Last April (was it really a year ago?) I remarked that there was a dearth of information for GNR close-coupled 4-wheel suburban coaching stock suitable for Basilica Fields. Despite my recent lack of updates to the blog due to ongoing events, progress on Basilica Fields continues to be made – albeit (mostly) not by me!

Late last year I made a couple of contacts through the GNR Society, and my subsequent bombardment of questions led to an interesting flurry of emails, and, although the situation is still not totally clear at present, it looks as though a big step has been made towards eventually facilitating the building of necessary stock required for those services, and the acquisition of some drawings.

Graham Beare has also been hard at work scouring accident reports instigated by the Board of Trade, and sending me relevant information, the best of which, so far, divulges the classification and running numbers of a twelve carriage close-coupled set running between Potters Bar and Kings Cross in 1898.

So, for the record, hauled by 120 Class No.515, the train in question consisted of :

Brake 3rd no.248, 3rd no.1636, 2nd no.1512, 2nd no.1511, 2nd no.1508, 1st no.1534, 1st no.1443, 2nd no.319, 2nd no.1323, 3rd no.1499, 3rd no.1505, Brake 3rd no.399.

Sounds very useful, but not for the first time while delving into the archives for Basilica Fields has an official document contradicted generally approved history; I understand (I’m no GNR historian) that it is usually accepted that the GNR quickly followed the Midland Railway’s lead in the mid 1870s by abolishing 2nd class. However, not only here, both other BoT reports clearly list second class carriages involved in accidents in the London suburban area. No doubt there is a rational explanation…

The photo is of a third class suburban close-coupled ‘Metropolitan’ carriage, no.903, designed by Howlden and built in 1900. These ‘Metropolitan’ carriages were 9′ wide (to cram the hapless commuter in), with half-height compartments and 3″ recessed doors to maintain the lading gauge. Sister carriage no.902, as part of a Muswell Hill – Kings Cross train was involved in a collision at Finsbury Park in 1907.

Of course it’s entirely possible the carriages listed in the 1898 accident are not of the Metropolitan type, and are therefore a red herring. Further updates on these will appear as and when more information comes to light.

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