GNR 2701 Composite Corridor
|GNRGreat Northern Railway 2701 CompositeCarriage having more than one class of seating, ie First and Third or latterly First and Standard. Corridor|
GNRGreat Northern Railway (LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway) Corridor CompositeCarriage having more than one class of seating, ie First and Third or latterly First and Standard. No 2701
|Built By||GNRGreat Northern Railway Doncaster|
|Other numbers|| LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway: 2701N, 42701 |
BRBritish Rail or British Railways: E42701, E42701E, CC157,
|Designed By||GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941|
|Seats||21 first, 24 third|
|1958||Converted to camping coach|
|1964||DepartmentalRolling stock used for the railway’s own functions (engineering etc.) rather than for general passenger or goods traffic. use|
GNRGreat Northern Railway 2701 was designed by the Great Northern Railway’s Carriage and Wagon Superintendent Mr H N (later Sir Nigel) GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941 and built at Doncaster in August 1922 to GNRGreat Northern Railway Diagram 164K, as one of a batch of ten 'Vestibule CompositeCarriage having more than one class of seating, ie First and Third or latterly First and Standard.' carriages (the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway generally used the term 'vestibule' when describing corridor stock). It is a Corridor CompositeCarriage having more than one class of seating, ie First and Third or latterly First and Standard. (CK) seating 21 first class passengers in three and a half compartments (the half-compartment with three seats being known as a coupé) and 24 in four third class compartments. It is the oldest of the 'GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941 Teaks' on the SVRSevern Valley Railway, being the only one built before the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway came into being in the 1923 grouping, and August 2022 marks 100 years since it first entered service.
GNRGreat Northern Railway 2701 in service
On 16 November 1922, some two months after entering service, 2701 was part of a Doncaster to Peterborough train which collided with the rear of a Manchester to Cleethorpes service at Retford. 2701 survived relatively undamaged and was returned to service. While in passenger-carrying service it was renumbered on a number of occasions. On grouping in 1923, the newly created LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway initially allocated a suffix to each carriage number based on the area of origin and accordingly 2701 became 2701N. This system proved unsatisfactory and in April 1925 the suffix was replaced by a numeric prefix, with 4 being the Great Northern section, resulting in a new number of 42701. From 1932, carriages of this type were used in the Kings Cross-Cambridge 'Beer trains' - the 'Garden Cities and Cambridge Buffet' expresses.
On Nationalisation in 1948 British Railways in turn allocated a regional prefix to its newly inherited carriage fleet based on the area of origin with E being the Eastern Region, resulting in E42701. Shortly after that time 2701's LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway varnished teak livery was overpainted with BRBritish Rail or British Railways 'crimson and cream' while some (or possibly all) of the ten Diagram 164K coaches had their first class compartments declassified to third class. Finally the introduction of the BRBritish Rail or British Railways Mk 1 stock in the early 1950s saw all carriages given a regional prefix to indicate the area to which the carriage was allocated (with E again being the Eastern region) and the letter denoting the pre-Nationalisation area of origin becoming a suffix, resulting in the final number of E42701E.
2701 remained in passenger carrying service until June 1958 when, together with sister carriage No 69, it was withdrawn and converted at Stratford to a camping coach. This involved the interior being removed and replaced by cooking, living and sleeping areas, while the exterior was re-liveried in green and cream. Renumbered CC157, it was stationed at Mundsley until closure in 1964. It was then transferred into DepartmentalRolling stock used for the railway’s own functions (engineering etc.) rather than for general passenger or goods traffic. stock to be used as a Divisional Engineer Messing and Sleeping Coach for which it was given the number DE321089. Finally it was transferred into Internal UserRolling stock used for the railway’s internal purposes (stores etc.) at one fixed location. stock as number 041593, serving as a CCE Staff and Workshop coach. Its long and varied career on "The Big Railway" ended circa 1980 at Boston, serving as the painter's bothy.
GNRGreat Northern Railway 2701 in preservation
2701 was then purchased by the landlord of the Plough Inn, a few miles away at Swineshead. Following a difficult road transfer involving a lorry and two cranes recounted here it was to be converted to a dining room, but the project failed to gain planning permission. Despite an attempt to preserve it in Norfolk, 2701 was moved to another pub at Stoneyford Lodge in Derbyshire, also with the intention of use as a dining room, but this time the adjacent open cast mine was extended over its intended site.
2701 was purchased in 1994 by The LNER (SVR) Coach Fund from Stoneyford Lodge, with a view to restoration. The move to the SVRSevern Valley Railway was achieved by Allelys with the aid of a lorry, two cranes and some difficulty. A video of the move can be seen here The Big Lift. After arrival the coach was stored initially at Kidderminster and subsequently at Eardington until after restoration of the Coach Fund's other coaches.
