No. 695, built 1910
No. 695 is now a unique 3rd saloon/brake. It had seating with summer/winter coverings for 32 people in one compartment, built by the GCR at Dukinfield Manchester works to the design of John G. Robinson, and was one of only six produced. The vehicle had the unusual feature of sliding doors to the baggage end, replicated at many of the later GCR stations to separate the booking hall from the platform. All the Barnums, 38 vehicles in total, were built in just one year. Colour photo courtesy of the Vintage Carriages Trust.
Sister vehicle No. 696 is pictured here when first built with a rake of Barnum saloon coaches. Note the distinctive North American design influence and considerable overall dimensions, in contrast with contemporary and subsequent designs on British railways. The Barnums were built to take full advantage of the large near-continental loading gauge of the GCR’s new London Extension which itself was designed to take continental traffic via a Channel Tunnel to the north of England.
The Barnum fleet was principally engaged in the burgeoning pre-World War 1 excursion business, connecting to East Coast sea resorts and to special events such as those held at Wembley Stadium and race courses.