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Lacathedrale

A 10,000' view of SE&CR coaching stock

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I've got both Gould books which are wonderful as a source of reference but it's very difficult for me to glean a useful picture, so I was hoping I could type up my findings here, such as they are, and appeal to those with better knowledge to correct any of my most egregious mistakes. I appreciate there's lots more research to do!

 

Overview

The SE&CR inherited many assorted coaches from the SER and LCDR.  Generally, other than dual braking anything that was vacuum braked very little was done in the way of improvement to older coaches. They were specifically known for having uneven rooflines and being a shoddy mish-mash of styles and ages for anything but the most prestigious boat trains. 

 

Four and six wheeled coaches/brake vans would be occasionally added to trains, but not marshalled between bogie coaches - it was fairly common to see six-wheeled brake vans on services- but by 1922 all longer distance trains consisted of bogie stock.

 

Generally, bogie stock was mounted on fox pattern on 8’ wheelbase, except shortest coaches (such as those built for the Folkestone Harbour branch)

 

Liveries

Coaches would have been painted a purple lake livery initially  and then Wellington Brown in the lead-up to/post war. Destination boards would normally be ‘fixed’ - vermillion with gold lettering shaded black. ‘Continental Boat Express, London & Folkestone Harbour’, etc.

 

Sets and Rakes

Fixed rakes of coaches (and then officially fixed sets in 1910) were de rigour - generally introduced in A, B, C and D varieties:

  • A set (50 and 54’): TB, CL, BCL
  • B set (46'): TB, 3C, CB
  • C set (60’?): TB, CL, BCL
  • D set (60'?): BCL, C, TB

 

Suburban sets were using both fixed and bogie coaches in close-coupled formations:

  • Example 5-set coach suburban set: LCDR: TB F, C*, S, TB (* SER)
  • 1890 Close coupled stock (40’ bogies): TB, S, T, T, F, TB
  • 1914 Close coupled stock: TB, S, F TB

 

The continental traffic was a major part of the prestige and focus for the company, with 'American' cars being built by the SER and then pullman cars incorporated into the standard trains. Some example trains:

  • 1908 boat train:
    • to Dover: C, B
    • to Folkestone: 3C, C, C, C, F, F, F, BC
  • 1909 continental mail: SB, POT, POT, POS, POT (6w), C, C, F, TB
  • 1910 boat train from CX: SB, C, C, PFP  ‘Corunna’ , PFB ‘Florence’ , F ,F , F, C, SB
  • 1910 boat train from Vic:
    • from Victoria: 6w B, C, F, PFP ’Savona’ , PFB ‘Valencia’ , F, F, C, C
    • from Holborn: C, C, 6w B
  • 1915 + mail trains: POT, POS, PMV, PMV
  • 1920 boat trains relegated preceding stock to spares and were themselves steel panelled 60'ers.

 

Areas of doubt

  • When one would cease to see four wheeled and six wheeled coaching stock in the London termini? Clearly they hung on for quite a while (information about 14-coach trains stabled for 'excursions' and work trains made up of this stock).  Would this stock have lived on in their precursor liveries? i.e. the LCDR varnished teak/etc.
  • The 'Hundred Seater' coaches built in the early 20's for electrification that never came in the fashion the SE&CR envisaged - how did they run?
  • For an illustrative coaching stock in the pre-WW1 period, for a secondary London terminus, I would imagine roughly:
    • Partial boat train formations
    • Sets of SER/LCDR 6w coaches for short distance commuter services
    • Sets of SECR close-coupled bogie stock (or 54' trio-C sets) for suburban services (and/or 100-seaters?)
    • Sets of 60' Trio-D's for longer distance services

 

Any thoughts, observations, etc. gladly appreciated.

 

All the best,

 

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The  Isle of Wight carriage  fleet was virtually totally re-equipped with LCDR 4 wheelers between 1926 and 1930  (approx  90 carriages).  Most of these would have come from London suburban services and many had originally been built as 6 wheelers before conversion to 4 for suburban use.

Likely this reflected the end of their use in London hence being readily available.

