Third class coach / carriage, photographed in York Railway Museum. It had
clearly been given a coat of varnish as those I remember looked
Second class coach / carriage, photographed in York Railway Museum.
First class coach / carriage, photographed in York Railway Museum.
When I was a growing up in 1940s and 1950s England, I do just remember seeing train
coaches (known then as carriages) at one of the London terminuses marked with
First, Second and third class on their sides.
Such carriages must have been withdrawn shortly afterwards
because I don't think we ever travelled third class, and my parents
were always concerned about spending money. We travelled second
class, which was the lowest class available.
Yet, there is a 1954 third class season ticket on the tickets page,
which presents me with rather a puzzle, because if third class travel had
been available to my family, I am sure we would have used it.
I never knew anyone who travelled first class, as this would have been
regarded as dreadfully wasteful. Yet, some people must have done it or the
railway companies would have withdrawn the first class carriages.
I also saw trains known as Pullmans which were very elegant, with ornamental
table lamps and linen table cloths on the tables. Waiters in white coats took
orders for meals which were cooked - not reheated - on the train. However, my
knowledge of Pullmans came only from what I was told and from looking in at
This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in early to mid 20th century Britain, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times. It is © Pat Cryer.