Coaches such as this, from the early sixties, are the core of most steam railways' carriage fleets. We are lucky on the Bluebell to have rather more pre-nationalisation vintage stock running than most others. However, a carefully restored and well-maintained Mk.1 coach has an important role to play in the recreation of the last years of the steam era.
One of the CKs built for the Eastern Region, this coach featured three-a-side seating with armrests in the second class compartments (BR Diagram 126). On restoration this would have been modified to the Southern Region arrangement of four-a-side, to be compatible with our other stock. This has also, incidentally released some arm-rest hinges, which are being used to reinstate arm-rests on another vehicle currently being restored.
As built, the compartments either side of the centre vestibule were designated non-smoking. The centre second class compartment had an inward-opening window to allow stretcher-case passengers to be accommodated. This will probably be replaced by a conventional window unit (as on S16210) to reduce the corrosion problems associated with the original.
It had been intended to restore either this vehicle or a Maunsell or Bulleid CK as a high priority, since we need the first-class accommodation it provides. Experience has shown that 4 first class compartments is about right on our trains, and so Southern Railway and BR CKs both fit the bill nicely. With the decision to restore the Bulleid one, this was considered surplus to requirements.
Type: CK (Composite Corridor), Diagram 126
Built: 1963, at BR Litchurch Lane Works, Derby (Lot 30730)
Original No: E16263
Other Nos: Sc16263
Seating: 24 1st class, 18 2nd class
Body Length: 64' 6"
Weight: 37.5 Tons
To Bluebell: 25/4/1991
Left Bluebell: 27/1/2010
Current status: see Carriage Register entry for this vehicle