Arley Camp Coach

From SVR Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Camp Coach at Arley
The Speight family with the Camp Coach

For one year only, in 1938, the GWRGreat Western Railway had a Camp Coach at Arley. The Speight family holidayed there in Easter 1938[note 1] and took a number of photographs of the area, as recounted in "Arley, a glimpse of the past" by Barrie Geens.[1]

The Camp Coach at Arley

The coach was not connected to mains supplies, water was from a tap at the station, lighting was by paraffin lamps, cooking was by oil stove and waste water was emptied down the station toilet, for which the occupants of the coach were issued with a key.

The 'Type "A" coach' cost £3 per week to hire and a minimum of four monthly return rail tickets had to be purchased. Examples of fares for such tickets included 4/9 from Birmingham Snow Hill, 3/8 from Worcester and 22/10 from London Paddington.[2] A similar camp coach was also situated at Hampton Loade in 1938.[3]

The GWRGreat Western Railway 1938 booklet "GWRGreat Western Railway Camp Coaches for Happy Holidays" included the following description of Arley:

"The approach to Arley is very picturesque - whether through the countryside of rich pasturelands and charming woods, or by the broad slow-moving Severn. Arley has the rare beauty and peace of a village 'off the beaten track' and is one of the most delightful holiday resorts in the Midlands. There are many charming walks in the surrounding countryside, and towns and villages of historic interest are within easy reach, whilst the Severn ensures the pleasures of bathing, boating and fishing. A good service of trains is available to Bewdley and Bridgnorth which are approximately 4 and 9 miles distant respectively."

Camping coach 9947

The coach at Arley dated from the era of William DeanWilliam Dean, Chief Locomotive Engineer of the Great Western Railway 1877-1902 and was a 4-wheeled short vehicle, being just 31ft long. It began life as a three-compartment brake third, built at Swindon at a cost of £428 as part of Lot 978 to Diagram T36 and entering service in August 1901 as number 949. In March 1932 it was modified to diagram T37 without a guard's ducket.[2]

949 was condemned from passenger service in December 1937 and renumbered to 9947 when converted to a Camping Coach in early 1938,[2] one of around 15 similar vehicles converted at that time.[4] The conversion to a "Type 'A' Camping Coach" resulted in an internal layout consisting of a bedroom at each end, one with two berths and one with four berths. At the centre of the coach was a living area with a table seating six, and a small kitchen with a stove/oven and sink.

9947 entered traffic on 9 April 1938 and arrived at Arley on 17 April.[2]

The coach arrived at Arley on 17 April 1938. The official GWRGreat Western Railway camp coach lists for 1934-39 inclusive suggest it was only present for one year; thereafter the onset of the Second World War brought an end to the use of camping coaches at Arley and Hampton Loade. 9947 was painted red-brown in May 1945 and was recorded as lifted in 1950. However, it continued in use with BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) as number W9947W, being used in the South Wales re-signalling train at Newport, Cardiff and Port Talbot until finally being condemned in 1966[2].

See also


  1. Easter Sunday 1938 fell on the 17 April, the date on which the coach arrived at Arley, suggesting the Speight Family may have been the first occupants.


  1. Geens (2010)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Geens (1985) pp. 20-21.
  3. Marshall (1989) p. 101.
  4. Great Western Railway Dean Era Coaches (Retrieved 3 January 2019)