Balloon Carriage – No.89 – 1906 – LBSCR Diagram 122/192


This web site presents information on an LB&SCR balloon carriage, pieces of which are now stored at the Bluebell Railway Carriage and Wagon Works, Horsted Keynes.


The carriage was built in 1906 as one of two Lavatory Second brakes, arranged with a guard’s compartment at one end, then 6 compartments, and finally a lavatory accessed only from the last two compartments (Gould page 69). In its SR days it carried the number 3815, was downgraded to Third, and was modified so that the last four compartments had lavatory access. When withdrawn in 1940 it was used as a grounded body at Ifield. Soon after the war the carriage was no longer required by the railway, and sections were used to make a back garden shed in Crawley. The property that included the shed remained occupied by the same family ever since, most recently by the grand-daughter of the shed builder, who kindly donated it to the Railway.


Photo showing origins of the side panels - This photo of a brake First gives an idea of the appearance when built and painted in the umber and cream livery used between 1903 and 1911 (photo – Gordon Holmes collection); note however that No.89 had a shorter luggage compartment (only one set of double doors), 6 passenger compartments and the WC. Each side of the shed was made up from the luggage-brake compartment, plus a separately cut section from passenger compartment F, almost at the far end of the train adjacent the lavatory; the blue lines drawn on the photo show roughly equivalent sections on the brake First. One of the ends was from the brake-end of the carriage, the other of domestic construction. Unfortunately the magnificent balloon roof was not retained but the original roof boards were used to construct the lean-to roof of the shed, so they are available to be re-used in their original manner.


There are no plans to reconstruct the carriage but its surviving sections will eventually be used to form part of a display of old carriage parts at Horsted Keynes.


General View:

Photo  - Shed about to be dismantled (S.Foulkes) - It was impossible to get a good side view of the carriage parts as it took most of the width of the garden.


Carriage side: The right side (as viewed from brake end) was comprised of:

two panels;

double doors;

4 panels (not 3 as shown in the Diagram book National Archives RAIL 414/745);

a cut line;

glazed panel, door and glazed panel of Compartment F.


Photo – Oblique view of right side from brake end (first of the double doors open).

Photo – as above but later in the dismantling process.

Photo – Smoking etched onto glass of Compartment F to right of door (the Diagram book shows Compartment E was the smoking compartment)

Photo – Oblique view of left side wall of brake compartment, looking towards brake end.

Photo – SR number on above section.

Photo – Luggage written on a left side Guard’s compartment door.

Photo – The cut end revealed the shape of some timbering; the uppermost section is domestic; the two large pieces below that are the gutter moulding and the top-side (cant rail); between these is a small section of the first roof board showing how near to vertical the first board was on a balloon carriage.

Photo – Compartment F right side wall removed.


Brake end:

Photo – Brake end.



Photo – The SR running number on the inside of a Guard’s compartment door.

Photo – The garnish rail on the right side compartment door showing the class and number.


A more detailed discussion of the carriage will be provided in The Brighton Circular following more comprehensive survey of the carriage.



Copyright - July 2012