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Southern Railway
12 Ton 8-plank open wagon 37786

SR 8-plank Wagon finished, 2 April 2005 - Richard Salmon

The wagon, as outshopped, April 2005. Both photos: Richard Salmon

SR 8-plank Wagon, as arrived at the Bluebell in 2002 - Richard Salmon This is another, later example of the Southern Railway's "signature" design of open goods wagon. Like 30004, it was built to carry general merchandise, but could also be used to carry coal if no purpose-built mineral wagons were available.

Built by the Southern Railway at Ashford Works to diagram 1377 and order number A968 between October 1938 and May 1939, it was one of a batch of 500 in the number series 37401-37900, built with an average tare weight of 6 Tons 16 cwt. and an average cost of £139. A later batch of 250 in the number series 37901-38150 was built to the same diagram but order number A1033a and these wagons were built with the bottom plank of the drop door stepped out to assist loading by sack barrow.

37786 had a 12 ton capacity, which was uprated to 13 tons during WW2 and was fitted with the "Freighter"-type handbrake, comprising independent sets of brake blocks and levers each side. BR later converted some of these wagons to vacuum braking, but not this one.

This wagon was PBA 60026 at Bristol, (19)60xxx being the year it was taken into stock. As with the other PBA wagons, it is not actually possible to determine the exact SR number.

Purchased for the Bluebell in 1980, but having a nomadic existance until finally "coming home" in June 2002 (photo, right), it has now a secure future as part of the Bluebell's historic wagon collection.

BR(S) records showed several vehicles of this design withdrawn early in 1960. A vehicle with a number ending with the figure 6 from this batch was chosen. Its details are:-
37786 built May 1939, withdrawn January 1960.

As with other Bristol wagons, the "cupboard doors" were missing and had to be replaced. Its overhaul started in mid 2004, and details are available here. It was completed in time for the Goods Train Day on April 9th 2005.

37786, being built in 1939, should wear the later SR livery with smaller lettering. It is hoped that this will be remedied when it is next repainted.

Recommended reading:
An Illustrated History of Southern Wagons - Volume Four, by Messrs. Bixley, Blackburn, Chorley and King. Published by The Oxford Publishing Company, 2002. ISBN 086093 5647.
Describes all the standard goods vehicle designs of the Southern Railway, including those built for the WD and other railway companies. 160 pages hardback, with copious photographs and diagrams.

Also, Southern Wagons Pictorial, compiled by Mike King. Published by OPC/Ian Allan Publishing, 2008. ISBN 9780860935971.
An excellent follow-up to the above, together with the other three books in the series.

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