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LNER teak coaches and livery

A collection of colour slides that I have restored to show what teak coaches actually looked like in LNER days. The sequence is:

1 - Gangwayed (from pre-Grouping days, some of which served deep into BR days, through LNER and BR days.)
2 - Secondary
3 - White roofs
4 - Details and fittings
5 - Non-passenger coaching stock
6 - Dynamometer cars
7 - Simulated teak finishes
8 - Miscellaneous/BR period

Each is in chronological order.

Two lots of recent additions placed here temporarily

Some more views of LNER Gresleys still in varnished teak in 1954 and 1955.

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It's a going away picture and the only info is a date of 1955, at Eaglescliffe, and the loco is D49 No 62755 The Bilsdale. The top lamp bracket in front of the chimney is empty so we're looking at an express in which the leading gangwayed carriages are a Thompson in BR carmine & cream and possibly a strengthener for which a Gresley 61'6" 1st/3rd composite has been provided.

It's an old one on turnbuckle trussing and the varnished teak livery glows in the wintry sun, the chequerboard pattern quite prominent. Lining of the beading was omitted and a BR-style number placed on the far right hand end. Repaired Colour-Rail BRE 1210.

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My apologies for the motion blur but this is an early evening picture, a low shutter speed would have been used and the panning wasn't all that successful. The only info with the slide is the loco, A3 60102 Sir Frederick Banbury, a date of 1954 and "Rugby Central", so let's see what can be discerned?

The location is about a mile south of Rugby on the 1:176 approach through the great cutting, near the Ashlawn Road bridge.

The date can be narrowed down in two ways: the grass is spring-green but not yet very healthy, as if having lain under snow, there are spring flowers, and the trees have budded - which would be around May. Equally tellingly, there's residual snow in the shaded part of the cutting. It had snowed every month from January to May and quite heavily very early in May, followed by a warm spell and then cold again the last week of that month, which would have arrested melting of a heavy fall earlier in the month. I think that a reasonable date for the picture would be mid- to late-May 1954.

The service judging by the angle of the sun tallies with the 5.55pm arrival of the 5.32pm Woodford-Nottingham Vic Ordinary Passenger.

The formation, hauled by a Leicester loco, is a partially modernised 2-set, by which I mean made up with gangwayed carriages but elderly ones - Gresley 61'6" from the 1930s on steel angle trussing:

BCK

1st/3rd composite brake

    TK

3rd

The trailing one has received BR carmine & cream livery but the leading one is still in varnished teak, albeit no longer lined. It's impossible to tell how the numbering had been applied but I can't help thinking that I can see something at each end, which would tally with LNER practice. I'm not sure I can believe this! Repaired Colour-Rail BRE 471.

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There's more pictures from this era lower down and what they show is simply another transition - was there ever a time without one taking place? Modellers of the post-1957 period have taken on board that BR liveries of carmine & cream and maroon co-existed for some years. The early 1950s get modelled as well, often because many pre-Grouping carriages were to be seen for the last time, but the transition from the Big Four liveries to carmine & cream tends to be harder to recognise.

Some views at Aylesbury from 1938

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This view shows B3 6165 Valour at Aylesbury some half an hour before the general view with three trains in the station and is another repair of a Dufaycolor slide and showing more than the cropped version in the aforementioned "Big Four in Colour, 1935-50" book. I mentioned that according to Yeadon this loco was at Immingham "from 28/11/38" - and this CCQ slide carries a date of "October 1938", which is a better fit. It's possible that the "December" date on the slide below was when it was processed. On the other hand, I'm also wondering how accurate the allocation dates are? And if Yeadon's date actually referred to a four-week period during which the move was made, in which case the loco could have still been at Neasden towards the end of December?

This is pertinent given that another picture (which I don't have) is dated "14th December 1938" and shows the same service and the same two pre-Grouping carriages but no strengthener behind the tender behind another B3, No 6168 Lord Stuart of Wortley. Chaos seems to reign around all these dates and I'm wondering if 6165 could have been photographed on Saturday 21st December and the strengthener had been added for the benefit of Christmas shoppers in London? I'm simply trying to make logical sense of operating practices and what these pictures may be showing. Photo: CCQ 396.


This Dufaycolor picture (hence the diagonally sloping texture) was taken at Aylesbury in 1938 and was reproduced in "The Big Four in Colour, 1935-50", David Jenkinson, Pendragon/Atlantic 1994, which is one of the all time great railway books for its stunning pictures. Alas, the captions were mainly about the locos and misinterpretations abounded. I was in touch with Jenkinson at the time but he didn't want to know. The content in this picture was fabulous but largely missed - here is an attempt to remedy that. As an aside, the image is quite heavily vignetted, which I have repaired. The book reproduction used a reduction in tones instead.

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The date - was not given in the book but my Colour-Rail slide states "12/38", although that can't be right as the B3 No 6165 Valour was transferred to Immingham the previous month so November 1938 at the latest is probably right. You may think that I'm trying to split hairs here but the point is that loco allocations are available and can be looked up, as can a great deal more.

The time the picture was taken can be established by the shadows and indicates about 2pm on a winter's day when a through express called so by turning to the nearest Working Timetable all three trains in view can be identified:

1 - The express on the left hand side of the view was not seen by Jenkinson. It's the 10am Bradford-Marylebone, forerunner of the "South Yorkshireman", which was scheduled to stop for one minute between 2.06-2.07 and with the signals off, is about to restart. It was normally headed by an ex-GCR Atlantic but a B17 could have been in charge by this time (it's hard to tell).

2 - In many ways the star of the picture, Neasden's B3 No 6165 Valour stands in the Up bay (which was added in LNER days as the Outer Suburban traffic boomed) and not simply with "a stopping service to Marylebone" but the Saturdays Only 2.19pm Aylesbury-Marylebone Ordinary Passenger. Being an extra service instead of an A5 tank engine normally used on these Outer Suburban services any adequate vacuum fitted loco in steam would have been provided by Neasden, hence the excessively powerful B3 4-6-0.

