24458 after arrival at Horsted Keynes, June 13 2007
Built for the Eastern Region of British Railways this third class corridor compartment coach seated 48 in a comfortable three-a-side arrangement in 8 compartments. It was fitted with vacuum brake and steam heating and ran on BR1 bogies with oil bearings. It would have been out-shopped in carmine and cream (also known as "blood-and-custard) livery.
In 1956, second class was abolished and third class was re-designated second. In the same year standard coach livery became lined maroon. This would have been applied to new and fully-repainted vehicles.
Due to water ingress problems later in their lives, many early Mark 1 coaches were fitted with heavy aluminium framed sidelights which replaced the original flush glazing. Apart from livery changes and this latter modification, E24458 remained largely as built. By the early 1980s', compartment second class stock was out of favour due to its lower effective seating capacity and increased tendency to be subject to vandalism. Not having air brakes or electric heating and being limited to 90mph, the coach was withdrawn in 1983 and entered preservation.
24458 was located on several preserved railways during the 24 years up to its arrival at the Bluebell, including the Mid Hants, South Devon and Battlefield Railways. The vehicle required a re-trim and major bodywork repairs. Several options for its future were considered, but the vehicle was sold and moved off the Bluebell in October 2009.
*The part of Swindon Carriage Works where 24458 would have been constructed was located on the down side of the GW main line, opposite the Locomotive Works. This part of the works was closed in the 1960s', but its main buildings survive in non-railway use.