Great Western Railway Dean Metropolitan Coaches

The London Metropolitan servies comprised of three separate routes:

1. the Main Line & City services which were suburban services from places such as Reading and Windsor to Paddington and the City, these services ran 1863 to 1940 when they were suspended due to the war.

2. the Hammersmith & City services which run from Hammersmith, via Paddington, Bishop's Road to Moorgate, Bishopsgate and Aldgate, it was operated from 1864 to 1906 when it was electrified.

3. the Middle Circle service from the District Railway station at Mansion House to Earl's Court, then via the West London Railway to Kensington (Addison Rd) and then on to Latimer Road on to the Hammersmith & City Railway and then via the Metropolitan Railway to the City of London, it operated from 1872 to 1905.

The first coaches specifically built for the London Metropolitan services were like normal coaches of the time, but they had gas lighting fitted from new. In fact they were the first GWR coaches to be so fitted. They were ordered in 1875 and finished in 1876. It's not clear how many trains were formed as the orders were only for 8 first class coaches, 6 second and 4 third class coaches. Clearly it was expected that more well off passengers were going to use the service. Not that they were going to get the comfort that they might have expected. The first class compartments were only 6'9½ wide compared to the normal 7' 0½. Second class compartments were 5' 5 wide vs the normal 6'0½. It was only the third class passengers who got normal size compartments! They were also 5' 5 wide, but had more seats across the coach than second class. These 18 coaches come under the LA9N Lewis style. The first class coaches became diagram R1, the second and third class coaches became S2.

There is a record in the registers dated July 1882 for third class coach 215 "One 3rd class comp[artmen]t made into Guards & Lugg[age] at S[windo]n". This is the first record of the possiblity of any brake third or brake second metropolitan coach. In 1886 2 second class coaches were converted to brake seconds and one third converted to a brake third. It's probably that windows were made in the ends at the same time. When diagrams were assigned these brake coaches became diagram T13.

Thus it is probable that there were 2 trains were formed:

T13 (2nd), S2 (2nd) x 2, R1 x 4, S2 (3rd), T13 (3rd)


Clearly in these early years the GWR was using other coaches on these routes. Some would have been purchased prior to the GWR setting up their own carriage workshops. Others must have been pulled in from the general stock. Unfortunately the surviving records do not show which coaches were used. However records do imply that certain coaches had been adapted for the Metropolitan services.

It wasn't until 1884 that further coaches for the Metropolitan services were ordered. This time it was an eight coach train formed with a brake second, 2 second class coaches, 2 first class coaches, 2 third class coaches and a brake third. This set was said to have been designed by Holden, who was Dean's assistant. They featured doors with semi-circular tops which are said to have been designed so that they would not hit the tunnel if a door was opened in the tunnel. The body width was 8' 6¾", 6" wider than all but 4 GWR coaches of the time. The roof was the standard single arc adapted for the wider body. The compartment windows were unique in that they reached up to the gutter and there was no wooden eaves panel between the window and gutter. The ends were also unique as they only had 5 panels compared to 6 on all other Dean 8'6 wide coaches. With the exception of the two second class coaches they were all 31' 0¾ long. This style of design is given Lewis style LA0MW.

To reduce the train length the coaches were couple close with each other into a set formation. This meant that the bufferbeams were only 1' 10 apart. This was achieved by using extra short buffers on one coach only; the other coach had a thick oak block for the buffers to rub against as can be seen in the adjacent photo. The normal screw coupling was replaced by a special short 3-link coupling. So the coaches in the middle of the set had short buffers on one end and rubbing blocks on the other. The end coaches had normal buffers for the loco to couple to and either short buffers or rubbing blocks on their inner ends.

When diagrams were assigned to these coaches the first class coaches had been converted to composites and so became U18, the second class coaches were S20 and T62 for the brake second, the third class coaches were S21 and T61 for the brake third.

1 train formed: T62, S20 x2, First x2, S21 x2, T61
This formation is almost the same as the next two Middle Circle trains that were ordered in 1887; the later sets had an additional third class coach.

It is probable that this set stayed more or less complete and together until 1899. In that year half of the set recieved steam heating, two of the seconds were downgraded to thirds and one of the firsts became a brake composite. I suspect that the set was transferred away from London to an area that didn't require second class.

    R1, S2, T13 LA0MW  
 Width over cornices 8' 6¼ 9' 0¼  
 Width over body at waist 8' 0¾ 8' 6¾  
 Width over handles 8' 6⅛ 9' 0⅛  
 Height to gutters 10' 1 9' 11¾  
 Height to top of roof 11' 4 11' 4½  
 Height over gas lights 12' 2¾ - Original
12' - Gas Incandecent
12' 3¼ - Original
12' 0½ - Gas Incandecent

Note: After 1907 first class coaches had 8000 added to their numbers, composites had 6000 added to their numbers and seconds had 5000 added to their numbers.

Diagram Dimensions
Length x Width
No. Built Numbers
Conversions Scrapping Dates
lot 318
no diagram number

5 compartment first

6 wheels

31' x 8'6
2 built in 1884 126, 131

JN Slinn collection

Both to composites U18 in 1899 & 1893 respectively. None

5 compartment second/third

4 wheels

28' x 8'6"
2 built in 1884 Second class numbers:
166, 167

Third class numbers:
484, 2465

The bottom drawing suggests that coaches 210, 235, 445, 520, 710, 755 of lot 396 were built as S20 rather than S18.  However, the dimensions in the lot book and coaches registers are consistent with them being S18.

JN Slinn collection

courtesy of Mike Barnsley

JN Slinn collection

None 484 - 1922

2465 - 1932


6 compartment third

4 wheels

31' x 8'6"
2 built in 1884 1204, 1205
R Spratt collection

JN Slinn collection

© GWR at Blaenau Ffestiniog

1205 converted to composite no.138 in 1898 with 2x second class and 4x third class compartments
it was converted back to third no.2710 in 1907
1204 - 1929

2710 - 1930


4 compartment brake third

31' x 8'6"
1 built in 1884 507

JN Slinn collection

507 - 1932

4 compartment brake second

later converted to third

31' x 8'6"
1 built in 1884 Second class number: 169

Third class number:

reclassified and renumbered 1899

JN Slinn collection

479 - 1936

4 compartment composite with luggage compartment

4 wheels

31' x 8'6
2 converted from Firsts in 1893 and 1899 144, 175 144 was initially converted to 3x 1st class & 2x 2nd class compartments in 1893

then later
3x 1st class & 2x 3rd class compartments

before finally
2x 1st class & 2x 3rd class compartments
and a combined guard and luggage compartment

175 was converted straight to 2x 1st class & 2x 3rd class compartments and a combined guard and luggage compartment in 1899

None 6175 - 1930

6144 - 1932

Under Construction.  This project is definitely work in progress. My research is on-going and I am slowly putting everything I have researched about 4 & 6 wheel coaches on these webpages. If you would like to receive an email when I update these pages please contact me in the Carriage Shed.

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GWR Coaches -- -- Richard Spratt