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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 47 - Autumn 1982

LNWR Inspection Saloon No. 2119

The Inspection Saloon - Tony Lyster


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Photo:
J R Fairman - The Saloon on the GNSR Frame


On Sunday, 8th August, the superb LNWR Inspection Saloon arrived at Quainton, after several setbacks over recent months. We were very pleased to accept the offer of a free lorry for its transport from Bedford, provided by Fountains Bros. of Stoke Mandeville, for which we are very grateful. Fortunately, the entire day went without a hitch, the move being carried out in just over six hours.

The unique coach body is now reposing on the once six-wheeled GNSR chassis and it is supported by a double layer of sleepers to allow the removal of the spreaders used in the lift. There is some debate at present as to whether we should purchase a suitable 'new' chassis or restore the GNSR to a six-wheeler, but search for two more 7ft centre springs for the missing centre axle is presenting problems (any offers or ideas?).

Tony painted the saloon body in a month, using a low priced look-alike LNWR livery, for the official donation or dedication ceremony performed by Ayleen Brown, in memory of her husband. She unveiled a brass plate on the verandah on 26th September, recalling, for her, memories of living in the coach for 25 years. It was rather moving. The plate reads: "This coach was kindly donated by Ayleen Brown in memory of her husband, Arthur David Brown".

Before launching into the detailed history of the saloon, Tony would like to thank everyone, whether on the committee or just ordinary members like himself, for their help in all stages of the saga. Most of these historical facts were unearthed by John Parsons and Richard Casserley, to whom we are indebted.

The Caledonian and London and North Western Railway Companies formed a third joint company, known as the West Coast Joint Stock, to compete with a similar group on the East Coast for the lucrative traffic to Scotland. Of the many vehicles built for the WCJS, No. 102 was one of the four six-wheel sleeping / day saloons for six or sixteen passengers respectively. 102 was constructed for £1,115 in the half year ending May 1874, at Wolverton in Bucks - on the direct orders of the LNWR Board of Directors to alleviate the chronic space shortage on the Scottish expresses.

In November 1883, after extensive use and in need of refurbishment, she was replaced by an eight-wheel coach and transferred to the LNWR stock. Of the three similar coaches, one went with 102 and the two others went to the Caledonian. At this time she was valued at £907 17s 0d. WCJS 102 became LNWR 119 and was used as a Euston based family saloon for day trip hire to the better off. In November 1899, she was put on the duplicate list with the prefix 2.

Twenty-nine years after construction 2119 was sent to Wolverton again, in May 1903, for conversion into an Engineers Saloon, being allocated to the North Wales Engineer based at Bangor. On 1st January 1923, the 125 independent railway companies were formed into four big companies by Act of Parliament - and so it was that LNWR 2119 was given the London Midland and Scottish Railway No. 010393 on 27th November 1924 and subsequently 45024 in the 1933 renumbering scheme.

She was replaced at Bangor by a new saloon (No. 45030 - new on 30.10.1942) and, we believe, was transferred to Blackburn for a short while, before being withdrawn in April 1945. The records state that the body was sold to someone in Bedford in July 1945 (when she was 71 years old) and the underframe was broken up at Wolverton two months later.

As a sleeping car, albeit a convertible - in that four of the existing seats form two bunks, 119 is a most fascinating and important relic. It appears to be the oldest surviving sleeping car built for common use - indeed, it was nearly the first, that honour went to the North British Railway in April 1873 - and it makes an interesting comparison with our more modern (1933) LMS sleeper, itself a design leader.


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Photo:
J R Fairman - LNWR 'Arms' in Toilet Window Glass


Very little is known about these early six-wheel saloons, but 119 is substantially unaltered, apart from turning one of the two lavatories into a verandah for inspection purposes. In 1903 they also removed some of the bunks and fixed seats, blocked up two doors and replaced what was probably oil-gas lamps with electric.

In common with all Wolverton built coaches of the period, 119 has a double skinned oak floor with oak or teak body framing and mahogany panelling. She was finished in the fully lined livery of carmine lake and spilt milk with a varnished wood interior and is one of the most important coach discoveries for several years. There is one other claim to fame by 119 -there are only two other WCJS coaches preserved and 119 is older than both by 11 and 23 years. Indeed, an incredible survivor.

The body of No. 119 is 32 ft long and from the open verandah there is a centre door to the first of three compartments and at the far end a lavatory. The first compartment has a door at both sides and is empty. Another centre door leads from it into the centre compartment, in which there is the most exciting discovery. It contains two of the original convertible bed-settees - which are made by sliding forward the seat squabs of two facing seats to bridge the space between the seats, thus forming a couch about 6ft x 1ft 9in. The upholstery is in gold and red and, although it is faded, it is in remarkably good order. On the other side of the compartment there are a pair of matching seats with a buttoned upholstered outside door to the compartment. The centre door to the end compartment has a lovely bevelled full length mirror to add to the convenience of the user of the bedroom or sleeping compartment. The third compartment is empty and has a window on one side and a door with window on the other. Yet another centre door leads into the toilet at the end. The most striking feature here is the pair of frosted glass windows, one on each side, bearing the LNWR coat of arms and one of these can be seen in the previous illustration.

The photograph of the interior was taken from the third compartment looking through the door at the convertible seats. These have been drawn forward to create the bed or couch. It will be noted that the bottom squab of the seat back also moves forward with the seat squab and the bed is in the area between the four arm rests. On the left of the picture the mirror on the centre door can be seen.

(C&W report that Tony Lyster worked single handed to strip off all the additions added when it was lived in at the caravan site. He removed flaking paint, primed, undercoated and top coated the body to a good representation of LNWR plum and spilt milk livery, to protect it until full restoration in the years to come.)


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Photo:
J R Fairman - The Sleeping Berth


Notes:
The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1982 and so does not reflect events in the 32+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Reference:
The Inspection Saloon - Tony Lyster - Quainton News No. 46 - Autumn 1982


Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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