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London, Midland & Scottish Railway
12 Ton Open Merchandise Wagon PBA 66071

This wagon no longer exists.

LMS 12T Open, PBA No.66071 - Martin Skrzetuszewski - Nov 2005

PBA No.66071, November 2005. Martin Skrzetuszewski

This wagon was one of 12,200 12 Ton Open Merchandise wagons built to LMSR diagram D1892 between 1934 and 1939. There were detail variations between lots (4 different drawings were issued). Many of the vehicles to this diagram were built in the workshops of independent contractors, rather than those of the LMSR. Diagram D1892 included both wagons built with automatic vacuum brake and those with handbrake only.

From the remains of a BR replacement numberplate and the remains of an original builder's plate, we know that this particular wagon was built in 1934 by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company with automatic vacuum brake and "clasp" type brakegear. Its original running number is unknown, but BRCW built 400 wagons to lot 786 in 1934; their running numbers being in the series 400800 - 401199.

During WW2, the capacity of 12 Ton open wagons was increased to 13 Tons. This wagon continued in main line service until it was sold to the Port of Bristol Authority in 1966. The vacuum brake cylinder and pipework were removed and it was renumbered PBA 66071. Its new tare (empty) weight without vacuum brake was 6 Tons 16 cwt. It was sold from Bristol, arriving on the Bluebell Railway in 1981.

The frame of this wagon was always known to be in poor condition due to corrosion. Although it was intended to restore it to its original condition, its condition ensured it was at the end of the queue of heritage wagons requiring repair.

LMS 66071 LMS 66071

Above left is the remaining fragment of a BR replacement cast aluminium numberplate found on the wagon. The 10 Tons rating is incorrect, but we assume the 1934 build date is correct. On the right is the remaining fragment of the Birmingham RC&W cast iron builder's plate. The full plate would measure approximately 9.5" by 6.5". Martin Skrzetuszewski

LMS 66071

A view of PBA 66071 taken in November 2014. Although the timberwork is easily replaceable, the steel underframe members had by then already deteriorated significantly further. Martin Skrzetuszewski

Corroded-though underframe - Richard Salmon - 3 June 2022 After 40 years on the Bluebell and having never risen up the overhaul list to actually receive any attention, it had deteriorated extensively to the point that we're afraid to say that it was finally considered too far gone for economical repair. From an examination in 2021 we found the sole bars and cross members wasted away.

One sole bar (then main longitudinal structural side member) was so far gone that it had effectively split in two - see photo right, where the main-web is holed from top to bottom, and is only held together by a tiny part of the webs. With this all in mind, it was proposed by the BRPS Rolling Stock Sub-Committee that this wagon would be disposed of. Due to the limited availability of spares, it has been agreed that we would break this one up for donor parts (wheels, draw gear, buffers, etc.). While it is a great shame for it to be disposed of in this way, it does mean it isn't being done for no reason. Recovering parts also means we can convert another LMS wagon into LMS condition too. Hinges are immediately being re-used on the rebuilt SR Bulleid wagon.

Recommended reading:
An Illustrated History of LMS Wagons - Volume 1, by R.J.Essery. Published by OPC, 1981. ISBN 86093 127 7. This book has recently been reprinted (in soft-back form) and published by Noodle Books. ISBN13/EAN:9781906419332
An Illustrated History of LMS Wagons - Volume 2, by R.J.Essery. Published by OPC, 1983. ISBN 86093 255 9
The LMS Wagon, by Essery & Morgan. Published by David & Charles, 1977. ISBN 0 71537 357 9

These books are not all available new. Why not try the Carriage Shop at Horsted Keynes for a used copy on your next visit?

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Valid HTML 4.0 Transitional! Original text and photos © Martin Skrzetuszewski.
Additional research from Dave Smith.
Page last updated by Nick Beck, 30 December 2014 and Richard Salmon, 5 May 2017 and 8 June 2022.
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