Fresh from the paint-shop, on 13 July 2009. The main work remaining
to be completed was to replace the accommodation bogie at the north end
with the one which had been overhauled ready to go under the carriage,
connecting up the brake gear, and other mechanical adjustments. (Dave Clarke)
This coach, built to a Southern Railway design by the newly formed British Railways, is unusual in its "semi-open" seating arrangement, having 16 seats in two compartments, and 32 in an open saloon.
It entered traffic as part of 5-coach set No.862 (with brake third 2525 and composite 5921 and two unspecified corridor thirds) for the Waterloo-Salisbury-West of England service, and was painted in the crimson lake and cream livery of the time. The set was reduced to 3 coaches from 10 Setember 1951, becoming 5 coaches again for Summer 1952 services by the addition of corridor thirds Nos.101 and 102. In September 1952 it again reverted to a three-coach set, and remained as such thereafter.
About 1960 the coach lost its side buffers on the non-brake end, since the sets were considered fixed formations, and were buck-eye coupled. As withdrawals started 1964 the intermediate buffers were restored, although Set 862 remained intact until 1966 when fixed sets were abandoned by the Southern Region.
Remaining on BR in "service use" after withdrawal from passenger traffic more than 30 years ago, initially as internal user at Newhaven, then from 1974 as a departmental vehicle as the Mechanical Engineers RSE Section Instruction Car at Stewarts Lane, it came to the Bluebell from the VSOE's Stewarts Lane depot.
Jeremy Ovenden's photo shows 2526 in Departmental Service at Eastleigh, 19/8/91
A volunteer group started work towards its restoration to traffic in June 2000, as shown in the photograph on the right. (Richard Salmon). With the restoration team undertaking a couple of intermediate overhauls on other coaches from the middle of 2003, work on 2526 was delayed for a period, not re-starting until 2006.
Initially the steel and timber structure was repaired, then the external steel cladding and side-lights (windows) replaced and the roof re-canvassed.
The compartments have been reinstated and all of the seating has been made from scratch and trimmed in BR-period "chain-link" moquette. The gangway connectors, which were removed for departmental service, have now been replaced, and the vehicle re-wired.
The carriage has been restored to later BR condition as it would have appeared if used on the "Royal Wessex" service from Waterloo to Bournemouth, Swanage and Weymouth. The overhaul of No.2526 was completed in time for a public return to service on Friday 23rd October 2009.
Type: Semi-Open Brake Third
Built: June 1951
Original No: S2526S
Other Nos: 082232, ADB 975375
Seating: 48 3rd class
Length: 64' 6"
Weight: 33 Tons
Withdrawn: March 1967
To Bluebell: July 1999
Go to the page for this coach's overhaul to see more photos of the completed vehicle, and photos detailing the work undertaken along the way.