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British Railways
Grampus 20T ballast and sleeper wagon DB985854

Grampus wagon DB 985854

Grampus No. DB985854 in Horsted Keynes C&W yard in November 2011. Martin Skrzetuszewski

This is an example of a 20 ton drop side Ballast and Sleeper Wagon to diagram 1/572 designed by British Railways and codenamed "Grampus". Over 4,000 Grampus wagons were built to diagram 1/572 by six different builders. DB985854 was one of 200 similar vehicles ordered under lot No. 2483 from BR's Shildon Works in 1953. They were built between December 1954 and March 1955 with handbrake only, i.e. no vacuum brake or through pipe.

DB985854 was originally allocated to the Chief Civil Engineer of the Southern Region and based at Feltham. This wagon was later fitted with vacuum braking by BR and was latterly allocated to the Southern Region.

Bluebell's Grampus wagons have been and still are in regular use. Several years ago all were fitted with steel floors and some of the side doors were replaced. This wagon has been fitted with three replacement doors on one side but still awaits full lettering. Although numbered DB 985854 the precise identity of this Grampus is unclear, and it has previously carried the number DB987403 on the Bluebell Railway.

It was always anticipated that after the extension to East Grinstead had been completed, the reduction in workload for them plus the ability to accept main-line engineering wagons via the rail link, would render some of the Grampus wagons redundant. In early 2014, a film company enquired whether Bluebell would be able to assist by providing a number of 4-wheel underframes on hire. DB985854 was one of those chosen. In May 2014 the body above floor level was carefully removed and put into store. Although it was anticipated that the vehicle would return from hire late in 2014 (after which it would have been offered for sale or used as spares), it was in fact sold for use at Bressingham Museum and was transported directly there from the film company's premises.

For more information about the BR "Grampus" wagons, see this web page on DB991391.

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