The early part of this period would probably have seen some sets still in SECR livery,  the end would be SR.

All transferred carriages were refurbished and arrived in SR olive.

These were closely followed by LCDR bogie carriages from 1931 onwards which replaced the 4 wheelers, some of which only ran 5 years on the Island.  The fact these were also  available in quantity so soon after would indicate the mainland 4 wheel sets had all gone by then or they would have been used in London in their place.

I would suggest 1928/29 for the end of 4 wheel sets in London.

The 6 wheel stock was for main line use and had likely already gone by then.

 

Pete

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Interesting, I would have thought the six wheelers would have replaced the four wheelers, rather than be simply retired.

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The main line services tended to have the better, newer stock, by 1923 when the Southern started much of this was already using  bogie vehicles.  Many six  wheelers displaced  then replaced earlier 4 wheelers  for suburban use,  these normally had the centre wheelset removed making them in turn 4 wheelers.  This gives a lighter vehicle  hence more train for a given loco size,  the lower speeds means the third axle is not of any real benefit.  This appears to have occurred around 1919/20.  The  overall need being for very high capacity sets meant  these were still in use in the London suburbs even after many country branch lines were using bogie vehicles.  I'm not familiar with SECR sets but at least one LBSC set had a seating capacity of over 800.  Some  6 wheelers did carry on in use on secondary lines but these tended to be away from London.

During the 20's and 30's most of the London area network was electrified hence a huge number of carriages were replaced with electric stock  (some of the more recent vehicles were modified as electric trailers).  The electric trains had a smaller overall capacity but ran a more intensive service.

There was much progressive cascading of the  loco hauled stock with the more recent sets being used to replace the older wherever it was,  town or country.

The remaining 4 and 6 wheelers being the first to go followed by the early bogie carriages. 

Other than completing outstanding pre- grouping orders the SR built no Loco hauled suburban carriages during its entire existence,  it had no need to.

 

The Isle of Wight Railways are not specifically relevant to London services other than for much of their existence they ran with London cast offs  (and still do),  what came and when is a good indicator of what London has finished with.   Although the LCDR 4 wheelers were already at the end of their useful lives  in 1926 they were an improvement on the then Island stock some of which dated to the 1860's

 

Pete

 

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Ah right, I understand now - when you say LCDR 4-wheelers, do you mean the aforementioned six wheelers with the middle axle removed?

 

I gather that the 100-seater bogie stock was another thrust to try to rid themselves of the earlier non-bogie high capacity fixed sets?

 

Thanks!

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Yes the final 4 wheelers in suburban traffic will have largely been downgraded 6 wheelers.

A train of mainly third class close coupled vehicles was about as high capacity you could get.

The early LCDR bogie carriages were to the same design and construction but longer, with the use of normal couplings between vehicles there overall capacity was actually  less, I think these were intended for mainline use.  These  went from the early 30's as newer vehicles became available.

The SECR 100 seat thirds were originally built for the suburban traffic, I dont know how many were built but this was the early 20's and electrification became the desired way ahead instead. 

 

Pete

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On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

I've got both Gould books which are wonderful as a source of reference but it's very difficult for me to glean a useful picture, so I was hoping I could type up my findings here, such as they are, and appeal to those with better knowledge to correct any of my most egregious mistakes. I appreciate there's lots more research to do!

Unfortunately I haven't either of the Gould books, so the following is derived from Coutanche's book, which is rather difficult to interpret, and only covers pure SE&CR carriages, with quite a lot gleaned from Kidner's Southen Railway Rolling Stock (Oakwood 1974), with help from various albums such as Ian Allan's South Eastern & Chatham Railway Album, Middleton's SECR Centenary Album and Wild Swan's New Century on the SE&CR, so plenty of scope for misinterpretation!

 

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

 

Overview

The SE&CR inherited many assorted coaches from the SER and LCDR.  Generally, other than dual braking anything that was vacuum braked very little was done in the way of improvement to older coaches. They were specifically known for having uneven rooflines and being a shoddy mish-mash of styles and ages for anything but the most prestigious boat trains. 

