District Railway coach 130409District Railway Coach - Photo by David Hunter 13-04-2009

The early history of this coach is uncertain, and even controversial. The body was found at Dymchurch, where it was in use as a storage shed, in 1976. It is thought to have been moved there from Ashford in 1902, sawn in two and mounted on horse drawn wagons. It is conjectured that the original underframe was scrapped at Ashford. There is no doubt, however, the vehicle was numbered 100 and was 1st class. The number and the class were found painted on the doors in gold leaf whilst the number was found stamped on some door fittings. In addition, the carriage compartments are of the right number and size for first class.

The restored body was mounted on a cut down PMV underframe (from No. 1225 built at Ashford in 1936) and ran for the first time in August 1980. The number 100 seemed to fit the general description of a batch of District Railway coaches built by Ashbury's in 1884, including some four-compartment first class examples. However the No. 100 amongst these had five compartments and was second class.

It has been suggested that the two ends of a longer coach were mistakenly spliced together and a Metropolitan Railway rigid 8-wheeler of some time later than 1868 has been put forward as the possible candidate. This theory fails however as the cut between the two halves was irregular and the portions fitted together exactly. During the course of an intermediate overhaul during 1999 the panelling of one end was removed and renewed. It was observed at that time that the framing, although perfectly sound for its function, appeared to have been cut back from an originally longer structure. This seems to add weight to the theory that No 100 was originally part of a Metropolitan 8-wheeler and not the entire body of a District Railway vehicle.

The previous vanished livery having proved of poor durability the coach is currently carrying a brown livery which is thought to be the colour which District Railway coaches latterly carried in service.

The coach is currently out of service for a body overhaul.