GWR 7284 Composite
|GWRGreat Western Railway 7284 CompositeCarriage having more than one class of seating, ie First and Third or latterly First and Standard.|
GWRGreat Western Railway 7284 CompositeCarriage having more than one class of seating, ie First and Third or latterly First and Standard.
|Built By||GWRGreat Western Railway Swindon|
|Status||In service (repairs)|
|Other numbers||W7284W, 079156, 99236|
|Designed By||CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941|
|Seats||24 first, 24 third|
|1969||Preserved on SVRSevern Valley Railway|
GWRGreat Western Railway Corridor CompositeCarriage having more than one class of seating, ie First and Third or latterly First and Standard. (CK) 7284 is a late CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941-era design. The term ‘composite’ refers to a carriage having more than one class of seating, in this case four first compartments seating 24 and three third class compartments also seating 24. A toilet was provided at each end. The design changes from earlier CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941 stock included a more restricted loading gauge compatible with the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway and LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway (arising from a decision in late 1937), such vehicles being identified by a yellow disc on the body end (visible in the photograph). Other design features of this Lot included gangway adaptors for coupling to buckeye stock fitted as standard, better lighting in the vestibules and an external access door in the central first class compartment with another access door in the corridor opposite.
7284 was built at Swindon in 1941 as one of twenty in Lot number 1639 to Diagram E162, the only carriages built to that Diagram. It continued in passenger service with BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) as number W7284W until April 1965. It was then re-allocated for use in the Swindon GWRGreat Western Railway test train used for load testing of diesel locomotives, for which it received the Internal UserRolling stock used for the railway’s internal purposes (stores etc.) at one fixed location. number 079156.
Mainly through the efforts of Great Western Rolling Stock Fund member David Rouse, the entire 9-coach test train was sold into preservation in 1969. 7284 and four Full Third (TK) carriages (1086, 1087, 1116 and 1146) were purchased by various Groups and individuals for use the SVRSevern Valley Railway, all arriving from Swindon on 19 December 1969. 7284 itself was privately purchased by Fund member Mr Peter Waite. Restoration was completed at Bewdley in mid-1971.
In early 1976 plans were announced for the GWRGreat Western Railway to prepare a rake of 10 GWR carriages for use on the main line including 7284. After the September Enthusiasts Weekend a crash programme of work was undertaken to prepare the coaches. An examination by a BRBritish Rail or British Railways C&WCarriage & Wagon Inspector produced a long list of items requiring attention to satisfy BRBritish Rail or British Railways requirements for registration. These included removal and replacement of vacuum cylinders and direct admission valves which were sent to BREL Swindon for overhaul, and the ultrasonic testing of each axle. Other work included replacing brake blocks, repairing gangway connections, renewing dynamo belts and repainting. The work was completed on 7284 and the other carriages in time for the first rail tour on 13 November. 7284 was given the TOPS number 99236 for use on the main line.
7284 was withdrawn for what was planned to be a quick interior smarten up and minor repairs to the roof tanks and toilets over the winter of 1982-83. Subsequently the entire roof needed to be removed after it collapsed in several places. The carriage eventually returned to traffic in mid-May after a rather more involved overhaul than originally planned.
On 29 October 1991 HRH The Duke of Gloucester visited the SVRSevern Valley Railway and rode on a ‘Royal Train’ consisting of 7819 Hinton Manor and three GWRGreat Western Railway coaches including 7284.
In spring 1996 the four first class compartments were re-upholstered in original specification moquette fabric. The large armrests required an unusual repair technique, the armrest springs being replaced using lengths of Ford Escort leaf spring! The result was considered just as effective as the Swindon original. Another mechanical overhaul was carried out at Kidderminster in 1998.
In December 2003 7284 entered Kidderminster carriage works for another overhaul. Over the years it had become one of the worst looking coaches in the GWRGreat Western Railway set, being difficult to withdraw frequently or for extended periods because it provided four of the six first class compartments available in the set. Items receiving attention on this occasion included the door locks, partial re-skinning of two doors, new droplights and attention to the windows. The roof vents were re-bedded, both lavatory roof tanks re-sealed and the compartment ceilings which had suffered water damage were re-secured and decorated. It returned to traffic on 3 March 2004.
It received a further heavy repair and repaint at Kidderminster carriage works, being completed and returned to service in November 2020. Some of the wooden framework was showing signs of rot and was replaced, knee irons (brackets to support joints and add strength to the body) were repaired or replaced with new, two windows were re-bedded with new bottom frames as the old parts were rotten, and some panels patched or replaced. Roof tanks were attended to. All doors were overhauled and new battery boxes fitted. Worn seats and armrests were reupholstered and the carriage repainted.
Other class member
The other surviving example of the twenty, 7285, was formerly resident on the SVR. It was one of the first four coaches on the Railway, arriving on 25 March 1967 with 3205. It saw a period of use before leaving for Didcot in 1976, together with a number of others, at the behest of then owner D.R.G. Gwynne-Jones.
- Harris (1966) p. 105.
- Longworth (2018) p.99.
- Longworth (2018) p.172.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 20
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 42
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 66, 69
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 99
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 118
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 133
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 147, 149
- Branch Lines June 2020 to January 2021