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South Eastern & Chatham Railway
Birdcage 3rd Brake No. 1170 (built in 1912)

1170 as painted for filming work in the 1980s - Richard Salmon

The coach was repainted into a simplified version of SECR livery for the filming of a BBC drama series, "Portrait of a Marriage" (about the life of Vita Sackville-West) back in 1989. (Richard Salmon)

The Birdcage - Richard Salmon

This coach has a distinctive raised guard's lookout, called a birdcage. It formed one coach of a "Trio C" birdcage set, the classic branch line train of the South-east of England. After withdrawal it was totally gutted internally, and used as a mobile staff classroom. It was purchased to form the third coach for our Birdcage Set, but it was not a good match for No. 1061, being considerably longer, if only three years newer. With a well stripped interior and suspect structural condition, it has now been relieved of its "duty" in this respect by the arrival of 50' Birdcage brake No. 1084.

It appears superficially reasonably sound, but would probably require considerable work on the doors, some of which have been sealed up for the best part of thirty years. No interior exists for this coach, but, being of a plain design this should not cause any serious problems for its eventual restoration. Whilst the roof was still waterproof it was not tarpaulined, but this has now been done, to ensure the coach's survival until such time as it can be overhauled.

Right: The brake end of SECR Brake Third No. 1170, showing the "Birdcage" which provides the guard with a view along the train. (Richard Salmon)

One possibility for its future, now that there are three other Birdcage brakes on the Bluebell, is a conversion to a pull-push driving trailer, since one of this diagram was so converted. If this were done, clearly the birdcage end should be retained for posterity and might form an interesting exhibit in a museum.

This carriage is the prototype for the Bachmann 'OO' scale 60' Birdcage brakes, and was measured by them as part of the models' development in the 2010s.

DS33 at Stewarts Lane - Andrew Turk and The Restoration and Archiving Trust
Type: Birdcage Brake Third
Built: 1912 at Ashford
Original No: 1170
Other Nos: SR: 3410, BR: S3410S, DS 33, 083180
Seating: 80 3rd class
Length: 60' body, 63' 10" overall
Weight: 30 tons (29 tons according to SR carriage register)
Withdrawn: 1954
Preserved: 1982
To Bluebell: 1/8/1982
Owned by: Bluebell Railway

Photo right: The carriage when in departmental service as DS33, photographed at Stewarts Lane by the late Andrew Turk, and reproduced here with grateful thanks to The Restoration and Archiving Trust.

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