(Including ex London Chatham & Dover Railway Vehicles)

"Birdcage" Brakes

Following the formation, in 1899, of the SE&CR Managing Committee (an amalgamation in everything but name of the London Chatham & Dover and South Eastern Railways) new passenger rolling stock was urgently needed. The result was Harry Wainwright's ‘Birdcage' stock - thus called because of the distinctive raised guard's look out at one end of each guards coach. There were numerous variations on the theme plus, of course, intermediate vehicles without either lookout or guard's accommodation. The pair of vehicles on the K&ESR were part of a three coach set built for medium distance services.

Nos. 60 and 61 (SE&CR Nos. 1106 and 1100)


These two vehicles have stayed together since they were completed at Ashford Works in December 1910, and originally formed either end of three coach set No. 113. Although similar in design, No. 60 seated 68 people and No. 61 fifty five. Each vehicle included one second class compartment (the remainder being third class). No. 61 also featured one second class and one third class lavatory compartment at the opposite end to the brake van.

In October 1943 the Southern Railway sold the entire set of three coaches to the Longmoor Military Railway; No. 60 (Southern No 3388) becoming 13583 and later AD 5312; and No. 61 (SR No 3368) becoming 13582 and later AD 5311 in the Army lists. The centre coach was scrapped in the late 1950's after accidental damage but the two birdcages remained in service until the LMR closed in 1969.

Both vehicles were purchased for the K&ESR and were delivered to Robertsbridge, by rail, in September 1970. No. 60 was used for several years after the Railway reopened but was then laid aside. No. 61 was eventually stored in the carriage and wagon works at Tenterden and stayed there for some years.

During 1993 both Birdcages were the subject of renewed interest. Sadly, No. 60 had suffered whilst stored in the open at Northiam and it proved necessary to dispense with most of the cladding and the interior partitions. This and a sheet of canvas has at least helped to prevent the main structure being further endangered until resources became available for a complete rebuild.

No. 61 was in superficially good external condition and was repainted in BR green on one side and red on the other by a group of photographers. Some highly evocative shots, in company with ex-LB&SCR Terrier Sutton followed. Full restoration commenced in April 2005 and has seen both a full Edwardian interior restoration ( including the, non-operational, toilet compartments) and orginal exterior paneling. No.61 entered traffic following the official launch on 13th July 2008. Under a sponsorship scheme it is initially painted in early British Railways red livery as S3368S, a livery it never actually carried.

From This

The Birdcage after entering the C&W shed at Tenterden 2005

To This

The same coach after 3 years on a test run, June 2008

In 3 Years

Both Birdcage coaches are 54 ft. 1 ins. long and weigh 28 tons tare.

London Chatham and Dover Railway and SECR Four Wheeled Carriages

The following four vehicles are all 26 feet long and 8 feet wide. (9 feet over guards duckets).

No. 66 - 5 Compartment Third

This five compartment LC&DR coach body was LCDR No. 91,SE&CR No.3045 and SR No.1666 and was probably withdrawn and de-mounted in the mid to late 1920s. Built in June 1899 at Longhedge Works it's body construction is very similar to No 88 (SECR No 2947) but it was actually built as 3rd class five compartment 6 wheeler, although many of its fellows were later converted to 4 wheelers .It came to the K&ESR from the Spa Valley Railway in 1999 having previously been on the North Downs Railway. A medium to long term restoration project, it will be restored as a 4 wheeler.

No. 70 - Brake Third

This carriage was built by the LC&DR in April 1889. It was originally a Brake Second and numbered 49 in it's owners lists. In 1894 it was down rated to third class and became No. 105 and following the working union of the LC&DR and the South Eastern Railway the vehicle was further renumbered No 3059 and equipped with electric light in January 1901. The vehicle could seat 30 passengers.

Withdrawn from service in March 1921, the body was sold to a farmer at Kingsnorth near Ashford and the underframe scrapped. The body survived on the farm until the mid 1970's when it came into the ownership of the K&ESR Locomotive Trust. It was moved to Tenterden in August 1976 and a gradual restoration commenced. By 1980 this had reached the stage of the body being placed a cut down PMV underframe from No. 1119 (built at Ashford in 1936). Although re-roofing and other timber replacement is complete further work has been suspended to concentrate on the Birdcage No 61 and another four wheeler No 98.

No. 88 - SE&CR No. 2947 4 Compartment Second

130812 No 2947No 2947 - Photo by Elliot Waters

This carriage was built by the SE&CR at Ashford in August 1901 to a London Chatham & Dover Railway design. It was one of fourteen, 40 seat, 2nd class vehicles (Suburban Trains still had three classes of passenger (1st , 2nd & 3rd) intended to strengthen close coupled suburban sets from 10 to 11 vehicles. Originally fitted with electric lighting and Westinghouse air brakes these vehicles were otherwise typical London suburban coaches of the late Victorian era. By the 1920s 2nd class was in decline even in suburban areas, and with electrification planned, the coaches became obsolete. 11 were then sent to operate on the restricted Canterbury and Whitstable branch where they lasted till the cessation of passenger services in 1931. However No. 2947 was withdrawn from service in July 1921, the body sold and the underframe broken up. Together with three other bodies (one of which was No. 3062) it became part of a bungalow in Ashford and remained so until 1986 when it was recovered and brought to Tenterden.

