GER NO. 197 (K&ESR No. 81) Six wheeled Luggage Brake Third
This typically nineteenth century six wheeler was built in 1887. It originally had one third and one first class compartment on both sides of a central luggage compartment. The LNER withdrew No. 197 in 1928 and the body sold as a holiday home at Wisbech in Cambridgeshire.
The body was recovered by the K&ESR in the late 1970's. Restoration commenced at Plumstead in South East London, the work being undertaken by the former Thameside Area Group. In 1985 the part-restored coach was moved to Tenterden. The small group who continued to restore the coach were joined by further volunteers from the Croydon area and the body was mounted on an ex-LMS ‘Stove R' underframe. Numerous parts had to be fabricated including the complete interior. The luggage compartment was completed as a guard's brake van. No. 197 was completed in a GER livery and entered service with the vintage train in 1991. The vehicle is 30 feet long and seated 28 people. It was repainted during the spring of 1999 in a representation of a K&ESR light chocolate livery of the 1920's. In 2005 extensive refurbishment was required and it re-entered service in March 2006 in GER maroon (1919-22) livery. The first class compartments have been converted to 3rd to increase the capacity of this popular and useful coach.