The support coach owned by the BR Class 8 Steam locomotive Trust is a Mark 2 Brake First Corridor (BFK) numbered W17041 and is at Tyseley Locomotive Works. It was built by BR at Derby works in 1966 and is air braked. A support coach and crew are an essential part of the operation of preserved steam locomotives on the mainline and the coach enables the crews to travel with the locomotive.
The Trust’s Support Crew is formed from members of the Trust who give up their free time to work on The Duke whilst he is being overhauled. Many of them will form the mainline support crews once The Duke is back hauling rail-tours on the mainline.
The support coach is an former passenger brake coach with the guards/parcels van space converted to a workshop/stores/mess facility. The seating compartments are accessed through a side corridor. In the Trust’s support coach two compartments have been merged into one to form a mess room/meeting area. One compartment provides a first-class seating area and the remaining compartment seating/sleeping accommodation.
The support coach will be utilised when The Duke is running with air-braked passenger stock. Vintage Trains operate vacuum-braked passenger stock and it is envisaged that the Trust’s support coach will not be required until late 2022.
The support coach is in need of both an internal and external overhaul which ideally will be completed well before The Duke is hired to haul air-braked stock.