Scottish Railway Preservation Society Collections pages

North British Railway 4-wheeled four compartment coach (body only) No.1184

North British Railway 4-wheeled four compartment coach (body only) No.1184
Stored in the Scottish Railway Exhibition, 02/07/09. Photo SRPS.

SRPS Core Collection. On display in Museum Hall 1.
Built c.1870, Ashbury Railway Carriage & Iron Co., Openshaw, Manchester.

By the late 1860s, the North British Railway was operating a varied selection of passenger carriages, many of which dated from the opening of the railway in 1846 or had been acquired from amalgamated companies. There was a need for new carriages to replace antique designs and to cater for expanding services. Between 1870 and 1873, rather more than 400 new carriages were built. The company's own works at Cowlairs in Glasgow did not have the capacity for so large a programme, and most were built by contractors, the majority by the Ashbury company. Carriage design was by the builders, and in Ashbury's case incorporated their "trade mark" feature of a recessed oval door panel, which this coach clearly displays.

This is a typical carriage of its period, being short and rather uncomfortable to travel in. With only two axles, the wheels would dip into every depression in the track, such as rail joints, giving a rough ride. The body is much decayed after more than a century in the open air, but will one day be conserved so as to show what travel in the mid-Victorian period was like. It was grounded at Saltoun Station, on the NBR branch to Gifford, and recovered by SRPS in 1991.

This design was allocated Diagram 103 in the NBR 1908 Diagram Book. The body is 22' 8" (6.9m) long, and each of the four compartments is of equal length. Each has a central opening in the roof for a pot type oil lamp. The compartments were separated by full height partitions, so this carriage probably saw service as a Second Class vehicle, though downgraded in its later life to Third Class.

Coaches of this type were out of service before 1912, and no.1184 survived due to long use as a storage shed at Saltoun. The underframe has not been preserved, and would have incorporated long leaf springs and Westinghouse air brake. Evidence of the air brake passenger communication apparatus remains at one outside end of the coach.

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