LSWR/SR Ironclad coaches

LSWR/SR/BR ‘Ironclad’

These notes include some information on set formations, as the LSWR, SR and later BR(S) formed most of their coaches into numbered sets. Over the years, these formations did change, particularly in later life, as vehicles had to be taken out of service for repairs. Coaches not formed into sets were known as ‘Loose coaches’ and were used for strengthening purposes or for making into ad-hoc sets as traffic demanded.

Additional information can be found in the ‘Appendices to the Carriage Working Notices’ held in the SRG Library and from SRG Data Sheets.

For more details information we recommend:

  • “An Illustrated History of Southern Coaches” by our member Mike King (OPC 2003),
  • “Maunsell’s SR Steam Carriage Stock” by David Gould (Oakwood 2000)
  • “LSWR Carriages in the 20th Century” by Gordon Weddell (OPC 2001), all of which have chapters on the Ironclads.

Mike King has a large range of drawings of Southern coaching stock, and has authored several other books about Southern Coaches.

2134 Compartment Brake Third LH Corridor (see image)
1354 Compartment Brake Third RH Corridor
24Corridor Third
476Corridor First (see image)
25Downgraded alternative Corr Third
23Corridor Pantry Third (1921-1927)
416Corridor Brake Composite
1376 Compartment Corridor Brake Third
414Push-Pull Corr Brake Composite (1949)
136Driving Brake Third (1949)
542Corridor Pantry Brake First
592Kitchen/Dining Car
284Corridor Composite
542ACorridor Brake First 1949 Conversion of SC9
23Corridor Pantry Third (1927-1936)
23Corridor Third (SC13 conversion 1936)
600Cafeteria Car 1950 BR Conversion of SC10

The ‘Ironclad’ was a London South Western design, the first sets going into traffic in July 1921. As this was the most modern design inherited by the Southern Railway in 1923, production was continued until 1926, while Maunsell developed his new family of carriages.

The coaches were known as ‘Ironclads’ because flush steel sheeting was screwed to the wooden body frame. Previous LSW designs had used the traditional wooden sheeting and panelling.

Originally, many were allocated to five coach sets to be used for the more important Western Section services. There were also a few longer sets which were deployed to the Central Section. As the new Manusell coaches became available in the later 1920s and early 1930s, these supplanted the Ironclads. The South Western coaches were reformed in to new sets and allocated to secondary services.

The early formations renumbered by the Southern are given below. See Gould p.11 and Weddell p.165 for the LSWR numbering of the eight sets introduced before the SR numbering system had been decided.

Set Numbers with coach diagram numbers(in coach order)
431-434Diag.213 / Diag.24 / Diag.476 / Diag.23 / Diag.135
435-444Diag.213 / Diag.24 / Diag.476 / Diag.24 / Diag.135

The four Pantry Thirds (Diag.23) had their pantries enlarged c.1927 and in 1936 lost them altogether to become all thirds.

The four pantry Brake Firsts (Diag.542) were built for the Southampton Boat trains to run with Firsts (Diag.476) but not in numbered sets.

All the Brake Composites (Diag.416) and five of the nine 6-Compartment Brake Thirds (Diag.137) always ran in 2-Sets 381-385. They were converted for Push-Pull working between 1949 and 1952 (Diag.414 and Diag.136).

The other four 6-Compartment Brake Thirds were for the Central Section long sets 471 and 472.

Initially all the composites (Diag.284) were loose stock, except for 6287 in set 471.

Most of the Restaurant Cars were withdrawn in 1947. Tthe Brake ended coaches which were converted to Pull-Push sets, and the Brake Pantry First coaches converted to Brake First in 1949, were part of a general withdrawal by BR between 1957 and 1959. Many of the withdrawn coaches because departmental vehicles replacing even older coaches. In departmental service, many were modified (sometimes quite extensively) including being given new underframe truss bars.


Three different bogie types were fitted during construction and it is believed these generally remained with their coaches throughout their lives.

Warner Double Framed (‘Dreadnought’) Bogie, fitted 7/21 to 3/23:

  • Diags.23 and 24 TK, Nos 713-724
  • Diags.135 and 213 BTK, Nos 3180-3191
  • Diag.476 FK, Nos 7166-7187
  • Diag.25 TK (downgraded Diag.476), Nos 7166-7187
  • Diag.542 and Diag.542A BFK(Pantry), Nos 7711-7714

Warner Single Framed 9′-0″ Bogie, fitted 6/23 to 12/25:

  • Diag.24 TK, Nos 725-732 and 745-762 and 2341
  • Diags.135 and 213 BTK, Nos 3192-3199 and 3203-3210
  • Diag.137 BTK, Nos 4052-4053 and 3211-3213 and 4043-4044
  • Diag.284 CK, Nos 5133-5136 and 6287
  • Diag.416 BCK, Nos 6560-6564
  • Diag.476 FK, Nos 7188-7201 and 7652-7658
  • Diag.592 Dining Cars, Nos 7850-7857
  • Diag.25 TK (downgraded Diag.476), Nos 2322/2331/2,2335-2340

SECR/SR Single Bolster Bogie, fitted 7/25-9/25 and 1/26:

  • Diag.24 TK, Nos 2346-2348
  • Diag.137 BTK, Nos 4046-4047
  • Diag.476 FK, Nos 7202-7205 and 7659-7664
  • Diag.25 TK (downgraded Diag.476), Nos 2333/4

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