A little bit hard on their later products, many of which lasted almost as long as the SECR stock, and some LCDR designs were perpetuated under the new regime, such as 28' long four wheelers for working over the Metroplitan Railway. The LCDR was a Westinghouse line, and lost out to the vacuum orientated SER, so the opposite was true, the LCDR stock was either dual fitted, or the air brakes totally replaced by the vacuum.

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

 

Four and six wheeled coaches/brake vans would be occasionally added to trains, but not marshalled between bogie coaches - it was fairly common to see six-wheeled brake vans on services- but by 1922 all longer distance trains consisted of bogie stock.

 

There are plenty of photos showing 4 or 6 wheeled stock between bogie carriages, especially where trains might split, and a 6w brake might be running at the head of the second set. Also, by grouping, the 4w luggage vans became popular, and would appear at the front of express trains right through to the end of steam and beyond.

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

Generally, bogie stock was mounted on fox pattern on 8’ wheelbase, except shortest coaches (such as those built for the Folkestone Harbour branch)

 

Liveries

Coaches would have been painted a purple lake livery initially  and then Wellington Brown in the lead-up to/post war. Destination boards would normally be ‘fixed’ - vermillion with gold lettering shaded black. ‘Continental Boat Express, London & Folkestone Harbour’, etc.

 

The arrival of the brown livery was during 1916, although Coutanche cites some sources who claim that from 1910 the crimson lake took on a lighter shade.

Fixed destination boards only seemed to apply to stock that regularly used the same route, such as the Folkestone and Dover Boat trains, certain Hastings trains and some through coaches to the north.

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

Sets and Rakes

Fixed rakes of coaches (and then officially fixed sets in 1910) were de rigour - generally introduced in A, B, C and D varieties:

  • A set (50 and 54’): TB, CL, BCL
  • B set (46'): TB, 3C, CB
  • C set (60’?): TB, CL, BCL
  • D set (60'?): BCL, C, TB

Coutanche isn't too clear on the Trio sets, identifying 18 Trio A (1909-1910) and 72 60' Trio C (1912-1921), 20 sets of 54' stock (1910-1911) which I assume were Trio B and some earlier stock, 46' and 50', that formed the first Trio sets, but out of 79 of these designs only 42 were formed into sets at the time, hardly de rigour. During the same period plenty of other stock was built.

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

Suburban sets were using both fixed and bogie coaches in close-coupled formations:

  • Example 5-set coach suburban set: LCDR: TB F, C*, S, TB (* SER)
  • 1890 Close coupled stock (40’ bogies): TB, S, T, T, F, TB
  • 1914 Close coupled stock: TB, S, F TB

 

Not quite sure what fixed coaches are, and I'm not clear what the dates signify, but I assume that by close coupled stock you mean either LCDR or SER carriages. Kidner lists a number of early Southern Railway sets such as 24 three coach sets without birdcages, half of them LCDR designs, 14 sets comprising 14 six wheeled SER coaches, and 17 similar LCDR sets.

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

The continental traffic was a major part of the prestige and focus for the company, with 'American' cars being built by the SER and then pullman cars incorporated into the standard trains.

After an abortive fling with Wagon Lits supplied Pullman style cars, which both the LCDR and SER abandoned, the first American cars were the Gilbert of Troy's, for the Hastings service, which after a rebuild in 1896 formed the Hastings Car Train, the success of which inspired the SER to source a second set from the Metroplitan Carriage and Wagon Co. in 1897 for the Folkestone Car Train. An extra car was bought from Jackson, Sharp of Delaware and run in Tunbridge Wells services. The Great War resulted in all these cars being laid up, and in 1919 they were sold to the Pullman company, which had supplied some cars in 1910, and, following rebuilding, they returned to SECR service.

