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No 9118 - Collett Super Saloon 'Princess Elizabeth'

Eight ‘Super Saloons’ were built by the GWR to run between Paddington and Plymouth on the ‘Ocean Special’ trains in connection with the transatlantic liner services.

Their construction followed on from experimental use of some Pullman coaches on the ‘Ocean Specials’ and a full Pullman Train – The ‘Torquay Pullman’ in 1929 and 1930. Hire of the Pullman coaches, with their attendants, was found to be too costly by the GWR, which consequently set out to design the finest coaches that they would ever build as a replacement.

The Super Saloon design obviously owes a great deal to the 1929 Riviera Dining Cars having similar body shapes to the full 9’7” width allowed by the loading gauge and with similar recessed doors.

Internally the carriages were equipped with fold-down tables and free-moving wing-back chairs.

As was fitting for coaches used for such prestigious trains all were named after members of the Royal Family.

9111 ‘King George’ – Built 1931 – Preserved on the South Devon Railway
9112 ‘Queen Mary’ – Built 1932 – Preserved at Didcot Railway Centre
9113 ‘Prince of Wales’ – Built 1932 – Preserved at Didcot Railway Centre
9114 ‘Duke of York’ – Scrapped
9115 ‘Duke of Gloucester’ – Scrapped
9116 ‘Duchess of York’ – Built 1932 – Preserved on the South Devon Railway
9117 ‘Princes Royal’ - Scrapped
9118 ‘Princess Elizabeth’ – Built 1932 – Preserved at Didcot Railway Centre

When Southampton became the major transatlantic port, boat trains to Plymouth declined both in number and prestige. As a result the saloons had to be found alternative work befitting their status and were often seen on special trains from Paddington to Newbury Racecourse in connection with race days as well as being used by private parties.

The special stock was always kept at the bottom end of the Carriage Shed at Old Oak Common under the watchful eye of the coach inspector and maintained in immaculate condition ready for special journeys at short notice.

Three of these coaches were preserved by the Great Western Society in 1966/67 and subsequently moved to Didcot in 1976.

No. 9118 'Princess Elizabeth' was originally configured with two open-plan saloons with movable armchairs and an enclosed coupé. In 1937 the coupé and one lavatory were removed and a small kitchen fitted. As far as we are able to ascertain, the kitchen has not been modified since installation and, although perfectly serviceable, current Health & Safety regulations will prevent its use. "Lizzy" is likely to be the next Super Saloon to undergo restoration once 9113 is completed.

Status
Stored
Build date
1932
Built at
Swindon
Original railway
GWR
Lot Number
1471
Diag No
G.61
Length
61 4.5
Date Preserved
1966

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