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LNER Tourist Train Sets

Revised and expanded:

Excursion traffic was big business for the railways and a huge subject to try to describe. A brief look at some aspects may help.

Before the Grouping only the GCR and NER had built carriages dedicated to this traffic (see separate topic about the GCR "Barnums"). Elsewhere a great variety of stock was used. A major development on the LNER came in 1933 when the company introduced the renowned Tourist stock in Buffet Tourist Trains (BTT for short). Not only was the livery a striking green & cream, each train was composed of two identical halves, each with its own buffet car:

BTO

3rd open brake

  TO-TO

3rd open (twin)

RB

buffet car

  TO-TO

3rd open (twin)

They were built thus:

1933 GN Section (5)
1934 NE Area (2)
1935 NE Area (2) and NB Section (2)
1939 NB Section (1) (BTO and TO twins only)

The first sets of 1933 built for the GN Section had a BTO with 52 seats and a modest van space. From 1934 for the sets built for the NE Area and and NB Section, the BTO was revised with fewer seats (48) and a slightly larger van space in which more beer could be carried.

As far as I can tell, the GE never used them but the GC Section did, by borrowing from the GN Section.

The sets were disbanded after WWII - I can't help thinking in order to release the buffet cars! Here are some service pictures, to be followed by Diagrams and pictures of the stock in LNER and BR days, and finally, operational details which were more varied than is generally realised.

The Diagrams

A notable feature of these designs was that there were no domed ends and the TO and BTO had no end vestibule access. More significantly, each carriage had a single door on each side midway along the body: getting 50-odd passengers in or out of the carriage would not have been quick. It was, in part, a throwback to GNR designs from before the Great War. Seating was 2-a-side (2:2) in the well-established format for excursion carriages.

However, it's not as simple as it may seem because, as described above, the first 5 sets built for the GN Section (and used by the GC) - about half of the eventual total - were the prototype designs. Successive construction was refined slightly, but I'm going to start with the GN ones.

1933 for the GN and GC Sections

BTO to D.169

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This first BTO design was 61'6" long and seated 52 passengers with the usual leg room (6'2" per compartment) and a half, or coupe, arrangement at the van end.

The van itself was quite compact. Two perfunctory hinged shelves were provided and the usual access door for the guard, and passengers by arrangement. In later batches the van was made longer and two beer cupboards were installed. Note how there were no domed ends, nor in the twins or buffet cars.

The running numbers were:

LNER

43500-19

  BR

16467-76

The note along the bottom states: "Vehicle No.43509 fitted with pressure heating and ventilation". It was the last of this Diagram and forerunner of subsequent designs. Diagram: Author's collection.

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A lovely picture taken on a sunny day of the first brake-end. Author's collection.

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TO twins to D.171

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These carriages were slightly shorter at 52' 0 1/16" and in articulated twins (TO-TO). The bogies are shown similar in appearance but with heavy journals in the articulating bogie: photographs show that it was in fact a heavy bogie with deeper side frames.

The running numbers shown in the pairs as built were:

LNER

45001/2, 11/2, 21/2, 31/2, 41/2, 51/2, 61/2, 71/2, 81/2, 91/2

  BR

13142-61

LNER

45101/2, 11/2, 21/2, 31/2, 41/2, 51/2, 61/2, 71/2, 81/2, 91/2

  BR

13162-81

Diagram: Author's collection.

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Seen at Nottingham Victoria in June 1956 is twin Nos E13158/9E, built as Nos 45081/2. With Thompson carriages on either side. The shallow triple-toplights contrast with the later 4-square pattern.

RB to D.168

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The 61'6" buffet car to D.168 was contemporary with the general service design to D.167 and the interiors were the same. Only the external body panelling differed. Diagram: Author's collection.

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1934-5 for the NEA and SSA (NB Section)

BTO to D.179

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When more buffet tourist train sets were built in 1934-35 for the NEA and SSA (NB Section) the design was adjusted to give a larger van space with beer cupboards. Passenger accommodation was thus reduced by doing away with the half-bay and the total number of seats from 52 > 48. The slightly different brake end was quite distinctive.

