Carriages 100 - 107
Centenary Stock, otherwise known as the Barns.
Following the abandonment of the old route from Dduallt to Tanygrisiau via the Old Moelwyn Tunnel due to the Llyn Ystradau reservoir, and the alterations to the Rhiw Plas bridge engineered by the then FR Co. Secretary Francis Wayne, the major restrictions to the loading gauge were removed. For nearly 100 years, these two obstacles had limited the dimensions of engines, wagons, and carriages. Even though there were still restrictions elsewhere, notably Garnedd Tunnel, the way was now clear to consider a somewhat larger profile for rolling stock.
By the early 1960's, the management realised that with passenger growth the existing carriage stock, even including those yet to be returned to service, would be inadequate, and additional carriages would be needed. To this end, a new carriage design, with noticeably more headroom, was drawn up and the FR Co. began construction of a series of modern wooden-bodied carriages at Boston Lodge, using steel frames made there and wooden body components manufactured by a company in Birkenhead, H. L. Watson & Co. The design had been prepared by Fred Boughey, a Boston Lodge volunteer who, at the time, still worked as a lecturer at a Technical College in Birkenhead, and he was able to oversee the manufacture of the components. Later Barns were built entirely at Boston Lodge. The design for this new Centenary Stock was for a significantly larger carriage than all the previous designs, height restrictions having been eased by the above changes. The profile was based on that of the restored former Lynton and Barnstaple Carriage 14 and this is thought by some to explain the affectionate nickname, "The Barns", though some say it is merely due to the spacious interiors. The name Centenary Stock comes from the fact they were built 100 years on from the first carriages.
Six were built initially:-
- 1964 - Carriage 104, Saloon (originally Carriage 24, renumbered May 1967).
- 1965 - Carriage 100, Observation Car - Modified 2006 as Carriage 1000, later scrapped.
- 1966-7 - Carriage 105 Saloon (was to be carriage 25 but renumbered before completion)
- 1968 - Carriage 103 Buffet Car - Withdrawn 2007
- 1968 - Carriage 106 Saloon - New body 2002
- 1970 - Carriage 101 Observation Car - Modified 2011 and renumbered Carriage 123.
Subsequent new carriage builds in the 1970s, 80s and 90s favoured steel and/or aluminium bodywork, apart from the replacement bodies for old Ashbury coaches 22 and 26, which were of wooden construction in Barn style but shorter and retaining the seven-compartment layout of the originals. These were followed by more metal-bodied coaches, but a return to the wooden "Barn" style of construction came in 2002 when Carriage 106 required a new body. This led on to the construction of the entirely new Carriage 107 which was identical to 106 and similar to the original form of the first of the series, 104.
Other coaches followed, continuing the Centenary set.
In 2006 the original 100 was taken out of operational use, having served several seasons in the second set on the WHR and reached the end of its economic life. Rather than being immediately dismantled to release the underframe for another new build the carriage was renumbered 1000 and transferred to departmental stock to serve as a mess and riding vehicle for construction staff on Phase 4 of the WHR. The FR pattern bogies were released and returned to Boston Lodge for overhaul, being replaced under 1000 by a pair of SAR diamond frame pattern, as used on other WHR stock, except that this pair had flats on the wheels. 1000 was eventually withdrawn and dismantled in 2010. The number 100 was transferred to a new Barn, of updated design.
- 2002 - Carriage 106 replacement body, Saloon
- 2004-5 - Carriage 107 Saloon
- 2004-5 - Carriage 102 Observation Car
- 2005-6 - Carriage 100 (second) Observation Car
- 2007 - Carriage 124 Service Car - on IOMR Frame from scrapped Tin Car 121
Following withdrawal of the original 103, a new carrriage was authorised to take that number, but it was not to be a replacement buffet car (the new 124 meeting that need) but an improved Saloon, with larger doors, inset at the extreme ends, unlike the previous Saloons which had doors at one-third and two-thirds of the length. The change allowed easier access, and greater interior width in the main body of the carriage. Following the success of this design, more are now under construction, being suitable for FR and WHR use.
- 2008-9 - Carriage 103 (second) - Enhanced Saloon
- 2010-2 - Carriage 121 (second) - Enhanced Saloon
- 2011-2 - Carriage 108 - Enhanced Saloon - still under construction 2012
The three generations of Barns now occupy the numbers 100, 102-108, 121, 123, 124.
An interesting article by Fred Boughey in FRM 36 gives some background to the design. Apparently doors at the extreme ends were considered then, but turned down by the Traffic Department on the grounds that some passengers would be a long way from a door, inconvenient both for loading and in the event of an accident.
The article does not mention the word "Barn" - the nickname may not have been in use at the time, so the mystery of its origin is unsolved.
- Boughey, Fred. Ffestiniog Railway Magazine - Society House Magazine (036): pp15-19. FR Coaches, 1955-1965.