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London & South Western Railway: No.25
34-ft family saloon (built in 1885)

Body recovered - East side

The carriage body on arrival at Horsted Keynes, 18 October 2005
(all photos: Chris Dadson)

layout Type: Originally 6-wheeled 1st/2nd saloon (diagram DB9), later Brake First (SR Diagram 594)
Built: Birmingham Carriage & Wagon Co., 1885
Original No: 25
Other Nos: 025 (June 1911), SR 0905 (1923), 7937 (May 1926)
Seating: 15 1st class and 7 2nd class
Length: 34'
Withdrawn: 21 April 1934
Preserved: 2005
To Bluebell: 18 October 2005

As can be seen from the diagram above, accommodation consisted of a first class saloon and separate compartment, lavatory, second class compartment for servants, and a luggage compartment. It would have been hired for the exclusive use of a family for a specific journey, being added to the train as required.

Body recovered - West side

The carriage was one of six such 6-wheeled saloons, built with a low arc roof, as was the LSWR style of the time. However, the roof style for new carriages changed radically just a few years later, and to keep such a prestigious carriage looking modern, at some time in the mid-1890's the roof was reconstructed in semi-elliptical form.

It was "ciphered" in June 1911 (i.e. removed from the capital stock register and, with a 0 preceding its old number, was kept in reserve for occasional use). In 1923, on the formation of the Southern Railway, it was renumbered as 0905 and then in May 1926 was returned to the capital stock list as First No.7937. It became part of set 339, together with mainly former SECR 6-wheelers, and used for excursions etc. At some stage it was converted for use as a brake vehicle (the Southern "Guard" lettering being visible on one of the luggage compartment doors), finally being withdrawn from service in April 1934.

Body recovered - West side

After withdrawal, like many other such carriage bodies, it was sold, without its underframe, for use as a domestic dwelling in Yarcombe, Devon, in the company of LCDR 3rd No.668, where it remained, lived in, until the death of its owner. Its new owners were keen to see the carriages preserved, and once planning permission was granted for a replacement building on the site, made available to the Bluebell. The costs of transport were kindly covered, at short notice, by the Bluebell Railway Trust, and the move was coordinated by Peter Milnes.

The vehicle is of considerable interest, being an unusually intact survivor in many respects. The sections of body-side removed would be fairly easy to replace, and virtually all of the original doors have survived in remarkable condition. It retained to the end its large Beresford silver-plated folding hand-basin, which has now been removed for safe keeping.

The coach will be stored under a tarpaulin at Horsted Keynes, sitting temporarily on the underframe of former SR Bulleid coach 4035.


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