This coach was built to a Southern Railway design by Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Co. It is unusual in its "semi-open" seating arrangement, having 8 seats in a compartment, another 4 in a "coupé", or half-compartment, and 32 in an open saloon.
Initially used out of Waterloo in three-coach set No. 804, from September 1948 it was on London to Dover, Ramsgate and Margate services, including the named 4.15 from Charing Cross, "The Man of Kent". From 18 January 1954 set 804 was expanded to become an 8-vehicle set, No. 474, remaining on London-Chatham-Ramsgate services until electrification in 1959.
Set 474 was formed:
4227 3rd Brake (ex-Set 804)
5783 Compo (ex-Set 803)
5784 Compo (ex-Set 804)
4228 3rd Brake (ex-Set 804)
The four Thirds came from Loose stock.
The Lancing Works "Out" book (thanks to research by Glen Woods) shows that the set received an 'A2 repair' (which included a revarnish of the paint finish) at Lancing on 9 May 1957. The four BRCW brakes and composites which were still painted in SR Malachite green did indeed just have a revarnish, but the thirds, built later in Crimson Lake and Cream, were in fact repainted into the slightly darker BR green (confirmed in a photo taken in March 1959 - below - showing both shades on the different carriages in this set).
Throughout the latter part of the 1950s set 474 worked normally as follows -
6.06am Ramsgate - Cannon Street (arr 8.28am) via Chatham
8.36am ECS Cannon Street to Victoria (arr 9.28am) via Ludgate Hill
9.42am shunt Victoria to Victoria Carriage Sidings
9.49am shunt Victoria CS to Victoria (arr 9.54)
10.35am Victoria to Ramsgate (arr 1.10pm) via Chatham
4.15pm Ramsgate to Victoria (arr 7.22pm) via Chatham
7.22pm propelled Victoria to Victoria CS
7.50pm Victoria CS to Victoria (arr 7.53pm)
8.35pm Victoria to Ramsgate (arr 11.12) via Chatham
The eight coach set operated with other
attached at different times of day.
The whole set received an 'E4 repair' at Lancing between 14 September and 12 November 1959 when all the vehicles were painted BR(S) Green.
From June 1961 it was allocated
to Waterloo - Salisbury, Waterloo - Bournemouth - Weymouth and
through services to other Regions, ending up in 1964 on a regular Bournemouth-Sheffield service.
No. 4227 was transferred to the Western region on 19 October 1964, running in the West Country until, in 1966, it was withdrawn and converted into a cinema coach, although retaining its original one-and-a-half compartments. Sold into preservation initially to a maritime preservation group at Bristol Harbour for use as a store, a swap with a full brake was arranged to enable this interesting coach to come to the Bluebell, where it awaits eventual restoration.
Type: Semi-Open Brake Third
Built: (Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Co.) May 1948
Original No: S4227S
Other Nos: W4227S, ADW 150385, ZDW 150385
Seating: 44 3rd class
Length: 64' 6"
Weight: 32.5 Tons
To Bluebell: 2 April 1987
Photo, Right: Either 4227 or 4228, one of the brake coaches of Set 474 at Ramsgate, March 1959, still in its original malachite green - see details above (photographer unknown)