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Southern Railway – Maunsell Carriage No.2356

SR Maunsell Corridor Third 2356

Richard Salmon

Type: Corridor Third
Built: 1931 at Eastleigh (E464)
Original No: 2356
Other Nos: S2356S, 081315
Seating: 64 3rd class
Length: 59'
Restriction: 1
Weight: 33 tons
Withdrawn: 1961
Preserved: 1973
To Bluebell: 13/10/1973

Built to the narrower 8'6" width for the Eastern Section of the SR, as part of an eight-coach set, 2356 was initially used on London–Ramsgate services. The set was later reduced to seven coaches but, supplemented by a Pullman car, was used on the best Kent Coast services throughout the Southern Railway's existence.

In 1950 the set was increased to nine vehicles, but by 1953 it was maintained only for special traffic. The set was reduced to four coaches on the electrification of most of Kent's main lines in 1959, and 2356 became a "loose" vehicle until withdrawal two years later. It then found use as a mobile office at Streatham Common, losing its interior at this time.

Arriving on the Bluebell in 1973 it remained, until 2001, in departmental service as our Carriage & Wagon Department mess coach. It appears that this will be the only loco-hauled Southern Railway Corridor Third to survive for posterity, and were it not for this fact it might not even have survived itself.

2356's overhaul is still many years distant. Sadly there will probably be no space available in the new OP4 storage shed for this unique carriage, so for the foreseeable future it will be in open storage, covered by a tarpaulin.

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