Sign In

  Remember Me

Not registered?

Met-Camm 6/8-car Blue Pullman

In the Beginning - Part 1

When the British Railways modernisation programme was accepted in 1955, a committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Mr. H. H. Philips, then of the WR, to examine the possibility of introducing diesel express passenger trains. All the regions and technical branches of the BTC (British Transpost Commission) were represented on this committee, and the Pullman Car Company and the BTC Hotels & Catering Services were consulted concerning catering.

Originally it was not considered possible for the Pullman Car Company to operate these new services as they were not going to be based in London, where the Pullman Car Company had its installations (they would run *to* the capital from outstations).

This fact was recorded in the report; but the Commission rejected this view because it was considered that use should be made of the goodwill attending the name of Pullman which the BTC had recently acquired. The scheme was reconsidered and it was decided to introduce three multiple unit Pullman 'de luxe' trains, one in the Midland Region, serving Manchester, Leicester and London, and two in the Western Region, serving Bristol and London, and Wolverhampton, Birmingham and London.

The Manchester press printed stories at the start of '57 that British Railways were contemplating introducing a high-speed all-first class diesel service between Manchester Central and London St. Pancras to do the journey in about three hours in an endeavor to regain some traffic from British European Airways.

A more formal announcement was made by the BTC Chairman Sir Brian Robertson on the 6th March 1957 during a review of the Modernisation Plan. He stated that Met-Camm would build the five sets and they would be introduced in 1958. Few other details were announced about the vehicles, but the main one was that the power cars were to be non-passenger vehicles. 

As stated it was laid down that the Metropolitan-Cammel Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd. should be entrusted with the building of the trains and that, with the approval of the BTC and the Pullman Car Company, it would appoint an architect designer to style the trains. Mr. Jack Howe F.R.B.I.A. F.S.I.A. was appointed to work with the Design Panel and technical officers of the BTC as a design consultant. Mr. Howe and his colleagues had a completely free hand and, with an eye to the recommendations of the diesel committee, made certain plans and conditions before the board of the Pullman Car Company came into close consultation. This resulted in the adoption of some deviations from the traditional Pullman appearance and layout.

In December '57 it was reported that the BTC design panel had finished the exterior styling and were now working on the interior. The chocolate-and-cream was discarded in favour of a blue and white livery. The choice of blue, the shade being roughly the same as the uniform lapels, was quoted as being "a chance to do something new". It was also noted that vehicles would not be named individually, but would just have the word "Pullman" in the traditional style of lettering and a smaller version of the coat of arms. The coat of arms for the long white panels was redesigned to fit the new shape of panel. Perhaps more important of all, it was decided to seat first class passengers at tables for four as well as at tables for two; in the traditional Pullman layout only tables for two were provided in first class cars. It was also announced this month that the Midland Pullman would have just one intermediate stop, at Cheadle Heath.

© 1998 - 2018