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Southern Railway Bulleid Open Third
No. 1481, built by BR in 1950

SR Bulleid Open Third 1481 - Richard Salmon - March 1992

Open Third No. 1481 at Horsted Keynes, March 1992 (Richard Salmon)

This coach, built to a Southern Railway design by the newly formed British Railways, worked both as a "loose" vehicle and allocated to various "sets", including one for the Waterloo to Southampton Docks Ocean Liner trains.

In 1966 it was one of eighteen Bulleid coaches selected to remain in service for rather longer than most others. Some were allocated to specific sets intended to be formed in 1967, and the set numbers were painted on coaches as they went through works in readiness for this. No. 1482 was allocated to 8-car Kitchen-Buffet set 185 for Waterloo-Exeter services. In the event, the Southern Region managed to obtain some extra BR standard coaches, and so this plan, and the potential for an eventual repainting into Rail blue and grey, did not come to fruition.

In 1968 it was used on railtours, until withdrawn later that year. After arrival on the Bluebell it was used until requiring a light overhaul, which it received between 1976 and 1979. In 1989 the bottom section of the bodyside sheeting was renewed, and it continued in service until early 2000, when a cracked window caused it to be withdrawn from service.

A minor problem like this would not usually cause the withdrawal of such a vehicle, and indeed it would not be a major job to replace the window ("side light" in railway parlance). However, the steel sheeting on this coach is generally in very poor condition, and major work would be required to find sufficient solid material to start welding in a new side-light frame (the sidelights usually crack because of a build-up of corrosion in the pressed-steel frames). With the coach now in need of the sort of attention given to 1482 over the previous three-year period, and with the roof canvas also life-expired, the decision was made to withdraw the coach pending a major overhaul.

Type: Open Third
Built: Dec. 1950, underframe at Lancing, body at Eastleigh (E3581)
Original No: S1481S
Seating: 64 3rd class
Length: 64' 6"
Weight: 32 Tons
Withdrawn: 1968
Preserved: 1970
To Bluebell: 20/7/1970
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