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Southern Railway Van C (BY) No.653
4-wheeled guards' brake van built in 1938

SR Van C 653

The van, about to receive a new tarpaulin, shortly before leaving the Bluebell for restoration on the Mid Hants Railway - 28 December 2011 (Fred Pragnall)

SR Van C 653 The Van Cs were used for the carriage of parcels, newspapers, and many other forms of general merchandise. Equipped with facilities for a guard, including two periscopes to provide a view forward, they were rated to run in passenger trains, but were also used on parcels trains.

The photo on the right shows the van on arrival at the Bluebell

Of very simple design, with the metal framing exposed, and planked on the inside, they are easy to maintain. A total of 250 were built between 1936 and 1941. Most of them were withdrawn from service between 1966 and 1978, but a few continued in departmental use on BR right into the 1980s and early 90s. No.653 was bought by members of the Bluebell's Carriage and Wagon Department, and was subsequently owned by the Howlden Trust, and used as their stores van, prior to sale to the Mid Hants Wagon Group in November 2011.


Type: Van C (Passenger Brake Van) - BR classification: BY
Built: 1938
Original No: 653
Length: 36'
Weight: 16 Tons
Withdrawn: 1972
Preserved: 1973
To Bluebell: 1973
Left Bluebell: 25 May 2012 for restoration to working order at the Mid Hants Railway.
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