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British Railways Standard Steam Stock (Mk.I)
No. 4941 – Multi-purpose Saloon

4941 after conversion - Richard Salmon - 13 April 2013

4941 in traffic in April 2013 after conversion (Richard Salmon)

As built and as running initially on the Bluebell Railway, 4941 was identical to 64-seat Open Second carriage No. 4957. In need of structural repairs, it was withdrawn in 2007 and was converted with a wheelchair lift to supplement Multi-purpose Saloon No. 5034.

The structural modifications and much of the repairs were undertaken by Cranmore Traincare. The body structure behind the corridor connection at the toilet/lift end had been damaged during its BR ownership. Although the interior in the carriage was 90% original, it was decided to convert it to appear similar to 5034. 4941 was released to traffic as an MPV for Christmas 2012 in BR(S) green livery.

The remaining seating is original although the position of a number of seat units was altered as a bulkhead was removed. The original Formica laminate wall panelling and fluorescent lighting were removed and replaced by veneered plywood panelling and 1950's-style incandescent main lighting. The luggage racks have also been removed. In the light of operational experience with 5034, 4941 has been fitted with one additional bay of fixed seating in the wheelchair-accessible saloon. The general principal of operation of the saloon with its electric lifts can be seen on the web page for No. 5034.

This vehicle was converted from:

Type: Diagram 89 Second Open (SO, later TSO)
Built: 1962, at BR Wolverton Works (Lot 30690)
Original No: M4941
Other Nos: 4941, TCL 99169
Seating: 64 2nd class
Body Length: 64' 6"
Weight: 37 tons
Withdrawn: 1988 and 1992
Preserved: 1993
To Bluebell: 26/11/1993

4941 as initially in Bluebell service - Richard Salmon
Right: 4941 soon after entering Bluebell service in the mid-1990s (Richard Salmon)

The designation TSO was adopted across BR from early 1967 to identify the 64-seat capacity 2+2 seating of coaches such as this, from the 48-seat SO, with 2+1 seating (such as No. 4824). The 48-seat vehicles were originally built only for the LM Region. From 1956 (when Third Class was re-designated Second) to this time, both types had been designated SO. However, to confuse the issue, the Eastern Region had used the TSO code prior to 1967 to identify older Diagram 93 BR 64-seat vehicles for excursion and secondary duties.

Although none of the three BR Mark I Second Open coaches in our fleet was ever allocated to the Southern, one vehicle from this Lot and a number of similar vehicles from a previous Lot were transferred from the WR in 1964. These vehicles, with wider seats, double-glazed aluminium-framed windows, laminate-faced panelling and fluorescent lighting, appeared significantly more modern internally than those Diagram 93 vehicles already in the SR fleet. However the lighting in these carriages often emitted an irritating, high-pitched 'whistle' from the ceiling-mounted lighting inverters! The SR-allocated carriages were generally used for special traffic (excursions etc.) on the South Western Division.

Built in 1962 for the London Midland Region, 4941 continued in service there through 1979. By 1983 it had been transferred to the Western Region where it was allocated to Cardiff Canton depot. By 1988 it was allocated to Old Oak Common (London) for Intercity special traffic and charter work. 4941 was one of twelve vehicles modified in 1989 to form the 'Travelling College' train, which, it was intended, should carry parties of schoolchildren around the country on educational tours. The venture was commercially unsuccessful and the Bluebell subsequently bought all twelve vehicles. Three of the coaches, including this one, were used as lecture rooms, and two were very little altered from their BR condition. We were thus able to return them to traffic relatively easily. Although repainted in 1994, no major structural repairs were carried out on this coach, until those done at the time it was adapted for wheelchair access.

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