The coaches were first owned by the North Western Railway, in which they were used for carrying and transporting special visitors across Sodor. Sometime later, the coaches were sold to the Other Railway for Spencer to use for the Duke and Duchess of Boxford.
In the CGI Series, the coaches sport a rather different design, implying they have either been replaced or repainted. Spencer also took Sir Robert Norramby and a deputy minister to Sodor with one of these coaches.
Spencer's coaches were originally painted maroon with silver buffers, grey roofs and red lining, bufferbeams and couplings. After their redesign, the coaches are painted in the South Eastern and Chatham Railway red coach livery with gold lining and beige roofs. The buffers, bufferbeams and couplings all became black. The coaches also carry a crest on the doors.
In the model series, the coaches were based on BR Mk1 coaches, while in the CGI series they are loosely based on Pullman luxury coaches. They closely resemble the Pullman First Class Parlour Car "Topaz" of 1914, which is preserved at the National Railway Museum.