LNER 43600 Open Third

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LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 43600 Open Third
LNER 43600 20190723.jpg
LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway Open Third 43600
Built By LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway York
Status In service
Number 43600
Other numbers 13354, E13354E, DE320960
Built 1934
Designed By GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941
Diagram 186
Lot 559
Type TTO
Length 61ft 6in
Weight 31t 0cwt
Seats 64 third
1980 Preserved on SVRSevern Valley Railway
1987 'Temporary' restoration completed
2014 Full overhaul


Upgraded interior of 43600

LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941 Open Third (TO) 43600 was built at York in 1934 as part of Lot 559 to Diagram 186. The 1930s saw the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway and other railways moving away from traditional compartment stock and introducing more open carriages. This Diagram was intended primarily for use in excursion traffic, although carriages of this type were often found in service trains. It was the first LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway vehicle built with a welded chassis, reducing the weight by around a ton. The 'Vestibule Third Open Corridor' in LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway parlance provided seating for 64 at tables with two toilets at one end of the carriage[1][2].


43600 was renumbered as 13354 as part of the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway's 1943 re-numbering scheme. On Nationalisation in 1947, BRBritish Rail or British Railways initially allocated an E prefix to indicate its LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway origin (during its 1986-87 restoration, sanding revealed this was not in the officially recognised gill sans style or the commonly used miniature hand-printed 'E', but in full pre-war style, presumably cut out from a redundant LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway transfer sheet),[3] with a further re-numbering to E13354E taking place after the introduction of Mk 1 stock in 1951.[4]

During 1961 it was withdrawn from passenger service and transferred into DepartmentalRolling stock used for the railway’s own functions (engineering etc.) rather than for general passenger or goods traffic. Stock as DepartmentalRolling stock used for the railway’s own functions (engineering etc.) rather than for general passenger or goods traffic. number DE320960 to form part of an Eastern Region Emergency Control Train. For this role the interior was stripped of seats, steam heating and 24V lighting. Desks, phones, 240V mains lighting and heating, lockers and chemical toilets were added. The Eastern Region control train sets each consisted of 4 vehicles, in this instance comprising[5]:

  • DE320957: E13317E, formerly LNER 24105 Open Third, also preserved at the SVRSevern Valley Railway.
  • DE320958: E12523E, formerly LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 4988 Vestibule Corridor Third, not preserved.
  • DE320959: E12322E, formerly LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 23890 Vestibule Corridor Third, now preserved at Ecclesbourne Valley Railway[6]
  • DE320960: E13354E, formerly LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 43600 Open Third


BRBritish Rail or British Railways withdrew the emergency control sets in early 1980, with 16 Eastern Region vehicles being offered for sale by tender in January 1980. They were mostly in good condition, having been kept under cover since 1964. The LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway(SVRSevern Valley Railway) Coach Fund successfully bid for E13354E (43600) while John Giles, who had helped with inspecting the vehicles, successfully bid for E13317E (24105).[7]

The carriage in its emergency control train black livery arrived on the SVRSevern Valley Railway on 3 April 1980 behind a train load of concrete sleepers. It was immediately moved to Highley where it spent the first month behind the signal box. While there the roof was painted, the surplus toilets removed, and their windows opened out to original size. It was initially intended to be repainted in BRBritish Rail or British Railways Maroon livery and put into service with loose seating pending a full restoration at a later date, but after arriving at Bridgnorth it was instead repainted into a brown colour resembling teak. Internally, two coats of cream, peach, and beech paint were applied, with the results being described as by the Coach Fund as 'horrid'. After being given a set of plastic chairs borrowed from the Catering Department it entered service as a Bar Car for the September Enthusiasts Weekend, after which it was intended mainly for use as a bar car or in schools trains.[7]

During the early 1980s the Coach Fund were still working towards their goal of forming a fully restored (6-coach) LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway teak set. In 1981 both LNER 643 Buffet and 43600 saw service in the GWRGreat Western Railway set.[8] Some additional work was carried out on 43600 over the winter of 1982-3 with ex-BRBritish Rail or British Railways Mk1 seating for 64 being fitted and the coach being through-wired, although the decor both inside and out "still left a lot to be desired"[9] .


Full restoration of "the disgusting brown one with the mouldy interior" by the team led by Richard Gunning finally began in late 1985 at Bewdley, the first task being to remove large quantities of rotten timber.[10] During 1986 a number of loans used for the initial purchase of 13354 were repaid, helped by fund raising efforts by the Fund's sales kiosk on Bewdley's platform 1. By winter 1986 one side and both ends of 43600 were substantially complete and the interior was approaching the decorating stage.[11] During 1987 work accelerated as the restoration team attracted a number of new members, and by autumn LMS 149 Buffet Car had vacated the paint shop allowing 43600 to enter. The formerly inaccessible second side was then stripped of all the old paint and the remaining defective panels, including one large lower panel which turned out to be plywood, were replaced with newly acquired teak. One upper panel surprisingly proved to be mahogany which was donated to the GWR 3930. The interior was repainted and the seats re-upholstered using some moquette acquired from Swindon.[12] 43600 was completed just in time for the 1987 Enthusiasts Weekend, where it took part in an LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 3 coach 'local' set with 24068 and 52255. 43106 (Doncaster built, ex-South Lynn and Woodford Halse) provided the motive power in a good approximation of a Midland and Great Northern working circa.1949-51.[3]

During 1998 the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway set underwent a repaint in the Kidderminster carriage works. 43600 was still in reasonable condition and required only "a good scrub and re-varnish".[13] However more work was needed during a return visit to the carriage works in late 2002. A number of patches were required to the roof canvas due to being struck by bricks, and one end gangway canvas also had to be renewed due to age-related deterioration. Internally some linoleum was replaced in one vestibule and leaking toilet cisterns were attended to. A very heavy clean was needed on the varnish with four fresh coats being applied. A partial re-lining was also done on one side but further work was curtailed by the need for a return to traffic in time for the Christmas services.[14]

