This package contains a large selection of the final series of corridor coaches designed by the London & South Western Railway, as built during the last years of the LSWR and the early years its successor, the Southern Railway. From 1921 until 1926 a total of 154 ‘Ironclads’ were built, to 10 different diagrams, of which 7 diagrams (covering 141 coaches) are included in this pack. Their flush steel sheeting was a striking departure from the traditional wooden panelled style of the LSWR, so they became known as ‘Ironclads’. This pack represents the ‘Ironclads’ as they appeared after the railways of Britain were nationalized in 1948. The LSWR served the commuter lands of South West London and the main lines to Portsmouth, Bournemouth (and, to some extent, Weymouth), plus the West of England.
After the ‘Grouping’ of 1923 the LSWR was the largest constituent of what became the Southern Railway, and in fact was the only true main-line company of the three railways that were brought together in 1923. Characteristic of the LSWR and the other railways that formed the SR was the extensive use made of fixed formations of coaches. The Southern continued this practice, as did the Southern Region after nationalisation in 1948. Until the mid-sixties coaches were ordered, operated and maintained in fixed ‘sets’ and were kept together as such, with the set number painted prominently on the outer ends of each set. The composition of the sets, such as the number and balance of first- and third-class seats and the appropriate luggage accommodation, was set by the railway’s traffic department and determined by traffic needs.