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British Railways
Flatrol SB 20 Ton Trolley Wagon B900036

B900036 carrying the de-wheeled tender of the Q-class loco - Rob Faulkner - 18 Dec 2011
B900036 carrying the de-wheeled tender of the Q-class loco, being shunted by No.323
(Rob Faulkner – 18 December 2011)

This wagon is a later, heavier, riveted version of SR 61107, the Bulleid cast steel well wagon. B900036 is one of a batch of trolley wagons for transporting large heavy loads, such as transformers and steel castings, into continental Europe via the Dover–Dunkirk train ferry. As a consequence it was built with a Westinghouse air through brake pipe in order to travel in European goods trains, which were air-braked. It was built in June 1958 to diagram 2/525 at BR's Lancing Works in West Sussex, under Lot No.2927. As it was built for the Southern Region, it was coded "Flatrol SB".

With the decline in the British heavy engineering industry, and the improvement in road heavy-haulage, the vehicle became surplus to traffic requirements and was placed into departmental service with the Chief Civil Engineer (SR) in 1978, becoming DB900036. It was subsequently modified with a steel floor, track stops and hitching points to carry tracked excavators. Its new TOPS diagram number was ZV189B and it was coded "ZVR" (two-axle departmental wagon, "V" type, dual air and vacuum pipes).

B900036 was designed and built with volute spring suspension. Coil springs were substituted for the volutes later in its life, and the resultant lively riding led to a 25 mph speed restriction on this and similar wagons. There was no place for such wagons on the modern (post-privatisation) railway and it was acquired by Bluebell for use as a trolley wagon for smaller locomotive boilers and other uses.


BR diagram book drawing of the Flatrol SB


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Additional research by Ted Crawforth
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Last updated 11 May 2017 by Jon Elphick and Richard Salmon 24 May 2017
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