In 2005 steam heat repairs and a bogie and brake overhaul were carried out over a two-month period. 43600 was also turned on the turntable to eke out the remaining tyre life on the wheelsets (travelling north on the Railway, carriages suffer greater flange wear on the left hand (west) side due to the curvature of the track).[15]

43600's 1980s restoration had included very basic "temporary" interior. In 2008 the Coach Fund reported that it planned to improve the interior of 43600 by upgrading it with luggage racks, mirrors, coat hooks and revised seating to complete its restoration to a more authentic LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway finish in keeping with the remainder of the set. In spring 2009 they launched a sponsorship scheme to raise funds for this work.[16] Around that time 43600 had a wheelset change due to the life expired flanges, the new tyres costing £19,000. While attending to plumbing leaks in the lavatory, a cracked lavatory pan was found, of which no more of that type were left. A pattern was therefore made by a mould-maker at a cost of £7,500, from which 40-50 pans could be cast and some offered for sale to other railways. The pattern-making costs were met by the Guarantee Company.[17]

In 2010 the Coach Fund decided to offer three of its five carriages including 43600 to the Charitable Trust [note 1], with the transfer being completed on 20 December 2010. The Coach Fund remained in being with two functions; to act as the 'LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway trading arm' through the Bewdley shop and other fund-raising, and as owner of GNRGreat Northern Railway 2701 and LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 24105. For restoration work, the Coach Fund volunteer team would function as the Charitable Trust's LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway Carriage Group.[18]

By 2012 some £3,700 had been raised through the sponsorship appeal, although appeals for funding from the HLFHeritage Lottery Fund (National Lottery Heritage Fund from 2019) and PRISMThe Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM) Fund, a source of funding from the Arts Council/The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Fund had proved unsuccessful.[18] 43600 continued in service although leaks from a series of splits in the roof canvas led to its being 'red-carded' while around 180 feet of canvas bandage was glued, tacked and painted over the cracks and the whole roof over-painted. The internal condition had become so bad that in 2013 the carriage was only used at very busy times. [19]

Overhaul and Upgrade

In 2014 43600 finally received a full overhaul and comprehensive upgrade in LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway period style to the interior, some 27 years after its 'temporary restoration'. January to April was spent in the number 2 dock platform at Kidderminster where the old Mk1 seat ends were removed and replaced with new ones to a much more sympathetic design. Fawn vinyl, similar to the original Rexinean early form of vinyl used by the LNER for wall coverings in teak coaches was used to cover the walls, and the seats were upholstered with reproduction 1930's LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway fawn and brown moquette, the new ends being finished with brown leathercloth. On 1 May 43600 entered the paint shop where the entire seating ensemble was removed and put into store. This enabled the walls and floors to be accessed unhindered for repairs and renewals, including major repairs to bolt corrosion damage in the teak frame sections adjoining the underframe. The overhaul was aided by two bits of good fortune. A Gloucestershire furniture-maker offered, at a favourable price, a large quantity of teak that had lain in his stores for many years and also undertook to machine a quantity of it into LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway-style beading in time to rebuild 43600, while much of the timber and frame renovation was helped by two French engineering interns who stayed for 3 months, by which time they had assisted with lining out the 1,800 feet of Primrose and Vermillion striped beading before returning to France in August. Other internal details included LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway pattern chromed luggage racks, coat hooks, LED wall lamps (43600 was the first SVRSevern Valley Railway carriage to make use of LED lighting), tables and mirrors. Work in the paint shop was completed at the end of October, with 43600 returning to service on 15 November.[20] The upgrade was paid for by its new owners, the SVRSevern Valley Railway Charitable Trust thanks to many generous sponsors who contributed £13.8k including Gift Aid.

During January to May 2016 further work was carried out on the roof as a joint volunteer/full time staff project and included stripping off the old roof covering (dating from c1987,) securely re-fastening the T&G roof boards to the transverse steel hoops with countersunk set screws and applying a new canvas, rainstrips and tacking rails. The opportunity was taken to apply a further 2 coats of varnish to the exterior, thus prolonging its life before the next major overhaul. This work was completed and it returned to traffic on 18th May 2016.[21]

Early in 2016, a principal supplier of 24 Volt LED lamp bulbs introduced a 40 Watt equivalent "golf ball" style bulb, the installation of which would improve lighting levels and reduce power consumption. A public appeal raised sufficient money to replace all of the lamp bulbs in the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway carriages of set N. The electrician reports that since the replacement, Set N has required very little top up charging from battery chargers as the dynamos are now able to supply sufficient current to charge the batteries (as they should).

During the first shut down in 2020 resulting from the 2020 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Charitable trust were able to help fund the re-varnishing of a number of their teak carriages including 43600[22].

See also

List of carriages


  1. At that time the SVRSevern Valley Railway Rolling Stock Trust Company Limited, which became the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust Ltd in 2012


  1. Railway Heritage Register Carriage Survey
  2. Longworth (2018) p.263.
  3. 3.0 3.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 87
  4. Longworth (2018) p.175.
  5. Longworth (2018) p.473.
  6. RHR On-line
  7. 7.0 7.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 56,57
  8. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 64
  9. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 68
  10. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 78,79
  11. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 82
  12. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 85
  13. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 129
  14. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 142
  15. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 152
  16. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 163, 165
  17. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 167
  18. 18.0 18.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 177
  19. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 182, 184
  20. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 188, 189
  21. Partly SVRSevern Valley Railway News 194
  22. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 2010