The two carriages being restored as part of the Canadian Pacific Project have remarkably similar histories, as they were both built for use in the special six carriage sets that were used on the London Waterloo to Bournemouth services. There were eleven of these sets, which were numbered 290 – 300. The Open Third carriage that is being restored first, is numbered 1456, and was part of set 295. It was finished in December 1947 and painted in Southern Railway malachite green. It even had SOUTHERN sign written on its sides, despite the upcoming dissolution of the Southern Railway, to form the Southern Region of British Railways. Next in line is Semi-open Brake Third 4367 of February 1948, which as part of set 299 was repainted from Southern green after only a few months in service, to BR’s “plum and spilt milk” livery. This apparently caused quite a stir! The new livery lasted till around 1954, when it became green again like the other sets.
It would seem that the Bournemouth sets quickly gained popular approval, with members of the press pronouncing them to be “the Dream Train!” Certainly they were successful vehicles, partly due to the integration of the catering facilities in steam hauled stock for the first time.
These carriages were very similar to other Bulleid designed vehicles built at the same time, except for one visually striking part of their appearance. The body sides were extended down to almost entirely cover the sole bar, though this was only for show and didn’t hide any structural differences. It would seem that on many of the vehicles this extended side or skirt, was removed at some point along with the mounting brackets, as it has been on 4367. Luckily they remain on 1456, and the skirt will be included in the restoration. This will be something that is almost unique in preservation, with only the consecutively numbered but un-restored 1457 (an identical carriage) at the Swanage Railway also retaining them.
1456 was eventually withdrawn from service in August 1966, after two final years running in set 212. By August 1980 it had made its way to the Bluebell Railway, from whom it is on long-term loan here at the Watercress Line. It had been bought by the National Railway Museum after use in departmental stock by BR. 4367 didn’t quite last as long, having become a loose vehicle in June 1965, and then withdrawn in July 1966.
An Illustrated History of Southern Coaches, Mike King, Oxford Publishing Company, 2003
Bulleid’s S.R. Steam Passenger Stock, David Gould, The Oakwood Press, 1994