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London & North Western Railway Society
LNWR Society Publications

LNWR Society Portfolio No. 7 - Selected LNWR Carriages

Portfolio no 7 Front page

This LNWR Society Portfolio consists of a series of essays or monographs on selected aspects of LNWR carriages, mostly compartment-type stock made up into coupled (set) trains. Most enthusiasts are very familiar with LNWR locomotives, but carriage stock has received much less attention. This is a pity, as the study of old photographs can often reveal much of interest in the train as well as its principal subject. Carriages were designed for particular duties and services just as much as (or even more than) locomotives were, and set trains of suburban stock were often restricted to definite geographical localities. This is important to model makers, while historians can gain insights into changes in the pattern of train working. At the same time, carriage design developed over the years, although as always there were oddities and anomalies to add interest to the story.
The aim of this portfolio is therefore to add interest to members’ researches by describing some of the passenger rolling stock produced at Wolverton, both in physical terms and from the point of view of train working. Details appropriate to modellers have also been included, as well as sample numbers to suit different train formations. Inevitably the information tends to detail, but I have taken the view that it is better to record rather too much rather than rather too little. The first section gives details of the system of carriage numbering together with some statistical information. Other sections cover ‘families’ of carriages of similar design.
A difficulty which faces the historian is that all the known worthwhile LNWR photographs have been published before – often many times. For this reason no photographs are included in this Portfolio. Rather, the reader is directed to examine the photographs published in other volumes which are inevitably to be found on the shelves of the LNWR enthusiast. Prominent among these are An Illustrated History of LNWR Coaches by David Jenkinson (OPC 1978) and the two-volume LNWR Miscellany by Edward Talbot (OPC 1978 and 1980). For convenience David Jenkinson’s work will be cited in short as Jenkinson and similarly Ted Talbot’s books will be cited at Talbot. Other publications will also be useful, including A Register of West Coast Joint Stock by R.M. Casserley and P.A. Millard (HMRS 1980) and a photostat copy of the LNWR 1915 Carriage Diagram Book which is available from the Society. It should perhaps be mentioned however that this volume is not complete, as the original has been mutilated by the removal of pages. As with the Jenkinson book, it really represents the position at or soon after the Grouping and is not fully descriptive of earlier years.
For simplicity carriage configurations are referred to by their BR rolling stock codes – F, S, T and C for First, Second, Third and Composite, with a B prefix to indicate a guard’s brake compartment. The suffix L denotes non-corridor lavatory stock and K stands for Korridor carriage. Thus, a BTK is a corridor brake-third and a BCL a lavatory brake-composite. Sometimes in the case of composite carriages it is necessary to distinguish between first/second, first/third second/third and tri-composites, in which case I have used the notation C(f/s) C(f/t) and so forth. G or Gd indicates a guard’s brake compartment and Lg a luggage cupboard.
Although this Portfolio appears under my authorship I must make it clear that the material relies very heavily indeed on the meticulous work of my friend and fellow-researcher Richard Casserley. For many years Richard and 1 have carried out research based on study of fragmented original Wolverton records, and at this stage it is hard to identify which of us unearthed what! But I am keen to acknowledge that at least 75% of this Portfolio is based on his contribution, although any errors in the text are of course my sole responsibility. As always I am grateful to Jim Richards for his insights based on personal observations in the inter-war period, and to Cyril Webb for permission to examine the official LNWR records at Wolverton.
Philip A. Millard
December 1988