Posts Tagged ‘SECR’

A birdcage

September 23, 2014

Now actually, I’m of the opinion that birds should be free. I really can’t approve of them being shut up in cages.

But no worries – for this is not about a cage for birds. Some might say this is sad, but it is about a railway carriage – this one.


This carriage is called a birdcage and was once part of a three carriage set.

What makes this a birdcage is the raised roof over the guard’s van.


This raised section allowed the guard to look over the roof of the train and make sure all was well with all parts of the train he was guarding.

The carriage dates from 1910, but coaches like this, albeit not so handsomely painted, were still around when I was a train-spotter in about 1960. I remember them with some affection. It’s possible my grandfather may have had the odd turn in one of those carriages, although he always preferred to be a guard on  goods trains.

This carriage was built at Ashford for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway.


I have very little doubt that there is a real family connection with this coach. At the time of the 1911 census my relative Norton Ware (he’d have been my grandad’s great uncle) worked in the carriage department at the railway works in Ashford. He was a timber converter and he had the same job in 1901. As far as I know timber conversion meant turning a tree into usable timber – so quite an early job in the production of a wooden bodied railway carriage. But I feel sure that the timber in this carriage must have passed through Norton’s hands.

I regard this carriage as almost a family piece!