16210 at Horsted Keynes station, November 2013 (Dave Clarke)
Although we are lucky on the Bluebell to have rather more pre-nationalisation vintage stock running than most others, carefully restored and well-maintained Mk.1 coaches have an important role to play in the recreation of the last years of the steam era. Originally built for the Western Region, 16210 was one of the later CKs built by BR whose exterior featured aluminium window frames designed to help prevent corrosion. The carriage was built with vacuum braking, dual steam and electric heating and was mounted on Commonwealth cast bogies.
In October 1963 16210 was transferred to the Southern Region and was placed into set 985, which provided a peak-hour diesel-hauled service on the Oxted Line. A contemporary enthusiasts' newsletter reports: "Set 985 revised about beginning of October - BSK S34940 (green) SO W5024, W5034, W5030 (maroon), CK W16221/20/10 & SK W25944 (all maroon), BSK 34951 (green)." Having been repainted green, it was later classified as "loose", being used on various workings on the South Western Division. The transfer of vehicles from the WR was driven by the need for dual-heated carriages, the new BRCW Type 3 diesels (later class 33) having no steam-heat boilers.
The photo on the right (taken in December 2003 by Richard Salmon) shows one of the first class seats as it initially ran on the Bluebell, with the charcoal grey first-class moquette of the mid-1960s, i.e. the blue-and-grey livery era.
From 7th August 1967, S16210 was allocated to strengthen RMB Set 150 from 8 to 11 vehicles for the Summer service between Poole and Newcastle, returning to loose in 1969. The formation of Set 150 was:-
For just a short period (around May 1971 to January 1972) it was formed into Set No.104, replacing CK No.15871, allocated to SWD Newspaper Trains. The formation of Set 104 was:-
The Diagram 128 BR Mk1 corridor composite was largely modelled on the equivalent Bulleid-designed carriage to SR Diagram 2318 like 5768. However, the design was modified to include an inward-opening window in the centre second class compartment with a door in the corridor side opposite it. This was to allow stretcher-case passengers to be accommodated, possibly at the behest of BR(WR). The other corridor-side door was moved away from the centre vestibule to a position opposite one of the first class compartments. The second class compartments seated four a side (ER and LMR sat three a side, with armrests). As built, the compartments either side of the centre vestibule were designated non-smoking. It should be borne in mind that in the era when these vehicles were designed, the majority of the population smoked. Today, in common with all public transport and places in Britain, smoking is not permitted in any of our carriages.
Above: the first class compartments (left) were retrimmed in recent years in a 1951 Festival of Britain pattern moquette. This is, of course, inappropriate for 16210 as this pattern fell out of use some time before the coach was built. The second class compartments (right) remain in Trojan moquette, which was used for two decades on the Sothern Region of BR. (David Chappell)
In 1974 BR fitted the Commonwealth bogies to older air-braked SO/TSO vehicles, being replaced by BR1 bogies. In 1985, it was briefly transferred back to the Western Region, before being withdrawn the following year and purchased for the Bluebell Railway through donations from members of the BRPS.
On arrival on the Bluebell Railway it was methodically and comprehensively overhauled, eliminating all corrosion, and remedying those minor design problems which had led to water ingress and corrosion. As a major source of water ingress and consequent corrosion, the inward-opening stretcher window was removed and replaced with a standard fitting. 16210 is thus one of the most comprehensively overhauled Mk.1s in preservation, re-entering traffic in October 1991.
16210, as initially seen in Bluebell Railway service running on BR1 bogies.
Commonwealth bogies were fitted in 2013 (Richard Salmon)
Type: CK (Composite Corridor), Diagram 128
Built: June 1961, at BR Litchurch Lane Carriage Works, Derby (Lot 30666)
Original No: W16210
Other Nos: S16210, S7210, W7210
Seating: 24 1st class, 24 2nd class
Body Length: 64' 6"
Weight: 35.5 Tons
To Bluebell: 2/12/1986
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