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South Eastern & Chatham Railway
10 Ton 5-plank Open Wagon No.50899

SECR 5-plank 50899

SECR 50899 in store at Kingscote, 18 February 2005, Chris Dadson

Built between 1920 and 1925, these SECR 10 Ton capacity 5-plank wagons were designated as "rebuilds" as they made use of the wheelsets and buffing gear from scrapped timber-underframed wagons, many of which previously had grease-lubricated axleboxes. However, the majority of the wagon was brand new, SECR diagram No. s2522/6 (later SR diagram No. 1347) being allocated. 200 were built by private contractor Cravens of Sheffield in 1920. More were built at Ashford Works (Kent).

The 17 feet long underframe with 9' 6" wheelbase was identical to that used on the 7-plank type (see 16194) except for a modification in order to use secondhand spindle-type buffers. The tare (empty) weight of this wagon is 5 Tons 14 cwt.

This wagon continued in service with British Railways until 1959/60, when it was withdrawn and sold to the Port of Bristol Authority, being renumbered PBA 60011. It was purchased from Bristol for the Bluebell Railway by members of the "Alf Brown Gang", arriving in June 1981.

The PBA kept no record of the original numbers of their wagons. The presently applied number "50899" is a work of fiction; SECR numbers probably not exceeding 20000. The wagon was restored some years ago, and used on our demonstration goods trains. It is now out of service awaiting repairs to some underframe members.

A recent (2008) examination of the solebars of this wagon have revealed that they were rolled by the Harts Hill Iron Company (of Brierley Hill, Dudley, Staffordshire) and are drilled to take Southern Railway number plates, not SE&CR ones. The wagon must therefore have been built post-Grouping by the SR.

A suitable number has been chosen for this wagon; this being SR 19211, which was one of a lot of 150 built under order number A15 at Ashford Works. It was completed during week-ending 14th. November 1925 and was withdrawn on 16th May 1959.

Recommended reading:

An Illustrated History of Southern Wagons - Volume Three, by Messrs. Bixley, Blackburn, Chorley and King; published by The Oxford Publishing Company, 2000.
ISBN 086093 4934.
This book may be available from the Bluebell Railway shop.

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