UK Transport Wiki

File:BR Mk2 prototype.jpg

Prototype Mk2 13252 at the MNR, April 2009

File:Mk 2A TSO 5278 'Melisande' at Cheltenham Spa.JPG

Mark 2A Tourist Standard Open (TSO) 5278 "Melisande" at Cheltenham Spa on 18 September 2004 on a charter service to Swindon

File:5174 NLR 260108 d.adkins.jpg

Mark 2 coaches 5174, 5132 and 9102 at the Northampton & Lamport Railway on 26 January 2008

File:Mk 2F TSO 6035 at Carlisle.JPG

Mark 2F TSO 6035 at Carlisle on 27 August 2004, in Arriva Trains Northern livery

File:British Rail Mk 2b, Cheriton, 1994.jpg

Mark 2C TSO 5541 at Cheriton in BR blue/grey livery in 1994

File:Virgin trains Mk2 coach Banbury.png

A Virgin trains Mk2 coach (with guard's compartment) at Banbury in 2000. All slam door stock was phased out by Virgin in 2003.

File:Virgin Mk 2 carrage 2001...png

A Virgin trains Mk2 coach (no guard's compartment) at Banbury in 2001

The Mark 2 family of railway carriages were British Rail's second design of carriages. They were built by British Rail workshops (from 1969 British Rail Engineering Limited) between 1964 and 1975. They were of steel construction.


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 2 coaches wore for much of their lives (some of the earliest Mark 2 coaches had the old livery at first).

The Mark 2 coach was one of the mainstays 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. Arriva Trains Wales purchased several vehicles for use on trains from Cardiff to Rhymney and Fishguard. However, these services are now run using DMUs, leaving little work for the Arriva Trains Wales Mark 2 coaches.

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. Since 1996, over 140 Mark 2 carriages have been exported to New Zealand, where they are still in mainline service (as of 2013).


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. Originally fitted with folding gangway doors but these proved troublesome and were replaced with Mk1 style swinging or sliding doors (depending on coach type). Later some were fitted with air disc brakes for Edinburgh - Glasgow Push-Pull services with class 27s, which replaced Inter-City Class 126 DMUs.
Mark 2A 1967–68 Adoption of more features from the XP64 set. Air braked so had to run in dedicated sets. Green folding plastic gangway doors and vestibule ends.
Mark 2B 1969 Centre door omitted and wide wrap-round doors at the ends. Space saved by removal of the centre vestibule used to move toilets to one at each end instead of two at one end, as previously. Red folding plastic gangway doors and vestibule ends.
Mark 2C 1969–70 As Mk2b, with lowered ceiling with provision for ducts for air conditioning (never fitted). Red folding plastic gangway doors and vestibule ends.
Mark 2D 1971–72 Air conditioned so no opening windows in the seating area, glass area reduced, windows tinted. Electric heating only from here onward. Mk2d FKs and BFKs were the last locomotive-hauled side-corridor compartment coaches constructed for British Railways, other than sleeping cars. Red folding plastic gangway doors and vestibule ends.
Mark 2E 1972–74 Luggage racks fitted opposite toilet cubicles, which were reduced in size. Cream folding plastic gangway doors and vestibule ends.
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. Cream folding plastic gangway doors and vestibule ends.

The final Mark 2 carriage was departmental 999550, in 1977. Template:As of it is still in service with Network Rail as part of the Track Recording Coach.[1] 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 production Mark 2 (and Mark 3) coaches were built on a single assembly line at the BR carriage works at Derby.

Current uses[]

First ScotRail hired 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.

First Great Western temporarily hired EWS Mark 2F coaches along with two of their Class 67s and a pair of Virgin trains 'Thunderbird' Class 57s on the Cardiff to Taunton route due to lack of DMUs. Following the transfer of six Class 150s from London Overground, the locomotives and coaching stock were withdrawn.[2]

Arriva Trains Wales' Mark 2 sets were withdrawn from regular services once the Fishguard and Rhymney services went over to DMU operation. However, on 15 December 2008 three of Arriva's Mark 2 coaches were put back into use. These three coaches are hauled by a Class 57/3 locomotive on the Monday-Friday express service from Holyhead to Cardiff and return (via Crewe). In March 2012 Class 67s took over the duties from the Class 57/3[3] and replaced by Mark 3s in October 2012.

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 80 Class DEMU, which entered service in 1974.

