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Pullman Car Bertha, an all-steel Kitchen Composite built in 1933.

This Car is no longer on the Bluebell Railway

Pullman Car Bertha
Richard Salmon

Type: Pullman Kitchen Composite
Built: (Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon, Birmingham) 1933
Pullman Schedule No: 278
Seating: 12 1st class, 16 3rd class
Length: 66'
Weight: 43 Tons
Withdrawn: 1965-8
Preserved: 1972
To Bluebell: 7 April 1982
Left Bluebell: 21 September 2000
Current status: see Carriage Register entry for this vehicle

As part of the Brighton Line electrification, a number of all-steel Pullman coaches were built. Fifteen of them were formed as three all-Pullman sets for the Brighton Belle service, the remainder, 23 of them, operated as a single Pullman Car in the otherwise standard 6-PUL sets.

Purchased as little more than a stripped shell by an individual, it moved about various sites in the south-east before finding a home on the Bluebell. The then owner, Ray Martin, owner spent some twelve years reconstructing the partially stripped out interior. In addition to repairs to the marquetry panelling, this work included the casting and finishing of about 200 brass components, and tracking down replacements for all the seats. The Bluebell's C&W volunteers then helped with bodywork repairs and the conversion from EMU trailer to 24 volt battery/dynamo electrical system, with gas for cooking and refrigeration, steam heating, vacuum braking, and replacement gangway connectors to enable it to work in steam trains.

Upon completion, it won the 1990 ARPS Coach of the Year Award. In the following ten years it was heavily used for the Bluebell's Golden Arrow lunchtime and evening Pullman dining trains. It also had the distinction of being the longest and heaviest coach running on the Bluebell!

Following ten years operation on the Bluebell Railway, upon the expiry of its ten year loan agreement it was sold and moved by its new owner to the Swanage Railway in 2000, and then to Carnforth for restoration.


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Last updated by Richard Salmon, 5 January 2007 and 23 November 2015