25728 is one of three similar carriages that were bought to boost the service fleet prior to the opening of our extension to Kingscote
(opened in 1994).
It was built for the London Midland Region who specified a seating capacity of 48 in a three-a-side arrangement in the eight compartments.
The running number was subsequently altered to 18728 to eliminate conflicts and/or confusion within the TOPS/POIS computer systems. When BR
was split into sectors, it was allocated to Network South-East.
NSE refurbished the carriage circa 1987 for the Euston-Northampton Cobbler service, part of the work involving altering the seating to its
current 4-a-side configuration, giving a seating capacity of 64. The vacuum-braked sets on this service were quickly replaced with new EMU
stock and the loco-hauled vehicles were transferred to Old Oak Common. Some of the SK vehicles were used to replace older, shabbier examples
on outer-suburban duties from Paddington while the remainder were withdrawn.
18728 was withdrawn in 1990 and offered for sale by tender. It arrived on the Bluebell Railway in July 1991 and was found to be in such a
condition that it could be placed into traffic very quickly, running in service still in NSE livery. However, prior to entering traffic the
interior was "de-furbished" by replacing the modern fluorescent lighting with original ceiling lamps.
During the next three years of service, it became apparent that the seal between the gangway and the end of the coach had failed, leading to
corrosion of the end sheeting and the subsequent ingress of water. The end-loading or collision pillars (6mm thick steel channels) had rusted
almost completely through at the bottom. To gain access to repair these required the removal of the corridor connectors at both ends and the
partial dismantling of the coach interior, including a section of the floor, which was, as usual, partly rotten in any case. The pillars were
repaired by welding in new lower sections. Similar attention was given to two of the bodyside doors. The sidelights (windows) and gutters were
removed and re-bedded to keep the coach watertight. It is only by giving Mk.1 coaches such thorough repairs that their long-term future can be
Right: End loading pillar repairs on BR Mk.1 25728 (Richard Salmon)
As the modern NSE seating moquette, having seen less than three years' service with NSE and the same with the Bluebell Railway was in such
good condition, it was retained until such time as it wore out. In 2003 it was given a full repaint into BR(S) green.
Carriages like this, from the early sixties, have been the core of most steam railways' carriage fleets for many years. We are fortunate on
the Bluebell Railway to have rather more pre-nationalisation vintage stock running than most others. However, a carefully restored and
well-maintained Mk.1 coach has an important role to play in the recreation of the last years of the steam era resulting in 25728 being
included in our heritage fleet.
Renumbered W 25728, the carriage re-entered service in 1994 in BR lined maroon livery. At the time there was a certain body of opinion
in the C&W dept. that we should have a set of Mk1 vehicles in maroon livery (Richard Salmon)
The Diagram 146 (48-seat) and 147 (64-seat) BR Mk1 compartment thirds (second after 1956) were largely modelled on the equivalent Bulleid-designed
carriage to SR Diagram 2019.
Type: SK (Second Corridor), Diagram 146
Built: 1961, at BR Litchurch Lane Carriage Works, Derby (Lot 30685)
Original No: M25728
Other Nos: M18728, NSE: 18728
Seating: 64 2nd class (originally 48)
Body Length: 64' 6"
Weight: 37 Tons
To Bluebell: 16/7/1991
Go to the page for the re-paint to green in 2003.