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LNER Tourist Train Sets

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Gresley A3 No 2747 Coronach (DON) emerges from one of the Welwyn Tunnels with an Up excursion made up with one of the original Buffet Tourist Train sets for the GN and GC Sections The quality is so-so but it's good to see a Doncaster Pacific approaching London. It's likely that the train had started in the West Riding where the sets were often divided with separate starting points and, for London, combination at Wakefield, for example.

The picture is undated but the carriages are so clean that they may have been recently built. Photo: Author's collection.

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The Diagrams

A notable feature of these designs was that the TO and BTO had no end vestibule access and each carriage had a single door midway along the body. This was, in part, a throwback to GNR designs from before the Great War. Seating was 2-a-side (2:2) in the well-established format for excursion carriages.

However, it's not as simple as it may seem because, as described above, the first 5 sets built for the GN Section (and used by the GC) - about half of the eventual total - were the prototype designs. Successive construction was refined slightly, but I'm going to start with the GN ones. And as luck would have it, there are far more photographs of them in service.

1933 sets for the GN (and GC) Sections

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The first BTO design to D.169 was 61'6" long and seated 52 passengers with the usual leg room (6'2" per compartment) and a half, or coupe, arrangement at the van end.

The van itself was quite compact. Two perfunctory hinged shelves were provided and the usual access door for the guard, and passengers by arrangement. In later batches the van was made longer and two beer cupboards were installed.

The note along the bottom states: "Vehicle No.43509 fitted with pressure heating and ventilation". It was the last of this Diagram and forerunner of subsequent designs. Diagram: Author's collection.

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The TO carriages to D.171 were slightly shorter at 52' 0 1/16" in articulated twins (TO-TO). The bogies are shown similar in appearance but with heavy journals in the articulating bogie: photographs show that it was in fact a heavy bogie with deeper side frames. Diagram: Author's collection.

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The 61'6" buffet car to D.168 was contemporary with the general service design to D.167 and the interiors were the same. Only the external body panelling differed. Diagram: Author's collection.

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To follow: Diagrams for the later sets and illustration of the carriages in LNER and BR days.

The carriages

Excursion traffic was big business for the railways and a huge subject to try to describe. A brief look at some aspects may help.

Before the Grouping only the GCR and NER had built carriages dedicated to this traffic (see separate topic about the GCR "Barnums"). Elsewhere a great variety of stock was used. A major development on the LNER came in 1933 when the company introduced the renowned Tourist stock in Buffet Tourist Trains (BTT for short). Not only was the livery a striking green & cream, each train was composed of two identical halves, each with its own buffet car:

BTO

3rd open brake

  TO-TO

3rd open (twin)

RB

buffet car

  TO-TO

3rd open (twin)

They were built thus:

1933 GN Section (5)
1934 NE Area (2)
1935 NE Area (2) and NB Section (2)
1939 NB Section (1) (BTO and TO twins only)

The first sets of 1933 built for the GN Section had a BTO with 52 seats and a modest van space. From 1934 for the sets built for the NE Area and and NB Section, the BTO was revised with fewer setas (48) and a slightly larger van space in which more beer could be carried.

As far as I can tell, the GE never used them but the GC Section did, by borrowing from the GN Section.

The sets were disbanded after WWII - I can't help thinking in order to release the buffet cars! Here are some service pictures, to be followed by Diagrams and pictures of the stock in LNER and BR days, and finally, operational details which were more varied than is generally realised.

In service

The first 5 pictures show BTTs from the first series built 1933 for the GN Section.

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The first set built in 1933 for the GN Section, led by BTO No 43500, was captured near Potters Bar with A1 No 4477 Gay Crusader in charge. Photo: H.C. Doyle.

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The third set built for the GN Section, led by BTO No 43505, is captured in a Down excursion behind W1 No 10000 on the 4-track near Hatfield. Photo: Colling Turner.

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Heading south out of York behind K3 No 4000 is a GN BTT. The BTO to D.169 is easy to see with its shorter van space and extra square window. Photo: Cecil Ord Collection.

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The GC Section would borrow a BTT from the GN, as seen here at Nottingham Victoria behind K3 No 1164.

To the right can be seen a "Barnum" BTO and two locos, B17 No 2824 Lumley Castle and an unidentified "Director". Photo: T.G.Hepburn.

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Another GN Section BTT borrowed by the GC stands at Skegness behind B8 No 5280, about to return to Bulwell Common. The date was 3rd April 1934. Photo: Locomotive Club of Great Britain.

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B17 No 2851 Derby County has a Buffet Tourist excursion in 1936 on the ascent to Woodhead. The back of the print states "Neepsend" but the location was Wardsend, midway between Neepsend and Wadsley Bridge, on the gradient of 1:120.

It's mid-morning and the train is believed to have started from Leicester (behind a Leicester "Footballer"), the stock having been borrowed from the GN Section. Tablet No 115 was being carried. If only this had been a colour picture! Photo: A.G. Ellis, author's collection.

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D49 No 307 Kincardineshire is at an unknown location with a second-generation BTT, albeit only a half-set with a non-Tourist carriage added near the far end. Alas, details cannot be made out because the print was made using textured paper and not glazed. The loco was allocated to Dundee so this may have been one of the sets built for the NB Section in 1935 or 1939. Photo: E.R. Wethersett.

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To be continued....

GCR excursion carriages - Barnums: are here.

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