The Dining Car
built by the London and North Western Railway
Number 5159. Built at Wolvertom in 1890

In response to an American Pullman Car appearing on a competitor's trains between London and Manchester, the London and North Western Railway built this Dining Car especially for its Manchester expresses. It was built as one of a pair of coaches which ran permanently coupled together and entered service in July 1890. No 5159 had a kitchen and seating for 10 passengers, while its partner had seating for 20 and no kitchen. Although there was access from one coach to the other (and two toilets) it was not possible to walk into the other coaches in the train - this was not yet a common facility. Consequently passengers booked to spend their entire journey in the dining car.

The Dining Car (on the right) when new.

Two years later, when provision was made for passengers to walk through, doorways were simply cut into the ends of the carriage. Thus at the kitchen end of the coaches unsuspecting passengers would blunder straight into the kitchen, no doubt annoying the chef and surprising themselves!

Because of its small size, it was soon replaced by a much larger carriage and so found itself relegated to secondary services. During the Great War it was requisitioned by the Army and taken to France as part of a mobile HQ for Field Marshal Earl Haig.

After the War the LNWR declined to have it back, so in 1921 it was used to make a house on the coast near Southampton. In 1978 it was "rescued" and has now been restored as closely as possible to original, while taking into account modern standards of cooking, safety and comfort.

The Dining Car just out of the workshop having been repainted.

The Dining Car is painted in the livery of the London and North Western Railway, the splendidly named "Plum and Spilt Milk".

It is the oldest Dining Car in the world.

Return to the Romance of the Cars.