A standard formation was not provided for the carriages either - which by this time was mainly LNER-built twins - but a made-up formation using whatever was available in the carriage sidings. Leading is a Gresley gangwayed design, actually a 3rd Open (TO) apparently being used as a strengthener. Behind it is an ex-GCR London Suburban 3rd brake of c1905 (see "London Suburban carriages", link below for details and the Diagram). Beyond it and hard to tell is what looks like a similarly old elliptical roof ex-NER cascade. It's an excellent example of a Saturday extra shoe-horned into the normal service.

The liveries are telling for the leading carriage is in reasonably clean varnished teak but the two behind it are distinctly different because they were panelled with mahogany to take a painted finish and later stripped and varnished when varnished teak became the norm for new construction (or in the case of the ex-NER carriage, painted brown).

3 - The third working is on the right with ex-Metropolitan H2 4-4-4T No 6420 which is shunting the yard with the 11.26am Class D (goods pick-up) from Neasden. Note the LMS 5-plank open merchandise wagon - it's actually the only wagon attached but this is not visible on the Colour-Rail copy. The photographer took the picture as it passed by, hence capturing a busy few minutes and all three trains at the station and was almost certainly planned in advance. As the saying, goes, every picture tells a story....

Source: Photographer unknown, Colour-Rail NE129/Pendragon Collection.

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1 - Gangwayed passenger stock

A4 No 4467 Wild Swan in the 1930s has an up express at an unknown location. Colour reproduction is notoriously unreliable but this picture does give a good idea of what most LNER varnished teak carriages looked like, and the effect of revarnishing, which has been applied to the body of the BG behind the tender. These effects can actually be seen today on preserved lines where restored carriages undergo the same transitions.

The variation between the panels on the BG is also visible, and between individual coaches further back. Please also bear in mind that shades of red look very different indeed depending on whether the sun is shining or not!

Note that there isn't a single white roof to be seen, nor even a grey one, although they are different shades of smokey, near-black. Photo: CCQ, author's collection

This view from 1937 illustrates that in, the late 1930s, two-thirds to three-quarters of the LNER fleet was still of pre-Grouping origin, in this case ex-GNR. "Royal" Claud D16 No 8787 is pausing at Welwyn Garden City and it's quite a well known picture of a train that was much photographed (because the pair of "Royal" D16s in green livery, Nos 8783/8787, was rostered for it). Almost always captioned as a "Cambridge Buffet Express"*, this was in fact a secondary express without catering - the 2.4pm Cambridge-King's Cross whose formation in the 1930s ranged from ex-GNR Howldens and ex-GNR Gresleys, to the latter with the odd LNER Gresley. In the example seen above the leading carriage happens to be Gresley's very first design for the GNR in 1905 - a 50' 10 1/2" BTO (3rd Open Brake) with a Howlden ducket. The next two coaches are pure Gresley ex-GNR with a 61'6" BCK leading, no longer being used as a through carriage. This train was irregular in composition with frequent changes depending on what was available.

As regards the teak panelling, in all three carriages, the teak has darkened considerably, notwithstanding the effect of revarnishing - which never quite recovered progressive darkening over time. These effects can be seen in the A4-hauled train and some even older carriages we'll see in a moment. Hence it is not surprising that the BTO, which was now 32 years old, appears slightly darker than the other carriages. It also appears to show less variation between the panels, possibly because of the overall darkening.

All the roofs, once bright white, are a dark slate grey. Photo: CCQ, author's collection

* "Cambridge Buffet Expresses" were hauled almost entirely by a C1 large Atlantic with a tidy formation of more recently built ex-GNR Gresleys and had this been such a train, the three carriages at this end would have been: BTK, CK, RB... (3rd brake, 1st/3rd composite, buffet car...), all carrying destination boards with a distinctive triple-set on the buffet car.

Both services, 2.4pm and the Buffet expresses, are written up in the first book, pages 129-137.

8787 Brookmans Park

Another view of D16 No 8787 on the 2.4pm Cambridge-King's Cross captured at speed passing Brookman's Park in 1937. Much is blurred but there is enough to speak volumes about the colour of the eight mostly ex-GNR teak coaches (which had after all been been built up to 1922). Leading appears to be a 58'6" or 61'6" BTK (3rd brake), followed by a visibly brighter, recently shopped and revarnished 52'6" TO (3rd open). Another recently re-varnished coach can be seen further back.

Once again, all the roofs are a dark smokey grey without a single white one. Photo: Steam and Sail, author's collection.

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K3 No 1166 stands at Wakefield Westgate in 1937 carrying express lights, although the train is actually an Ordinary Passenger calling at all-stations. The leading carriages are quite a mixture:

  TK
BCK (ex-GNR)
BTK
--- remainder not visible

The leading carriage has caught the evening sun well and the chequer-board arrangement of varying tones of the teak panels is clear, including a darker one where the number was applied.

The second carriage, an ex-GNR BCK(3/3) is partly shaded but it had been shopped recently and the roof, recently white, is light grey.

My apologies for the cropped buffers but quite a few of these copies of old slides are like this - grr! Photo: Colour-Rail NE214.

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all-steel BG

This enlargement from a 1937 picture also appears under the Gresley all-steel BG account and I have placed a copy here for a couple of reasons. To begin with, this is clearly what the LNER itself thought teak should look like vis a vis not so much a carriage fresh from the shops - whether just built or recently re-varnished - but a fairly typical appearance of teak carriages in service on the railway. And, ahem, sorry to keep banging the same drum, the typical appearance was a mid- or dark brown with significant differences between the panels.

A minor point is a bit trickier to deal with. The official photograph (shown in the aforementioned Article) displays full lining, including between the vertical panels, but they are missing here. Although it's hard to tell given the variations in graining between the panels. The best that I can suggest is that lining of secondary and NPCS had ceased in the late 1920s and maybe a halfway house compromise was later made for these BGs in the ECJS fleet, an example of which was almost invariably rostered for the "Flying Scotsman".

A final point to bear in mind is how the varying teak panels were arranged (and painted). Something akin to a chequer-board pattern was employed and at the ends, as seen here, the middle panel was usually the darkest, especially if it carried lettering to help make it stand out. The same can be seen in several pictures below.

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Here is a fine example of what revarnishing could do, but not always.

In 1938 when the new "Flying Scotsman" train sets were launched, the press was taken out by ex-GNR No 1 and a set of reconditioned 6w ECJS and GNR carriages, returning in the new train. This picture taken at Hitchin shows rather well is how dark teak panelling could get, as well as the usual chequer-board pattern. CCQ, author's collection.

