B772972 at Sheffield Park Richard Salmon
This is a representative of one of BR's first efforts to respond to changing methods of handling. Built at BR's Faverdale Works, Darlington to diagram 1/211 this van is one of 300 built under Lot 2864 in 1956. With a steel floor and offset side doors these vans were designed to carry palletised loads and to be loaded by fork lift truck from both sides. Unfortunately this often led to vans running with loads at one end only, resulting in rough riding and, subsequently, derailment.
After a short life in traffic, many were put into Internal Use and a large number were sold to the Port of London Authority for use within the old London Docks network. This one became their No.A52. When the PLA began disposal the Bluebell purchased three for storage, this one arriving on 27 March 1971.
B772972 has been used by the Bluebell's S&T Department. However the ply construction is prone to rot, and one of the three was scrapped some years ago. Following a review of the wagon fleet, it was decided that we should aim to preserve just one of these vans for the long term, as an example of an interesting but ultimately unsuccessful design, as part of an early BR-era goods train, and so in 2010 its twin B761349 was broken up to provide spare parts for use on other wagon restoration projects.
This particular van therefore remains, now regarded as part of our long-term heritage fleet, and for the present continues in S&T Department use.
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