SR Bulleid Open Third No.1456, as stored on the Bluebell in the 1990s (Richard Salmon)
Built as part of a six-coach dining set for the Waterloo to Bournemouth line, these coaches were distinguished from other Bulleid designed coaches by the continuation of the bodyside sheeting down, covering the sole-bar, and the ends, which were painted green, rather than the normal black. It also differs from the later (BR built) Bulleid coaches by having shallower sliding lights (the opening parts of the main windows).
With arrangements already in hand for its preservation on the Bluebell, it was acquired by the National Railway Museum, and placed on loan to the Bluebell Railway. Unfortunately, its restoration could not be contemplated in the absence of a very long-term loan agreement, and with three other Bulleid Open Thirds in better condition on the Bluebell, plans for its restoration took a back seat. For some years it served as our varnishing workshop.
However, in the late 1990s the NRM carried out a re-appraisal of their collection, and concluded that the best course of action for the continued preservation of this coach was to transfer its ownership to the Bluebell, given both our track record, and the preservation of Bulleid Open Third No.1469 within a museum context by the Vintage Carriages Trust.
It is not (despite appearances) in too bad condition, and is substantially complete, although it had been used as an office at Brighton, and later, St. Leonard's, and some fittings were stolen from it whilst in storage prior to transfer to the Bluebell. The major work that would have to be done is the replacement of all the external steel sheeting and window frames, and the building of the missing seating units, in addition to any required timberwork repairs.
In 2012 the carriage was placed on a 25 year loan to the Mid Hants Railway. This is on the basis that we do not think we'll get round to overhauling it in the next 25 years (given that we have another 4 Bulleids, 4279, 1481, 2515, and 4227, all awaiting major attention), but wish to retain a fourth (and our only original SR) Bulleid open third for the long term, since we consider we are likely to want it for Bluebell service as part of our collection over the very long term time-scale. The MHR were looking for a third vehicle to go with their two Bulleid brakes, and now have the retoration facilities to be able to undertake this sort of work. It is clearly also in the best interests of the coach that it be overhauled and used, rather than sitting unused on our sidings for 25 years. A win-win-win situation for both railways, and the carriage itself.
Type: Open Third
Built: Dec. 1947, underframe at Lancing, body at Eastleigh (E3240)
Original No: 1456
Other Nos: S1456S, DS 70285
Seating: 64 3rd class
Length: 64' 6"
Weight: 32 Tons
To Bluebell: 11 August 1980
Owner: Bluebell Railway
Placed on loan to Mid Hants Railway: 29 March 2012, for 25 years