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LNER Newsletter No 48 - January 2016


One of the headaches of running a busy heritage railway, especially one with a tunnel or two and regular winter-running, is maintaining the trains’ electric light systems. The heritage railway environment, with its slow train speeds and long layovers, is particularly punishing on the trains’ lead acid batteries. Our 21st century life styles tempt some of today’s passengers to assume our trains are permanently linked to the public electricity (and water) mains. Prolonged demand on the batteries carried below each carriage is punishing on the cells of lead acid batteries, which are easily damaged if exhausted of their charge. They are expensive to replace, and the use of lead in their production is not ‘environmentally friendly’. Our trains’ relatively slow speeds limit the scope to recharge ‘on the move’. So regular recharging as part of the each vehicle’s maintenance cycle is essential – adding to the SVR’s energy costs to keep the trains running. The ‘Santa’ services, galas and other special events are particularly demanding.

Fortunately there is now a solution by using LED bulbs. In our recent restorations we have been experimenting with LED lighting and pressing industry for a solution that suits the 24 volt circuitry of the railway. Our Tourist Third Open 43600, re-launched in November 2014 with a restored interior, included LED wall-lighting to test the benefits. The effect has been dramatic. This is despite the carriage still having conventional tungsten bulbs for ceiling and vestibule lighting (there hitherto being no suitable LED bulbs for those areas). Over 43600’s first year of operation the demand on its batteries has fallen significantly – to the point now that its batteries only need a modest top-up charge to keep them fully ready and in good health.

The demand and life differences between LEDs and tungsten bulbs are astounding. For an LED the wattage power needed is a tenth of that of a tungsten bulb. But an LED bulb’s life in terms of its active hours’ life is at least thirty times that of a tungsten bulb of similar light output. Coupled with the gains for battery health, durability and reduced battery replacement costs, the equation is in modern terms a ‘no-brainer’.

Industry has now recognised the scope for LED lighting in the heritage railway environment, and suitable LED bulbs are now being produced.


Our volunteers will shortly start the big task of renewing the roof canvas on Tourist Third Open 43600. The first stage will be to strip off the old canvas and clean up the roof. Think of us working away in that cold Carriage Shed...


Our Brake Third project is making good progress in the Kidderminster C&W Paintshop. Areas of the paintwork and varnish are being finished off or refreshed, the new seating fitted, and the precious gold leaf has been applied to the external lettering and numbering. The adjoining picture shows young James working at this, revealing that a number ‘2’ appears in the carriage’s (currently ‘secret’) new number. All will be revealed in due course... The first and second pictures below show the restored pigeon basket shelves, along with a notice hopefully aimed to deter misuse of the shelves when in service. We have also recreated (third picture) some of the original ‘BR’ chalked notices which were still in place on the shelves when we received the carriage in 2005. These appeared to have dated back to 70759’s last days in public service, when the evidence is that it was being used for carrying mails and parcels on the Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh line. 




The date of 3rd of January 2016 marked two significant events in the life of the LNER (SVR) Coach Fund. The Fund’s long-standing shop at Bewdley was closed, and the vehicle (a 1922 Great Western passenger brake No.1145) is being returned to its owners, the Great Western (SVR) Association. It also marked the retirement of Doris Gunning, who has been our shop’s manager for many years.

The neighbouring historic picture shows Doris at the first SVR departure from Bridgnorth on 23rd March 1967, long before the Railway gained its light railway orders and current fame. She is the lady by the front right side of the locomotive and has been a stalwart fund raiser for many projects and groups ever since.

The LNER Coach Fund has been particularly blessed with her services, along in more recent times with daughter Sue (back in 1967 a ‘babe in arms,’ just visible in the picture held by the man facing Doris!)

Thank you Doris! We owe you our grateful appreciation!

CORRECTION – The picture of A3 60059 in the ‘snowy scene’ link in the Christmas greetings section of Newsletter 47 was incorrectly dated to the winter snows of 1962/63. This was entirely the fault of your then youthful editor’s incomplete record-keeping. Gresley A3 60059 had already been withdrawn in December 1962 shortly before the onset of the ‘big freeze’ of that winter. Further research suggests your editor took the picture a year earlier on New Year’s Eve 1961, which was a snowy Sunday.

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