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.
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
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
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.