Other changes were addition of a strip along the waist and slightly deeper toplights, precursor to the 4-square design, although this is not shown on the Diagram (but can be seen in the photograph below): the precise date of this change is not known.

Running numbers were:

1934

LNER

22267-70

  BR

16532-5

1935

LNER

2127/9/20/1

  BR

16528-31

1935

LNER

31096/9, 31100/11

  BR

16536-8

Diagram: author's collection.

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Built in 1935 as No 21217 and seen in 1958 at Appledore as No E16528E (between a Gresley teak carriage and an ex-GWR one). The different brake end is clear to see, along with the deeper toplights and beading along the waist. Photo: H.C. Casserley.

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TO twins to D.180

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The twins were as before plus addition of a waist strip. The Diagram shows the same shallow toplights as the 1933 build and lacking illustration of an actual carriage, I cannot say if or when the deeper version began to be fitted - and should add that this change in LNER carriages was routinely not deemed important enough for an updated Diagram to be issued.

The running numbers shown in the pairs as built were:

1934

LNER

21261/2, 3/4, 5/6, 67/8, 69/70, 71/2, 73/4, 75/6

  BR

13142-61

1935

LNER

31101/2, 4/5, 6/7, 9/10, 12/3, 4/5, 6/7, 8/9

  BR

13182-97

Diagram: author's collection.

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To follow: Diagrams for the final sets - which don't tally with what was actually built - and more about the buffet cars.

In service

The BTTs from the first series built in 1933 and allocated to the GN Section were photographed almost equally there and on the GC Section; the later sets, less frequently.

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Gresley A3 No 2747 Coronach (DON) is passing Greenwood box with an Up excursion made up with one of the original Buffet Tourist Train sets for the GN and GC Sections The quality is so-so but it's good to see a Doncaster Pacific approaching London. It's likely that the train had started in the West Riding where the sets were often divided with separate starting points and, for London, combination at Wakefield, for example. With thanks to Stephen White for correcting the location.

The picture is undated but the carriages are so clean that they may have been recently built. Photo: Author's collection.

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The first set built in 1933 for the GN Section, led by BTO No 43500, was captured near Potters Bar with A1 No 4477 Gay Crusader in charge. Photo: H.C. Doyle.

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The third set built for the GN Section, led by BTO No 43505, is captured in a Down excursion behind W1 No 10000 on the 4-track near Hatfield. Photo: Colling Turner.

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Heading south out of York behind K3 No 4000 is a GN BTT. The BTO to D.169 is easy to see with its shorter van space and extra square window. Photo: Cecil Ord Collection.

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The GC Section would borrow a BTT from the GN, as seen here at Nottingham Victoria behind K3 No 1164.

To the right can be seen a "Barnum" BTO and two locos, B17 No 2824 Lumley Castle and an unidentified "Director". Photo: T.G.Hepburn.

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Another GN Section BTT borrowed by the GC stands at Skegness behind B8 No 5280 (ANN), about to return to Bulwell Common/Nottingham. The date was 3rd April 1934. Photo: Locomotive Club of Great Britain.

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B17 No 2851 Derby County has a Buffet Tourist excursion in 1936 on the ascent to Woodhead. The back of the print states "Neepsend" but the location was Wardsend, midway between Neepsend and Wadsley Bridge, on the gradient of 1:120.

It's mid-morning and the train is believed to have started from Leicester (behind a Leicester "Footballer"), the stock having been borrowed from the GN Section. Tablet No 115 was being carried. If only this had been a colour picture! Photo: A.G. Ellis, author's collection.

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D49 No 307 Kincardineshire is at an unknown location with a second- or third-generation BTT, albeit only a half-set with a non-Tourist carriage added near the far end. Alas, details cannot be made out because the print was made using textured paper and not glazed. The loco was allocated to Dundee so this may have been one of the sets built for the NB Section in 1935 or 1939. Photo: E.R. Wethersett.

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To be continued....

GCR excursion carriages - Barnums: are here.

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