If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Were there ever any special prisoner carriages used in Britain?

Discussion in 'Heritage Rolling Stock' started by Mr Messenger, Mar 6, 2021.

  1. Mr Messenger

    Mr Messenger New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I'm just watching an old Dirk Bogarde film (Desperate Moment) and it appears they had these in Germany. I know Russia still uses them today.

    Dartmoor Prison had a 10 mile spur built to it. So I was just wondering.
     
  2. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    5,872
    Likes Received:
    3,228
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Train Maintainer for GTR at Hornsey
    Location:
    Letchworth
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    https://flic.kr/p/29Zu17u

    Peterhead prison wagon still exists.

    Switzerland still has, or had until recently, a couple of carriages used to move prisoners around.
     
    Mr Messenger likes this.
  3. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,592
    Likes Received:
    3,455
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It was not solely for Dartmoor prison. It was a GWR branch line.
     
    The Saggin' Dragon likes this.
  4. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2020
    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    808
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Improbably, the Belgian Vicinal had some.
     
    Mr Messenger likes this.
  5. D1002

    D1002 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    6,195
    Likes Received:
    3,225
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Enfield
    A preserved one.
    A carriage used to convey prisoners from Peterhead Prison to the Stirlinghill Quarry at Boddam.
    A1384130-D700-4229-B200-0B0237B4074A.jpeg C33E0FDF-DD5E-4F85-A43D-291300A3A234.jpeg
     
    Bluenosejohn and Mr Messenger like this.
  6. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,888
    Likes Received:
    5,834
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    That seems to be prison to work site rather than court to prison.

    I don't know how representative it is but fictional examples: Fletcher in the opening scenes in Porridge is transported by train, Terminus features a prison transport (although they were actors playing prisoners). A concrete example: Oscar Wilde was transported by the sounds of it by a regular train from Wandsworth (?) to Reading Gaol.

    "On November 13th, 1895, I was brought down here from London. From two o’clock till half-past two on that day I had to stand on the centre platform of Clapham Junction in convict dress, and handcuffed, for the world to look at. I had been taken out of the hospital ward without a moment’s notice being given to me. Of all possible objects I was the most grotesque. When people saw me they laughed. Each train as it came up swelled the audience. Nothing could exceed their amusement. That was, of course, before they knew who I was. As soon as they had been informed they laughed still more. For half an hour I stood there in the grey November rain surrounded by a jeering mob."

    http://www.wilde-online.info/de-profundis-page24.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2021
    D1039, Mr Messenger and Bluenosejohn like this.
  7. 60017

    60017 Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Messages:
    8,324
    Likes Received:
    6,423
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired from corporate slavery :o)
    Location:
    Fylde Coast
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    During my BTP years I was involved in several prisoner escorts, usually to return people to court after they had skipped bail awaiting trial. Where possible it was always done in a reserved compartment. The longest one involved travelling to Scotland from London on an overnight sleeper to bring back a prisoner who had been found and arrested in Ayr.
     
    Mr Messenger likes this.
  8. Bluenosejohn

    Bluenosejohn New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    186
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The Home Office would have been able to reserve compartments on regular services. How many prisoners would actually have needed moving as most cities had a large prison and there were cells in a lot of police stations for short sentences is another matter The increase in recent times in the prison population is quite depressing and far exceeds the equivalent general increase in population numbers.

    https://commonslibrary.parliament.u...on of England,Northern Ireland begins in 2000.


    The film Terminus has a scene of prisoners being moved in a compartment from Waterloo ( 14'50 to 17'20 )

    https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-terminus-1961-online
     
    D1039 and Mr Messenger like this.
  9. Mr Messenger

    Mr Messenger New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Directed by John Schlesinger. How interesting.
     
