Scottish Railway Preservation Society Collections pages

LNER Gresley Buffet Car No.644

LNER Gresley Buffet Car No.644
The current restoration underway at Bo'ness. Photograph J.T. Ormiston.

SRPS Core Collection. Acquired 1977.
Built 1937, LNER York. Diagram 167.
Undergoing overhaul and restoration to its original varnished teak finish.

In the early days of railways, long-distance passengers packed a hamper or arranged for one to be supplied by a station hotel at the start of a journey, or delivered to the train during the journey. Some services included extended stops so passengers could use station dining rooms. Dining cars began to be provided on trains from the 1880s, and have covered every variant from high quality restaurants to basic cafes.

No.644 contains a kitchen, a serving counter and passenger seating, and was intended for use on long-distance and express services. It worked all over the LNER system, including periods in Scotland and on the East Coast main line.

The Buffet Cars were the longest lasting Gresley coaches in traffic, and some lasted long enough to be painted in the BR blue/grey corporate colours (which did not suit them...). Final withdrawals came in 1977, by which time they were the last wooden bodied coaches on British Railways.

No.644 continued in service as a Buffet Car on SRPS Railtours. However, the body had some structural deficiencies, and these are now being rectified in a major restoration, which will fully restore the interior to 1930s condition. Full current details of this work can be found on the website of the SRPS C&W Group.

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