BR 4593 Tourist Standard Open

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BRBritish Rail or British Railways 4593 Tourist Standard Open
BR 4593 20150307.jpg
BRBritish Rail or British Railways Tourist Standard Open 4593
Built By BRBritish Rail or British Railways York
Status In service
Number E4593
Livery BRBritish Rail or British Railways Maroon
Other numbers W4593
Built 1956-7
Diagram 93
Lot 30243
Type TSO
TOPS code AC21
Seats 64 standard
1985 GWRGreat Western Railway 150 anniversary train
1988 Preserved on SVRSevern Valley Railway
2003 Major overhaul


4593 is a BRBritish Rail or British Railways Mk 1 Tourist Second Open (TSO). The 'Open Second' seats 64 passengers at tables, with three cross-vestibules to enable speedier loading and unloading of passengers.


4593 was built at York in 1957 to diagram number 93 (AC204), lot number 30243, and entered service as E4593 on the Eastern Region in January 1957.[1]

During 1984 4593 and class mate 4345 were among a number of carriages withdrawn from regular BRBritish Rail or British Railways service for repairs and upgrades, so they could carry out a season of rail tours in 1985 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Great Western Railway. However with BRBritish Rail or British Railways's decision to close the GWRGreat Western Railway workshops at Swindon, the workforce declined to have much to do with the celebrations, and seven vehicles including 4593 and 4345 were sent instead to Cathays Wagon Works at Cardiff. Externally they were repainted in BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) chocolate and cream livery, while internally they received commemorative tables and other modifications to the interior décor. In the case of 4593, half the tables were removed to allow passengers to stand up and look out of the window, while one vestibule was repainted in a 'curry coloured' finish to hide the graffiti.[2]

They were officially renumbered as being allocated to the Western Region between September 1985 and April 1986.[1]

One of 4593's last rail tour duties was during summer 1987 when it formed part of the set used by BRBritish Rail or British Railways on the Cambrian Coast line.[3] It was retired from service in early 1988.


4345 and 4593 were selected as the best of a number examined at Carnforth by Hugh McQuade. At the time they were intended as replacements for two other TSOs, 4399 and 4584,[3] although in the event 4584 was retained until 1995 while 4399 is still resident on the SVRSevern Valley Railway.

4593 arrived on the SVRSevern Valley Railway from Carnforth on 22 March 1988 having been acquired by SVR(H). It was still in relatively good condition internally after its refit for the 1985 GW 150 train, and still carried its BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) chocolate and cream livery, although poorly lined out. SVRSevern Valley Railway News noted that "It was the best TSO in the train until loco 31309 "Cricklewood" knocked it through the bufferstops at Crewe yard." It received a bogie swap on arrival,[4] with a further bogie swap in 1991 due to the carriage being one of a number to have suffered severe wheel flats.[5]

By 1998 4593 was in use in the Maroon set. During that year it was reupholstered using a 1990s pattern blue moquette.[6]

On 3 July 2003 4593 entered Kidderminster Carriage Works for its first major overhaul. In addition to the normal damage due to age and wear, it became apparent that a number of the 1984 repairs at Cathays had been 'botched jobs'.[note 1] Among the problems found were:

  • Poor plumbing repairs which had resulted in corrosion and rot. Both body ends needed extensive welding of new steel skin and extensions to the crash pillars, with roof and gutter end areas being cut out and replaced. The vestibule floor and gangway threshold areas also needed to be replaced.
  • All six doors had only received partial repairs and were missing parts. The door drain troughs were missing, allowing rain water to run off the windows directly onto the timber framework instead of being channelled away via the troughs. All six door locks were far below scrapping size.
  • Almost half the fixings required to pull the window glass up against the body had not been put back in. Most of the windows had therefore leaked, causing corrosion to the body panels and sub-frames. The sliding lights also had a number of bad repairs which were allowing water ingress, as well as mis-alignment of the moving parts and screws sticking out.
  • An assortment of different shapes of roof vents had been fitted. These were replaced so they were all of a single pattern and re-bedded.
  • One lavatory floor was rotten due to a long-term leak which had been 'repaired' by wrapping electrician's tape around it.

Among other jobs, several volunteers spent a six week period replacing the wood in the 'curry coloured' vestibule with varnished Sapele veneer. Six of the 8 missing tables were replaced from stock, leaving only two bays at the ends without tables. The frames of several seat bases also required repairs by welding the cross-braces, the damage probably having been caused by people standing on the seats to lean well out of the window during rail tours.

Hugh McQuade's report of the overhaul concluded "So much was wrong on 4593 that every time you started work on something, anything in fact all over the coach, it fell off, wasn't working right or was on the wrong way round, that it became our mission to make it conform to normal. Frequently, Nigel from the machine shop would ask "is it conforming yet". To which the answer was usually "not quite yet". Then, finally there was nothing left wrong with it, and we painted it in 1957 BRBritish Rail or British Railways maroon, with roundels as it would have appeared from 1963 until 1968."

The overhaul ended with 4593 having spent five months in the Carriage Works paint shop, a longer time than any other vehicle to that date.[2] It re-entered service on 2 December 2003 in time for the first weekend of the Santa services, initially as part of the GW2 set despite its new maroon livery.[2] 4345 subsequently underwent a similar overhaul in 2005, although concerns that its 'botch up level' would be as bad as 4593 fortunately proved to be unfounded.[7]

In 2004 4593 again suffered wheel flats when a carriage set skidded during a diesel driving course. Several other carriages needed to be sent away to Toton for tyre turning, but 4593 was less seriously affected and was able to resume duties after the wheels received attention from an angle grinder.[8] However by winter 2009 the tyres were worn down to their limits and 4593 was swapped onto an overhauled set of bogies from 4399 while its own bogies were overhauled in turn, with the swap back onto its own bogies eventually taking place in 2013.[9]

Other minor refurbishments around that time included better seats transferred from 4345 and overhauls to the door locks.[10] In August 2014 routine inspections revealed that several carriages at the outer end of sets C, M and L had heavily worn draw-bar hooks. Five carriages including 4593 received new replacements.[11] The main photograph shows 4593 in use in March 2015 having resumed its place at the end of Set M, the BRBritish Rail or British Railways Maroon set.

In March 2018 the older part of the Bewdley buffet building which included the customer seating area was deemed life expired and was closed pending demolition. On 28 March 2018 4593 was moved to the dock platform adjacent to the buffet kitchen where it served as a temporary seating area. By 2020 construction of a replacement buffet building had been completed. 4593 was then moved to a new location outside Kidderminster works to provide a safe seating eating area for staff[12].

See also


  1. This did not come as a total surprise. Hugh McQuade reported in SVRSevern Valley Railway News "I remember talking to a recently redundant shopping controller from Swindon who told me these vehicles had been given a poor quality repair and he warned me about them in case we might be tempted eventually to buy one or two - which eventually we did. If the chickens could be said to come home to roost - then 4593 was the chicken shed!"


  1. 1.0 1.1 Longworth (2013) p.57.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 147
  3. 3.0 3.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 87
  4. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 88
  5. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 100
  6. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 128
  7. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 151, 152
  8. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 149
  9. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 168, 184
  10. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 179, 184
  11. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 188
  12. SVR On-Line Forum