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Thompson Kitchen and Dining Cars

Thompson abandoned articulation for the three-car catering sets (FO-RK-TO) and provided independent carriages to the same format (FO,RK,TO). They were built to the new length of 63'0" between 1947-49 (although the dates quoted by Michael Harris don't quite tally with the photographs, construction of the dining cars definitely having started in 1947). Six more of each dining car were built than were intended to serve with kitchen cars - the extra ones could be paired with an RF or RT, although Thompson only produced the former.

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The layout of the 1st Open to D.351 was conventional although the leg room was increased by an inch from 7'3" to 7'4". The lavatory was made significantly longer and less cramped, from just over 4ft to 4'10". The first three were fitted with pressure ventilation for use with the new "Flying Scotsman" (one in each train and one as a spare). Construction of 17 carried running numbers of:
1956-58 (PV)
1959-72

Diagram: author's collection.

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An ex-works picture taken using orthochromatic film which presented red tones as almost black, hence the beautifully applied teak finish cannot be seen and should not be confused with reflections of the track. No 1958 was one of the first three built with pressure ventilation. Photo: BR, author's collection.

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Another picture taken using orthochromatic film showing No E1959 was taken in 1949 and it has round corners to the windows. As this was built immediately after No 1958 above and was the 4th out of 17, the implication is that most of these carriages had round corners.

Simulated teak was still being applied but the lettering was BR-style in pale yellow. Photo: Author's collection.

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Diagram 353 for the new kitchen cars shows how the new length of 63ft was exploited with a huge kitchen and two pantries. Cooking was anthracite-electric. On the far left in a separate compartment, the cold larder contained a refrigerator, ice cream cabinet and 4 vegetable bins. Its exterior window was not glazed but fitted with a ventilating grille.

11 were built including three with pressure ventilation and numbered:
1943-45 (PV)
1946-53

Diagram: author's collection.

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The 3rd Open Dining Car to D.350 followed established practice although the leg room was increased more significantly by almost four inches, from 6'2" to 6'5 1/2". The lavatory was also made longer, same as in the FO. 17 were built with running numbers of:
1982-84 (PV)
1985-98

Diagram: author's collection.

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Yet another picture taken with orthochromatic film which presented red tones as almost black, hence the beautifully applied teak finish cannot be seen - don't be misled by reflections of the track and snow! This is carriage No 1984, one of the three built in 1947 and fitted with pressure ventilation for the "Flying Scotsman". Photo: BR, author's collection.

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In service

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Haymarket's A4 No 60031 Golden Plover heads north with "The Capitals Limited" at Grantshouse in 1949 with Thompson carriages from end to end and the catering trio near the King's Cross buffers end. Photo: E.R. Wethersett

60031

An enlargement of the catering trio at the far end of the train is useful albeit not too sharp. The kitchen car is seen from the corridor side, same as shown on the Diagram. Photo: E.R. Wethersett

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A2 No 60538 Velocity is captured on the ECML near Naburn in early BR, apple-green livery with an unidentified 13-coach express made up almost entirely with recently-built Thompson carriages with solebar fairing (a single Gresley has been added in the middle). The 1st class end is behind the tender with the catering trio clear to see. Author's collection.

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detail

An enlargement of of the catering coaches (FO,RK,TO) with apologies for the poor sharpness. The kitchen car is again seen from the corridor side, as shown on the Diagram.

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Seen in the early 1950s at York, Peppercorn A1 No 60115 Meg Merrilies (a Newcastle loco at the time) eases the "Flying Scotsman" into York. The carriages are a mixture of ex-LNER and BR Mk.1 in simulated teak and BR livery, with a recently built 1st behind the all-steel BG. Standing out is a freshly repainted Thompson Kitchen Car flanked by its FO and TO. This time the other side is seen with the cold larder and its grilled window nearest the camera.

None of the Thompson carriages in view is carrying the solebar fairing. It's hard to tell but I think the kitchen car is branded BR-style "KITCHEN CAR". The all-steel BG behind the tender with its customary destination board is a little harder to resolve. Its running number can be made out - E173E - with the suffix "E" brighter as if if recently added. The body may still have been carrying simulated teak but BR crimson is more plausible. Author's collection.

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