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No1 ECJS det

A close-up of the leading carriage (a 6w B with ECJS lettering which may or may not be authentic), offers a better view of the natural variations between the panels which, in carriages of this age, ranged to almost black, and which could not be recovered except by the use of bleach. Evidently such effort was not required, indeed, the carriages for this train were not lined either - it's not immediately visible, is it?

Another well known view showing A1 No 4470 Great Northern at Marshmoor in 1939 with an excursion. Unusually, catering is being provided by a Tourist Buffet Car extracted from a half-set of the Tourist stock. The body of the train comprises relatively recently built teak coaches, from between 1934-39, on steel angle trussing. The salient feature is the noticeable variation in tone between the teak-panelled coaches, although shadow from the steam blowing across the train is not helping! Photo: CCQ, author's collection

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An uneven Dufaycolor slide showing an elderly ex-NER C7 No 732 at the head of an express at York in 1938. The central area is washed out and hard to correct when the loco is on the scruffy side anyway, certainly the boiler, but what can be seen of the leading carriage sings with colour. Its teak may have been on the dark side or had darkened over time but it's well varnished and much cleaner than the loco. In this case the carriage cleaners were outperforming the loco shed cleaners. Note how once again, the middle panel at the outer end was visibly darker, and how well the metal ducket was painted in simulated teak, with some vertical graining, and closer to "average" teak than the relatively dark panels nearby.

It's also possible to see that the vertical guard's handrails appear to be black while the horizontal one looks brown. Or is this a trick of the light? I have a faint memory of use of brown coming to light during restoration of Gresley coaches in recent years as successive layers of paint were stripped off and have pictures of restored carriages carrying either all-black or all-brown. I cannot resolve this at the moment and need to look closer at the 1930s pictures and of restored carriages.

On the right stands an ex-NER arc-roof carriage in faded engineer's blue livery. Photo: CCQ, author's collection.

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With apologies, this Steam & Sail slide has taken a lot of repair but it's a nice view of A3 No 4480 Enterprise, either a DON or KX loco at the time, with a Down express at Potters Bar. Behind the loco is a relatively recently built TO on steel angle trussing, though judging by the large number of ventilators on the roof, not a TTO to D.186 but an earlier type. Nevertheless, the varnished teak has darkened: some of the panels are a medium nut-brown but most are dark brown. There are many pictures of carriages looking like this, a far cry from the ex-works as-built condition. The once-white roof is a smoky dark grey, near-black. Photo: Steam & Sail, author's collection.

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Post-WW2 and BR days

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A post-War view, from February 1948 with B1 No 1285 in glorious post-WWII apple green livery passing Bethnal Green. The carriage behind the tender may be one of the 58'6" GN & NE Joint, 3rd Opens of 1907/8 which the LNER converted to buffet cars in the early 1930s, part of the initial production of some two dozen buffet cars from various sources for the the NE Area, GE, GN and GC Sections - these conversions were in fact more numerous than the Gresley design that followed but don't seem to be noticed by modellers.

Operationally, in LNER days buffet cars were placed inside set formations in normal service relatively rarely - the only known examples being two expresses, the long-lived "Beer Trains" and the short-lived Newcastle-Middlesbrough service. Where a set formation working out and back wasn't deployed, in certain workings, an RB could be placed at the outer of a train so that it could be detached and transferred to another train in the opposite direction, again running at the head or rear; this maximised utilisation of the vehicles and their catering staff. In Michael Harris's book, "GNR and ECJS Carriages from 1905", Plate 64 shows one of these buffer cars in the picture in such a formation in Stratford carriage sidings, although it could have been a "Beer" train where some train pictures show this arrangement; possibly after replacement in service. Yes, I know, it needs a separate article altogether!

As regards the teak in this post-War view - of a carriage built some forty years earlier, it still has that distinct rich hue seen in pre-War pictures. Infrequent washing during the War years has led to an accumulation of grime around the beading, on which the lining is hard to see. The last two digits of the carriage number are visible but, alas, they cannot be made out. I include this view to show that not all carriages turned a sombre dark brown, and that red-brown shades tend to really perk up under direct sunlight. Photo: CCQ, author's collection.

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It's April 1951 and many Gresley carriages were still in varnished teak livery, albeit no longer lined and carrying BR numbers, of course. J69 is at North Woolwich with an RCTS special with a gangwayed 3rd brake leading. This is not an easy image to assess because of the warm wintry light, and the exhaust shadow playing over the top half of the carriage, which I have tried to remedy. The carriage itself can be seen on another picture taken at the same time and was on steel-angle trussing, of roughly 1935-40 construction, so only around 10-15 years old and the main pointer is pretty much as before, that - in sunlight - the teak was quite a rich shade leaning towards orange with a slight hint of red. There are also, not uncommon for the BR period, areas of teak which are darker, especially near the beading, which the works did not rectify before revarnishing. Photo: CCQ, author's collection.

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The date is August 1949 in the second year after Nationalisation and a filthy B17, No 61634 Hinchingbrooke (Ipswich) is at Marks Tey with a Down express. What can be seen of the main train looks typically darkened with age but a strengthener had been placed behind the tender, a Gresley 61'6" TK on the later steel angle trussing. It had been refurbished recently and its orange-red hue shows nicely, with LNER-style lettering on the far right panel. The roof is a pale grey colour, which may have been white beginning to acquire a layer of soot, or BR grey.

To the right stands what looks like an ex-GER D16 with a short Ordinary Passenger train and, on the rear, an ex-GER clerestory. It's quite clean and a pleasing dark brown colour, quite unlike the Gresley stock. Photo: Colour-Rail BRE1940.

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I'm afraid that this slide is not very sharp and it's washed out, which means that its colour cast is wonky. I've tried to repair and sharpen it but interpretation of tones is not easy. However, there are some useful points.

It's April 1954 and V2 No 60886 has an excursion at Eaglescliffe. As far as I can tell, the 12 or so carriages are ex-LNER and the liveries, quite mixed. Most are in BR carmine & cream livery with a recently refurbished Gresley BG near the front in plain crimson.

