ⓘ British Railways Mark 1 sleeping car. The British Railways Mark 1 sleeping car was a railway sleeping car built by British Railways and outside contractors betw ..


ⓘ British Railways Mark 1 sleeping car

The British Railways Mark 1 sleeping car was a railway sleeping car built by British Railways and outside contractors between 1957 and 1964. Three hundred and eighty cars of three different types were built, with a fourth type created later by conversion. None remain in front-line service and very few are preserved.


1. Design

Three types were designed, based on the BR Mark 1 63-foot 19.20 m underframe and profile. All featured 11 compartments with side corridor, an attendants pantry at one end, and two toilets at the other. There was one fixed berth in first class compartments and two fixed berths in second class. Thus the Sleeper First SLF slept 11 and the Sleeper Second SLSTP 22. The Sleeper Composite SLC had five first class and 6 second class compartments.

Early examples were fitted with BR1 bogies which were later replaced with B5 bogies. Later examples were fitted with Commonwealth bogies from new. The cars weighed 39 to 42 tonnes, with the First-class cars weighing one tonne less than the others, and cars with the fabricated B5 bogies also weighing one tonne less than those with the heavy cast steel Commonwealth bogies.


2. Modifications

In order to overcome the lack of flexibility in the fleet of sleeping cars, Wolverton works modified some of the SLSTP cars with a stowable top berth. The resulting Sleeper Either class with Pantry SLEP cars could then be used to better accommodate the fluctuations in passenger demand. The SLEPs were renumbered in the 2800-series.


3. Replacement

The Mark 1 sleeping cars fleet continued to serve British Rail for many years. With no Mark 2 sleeping car design, the Mark 1s continued until the British Rail Mark 3 sleeping cars entered service in the early 1980s.


4. Preservation

Several Mark 1 cars were bought by preservation societies for use as volunteer accommodation. When British Rail began to run down its overnight sleeper trains, many heritage railways replaced them with young Mark 3 cars. Since most Mark 1 sleeping cars had been built with asbestos insulation, which was expensive to have decontaminated professionally, most were sold for scrap.

Those Mark 1 sleeping cars that survive have been decontaminated and are kept for their value as museum exhibits, as much as for sleeping accommodation.

No Sleeper Either class with pantry SLEP has survived, 1 Sleeper Composite exists with 6 Sleeper Firsts and 2 Sleeper Seconds.

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