GWR 9581 Wheelchair accessible Buffet Car

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GWRGreat Western Railway 9581 Wheelchair accessible Buffet Car
5043 20150411.jpg
GWRGreat Western Railway Full Third 5043 in Bewdley DownIn reference to the direction of travel means away from the major terminus (i.e. towards Bridgnorth on the present day SVR) Yard in 2015
Built By GWRGreat Western Railway Swindon
Status Static use
Number 9581
Other numbers 5043, W5043W, DW 150301
Built 1928
Designed By CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941
Diagram H33 (C54 as built)
Lot 1383
Type TK
Length 58ft 11½in (as built)
Weight 30t 6cwt (as built)
Seats 64 third (as built)
1981 Arrived on SVRSevern Valley Railway
2017 Conversion to buffet car began


5043 temporarily leaves its usual space on 28 March 2017 to allow 4150's boiler lift
GWRGreat Western Railway 9581 is a Wheelchair accessible Buffet Car, created by rebuilding the bodyshell of GWRGreat Western Railway CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941 Bow-Ended Coach No 5043, a standard 57ft full third coach originally built in June 1928 to diagram C54, lot 1383. The internal layout as built seated 64 passengers in eight compartments, with a side corridor and a toilet cubicle at each end.

As rebuilt the coach has been given a new SVRSevern Valley Railway running number ‘9581’ which reflects its rôle as a catering vehicle. In GWRGreat Western Railway days these were all numbered in the 95XX or 96XX series. The revised bodyshell is based on a GWRGreat Western Railway Diagram H33 CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941 CompositeCarriage having more than one class of seating, ie First and Third or latterly First and Standard. Diner which originally seated 12 first and 24 third. The number of one of these, the long-scrapped 9581, has been chosen for the rebuild of 5043.[1] The original 9581 was in service between August 1925 and May 1959[2].

5043 in service

5043 was used on cross country and express services. After main line service 5043 became DW 150301 in June 1963 when, as one of a batch of six similar conversions, it was allocated to the Running and Maintenance Department and served at least part of its new existence in the Swindon breakdown train. As part of the conversion several doors and windows were blanked off and an internally operated hand brake was added.

5043 in preservation

The 2857 Society ownership

The coach was originally bought by the 2857 Society and arrived on the SVRSevern Valley Railway by rail on 22 October 1981. It had been adapted for use as a mess coach in a breakdown train, including stripping out compartments and removing most of the internal partitions, fitting a stove and workbenches and blanking off of some of the doors and windows. On arrival, it served as the 2857 Society’s workshop, store and mess vehicle.

GW(SVRSevern Valley Railway)A ownership

Ownership passed to the Great Western (SVR) Assoc. in 2014 in a deal that saw the 2857 Society’s spares transferred to GWR 143 Tool & Packing Van, allowing the LNER Carriage Group, who are based in Bewdley Down Yard to use 5043 to use it as a workshop and stores.[3] Shortly after taking ownership the GW(SVRSevern Valley Railway)A announced its long term aspiration to convert this vehicle to a replica of a GWRGreat Western Railway CompositeCarriage having more than one class of seating, ie First and Third or latterly First and Standard. Diner to Diagram H33. The SVRSevern Valley Railway, however, requires good quality wheelchair accessible accommodation (and a GWRGreat Western Railway design Buffet Car) for set GW and the H33 design is eminently adaptable for this purpose.

SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) ownership and conversion to GWRGreat Western Railway 9581

In March 2017 the GW(SVRSevern Valley Railway)A and SVRSevern Valley Railway(H) exchanged 5043 for GWR 4786 Full Third. Conversion and restoration is being carried out by The LNER (SVR) Coach Fund who have experience of this kind of work, and this coach became their next project following restoration of GWR 17410 'Toad' 20T Goods Brake Van.[4]

The plan is to have saloon accommodation for disabled passengers and their companions at one end and an accessible buffet counter at the other. Entry will be via central double doors with an adjacent disabled WC. The external appearance will indeed be of a GWRGreat Western Railway H33 composite Kitchen Diner (see above). It will replicate the later condition of GWRGreat Western Railway catering vehicles, which were all rebuilt in a programme that lasted from 1937 to 1952. There were many variations, but they all gained flush sided steel panelling with sliding shutters replacing the original 'hopper' type opening toplights, a much more practical arrangement that vastly reduced the window's tendency to leak.[5] The General Arrangement drawing of the proposal, prepared by Peter Simpson of the GW(SVRSevern Valley Railway)A, can be viewed as a pdf at File:

Under the title 'PROJECT 9581 - ACCESS FOR ALL' it was the beneficiary of the traditional SVRSevern Valley Railway Raffle in 2019, raising "more than £10,000"[6][7].

Conversion work

Initial work involved sourcing fittings, undertaking a condition survey, obtaining costings, cleaning and painting the underframe and ordering a kit of bodyside frame components.[8] Work commenced in earnest following a shunt on 7 November 2017 which moved 5043 into position for restoration to commence.

In November 2018 it was agreed that with the rebuild more than 50% complete, the coach would subsequently be referred to by its new number 9581.[9] As of 2020 work continues on the bodywork, framing and windows, with the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway Carriage Group supplemented from time-to-time by further volunteers from The 2857 Society and the Great Western (SVR) Assoc..[10]

Updates are on this webpage.

Completion date

The LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway Carriage Group anticipated a 2023 completion date, but this may be affected by the 2020 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions.

See also

List of carriages
Rolling stock currently under restoration


  1. LNER Carriage Group Newsletter 74, December 2018
  2. Longworth (2018) p.107
  3. 2857 Society newsletter issue 82
  4. SVRLive 30 March 2017
  5. SVR Unofficial Form 30 May 2016
  6. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 205
  7. SVR Facebook, 7 May 2019
  8. LNER Carriage Group (Retrieved 2 January 2018)
  9. LNER Carriage Group
  10. SVRLive news page

Railway Heritage Register Carriage Survey
SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book Eighth Edition