BR 4399 Tourist Standard Open

BR 4399 Tourist Standard Open
BR 4399 20190723.jpg
BR Tourist Standard Open 4399
Built By BR Swindon/Ashford
Status In service
Number E4399
Livery BR Crimson and Cream
Other numbers NE4399
Built 1957
Diagram 93
Lot 30319
Type TSO
TOPS code AC21
Seats 64 standard (as built)
1983 Preserved on SVR
2019 Overhauled


4399 is a former BR Mark 1 Tourist Standard Open (TSO). As built, these ‘Open Seconds’ seat 64 passengers at tables, with three cross-vestibules to enable speedier loading and unloading of passengers. 4399 has been modified to become a wheelchair access coach, with 52 seats plus wheelchair space.


4399 in service

4399 was built in 1956 to diagram number 93 of lot number 30219.[1] Interestingly, it was built in two separate locations. The chassis was one of a job lot constructed in Swindon, which was then moved, like flat goods wagons, down to Ashford in Kent, where the rest of the body was added.[2] The established practice of building coaches for the home region was coming to an end, and E4399 went into service on the Eastern Region in July 1957, where it remained including use in the North Eastern Region between February 1967 and January 1968.[1] It lasted in British Rail service until 1983 when the new Inter-City high-speed trains made it redundant.

4399 in preservation

4399 arrived on the SVR on 16 May 1983 from Heaton, being at that time privately owned by D Randall and P Fitzwater.[3] It entered service in the BR blue and grey livery it last carried in service, until the Bridgnorth Carriage & Wagon team took it back to 1950s maroon with a quick repaint the following year. In autumn 1986 it was one of several coaches in the maroon set used by dining parties, for which purpose it received a number of tables from 4550.[4]

In late 1987 the carriage notes in SVR News reported that it was proposed to sell 4399 and 4584 "to help spread our never-ending workload".[5] Their proposed replacements, 4345 and 4593 arrived in early 1988, but the decision was quickly reached to retain the other two coaches for use in a proposed ‘spare set’.[6]

The coach began what was anticipated to be a 2-year heavy overhaul at Bridgnorth in 1991.[7] A strip-down identified rot in the frames, repair panels on the lower body sides and the gangway/bulkhead area.[8]. By late 1992 the coach had been stored while work continued on other coaches.[9] While stored at Eardington is suffered some vandalism to the windows. Back at Bridgnorth, some further work re-commenced in late 1994, but with major welding required it was late 1996 before the coach moved into the cattle dock.[10] However it was still considered a ‘long term project’ with other coaches receiving priority, and it subsequently returned to storage. Its bogies, which were in good condition, were swapped onto 4545 in 2005.[11]

In 2009 the carriage notes in SVR News reported that "derelict BR Mk I No. 4399" had received useable but worn spare bogies at Kidderminster, prior to being sent to Bridgnorth for renovation work. It was initially used as L.M.S. & B.R. Coach Department Sales Coach in support of restoration of LMS 2886 Six-wheel Passenger Brake (later 32919).[12]

In 2015 ownership passed to the SVR Charitable Trust, and in 2016 the Bridgnorth Carriage & Wagon team resumed the restoration. This now included modification to include disabled access in a similar manner to 4690, for which the Trust was awarded grant funding.[13] The modifications mainly involved the removal of 12 seats to allow a pair of double doors to be fitted on each side, next to the wheelchair parking area. In addition the two small lavatories were taken down and their wall components reassembled to form one large ‘roll-in’ lavatory with disabled lavatory fittings and also a baby-changing table.

On 17 November 2017, 4399 made a return trip to Kidderminster to be turned for work on the second side. After what turned out to be the heaviest rebuild of a Mk1 coach in SVR history,[14] it was conveyed to Kidderminster works on 1 March 2019 for mechanical and body finishing and painting prior to release for traffic.[15] On 23 July 2019 it was displayed in the dock at Kidderminster for a Charitable Trust event, finished in the early BR livery of crimson and cream as built. On 13 August it was marshalled into Set M ready for service, temporarily replacing BR 4690 Tourist Standard Open to allow it to have a repaint and repairs. 4399 normally runs in Set C.

It had a repaint at Kidderminster in 2021[16].

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Longworth (2013) p.56.
  2. Peep Behind The Scenes leaflet July 2017
  3. SVR Stock Book Ninth Edition
  4. SVR News 81
  5. SVR News 86
  6. SVR News 87
  7. SVR News 100
  8. SVR News 101, 102, 104
  9. SVR News 105, 107
  10. SVR News 121, 123
  11. SVR News 152
  12. SVR News 167
  13. 4399 on the SVR Charitable Trust web site
  14. SVR Charitable Trust
  15. GWR 9581 (Formerly 5043) Wheelchair and Buffet Progress 2019, LNER Carriage Group website, 3 March 2019 (Retrieved 3 March 2019)
  16. SVR News 216, Winter 2021, p. 27