LMS Camping/Caravan Coaches.

Any aspect related to the prototype stock.
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Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:46 am

LMS Camping/Caravan Coaches.

Post by wsaxt04 »

Not a 'pure' Caledonian subject matter, but fascinating nevertheless:

‘BackTrack’, May ’22, pages 27-275, contained a fascinating account by Mike Fenton on the origins of the LMS move to ‘caravan’ or ‘camping’ coaches in the early 1930’s. I can provide supplementary information to this entire project as below:

‘LMS Magazine’, March 1935, page 113, noted that by that date the Company recorded seventy caravans or camping coaches as being available for England and Wales, thirty being available in Scotland, and eight in Northern Ireland. These were broken down as being located at thirty two sites in England and Wales, of which seven were beside the sea, whilst Scotland recorded twenty three sites, with thirteen being at the seaside. Northern Ireland had eight sites, of which six were situated on the coast.

Cost for hire was £ 3 10s 0d per week for a caravan coach capable of accommodating six persons during the month of July, August and September. For the other months these coaches were available, the cost was a lesser £ 3 0s 0d per week, whilst in Northern Ireland the charge was £ 2 10s 0d per week throughout the entire season for a caravan coach capable of accommodating four persons. The only condition was a requirement to purchase four Monthly Return Ticket fares to the relevant holiday site.

On one page a photograph shows a carriage being fitted out to become a caravan/camping coach at the LMS carriage works, but sadly the location was not specified. On page 459, there is a view of two camping coaches at St.Fillans, Perthshire, although, sad to say, owing to the angle the photograph has been taken at, their pre-grouping origins are not readily discernible.

Interested readers will find further information, photographs, drawings and tablature date within ‘British Railways Camping Coach Holidays’, parts one and two by Andrew McRae (Foxline Publishing, 1997 and 1998 respectively). These two volumes contain an authoritative account of the origins of the caravan/camping coach schemes on the 1930’s from all four of the ‘Big Four’ Companies, not just the LMS, along with their continuance in to the post 1948 nationalisation era on the railway. Likewise, ‘Steam Days’, January 1999, contains a fascinating article by Andrew McRae, providing supplementary information on the camping coach scene, particularly in Scotland.

Similarly, ‘LMS Miscellany, vol.one’, plates 96 and 97, by H.N.Twells (OOC, 1982) likewise, explains the origins of the entire project, along with providing two excellent black and white photographs. Finally, ‘British Railway Journal’, no.23, 1988, has a first class survey of the LNER camping coach schemes by C.S.Carter and A.A.Maclean. All this reading material is well worth checking out.

Within my own collection of railway publications, I have two titles : ‘Scotland for the Holidays’ – published jointly by the LMS and LNER, but undated, and ‘LMS Guide to Scottish Holiday Resorts’, published in 1936. Curiously enough, neither publication mentions caravan/camping coaches, even though by 1936 the entire project was in full swing. The former bulletin does serve as a ‘guide’ as to what to see in assorted resorts such as Alloway, Dunfermline, Perth, and so on, while the latter provided information on both hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation in various towns and villages in Scotland, such as at Benderloch, Dunkeld, Kentallen and Kyle of Lochalsh. However, quite why the latter had no mention of the LMS camping coach scheme is most curious, when there were camping coaches at these three locations, amongst others, is most curious.

Good reading !!


Arnold T.
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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:12 pm

Re: LMS Camping/Caravan Coaches.


Thanks Arnold - good reading as you say. To turn the narrative to CR matters, the Carriage Register transcription says that 23 semi-corridor carriages built to various diagrams finished up as camping coaches, converted in 1936, with a further 3 in 1956 to replace 3 of the earlier conversions. Additionally 10 WCJS carriages went the same way, according to Casserley & Millard.


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Re: LMS Camping/Caravan Coaches.

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Back in the late '60's a friend and I discovered some camping coaches awaiting dismantling in McWilliams' Scrapyard in Shettleston. Some were ex CR and at least one was an ex Pullman. There was a board with the Pullman crest on it above one of the doors into the vestibule from the coach. Sadly someone had mounted a light fitting directly on to it! :(

Jim W
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Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: LMS Camping/Caravan Coaches.

Post by caleyJim »

A good few of the coaches in the Caley Coaches range ended their days as Camping Coaches (all detailed in the appropriate prototype notes which are available for free download from www.caley.com). Not sure folk would be willing to fork out the requisite to make a model of one using one of my kits though... ;)

Jim Smellie
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