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A GWR Super Train?

Super Saloon No 9116 Duchess of York at Buckfastleigh

Super Saloon No 9116 Duchess of York at Buckfastleigh

The Didcot Facebook post yesterday about 5069′s exploit on the Ocean Liner Special 60 years ago set me buzzing!

These wonderful vehicles were another example of one-up-man-ship on the part of the GWR as they set standards of comfort that went beyond the use of Pullmans on other railways. Eight vehicles were built, all named after royals of the time, in 1931-2 for the ships that docked at Plymouth – Wikipedia has details.

What fed my crazy imagination for such things was the following, mildly insane, train of thought:  5 of these carriages still exist, at Buckfastleigh and Didcot, not all of them restored. Only 5 were ever used together, along with 2 baggage cars for the ridiculously large amount of kit the rich clientèle travelled with. This was because of the weight!!

So, if 5 still exist, it is not impossible to imagine putting together a Super Saloon train sometime in the future. It would need a lot of work but that is within the limits of sanity to ponder upon.

But now into the world of fantasy:  could this train go on the mainline? The first and most sensible thought is, No of course not. they wouldn’t allow it – wooden bodies.

But a chink of light has opened with the entirely wooden Steam Railmotor’s forays onto the mainline but a tootle down to Looe with an auto-trailer is not the same as Paddington to Swindon among the electrics if the future and could such a train be allowed to run at a decent speed with one of our 8 preserved Castles behind it (let’s say Pendennis because it’s the most original in style)? Probably not but it’s worth a few minutes fantasy. In all probability the amount of work needed to put the coaches into the kind of shape that would allow access to the mainline would destroy the very essence of them as historic vehicles. But as we always say in this great movement: never say never.

Much more possible is the idea of the 5 vehicles being pulled together on a preserved line to make up one hell of a luxury train. I can already hear operating department staff shaking their heads at another bit of fantastic fantasy island thinking … BUT!!!

I don’t need to spell the rest of this out to you. Just enjoy the thought and follow your own imagination. It’s what we thrive on…!

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2 Responses to “A GWR Super Train?”

  1. I had the same thought when I read the Didcot Railway Centre post earlier this morning!Five Super Saloons plus the full brake from Didcot and running on the SVR hauled by Pendennis Castle! Yes what a wonderful sight. Worth me flying over from my current home in Romania if/when it happens.

    Posted by Laurie Webb | September 15, 2014, 10:53 am
  2. The excursion market does seem to do well with first class dining, AND Pullman dining. Imagine what they could charge for just one of these coaches added to the rake? With catering provided from the adjacent catering vehicle, it would be a treat indeed. I was thinking of hiring the SVR observation car for a special birthday but it fell through because of my own medical problems. They would just add it to a service train on the SVR running all day. The use of a Super Saloon instead would be great.

    Posted by Simon Moppett | September 15, 2014, 11:55 am

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