Breakdown Riding and Tool Van (the ‘Learning Coach’)

coach side

This vehicle, recently donated to the Museum, was built at Wolverton in 1924.  It was built as a corridor composite  passenger coach to diagram 1694, and had three 1st Class and four 3rd Class compartments, with a toilet at each end adjacent to the corridor connection.

The breakdown and riding van in company with the 50-ton breakdown crane departs from Dinting in 1990. photo by Joe Lambley

The breakdown riding and tool van in company with the 50-ton breakdown crane departs from Dinting in 1990. photo by Joe Lambley

It was built under Lot 30A and ran on the LMS Railway as number 3515 and classed by the LMS coding system as CPC, later changed by British Railways to CK.  The coach was one of 201 vehicles to this design.

It was condemned for scrap in 1957 but was one of five to be chosen that year for conversion for use as a Combined Riding & Tool Van.  This entailed removal of four of the compartments, the space being utilised for tools and equipment stowage.  One of the remaining compartments was fitted out as a kitchen, while the two remaining were retained for use by railway staff.  The conversion was undertaken in 1958.  Steel panels were installed to cover the majority of the sides, and large sliding doors were fitted to allow easy access to the tools and equipment.  It carried the number DM395470 and was based at Southport.

The van is currently being converted for use as an educational vehicle as part of the project to overhaul No.45596 Bahamas, and is to be known as the ‘Learning Coach’.

Proposed internal arrangement of the 'Learning Coach'.

Proposed internal arrangement of the ‘Learning Coach’.

Under repair at RRNE Ltd

Under repair at RRNE Ltd

During 2013 the vehicle underwent major external repair at Rail Restoration North East Ltd of Shildon and returned to Ingrow in January 2014.  Here it is being internally repaired and converted for its new use.  This will entail restoration of one of the compartments to its original passenger-carrying splendour, while the former tool and equipment stowage area will be used as an exhibition space and classroom facility.

Showing some of its former history during the external renovaton

Showing some of its former history during the external renovaton

The majority of the internal restoration and conversion work is being undertaken by Society volunteers, and is thus another opportunity for anyone to come along and help with this exciting new project.

A view in Februray 2015 of what is to be the classroom and exhibition area of the 'Learning Coach'.

A view in Februray 2015 of what is to be the classroom and exhibition area of the ‘Learning Coach’.

To see progress up to July 2015, please view the short video clip.