The coach was well preserved and retained its original doors, some partitioning and, best of all, its brown WW1 SE&CR livery. After some years in storage, restoration commenced in August 1994, sections of the original livery being conserved both for preservation and for future reference. The body, restored in the maroon SE&CR livery, is mounted on a cut down ex-Southern Railway PMV underframe (from No. 1228 built at Ashford in 1936). Currently carrying 3rd class designation to avoid passenger confusion, it joined the Vintage Train one year and three days after restoration commenced - probably a record.

Following a heavy overhaul in 2007 the coach is currently in service.

No. 98 - SECR No 3062  Brake Third

130813 No 3062No 3062 - Photo by Elliot Waters 13-08-2013

Similar to No 70 this vehicle went into service in May 1888 and was originally a second class brake ( this designation was clearly outlined on panels recovered during restoration), but was later downgraded to 3rd. It was LCDR No 108 and SE&CR No. 3062, and equipped with electric light in January 1901. It was finally withdrawn in March 1921, de-mounted and incorporated in the Ashford bungalow mentioned above, coming to the railway in 1986. Commencing in the Spring of 2006 the body is being restored by volunteers ,and is being  mounted on a cut down PMV underframe from Nº. 89 - SR Nº. 2012. This coach re-entered service on Friday 11th November 2011 and had its first passenger trip as part of the Armisitice Day event that included the Cavell Van and Birdcage hauled by 131 year-old Terrier locomotive A1X 32678. 

SECR Bogie Coaches

No. 177 - (K&ESR No. 84) Family Saloon

130812 No 177 570pxNo 177 - Photo by Elliot Waters 12-08-2013

The vehicle was built by the SE&CR at Ashford Works in February 1900. It was substantially of wooden construction and mounted on seven feet wheelbase steel bogies. Stone's electrical lighting was fitted from new. No. 177 was built to be available for hire by wealthy families traveling together to destinations often far removed from the home railway, and it was when necessary transferred between trains with the family in it. The coach originally had a luggage compartment with double doors at one end, a large saloon, a vestibule and a short corridor leading to a five seat compartment. There was a small cubicle with a WC on one side of the corridor and another with a wash hand basin opposite. Social and transport changes, particularly the onset of the motor car led to layout alterations in 1907. The vehicle was converted to an invalid saloon, the vestibule being replaced by double doors and the main saloon equipped with loose seating. Steam heating was fitted in 1911.

The Southern Railway renumbered No. 177 to 7913. It was withdrawn from service and sold to the Longmoor Military Railway where it was numbered 118 and, after World War 2, 3006. It is one of the  three ex-Longmoor saloon coaches obtained via the Severn Valley Railway, the others being  the ex-L&NWR and ex L&SWR saloons described elsewhere, and arrived at Tenterden in 1985.

Restoration began in 1992 and was completed in 20 months, the livery being the original SE&CR Crimson Lake. New seating based on a picnic saloon layout was fitted but is totally sympathetic to the remainder of the design. Since entering service, No. 177 has proved a popular addition to the Vintage Train.

No. 177 is 38 feet long and weighs 28 tons 13 cwt.

No. 97 - 1921 Boat train 'Matchboard' Stock (SR No 3557 BR Departmental No. DS 70120)

This coach was of a design originating on the SE&CR in 1921 for use on the continental boat trains. The design was perpetuated, with slight modifications by the Southern Railway. Unusually for corridor coaches the brake vehicles used at the end of sets had no gangway at the outer ends.The term ‘Matchboard' derives from the Pullman-like vertical paneling strips below waist level.

The coach was built by the Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon Company in August 1923 and entered service as Southern Railway No 3557. It is  third brake that originally had 7 compartments. It was transferred to departmental stock in about 1961 for use as a staff coach . The vehicle arrived on the K&ESR in 1993 and is presently awaiting restoration.

No. 101 - SECR No. 3448 Composite

This 44 ft. coach was built for the SE&CR by Cravens Ltd. in October 1901 and numbered 3448. There were three first class and three second class compartments. The 7 ft. 612 ins. wide firsts were amongst the widest used by the SE&CR. The vehicle was one of a batch of 25 composites and 20 similar all firsts. The SR renumbered the coach No. 5240 in May 1928 and was withdrawn in November 1941. The body was subsequently grounded at Ashford Works. In January 1964 it was sold to the embryonic K&ESR preservation scheme for 10 shillings (50p) and moved to Tenterden Town station where it became used as a mess coach. During 1999 it became necessary to move the coach and it is at present stored pending a decision on its future. Restoration to full working order is possible as the railway has a suitable underframe and the K&ESR stock number No. 101 has been allocated accordingly.