Baggage Car No. 7

LNER Full Brake

Baggage Car No. 7 was one of forty-seven Full Gangway Brake vehicles to be built by the LNER during 1943, to a Gresley design. Measuring 61-feet 6-inches in length, by 9-feet in width, it became No. 70741 under the LNER’s renumbering scheme of 1946, and was one of a batch of ten constructed at York; the remaining thirty-seven were built at Doncaster. Originally designed to transport racing pigeons, it was one of the earliest items of rolling stock to be acquired by the VSOE Company, being purchased from William McAlpine in 1980. Previously, in 1979, the VSOE Company had erected a 10,000 square foot workshop at Carnforth, and No. E70741 (its BR running number) was dispatched to Lancashire for complete rebuilding. This involved the replacement of steam heating with electric train heating (ETH), the installation of air brakes, and the incorporation of internal baggage cages. The vehicle's body sides were also extensively modified: originally boasting a fine teak skin, the entire vehicle had to be plated over with steel, to meet contemporary railway regulations, which prohibited wooden-clad cars running on British Rail metals. The vehicle was painted all-over in the same umber colour found on Pullman carriages wearing the 1929-inaugurated ‘’New Standard’’ livery. Upon the lower body sides was displayed ‘’BAGGAGE CAR No. 7’’, applied in the same style as Pullman car names, and its official running number became 99533. The completed vehicle was formally commissioned into service after a successful test run between Carnforth and Carlisle, via Hellifield, on 6th October 1981, and made its public debut at London Victoria in November of that year, on the official launch of the VSOE British Pullman.

It appears that by 1995, Baggage Car No. 7 was no longer a feature of the British Pullman formation, because its wooden body did not meet British Rail safety criteria. Thereafter, it was used as a stores van at Stewarts Lane. The vehicle’s fate seemed to be sealed in 1999, when VSOE (UK) indicated that it was looking to dispose of it. Sadly, in February of the following year, the baggage car was dispatched to Booth Roe of Rotherham, for scrapping. The vehicle’s luggage role was taken over by BR Mk 1 Brake coach No. 35466; purchased by the VSOE Company in 1994, No. 35466 was outshopped from Stewarts Lane in Pullman ''New Standard'' Umber and Crème livery, becoming ''Baggage Car No. 11''. BR Continental Ferry Scenery Van No. B889202 (Baggage Car No. 8), originally built in 1955 and once used by the VSOE Company on its ‘’Northern Belle’’ service, was moved from Crewe to Stewarts Lane in early 2006, to become a stores van.

March 1985

VSOE Baggage Car No. 7 is seen stabled with Pullman stock in one of the middle roads at Huddersfield, with what is thought to be Class 47 No. 47571 at the far end. Immediately adjacent to No. 7 is Baggage Car No. 9, a Brake Second BR Mk 1. The latter was also painted all-over in umber, and at the time was assigned running number 99538. © David Glasspool Collection