SR Maunsell coaches

Coching stock overview

By 1926, Maunsell had developed his designs for Southern Railway carriage stock to the extent that many of the features could be termed ‘standard’. These included the bogies, many details of the 58′ underframe including the arrangement of the truss bars (without cross bracing), vacuum cylinders and vacuum reservoirs, the use of buckeye couplers, retractable buffers and Pullman type gangways (with their integral buffing gear). However, four distinct patterns of body design were produced during the next ten years. The accompanying notes are intended to assist modellers by pointing out certain details which will be helpful in producing accurate trains of these vehicles. When building the underframe, note that the dynamo was regularly positioned to the right on the corridor side, but a number of different types were used.

Many of the ‘standard’ features were later perpetuated by Bulleid and it should be remembered that Lionel Lynes was the Chief Draughtsman responsible to both CME’s for Carriages and Wagons.

Lynes wrote a book ‘Railway Carriages and Wagons, Theories and Practices’ (published by the Locomotive Publishing Co, 1959) and this gives a good insight into some of the details of SR practice. Further, ‘An Illustrated History of Southern Coaches’ by our member Mike King provides a comprehensive range of photographs and drawings. Other useful references include ‘Maunsell’s SR Steam Carriage Stock’ by David Gould (revised edition, Oakwood 2000) and ‘Maunsell’s Standard SR Steam Hauled Carriages – A Modeller’s View’ by John Harvey, published in the HMRS Journal Vol 12 Nos 7, 8, 9, 11 & 12, 1986 and 1987). Both of these references include numbering information and useful photographs. Also available in sheet form are drawings made by Mike King, to whom application including an SAE should be made.

Carriage Stock, 1926 to 1929

Thus, in 1925, the SR placed orders for new carriages for West of England and Central Section services to London which incorporated these ‘standard’ features. The body (which was in essence a ‘bow-ended’ design with a basic length of 59′ along the coach centreline) included passenger compartments each with an external door and corridors with ‘low’ main window lights. The windows were fitted into a wooden frame arranged such that the glass was noticeably recessed into the body side. The maximum width over the body sheeting was 9′-0″ (Route Restriction 4) and there was a marked tumblehome. The luggage and guard’s compartments had vertical sides (8′-7″ wide with a small tumblehome at the base) and steel duckets.

Most of the corridor thirds and all of the brake composites (Diag.2001/Diag.2401) were loose when built. All the brake composites and most of the thirds went into sets starting after World War II. All the 4 compartment brake thirds and composites (Diag.2101/Diag.2301) spent their whole lives in 3-sets 390-399 and 445-448. The 6 compartment brake thirds were for Central Section 8-sets Nos 469 and 470, with first and thirds (Diag.2501/Diag.2001).

The rest of the corridor firsts were intended to run with the two pantry brake firsts (Diag.2551) in Southampton Boat trains (but not as a numbered set). The kitchen restaurant firsts (Diag.2650/Diag.2651) were added to other sets as required by the working, often coupled to a dining third (Diag.2652) or an open third (Diag.2005 or Diag.2007 pattern 4 of 1936) which acted as a trailer to the Restaurant Car proper, which, of course, contained the kitchen. During the 1930s all of the Dining Thirds (Diag.2652, see ‘Conversions of Non-Kitchen Cars’, below) were collected together and operated in a Southampton Boat Train 9-set No 310 but in 1947 four of these became combined first and third class dining saloons Nos 7841-4 and were specially branded, while the other two became all first Dining Saloons 7846/7 for the ‘Night Ferry’.

Open Thirds (Diag.2005) were initially all loose but a few later ran in sets, including 2-sets (Nos 104-105 and 107-110 with brake composites Diag.2401(pattern 2 of 1929, see below); set 106 with Diag.2401(1926)) for the Western Section local services between 1959 and 1962. Twenty were also formed into the P&P sets Nos 600-619 in 1959/60 when the lavatory compartments were closed off and the loco end gangway was removed.

For Eastern Section use, the pattern 1 design was adapted to provide a maximum body width of 8′-6″ (Restriction 1). Window arrangements were similar to that found in the Restriction 4 stock, but the tumblehome was considerably reduced (to about ¾” each side, giving a width at the base of the body about 8′-4½”. Bufferbeam width was 7′-11½”) and there was no difference in the bodyside profile between passenger compartments and the luggage/guard’s compartments. Duckets were not fitted to R1 stock.

