Pullman Parlour First
1928 was a prolific year in the Pullman car construction programme, with no less than thirty-seven new carriages being produced. Thirty-one vehicles were built by Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage, Wagon & Finance Co. Ltd of Birmingham, and six by the Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon Company. This production run total was in addition to ten conversions/rebuilds of existing Pullman vehicles, a task spread across the Pullman Car Co.’s Workshops at Longhedge, the Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Co, and the aforementioned builders. Of those vehicles constructed by Metropolitan Cammell, twenty-nine were ordered by the LNER, specifically for the then new ‘’Queen of Scots’’ all-Pullman service between London Kings Cross and Glasgow Queen Street. Intending to replace the 1923-inaugrated ‘’Harrogate Pullman’’ (which was consequently re-routed on the advent of the "Queen of Scots"), Lucille was part of this batch, emerging as a First Class Kitchen Car seating twenty-four. Hitherto, Pullman carriages for the British market had been built using a timber body upon a steel frame, but those vehicles of the LNER order were of a different ilk: the ‘’Queen of Scots’’ fleet were of all-steel construction. Only two years previously, in 1926, had both Metropolitan Cammell and the Birmingham RC&W begun producing all-steel Pullman vehicles for use on the Continent by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL: International Sleeping Car Company). Drawing on this experience for the ‘’Queen of Scots’’, Metropolitan Cammell latterly produced further all-steel vehicles in 1932, for the Southern Railway’s ‘’Southern Belle’’ (later ‘’Brighton Belle’’) electric service. Of the large order of twenty-nine Pullmans, sixteen vehicles were made available by the LNER for the ‘’Queen of Scots’’ service, split equally between an ‘’up’’ and ‘’down’’ train. The service formally commenced on 1st May 1928 and covered 450.7 route miles, leaving Kings Cross at 11:15 AM and arriving at Glasgow Queen Street at 8:45 PM.
The outbreak of World War II on 3rd September 1939 resulted in the withdrawal of the ‘’Queen of Scots’’ service and, indeed, the rest of the all-Pullman trains of the LNER. Thirty of the LNER’s Pullman cars were subsequently repainted in all-over brown, to match standard coaching stock, and names were lost to LNER running numbers. Lucille was fortunate to avoid similar treatment, and after World War II, restoration of Pullman vehicles for the ‘’Queen of Scots’’ service began. Refitting of Lucille began in January 1946 by the Pullman Car Co. at Preston Park, but a strike organised by the National Union of Vehicle Builders (which later became part of the ‘’Transport and General Workers’ Union’’ in 1972) saw that the restoration of the still outstanding Pullmans was put back significantly, so much that the ‘’Queen of Scots’’ was not reinstated until after nationalisation, on 5th July 1948.
In 1963, ‘’Lucille’’ was re-allocated to the Southern Region and employed on the ‘’Bournemouth Belle’’, where a number of the earlier wooden-built Pullmans were being replaced by the later all-steel LNER variant. ‘’Bournemouth Belle’’ stock was stabled at Clapham Junction sidings, but previously, up until February 1960, had been stored on the South Eastern Division at Stewarts Lane. The final ‘’Bournemouth Belle’’ service ran on 9th July 1967, coinciding with the end of steam-haulage on the South Western Division – by this time, however, the luxury Pullman service was in the hands of Brush Type 4 (Class 47) diesel locomotives. In the following year, ‘’Lucille’’ was dispatched to Ashford, where it became part of the ‘’South Eastern Steam Centre’s’’ collection of rolling stock. The steam centre was based at the site of the disused SR steam shed (much of the building still being in existence at that time), and ‘’Lucille’’ was joined by a second Pullman vehicle, ‘’Phyllis’’ in the same year. Sadly, as a result of lingering debts, the Ashford Steam Centre operation collapsed, and much of the stock was dispersed elsewhere. ‘’Lucille’’ was purchased by VSOE in 1985, and after restoration at Stewarts Lane, became part of this company’s operational Pullman fleet in the following year.
Additional Notes [Lucille: As Built]
- Tare (Empty Weight): 38 tons (later increased to 39 tons during refitting)
- Length: 63-foot 10-inches
- Width: 8-foot 7-inches
- No. of Seats: 24
- Bogies: Pullman Standard
- Schedule No: 243
- Construction: All-steel
26th June 2010
Sparkling Pullman car "Lucille" is depicted at London Victoria, sandwiched in-between sister Pullman "Ibis" and Baggage Car No. 11. The latter is in reality the VSOE support coach, a BR Mk 1 Brake Second Corridor, which now carries the running number 99545.
© David Glasspool