Added to the head was a Gresley 61'6" CK on turnbuckle trussing and this one had also been refurbished relatively recently but the teak, revarnished. It's unlined but the location and style of the lettering cannot alas be seen.

The colour of the roof is hard to determine: it looks quite fresh and may have been turned out in white and not seen much use in traffic. Compare with the Gresley carriage next to it for its BR livery is even fresher and the roof would definitely have been grey, even if it's disconcertingly pale. It's a matter of personal interpretation, really. Photo: Colour-Rail BRE1228.

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This beautiful picture at Grantham was taken by Keith Pirt in 1959 and shows ex-GCR A5 4-6-2T No 68914 (GRA) with an Ordinary Passenger train of very assorted carriages:

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     SK

   61'6"

ex-LNER

Gresley

carmine & cream

   BS

   51'1 1/2"

ex-LNER

Gresley

varnished teak

     CL

   52'4"

ex-LNER

Thompson

steel panelled, simulated teak

   BS

   57'

BR Mk.1

-

all-steel, carmine

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But note the liveries! The end carriages are in BR crimson and cream liveries with the fugitive red colour once a fine shade of crimson approaching a shade of orange-red. It hasn't kept well, has it? In between is a Gresley in varnished teak and a Thompson in simulated teak - and it is 1959, I should remind you, and they look in splendid condition. It seems as if the carriage shed and the carriage cleaners cherished these two survivors of a bygone age.

A big point here is that when liveries changed there followed a period of transition when old and new schemes rubbed shoulders and many modellers of the late 1950s recognise this. Not so much the early '50s, though, when many pre-Grouping carriages were painted brown and, as can be seen here, varnished teak did not disappear just like that!

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Despite appearances the stock was not very old and the four carriages are more interesting than may at first meet the eye:

61'6" TK - this was designed in 1938 for the ECJS. More were built the following year for the NB Section and the Diagram is quite revealing:

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On the face of it this is the "standard" 61'6" TK but look closer, and it hasn't got the usual 8 compartments but 7 - one less as per the 1st class version, and the Diagram shows why: the leg room in the compartments was increased by widening them from 6'2" to 6'6 1/8". After the first batch, the toilet was revised, too, although it was pretty much as cramped as always. Why the compartments were made more comfortable I cannot say. It come across as a desire to make the fleet more comfortable and it's noticeable that at this stage, they were only for the ECJS and NB Section (which operated trains between Edinburgh, Newcastle and Aberdeen). None went to any of the other Sections or Areas.

However, this longer compartment width became the norm when Thompson introduced his stock. His increase in the overall length of the carriage could have enabled 8 compartments to be carried again but that was not to be because transverse corridors were fitted instead.

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51'1 1/2" BT(6) - this was also designed in 1938, for the Outer Suburban service out of Marylebone at a time when most secondary stock like this was being built as twins. The GC Section wanted them so that it could make up 5-sets. This one was cascaded away, likewise the A5 4-6-2T, of course.

For modellers, I described how I made one of these by cross-kitting Kirk and MJT parts (see Articles Index), here's a view of the result:

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Model of a D.246 BT(6) made by cross-kitting Kirk sides on a semi-scratch u/f with modified MJT parts and ABS bogies. I realise now that secondary stock like this was no longer being lined. Doh!

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Finally an undated b&w view at Seer Green of an Up Marylebone Outer Suburban train headed by A5 69828 (NEA) with a D.246 BT(6) at the head of the train. Photo: Author's collection.

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52'4" CL - this is the Thompson version of the semi-corridor lavatory composite, steel-panelled with an oval window for the lavatories. They were built from 1947-1953. A note in passing for modellers - the trussing on the 52'4" carriage is as provided by castings from MJT; it was shallower on Gresley 51'1 1/2" (and can be modified as shown on the model).

57' BT - this BR design was introduced in late 1954.



2 - LNER teak-panelled secondary stock

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A vintage slide taken in 1938 on Dufaycolor film at an as yet unidentified location shows B12 No 8549 with a 3-set made up with pre-Grouping carriages: T, C, BT (ex-NER, ex-GER, ex-GER). Quite a few ex-NER carriages when modernised by Gresley stock were cascaded to the GE and GC Sections. The sharpness is not great but the picture is useful for showing three different shades of brown, way beyond what most modellers contemplate! The roofs are more alike, but not quite the same. Note how the lower footstep is still in place under all three carriages.

In the distance, a double-decker bus is proceeding in the same direction. I think we might need a bus specialist to make further progress with the location! Photo: CCQ, author's collection.

New information:

John Richardson and Richard Adderson have added their wisdom on this one, thank you. They identify the location as just south of Rochford with the train heading south towards Southend. The loco was at Stratford and Southend until late 1939 which tallies with the date of 1938. The two discs, the LH one white and the RH one with a cross, were used for "Shenfield and Southend Local trains". On the road which describes a semi-circle to the east of the railway, the red and white bus would have been from Westcliff Motor Services.

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This wonderful picture shows C1 3274 leaving King's Cross in 1939 with a semi-fast Outer Suburban train (they ran as far north as Peterborough) which would have been based on articulated lavatory twins, in this case 55'6" which, for the GN Section, were built between 1935-37: a BT-CL is leading.

However, the picture is deceptive in a couple of ways. To begin with, these coaches were quite new - most of the fleet was a lot older, up 50 years old - while on these, being only 2-4 years old, the teak is still relatively fresh and glows in the sunlight. It's enhanced on the leading coach by reflection off the platform. Secondly, examination of the original confirms what is often forgotten - that from 1927 secondary carriages were no longer being lined. Sunlight is reflecting off the horizontal beading giving the appearance of lining, but not of course on the vertical beading. The coach roofs are a smoky mid-grey colour. Photo: CCQ, author's collection

LNER twin at KX

One of the finest colour pictures of teak-panelled stock, this is a Dufaycolour taken by Sidney Perrier in February 1939. A station pilot at King's Cross has a 55'6" articulated twin (BT-CL) built to D.210 between 1935-37. This one appears to have been revarnished recently.

To begin with, the teak used at the time, despite the vagaries of reproduction at every stage, had a little more of a red tint than in the teak we generally see imported today and which tends to be a little more orange, or if simulated, even yellow. It's a subtle difference that I make to guide modellers away from the pine-coloured version that some modellers produce. Reality bites, chaps!

