GWR 80969 Inspection Saloon

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GWRGreat Western Railway 80969 Inspection Saloon
Severn Valley 1940's Weekend (9236474289).jpg
GWRGreat Western Railway 80969 Inspection Saloon
Built By GWRGreat Western Railway Swindon
Status In service
Number 80969
Other numbers DW80969
Built 1948
Designed By HawksworthFrederick Hawksworth, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1941-1948
Diagram Q13
Lot 1701
Type Nondescript, INSP
Length 52ft 0in
Weight 31t (approx)
Seats 23 (as now used)
1973 Preserved on SVRSevern Valley Railway


80969 is one of six 52ft inspection saloons (INSP) built at Swindon as lot number 1701 to diagram Q13.[1] It was ordered under FW HawksworthFrederick Hawksworth, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1941-1948’s tenure as GWRGreat Western Railway CMEChief Mechanical Engineer, although it has little visual similarity to his other carriage designs.[2]

80969 in service and preservation

80969 entered service in January 1948 in what had by then become the BRBritish Rail or British Railways Western Region. As a DepartmentalRolling stock used for the railway’s own functions (engineering etc.) rather than for general passenger or goods traffic. vehicle allocated to the Western region it carried the number DW80969. It later moved to the Scottish Region, where it ended service at Cowlairs, Glasgow in 1973.

80969 in preservation

80969 arrived on the SVRSevern Valley Railway at Bewdley on 6 April 1973, having been privately purchased by a member of the Great Western (SVR) Association. It was initially painted in BRBritish Rail or British Railways all-blue livery and used as the General Manager’s office.[3][2] By 1977 ownership has been assumed by another private individual. 80969 then received an overhaul in summer 1978. The interior was stripped and re-varnished, while the plumbing and gas cooker were also overhauled. The exterior was repainted into HawksworthFrederick Hawksworth, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1941-1948 era Chocolate and Cream livery and new carpets were fitted, with the overhaul being completed just in time for a return to service as an Observation Car in the September 1978 Enthusiasts weekend.[4]

80969 was used in the filming of Series 7 Episode 1 of Father Brown, first broadcast on 7 January 2019.[5]

In March 2019 it was outshopped from Kidderminster Carriage Works after a light overhaul where work took place on the water tank, pipework and upholstery, together with a repaint. 80969 continues in use as an Observation Car, normally being attached to the end of a rake of carriages for private hire or ‘cream tea’ specials.[6] It seats up to 23 people and is furnished with armchairs, settees and tables in the two saloons, which are separated by a corridor off which are found a toilet, small kitchen and guard’s office. It is finished in GWRGreat Western Railway 1942-47 livery, with the coat of arms insignia flanked by 'GREAT' and 'WESTERN'.

It is owned by Geoff Page.[7]

Sister vehicle GWR 80972 Inspection Saloon is also resident on the SVRSevern Valley Railway.


Interior views of 80969

See also


  1. Railway Heritage Register Carriage Survey
  2. 2.0 2.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book Ninth Edition
  3. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 28
  4. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 48-49
  5. Review of episode on BBC iPlayer
  6. SVRSevern Valley Railway Website
  7. Traffic notice 7 May 2022