Initially there was some confusion over the identity of the coach, which the published records had incorrectly described as an LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway Diagram 23 Vestibule Third. The maker's plates were missing and none of the internal fittings were still in place, but the toplights over the doors and compartments and the fact that it was a 'mirror image' of the normal LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway layout suggested it was of GNRGreat Northern Railway rather than LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway origin. Furthermore it was 9ft wide rather than the standard 8ft 6in, meaning it could only be one of the 10 GNRGreat Northern Railway Diagram 164K Vestibule Composites. By 1996 it had been confirmed that it was either No 69 or No 2701, both of which had been converted to camping coaches in 1958. SVRSevern Valley Railway News reported that "In the absence, as yet, of any further firm evidence, we have decided to refer to the carriage as No 69. Murphy's law will undoubtedly ensure that it turns out to be No 2701!"
The 1998 SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book still referred to "Our example, assumed to be No 69…". By spring 2000 Murphy's law had proved correct as the Coach Fund had finally established the identity as No 2701, the number being found on the underside of a door. They had also completed restoration of six GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941 Teaks and had secured a set of teak panels for 2701, the outside of which was mostly plywood. Although the Fund had exhausted its finances, 2701 was moved from storage at Eardington to Bewdley Down Yard on 17 April 2000 for restoration to begin.
An initial survey revealed that 2701 was still mounted on its original underframe and GNRGreat Northern Railway bogies, which had been built in 1921 by the Leeds Forge Company. Restoration began in mid-2000 and in October 2000 filming took place for an episode of the 2001 TV series “ Off the Rails” featuring Vince Henderson, with the restoration of GNRGreat Northern Railway 2701 being one of the items featured. However progress was initially slow due to the lack of funding. The Coach Fund reported in 2001 that "We could probably restore 2701 for about £20,000 but that would mean doing everything the hard way, and would probably take 20 years." They therefore investigated the possibility of attracting grants, and on 12 September 2001 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £84,300 towards the cost of restoration.
With funding secured, official permission to start work on 2701 was received on 22 December 2001. The coach made a short trip to Kidderminster to be placed on accommodation bogies while its own bogies were overhauled. The bodywork was then stripped almost to a bare framework so that the contractors C&L Walker could replace all the waist level 'stringers' and carry out other framework repairs. By early November 2002 all the brackets, panels, and glazing had been re-fitted to the sides and ends. All the internal doors had been refurbished or replaced, with the four 1930's pattern sliding doors replaced by older ones retrieved from 24068.
By mid-2003 all 12 external doors had been rebuilt and rehung and the roof had been re-canvassed. With external work substantially complete, 2701 was released from the 'back siding' in Bewdley yard on 26 July 2004. Later that year the SVRA raffle 'Bums on Seats' raised around £8,000 in aid of 2701 and LMS 7511 Restaurant First Open.
Between 2005 and 2007 work continued on the refitting the interior. In spring 2008 2701 moved to Kidderminster Carriage Works for 'professional finishing off' of brakes, steam heat and installing the restored bogies which had been finished early in 2007.
GNRGreat Northern Railway No 2701 entered SVRSevern Valley Railway service in July 2008, being formally launched into service on 16 August of that year by Mr Tim Godfrey, a grandson of Sir Nigel GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941.[note 1] It was declared the overall winner in the Heritage Railway Association Carriage & Wagon competition 2009.
In late 2014 2701 received an overhaul and revarnish at Kidderminster Carriage works, being released to traffic in time for the start of the 2015 season.
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 the lamp bulbs in the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway carriages of set N. The electrician reported 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).
In March 2016 the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway (SVRSevern Valley Railway) Coach Fund donated 2701 to the SVR Charitable Trust for long term safekeeping.
Sometime over the Christmas Bank Holiday 2017, 2701 was one of two coaches vandalised at Kidderminster (the other being GWR Corridor Third No. 1146). A flash appeal by the Charitable Trust raised more than £13,000 to help pay for the repairs, which involved stripping and repainting both coaches over a six-week period.
2701 is regularly used in Set N, normally rostered at the Bridgnorth end of the set.
- During his visit, Tim Godfrey presented the SVRSevern Valley Railway with his grandfather Sir Nigel GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941's top hat on loan for display in the newly-opened Engine House where it remains as of 2022[update].
- Longworth (2018) pp.175,368.
- LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway (SVRSevern Valley Railway) Coach Fund
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 163, The story of GNRGreat Northern Railway No. 2701, Richard Gunning and Richard Hill
- Longworth (2018) pp. 368, 474, 476.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 113
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 118
- SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book 9th Edition
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 132, 133
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 136
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 137
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 140
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 143
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 145
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 148, 149
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 161
- Railway Heritage Register Carriage Survey
- Shropshire Star
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 201
- SVRSevern Valley Railway Charitable Trust accounts to 30 June 2018, p.5