Pattern 1 Coaches built in 1926 onwards with LOW Corridor windows to Restriction 4:

2001Corridor Third1926
2201Corridor Second 
21014 Compt Corridor Brake Third1926
21026 Compt Corridor Brake Third1926
22516 Compt Corridor Brake Second 
2301Corridor Composite1926
2401Corridor Brake Composite1926
2501Corridor First1926
2551Pantry Brake First1928
2651Kitchen/Restaurant First (without end doors as built)1927
26511927 Kitchen/Restaurant First (with addition of end doors)1935-39
2651Kitchen/Restaurant First built new with end doors and different kitchen windows1929-30
2650Kitchen/Restaurant First Diags 2650/55/561932-4
2655with detail differences from 
2656with detail differences from1932-34
2652Open Third (Dining)1927
2005Open Third1930/33

Pattern 1 (LOW Corridor windows) coaches built to Restriction 1:

2003Corridor Third1928
21034 Compt Corridor Brake Third1928
21046 Compt Corridor Brake Third1929
2302Corridor Composite1928
2502Corridor First1929
2022Cor Third (Dia 2501 downrated)1954
2653Unclassed Open Saloon1928/31
2654Unclassed Open Brake1933


Carriage Stock, 1929 to 1935

The first or ‘low’ pattern of Maunsell bodyside, remained in production until 1933 for certain types of carriage but in 1929, the second pattern (known as pattern 2) which featured ‘HIGH’ corridor window lights emerged and since this was the only significant change, there was no need for a change in diagram number.

Corridor thirds (Diag.2001) were loose or in long sets. The 4-Compartment brake thirds (Diag.2101) were mainly in long sets including some for through trains to other regions and which included the composites with 3 1st class and 4 3rd class compartments (no external difference from the normal 4 1st/3 3rd type). Some of the brake thirds and brake composites had British Standard gangways at the brake ends instead of the SR Pullman type. There were many 3-sets of two 6-Compartment brake thirds (Diag.2102) and one composite (Diag.2301) and several 2-sets of 6-Compartment brake thirds plus brake composite for West of England services. Other brake composites were loose but many were later formed into sets. Some firsts (Diag.2501) were loose, others formed into long sets.

Certain pattern 2 coaches were also built to Restriction 1 for Eastern Section use. A common formation was the 4-set with two 6-Compartment brake thirds and two composites, either Diag.2104, Diag.2302, Diag.2302, Diag.2104 (low window) or Diag.2104, Diag.2302, Diag.2302, Diag.2104 (high window). The thirds and firsts were largely in longer sets with brake thirds and composites. The “unclassed”. “nondescript” or “general” saloons were temporarily labelled as the traffic required: typically first class for race specials, second class for boat trains and third class for school traffic. Ultimately they were regarded as second class and many of the saloons were added to sets in the mid-fifties. It might be noted that four of the Nondescript Brakes were rebuilt as ambulance cars in 1959 (becoming 7920-23) and were eventually painted blue & grey, the only Maunsell Passenger vehicles in capital stock so painted.

In addition to body widths of 9′-0″ and 8′-6″, Pattern 2 was produced with width of 8′-0¾” (Restriction 0) for Hastings line services. The body profile had only a very slight tumblehome, being almost straight down to the ends of the bufferbeam. The underframe dimensions appear to have been the same whichever body width was built upon it. Guard’s duckets were not fitted to R0 stock.

Certain details of construction are worth noting as being changed during the period of the second pattern. The lavatory ventilators (above the opaque window) were altered from the single to double bonnet type. Also, until about 1933, Maunsell carriages were equipped with two ‘double’ battery boxes, one each side between the truss bars, but production that year featured one double battery box on one side only.

