The FNRM’s support coach.

These days, those observing steam operations on the national network will be familiar with the presence of the support coach, or private owner brake (POB), which accompanies the locomotives on nearly all their workings. It was not always so and it was the National Railway Museum and the Friends that both played a leading role in the use of a support coach becoming widespread.

After the NRM opened in 1975 its steam operation was largely in the hands of the V2 Green Arrow and the BR 9F Evening Star and any members of the crew accompanying the engines on their trips were usually accommodated somewhere in the train. By and large in these early years the trips were relatively short, such as a return trip to Scarborough or a run around the Harrogate Circle with the engine beginning and ending the trip at York. In March 1978 this situation began to change when the Settle and Carlisle line was reopened for steam and Green Arrow worked the first steam hauled train over the route since 11 August 1968, when the “15 Guinea Special” had marked the end of steam on the BR network. The V2 and the support crew spent two nights at the Upperby Depot in Carlisle before the return working. It was becoming apparent that further such workings would benefit greatly from the use of a permanent vehicle being available to accompany the engine and its support team.