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South Eastern & Chatham Railway
6-Wheeled Birdcage Brake Van No.719


SECR Guards Luggage Van 719

This six-wheeled van, built in 1905, is unusual in that it has both a "birdcage" lookout on the roof and side duckets for the guard. In addition to accommodation for the guard, the rest of the space was used for luggage. On withdrawal it was transferred for service use as an ARP Cleansing Van, based at Bricklayers Arms Locomotive Depot in London.

With no further use for it after the war, in 1947 it was sold to the independent Derwent Valley Light Railway in Yorkshire. On its second withdrawal from service it was bought by the Southern Locomotive Preservation Co., then based at Longmoor, who moved it with the rest of their stock to the Bluebell in late 1971 and early 1972.

The van's eventual restoration will require, as its first stage, the complete reconstruction of its wooden/flitch-plated underframe.

The photo below, thanks to Trevor Coleman, shows a superb O-gauge model of SECR No. 707 constructed some 50 years ago by the late Phil Coutanche. This van was built the same month as 719, but by Cravens Ltd, rather than Metropolitan AC&W, and shows how the van body (if not its roof) would have appeared when new. The grey panels are of slate, to enable the names of stations where luggage is to be unloaded to be chalked on the sides.

Model by Phil Coutanche of Van 707 - Trevor Coleman - 20 April 2020

Type: Guard / Luggage Van
Built: (by Metropolitan Amalgamated Carriage & Wagon Co., in Birmingham) April 1905
Original No: 719
Other Nos: 719A, 616, 1601S
Length: 32 ft
Weight: 13 Tons
Load capacity: 4 Tons
Withdrawn: 1941, 1967
Preserved: 1967
To Bluebell: 9/2/1972
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