Secondly, lining of secondary stock ceased c1927, as this picture shows. The sunlight has caught the horizontal beading to make it appear as as if it was lined, but the real give-away is in the vertical beading which is visibly just plain teak. Modellers are in a quandary here for an unlined model can look a bit poorly, while a lined one is just wrong, especially if finished in ex-works condition when there can be a kind of fairground feel to the model, especially if the roof is white too. Try and find a train picture with a single white roof let alone a train of them and you'll see what I mean. I haven't finished a model from this period myself yet and need to do some trials on this: I suspect that lining with a pale brown may give the right visual impression of sunlight on the beading. Photo: CCQ, author's collection

Technical note:Coming back to the problems of colour reproduction and veracity, Dufaycolour is known to fade its yellows and the scan of this slide came with slightly pink clouds in the sky. I have corrected both casts hoping to get closer to the colours that the photographer saw on the day.

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Enlargement of part of a post-War view on the GE Section with F5 No 7208 carrying its new, Thompson number and part of quintuple set No 152 in pre-War unlined condition. As in the previous views, the light is reflecting on the horizontal beading and making it look as if it has been lined. The teak itself is looking a little drab and in need of a service and re-varnishing. Plain carmine would soon be the new order. Photo: CCQ, author's collection.

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This is a CCQ slide which I have repaired and show the maximum area because of the content. Taken in 1948 at Grantham and featuring the unique D3 No 2000, there is a KX Outer Suburban train in the background and one of the twins shows quite well. Photo: J.M. Jarvis, repaired CCQ, author's collection.

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In this enlargement most of the number can be seen from which it can be deduced that it was 44452 of a 51'1 1/2" BT-T steel panelled twin built in 1943 to D.312. A couple of features are significant. To begin with, reproduction of colours is affected by so many things but what this shows is how the LNER wanted its varnished teak livery to look like, and being a painted version, five years have passed and it's not showing the usual deterioration associated with real teak. The finish looks fresh and the hue, what might be described as mid-brown: it's actually very pleasing.

Note that there is no lining, which the LNER had ceased applying on secondary stock from 1927.

Yet the picture shows something else - that shadows were simulated around the beading. This is clearly seen under the "beading" below the cornice as well as along the waist. It's harder to see by the vertical "beading" where it's also possible to see that it was painted a slightly different hue compared with the "panels" in between. The panel with the number was, per normal practice, slightly darker.

All this was done quite beautifully and can be compared with a Guy Hemingway b&w close-up on p.44 of Historic Carriage Drawings -1, Nick Campling, Pendragon 1997. I should add that the b&w picture shows part of a gangwayed "steel quintuple set" on which the beading was lined. I mention this because the SQS also travelled through Grantham but the CCQ slide definitely shows non-gangwayed carriages. Photo: J.M. Jarvis, repaired CCQ, author's collection.

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3 - White roofs

The LNER painted its canvas-covered roofs with white lead, which quickly turned grey and then almost black. But how quickly, and at any given moment, how many white-roofed carriages were to be seen among all the dark ones? Modellers have a penchant for ex-works liveries and while that may be fine in its own right, how realistic is it to paint every carriage in every train like that?

One way of answering that may be to say that I have many LNER train pictures and the number of trains with a white-roofed carriage can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Here are nearly all of them, as usual, in chronological order

But first I should say that every so often the LNER would launch with a fanfare of publicity a new, prestigious and elite express for which the carriages were built specially with one-off Diagrams and the train launched accordingly. It never happened with lesser services where normal carriages were introduced by a process of replacement, one at a time.

All-new elite

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Photo: Westminster Press, author's collection.

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John Watling, John Richardson and Richard Adderson have added their wisdom re this picture, thank you. Like many an old view, it has a blank back and I misjudged it as the "East Anglian". The location has been identified as Manningtree Junction with the train taking the Harwich Branch, and more likely to be the "Hook Continental". The goods wagons in the distance are on the north to east curve.

OS map

Quite right, here is the location from the 25" OS map (of 1923, the nearest available). Source: National Library of Scotland.

Turning now to the LNER's house magazine, a two-page article in 1938 (pp.624-5) described how a demonstration run was organised on 6th October 1938, when the pictures below would have been taken, normal service commencing a few days later on 10th October, 1938:

LNERM

The pristine white roofs almost look unreal (even if it's what modellers do most of the time)! Source: LNER Magazine, c/o GER Society.

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A4 No. 4482 Golden Eagle has the all-new "Flying Scotsman" in 1938, also built with one-off dedicated carriages. Not long after entering service and the train has already mellowed and the roofs are pale grey. Photo: Real Photographs.

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Normal service

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In the 1920s, A1 Class No 2545 Diamond Jubilee has a Down GNML express in which the second carriage has recently been refurbished. The pristine whiteness is already beginning to darken. Photo: Author's collection.

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A long express, the 4.5pm from King's Cross, heads north behind A4 No 2510 Quicksilver. The second carriage is a 58'6" ex-GNR buffet conversion with a recently revarnished body and repainted roof. The underframe is harder to judge but it hasn't got the gloss you might have expected if it too had been repainted. Further back another white roof stands out. Photo: Photomatic.

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A picture of contrasts, you might say, as a mucky B16 No 849 is near Durham with a good quality Down excursion which has been provided with many 3rd Open carriages. The leading pair (BTO, TO) looks so clean as if freshly built, but the well-worn underframe shows otherwise, just a pair of carriages which have recently been through the shops and the teak body revarnished and the roof re-white-leaded. Photo: Colling Turner.

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BR days

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Ex-LNER canvas roofs continued to be treated the same way after the new liveries were introduced and, at first, the teak-panelled bodies were revarnished (without lining). A3 60084 Trigo is approaching Harrogate with a Newcastle-Liverpool express on 30th May 1953. The main formation has been made up with a mixture of ex-LNER and BR Mk.1 types, all in carmine and cream, plus, behind the loco, a strengthener which appears to have been stabled in the carriage sidings and seen little use: it's still in varnished teak and the roof is still white.

Rather pleasingly, catering was being provided by two Gresley carriages, what appears to be a 3rd Restaurant (or RU) and a Semi-open 1st. Photo: Cecil G. Pearson.

