Railways Group

Ironclad Coaches

The Phoenix coach kits are successors to the 4mm scale BSL range, using a combination of cast white metal ends and fittings, and aluminium sides. Detailing components available separately include plastic and etched bass items.

The SRG is in the process of reviewing the stock and tooling for the kits over the winter of 2015/6, prior to a re-launch of the range in 2016.

Demonstrations of the construction of Phoenix kits have appeared in a number of publications, for example Chapter Five “Assembling a pre-formed metal kit – A Southern Railway ‘Ironclad’ Brake Third“, in Stephen William’s book “The 4mm Coach – Part Two – Working with metal kits”, published by Wild Swan.

The notes on the coaching stock kits have been retained to provide modellers with an overview of the historical context and to direct readers to sources for further information specific to the prototype

Photographs of completed kits can be seen by clicking on those Descriptions which appear in underlined coloured script.

LSWR/SR/BR 'Ironclad'

To aid modellers we have included some notes on set formations as the LSWR, SR and later BR(S) formed most of their coaches into numbered sets. Over the years, these formations were liable to change particularly in later life, sometimes as frequently as every year or two. Coaches not formed into sets were known as 'Loose' and these were used for strengthening purposes or for making up into ad-hoc sets when the availability of permanently formed sets ran out. It is not practical to give the full history here and additional information may be obtained from the 'Appendices to the Carriage Working Notices' held in the SRG Library or from SRG Data Sheets.

We would recommend "An Illustrated History of Southern Coaches" by our member Mike King (OPC 2003), "Maunsell's SR Steam Carriage Stock" by David Gould (Oakwood 2000) and LSWR Carriages in the 20th Century by Gordon Weddell (OPC 2001), all of which have chapters on the Ironclads. Also recommended are the drawings made by Mike King, to whom application including an SAE should be made.

The 'Ironclad' was an LSWR design, so known because of the use of flush steel sheeting screwed to the wooden body frame. Previous LSW designs had used wooden sheeting and panelling. The first sets of Ironclad carriages appeared in July 1921 and being the most modern design available to the SR in 1923, continued in production until January 1926.

Initially many were formed into five coach sets (with some longer sets for the Central Section) and allocated to the most important services until superseded by Maunsell stock. After 1937, many 'Ironclad' sets were reformed, sometimes with Maunsell stock.

The early formations as renumbered by the SR are given below (see Gould p.11 and Weddell p.165 for the LSWR numbering of the eight sets introduced before the SR numbering system had been decided).

Set Numbers with coach diagram numbers(in coach order)
431-434 Diag.213/Diag.24/Diag.476/Diag.23/Diag.135
435-444 Diag.213/Diag.24/Diag.476/Diag.24/Diag.135

The four Pantry Thirds (Diag.23) had their pantries enlarged c.1927 and in 1936 lost them altogether to become all third. The four pantry Brake Firsts (Diag.542) were built for the Southampton Boat trains to run with Firsts (Diag.476) but not in numbered sets. All the Brake Composites (Diag.416) and five of the nine 6-Compartment Brake Thirds (Diag.137) always ran in 2-Sets 381-385, converted to P&P between 1949 and 1952 (Diag.414 and Diag.136). The other four 6-Compartment Brake Thirds were for the Central Section long sets 471 and 472. Initially all the composites (Diag.284) were loose stock except for 6287 in set 471.

With the exception of the Restaurant Cars, most of which were withdrawn in 1947, the Brake ended coaches which were converted to Pull-Push sets and the Brake Pantry First coaches converted to Brake First in 1949, general withdrawal took place in BR days between 1957 and 1959. Many then entered departmental service having received modifications (sometimes extensive) including new underframe truss bars.

Three different bogie types were fitted during the construction period and it is believed that these generally remained with the coaches concerned throughout their lives.

Warner Double Framed ('Dreadnought') Bogie, fitted 7/21 to 3/23:
        Diags.23 and 24 TK, Nos 713-724
        Diags.135 and 213 BTK, Nos 3180-3191
        Diag.476 FK, Nos 7166-7187
        Diag.25 TK (downgraded Diag.476), Nos 7166-7187
        Diag.542 and Diag.542A BFK(Pantry), Nos 7711-7714

Warner Single Framed 9'-0" Bogie, fitted 6/23 to 12/25:
        Diag.24 TK, Nos 725-732 and 745-762 and 2341
        Diags.135 and 213 BTK, Nos 3192-3199 and 3203-3210
        Diag.137 BTK, Nos 4052-4053 and 3211-3213 and 4043-4044
        Diag.284 CK, Nos 5133-5136 and 6287
        Diag.416 BCK, Nos 6560-6564
        Diag.476 FK, Nos 7188-7201 and 7652-7658
        Diag.592 Dining Cars, Nos 7850-7857
        Diag.25 TK (downgraded Diag.476), Nos 2322/2331/2,2335-2340

SECR/SR Single Bolster Bogie, fitted 7/25-9/25 and 1/26:
        Diag.24 TK, Nos 2346-2348
        Diag.137 BTK, Nos 4046-4047
        Diag.476 FK, Nos 7202-7205 and 7659-7664
        Diag.25 TK (downgraded Diag.476), Nos 2333/4

Acknowledgement is due to Chris Knowles-Thomas and John Harvey for information concerning these coaches.

This page reviewed on 5th July 2023
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