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GCR carriages - 50' London Suburban

This stock tends to be forgotten despite its longevity and eventual widespread use. It was built c1905-6 and formed the first sets of non-lavatory suburban trains operating out of Marylebone, the body sides similar to the very slightly earlier clerestory version. Originally painted in the two-tone brown and cream livery, then stripped and varnished.

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An ex-works view of 3rd No 798 from the batch built by BRC&WC 1905-06 in the origininal brown and cream livery. This is an original print but alas not very well prepared. Photo: LNER Official RO/100, author's collection.

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A complete London Suburban 5-set stands in the carriage sidings near Marylebone station in September 1915. The formation is:

BT, F, F, T, BT

There was plenty of demand for 1st class seats at the time. Later, conversions were made into composites. Photo: Topical, Fleet St., author's collection.

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A view from May 1913 between Preston Road and Harrow on the Hill shows GCR 9N (LNER A5) with a down suburban train without lavatories heading for the Met&GCJ Line. The basis of the formation is a 50' London Suburban 5-set which may have been strengthened for the rush hour and comprises:

  T

50' London suburban

BT

50' London suburban

  F

50' London suburban

  F

50' London suburban

  T

60' matchboard

BT

50' London suburban

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After replacement by matchboard stock, these carriages were cascaded around the LNER into secondary and minor lines service and roof destination boards were fitted. C13 No 6065 has an Ordinary Passenger train near Wortley in 1933 with a secondary 4-set of ex-GCR carriages, low elliptical roof and clerestory. Leading is a 50ft ex-London Suburban BT(5). On the far end is a 4w passenger brake van, probably one of the D.120 clones built for the GC Section to D.170/176/177. Photo: E.R. Morten.

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Another example of a cascaded BT(5), in BR days, at an unknown location. The number is unclear but may be E5588. Author's collection.

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In this charming view from Wrexham on 13th August 1950, N5 No 69349 waits with a secondary 4-set to Hawarden Bridge with a train of assorted types going back to around 1905-15.

BT

50' London suburban

  T

50' clerestory

  C

60' matchboard

BT

50' London suburban

The barely visible 3rd brake at the far end is inside out. Note that for the 1st class passengers, a 60ft matchboard carriage has been provided, the most modern one in the train, or the least old, if you like! The layout of its 9 compartments was (3T, 4F, 2T).

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The GCR diagram, partially restored from a faint original, of the non-gangwayed matchboard composite in the train above. The "O" stands for Ordinary, a common term for non-gangwayed carriages. 6 were built 1912-13, running numbers:
223, 256, 651, 659, 843, 844 (plus prefix "5" in LNER and BR days).

A faint note states that at least one was declassed in 1941 to all-3rd class, new No 51973.

Another was added in 1919, No 1239, but with anti-collision fenders, to Code 5123.

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It's 1st September 1956 and this secondary service at Darlington contains stock from at least three different sources: ex-NER, ex-GCR and ex-LNER. In the middle, built in 1906 as a London Suburban 1st, is No 819, now E5819 and redesignated as a composite, C(2,5).

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In a related vein...

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I have appended this design for a brake composite because the outline is similar but it was built slightly later, in 1906-7, and because lavatories were not provided for normal suburban stock. Outer Suburban, yes, but by this time the GC was well stocked with lavatory types for the Outer Suburban service over the GW&GCJ line, so I cannot say where this fitted in. Two were built, No 221 at Gorton (1906) and No 1594 by Brush (1907) and it seems that, many years later, here they are both in a secondary service at Guide Bridge on 13th June 1949, running under ECS lights. In between is an ex-NER clerestory 3rd.

It may look a bit of an oddball, especially with both brake ends inside out, but it's typical of so many secondary services where old cascaded carriages were kept ticking over. They had been built as BC(2,3) and the 1st class designation can still be seen in the middle doors of the nearest carriage.

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Modelling and livery notes

It is possible to make some of these carriages by modifying a Perseverance kit of the clerestory version although only the 3rd is possible. The main requirement is the low ellipical roof and a matching end to suit it. Actually, that's not as hard as it might seem and I described a similar tweak when building a clerestory type (see link below).

Originally painted in the two-tone brown and cream livery, after the varnished teak scheme came in around 1908 they were stripped and varnished. Some modellers find this hard to believe but it happened alright (some GCR gangwayed carriages went on to be LNER-lined as well). A key aspect is that mahogany panelling appears to have been used for the original painted finished and when subsequently varnished, they looked slightly darker than teak panelled carriages, especially when marshalled together in b&w photographs. Indeed, observers from LNER days recall them as distinctly dark and dowdy. In BR days pre-Grouping stock was routinely painted plain brown.

To be continued...

GCR Barnum carriages: are here.

GCR carriages - matchboard: are here.

GCR London Extension - expresses: are here.

Modelling GCR clerestories: is here.

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