Pattern 2 coaches built 1929 onwards with HIGH Corridor windows to Restriction 4:

2001Corridor Third1929
2101Corr Brake Third 4 Compt1929
2102Corr Brake Third 6 Compt1929
2110Corr Brake Third 6 Compt (altered internal door)1933
2301Corr Composite (4 1st/3 3rd)1929
2303Corr Composite (3 1st/4 3rd)1929
2401Corridor Brake Composite1929
2501Corridor First1929


Pattern 2 (HIGH Corridor windows) coaches built to R1:

2003Corridor Third1929
2104Corr Brake Third 6 Compt1929
2302Corridor Composite1929


Carriage Stock, 1935

The next major change in design occurred in 1935 (pattern 3). Windows were virtually flush with the window sides (the larger lights having large radius corners), and the body was marked by numerous screw heads where the steel sheeting was fixed to the wooden framing. Droplights were frameless. The gutter appeared more slender, adding to the ‘flush sided’ appearance. The ‘double’ battery boxes were dispensed with and two single boxes, each offset to the left of the coach centreline when viewed on each side were fitted.

The corridor thirds started life as loose stock, but many were later in sets. Brake thirds (Diag.2113) were formed in 2-sets with a Brake composite (Diag.2403) whilst others were formed with older coaches including several 4-sets with corridor third (Diag.2001 of pattern 2) and corridor first (Diag.2501 of pattern 2). Other brake composites were loose, but in 1959/60 twenty were formed into the last traditional SR pull & push sets Nos 600-619.

Pattern 3 (frameless windows) coaches built to R4 only:

2008Corridor Third1935
21136-Compartment Corr Brake Third1935
2403Corridor Brake Composite1929


Carriage Stock, 1936

The final pattern (pattern 4) appeared in 1936, with the fixed window lights (small radius corners) mounted in a neat frame, giving the appearance of a moulding on the body side. Droplights were frameless except on the Open Third design where frames were again used. The numerous screw heads disappeared, presenting what was possibly the most attractive of Maunsell’s carriage designs.

All the Brake thirds and composites (Diags.2113/2308) were formed in 3-sets Nos 952-961. The corridor thirds (Diag.2011) started life as loose stock, but many were later in sets. Many of the Open thirds (Diag.2007) spent their lives as loose stock but four were in the 1938 ‘Bournemouth Limited’ 6-sets Nos 241-2. They were often paired as a trailer to Kitchen Restaurant Cars (Diags.2650/2651) to provide for third class passengers.

Pattern 4 coaches built to R4 only:

2011Corridor Third1936
2007Open Third1936
21136-Compartment Corr Brake Third1936
2308Corridor Composite1936


Post Office vehicles, 1936-9

These were not ‘standard’: the most obvious differences were the flat ends, off-centre gangways, non-retractable buffers and handbrake.

For many years most were allocated to the Waterloo-Dorchester (Weymouth from 1961) Mail Train, although some regularly worked London Bridge-Dover. Diag.3191 was withdrawn in 1973, but from 1974 six Diags.3192/3196 vehicles were transferred to the Dover service. All lasted long enough to be painted BR blue & grey. The seventh (Diag.3196) vehicle was transferred to the LMR in 1962.

SR/BR Maunsell Post Office Vehicles, 58ft long:

3191PO Sorting Van (No lavatory)1936
3192PO Sorting Van (With lavatory)1939
3196PO Stowage van1939


SR and BR period Conversions of Restaurant Cars to Buffet Cars etc

Please see, for example, Southern Notebook No158 and Southern Coaches by Mike King for photographs and further detail of the diagrams in the tables.

Diagrams 2658 and 2662 involved alterations to the interiors, but the exterior was unchanged.

Diagrams 2658/59 and 2661/2 ran in pairs, providing for passengers requiring a full meal as well those whose needs were satisfied at the Buffet counter. The latter pair were initially intended for the ‘Night Ferry’, but typically four of the six pairs were allocated to West of England services until superseded in the late 1950s.

Note that with only six Diagram 2652 cars having been built, the Kitchen Restaurant First Cars were often paired with a Diagram 2005 or a Diagram 2007 Open Third to provide third class dining facilities.

Conversions of Cars with Kitchens:

2659Kitchen Buffet four vehicles converted from Diag 26561947
2661Kitchen Buffet two vehicles converted from Diag 26551947
2661Kitchen Buffet as SC49A with store window plated over 
2666Buffet 22 vehicles converted from Diags 2650/51/55/561953-54
2667Buffet 2 vehicles converted from Diag 26511953


Conversions of Non-Kitchen Cars:

2675Cafeteria Car 2 vehicles converted from D2651 kitchen eliminated1952
26521927 Dining 3rd renumbered as Open 3rd1930
2658Composite Restaurant four vehicles converted from D26521947
2662Restaurant First two vehicles converted from D26521947


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