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GCR carriages - matchboard non-gangwayed

This topic now has the following sections:

Introduction
60' third
60' 3rd brake
60' composite
60' lavatory 3rd brake

New additions placed here temporarily:

Passing "near Rugby" on 2nd April 1929 is D11 No 5505 Ypres with the 1.20pm Ordinary Passenger from Leicester-Marylebone, an unbalanced working for Neasden's Top Link. It's an interesting example of misuse of the term "local" for a train which ran 70-odd miles between cities and returned vans to the Capital from overnight workings such as the "2.32am Down Newspaper" and, on this occasion, came to 9 vehicles, bogie, 6w and 4w. Photo: Gordon Coltas

BT

  3rd brake

60' matchboard

  F

  1st

50' London Suburban

  T

  3rd

56' GCR/LNER hybrid

BT

  3rd brake

60' matchboard

----

BG

  bogie van

50/56' matchboard

4

  assorted vans

Click on the image for an enlargement

An enlargement with, alas, a loss of sharpness, showing the three types of carriage described above. The 60' 3rd brakes show well and are described below.

The 50' London Suburban 1st is both the shortest and the oldest carriage in the train (1906) and has been retained because wear and tear in the class was lower. The hybrid next to it was built in 1924 when Dukinfield turned out the final batch of Robinson carriages and Gresley had the sides panelled Doncaster-style. In short, this train comprises three different lengths to three different designs, an awfully common feature of secondary services. Only a pity that the GC Section was loathe to provide lavatories.


Revised:

Introduction

These secondary carriages built from 1911 lasted well into BR days and there are two problem areas:

- 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")!

- Among Hugh Longworth's many mistakes in "BR Pre-Nationalisation Coaching Stock Vol.1", he calls this stock (and all other 1911+ matchboard carriages) "Barnums". That only applied to the majestic Open carriages introduced a year earlier whose novel design features were not repeated.

This stock was initially intended for Marylebone's Outer Suburban service - where 50' London Suburban designs had been running since 1905 - and between Nottingham-Leicester and there were 5 basic types: F, C, T, BC, BT. The full 1sts were concentrated on London's Outer Suburban service and the composites, further north. Lavatory versions were also introduced but as far as I can tell, not for the London end.

Over time design variations were introduced:

- length of 60' and then 56'
- layout of composites re number of compartments and their position
- 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.


60' Third

Most numerous were these 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 with ten compartments - BT(10) - 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 9N (LNER A5) No 450 in 1912 heading an Outer Suburban train north of Marylebone. It's not generally realised that this is a train of London Suburban carriages in which modernisation has begun by replacing a single carriage - the all-3rd - by a recently built matchboard version to Dia. 3B5. Photo: Real Photographs, author's collection.

Click on the image for an enlargement

A5 No 5158 (NEA) leaves Marylebone station c1933. Based on the sun angle the time is c6pm and the best fit with the 1935 CWB is with the 6pm (SO) Outer Suburban to Amersham, when it was rostered for a 4-set with an extra 3rd. The whole train cannot alas be seen but there is an extra 3rd behind the loco and possibly another one behind it. The carriages in view are:

  T

  3rd

56'

GCR/LNER hybrid

  -

  T

  3rd

60'

GCR matchboard

  3B5

BT

  3rd brake

56'

GCR matchboard

  -

  F

  1st

56'

GCR matchboard

  -

Rem not visible...

It is hard to tell exactly what was captured here. An OS 4-set would have been (BT,F,T,BT) but it could also have been (T,BT,F,BT) in which case the single rostered strengthener is the GCR/LNER "hybrid" 3rd behind the loco.

The 56' carriages had been introduced in 1911 and I have not yet worked up, nor GCR/LNER hybrids of 1923-24.

Note in the background the D.120-clone 4w passenger brake van built for the GC Section, and a 6w milk tank wagon for the Rossmore Rd. dairy.

Click on the image for an enlargement

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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.

Click on the image for an enlargement

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

-----------

--------

-----

------

1911-12

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 intended for Ordinary Passenger or longer distance Outer Suburban traffic, was built at the same time.

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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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.

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, wrongly 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).

Click on the image for an enlargement

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.

Click on the image for an enlargement

60' composite

There were four Diagrams of the basic 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.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click on the image for an enlargement

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.

Click on the image for an enlargement

60' lavatory 3rd brake

This was a superb semi-corridor design of a kind that only tends to be recognised in much later Gresley designs for the LNER. A simple ploy was to place the odd lavatory between some of the compartments with access from the adjoining compartment, which meant that only those passengers could use the facilities. A better approach was to place more than one set of such lavatories in a carriage. Better still was to provide a corridor which served a lavatory at one end of the carriage (NER 52') or a semi-open layout with easy access to the lavatories (GNR 58'1 1/2" stock). A particularly neat approach was taken by Robinson on the GCR with twin lavvies in the centre of the carriage, each served by its own, handed corridor. It was introduced in 1911.

In the 1920s, Gresley adopted this semi-corridor layout for his LNER 51'1 1/2" composites and Thompson followed suit. Those carriages became quite popular In the West Riding conurbation and when the less salubrious DMU arrived, they were switched to non-gangwayed excursions, to Wetherby Races, for example, with many examples in a train.

The GCR design was the precursor when Robinson introduced normal service carriages with a radiussed matchboard tumblehome (not to be confused the less elegant excursion opens nicknamed "Barnums"), in this case a 60' all-3rd class carriage, with a brake end. 10 were built to GCR Diagram 4A3 between 1911-12 and two more in 1919 with armoured ends (4A4).

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The BTL to GCR Diagram 4A3 (given the Hollerith Code 5094 just before WW2) with the neat semi-corridor layout. The genesis of the LNER design is evident. Diagram 4A4 was the same but for the armoured ends.

Running numbers were: 178, 206, 267, 317, 667-9, 690-2. Prefix "5" by the LNER and in BR days, prefix and suffix "E". Repaired Diagram author's collection.

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Secondary stock with lavatories was so useful that it lasted well into BR days. In this view from July 1955 at Cambridge, behind an ex-GER tender loco, the train comprises an ex-GCR BTL No E5689E and a Gresley CL leading an unidentified "GE Branch Set". One of the semi-corridors can be seen through the windows. Photo: Lens of Sutton.

Click on the image for an enlargement

A grand view of ex-GCR C4 No 1089 (NEA) leaving Marylebone with a secondary service made up with four non-gangwayed carriages - a London Suburban leading and three Robinson 60' carriages including a BTL on the rear. Three of the matchboard carriages are carrying destination boards. It appears to be the 4.30pm express to Mansfield, which was not very long lived and by 1925 (by which time this C4 had been renumbered) had been cut back to Woodford. Photo: Author's collection.

A closer view of the carriages. Click on the image for an enlargement

BT

  3rd brake

50' London Suburban

  CL

  1st/3rd lavatory

60' Robinson

  T

  3rd

60' Robinson

BTL

  3rd lavatory brake

60' Robinson

Note how the BTL compares with the CL in which the semi-corridor concept was not utilised and three pairs of lavatories were provided.


Related links:

GCR London Extension - expresses: are here.

GCR carriages - Parker style: are here.

Modelling GCR clerestories: is here.

GCR carriages - 50ft London Suburban: are here.

GCR Barnum carriages: are here.

GCR carriages - matchboard gangwayed: are here.

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