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Miscellaneous: Operating Equipment & Practices

Ambulance Trains: misc_equip244

Two views of the inside of an Open Ward Coach constructed for an Ambulance train at Swindon Works

Two views of the inside of an Open Ward Coach constructed for an Ambulance train at Swindon Works. The Carriage and Wagon Works Manager, Frank Marillier helped design a versatile three tier bunk system which can be seen in these photographs. The first photograph shows the three tier bunk arrangement, while the second photograph shows how the middle bunk could be lowered if required to provide seating accommodation for patients. These two photographs accompanied in an article reproduced here:

New GWR Ambulance Train for the Continent

June 1915 Great Western Railway magazine Vol XXVII No 6

The great Western Railway Company have just completed the construction of one of two ambulance trains, which the United Kingdom Flour Millers Association have presented to the Allies for use on the Continent. The train is known officially to the War Office as 'No 16' this number being painted on the end of each car.

To ensure the best arrangements being effected in the construction and equipment of the train, a Commission in France had made recommendations in respect of various important features. The train consists of seven vehicles, viz; four ward cars, two kitchen cars, and one pharmacy coach. The vehicles are painted externally in khaki with a red cross on a white ground on each vehicle. The interiors of the coaches are enamelled white, and present a most cleanly and pleasing appearance. The vehicles are 57 feet long by 9 feet wide and are electrically lighted, equipped with emergency candle bracket lamps and steam heating apparatus.

Each ward car is fitted with thirty-six iron cots, arranged in three tiers, which are so designed that patients can be carried straight from the train to a hospital without being transferred to stretchers. In addition suitable accommodation is provided for patients who are able to sit up. The entrances to the cars are double doors on each side, near the centre of the vehicles. These enable patients to be carried in and out most conveniently.

The kitchen cars are well equipped. There is an anthracite stove in each, and provision for supplying fifty gallons of hot water at one time. The pharmacy coach embraces an operating room, the floor of which is lined with lead, a dispensary, an office and a linen store. The train has accommodation for 144 patients lying down and more than that number of sitting up cases. Gangways between the vehicles give communication from one end of the train to the other. The requirements for dealing with infectious cases on the ambulance trains are being considered, and it is probable that a small van will be specially fitted and added to the train for cases of this nature. The embarkation of the train from this country and its debarkation in France were carried out by Great Western men.

Robert Ferris