This is an example of the Southern Railway's "signature" design of open goods wagon. It is a diagram 1379 8-plank Open
Goods/Mineral Wagon, being built to carry general merchandise, but being capable of being used to carry coal if no purpose-built
mineral wagons were available.
Almost 6000 of these were built between 1926 and 1933 at the Southern Railway's Ashford Works or by various private contractors.
They had a 12 ton capacity and a nine foot wheelbase. A later version - see 37786 - had a ten
foot wheelbase. Earlier builds had "Morton"-type brakegear comprising braking on one side only of the wagon, but with levers on both.
Vehicles built from 1928, like this one, had "Freighter"-type comprising independent sets of brake blocks and levers each side.
The carrying capacity of 12 Ton open wagons was increased to 13 Tons during WW2. During their service with British Railways, many
of these wagons were converted to vacuum braking. This one was not; continuing in service with BR until 1957/58, when it was withdrawn
and sold to the Port of Bristol Authority, being renumbered PBA 58164. The wagon was one of three purchased by the Bluebell Railway
from Bristol in 1980.
The photo on the right shows the wagon as initially restored (Richard Salmon).
The PBA kept no record of the original numbers of their wagons. The vehicle had lost its numberplates, the only certainty being
its tare weight of 6 tons 8 cwt. A suitable number was therefore chosen.
30004 was one of a lot of 800 built in the Southern Railway's workshops at Ashford (Kent) in 1927 under order A128.
Subsequent research has shown that one of the few certainties about this wagon is that it cannot be 30004, as this was built
with Morton patent handbrake, and this wagon has the Freighter type.
Left: 30004 at Horsted Keynes during
Goods Train Weekend, April 2006,
As 30004 had been red-carded for defective floor timbers, an opportunity to repair the wagon during 2014 was seized upon following
an offer from Barry Jones' Carriage Shop to sponsor the materials.
Details of the work involved may be found here, and as per the photo at the top of the page, has now been correctly lettered.
An Illustrated History of Southern Wagons - Volume Four, by Messrs. Bixley, Blackburn, Chorley and King.
Published by The Oxford Publishing Company, 2002. ISBN 0 86093 564 7.
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 978 0 86093 597 1.
An excellent follow-up to the above, together with the other three books in the series.