This coach, one of the last built by the Southern Railway, is distinguished from the BR-built Bulleid coaches by the shallower sliding lights (the opening parts of the main windows). It was used as part of three-coach set No.787 on the Weymouth and West of England trains out of Waterloo until withdrawn and sold to the Bulleid Pacific Preservation Society, later renamed The Bulleid Society.
It was initially preserved with Bulleid Pacific, "Blackmoor Vale" at Liss, until both coach and engine moved to the Bluebell in 1971, where it received an overhaul, before entering traffic in May 1976 as part of the five-coach Bulleid set formed for the return to traffic of "Blackmoor Vale". Further work was then found necessary as a build-up of rust in the window-frames caused three of the large curved side-lights (windows) to crack.
Through the late '70s and '80s the four (later six) Bulleid coaches provided the core of the Bluebell's operating fleet. No.5768 was relieved from front line duty on the restoration of BR steam stock CK 16210 in October 1991, by which time it was showing its age.
Richard Salmon's photo on the right shows it as running in March 1992.
It received further repairs to keep it running, until in 1993 its deteriorating condition caused it to be reduced to use on only a handful of peak days. It was repainted again in 1994 to enable it to continue in occasional use, but unfortunately two of the large sidelights immediately cracked again, and the work required to replace them was considered futile considering the poor general state of the body. It required complete re-sheeting with new window frames.
Its overhaul was undertaken by the team of volunteers who had overhauled of Bulleid Brake coach No.2526, starting in the Autumn of 2009. It was always going to be a huge task, the biggest yet overhaul of a Bulleid carriage on the Bluebell, and was made feasible with the help of funding from the Bulleid Society, individual donors, and Bluebell Railway Trust.
It had been assumed that the considerable water ingress and obvious internal damage also indicated the need for major structural renewal, but on stripping out the interior the timber body structure was in fact found to be in better condition than feared, with only one significant area of rot, in the cant rail above one of the first class compartments, although three new corner pillars, much of one end and part of one side had to be renewed, along with the entire floor and steel bottom-side, necessitating the removal of all internal partitions and compartments.
One task which had been a big unknown for the restoration was the overhaul of the aluminium-framed sliding lights, 14 of them at the top of the large windows, but a couple of volunteers took this on, and they were dismantled, about a thousand screw-holes re-tapped, and painstakingly rebuilt over a 2-year period. With the entire interior reconstructed pretty-much to as-built condition, and with a huge amount of renewal work on the wiring, dynamo, gangways, bogies and brake gear, the carriage returned to service in March 2019.