At a glance:
Builder: British Rail (Litchurch Lane Works, Derby)
Build date: 1985
Original company: British Rail
Withdrawal date: 2020
Final company: Porterbrook
Arrived at DCDR: 0000
Current status: Stored
Current owner: DCDR

11095 was built by British Rail Engineering Limited, at their Litchurch Lane works in Derby. It is a Mark 3B, a sub-variant of the Mark 3 carriages that British Rail had been mass-producing since 1976. Aside from a small number of mechanical improvements, the main difference between the 3Bs and the standard Mark 3s was the higher standard of the interiors. The modifications were derived from an earlier British Rail prototype, the Advanced Passenger Train (APT) which could tilt as it went round corners.

With over 840 Mark 3 carriages built in total, they quickly became synonymous with British Rail, and could be found in use both as locomotive-hauled carriages and intermediate trailers in the famous Intercity 125 (HST) sets. They proved so successful that Iarnród Éireann ordered 133 of them throughout the 1980s. Nine of these were the former Mark 3B ”International Set” which had been built to tour around other rail networks to encourage export orders. Though no Mark 3s were ever ordered by Northern Ireland Railways, IÉ’s were regularly to be found north of the border on Dublin – Belfast express services, and even made their way as far as Portrush and Derry on a few special occasions. Additionally, the 450 Class (which we have preserved the sole remaining example of) was constructed using Mark 3 bodyshells.

Use of Mark 3 carriages on mainline passenger services in Ireland came to an end in 2010, and whilst some currently remain in use in Britain, the first withdrawals have already taken place. With the ongoing decline of the InterCity Class 43s, there are undoubtedly many more withdrawals to come in the near future. 11095, which had passed into Portrerbrook’s ownership following the privatisation of British Rail in the 1990s, was withdrawn in March 2020 – we arranged to buy it (thanks to the wonders of Facebook!) shortly afterwards. It had spent its post-privatisation career on the Greater Anglia network, on trains between London and Norwich behind locomotives such as BR Class 90s.

DCDR is no stranger to British Rail standard carriages; after all, we’ve owned one of their former Mark 1 vans and Mark 2 DBSOs since 2007 and 2014 respectively. 11095 is a bit different, however, in that it won’t actually be coming to DCDR. It is currently based at Eastern Rail Services, Great Yarmouth, and although DCDR owns the vehicle, there it shall stay. Our interest lies in 11095’s luxurious interior – particularly since it was internally overhauled as recently as 2016. We plan to have the seats, tables, curtains and other bits and pieces removed for shipping to Downpatrick, where they will be installed in our 450 Class driving trailer to turn it into a first class dining carriage. We announced this on our social media pages on April 1st, but for some reason everybody thought we were joking…

Our sincere thanks to Eastern Rail Services and to Porterbrook for their assistance in making this happen.