LNER 643 Buffet

LNER 643 Buffet
LNER 643 20190723.jpg
643 at Highley in July 2019
Built By LNER York
Status Operational
Number 643
Other numbers LNER: 9131.
BR: E9131, E9131E
Built 1937
Designed By Gresley
Diagram 167
Lot 761
Type RB
Length 61ft 6in
Weight 33t 0cwt
1977 Preserved on SVR
2014 Re-entered service


Interior view of LNER Buffet car 643.

643 was designed by LNER CME Sir Nigel Gresley and built at York in 1937 to diagram 167. It is a 'Vestibule' Corridor Buffet Car and as built had seating for 24.[1].



643 was one of six built for Great Eastern section excursions and cross country expresses, and is believed to have been used on fast five coach Liverpool Street-Cambridge services (known colloquially as "Beer Trains"). In common with other Gresley buffet cars of the period it had electric cooking facilities powered by large axle driven dynamos (or landlines when stationary) with an attractive art deco interior finished in Rexine; in this case gold and red. Loose seating was provided in the form of tubular chromed chairs.

In November 1943 the LNER renumbered its LNER-built carriage stock and 643 became 9131. At Nationalisation in 1947 BR initially allocated a 'region of origin' E prefix, replaced in the early 1950s by a prefix showing the region of allocation and suffix showing the region of origin, resulting in a final number of E9131E.[2] Sometime during the late 1950/early 1960s period it was extensively rebuilt with gas cooking, enclosed bar, and MK 1 style grey Formica interior decor, in which form it survived in BR ownership until 1977.

643 in preservation

643 arrived on the SVR on 16 November 1977 shortly after withdrawal by British Rail and in their then current livery of blue and grey. It was initially purchased for the SVR by Messrs. Gardner Shaw, a Brierley Hill soft drinks firm.[3] Following arrival it was quickly restored externally to varnished teak livery, and saw service (with one largely cosmetic intermediate overhaul) until being withdrawn to be comprehensively restored over 4 years by LNER Coach Fund volunteers to original internal and external condition in 1987. Just before withdrawal, it was one of the coaches used in the filming of the television series Hannay. It subsequently ran for a short time with the original loose chairs, but proved much more popular with passengers after these were replaced with BR Mk1 second class "2+ 1" seating.

By 1998, ownership had been passed to SVR(H).[4] 643 returned to service in April 2014, following a 4 month visit to the paint shop.[5] In early 2016 ownership was transferred to the SVR Charitable Trust, and 643 regularly forms part of Set N, the LNER & GNR Teak carriages.

See also


Railway Heritage Register Carriage Survey
  1. Longworth (2018) p. 259.
  2. Longworth (2018) p.175.
  3. SVR Stock Book Editions 7 (1980) and 8 (1990)
  4. SVR Stock Book 9th edition
  5. SVR News Winter 2014 - Kidderminster Carriage Notes