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S&DJR Highbridge-built carriages

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I originally posted the following in the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway group but it has failed to attract any notice there - most of the postings to that group seem to be concerned with only the last decade of the Somerset & Dorset line's century of existence and hardly at all with the long period of its existence as a Joint Railway, as one would expect from the title!


I've been looking at the Midland Railway's carriage marshalling book for North & West trains in the summer of 1911 [1], which includes some interesting through working of S&DJR carriages between Bristol and Birmingham and Derby. The carriage marshalling books include enough information to enable the carriage diagrams to be identified unambiguously in most cases: seating capacity, number of compartments, lavatory and luggage accommodation, and weight. Bogie carriages are so named and the stations for which luggage was to be loaded in each luggage compartment or van are specified. However, I've run up against some ambiguities with the S&DJR carriages.


The through carriages in question are three bogie lavatory composites with locker (i.e. luggage compartment), one bogie lavatory third with locker, and three vans (one 13 tons tare and two 8 tons tare), working from Bristol and Bath in the afternoon (1.18pm from Bristol) and returning the following morning. The carriages that went directly to Bath are shown as going through to Bournemouth, which suggest that two sets of coaches were used - six composites, two thirds, and six vans - around one third of the total S&DJR stock of these carriage diagrams. To identify these carriages, I have Ross Garner's Register [2].


The bogie carriages must be the Highbridge-built 46' carriages. The composites seem straightforward enough: two first class compartments seating 11 and four thirds seating 39, indicating lavatories between a first and a third class compartment, and weighing 24 tons. This corresponds to the layout Lug/T/T/Lav/F/F/T/T of at least some and possibly all of the 19 carriages Nos. 1-3, 5, 9-12, 22, 24-27, and 31-36 built over the period 1900 - 1911. A photo in Garner shows No. 34 with a third class coupe in place of the luggage compartment; although Garner states this is a conversion thought to date from the early 1920s, the transcript of the Derby photographic register dates the photo to 4 June 1913 [3,4].


The bogie third is problematic: it is specified to have seven compartments seating 68, with lavatories and a locker. It seems impossible to fit seven standard 6' width third class compartments, lavatories and a luggage compartment within a 46' body length - allowing for end and partition thicknesses, a mere 2'9" or so is available. The only bogie thirds recorded by Garner are the six carriages Nos. 58, 86-88, 90, and 95, which are listed as either with luggage or with lavatory compartments. The photo in Garner shows a seven-compartment third with a luggage compartment at one end [5]. Was the Midland trying to have its cake and eat it in specifying both lavatories and luggage compartments?


The 13 ton tare van is presumably one of the 22 30' long 6-wheeled full brakes Nos. 1-22 built at Highbridge 1887-93 and 1902-3. (The weight is the same as that quoted for the Midland D530 6-wheel clerestory brake vans.) I'm much confused by the 8 ton tare vans, which must be 4-wheeled vehicles. On my reading of the information in Garner, there were no 4-wheel full brakes in service by 1911, the 24' vehicles which had formerly been Nos. 1-6 having been converted to milk vans (or always been built as such). Garner has a photo of a 4-wheeled full brake No. 12 alongside a photo of 6-wheel full brake No. 12, which was built in 1903 [6]. The vans mentioned in the carriage marshalling document are for passengers' luggage to specific locations. Where vans are for other traffic, this is specified, e.g. 'milk van'.


Is there any further source of information I have overlooked, or can anyone add to the information I've already gathered? I'm aware that there were at one time some 7mm kits for the bogie carriages, by Blacksmith Models, but I've not seen photos.




[1] Midland Railway Marshalling of Through Trains between the North & West of England July, August , and September 1911 (copy in the collection of the Midland Railway Study Centre).


[2] The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway Locomotive and Rolling Stock Registers 1886 - 1930, R. Garner (The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust, 2000).


[3] The Derby Registers (transcript of registers held at the NRM, on the Midland Railway Study Centre website).


[4] Derby negative DY 2347 (NRM); a further photo, DY 8594, may show No. 36. The existence of an entry in the Derby registers does not guarantee that the glass plate negative survives.


[5] Derby negative DY 8572 (NRM); DY 8571 may show No. 90.


[6] Derby negatives DY 8519A (4-wheel) and DY 8519 (6-wheel); the Derby register only lists DY 8519 as 'Brake Van (Passenger) S&DJR".

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I believe the Blacksmith kits were also available in 4mm scale but I don't have any photos of them either – there is a photo of the Lav 3rd on the Coopercraft website, for what that's worth. There is also mention of Composite Coupe, Composite Luggage, and 3rd Luggage. 


You could contact Russ Garner and ask him I suppose...






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Jerry Clifford,'Queens Square' in the 2FS thread, might be able to help you.  He's building a model of Bath Queens Square and it's approaches.



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I started this thread but haven't added much after the initial few entries as I got bogged down in non-railway matters for some months and never really caught up. http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/121206-sdjr-on-rmweb/

You will see in the listings my SDJR albums including the collection of Derby photos my Dad bought for me from BR. They are at http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/album/4114-sdjr-official-rolling-stock-photos/

Colin Maggs' Highbridge in its Heyday has some further photos and a certain amount of information.

There is a thread about published drawings of S&D stock at http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/105332-sdjr-loco-and-coach-drawings/


I hope that helps. I am sure that by now you will have come across much of the info already, but you may find the odd useful lead.


Best wishes with your hunt



Edited by phil_sutters

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Many thanks. Your gallery of Derby officials is a great source of inspiration and reference - watch this space! - but give it another week or so... Currently in the paint shop.

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