|Van 4 (Carriage 11)|
|Type||Observation Brake First|
|Seating||12 x 1st|
|Status||In service, Heritage Fleet|
|Built by||Brown, Marshalls|
|1928/9||Rebuilt with passenger accommodation|
|1957/8||Rebuilt as Observation car|
Van 4 is a first class observation brake carriage rebuilt from an original brake van of 1880. Although officially numbered as Van 4 it is also known as Carriage 11.
This carriage was constructed as a bogie brake (luggage) van by Brown, Marshalls . It was originally numbered Van 4 and had no passenger accommodation.
It was one of the two carriages first restored for use when the railway reopened. In the 1955 renumbering it became Carriage 11 in the new combined series and there are early references (FRM NL/05) to this vehicle as both Coach 11 and Van 11.
The carriage was turned around during Easter 1956 using a wagon turntable under one end, whilst the other was slid over rails and sleepers. In 1957/58 it was rebuilt again, this time involving conversion to an observation car, utilising seating from former first class Mersey Railway electric stock withdrawn in 1956-7. In 1962 it was remounted on a steel underframe. For a period in the 1990s (probably in 1994 & 1995) it was turned and ran with its observation windows at the top end.
It has since been restored in the green and ivory livery carried in the 1950s and early 1960s, and in 2005 returned to its original identity of Van 4.
In 2007 it was officially transferred to the Heritage fleet. As such, it will no longer be used in normal regular service, but will remain available for occasional use, and on heritage trains. During 2009 an overhaul was undertaken with some of the wooden body panels being replaced. Two seats were removed in the observation section, allowing the existing seating to be moved around which allowed the provision of small shelves between them to stand drinks on. On its return to service in November it had received a repaint and large '1' transfers on the sides as opposed to the 'First' transfers carried by the modern first class carriages. In 2014 Van 4 was externally renumbered back to 11, as is appropriate for its 1960s livery.
- Festiniog in the Fifties, V. Mitchell and A. Gray, Middleton Press 1996