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London, Brighton & South Coast Railway
Milk/Fruit Van No. 270

LBSCR Grande Vitesse Van 270

London Brighton & South Coast Railway 270 - Fruit/Milk Van (1908) (2178)
Jim Hewett

Type: Milk & Fruit Van
Built: 1908 at Brighton
Original No: 270
Other Nos: 2178, 1525S, DS 1525
Length: 30'
Weight: 13 Tons
Withdrawn: 1939
Preserved: 1964
To Bluebell: 13/5/1964

One of our earliest acquisitions, this six-wheeled perishables' van is typical of many that were used to carry milk-churn and fruit traffic from the countryside into the towns and cities in the first half of the 20th century. These were rated as passenger vehicles, and for milk traffic were often attached to early morning passenger trains. Some vehicles of this design were built specifically for the rather more important "Grande Vitesse" service from Newhaven Harbour to London, but most were used on a variety of soft fruit, milk and meat traffic on the LBSCR system.

On withdrawal in 1939 No.270 found further use as a service vehicle at Lancing Carriage Works, from where it was purchased by the Bluebell Railway in 1964. Splendidly restored to Brighton livery in the 1960s, it was used for many years as a store for signalling equipment.

Its presence at the Bluebell is significant in that one of Sheffield Park station's main traffics was in milk, with a narrow gauge railway running from the local dairy to the back of platform 2. The current restoration to its former glory has now commenced in a temporary workshop erected at Horsted Keynes. It will be a prime candidate for accommodation in an exhibition shed, when we are able to build such a facility.

LBSCR Grande Vitesse Van 270

No. 270 at Sheffield Park before restoration. Richard Salmon

Details of the restoration can be found here.

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