GWR 6045 Bow-end Composite

GWR 6045 Bow-end Composite
GWR 6045 Bow-end Composite on its official launch into traffic 17 October 2021. Rob Massey.jpg
6045 on its official launch into traffic 17 October 2021
Built By GWR Swindon
Status In service
Number 6045
Other numbers DW150293
Built 1928
Designed By Collett
Diagram E132
Lot 1382
Type CK
Length 57ft 4½in
Weight 31t 3cwt
Seats 24 first, 24 third
1961 To departmental service
1973 Preserved on SVR
2014 Restoration commenced
2020 Restoration completed


GWR 6045 is a 57' Corridor Composite (CK) carriage, having four first class compartments to seat 24 passengers and three third class compartments also to seat 24 passengers. It has toilets at each end and external doors to each compartment on the non-corridor side. It is the only surviving example of a GWR 'bow-ended' composite.


Collett bow-ended stock

When CB Collett succeeded GW Churchward as CME of the GWR after the first World War, he introduced a new range of standard 57' carriages starting in 1923. These were a development of Churchward's later 'toplight' carriages, having a cleaner exterior with flush steel panels over oak framing and a higher waistline. From late 1925 'bow-ends' were added to reduce the length of the gangway connections (following complaints of swaying from nervous passengers), giving the stock its distinctive 'bow-ended' profile. Internally they had a simpler finish; the corridor stock had first class compartments the trimmed in walnut and the third class in mahogany.[1]

A total of 781 carriages were built between 1923 and 1929, of which 104 were composites.[note 1] The later batches continued in general service until around 1961, after which the preliminary stages of the Beeching plan saw the elimination of almost all remaining pre-1935 stock during 1962[2].

6045 in service

6045 was built in 1928 to Lot 1382, Diagram E132. It was based in Devon and Cornwall for most of its mainline service.[3] The type were used initially on expresses and later on semi-fast cross-country services, including the Birmingham to Cardiff trains which passed through Kidderminster.[1]

Following nationalisation, it was renumbered W6045W by BR(W). It was withdrawn from passenger use in September 1961[4] and transferred into Departmental stock as no. DW150293, where it was converted for use as an R&M Sleeping and Mess Coach.[5] It was condemned in 1971 at Bristol and offered for sale as scrap[3].

6045 in preservation

6045 was acquired by Robert Smallman in 1972 for the cost of £200 plus £24 for delivery by rail to Kidderminster.[3] It arrived at Kidderminster (then still BR property) on 6 January 1973 with five other coaches (LMS 26668, LMS LMS 26880, GWR 9615, GWR 7972 and GWR Collett bow-ended Corridor Third 4886). The day also saw the arrival of a convoy from Barry with 4141, 5164, 7819 Hinton Manor and 4930 Hagley Hall.[6] BR Sulzer Type 2 No 7655 tripped 6045 and the other rolling stock from Kidderminster to the SVR's rented area in Bewdley Down Yard.[7]

6045 became part of the Great Western (SVR) Association's collection and was subsequently purchased by the Association in 1976. While at Bewdley some work began on the restoration, including waterproofing the roof[8] and reinstating the missing third class compartment structure with parts from 4886,[3] which had been acquired to be scrapped for parts mainly for 6046.[6] However work on other carriages took priority and 6045 was moved to Highley where it would spend 25 years in storage before a further move to Kidderminster in the late 1990s.[9]

By 2007, 6045 and 2426 (then still in use as accommodation at Hampton Loade) were the only two unrestored carriages in the GW(SVR)A's collection.[10] After further fundraising by the Association, 6045 finally moved to Bewdley Down Yard in 2014 for its restoration to be resumed.

Work began in earnest in 2015 with the carriage being stripped back to its frames. Changes made to the underframe in Departmental use, including the addition of a handbrake, were removed to return it to its original condition. A new floor of modern buffalo board was laid. Key structural framework components were built using best quality sapele to replace the original oak. The old asbestos steam heat pipe lagging was safely removed and new steam heat pipework and radiators fitted.[11]

Work on rebuilding the interior continued through 2016 and in May 2017 6045 entered Bewdley Paint Shop for attention to the roof edges, fitting of new roof hoop covers, toilet tanks, ventilators and gutters.[12] In October 2018 the coach moved to Kidderminster, initially into storage in the Carriage shed while awaiting entry to the Carriage Repair Works for bogie work.[13] The bogie overhaul was carried out for the GW(SVR)A as a contract job by the SVR.[14] The coach was finish-painted in Kidderminster Carriage shed during 2019 in the livery it carried in 1930[15] and the restoration finally completed in April 2020, with the work costing around £150,000.[1]

On 17 October 2021 a special train ran with 1501 and the Great Western set to officially launch 6045, with special guest passengers involved in its return to traffic.[1] Originally planned for May 2020, it was delayed by the 2020 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic[16][17].

See also


  1. After that time GWR introduced the more modern stock without the bow-ends.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Branch Lines, October 2021
  2. Harris (1966) p.84.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 SVR News 216, Winter 2021, pp. 41-44
  4. Longworth (2018) p.91.
  5. Longworth (2018) p.170.
  6. 6.0 6.1 SVR News 27
  7. Branch Lines, January 2023
  8. SVR News 28
  9. SVR News 128
  10. SVR News 157
  11. SVR News 192
  12. SVR News 199
  13. SVR News 204
  14. SVR News 207
  15. SVR News 208
  16. GW(SVR)A Newsletter, Winter 2020 edition
  17. GW(SVR)A News page, April 2020