British Railways Mark 2: Wikis


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British Rail Mark 2
ScotRail Mk2 coach at Euston.jpg
First ScotRail Mark 2 at Euston, part of the "Caledonian Sleeper"
In service 1964-present
Manufacturer BREL
Built at Derby, England
Constructed 1963 - 1975
Entered service 1964
Number built 1,876
Operator Arriva Trains Wales
First ScotRail
Network Rail
Car body construction Steel
Car length 64 ft 6 in (19.66 m)
Doors Hinged slam, centrally locked
Maximum speed 100 mph (161 km/h)
Train heating Pressure Ventilation
Air Conditioning (1971 onward)
Braking system(s) Clasp, pneumatic
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Prototype Mk2 13252 at the MNR, April 2009
Mark 2A Tourist Standard Open (TSO) 5278 "Melisande" at Cheltenham Spa on 18 September 2004 on a charter service to Swindon.
Mark 2s 5174, 5132 and 9102 at the Northampton & Lamport Railway on 26 January 2008.
Mark 2F TSO 6035 at Carlisle on 27 August 2004, in Arriva Trains Northern livery.
Mark 2C TSO 5541 at Cheriton in BR blue/grey livery in 1994.
A Virgin trains Mk2 coach at Banbury in 2000. All slam door stock was phased out by Virgin in 2003, due to passenger safety concerns relating to such rolling stock.

British Rail's second design of carriages was designated Mark 2. The Mark 2 has a semi-integral construction, giving it more strength than a Mark 1 in the event of an accident, although a key driver of the changed construction method was to overcome the serious corrosion problem point in the Mark 1 at the base of the body, where it was attached to the underframe. Other changes of design, such as the window units, were for the same reason, which had become a serious problem in Mark 1 vehicle maintenance costs. Revised painting methods were also part of this, which coincided with the change of livery from maroon (dark green on the Southern) to the blue and grey that Mark 2s wore for much of their lives (some of the earliest Mark 2s had the old livery at first).

The Mark 2 coach was the mainstay of the InterCity network, but new rolling stock introduced in the post-privatisation era has nearly ended its use on main line inter-city routes. First ScotRail Caledonian Sleeper services between London Euston and Scotland continue to use Mark 2 stock for seated accommodation and lounge cars, whilst Arriva Trains Wales has purchased several vehicles for use on trains from Cardiff to Rhymney and Fishguard. Three of the 20 Arriva Trains Wales Mark 2s are used on the Holyhead to Cardiff express service.

Since their withdrawal from most main line duties, Mark 2 coaches have played an increasing role on private rail tours, charter trains, and on heritage railways.



The prototype Mark 2, FK 13252, was built in 1963 and is now preserved by the National Railway Museum, based at the Mid-Norfolk Railway.

Design Built Features
Mark 2 1964-66 The basic model, with pressure ventilation and wood panelling. Fitted with vacuum brakes, so they could run with Mark 1 stock. Dual heating steam/electric.
Mark 2A 1967-68 Adoption of more features from the XP64 set. Examples had air or vacuum brakes, so had to run in dedicated sets.
Mark 2B 1969 Centre door omitted and wide wrap-round doors at the ends
Mark 2C 1969-70 Lower ceiling with provision for ducts for air conditioning (never fitted)
Mark 2D 1971-72 Air conditioned so no opening windows in the seating area, glass area reduced. Electric heating only from here onward.
Mark 2E 1972-74 Luggage racks fitted opposite toilet cubicles, which were reduced in size
Mark 2F 1973-75 Interior panelling made of plastic, new-style seating, automatic gangway doors, lower bodyside heaters. These features had first debuted on the Mark 3 prototypes.

The final Mark 2 carriage was departmental 999550, in 1977. It is still in service with Network Rail as part of the New Measurement Train[citation needed]. The later versions (2D onwards) look similar to the later Mark 3 design. The Mark 3 is longer (75 feet as opposed to 64 feet 6 inches), has a large skirting between the bogies to conceal the ancillary equipment, and has a ridged roof as opposed to the smooth roof of the Mark 2. The development of the High Speed Train overlapped with that of the final production run, and the Mark 2F "previewed" many features incorporated into the Mark 3, such as new seating, plastic interior panelling, and floor-sensor-operated automatic gangway doors.

