These Maunsell designed vehicles are examples of the Southern's main line stock from the early post-grouping period. All are 59 ft. long with Pullman-type gangways, steel underframes and buckeye couplings. Nos. 53 - 56 were acquired in 1965 and delivered from Paddock Wood via Robertsbridge (then still the main line junction for the K&ESR) during that November. They formed the Railway's first trains of the preservation era, both NBO's and one CK working in steam trains on the day the Railway reopened, 3 February 1974.
Abbreviations used are as follows:
NBO - ‘Nondescript' Brake Open. These vehicles were specifically designed for trains connecting cross channel ferries with London and finished to a high standard so they could be labelled first, second or third class according to demand.
CK - Corridor composite
'Restriction 1' is he Southern Railway term that refers to the coaches ability to run on certain routes . Coaches classified thus could run on all main lines except the Tunbridge Wells to Hastings Line which had tighter limitation ('Restriction 0') to which our Pullmans were built.
No. 4432 - Photo by Elliot Waters
Built June 1933. This coach was built for Continental boat services and is believed to have been used on the Waterloo to Southampton route. Withdrawn from express service in the 1950's, it was last used by British Railways on the Tonbridge to Reading and Oxted Line routes. After acquisition by the KESR it was painted in chocolate and cream but was repainted in Maunsell era SR livery towards the end of the 1980s and regularly ran in the Wealden Pullman. It was taken out of traffic in the mid-1990s for overhaul. Work commenced in January 1999 and included complete reconstruction of the body framing at the luggage end of the vehicle. Returned to traffic in 2003 and withdrawn for minor repairs & repainting in August 2014. Repairs finally commenced December 2016 & it returned to service during the summer of 2017.
No. 4443 - Photo by Elliot Waters taken at outshopping on 1st August 2014
Built in June 1933 and almost identical to Nº. 53. Since acquisition by the KESR it has been used in a similar way in Pullman and service trains. Restored to Maunsell era livery around 1990. Withdrawn in 2010 for a very heavy overhaul, returning to service in August 2014.
Built October 1928.. Nº. 55 was originally built for the Eastbourne and Kent Coast services. The vehicle worked between Tonbridge and Reading during its last BR years. Presently stored awaiting heavy overhaul, the vehicle is the only surviving example of its type with ‘lowlight' corridor side windows.
No. 5618 - Photo by Elliot Waters
Built April 1931. Its 'highlight' corridor side windows bracketed by a 'lowlight' window at either end distinguish it from Nº. 55. This vehicle has a similar history to that coach but is in regular use on service trains following an extensive overhaul. Re-entering traffic in 1997, it won first prize in the Eastbourne Historic Vehicle Club competition. Currently in service but scheduled to receive a new roof canvas, full repaint and minor repairs during 2017.