    Bluenosejohn likes this.
  10. Bluenosejohn

    Bluenosejohn New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    186
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Terminus won a BAFTA award and is Schlesinger's only British Transport Film which is a shame: I wonder what happened to him afterwards......... :Angelic:
     
    Mr Messenger likes this.
  11. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    6,868
    Likes Received:
    5,100
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    There is this picture of Timothy Evans clearly being moved by train

    upload_2021-3-6_20-35-9.jpeg

    Edit, he is being taken back from South Wales to London prior to his trial
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2021
    Mr Messenger likes this.
  12. 46223

    46223 Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    5,367
    Likes Received:
    3,693
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Lancs
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Apparently, the 'prisoners' in the film 'Terminus' were actors!
     
    Mr Messenger and Bluenosejohn like this.
  13. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,888
    Likes Received:
    5,834
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Quite a lot of people involved in terminus were actors. I think most of the speaking roles were actors.
     
    Mr Messenger likes this.
  14. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Messages:
    1,124
    Likes Received:
    1,401
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Carriage & Wagon
    Location:
    Sheringham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Beamish have a "convict van" which has cells in one end - I am not sure whether it is a genuine set up or a wagon converted for the fun of visitors?
     
    Mr Messenger likes this.
  15. athelney

    athelney New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    104
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired warranty administrator
    Location:
    Abbotsford , BC. Canada
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Noticed prisoners being transported in a regular service train back in early 60s ...was spotting at Salisbury and couple of times saw them in the front carriage of the down ACE , presumably heading for Dartmoor , lots of constables around on train and platform .
     
    Mr Messenger likes this.
  16. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,592
    Likes Received:
    3,455
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Maybe Exeter Prison.
     
  17. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,186
    Likes Received:
    1,898
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Vividly portrayed in The Happy Prince (2018) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2404639/.

    Patrick
     
    Monkey Magic and Bluenosejohn like this.
  18. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,666
    Likes Received:
    3,560
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    C.Eng
    Location:
    On the 45th!
    Not in Britain but until 1996 prisoners were transported on the Italian railway network in special coaches. One has been preserved and I have even been locked in one of the cells...
    http://www.museoferroviariopiemontese.it/carrozza-per-trasporto-detenuti-tipo-1934-kt-48405/

    I have often been on planes with prisoner transfers and they are quite interesting to observe. It will depend on the specific case but the prison van is driven onto the ramp, sometimes with a couple of Carabinieri cars as escort. The party boards through the rear steps usually 10-15 minutes before boarding. Always sat in the last row and normally at least the row in front of them is empty. Sometimes there is just one officer handcuffed to the transportee. At Naples airport this all goes on right in front of the windows for departures. Being raised up you get an excellent view!
    Boarding is done normally and you would not notice anything unless you had seen them arrive. Sometimes the officers are in uniform but not always. I usually select a seat right at the back as it’s quicker to get off in Turin as both doors are used and a bus to the terminal, so I have sat opposite these escorted trips on quite a few occasions. Once normal passengers have disembarked the secure van is brought to the rear stairs and the ‘interesting’ passengers leave.
    One exciting occasion there were two vans with four heavily armed escort cars for two prisoners. Taking off to the West from Naples takes you over some pretty ‘fruity’ areas for organised crime and you just hope that the passengers are not informants that the men with violin cases want to silence at any cost!!
    That big movement was over 10 years ago now and I have not flown on a commercial flight for over 14 months now for obvious reasons. Last time I saw this was probably 18 months ago, all very low key.
     
    60017, Bluenosejohn and Paulthehitch like this.
  19. B.C.R.

    B.C.R. New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    19
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Montgomery
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    British Rail issue instructions (I think it was in a copy of the ticket examiners handbook, I have a copy which I can not find at present!). That prisoners on H.S.T.'s where to be transported in the seating bay nearest the guards office in the T.G.S. (Trailer Guards Second/Standard) vehicles. I suppose the reasons for this where these seats where furthest from the public access doors and that only the guard would have access beyond that point!
     
  20. burnham-t

    burnham-t New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Staplehurst, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    When the 4Cep electric units were refurbished, most of the former 2nd class compartments were converted to open saloon layout, but one compartment was retained, which I understood was so that it could be reserved for prisoners and escorts.
     

Share This Page