Unlike Mark 1 coaches, built by a wide range of manufacturers, both BR workshops and private builders, all Mark 2 (and Mark 3) coaches were built on a single assembly line at the BR carriage works at Derby.

Current uses

Currently First Scotrail are hiring EWS Mark 2F coaches along with one of their Class 67s for use at peak times on the Fife Circle Line. First Scotrail also use in their Caledonian sleeper service Mark 2 coaches as seated and lounge cars.[citation needed]

Currently First Great Western are hiring EWS Mark 2F coaches along with two of their Class 67s on the Cardiff to Taunton route due to lack of DMUs.[citation needed]

Arriva Trains Wales started to use Mark 2 coaches again in normal service on 15 December 2008. These coaches are hauled by Class 57 locomotives.[citation needed]

Multiple Units based on the Mark 2

Unlike the Mark 1, few multiple unit classes were based on the Mark 2 bodyshell. All were electric multiple units with British Rail, and which operated under AC using overhead wires. The first of these were Class AM10 in 1966 operating commuter services from London Euston and in the West Midlands. The introduction of TOPS saw these units reclassified Class 310. The other type was Class 312, introduced in 1975, primarily used on commuter services from London King's Cross and London Liverpool Street, the last slam-door multiple units built for British Rail. Northern Ireland Railways used the Mark 2 bodyshell as the basis for the Class 80 diesel multiple unit, which entered service in 1976.

Sales abroad

Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnród Éireann purchased various types from new, and a number of ex-BR vehicles have been sold for further use abroad.

Northern Ireland

In 1970 NIR purchased new Mark 2Bs for the new Enterprise service between Belfast and Dublin. These were painted in an attractive maroon and blue livery and hauled by maroon Hunslet Bo-Bos. This rake included No 547, the only Mark 2B dining car. This carriage was restored in 2008 by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland(RPSI).

NIR purchased eight British Rail Class 488 electric multiple unit coaches in 2002 that been converted from Mark 2F coaches for the Gatwick Express service from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport. They were renumbered 8941-8948, The worked with NIR Generator Van 8911 They were withdrawn on 19 January 2005, having been replaced by new C3K units. They were reintroduced in September 2006 to provide extra capacity on the Portadown to Belfast (Central) service, making one trip every morning, hauled by a Class 111 locomotive but last ran on 18.06.2009 and have now been withdrawn.

The RPSI also acquired some ex-BR mk2s for use in its steam hauled train in Northern Ireland in the early 2000s. These are normally based at the RPSI's Whitehead depot, as well as being steam hauled they are also occasionally hired out for diesel hauled railtours.

Republic of Ireland

In 1972 CIÉ placed an order with BREL for 72 coaches based on the Mark 2D. With air conditioning as a principal feature they became known as "AC Stock" and ran on type B4 bogies, with vacuum brakes. The order consisted of six First Class coaches (5101–5106), nine Composites (5151–5159), 36 Standard Class (5201–5236), eleven Restaurant/Buffet Standard Class (5401–5411) and eleven Generator Vans (5601–5611). Internal fit-out was done in Inchicore, and was quite different from the original BR design, using bench seating rather than individual seats and with extensive use of wood veneer panelling. Their electrical system differed from the BR and NIR versions. The generator van contained two engine/generator sets, each supplying 220/380 V 50 Hz AC to two separate electrical buses in the train. The air conditioning loads were divided in half, each half fed from a separate bus. In the case of failure of one generator set, the other set automatically supplies both buses. Air conditioning output power would then be halved, but all other loads including cooking, lighting and battery charging would continue to be supplied. This later remained the model for the electrical power supply on all subsequent IE coaches. To accommodate changes in traffic, five of the Composites (5153–5156, 5158) were re-classed as Standards, and Restaurant/Buffet Standard 5408 was converted for use as the Presidential Coach.

An Iarnród Éireann Mark 2D at Limerick Colbert Station in 2006

Iarnród Éireann purchased fifteen carriages from a UK scrap dealer during 1989, in exchange for a similar number of scrap diesel locomotives. Older Mark 2A/B/C carriages were scrapped in 2004, as they were heavily corroded. A few were preserved (minus bogies) at certain heritage railways in Ireland.

