LMS 27218 Third Open

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LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway 27218 Third Open
LMS 27218 20150718.jpg
LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway 27218 Third Open (2015)
Built By LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway Wolverton
Status In service
Number 27218
Other numbers M27218M
Built 1945
Designed By StanierWilliam Stanier, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway 1932-1944
Diagram 1999
Lot 1401
Type QF, TO
Length 57ft
Weight 30T
Seats 56 third
1968 Arrived on SVRSevern Valley Railway
1976 Entered passenger service


Interior view of LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway Third Open 27218

27218 is one of three SVRSevern Valley Railway-based examples of the LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway Third Open (TO), which was designed by Sir William StanierWilliam Stanier, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway 1932-1944.

The LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway generally referred to open carriages as 'vestibule carriages'. The made a proportionately greater use of these than the other railway companies, possibly as a weight saving measure resulting from the 'small engine' policy of the MRMidland Railway and early LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway. For the first 10 years or more after the 1923 grouping, the LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway continued to build many more open carriages than corridor stock. After that time the trend changed, with around 4,000 StanierWilliam Stanier, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway 1932-1944-style corridor coaches eventually being completed. Nevertheless, they also continued to build open stock, with more than 1,000 examples of Period III open stock resulting.[1]

The earliest Period III open stock, dating from 1933, had a length of 57ft (shorter than a BRBritish Rail or British Railways Mark 1) and seated 56 passengers at seven pairs of tables either side of a central aisle with one toilet in each vestibule. In 1935 this changed to an 'excursion stock' version seating 60 passengers in 7½ bays, with both toilets in one vestibule. The SVRSevern Valley Railway's three examples are all of the final Diagram 1999 version, which reverted to seating 56 passengers but retained the layout of both toilets in one vestibule, giving more space per passenger as a result. Although open stock, the layout included two saloons with the larger (4 bays) being a smoking compartment and the smaller (3 bays) at the toilet end being non-smoking. The first 83 were built between 1938 and 1939, after which the Second Word War delayed the production of later batches. Construction of a further 250 resumed in 1945 with the last examples being completed by BRBritish Rail or British Railways in 1948[2].

Service and preservation

27218 was built in July 1945 at Wolverton as one of 100 in lot number 1401. It saw service with the LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway and later the BRBritish Rail or British Railways London Midland Region as M27218M until being withdrawn in December 1966.[3]

The SVRSevern Valley Railway's three LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway Third Opens, 27218, 27220 and 27270, were all rescued intact from Didcot Yard in 1968, having been acquired by the Warwickshire Railway Society, the SVR Company and Mr GW Ledger respectively. All three arrived on 28 August with several other vehicles.

27218 spent most of its early SVRSevern Valley Railway years in static use at Bridgnorth as the Catering Department's relief catering vehicle. In April 1974 the L.M.S. & B.R. Coach Fund noted that it was likely to be the next vehicle shopped.[4] It entered the LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway Set in mid-1976 having been repainted by Gary Walker.[5]

In spring 1981 27218 was one of several carriages withdrawn from service, SVRSevern Valley Railway News reporting that "15553, another BRBritish Rail or British Railways coach was found to have terminal rot and has been put to sleep. 27218, LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway Third Open has also been withdrawn from service suffering from the same affliction but it is felt that if it is placed in intensive care it may pull through."[6]

The 'intensive care' required a major rebuild which was carried out at Bridgnorth. During 1982 and 1983 the work mostly used contract labour,[7] continuing through 1984 and early 1985 with C&WCarriage & Wagon staff and volunteers.[8] 27218 eventually returned to service in May 1985, although unfortunately after just three weeks in traffic it had been vandalised, with light switch covers being stolen, table legs smashed and carriage seat number blocks wrenched out of seat fittings. The local Police were informed.[9]

Although it was still in good condition following the rebuild five years earlier, 27218 underwent another repaint in late September 1989. All fourteen tables also received new covers at the same time.[10]

In autumn 1992 the connected gangways on 27218 and BR TSO 4545 were damaged in a shunting accident. A replacement gangway for 27218 was made at Bewdley using a combination of salvaged parts and new parts from DMUs. At the same time this was fitted, 27218 was also swapped onto a newly overhauled set of bogies.[11]

In late 1997 an overhaul was carried out at Kidderminster during which the coach was lifted, the bolster pins and bushes replaced, wheels were changed and buffer heights re-set. New toilet and sink/tank drain pipes were also fitted to direct water away from bogies. One corner post was also rebuilt. The completed coach was outshopped on 7 October 1997.[12]

In 1990 27218 was still owned by the Warwickshire Railway Society. However by mid-1998, ownership had passed to SVR(H).[13]

On New Year's night 2008, 27218 suffered another attack of vandalism with four broken windows which were replaced by Bridgnorth C&WCarriage & Wagon volunteers. While doing so, it was found that the mastic and beading was in poor condition on many of the windows, requiring a new set of beads and all the windows out at the next workshop visit.[14]

27218 suffered a leaking roof tank during 2014 and was taken out of service at the end of the year. The old galvanised steel tank, which had been made in March 1945 when the LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway resumed coach building as the Second World War was drawing to a close, was removed and sent away to be copied in stainless steel. A roof vent re-bedding exercise was also undertaken as there had been reports of water dripping onto the seats. The repairs were completed by June 2015, following which 27218 was rubbed down and re-varnished at the cleaners' platform on Roads 4 and 5 of the Carriage Shed. It was outshopped during the first week of July;[15] the main picture shows 27218 in use some two weeks later.

In July 2017 27218 was red-carded with another rotten corner post and top stringer, Hugh McQuade noting that the major rebuild some thirty-five years earlier "...is longer ago than 27218's combined LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway and BRBritish Rail or British Railways service, so we can't complain."[16] It entered Kidderminster paint shop in September where the repairs were completed. Following touching up of the lining and a re-varnish, it returned to traffic at the start of 2018.[17]

In late 2022 27218 suffered damage to a gangway as the result of a shunting accident for a second time; LNER Kitchen Composite 7960 being the other vehicle involved. The three-week repair involved the blacksmithing of bent rods to straighten them, the re-forming of buckled knuckle joints and stitching repairs to the canvas bellows.[18]

27218 is now owned by SVR(H) and forms part of the LMS Maroon set (Set L).

See also


  1. Jenkinson & Essery (1977) p. 113.
  2. Jenkinson & Essery (1977) pp. 130-131
  3. Longworth (2019) p.284.
  4. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 31
  5. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 41
  6. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 59
  7. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 63, 70
  8. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 72 – 76
  9. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 77
  10. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 94
  11. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 104
  12. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 124, 125
  13. SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book Eighth and Ninth Editions
  14. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 161
  15. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 191
  16. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 200
  17. SVR Online Forum, Kidderminster Carriage Works update
  18. Branch Lines, December 2022