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LNWR Picnic Saloon No 182

Picnic Saloon in Rewley Road Station

Robert Frise - Picnic Saloon in Rewley Road Station

Picnic Saloon in Down Yard

Cyril Crouch - Picnic Saloon in Down Yard

This LNWR body and underframe were discovered separately in 1991 in Stony Stratford and Wolverton respectively. Since c1930, the body had served as a Croquet Pavilion for the Stony Stratford Club at the Ancell Trust ground. The underframe, which is of the correct period and pattern, was reused in 1935 by the LMS at Wolverton to support a Covered Carriage Truck - many CCTs of that time were built on old 6-wheel carriage underframes. At the time of discovery it was in use as a sawdust van within the Wolverton Works.

This is now one of only two LNWR survivors of more than 1,000 Picnic Saloons which were offered for hire by small private parties up to World War 2. Many of these saloons were conversions of redundant sleeping cars, etc., but not this one which was built and remained a Picnic Saloon throughout its days. It had a long table inside to seat 16 people and a lavatory at one end and a pantry at the other. Very little alteration was made during the Picnic Saloon's life, the main one being the fitting of the communication cord acting directly on the brakes about 1900. The coach has been restored to 1900 condition, inside and out. This was a Third-class vehicle and so would have been used by "ordinary" folk for outings, such as going to the seaside, church outings, the races, trips to the mountains etc.

The first phase of the restoration saw the replacement  of four steel wheels on the underframe with six Mansell wooden wheels. The coach had half the panels on one side overall replaced entirely. However, overall only four completely new panels were required, as the rest used reclaimed contemporary Wolverton panels from other grounded bodies. The new panels were solid mahogany from Brazil rather than the original panels which came from Honduras.

The new roof covering is to Wolverton specifications using white lead paint and unproofed linen canvas. This process is rarely used now due to the toxicity of the paint. Special clearance was required, and extreme care had to be taken to prevent environmental and personal exposure problems. The body has also been painted following Wolverton practice using oil-based paints.

Many of the original fittings had been lost since the body was sold by the LMS in 1934. Thanks to grounded bodies, friends in the preservation movement and the internet, almost all the fittings have been replaced with original replacements including handrails, door handles, drawgear, wooden mouldings, roof ventilators etc. Very few items had to be made, and where this was the case, original fittings have been used as patterns.

The Picnic Saloon Trust has always wished to rebuild its saloon to as original a condition as possible. As built, it carried a horizontal, double acting, diaphragm vacuum cylinder. It is believed only some Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway coaches now carry this design, that was a development of the fixed vertical diaphragm vacuum cylinders as carried on Quainton's LNWR Full Brake. The modern swinging cylinder is a later development of this system. Quainton and the Picnic Saloon Trust have been investigating the possibilities of recreating this original design.

No.182 is far from finished:

  • The interior is being restored
  • The brakes do not work. It is planned to re-create the horizontal vacuum cylinder but have only one drawing, so this will be quite a challenge.
  • Play in the centre axle hornguides must be reduced before passengers can be carried

We acknowledge with thanks the assistance of the PRISM Fund and the Ancell Trust in making the project possible. Further maintenance work is ongoing.

There are only 2 LNWR picnic saloons still in existence, the other is at the Royal Deeside Railway. A project team from the Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society has recently embarked on the restoration of their carriage. Updates are available on their website here.

The Picnic Saloon Trust now has its own website at website and facebook page.

References: The LNWR Picnic Saloon Story - Quainton News
Victorian Coaches - Tony Lyster - Quainton News No. 91 April 2004

Origin :- LNWR Date Built :- 1894 Number :- LNWR - 182
LMS - 10664
Diagram :- 85 (body) Lot :- -    
Type :- Picnic Saloon Builder :- LNWR Wolverton Owner :- LNWR Picnic Saloon Trust
Status :- Externally Restored Location :- Restoration Shed Accession Number :- N/A
Arrival Date :- 1991

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 20 January 2021