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And finally for now, another Newcastle-Liverpool express draws into Leeds City behind A3 No 60088 Book Law. The date is not known but all the stock, Gresley and BR Mk.1, is carrying the post-1957 maroon livery. The strengthener behind the loco is a late 1930s Gresley TK built on the steel angle underframe and it looks like the roof was still painted with white lead.

I'm wondering if it was the practice to overpaint with grey, and perhaps this one missed it? Or perhaps, despite standardisation, this batch of BR grey was extremely pale? Photo: Kenneth Field.

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4 - Some details

Handrails on brake and brake-ended carriages

The basic position in LNER days was that:

- Brass castings were used for door "T-handles" and the grab handles alongside, and for the vertical lever handle for the guard.

- Steel was used for the guard's handrails, and along the waist of bogie vans (the extent of which was reduced in new designs during the 1930s). Cast iron was used for the horizontal lever handles on van doors. Both ferrous metals needed protection by paint, but the question is, what colour was used? Two have been observed:

Black - examination of CCQ and Steam & Sail colour pictures where brake ends and bogie vans, five altogether, shows black in every case.

Mid-brown - this colour is claimed to have been discovered when painted ironwork was being stripped back during restoration and at least one Gresley carriage has been restored this way.

Examination of LNER Official b&w pictures is difficult because two kinds of film were used at the time:

Orthochromatic, which rendered shades of red as black (and is thus not helpful!)

Panchromatic, which was more realistic although there was a tendency for the teak panelling on freshly varnished carriages to show quite pale with very pronounced graining. Panchromatic film was more modern but the LNER only used it sporadically. As a result, the number of photographs of brake-ended carriages taken with Panchromatic film is quite small. And it didn't help that most carriages pictures were taken on a cloudy day when the contrast was low. I have nine samples on Panchromatic film on which several show black ironwork quite clearly - generally when photographed on a sunny day. But the rest cannot be identified with confidence, whether black or brown.

My only firm conclusion from the photographic evidence is that black was definitely used on the ironwork. I cannot yet say to what extent brown was used, nor if it may have been a works variation? Here is a pair of pictures showing both styles on preserved vehicles:

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This is a Gresley BCK, No 24068, as seen on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 2005. The guard's door handle is brass and the ferrous fittings have been painted black. Photo: Mike Trice.

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And this is a Gresley BTK, No 43567, on which the ferrous fittings have been painted brown. The guard's handle should have been unpainted brass. Photo: Mike Trice.

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The most striking thing about the two schemes is that the brown one has the effect of making the handrails almost invisible. The black colour has the opposite effect. Which was the more aesthetically pleasing I leave viewers to decide. When wearing my modeller's hat, I choose black because the fittings can be seen well, and because there is more evidence for it.

In a similar vein for bogie vans, all the fittings were painted black except for the brass T-handles and guard's handle. Two examples shown above are the teak-panelled BG behind the blue A4, and the close-up of the all-steel BG.


Guard's ducket

The guard's ducket was also made out of steel and painted and grained to sit comfortably with the teak panelling. LNER paint shops were expert at this and the two pictures from LNER days show vertical graining. The restored carriages show differences of interpretation, although red-based paint is fugitive and prone to change as time passes.

5 - Non-passenger coaching stock

A repeat of this picture (see above for details) because of the 61'6" BG behind the tender. It had been revarnished recently, hence the golden glow of the teak panelling, enhanced by a fine sunny day, standing out from all the other carriages with a more time-served appearance. Photo: CCQ, author's collection.

all-steel BG

This repeat shows shows a Gresley all-steel BG, built 1927 for the ECJS fleet, in 1937. See above for more details about the finish, the main point here is that the painted simulated teak has aged better and darkened less than actual teak carriages.

495

This view of another all-steel BG was taken in Clifton Sidings, York, behind J71 No 495. Once again, the painted simulated teak finish looks fresher than most teak-panelled carriages. Photo: Colour-Rail NE190.

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V2 No 4774 is at Brookmans Park with what is described as "a 16-coach extra". I cannot confirm that, and with no BTK in the formation and a complete absence of destination boards on the leading 7 carriages I wonder if this wasn't actually trial with a newly-built V2?

Behind the tender is a pre-Grouping 56'6" BG built at Doncaster for the ECJS fleet or the GNR - they were outwardly the same and are described in a separate section. The main point here is the condition of the teak panelling. It's so worn and grubby that the teak colour is barely visible, mostly in the lighter panels.

The next four carriages are ex-GNR with a 52'6" TK leading. It had been revarnished recently, the teak is glowing and the chequer-board arrangement of light and dark panels shows well. The next three carriages show similarly arranged panelling but are significantly darker and more drab.

Behind the five pre-Grouping vehicles it's possible to see two LNER-built Gresleys, a pair of side-door 3rds (TK). One of them has been overhauled recently and the roof is pale grey. Photo: Colour-Rail, NE146, extensively corrected for vignetting and tonal variations.

ECJS and GNR 56'6" BGs: are here.

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D21

Another view at Wakefield Westgate, this time from 1938 with D21 No 1246 in charge of an Ordinary Passenger train. This is probably part of the Starbeck roster described on p.80 in "LNER Passenger Trains & Formations, The Principal Services". Such a pity that the body of the train, a collection of old ex-GNR stock cannot be seen.

However, a 6w passenger brake van has been added behind the tender and it's ex-GER. Underneath all that grime the livery was actually painted simulated teak. The moral is, as with the 56'6" BG above, that excepting BGs in the ECML fleet serving in prestigious expresses as fixed luggage & parcels vans, most NPCS was rarely if ever washed and tended to look more like goods stock than passenger. This may come as a shock to modellers who rejoice in ex-works livery on their layouts, and examples there would have been, but the majority looked pretty scruffy.

Once again, my apologies for the cropped buffers on the slide and, alas, the 6w van. I have scanned to the edges of the image and this is all we have. Photo: Colour-Rail NE183.


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This is based on Colour-Rail NE106 with my apologies for the mediocre colours; the original, a Dufaycolor slide, was exposed on a dull day and the duplicate from C-R quite strongly vignetted and blue; I have done my best to restore it.

