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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

Tyseley Shed: gwrt3031

Fifty seven foot long third class corridor ex-toplight coach No 3629 in Tyseley Carriage sidings in 1950

Fifty seven foot long third class corridor ex-toplight coach No 3629 in Tyseley Carriage sidings in 1950. The coach has eight compartments and a lavatory at each end. The corridor side is viewed here and has steel panelled sides without any toplights. A coach with this running number was originally built to diagram C28 with moulded panels and toplight windows above the main windows. Two lots were built:

Lot No Diagram Date Completed Quantity Running Numbers
1136 C28 28th March 1908 30 3629 to 3658
1153 C28 30th January 1909 10 3659 to 3668

All forty of these coaches were converted into ambulance coach stock during the First World War and sold to the government. The Great Western Railway supplied a total of 238 vehicles, including 181 coaches for ambulance trains. The third class coaches were stripped of their compartments and converted into open Ward Coaches for a series of continental ambulance trains. Rows of three tier bunk beds were installed on each side, the middle bunk of which could be folded down to accommodate seated patients if required. Westinghouse brake gear was also added. The Great Western Railway’s first continental ambulance train (No 16) was built for the War Office at the Swindon Works during February and March 1915. The cost of the conversion of coaches for this train was £12,500, which had been contributed by the UK Flour Millers Association and the train was shipped to France in April 1915. Ambulance Train No 16 initially only comprised of seven converted brake third coaches, but eight additional open Ward Coaches were added to the train in May 1915.

After the war the Great Western Railway repurchased at least 148 ambulance coaches from War Department and details are provided in the table below of 106 ambulance coaches that were known to be converted back to standard third class coaches:

Lot No Diagram New (old) Length and type Date completed Quantity Running Numbers
1269 C32 (new) 56’ Multi 15th August 1920 22 3879 to 3900
1286 C31 (C28) 57’ Bars1 15th May 1921 6 3629, 3630 and 3632 to 3635
1287 C32 (C32) 56’ Bars1 15th May 1921 1 3631
1289 C31 (C31) 57’ Bars1 25th December 1921 9 3636 to 3644
1290 C35 (C35) 56’ Multi 25th December 1921 8 3645 to 3652
1292 C31 (C31) 57’ Bars1 25th September 1921 7 3653 to 3659
1294 C31 (C31) 57’ Bars1 9th October 1921 2 3660 and 3661
1295 C35 (C35) 56’ Multi 16th October 1921 6 3662 to 3667
1297 C31 (C31) 57’ Multi 23rd October 1921 1 2524
1311 C31 (C28) 57’ Bars1 December 1922 9 2452, 2455 to 2462
1312 C31 (C28) 57’ Bars1 October 1922 8 2463, 2464, 2477 to 2471 and 2476
1312 C32 (C32) 56’ Bars1 October 1922 1 2466
1313 C35 (C35) 57’ Multi October 1922 1 3668
1325 C49 (C31) 57’ Bars1 December 1923 20 4521 to 4540
1343 C31 (C31) 57’ Bars1 December 1924 4 4541 to 4544
1366 C55 (C??) 57’ January 1926 1 4377 New body on old underframe

Although all the original forty diagram C28 coach running numbers are listed in this table, it seems that repurchased coaches were given batches of vacant running numbers as required, rather than their previous original running number. The diagram C28 coaches were all 57 feet long with a Bars1 type underframe bracing arrangement and where the original diagram is known this is identified in brackets in the table. It is during this conversion that the toplights of No 3629 were removed and steel panelled sides provided.

In the early 1950’s Coach No 3629 was one of several diagram C31 coaches that were converted into eight berth Camping Coaches and it was renumbered No 9928. A similar Camping Coach No 9887, converted from a diagram C31 coach of lot 1289 (No 3639), which was also previously converted into an ambulance coach having originally been built as a diagram C31 coach of lot 1179 (No 2469) in 1911, is under preservation on the West Somerset Railway.

Robert Ferris