Coach history

I am grateful to James Hilsdon for putting the following analysis together:


The 4-wheelers date from the 1870s and I would think that they were built for suburban work. However, Holden renewed the suburban 4-wheel stock with large numbers of new coaches towards the end of  the Nineteenth Century.  I believe that older 4-wheelers then found there way on to branch lines and a considerable number were sold off in the 1900-1904.  Purchasers of GE stock included minor independent railways, colliery lines and Light Railways of the Colonel Stephens ilk, so these are ideal for freelance Light Railway or industrial projects.

Another use for them would be to replicate the large number of grounded coach bodies used by the GER to provide platform shelters and ancillary buildings at many rural locations on its system.  Many bodies are preserved because they became homes during the Edwardian period. 

The body style features characteristic GER round tops to the window lights and panels, and features raised beading on the waists.  This is a very 1860s-1870s style, which the Great Eastern perpetuated into the 1880s. Originally varnished teak, when they became too shabby to retain the varnished finish, they were painted in GE coach brown, which appears to have been a slightly reddish brown. A preserved example of a coach finished in this way is the  GER First Class Smoking Carriage of 1863 on the Mid-Suffolk (….heme/?p=2726273).

When built these would probably have been oil lit (the first Pintsch gas lit suburban stock was built from 1877), but they were later converted to gas.

Guy Rixon has very kindly responded to requests for GER coach fittings by producing 3D printed accessories, so GER buffer shanks (https://www.shapeway…tionId=61554189) and Pintsch gas lamp tops (https://www.shapeway…tionId=61657147) are available from his Shapeways shop.


These are Holden type 5 coaches, built in the 1886-1896 period (the types are these defined by John Watling in a series of excellent articles available on the GERS website: https://www.gersocie…iages/types-5-8).

Note:  There seems to be a typographical error in this article relating to the D105 First Class Coach.   In the article it is described as a four compartment coach with centre luggage compartment.   In another article provided by the same author, and relating to the 1907 GER carriage register the D105 is given as a five compartment First and this is thought to be the description more likely to be correct as it fits the GER document.

Holden Type 5s were built to standardised lengths.  By this period, the beaded waist panels had been replaced by rounded ended recessed waist panels.  The window lights and vertical panels have large radius top corners. I believe that D&S at one stage produced the 6-Compt. Third, but generally the old D&S range of GE 6-wheelers featured the next generation of Holden types, Type 7A, built from 1896-1898.  The Type 7A were “square lights”, i.e. the windows have right-angled, non-radial corners.  Whereas the Square Light 6-wheelers had Lavatory Composites and 5-Compt. Lav. Thirds, the Type 5s had Luggage Composites and 6-Compt. Thirds.  

Built as mainline general service coaches, photographic evidence suggests that the Type 5s were in service in large numbers for a prolonged period, though my interest/research is confined to the pre-Grouping era, so I don’t know how long they lasted.

Guy Rixon already produces a 3D-print accessory sprue for GER 6-wheel coaches that would be suitable.  Included are springs (with the centre springs on ‘J’ hangers), axle boxes, buffer shanks and Pintsch gas lamp tops: https://www.shapeway…tionId=64070109