25769 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 18769 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older, shabbier examples on outer-suburban duties from Paddington while the remainder were withdrawn.
18769 was withdrawn from BR service in 1990 and offered for sale by tender, with sister vehicle 18752. They arrived on the Bluebell
Railway in September 1991.
Before entering traffic in 1992, the coach had considerable attention paid to its steel structure. The bodyside sheeting around the
base of the door openings was removed, exposing severely corroded door pillars. These were repaired by welding in new sections of
pillar. The interior of the coach was also "de-furbished", with the lighting converted from florescent tubes back to the original
lamps. The windows and gutters were removed and re-bedded to keep the coach watertight. It is only by giving Mk.1 coaches such
thorough overhauls that their long-term future can be secured.
The seats, in NSE blue and orange striped moquette on arrival, have now (except one compartment) been re-trimmed in BR "Trojan". In
2015 the coach, having hitherto run in BR(S) green on the Bluebell (as seen in Richard Salmon's photo right, taken in April 1993), was repainted into the
crimson lake & cream livery which BR had stopped using 4 years before this coach was actually built!
In 2019 the carriage was withdrawn from service for intermediate overhaul, and the bogies and re-trimmed seating swapped with 25728 to keep that carriage operational.
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: M25769
Other Nos: M18769, 18769
Seating: 64 2nd class (originally 48)
Body Length: 64' 6"
Weight: 37 Tons
To Bluebell: 9/1991
Last operational: 2019