Kent Rail


BR Mk 1 RU: No. E1955


Although not a Pullman car, this BR Mk 1 vehicle has for long been used on the K&ESR’s ‘’Wealden Pullman’’ service, providing kitchen facilities for the preparation of food onboard the train. The carriage was part of a batch of Mk 1 vehicles constructed for the Eastern Region, and assembly took place at Swindon in 1960, making use of a chassis previously built at Ashford – thus, the carriage already had links to three of BR’s Regions immediately on its deployment into service! The vehicle became No. E1955 in the ER’s carriage stock series, and was painted in BR Lined Maroon from the outset. No. E1955 had a comparatively modest working life, being withdrawn from service after a career of just seventeen years. It was condemned at York in 1977, by which time the Eastern Region had been the recipient of numerous later-build air-conditioned BR Mk 2 vehicles; the InterCity 125 train sets were also to appear in the East Coast Main Line timetable in May of the following year. It arrived on the Kent & East Sussex Railway in 1979, by road, and a full restoration programme was soon begun to make the vehicle fit for ‘’Wealden Pullman’’ service. It was formally commissioned into K&ESR service on 1st August 1981, and became No. 69 in the preserved line’s fleet list. A week later, on 8th August, the carriage was named ‘’Diana’’, in recognition of the Royal Wedding between the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer, which had taken place on 29th July of that year. The carriage wore Umber and Crème colours from the outset, to match the livery of Pullman car ‘’Barbara’’, which had been part of the ‘’Wealden Pullman’’ service since it commenced in 1974. ‘’Diana’’ was fitted with a full complement of refrigerators, gas-powered cooking apparatus, and bottle coolers, and remained in Pullman service for the rest of the decade.

During 1993, the vehicle was downgraded from Pullman status, and became a feature of normal service trains. The carriage lost its mock Pullman livery, and re-emerged under a Scottish Region guise of No. Sc1955, wearing Carmine and Crème colours, a livery it had not previously carried in BR service. The scheme, nevertheless, suited the Mk 1 body profile well. Four years later, the vehicle was withdrawn from service, and restoration commenced to return the carriage to ‘’Wealden Pullman’’ condition. The carriage re-emerged in 1999, again wearing Umber and Crème livery, and paired with Car No. 349, one of forty-four Pullman vehicles ordered in 1960 and built to the BR Mk 1 profile. This vehicle had been drafted in as a temporary measure to replace ‘’Barbara’’, which had been withdrawn in August 1997 for overhaul.


Additional Notes [No. E1955: As Built]


26th July 2008


''Diana'' is seen stabled in the dedicated ''Wealden Pullman'' siding, sandwiched in-between ex-Hastings Line

vehicles ''Barbara'' and ''Theodora''. The vehicle was being loaded with supplies for the Pullman dining service

that evening. David Glasspool


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