British Railways Mark 1 Non-corridor Coaches

Designs for inner and outer suburban services

Operating in and out of major cities and towns, during WW2 the commuter rolling stock, quite possibly suffered more than that on long distance services. In addition to long distance Mark 1 corridor coaches, British Railways needed new stock for transporting workers in and out of the cities and towns.

Passenger carrying layout of each carriage to be suitable for the type of work it was intended to carry out. For short distance, high intensity commuter services, like those out of London, compartment stock was the choice as this could accommodate high numbers of passengers. Other compartment coaches and high density open coaches were provided with a toilet in the centre area but still no connection to other coaches within the train formation. These became known as semi-compartment or outer suburban coaches.

Introduced in 1954, withdrawn by 1977

The introduction of new suburban coaches was later than the long distance coaches as operational difficulties between regions was less important, suburban coach designs from the constituent companies continuing to be built until 1953, five years after nationalisation. As such, it wasn’t until 1954 that the first Mk.1 suburban coaches began to appear.

On the KWVR there are examples of four Mark 1 suburban carriages.


BR Mk.1 Type S (Second)

With nine compartments and able to convey 108 seated passengers (and no doubt during rush hour periods even more standing in each compartment) they are seen to be high capacity vehicles.

This coach has been regularly seen on the KWVR service trains (although not crammed to capacity). This coaches finished its working career on the London Kings Cross inner suburban services.

BR Mk.1 Type BS (Brake Second)

These coaches contain 6 compartments and a large luggage/brake-van area where the guard of the train sits. This area is much more spartan in comparison with the guard’s compartments of longer distance versions. These coaches finished their lives for BR working the London Kings Cross suburban services.

These brake coaches are regularly seen on KWVR service trains.

BR Mk.1 Type SLO (Second Lavatory Open)

These are examples of a small batch of coaches and were the forerunners of some of the later suburban diesel and electric multiple unit designs adopted by British Railways. The layout of the passenger space of these coaches is of the semi compartment variety whereby there is a central corridor between the seats leading to the toilets located in the centre of the coach. Access to both halves of the passenger accommodation is possible but a door is provided to each of the seating areas like in the compartment coaches. The coach is for the conveyance of second class passengers.

The Railway has two such carriages which finished their main line lives working out of Kings Cross on outer suburban routes and are regularly to be seen on the service trains.

BR Mk.1 Type CL (Composite Lavatory)

These are very similar to the Second Lavatory Open, though this coach does contain first class passengers in three open compartments with a side corridor which leads to the toilet. There are also five open compartments for second class passengers, also with a side corridor to the toilet. The coach contains two toilets but there is no interconnecting access between first and second class sections.

First class seats contain arm rests and have a 5″ greater leg-room between the seats.

The Railway has just one of these coaches which can regularly be seen on service trains.