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BR Horse Box S96403

Horse box Up Yard September 1991

Reg Uphill - Horse box Up Yard September 1991

Wagons for moving horses have been used since the earliest days of the railways, but few have survived due to the acidic nature of horse manure. This British Rail Southern Region horse box was based at Kensington Olympia and used for racehorses. However due to a change of BR policy regarding the carriage of animals, and the lack of rail links to many stables and courses, it was withdrawn after only twelve years' use. It was purchased early in 1972 by a group of QRS members and moved to Quainton in August of that year. This was done by rail as far as Aylesbury and then by road for the last six miles.

The vehicle was designed to carry three animals: the 'stable' section was divided into three with movable partitions. Amidships there is a compartment for the groom, whose seat can be made up as a bed. Side corridor access is provided from the groom's compartment to a toilet and fodder store, which can also be reached from outside. At the end of the vehicle there is a saddlery.

On 25 June 1969 the vehicle carried horses of the Household Cavalry from Kensington to Bangor for the investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarvon, and the following month it was at Colchester with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Other journeys have taken it to Windsor and Ludgershall with the Royal Horse Artillery in 1967, and to Holyhead with the Kings Troop in 1968.

This vehicle is 34 feet in length and was designed to travel with passenger stock, hence the "XP" on the side. The legend "Not to work between Tonbridge and Battle" was due to the restricted clearances in the tunnels over this route. Only special 8 ft wide passenger stock bearing restriction "O" plates were able to pass through them. In May 1986 the tunnels on this route were converted to single track, and so this restriction no longer applies to this route.

Several Southern Region horse boxes have been preserved, but converted to other purposes, such as generator cars. It is believed that the National Railway Museum, York, and Quainton examples are the only ones of this type of horse box in original condition.


Many manhours of volunteer restoration took place to get the Horse Box to the position where it could be officially unveiled in September 2013. It now houses one of Quainton's horses, named Reg.

The Horsebox - Quainton News No. 14 December 1972
A Century on Rails - A Sequel to the Stockbook - Trevor Page - Quainton News No.59 Spring 1986
BR Horse Box S96403- Quainton News No. 109 Autumn 2013

Horse box in Museum building 2020

Tony Lyster - Horse box in Museum building 2020

Origin :- British Rail
(Southern Region)
Date Built :- 1958 Number :- S96403
Diagram :- 751 Lot :- 30146 Tare Weight :- -
Type :- Horse Box Builder :- British Rail, Earlestown Carriage and Wagon Works, Lancashire Owner :- QRS
Status :- Static exhibit Location :- Buffer Depot Museum Wheelbase :- 19' 0"
Accession No.: W/0139 Arrival Date :- Quainton 1972
QRS 2006

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 02 December 2020