LNER Gresley Teak Coach TO at Highley in March 2012. © Hugh Llewelyn
Following the creation of the 'Big 4' railway operating companies in 1923, the London and North Eastern Railway inherited a wide variety of different types of coaches built in the early years of the 20th century to the needs of the companies that existed at the time. No standardisation existed and a lot of the designs used technology that was, by then, well out of date. In 1923 the CME of the LNER, Sir Nigel Gresley, decided that a standard design of coach that was suitable for both the express trains of the East Coast and the slower regional services around the other areas of the LNER and beyond was required.
The result was the now famous Gresley Teak coach with its instantly recognisable varnished teak finish and 60ft underframe. They were built from 1923 until the 1940s and most diagrams remained unchanged throughout, with new innovations being incorporated into new diagrams rather than added to existing ones. Many different coach types were created for different purposes including 38 different types of passenger brake coach alone!