 

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

Some example trains:

  • 1908 boat train:
    • to Dover: C, B
    • to Folkestone: 3C, C, C, C, F, F, F, BC
  • 1909 continental mail: SB, POT, POT, POS, POT (6w), C, C, F, TB
  • 1910 boat train from CX: SB, C, C, PFP  ‘Corunna’ , PFB ‘Florence’ , F ,F , F, C, SB
  • 1910 boat train from Vic:
    • from Victoria: 6w B, C, F, PFP ’Savona’ , PFB ‘Valencia’ , F, F, C, C
    • from Holborn: C, C, 6w B
  • 1915 + mail trains: POT, POS, PMV, PMV

I can't comment on the mail trains, and I'm not sure about the coding system here, but the SECR seemed to have a continuous process of building new stock for boat trains, so there would be a progressive improvement in the accommodation.

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:
  • 1920 boat trains relegated preceding stock to spares and were themselves steel panelled 60'ers.

The introduction of a totally new boat train occured in 1921 when the 62' matchboarded Continental stock arrived. The steel panelled coaches of 1920 where the Thanet stock, precursors of Maunsell's SR designs,  and were only 54' long.  

 

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

Areas of doubt

  • When one would cease to see four wheeled and six wheeled coaching stock in the London termini? Clearly they hung on for quite a while (information about 14-coach trains stabled for 'excursions' and work trains made up of this stock).  Would this stock have lived on in their precursor liveries? i.e. the LCDR varnished teak/etc.

As noted, at grouping there were quite a few sets of 6 wheeled coaches, and presumably more as loose stock. The Southern managed to find 730 ex SER four and six wheeled coaches to convert into electric stock in 1925/6. 

As for changing liveries following the alliance, probably all would have succumbed within five years or so, perhaps a little longer in less polluted country areas, but the thrust to vacuum fit the LCDR stock with vacuum brakes would have accelerated the process.

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:
  • The 'Hundred Seater' coaches built in the early 20's for electrification that never came in the fashion the SE&CR envisaged - how did they run?

I have seen a photo of one running loose, with a six wheeled van between it and the set behind.

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:
  • For an illustrative coaching stock in the pre-WW1 period, for a secondary London terminus, I would imagine roughly:
    • Partial boat train formations
    • Sets of SER/LCDR 6w coaches for short distance commuter services
    • Sets of SECR close-coupled bogie stock (or 54' trio-C sets) for suburban services (and/or 100-seaters?)
    • Sets of 60' Trio-D's for longer distance services

If you are focussing on pre-1914 then you can consider 4w coaches in the mix, such as those built to LCDR designs in 1901. Without Gould I cannot comment on close coupled stock, but as I have said above the majority of SECR new build before 1910 was not formed into Trio sets, but we're not close coupled, if Coutanche's drawings are correct. There were plenty of LCDR bogie sets, which lasted into the thirties before being sent briefly to the Isle of Wight, for your outer suburban services as well, not to mention SER examples.  No 100 seaters as they didn't appear until 1920.

The 60' Trio C sets were being introduced around this date, so your longer distance services would probably include various other designs, perhaps in longer formations. There's a nice photo in the Wild Swan book of a pair of the corridor tri-composite birdcage brakes together at Kensington Which would make a nice change.

On 8 May 2019 at 00:09, Lacathedrale said:

Any thoughts, observations, etc. gladly appreciated.

 

All the best,

 

 

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8 hours ago, IWCR said:

The SECR 100 seat thirds were originally built for the suburban traffic, I dont know how many were built but this was the early 20's and electrification became the desired way ahead instead. 

 

Pete

 

My understanding is that although built for steam haulage, the SECR always intended they be incoperated into new suburban EMUs when electrification eventually happened. Of course grouping came along and the newly formed SR decided to go in a different direction when building EMUs for the SE section

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Just to add to my point that the Trio sets were not as prevalent as photos seem to suggest, in 1921 the SE&CR had 2,766 passenger carriages, with a further thousand or so NPC stock. Kidner lists 119 three coach birdcage sets in Southern days and, Coutanche implies the SECR built 152 Trio sets. Either way, the Trios represented less than 17% of the total carriage stock, although I do appreciate that the other numbers will include large quantities of little used four and six wheeled coaches languishing in sidings waiting for special occasions such as hop picking.

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