The scene is Edinburgh Waverley in August 1939 and A3 No 2747 Coronach is about to depart with the LMS formation of the Up "Thames-Forth" * express. In the background stands a K3 and a Gresley 61'6" 3rd (TK)

All good stuff, but I got the picture because of the 6w van behind the tender - it's one of the rarely photographed ex-NBR Fruit and Yeast Vans (LNER Wagons-3, p.59, Peter Tatlow).

The livery is intriguing, too, for this was classed as a goods van, even though fitted with AVB and through steam heat pipe. The body colour can be loosely described as brown and I think I can see the large white letters "NE" placed fairly centrally, between the doors. Further text would have been placed below them, and the slide seems to show what may be two words, in yellow??

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*Route of the Thames-Forth express - Heading south was:
Edinburgh-Carlisle via the Waverley Route
Carlisle-Leeds via the Settle & Carlisle
Leeds-St.Pancras via the Midland main line through Derby.

After the hiatus caused by WWII, the service was not actually restored until 1956, when BR renamed it "The Waverley". But it was not to last and after an initial reduction to summer-only, it was withdrawn in 1968.

Iain Chalmers, member of the NBR Study Group, has come forward to say there could be two of these yeast vans behind the tender. He believes that much of the yeast was a by-product from the beer industries around Alloa and that these despatches could reach Burton-on-Trent in the Midlands. It's interesting that the NBR gave these vans a passenger livery (ie. NPCS) while the LNER regarded them as goods vehicles - a bit strange for a 6w vehicle fully up to NPCS specifications and running with expresses, but you have to get used to inconsistencies in railway practice.

There's more work to be done here but already there is the tantalising prospect for LNER and LMS modellers to run these vans.

How the yeast vans were taken on to Burton-on-Trent is not yet known. It's possible that they may have been attached to other passenger services, from Derby for example, by which time thanks to the change of direction at Leeds City, the Yeast Van would have been on the rear. And possibly returned via goods trains?

Any further ideas/corrections would be welcome (via the "Contact/feedback" link, please)!


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A fine period view of an LNER-period Pacific taken at York Loco in 1937 shows A1 No 2543 Galtee More by the coaling stage.

Of equal interest in the background is a horse box (ex-GNR) showing the mid-brown livery that was used, and how it weathered. This is how I have painted my models.

Next to it is an as-yet unidentified van carrying the goods "bauxite" livery (which when fresh was bright orange). Photo: repaired CCQ, author's collection.

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An enlargement of the horse box and van. Photo: repaired CCQ. author's collection.


6 - Dynamometer cars

I added this topic after a RTR model of the Worsdell dynamometer car in LNER livery attracted debate and somebody from Rapido defended the lack of lining with this:

Vintage colour photos on Steve Banks' web site - [link] (scroll down about half way) seem to support a lack of lining.

What I was actually describing and illustrating was the LNER's decision in 1927 to stop lining secondary carriages and this selective quotation is misleading.

Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of photographic evidence - clear and clear as mud, and it's normal to focus on the former and discard the latter. Using the latter to muddy the waters is not a good practice and there are enough clear pictures of this vehicle to show that the LNER livery included lining. Here is the well-known view of the Dynamometer car as photographed in 1938 behind Mallard at Barkston with some detail enlargements.

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A general view. Photo: Author's collectiom.

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The first enlargement shows about a quarter of the vehicle and how the lining had been applied. Note that the large windows were fitted with bolections which were not lined and whose corners have caught the light. Where beading had been fitted, it was lined in the normal way, inside and out.

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The second enlargement is helpful for if you look at the top right hand corner of the body you can see that when the ducket was added, the panelling above it retained lining along the outer edge. That lining had continued along the outside edge as far as the horizontal lining under the beading along the waist. The other end is too far away to show it.

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A scene at King's Cross in 1948 and the loco exchanges with LMS "Royal Scot" No 46162 Queen's Westminster Rifleman about to depart. The sun was behind the train and the image is not all that sharp either, but it's possible to see the Thompson number 902502 had been applied and that, for the sake of consistency, all the panels along the waist were revarnished. A detail view would be unkind but the lining was visibly still in place, including the outer line on the non-ducket end. Photo: Author's collection.

All told, the LNER livery was a work of art and its subsequent simplification by BR was a little disappointing, likewise its continuation at the NRM where LNER lettering was retro-applied, but not the lining. Decisions made during preservation are subject to many factors and not every item is completely correct; that's just the way it is. It's unfortunate that research carried out by model makers occasionally cuts corners by copying something in its preserved state.

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BR liveries.

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The ex-NER Worsdell Dynamometer Car passing through Banbury on 10th August 1950 after being used by the Southern Region for locomotive trials. It was at the head of a cross-country express with A3 60054 Prince of Wales in charge. The livery is simulated teak as before but the lining has been dropped as on other ex-LNER passenger carriages at the time. The number E902502 was being carried and the single word "DYNAMOMETER" which appears to be cream with a black outline. Photo: J. Batts

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This picture (the Doncaster Drawing Office original) shows the Thompson version in 1953 in full passenger livery and number DB999500. The ends of the picture, and around the underframe, were whited out to make the carriage stand out from the background. Photo: author's collection.

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DB 999500

A close up of the lettering at the far end.

These technical vehicles, whether Worsdell or Thompson, the companies were proud of and gave them a good passenger livery. Indeed, it looks like the Southern Region felt the same way and gave the ex-LNER car to the carriage cleaners before returning it to Doncaster between trials.



7 - Simulated teak finishes

(a) On steel and steel-panelled stock

I'm going to try to pull together several strands, based on observation of carriages in photos, some of which I have repeated here

Teak is a natural product and not only varies in how it ages, but in its original colour - from tree to tree and from slightly different varieties from different countries. Matching all the panels on the side of a carriage was not easy and was only attempted for the most prestigious stock. Otherwise as already described, the panels were mixed in a chequered-board fashion, and darker panels used for the end panels carrying lettering. In preservation simply getting teak is a tough proposition never mind the niceties of matching panels and modellers shouldn't use modern examples as a guide to what was achieved when the LNER was a going concern.

