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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Solihull Station: gwrs2634

Ex-GWR brake third coach No W4944 in a passenger train from Birmingham on Thursday 27th July 1950

Ex-Great Western Railway brake third (left handed) coach No W4944 in a passenger train from Birmingham is photographed with the coach’s compartment side closest to Solihull Station’s up relief platform on Thursday 27th July 1950. Coach No 4944 was built in May 1927 at Swindon Works to diagram D95 as part of lot 1384. It was a standard fifty-seven foot long bow ended ganged corridor coach with; one lavatory (note the obscure glass window nearest camera with water tank hatch in roof directly above), four third class compartments, a guard’s compartment with brake and a large 21 foot long luggage compartment accessed by two double doors on each side. The 57 foot measurement was between the coach’s corner posts, but because of the bow end the actual coach dimensions were 58 foot, 4.5 inches long by 9 foot wide. The coach had been designed to be part of a series of sixteen six-coach general service main line sets, each comprising; two composite (diagram E127) coaches, two All third (diagram C54) coaches and two Brake third (diagram D95) coaches. The brake third coaches were handed (odd numbers right handed and even numbers left handed), so that all the coaches could be arranged with the corridor on the same side when the brake thirds were on the two ends.

Coach design had gradually evolved, utilising the latest technology to make them safer, more comfortable and easier to construct; the Great Western Railway had introduced fire proof floors in 1911, followed by steel panelled sides, while in 1922, steel roof panels replaced the traditional wood and canvas (with a special shearing machine installed at Swindon works in 1925). In 1925 over 28% of all carriages had electric lighting and the Leitner system was the standard for new construction. After 1926, slam-locks were fitted as standard to compartment exterior doors to improve passenger safety. Following extensive tests of different bogie types fitted to a specially adapted brake-third coach, the riding characteristics of the various bogie types was compared. The test trains were required to travel at identical speeds along the same section of track (between Swindon and Gloucester) with the adapted coach loose coupled at the rear. The coach’s floor was partially removed to allow the bogie behaviour to be observed while a Hallade instrument recorded any disturbances. Noticeable improved riding was identified with suspension bolster type bogies and from 1925 the Great Western Railway standardised on seven foot plate bogies of this type, reversing a general trend to longer wheelbase bogies.

The table below details the various ganged bow end fifty-seven foot long coaches (including 78 brake third diagram D95 coaches) built in 1927 and 1928 as general service main line stock:

Lot Diagram Coach Type Date built Quantity Running Numbers
1373 E127 Composite May 1927 32 6024, 6026, 6029, 6030, 6034, 6037, 6050, 6068, 6099, 6105, 6135, 6137, 6138, 6145, 6146, 6149, 6150, 6155, 6156, 6158, 6160, 6167, 6181, 6187, 6192, 6194, 6197, 6198, 6201, 6203, 6209 & 6211
1374 C54 All Third May 1927 32 4881 to 4912
1375 D95 Brake Third May 1927 32 4913 to 4944
1382 E132 Composite August 1928 52 6011 to 6016, 6018 to 6023, 6025, 6027, 6031, 6032, 6035, 6038 to 6045, 6051, 6054, 6055, 6065, 6066, 6067, 6070, 6072, 6073, 6074, 6076 to 6083, 6085, 6089 to 6094 & 6096
1383 C54 All Third June 1928 86 5001 to 5086
1384 D95 Brake Third June 1928 46 5087 to 5132

This photograph is displayed courtesy of the HMRS (Historical Model Railway Society) and copies can be ordered directly from them using the link HERE, quoting reference AAZ631.

Robert Ferris