Service Cars are a type of carriage used on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways.
The service car concept was developed as part of a carriage plan started in 2005, which was intended to increase set formation flexibility and also to improve first class in observation carriages, which saw the construction of the new vehicles.
Service cars contain a guard's compartment, a toilet and a buffet/kitchen area. Each of these facilities would previously have been accomodated in different passenger carriages. Moving these services out of other carriages allowed greater passenger space in them, especially in first class observation cars which traditionally contained the guard's compartment.
They are fitted with generators in order to power the kitchen equipment. This allows a wider array of food and drinks to be offered for sale compared to the old style buffet cars. Additionally the guard's area is larger than in previous carriages, allowing more space for the storage of luggage, bicycles etc.
The first service car was Carriage 124, built between 2005 and 2007. Initially problems were experienced with the ride due to the heavy generator being mounted off centre (to allow for a corridor on the other side of the coach). Later carriages have design improvements resulting in a much smoother ride.
The Ffestiniog service cars must be paired with certain observation carriages to ensure that sets containing an observation carriage without a guards compartment have guards facilities. This also applies to ensuring the provision of buffet and toilet facilities within a set.
There are currently six service cars, two on the FR and four on the WHR.
Full Service Cars
These carriages contain only service facilities - there is no passenger accommodation in these vehicles.
Third class/Service Car composites
These carriages have two sections: a section containing a guard's area, buffet stores and a toilet; and a section containing third class accommodation.