When it came to a simulated "teak" finish by paint on all-steel or steel-panelled carriages, it became possible to show a more uniform and more elegant finish, which appears to have gone through several stages, contemporary b&w pictures using panchromatic film and colour slides showing that:

1 - The practice of having the end panels which carried lettering slightly darker was retained.

2 - The chequerboard pattern was copied at first but this changed over the years. The all-steel BG of 1927, for example, had a fairly clear patten and so did the 'Alpax' coach of 1933 where, interestingly, the end "panel" which would normally have carried the number was darker, but was too small for the lettering, which was thus placed inboard on a much lighter "panel". By 1935 these panel variations were more subdued and, as the years passed, they became barely visible or not all.

3 - Thompson gangwayed carriages tended to have longer panels and it has been said that the graining was of a lower order. Beading was no longer represented either, these factors combining to give a much higher degree of uniformity.

all-steel BG

This enlargement from a 1937 picture also appears under the Gresley all-steel BG account and I have placed a copy here for a couple of reasons. To begin with, this is clearly what the LNER itself thought teak should look like vis a vis not so much a carriage fresh from the shops - whether just built or recently re-varnished - but a fairly typical appearance of teak carriages in service on the railway. And, ahem, sorry to keep banging the same drum, the typical appearance was a mid- or dark brown with significant differences between the panels.

The chequerboard pattern shows well and the variations are quite pronounced. The end panel carrying the number is especially dark.

A minor point is a bit trickier to deal with. The official photograph (shown in the aforementioned Article) displays full lining, including between the vertical panels, but they are missing here. Although it's hard to tell given the variations in graining between the panels. The best that I can suggest is that lining of secondary and NPCS had ceased in the late 1920s and maybe a halfway house compromise was later made for these BGs in the ECJS fleet, an example of which was almost invariably rostered for the "Flying Scotsman".

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This picture shows a York-built "steel quintuple" twin of 1939. Panchromatic film has rendered the teak finish lighter than normal and the almost end-on sunlight has enhanced the contrast. The image is glorious and you have to take on board how it was captured on a colour slide which, by contrast tended to have pastel shades!

The main point here though is that the simulated graining is beautiful to see on individual "panels" their tone differs very little. Being gangwayed carriages, lining was applied. Photo: author's collection.

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The same can be said of the composite which ran between the 3rd Class twin above. It's been said that it can be hard to tell between such a carriage and a real teak-panelled one but I think this is more the case when looking at samples of panels. The nub of the issue is in variation between the panels and how this was handled with real teak, and when simulated, quite apart the fact that real teak carriages soon acquired the hue of an old school leather satchel while the steel-panelled one with a painted finish not only looked better but more modern. Photo: author's collection.

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In this enlargement of a non-gangwayed (hence unlined) steel panelled twin built in 1943 to D.312 it's fair to caution how reproduction of colours is affected by so many things but what this shows is how the LNER now wanted its varnished teak livery to look like, and being a painted version, five years have passed and it's not showing the usual deterioration associated with real teak. The finish looks fresh and the hue, what might be described as mid-brown: it's actually very pleasing.

Yet the picture shows something else - that shadows around the non-existent beadingwere simulated. This is clearly seen under the "beading" below the cornice as well as along the waist. It's harder to see by the vertical "beading" where it's also possible to see that it was painted a slightly different hue compared with the "panels" in between. The panel with the number was, per normal practice, slightly darker.

All this was done quite beautifully and can be compared with a Guy Hemingway b&w close-up on p.44 of Historic Carriage Drawings -1, Nick Campling, Pendragon 1997. I should add that the b&w picture shows part of a gangwayed "steel quintuple set" on which the beading was lined. I mention this because the SQS also travelled through Grantham but the CCQ slide definitely shows non-gangwayed carriages. Photo: J.M. Jarvis, repaired CCQ, author's collection.

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A fine view taken of Thompson TK No 1023 as built by BRC&WC in 1946. Graining variations were toned down and variations between "panels" almost eliminated. The appearance was much less flamboyant and, all told, quite a modern and sleek look. One might say that it was a steel-panelled coach with a wood-looking finish rather than a wooden-panelled carriage of old. Photo: LNER, author's collection.

For more pictures of these late LNER carriages, see the links below.

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Thompson gangwayed: is here.

Thompson non-gangwayed: is here.

(b) Other simulated teak finishes

This is complex in that pre-Grouping carriages which had been built with mahogany panelling for a painted livery (the NBR, NER and GCR) ended up in LNER days either being rubbed down and varnished (GCR) or repainted with simulated teak finish (all three companies), but plain brown began to be used instead, which even Michael Harris found disappointing. I'll add more pictures later but, for now, repeat one of the pictures of the ex-NER dynamometer car which gained and kept a simulated teak finish into BR days and preservation. The panelling was lined originally but that was dropped by BR in what might be called LNER secondary stock style or Thompson-era style. Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

The ex-NER Worsdell Dynamometer Car passing through Banbury on 10th August 1950 is carrying the simulated teak livery after the lining was dropped by BR (and on ex-LNER passenger carriages at the time). The teak effect may be described as restrained and elegant. Photo: John Batts.

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8 - Miscellaneous/BR period

Gresley BSK for the Hook Continental

Going deeper into the BR era is not quite true to the name of the topic but this view is interesting in several ways:

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At a location that I cannot remember, a Gresley BSK (2nd Brake) basks in the sun with a destination roof board, THE HOOK CONTINENTAL. It's a 6'16" coach built in 1938 providing 2nd Class seating, by now a rare feature on the LNER. Actually a BSK(6), originally No 62515, later Thompson/BR No 16725. It was a one-off.

This is the corridor side to the final format with 4-square toplights in alternating windows. Note the internal handrail, beautifully chromed - or was it stainless steel?

Brass on ordinary stock, chrome on the streamliners, 1938 F/s, East Anglian and Hook Continental. Possibly also on the buffets where the chairs were chrome plated. Thanks to Rupert Brown, LNER Society.

The BR maroon livery is distinguished by a BR roundel, a sign that this carriage was above the norm. The lining is interesting because my understanding is that the norm in England was to place it over the beading below the windows, except in Scotland where it was placed like this. Personally, I think that it suits Gresley carriages even if it was out of sync with the lining on BR Mk.1 stock. Photo: author's collection.

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Links mentioned in text:

GCR London Suburban carriages: are here.

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