This carriage was built at Eastleigh carriage works as No. 7866 in 1927 as one of six diagram 2652 Third Class Dining Saloons to run
coupled to one of six new First Class Dining Cars (with kitchen). These were intended for London to Bournemouth and Portsmouth services,
but records indicate that they probably worked Waterloo-Exeter-West of England services. 7866 seated 64 diners with tip-up seating at fixed tables in three saloons,
with a single lavatory at one end. No further vehicles of this type were built.
In late 1930 the first of the new diagram 2005 Open Thirds (like 1336) appeared and these were coupled to additional new-build First Class
Kitchen/Dining Saloons. They also frequently took the place of the 1927 dining saloons, which were then reclassified as Open Thirds for
general service in 1930, 7866 being renumbered 1365. The released number series (7864-9) was re-used in 1932 for new kitchen/restaurant cars.
By 1938 the diagram 2652 cars were no longer being used to accommodate diners and all six were assembled with an SECR 'Continental' First and two older LSWR timber-panelled Brake Third vehicles
into SW Division 'Special Traffic' Set 310, remaining in this until 1942.
The Carriage Working Notice for 22 May 1944 places 1365 in a unique 8-coach set, Set 194, which at that time included its original 4 Maunsell carriages along with three of these ex-dining thirds and a first. It was formed:
1366 (Open Third)
This set was unusual (and permission to do so had to be obtained from the Ministry of Transport) in having non-brake vehicles permanently formed at the ends of the set. In addition, the brakes were placed facing "inwards", all this to ensure the guards' compartments stopped adjacent to the shorter platforms.
3740 (Brake Third)
1365 (Open Third)
3741 (Brake Third)
1367 (Open Third)
This set was allocated to Working 627, on the Oxted lines. This left Tunbridge Wells West daily at 7.47, arriving at London Bridge at 9.14, and then straight back to New Cross Gate where it sat for a while. Saturdays excepted it went next to Eardley carriage sidings, before forming the 5.50pm departure from Victoria, arriving at Tunbridge Wells West at 7.36pm. On Saturdays it returned instead to London Bridge (at 11.45), to form the 12.20pm service from there, arriving at Tunbridge Wells West at 1.52pm.
Lancing Set Card 002 reveals that 1365 and 1366 became Ambulance Cars in February 1945 (1365 being numbered No. 6802 for this duty), replaced in Set 194 by Thirds 837 and 838. 1365 and 1366 were restored to Set 194 in August 1945 and then finally 1365 and 1366 were removed from Set 194 and replaced by Thirds 1231 and 1233 on 8 May 1947.
In 1947 four of the Maunsell First Class Kitchen/Restaurant Cars were rebuilt as Kitchen Buffet cars, and No. 1365 was among the diagram 2652 coaches selected
to be rebuilt as diagram 2658 Composite Dining Saloons to accompany them. It was outshopped in July 1947 (although its vehicle card records the date of renumbering as 12 June 1947). It was divided into two equal
saloons, one end seating 24 first-class diners in loose chairs, and the other 31 third-class passengers in fixed seats, all with tables.
It then received the number 7841 and was coupled to the modified 7864 (also preserved on the Bluebell).
On arrival on the Bluebell in 1963 it was again coupled to buffet car 7864 and used in a static capacity (numbered 7841) to provide seating for buffet patrons at Sheffield Park.
Following an internal refurbishment which included replacement of a few rotten structural timbers and the entire internal plywood panelling of both saloons, it was returned to passenger traffic in
1970 (in plain olive green livery with modern BR self-adhesive white numerals as No. 1365), running sporadically as required. It had a buffet counter cut into the stripped-out toilet compartment.
It is seen above in the early 1970s, behind LBSCR E4 No. 473 and Maunsell Brake No. 6575.
Its last operational use on the Bluebell was for filming of a TV advert for the Daily Mail in April 1977, which left the interior exhibiting graffiti on top of its paintwork. No. 1365's overhaul is still many years distant, and it is one of the vehicles destined to be moved into the new OP4 carriage storage shed. The carriage remains in remarkably sound structural condition, and has a good prospect of eventual restoration to operational use.
Type: Composite Dining Saloon/Open Third
Built: July 1927 at Eastleigh (Order E99)
Original No: 7866
Other Nos: 1365, 6802, 1365, 7841, S7841S
Seating: 64 3rd class; later 31 3rd class, 24 1st class
Weight: 32 tons
Withdrawn: September 1961
To Bluebell: 24th February 1963
Last operational: 1977
Right: USA Tank No. 30064 hauling 1365, seen at Ketches Bridge during the 1970s (Mike Esau)