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Southern Railway – Maunsell Carriage No.6575


SR Maunsell BCK 6575

This photo shows the corridor side of the coach, with the distinctive high windows. Richard Salmon

Type: Corridor Brake Composite
Built: 1929 at Eastleigh (E363)
Original No: 6575
Other Nos: S6575S
Seating: 12 1st class, 32 3rd class
Length: 59'
Restriction: 4
Weight: 32 tons
Withdrawn: 1959
Preserved: 1960
To Bluebell: 17/5/1960

Built specifically to form a single-coach portion of the Bournemouth–Newcastle service to be detached to serve Bradford or Leeds, this coach contains all the elements required for a self-contained train, i.e. first- and third-class accommodation, lavatory, luggage space and a compartment for the guard.

It demonstrates well the advances made in coach design in the late 1920s. The high windows on the corridor side, in addition to allowing standing passengers a view of the passing scenery, also lend the coach a distinguised look, especially when married to the ornately lined sage green livery. Note also that, on the corridor side, half of the "doors" are not doors at all. Many's the hand that, in spite of the "No Exit" notice on the inside, has felt out of the window for the non-existent door handle!

One of the Bluebell's first two coaches (the only two for the first year), this vehicle was at first painted "Bluebell Blue". By 1974 it was practically falling apart, and was withdrawn from use until its overhaul started in 1979. Returning to traffic in 1981, having received a complete rebuild, 6575 was one of three vehicles selected in March 1992 for use in the feature film "Chaplin". They were away from the railway for one weekend, being moved by road to the BR depot at Cricklewood, from whence they were used in the filming of a scene at the pre-Eurostar St. Pancras station. In the film, Robert Downey Jr. (as Charlie Chaplin) may be seen disembarking from the first-class corridor side door of the vehicle.

With a leaking roof and the general deterioration of the interior and the structure at the brake end, 6575 was withdrawn from service at the end of November 2000 requiring an intermediate overhaul. The carriage was covered with a tarpaulin and remained in open storage until 2010, when it was given a full repaint into "Bluebell Blue" (having been taken back to bare metal) for the 50th Anniversary celebrations in May 2010.

As of July 2017 there is no prospect of resources becoming available to overhaul/restore 6575. However the carriage has been allocated space in the OP4 shed, and should be moved under cover by the end of 2017.


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