Template:Mark 2-derived

Sales to other rail operators[]

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

Northern Ireland[]

In 1970 Northern Ireland Railways purchased new Mark 2Bs for the Enterprise train service between Belfast and Dublin. These were painted in an attractive maroon and blue livery and worked by maroon BREL-built Hunslet Bo-Bos of the NIR 101 Class. 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 Mk2 coaches for use in its steam hauled train in Northern Ireland in the early 2000s (decade). 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.

File:Mk2 colbert.JPG

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 (the 1972 vintage Mk2d sets) 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. The Presidential Coach, 5408, has also been preserved by the RPSI.

See also: Coaching stock of Ireland

New Zealand[]

Main article: New Zealand British Rail Mark 2 carriage
File:WAB 794 train near Woodville, Derbyshire, England.jpg

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 140 refurbished former Mark 2D, 2E, and 2F First Open and Tourist Standard Open carriages on its railway lines. Although New Zealand railway lines have a narrower rail gauge of {{#switch:1067

|3mm=3 mm (0.118 in)
|4mm=4 mm (0.157 in)
|4.5mm=4.5 mm (0.177 in)
|4.8mm=4.8 mm (0.189 in)
|6.5mm=6.5 mm (0.256 in)
|6.53mm=6.53 mm (0.257 in)
|8mm=8 mm (0.315 in)
|8.97mm=8.97 mm (0.353 in)
|9mm=9 mm (0.354 in)
|9.42mm=9.42 mm (0.371 in)
|10.5mm=10.5 mm (0.413 in)
|11.94mm=11.94 mm (0.470 in)
|12mm=12 mm (0.472 in)
|12.7mm=12.7 mm (0.5 in)
|13mm=13 mm (0.512 in)
|13.5mm=13.5 mm (0.531 in)
|14mm=14 mm (0.551 in)
|14.125mm=14.125 mm (0.556 in)
|14.2mm=14.2 mm (0.559 in)
|14.28mm=14.28 mm (0.562 in)
|14.3mm=14.3 mm (0.563 in)
|15.76mm=15.76 mm (0.620 in), the country has a similar loading gauge, 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 regional commuter services. Most of them (104) operate in Auckland, classified SA (81) and SD (23), in push-pull commuter trains, with three or five SA carriages, a SD driving carriage (similar to the original Mark 2 DBSOs), and a DC class (4-car) or DFT class (six-car) diesel-electric locomotive. Other BR Mark 2 carriages operate on the Capital Connection (8× S class), and the Wairarapa Connection between Masterton and Wellington (18× SW class). There are also six carriages, classified SE, that were used with electric locomotives on Wellington commuter services between 2008 and 2011 as a temporary measure until new EMUs were delivered. As of May 2013, they are being refitted for use on the Wairarapa Connection, where evening peak patronage is nearing the capacity of the SW carriage fleet. Mainline Steam also own four refurbished carriages, classified ML, which are based in Plimmerton (north of Wellington) and are used for its steam-hauled excursions.

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


OO gauge[]

Over the years the British Railways Mark 2 design has been manufactured by many of the British model railway manufacturers.

Hornby introduced Mk.2 BFK and TSO models in the late 1960s and these have remained in production intermittently ever since, sometimes being used to represent coaches of later variants (such as the Mk.2B BFK in the Royal Train).

Airfix introduced Mk.2D BSO, FO and TSO models in the late 1970s, these going on to be produced by successors Mainline, Dapol and ultimately Hornby. The Airfix Mk.2D was a high quality model for its day, being more accurately detailed than most contemporary products, and it is still being produced by Hornby.

Lima produced Mk.2B BFK, FK and TSO and mk.2E FO and TSO models. These were approximately 1 cm under scale length, and have not been produced since the Lima business was taken over by Hornby.

Bachmann introduced Mk.2 and Mk.2A BFK, BSO, FK and TSO models in the early 2000s, these being more detailed than the various older models. Bachmann have also announced new Mk.2F BSO, DBSO, FO, RFB and TSO models for production in 2013-14.

N gauge[]

Graham Farish produce Mk.2F BSO, FO, RFB and TSO models and have announced upgraded models including a DBSO for 2013-14. Mk.2A BSO, FK and TSO models were announced in 2012-13.


  1. 999550 - New Measurement Train High Speed Track Recording coach (20 July 2009).
  2. Taunton Trains Loco-Hauled Info. Taunton Trains (27 April 2011).
  3. Changeover day North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 26 March 2012

External links[]

Template:Commons category

Template:British Rail Coaches