Carriage 20

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Carriage 20
Coach 20.jpg
Currently painted in the 1920's "Colonel Stephens" livery.
Photo: Martin Ellis
Type Compartment Composite
Seating 12 x 1st, 24 x 3rd
Home Railway FR
Status In service, Heritage Fleet
Built by Gloster Wagon Company
Built 1879
Length 37 ft 9 in
Width 6 ft 0 in
Body Length 34 ft 6 in
Height 7 ft 8 in

Carriage 20 is one of a pair of carriages built for the FR in 1879.


Carriage 20 is one of the second pair of carriages (the other is 19) in the group collectively known as the "Bowsiders" because of the shape of their sides. These coaches were supplied to the Festiniog Railway by two builders in 1876 and 1879. These carriages were built with Wrought iron frames, but not perpetuating the iron body bracing of Nos. 15 & 16, the running gear was provided by Boston Lodge in all cases.

The second pair are similar to the first, though not identical, in dimensions and external appearance. They came from the Gloster Wagon Company in November 1879, GWC order no. 282. Here again, more improvements and accommodation alterations were carried out; one 2nd class was derated to 3rd before 1887. With the exception of No. 19, partitions in all coaches (where existing between 3rd class compartments) were taken out. Detail variations may be discerned in many points, including the existence of window bars, ventilators and panelling. Variations in class are reflected by changes in door width and compartment bulkheads, and panels dividing windows. The original seating of 19 & 20 was 3/2/1/1/2/3 with 44 seats in total.

On these carriages, the bodies mounted on indiarubber blocks and stood one inch above the underframes.

Spooner's Patent buffers were initially fitted; the timber used was teak and deal. Luxury was lavished in First class with an oil-cloth floor covering and carpeting; a time-table and vanity mirrors were displayed in mahogany frames above the seats. The 2nds had stuffed horse-hair seats covered by 'dark repp'. (Ref.: The Engineer.)

The internal lighting arrangements also varied a great deal between the 4 carriages depending on the compartment arrangement.

Note that the easy way to tell between these pairs is that 17 & 18 have only two wide panels, on either side of the first class windows, but 19 & 20 have three panels for two first class compartments.

Post Preservation[edit]

Carriage 20 was originally restored in 1957, using ex-Mersey Railway 1st class seats. At this time the livery would have been green and ivory with red ends. A body rebuild was carried out in 1967, it seems likely that the carriage lost much of its panelling and acquired varnished "teak" livery at this time. By 1974 it had received the then standard red livery.

It had a major body repair in 1987 when it was painted in the new standard maroon and cream livery. By this time the full panelling had been restored. It was repainted into historical 1920s "Colonel Stephens" livery around 2005.

In 2015 it entered the carriage works for work on the body including replacement of plywood used in earlier restorations with traditional tongue and groove boarding.


See also[edit]