The remaining Mark 2 carriages were phased out during 2007 and 2008, with the last set operating its final service, the 0505 Athlone–Heuston, on 31 March 2008. Two of these coaches, 5106 and 5203, were preserved by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

New Zealand

The ex-British Rail Mark 2 Capital Connection set on an excursion hauled by WAB 794 in the North Island of New Zealand.

New Zealand operates over 100 refurbished former Mark 2D, 2E, and 2F First Open and Tourist Standard Open carriages on its railway lines. New Zealand, although the railway lines have a narrower gauge of 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in), the loading gauge is very similar, allowing regauged BR carriages to run on most lines. The first carriages were imported in 1996 by then rail operator Tranz Rail and heritage operator Mainline Steam. The first seven refurbished carriages entered regular service on 15 November 1999, on the Capital Connection service between Palmerston North and Wellington.

Today, the former BR carriages run virtually all carriage commuter services. Most of them operate in Auckland, classified SA and SD, in push-pull commuter trains, with 2-4 SA carriages, a SD driving carriage (similar to the original Mark 2 DBSO's), and a DC class diesel-electric locomotive. Other BR Mark 2 carriges operate on the Capital Connection (8× S class), the Wairarapa Connection between Masterton and Wellington (12× SW class), and on Tranz Metro carriage-hauled peak services in Wellington with EO class electric locomotives (6×SE class)

All New Zealand Mark 2 carriages retain their original BR running numbers.

Numbers Built (BR stock)

mark type quantity original numbers
mk.2 Pullman Kitchen First (PK) 8 500-507
mk.2 Pullman Parlour First (PC) 14 540-553
mk.2 Pullman Brake First (PB) 7 580-586
mk.2C Open First (FO) 18 3152-3169
mk.2D Open First (FO) 47 3170-3216
mk.2E Open First (FO) 55 3221-3275
mk.2F Open First (FO) 164 3276-3439
mk.2 Tourist Open Second (TSO) 59 5070-5228
mk.2 Open Second (SO) 28 5229-5256
mk.2A Tourist Open Second (TSO) 177 5257-5433
mk.2B Tourist Open Second (TSO) 64 5434-5497
mk.2C Tourist Open Second (TSO) 118 5498-5615
mk.2D Tourist Open Second (TSO) 128 5616-5743
mk.2E Tourist Open Second (TSO) 160 5744-5804, 5809-5907
mk.2F Tourist Open Second (TSO) 277 5908-6184
mk.2 Open Brake Second (BSO) 36 9381-9416
mk.2A Open Brake Second (BSO) 22 9417-9438
mk.2C Open Brake Second (BSO) 40 9439-9478
mk.2D Open Brake Second (BSO) 17 9479-9495
mk.2E Open Brake Second (BSO) 14 9496-9509
mk.2F Open Brake Second (BSO) 30 9510-9539
mk.2 Corridor First (FK) 71 13252, 13361-13406, 13410-13433
mk.2A Corridor First (FK) 42 13434-13475
mk.2B Corridor First (FK) 38 13476-13513
mk.2C Corridor First (FK) 48 13514-13561
mk.2D Corridor First (FK) 49 13562-13610
mk.2 Corridor Brake First (BFK) 28 14028-14055
mk.2A Corridor Brake First (BFK) 48 14056-14103
mk.2B Corridor Brake First (BFK) 9 14104-14112
mk.2C Corridor Brake First (BFK) 26 14113-14138
mk.2D Corridor Brake First (BFK) 34 14139-14172


  • Michael Harris British Rail Mark 2 Coaches - the design that launched InterCity Venture Publications ISBN 9781898432487

External links

Simple English

British Rail Mark 2
File:ScotRail Mk2 coach at
First ScotRail Mark 2 at Euston, part of the "Caledonian Sleeper"
In service 1964-present
Manufacturer BREL
Built at Derby, England
Constructed 1963 - 1975
Entered service 1964
Number built 1,876
Operator Arriva Trains Wales
First ScotRail
Network Rail
Car body construction Steel
Car length 64 ft 6 in (19.66 m)
Doors Hinged slam, centrally locked
Maximum speed 100 mph (161 km/h)
Train heating Pressure Ventilation
Air Conditioning (1971 onward)
Braking system(s) Clasp, pneumatic
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)

British Rail's second design of carriages was called Mark 2. The Mark 2 has more strength than a Mark 1 in the event of an accident.


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