GWR 4-wheel post-1890 'City' stock

by Russ Elliott

 

GWR diagram T59 brake 3rd

Holden 4-wheel Brake 3rd to Diagram T59, made from a Shirescenes/Ratio kit. See how this and an all-3rd Diagram S17 were built in the GWR Projects section.

 

The 4-wheeled 'City' stock used by the GWR in the London area is an attractive subject for modellers. On this page, Russ Elliott describes the 3-arc roof, 8'6" wide types built to Holden designs after 1890.

It would appear that the vast majority of these coaches were built for the London suburban services (Hammersmith & City; Main Line & City; some Middle Circle workings), although I believe some sets saw service in the Birmingham area, but perhaps only after being displaced from London as new stock was built and lines electrified. The completion dates of the lots indicate that there were 23 sets made, each of nominally 9 coaches. It is thought that these vehicles departed from London in 1925 when they were replaced by the suburban articulated trains.

Lot 699 was used for strengthening Middle Circle trains, where trains were augmented to 10 or 11 vehicles. (It is difficult to imagine that this augmentation would be done on a 'peak time' only basis, as the coaches within a set were all close-coupled, and putting something in the middle of a set would have been very awkward.)



The characteristic half-circle door vents

All the 8'6" wide stock was designed by Holden, and the doors had semi-circular tops, so that tunnel faces would not be hit in the case of any doors remaining open. Unusually for Great Western coaches, the doors of these suburban sets displayed the class of compartment in large Arabic figures: it is not known exactly when this indication was introduced, but it was present by mid-1905. These figures are to be seen in an enlargement of a picture of an 'Atlantic' class loco 183 when new (in 1905) and before it was named Red Gauntlet in 1906. The figures can also be seen (in the Wild Swan Publications book 'Edwardian Enterprise') on a rake of Metro coaches at Acton in pristine pre-1908 livery. (Jack Slinn's statement in 'Great Western Way (HMRS) that the figures were introduced c.1913/4 is therefore incorrect.)

Before the introduction of the 3-arc roofed vehicles, the Metro sets were formed by similar sets of 8'-wide, single-arced roof vehicles. Many of these date back to 1880 or earlier. I do not have any lot or diagram information before 1890. These older sets, when displaced by the new 3-arc roof vehicles, may have been displaced to the Birmingham district.

The diagram and lot information provided below was taken from Michael Harris' book (Great Western Coaches 1890-1954, David & Charles): numbers in brackets show the post-1907 renumbering prefix. Some brake vehicles were classified by a different class for the same diagram number: this is thought to be merely a difference in upholstery, the distance between partitions being constant for a particular diagram.

Lot and Diagram details, 8'6" wide stock
Dia Date Lot Type Qty Numbers (see note)
T17 04/11/93 684 Brake third, 28' 1 301
S18 04/11/93 685 Third, 26' 1 302
R5 04/11/93 686 First, 26' 3 (8)028-30
S18 04/11/93 687 Second, 26' 3 (50)41-3
T17 04/11/93 688 Brake second, 28' 1 (50)44
           
S18 17/02/94 699* Second, 26' 12 (50)45-53/75-7
           
T59 30/12/93 704 Brake third, 31' 6 2621-6
S17 30/12/93 705 Third, 25' 18 2711-28
U6 30/12/93 706 Composite, 28' 6 (7)811-6
R3 30/12/93 707 First, 25' 6 (8)118-23
S17 30/12/93 708 Second, 25' 10 (50)54-63
T59 30/12/93 709 Brake second, 31' 6 (50)66-71
           
T59 03/02/94 711 Brake third, 31' 1 2627
S17 03/02/94 712 Third, 25' 3 2729-31
U6 03/02/94 713 Composite, 28' 1 (7)817
R3 03/02/94 714 First, 25' 1 (8)117
S17 03/02/94 715 Second, 25' 2 (50)73/4
T59 03/02/94 716 Brake second, 31' 1 (50)72
           
T8 03/02/94 717 Brake third, 26' 1 2628
S18 03/02/94 718 Third, 26' 3 2732-4
R5 03/02/94 719 First, 26' 2 (8)115/6
S18 03/02/94 720 Second, 26' 2 (50)78/9
T8 03/02/94 721 Brake second, 26' 1 (50)80
           
T17 31/08/95 753 Brake third, 28' 1 322
S18 31/08/95 754 Third, 26' 1 323
R5 31/08/95 755 First, 26' 3 (80)31-3
S18 31/08/95 756 Second, 26' 3 (50)82-4
T17 31/08/95 757 Brake second, 28' 1 (50)81
           
T59 22/02/96 777 Brake third, 31' 2 2693/4
S17 22/02/96 778 Third, 25' 6 2777-82
U6 22/02/96 779 Composite, 28' 2 (7)878/9
R3 22/02/96 780 First, 25' 2 (800)9/10
S17 22/02/96 781 Second, 25' 4 (50)85-8
T59 22/02/96 782 Brake second, 31' 2 (50)89/90
           
T59 10/10/96 805 Brake third, 31' 2 2695/6
S17 10/10/96 806 Third, 25' 6 2783-8
U6 10/10/96 807 Composite, 28' 2 (7)882/3
R3 10/10/96 808 First, 25' 2 (80)50/1
S17 10/10/96 809 Second, 25' 4 (50)93-6
T59 10/10/96 810 Brake second, 31' 2 (50)91/2
           
T59 12/06/97 816 Brake third, 31' 2 2697/8
S17 12/06/97 817 Third, 25' 6 2789-94
U6 12/06/97 818 Composite, 28' 2 (7)884/5
R3 12/06/97 819 First, 25' 2 (80)52/3
S17 12/06/97 820 Second, 25' 4 (50)97-100
T59 12/06/97 821 Brake second, 31' 2 (50)101/2
           
T59 15/01/98 858 Brake third, 31' 3 313/2699-2700
S17 15/01/98 859 Third, 25' 9 303/4/11/2795-800
U6 15/01/98 860 Composite, 28' 3 (7)886-8
R3 15/01/98 861 First, 25' 3 (8)133/8/9
S17 15/01/98 862 Second, 25' 6 (5)106-11
T59 15/01/98 863 Brake second, 31' 3 (5)103-5
           
T59 26/11/98 897 Brake third, 31' 2 334/7
S17 26/11/98 898 Third, 25' 6 340/1/3-5/7
U6 26/11/98 899 Composite, 28' 2 (7)891/2
R3 26/11/98 900 First, 25' 2 (8)142/3
S17 26/11/98 901 Second, 25' 4 (5)120-3
T59 26/11/98 902 Brake second, 31' 2 (5)118/9
           
T59 05/11/98 909 ** Brake third, 31' 1 2695
* Lot 699 was for strengthening Middle Circle trains

** Replacement body for the identically numbered original vehicle condemned after an accident at Paddington in September 1898, but possibly using the repaired underframe from the original vehicle

Note: Numbers in brackets show the post-1907 renumbering prefix.

 

Number built
Diagram Quantity
R3 20
R5 8
S17 98
S18 25
T8 2
T17 2
T59 41 *
U6 20
  (total 216)
* One was a replacement

My thanks to John Lewis, for providing corrections and clarifications to the initial version of this page.

Drawings for many of the above diagrams, including standard 8' wide (non-City) short coaching stock, can be found on the Penhros Junction site:

 

Russ Elliott
November 2000, revised January 2002
Updated June 2014 with reference to Penhros Junction drawings