 1956 with an express at York headed by A3 No 60081 Shotover. The matchboard 3rd was evidently recently out of the carriage works at York; it would serve for another ten years or so. The livery was probably crimson and it may have been attached as a strengthener, or to get it home. The same may apply to the second carriage, a Gresley steel-panelled semi-corridor lavatory composite. The rest of the train is led by a gangwayed 3rd brake.

For modellers, strengthening of trains like this is easy to do and it breaks up the string of sausages look of a train, but is rarely tried. The main thing is that older carriages were common. Photo: Author's collection.

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To be continued...

GCR London Suburban carriages: are here.

GCR carriages - matchboard: are here.

GCR Barnum carriages: are here.

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