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Railway Vehicle Preservations

LNER TTO 23981

Appeal to restore LNER TTO 23981



RVP is currently running a long term project to restore a train of LNER “Teak” carriages to run on the Great Central Railway. This train will show to the visitor and traveller how their counterparts of 80 years ago travelled. To date pigeon van No. 4050 has been restored and Buffet Car No. 24278 will be completed this year. To provide a reasonable number of seats supplementing the 24 of the Buffet Car, carriage No. 23981 is to be restored providing a further 64 seats and two toilets.

Carriage 23981 was built by the Birmingham Carriage and Wagon Company of Smethwick, Birmingham in the year 1936 to LNER diagram 186, classified Tourist Third Open (TTO). This design gave 64 seats with tables in an open saloon and two toilets at one end all connected by a centre aisle to a vestibule at each end. Over 400 of this type of carriage were built and 23981 is one of only four to survive from this builder. It initially worked in the North East of England and later in Scotland. It was purchased in 1993 for inclusion in the LNER Teak Train to run on the Great Central.

The TTO carriage came about as a response to the old and uncomfortable carriages causing many complaints to the management of the LNER. At the same time the country was emerging from a recession and energetic marketing was drawing the public to train travel. The Government of the time supported the LNER’s request for assistance (possibly the first time for rolling stock renewal, setting a precedent) providing contractors were given the opportunity to help. The open style saloon style reduced construction costs and provided pleasant, modern passenger accommodation.

Technically carriage 23981 clearly shows the dramatic change in construction methods occurring in the 1930s. Arc welding reduced tare weights by removing the need for riveting and this also allowed the body to be mounted directly on to the underframe members giving greater vehicle strength. Long production runs of this standard design enabled bulk manufacturing methods to be employed. The design also reduced the number of doors giving stronger body frames.

For nearly 30 years these TTO carriages were a common sight all over the whole of the LNER system. They ran daily over the line now known as the Great Central Railway. Many local people of that era would have travelled in them, safely and in comfort.

Railway Vehicle Preservations have now launched this restoration appeal and support both financial and physical is needed. It is estimated that a sum approaching £35,000 will be needed to purchase the remaining materials and fittings needed to complete the restoration.


Fund Raising Updates:

1st January 2016

The amount raised now stands at £32,862.

12th April 2015

The amount raised now stands at just over £27,000.

30th November 2013

The fund now stands at £24,600.

7th August 2013

We have received a significant donation from Mr Brian Cobb of Ipswich towards the restoration of this vehicle. The donation by Mr Cobb, who was a wartime evacuee to Rothley, comes as a result of an agreement by the late Mrs Barbara Cobb that the money should be used in a manner that would bring pleasure to children.

The total raised for this coach now stands at £22,600, although this does not yet include all the gift aid due in relation to recent donations. We now need to raise the remaining £12,400 to enable the coach to be finished in as short a time period as possible so that the sight of three fully restored teak coaches at the GCR can become a reality.

17th March 2013

The fund now stands at £14,100.

23rd January 2013

The fund now stands at £12,200.

24th July 2012

The fund now stands at £10,688.

7th December 2011

The fund now stands at £8,599.80, which means we are almost 25% of the way to our target. Thank you so much to all those who have donated so far or who have purchased raffle tickets.

14th August 2011

The fund now stands at £4,707

9th July 2011

The fund has now increased by £700 and currently stands at £2,793

29th May 2011

The fund currently stands at £2,093

Our thanks to the LNER Carriage Association for allowing us to use the line drawing of a TTO from their website.