Built as LNWR Suburban Brake 3rd No. 7340 - Wolverton works turned out this suburban brake vehicle on 29 January 1921 shortly before the grouping of the railways into the 'Big Four' and is now 100-years young.
The carriage was built to the final design of LNWR suburban stock, 154 of this type being built between 1914 and 1922, with a further 51 built by the LMS in 1923 / 24. The carriage was built as a bogie six-compartment brake third and is 57ft. long and 9ft 3in wide, weighs 30 tons and is vacuum fitted. Originally the coach went into service as the end vehicle of inter-district set 104. These were permanently coupled until split up by the LMS in the late 1920s.
In March 1957 the vehicle was deemed surplus to requirements and was withdrawn from passenger service. However, it was requisitioned for use as a riding van and taken to Derby for conversion in May 1958. The original six compartments were removed and replaced by two 'lounge' sections, a kitchen and toilets. One of the lounge's had a large vertical boiler for brewing hot water, a cooking range and non-original gas lighting - the original electric lighting was removed as the batteries would not have been suitable to allow for long periods standing at a work site.
Renumbered DM395209, it was attached to the Bletchley breakdown crane to provide accommodation for the crew, before being finally withdrawn in 1976. It arrived at Quainton, owned by the GCR Coach Group with other stock, including BSK S34947, LMS 3rd Class Sleeper No. 592, MK I - M15319 and MK I - E24993 by a track slew of the BR line in July 1977. Purchased by GCR Coach Group in 1977, it remained at Quainton until it was sold in 1990 to the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway (C&PRR).
The vehicle was used in the early days of the C&PRR as an HQ Coach at Chinnor and more recently travelled the line to Princes Risborough and is now used as our volunteer base at that location. The Princes Risborough station-forming group have been busy renovating the coach, replacing panels, and generally making good 100 years of continuous use - thank you to them and we look forward to many more years of service.
Below is an image of the carriage arriving at C&PRR in 1990 (including with Chinnor Cement Works in the background):