Metropolitan Railway Seven Compartment First No. 509

No 509 - The seven compartment 1st.

 

No. 509 seven-compartment First, built 1923

Length 54' 4" (16.560 m)
Width 9' 3" (2.820 m)
Weight 30 tons (30.5 tonnes)
Seats 84 

Internal layout: Full width compartments without a side corridor

CURRENT STATUS:   Available for filming use.   

This carriage, together with the other two "Dreadnought" carriages, represents the pinnacle of the Metropolitan Railway's coaching stock. In the late 19th century, the Metropolitan Railway was pushing northwest from London towards Aylesbury and beyond. It eventually met up with the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (or Great Central Railway, as it was by then), itself pushing south. The beautiful coaches of the GCR shamed the Metropolitan Railway into producing these "Dreadnought" coaches.

Nearly one hundred "Dreadnoughts" were built between 1910 and 1923. Special features which can be found on them are the unusually wide footboards and the curved tops to the doors, reducing the risk of damage if accidentally opened in tunnels. 

509 was built by the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Company of Birmingham.

First class accommodation was withdrawn from the Metropolitan Line of London Transport from 6th October 1941. This type of carriage survived until electrification reached Amersham in September 1961, allowing replacement of this locomotive-hauled stock by electric multiple-unit trains. London Transport then stored  six carriages at Upminster, Essex until needed in May 1963 for the Underground Centenary celebrations.  

The three Metropolitan Railway carriages owned by the Trust were all initially purchased privately by Mr David Kitton from London Transport for the then-proposed Westerham Valley Railway preservation project. When this scheme failed, the carriages were loaned to the Worth Valley Railway in July 1965 and two of them formed part of this railway's Re-opening train in 1968. After extensive use in the earlier years of the railway the Vintage Carriages Trust purchased all three carriages from Mr Kitton in 1974.

 

Metropolitan Railway coat of arms.
Metropolitan Railway coat of arms.
Photo VCT Archives

Although originally all turned out in varnished teak, the three coaches are restored to different liveries which they carried during their years of service. 

These carriages are occasionally used on the Railway as a Vintage Train set. 

The Trust has also embarked on a programme of cleaning, checking and making good where necessary the bogies and underframes of all three of the Metropolitan carriages. The First Class coach was the first to receive this treatment, now very successfully completed. Other than wheel-turning (for the first time in some 40 years of preservation), pleasingly little "making good" was found necessary - one brake stretcher needed straightening, and one weld needed remaking. 

Although these are the only extant "Dreadnought" carriages, other Metropolitan Railway vehicles have survived. Some of these can be found on the Bluebell Railway.

Filming credits for this carriage

Testament of Youth (2014 version); Peaky Blinders; South RidingTimeshift:Between The LinesBrideshead Revisited (2007 version);  Inside OutThe Forsyte Saga; Sons and Lovers; Hound of the Baskervilles; The History of the London Underground (archive footage); Commercial for pensions; The Grand; The Unknown Soldier; Fairy Tale - a True Story; Holiday; Jude; The Secret Agent (1995 cinema version); BBCTV documentary about 1929 Rugby League Cup Final at Wembley.

 

Filming credits before purchase by Vintage Carriages Trust:

The Railway Children (1970 EMI version); The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes; The Railway Children (1968 BBCTV version)

 

Carriage Survey entry for this carriage

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