Carriage 15

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group
Carriage 15
Carriage 15 at Blaunau Ffestiniog
Type Compartment Composite
Seating 6 x 1st, 6 x 2nd, 30 x 3rd
Home Railway FR
Status In service, Heritage Fleet
Built by Brown, Marshalls and Co. Ltd.
Built 1872
1960 Restored to service
Length 38 ft
Width 6 ft
Body Length 35 ft 9 in
Height 7 ft 8 in
Frames Iron

Carriage 15 is one of the first pair of bogie coaches built for the FR.


In late 1872, the bodies of two coaches were delivered from the firm of Brown, Marshalls and Co. Ltd., of Adderley Park, Birmingham, the details being their own, but with an overall general design by Charles Easton Spooner. Whilst not the world's first, they were the first revenue-earning bogie coaches in the British Isles, and are now the oldest in existence. The other carriage of the pair was 16.

Due to the length and fact they would only be supported at the end of the carriage, the wrought iron frames were made considerably stronger than previously used. This was also in order to take the strain of a train passing through reverse curves of short radius, and to haul large rakes of empty wagons. The bogie centres and bolsters were of oak sandwiched between cross girders.

The two vehicles, when originally constructed, had seven compartments, which accommodated three classes. One description had the carriages as having a 1st class compartment upholstered in blue material holding six passengers in the centre, flanked on one side by a 2nd class fitted out in plain cloth holding eight persons and with 3rd class seating for 24 on wooden seats with no intermediate partitions. At each end of the carriage, where the floor is raised over the bogies, there are Luggage/Third compartments in which the seats were originally removable and arranged lengthways. Droplight windows were provided in both the end of the carriage and the side windows, but there were no fixed lights on either side of them. As built they had removable benches across the side doors and entry was generally made from end balconies, there being a gangway across the ends of these carriages with suitable steps each side. They seated three per side and were described as being "for servants and baggage". To suit the end compartments to their primary role, in both vehicles there was a wide door in each side; but in order to use it, the seats had to be removed.

Over the years they have operated the seating arrangements have been varied slightly. At some point the end compartments were changed to "ordinary" third class compartments with transverse seats, this involved the wide side doors being substituted for ones of standard width and the boarding up of the gangway door; it appears this work was done at some point before or around 1918 as close inspection of iBase 3223 and 3225 appear to show the doors now standard width with only a single large panel to either side. Assuming both were done within a relatively similar time period, both 15 and 16 were converted before 1924 as one appears in iBase 3214 with Taliesin. Additionally the original second class compartments were downgraded to third.

The total seating capacity was 54, now 42. The original running and buffing gear was added at Boston Lodge. The layout is now 3rd / 3rd / 2nd / 1st / 3rd / 3rd / 3rd with 6 seats in first class and 6 (formerly 8) in each of the second/third class.

The carriage weighs 6 tons empty, and has a wheelbase of 27 ft.

Post Preservation[edit]

Carriage 15 re-entered service for the revived company in 1960. Its external condition at the time was much as it had been in the 1920s and 30s. Consideration was given to fitting extra windows in the end compartment, but the iron framing prevented this. The livery at this time was green and ivory with red ends.

By 1969, 15 had received the new cherry red livery.

2001 Restoration[edit]

With the help of Heritage Lottery Funding, Carriage 15 has now been restored to its Victorian splendour.

Some of the original features have been included in the restored Carriage 15, though the seats in the luggage compartment remain in their transverse arrangement, and as such the widened doors have not been reinstated. A window has been placed in each end of the carriage to represent the door.

The carriage has been restored in Victorian heritage livery, complete with hand lining and lettering and gold leaf paint as part of the railway's vintage The 1870's Train

Following its last major refurbishment, Carriage 15 was relaunched on Friday July 20, 2001. After 18 years in service, Carriage 15 was returned to the carriage works for a full repaint in August 2019.[1] The repaint was complete by Mid-October that year. [2]

Carriage 16, which has been restored to its 1930s appearance, is very different from the highly ornate 15. Both coaches are virtually identical, but now show the development from Victorian coach to inter-war period, with many detail changes. Both carriages are now operate as part of the normal passenger carrying fleet.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Boston Lodge – Carriage Works", Inside Motion, 7 August 2019
  2. ^ Post on the Festrail Insider Facebook.