Saturday, 3 July 2010

Observation Car E1719E

E1719E in Platform 2 at Shackerstone

The Coronation of King George the Sixth was held in Westminster Abbey on the 12th May 1937. In the same year, the London & North Eastern Railway introduced a new high-speed service between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh and it was logical that the service should be called the 'Coronation'. Gresley's streamlined 'A4' Pacifics provided the motive power for the specially-built lightweight, fixed-formation trainsets. Two streamlined Observation Saloons were built at Doncaster to form the last vehicle of these striking trains. The saloons were called 'Beavertail' because of the original bodyshape.

After less than two years of very successful operation, the outbreak of War suspended the 'Coronation' service and the trainsets were stored. In 1948, various vehicles returned to occasional service.

The observation cars were transferred to the West Highland Lines in 1956 as a tourist attraction. The 'Beavertail' observation windows gave a rather limited view and Cowlairs Works rebuilt them with a more functional (but arguably less attractive) profile. In this form, 1719E remained in use until 1968.

This poster for the Battlefield Line is adapted from an original British Railways poster advertising the Observation Car trains

Observation Car E1719E was acquired by Railway Vehicle Preservations Limited and restored to its 1959 condition. The Observation Car is spending part of 2010 at the Battlefield Line.

More pictures here.