Built by the LBSCR in 1913, No.8196 was of 8-ton capacity, a tare weight of 6 tons 10 cwt and 21'4" long. It was built to LBSCR Diag.8, which became SR Diag.1433. Renumbered by the Southern Railway as No.46544, it was withdrawn on 5th May 1943, and later went into service at Chatham dockyard and carrying the MOD (Navy) number 590. Ian MacCormac's photo on the left shows the van soon after arrival on the Bluebell.
Having been discovered by Bluebell Railway members, still on its whees but clearly now redundant, it was obtained from the military and moved to the Bluebell in June 1981. It sat unrestored until the deteriorating condition of its wooden underframe forced the issue, and the C&W's midweek volunteer gang, with funding through the Bluebell Railway Trust, took on the reconstruction,
building an almost completely new underframe from laminated hardwood, and then reconstructing the body, again mostly with new timber. This web page follows the restoration.
The restoration was completed in September 2004, with new ironwork on the doors on the east side of the van (seen in the photo at the top of the page), copied from that surviving on the side of the van seen in the other photos here.
In January 2005 a second similar LBSCR van body arrived on the Bluebell Railway.