This Talking Stock #34 post about ex LSWR Ironclad coaches is published by way of a tribute to Gordon Weddell whom sadly passed away just over a two weeks ago and whose funeral takes place today.
Gordon was the authority on London and South Western Railway (LSWR) coaches and other rolling stock. He published a number of volumes of reference books on the subject which are a must have for anyone interested in or modelling LSWR rolling stock. I was lucky to have met Gordon on a number of occasions as he was one of the earliest members of the South Western Circle, and to all who had contact with him, he was very friendly and keen to pass on his expertise to all who sought his advice. Indeed it his book ‘LSWR Carriages in the 20th Century‘ that provides the main reference material for this post. He will be sadly missed.
The 57 ft ‘Ironclad’ stock was an LSWR design, so known because of the use of flush steel sheeting screwed to a wooden body frame with narrow metal strips protecting the joints and near flush windows giving a the appearance of smooth flush sides.
Previous LSWR designs had used wooden sheeting and panelling. Being built 9′ wide a characteristic feature of the the ‘Ironclad’ stock was the tapering in of the brake part of the coach, to 8’3″, to allow for a guards lookout within the loading gauge.
The first sets of Ironclad carriages appeared in July 1921 and being the most modern design available to the SR in 1923, continued in production until January 1926. The Ironclads included a range of the usual coach types but also slightly more unusual types such as Pantry thirds, Pantry Brake Firsts and dining saloons.
The Initial batch were formed into five coach sets for the Bournemouth Line (with some longer sets for the Central Section) and allocated to the most important services until superseded by Maunsell stock.
The original 5 coach formations as numbered by the Southern Railway were Sets 431-434 (the original LSWR set numbers were 1c to 4c) and 435-444.
Two coach sets 381 -385 comprising of Brake Composites, SR diagram 416, paired with 6-Compartment Brake Thirds, SR diagram 137 were introduced in 1925 for use as branch line through coaches but these were converted to Pull Push sets between 1949 and 1952. General withdrawal occurred between 1957 and 1959 with many passing into departmental stock (although the Restaurant Cars were mainly withdrawn in 1947)
My models as pictured are built from ex BSL now Phoenix kits and represent two coach set 385 comprising of Brake Third No. 3211 and Brake Composite No. 6564 before their rebuilding into a Pull Push set. My two coach set is strengthened with a ‘loose’ steel and mahogany panelled 1918 56ft Brake Composite No. 6539, LSWR diagram 2362 (SR Diagram 411) and all three are finised in lined olive green livery, note that the lining was actually applied to represent panneling that did not in reality exist. They form a rake regularly seen on Fisherton Sarum.