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MSJ&AR electric multiple units

Blue unit at Altrincham platform 1 (22.5KB)
A unit in BR blue, including motor coach M28578, stands in platform 1 at Altrincham station.
Photo – J. D. Darby

The new rolling stock for the electrified line was built by Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage Wagon and Finance Co to LMS designs. Formed into three–car sets; there were three different types of coach, all with the same dimensions:
  (a)  Motor coach Weighing 57 tons and seating 72 third class passengers, with a guard's compartment (also for prams, mail, etc) and a driving compartment. It had a pantograph on the roof and the motor bogies.
  (b)  Trailer Weighing 30 tons when empty, this seated 40 first class and 48 third class (later modified to 24 first-class and 72 third-class).
  (c)  Driving Trailer Weighing 31 tons; seated 108 third class and had a driving compartment. Contained the 'ladies only' compartment.

For peak time use six–coach trains were formed of two units; usually with a motor coach at each end of the train.

Coach Dimensions
length over body58ft 1in17.70 metre
length over buffers61ft 8in18.80 metre
width over body8ft 11¾in2.74 metre
centre of bogies38ft 6in11.74 metre
height rail/roof12ft 4¾in3.78 metre
motor bogie wheel base8ft 9in2.67 metre
trailer bogie wheel base9ft 0in2.74 metre
metric conversions to nearest 0.01 metre

Despite the contemporary trend to saloon style carriages, these were built compartment style for swift loading and unloading at stations. The coaches were teak framed with sheet steel panels; the roofs were entirely angled steel sections covered with sheet steel steel; the floors consisted of galvanised keystone corrugated steel covered with Induroleum (a rubber flooring material), over which brown lino was laid.

The first-class compartments were finished in walnut, with blue cloth upholstery and seated eight passengers. Third class were mahogany finished, upholstered in red and black moquette with seating for twelve.

In both classes of compartments the luggage racks above above the seats were of wooden frame and string netting. Above the compartment doors were ventilators, there were bars across the door windows and blinds were fitted to the seat windows. Match strikers were fixed to the door frames. Set into position above the seats at eye level were glass-covered pictures of beauty spots, a mirror and the MSJ&AR route map.

Heating and lighting were controlled from the driving compartments. The heating had three possible levels: full, half, or none. Each compartment had four 300 watt heaters (wound for 750V) with a pair in series; they worked directly off the 1500V DC supply. A motor-generator on the train, powered from the 1500 volt supply, provided 110 volts for the lighting circuits. The third-class compartments had two ceiling lights wired in parallel; the first-class one had one ceiling light and four bracket lights, switched on by the passengers. This parallel wiring ensured that if one heating or lighting element failed the other one was unaffected.

1971 to 2011

The AERPS purchased, for preservation, two air braked centre trailer coaches (MSJ&AR Nos. 117 and 121 [BR M29666M and M29670M]) a few months after their withdrawal. They were moved to the Yorkshire Dales Railway (now Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway) at Embsay near Skipton. Their arrival enabled the line to introduce a passenger service. After several years, because they lacked vacuum braking, passenger train use of the coaches had to be discontinued. Stored in the open their condition soon began to deteriorate.

In 1983 the coaches (together with the Society’s ex-Army box van) were transferred to the Midland Railway Centre (now Midland Railway-Butterley) at Butterley in Derbyshire. They were reunited with MSJ&AR coach No. 114 [subsequently acquired by the AERPS in 2006 for spares and broken up]. Kept undercover in the large Matthew Kirtley Museum building, the coaches were on display to the public.

During 1990s major restoration work was carried out on the coaches beginning with the replacement of the steel panelling and roof repairs. However further work needs to be carried out including refitting and re-upholstery of the compartments, and the fitting of vacuum brakes. The Society made an unsuccessful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

AERPS Coach Restoration

coach on the move (55.7KB)
Our coach being propelled from the Matthew Kirtley seven road Museum Building at Swanwick to the Carriage Workshop adjacent to Butterley Station on 4th October 2012
Photo – D Walton

AERPS video
Saving Electric Trains to Manchester on YouTube tells The story of the saving of two historic electric train carriages from the Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Railway. (10 minutes approx)

At a special Committee meeting held on 24th September 2012, it was agreed: ‘That the Society should enter into an agreement with Midland Railway Enterprises PLC for the partial/external restoration of MSJ&A carriage 117 (M29670M)’ and ‘That the Committee agree to work on Phase 1 proceeding in accordance with the contract’.

This has been made possible by generous donations by two anonymous members which, added to the funds the Society has managed to set aside for this purpose over many years from sales of donated items and other activities, has provided sufficient funds to make a start.

Further donations have enabled more Coach Restoration work to be done.

Should anyone feel able to donate towards Coach Restoration work; we will be most grateful for their contribution. Cheques should be made payable to the AERPS and sent to our Treasurer, Roger Morris, 38 Wolseley Road, Sale M33 7AU. If you pay tax please augment your donation by 25% by Gift Aid. Your donation could make all the difference.

Coach Restoration work pictures

These are now on separate pages for:–
2013 and 2014, 2015 and 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society

Registered Charity (No. 1093098)

© April 2020