GWR 9581 Wheelchair accessible Buffet Car

GWR 9581 Wheelchair accessible Buffet Car
5043 20150411.jpg
GWR Full Third 5043 in Bewdley Down Yard in 2015
Built By GWR Swindon
Status Static use
Number 9581
Other numbers 5043, W5043W, DW 150301
Built 1928
Designed By Collett
Diagram H33 (C54 as built)
Lot 1383
Type TK
Length 58ft 11½in (as built)
Weight 30t 6cwt (as built)
Seats 64 third (as built)
1981 Arrived on SVR
2017 Conversion to buffet car began


5043 temporarily leaves its usual space on 28 March 2017 to allow 4150's boiler lift
GWR 9581 is a Wheelchair accessible Buffet Car, created by rebuilding the bodyshell of GWR Collett Bow-Ended Coach No 5043, a standard 57ft full third coach originally built in June 1928 to diagram C54, lot 1383. The internal layout as built seated 64 passengers in eight compartments, with a side corridor and a toilet cubicle at each end.

As rebuilt the coach has been given a new SVR running number ‘9581’ which reflects its rôle as a catering vehicle. In GWR days these were all numbered in the 95XX or 96XX series. The revised bodyshell is based on a GWR Diagram H33 Collett Composite Diner which originally seated 12 first and 24 third. The number of one of these, the long-scrapped 9581, has been chosen for the rebuild of 5043.[1] The original 9581 was in service between August 1925 and May 1959[2].


5043 in service

5043 was used on cross country and express services. After main line service 5043 became DW 150301 in June 1963 when, as one of a batch of six similar conversions, it was allocated to the Running and Maintenance Department and served at least part of its new existence in the Swindon breakdown train. As part of the conversion several doors and windows were blanked off and an internally operated hand brake was added.

5043 in preservation

The 2857 Society ownership

The coach was originally bought by the 2857 Society and arrived on the SVR by rail on 22 October 1981. It had been adapted for use as a mess coach in a breakdown train, including stripping out compartments and removing most of the internal partitions, fitting a stove and workbenches and blanking off of some of the doors and windows. On arrival, it served as the 2857 Society’s workshop, store and mess vehicle.

GW(SVR)A ownership

Ownership passed to the Great Western (SVR) Assoc. in 2014 in a deal that saw the 2857 Society’s spares transferred to GWR 143 Tool & Packing Van, allowing the LNER Carriage Group, who are based in Bewdley Down Yard to use 5043 to use it as a workshop and stores.[3] Shortly after taking ownership the GW(SVR)A announced its long term aspiration to convert this vehicle to a replica of a GWR Composite Diner to Diagram H33. The SVR, however, requires good quality wheelchair accessible accommodation (and a GWR design Buffet Car) for set GW and the H33 design is eminently adaptable for this purpose.

SVR(H) ownership and conversion to GWR 9581

In March 2017 the GW(SVR)A and SVR(H) exchanged 5043 for GWR 4786 Full Third. Conversion and restoration is being carried out by The LNER (SVR) Coach Fund who have experience of this kind of work, and this coach became their next project following restoration of GWR 17410 'Toad' 20T Goods Brake Van.[4]

The plan is to have saloon accommodation for disabled passengers and their companions at one end and an accessible buffet counter at the other. Entry will be via central double doors with an adjacent disabled WC. The external appearance will indeed be of a GWR H33 composite Kitchen Diner (see above). It will replicate the later condition of GWR catering vehicles, which were all rebuilt in a programme that lasted from 1937 to 1952. There were many variations, but they all gained flush sided steel panelling with sliding shutters replacing the original 'hopper' type opening toplights, a much more practical arrangement that vastly reduced the window's tendency to leak. [5] The General Arrangement drawing of the proposal, prepared by Peter Simpson of the GW(SVR)A, can be viewed as a pdf at File:

Under the title 'PROJECT 9581 - ACCESS FOR ALL' it was the beneficiary of the traditional SVR Raffle in 2019, raising "more than £10,000".[6][7]

Conversion work

Initial work involved sourcing fittings, undertaking a condition survey, obtaining costings, cleaning and painting the underframe and ordering a kit of bodyside frame components.[8] Work commenced in earnest following a shunt on 7 November 2017 which moved 5043 into position for restoration to commence.

In November 2018 it was agreed that with the rebuild more than 50% complete, the coach would subsequently be referred to by its new number 9581.[9] As of 2019 work continues on the bodywork, framing and windows, with the LNER Carriage Group supplemented from time-to-time by further volunteers from The 2857 Society and the Great Western (SVR) Assoc..[10]

Updates are on this webpage.

Completion date

The LNER Carriage Group anticipates a 2023 completion date.

See also


  1. LNER Carriage Group Newsletter 74, December 2018
  2. Longworth (2018) p.107.
  3. 2857 Society newsletter issue 82
  4. SVRLive 30 March 2017
  5. SVR Unofficial Form 30 May 2016
  6. SVR News 205
  7. SVR Facebook, 7 May 2019
  8. LNER Carriage Group (Retrieved 2 January 2018)
  9. LNER Carriage Group
  10. SVRLive news page

Railway Heritage Register Carriage Survey
SVR Stock Book Eighth Edition