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LNER Sleeping Cars

The plan is to look at prototype and models of the following types based on Kirk Kits:

61'6" SLF - 1st Sleeping car - 1927-29
61'6" SLT - 3rd Sleeping car (convertible) - 1931
66'6" SLF - 1st Sleeping car (longer length) - 1932-38

Some will require tweaki8ng, others, cross-kitting.

61'6" 1st Sleeping Car

Building Kirk kits is something I have covered many times so I shall concentrate on the prototype and the finished models with detailed captions around areas peculiar to these types. The LNER built 61'6" 1st sleepers with several variations and, for example, three photographs show three different layouts of the underframe. Here are these pictures, as-built, all from the compartment side:

LNER sleeping car

No 1318 was built 1927 to D.17. The underframe has the battery boxes in separate pairs, located similarly on each side. The brake reservoirs cannot be seen and were, I suspect, on the centre-line. Note how much the height of the dynamo varied; always completely flexible, there was no particular set height. Heavy bogies across the board..

LNER sleeping car

No 1319 was built to the same diagram, the same year. Yet the underframe layout is different. As far as I can tell, all the battery boxes on this side; an attempt to even out the weight, perhaps?

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No 1153 was built in 1930 to D.138 and the only external difference that I can see is a third layout of the underframe, which is almost like the standard arrangement for non-catering 61'6" carriages but both vacuum brake reservoirs on the same side. All built 1930 to Nos 1152-55 (with E prefix/suffix in BR days). [Click on image for an enlargement.]

SLF interior

The interior of a sleeper 1st as built in 1930 to D.138 (Nos 1152-55). Notable are the drop-down shelves and ornate fittings, and the compartment No 7 in Sans Gill on the door. The print is quite contrasty and it is not clear if the interior decor was white or a pastel shade.

SLF interior

This picture was also taken inside a sleeper 1st but facing the other way - and the date is not known. It gives the impression of a later build with white decor. Notable in this case are the drop-down shelves and cover to the wash-basin, and the sliding screen to the window. Photos: Steve Banks collection.

In service

Sleeping cars normally worked in portions with both classes together, SLF and SLT, and an accompanying non-sleeping carriage such as a brake composite, for example:

SLF    1st sleeping car
SLT    3rd sleeping car
BCK   1st/3rd brake

More info to be found in LNER Passenger Trains & Formations, Principal Services, chapter 5, Sleeping Car Trains, pages 158-170. The picture below is a recent find.

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SLF to D.17, No E1319E is carrying roof boards for KX-Darlington and is believed to be standing with the station pilot at Darlington in the morning. When we wrote up the Sleeping Car services it was one of the longest chapters; complex; and the Darlington sleeper could only get a few lines, essentially that after introduction of a sleeper composite (SLC) in the late '30s, it was worked back to London empty via a series of trains up the ECML. Sometime after WWII it was replaced by an SLF (as per the photograph), and the empty working ceased in place of better utilisation. Some glimmerings useful for modellers are beginning to emerge and will be worked up when I have finished my current project.

Besides, we have another grey area to resolve for E1319E is the same vehicle as LNER 1319 shown above yet the underfame layout has changed to the same arrangement as under LNER 1318. Photo: SLS, neg. No 1900. [Click on image for enlargement.]

LNER sleeper

The model seen from the same angle as the official photograph of D.138 with the standard arrangement of battery boxes. Kirk body with tweaked roof profile. I did quite a bit of analysis of interior views before concluding that there were no curtains by the windows but sliding panels, and lacking further info, thought that they may have been varnished wood on the outside to harmonise with the body. Several are in the closed position. Each of the "open" compartments has a set of fittings complete with the drop-down shelf, wash basin in the corner with its cover, and a bed which has a blue blanket, white sheets and two pillows. Amazing where Plastikard and cloth will get you! You do need to get quite close with a torch too see all this, though!

The underframe is all-MJT with souped up battery boxes, and MJT bogies which are the heavy profile but (for the rivet counters among us) have a single layer of bolt heads instead of two above the axleboxes. With working gangways and Kadee buck-eyes.

LNER sleeper

The corridor side of the carriage has a different ambience and absence of brake reservoirs makes for a more spacious-looking underframe. The next two close-ups show more details.

LNER sleeper

A close view of the compartment side and train alarm gear end, shows some of the blinds drawn. Look into the other compartments and you can just see the beds.

LNER sleeper

A detail view of the corridor side. Note the different shape of the grab handle by the recessed door where there wasn't room for the normal one.The lettering is a tight fit inside the panels and requires care: it's because the PC transfers were designed a little too large. A minor point, perhaps, they are otherwise a marvel of reduction to 1/72 of the actual size.


LNER 66'6" 1st sleeping cars are here.

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