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A definition of "van" please?


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Sorry if this is s primary school question (but I learn things by asking questions when I can’t find out for myself) - could anyone help me with a definition of “van” in a train formation please?

 

I’m using the Beckett book to get together some credible if not authentic train formations and as I interpret page 77 I believe the portion arriving in Wolverhampton from Shrewsbury would be:

 

1] Siphon G

2] Van

3] Full brake (non-corridor)

4] Siphon J

5] Brake Composite 70

6] Brake Third Corridor

7] Full Brake

 

Could anyone tell me what the “van” is likely to be – a suggestion of a suitable diagram reference may avoid my follow-up question :)

 

Thanks.

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46 minutes ago, Paul H Vigor said:

GWR terminology: "Van" - what does it mean?

GWR

 

timetable

 

formation

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By The Great Bear,
September 22, 2013 in UK Prototype Questions

If you click the three dots at the top right of the first post it gives you a "share" option that will show a link to the thread that can then be copied and pasted to produce a link like this. 

 

Andi

Edited by Dagworth
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This is a question that has baffled me for years.  It appears to me that if the expressions "Van" or "Large Van" are used it could be anything.  Where somethng more specific is used, eg "Full Brake", "Siphon G", "Siphon J", "Fruit D" or "GUV", there is an operational reason for specifying that particular type of van.  Then there are some baffling expressions.  What, for example, is a "News Van"?  Smart-alec answer: a van large enough to carry lots of newspapers.  There used to be a couple of full brakes branded to work between Paddington and Paignton.  Their numbers were, I think, quoted in the carriage working programme.  The same applied to the Siphons G allocated to the Paddington - Penzance Postal.  On the other hand, a brand applied to a van restricting it to a particular working was no guarantee that anyone would take a blind bit of notice.  Why otherwise would a Siphon G branded to work between Whitland and Kensington be loaded with flowers at Weymouth?

 

Chris 

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Thanks for the link to the previous discussion, it seems that I am not the first person to feel unclear!

 

I thought I had skimmed this branch of the forum thouroughly before opening my mouth, it had not hit me that the answers may be somewhere else on RM Web.

 

A re-reading of what was in the previous discussion is in order, there are lots of grains of information in there, but a definitive answer has not jumped out at me. My conclusion at the moment is that it is probably going to be a gangwayed bogie vehicle without passenger accommodation - I'll see what's about...

 

Pete.

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2 minutes ago, chrisf said:

This is a question that has baffled me for years.  It appears to me that if the expressions "Van" or "Large Van" are used it could be anything.  Where somethng more specific is used, eg "Full Brake", "Siphon G", "Siphon J", "Fruit D" or "GUV", there is an operational reason for specifying that particular type of van.  Then there are some baffling expressions.  What, for example, is a "News Van"?  Smart-alec answer: a van large enough to carry lots of newspapers.  There used to be a couple of full brakes branded to work between Paddington and Paignton.  Their numbers were, I think, quoted in the carriage working programme.  The same applied to the Siphons G allocated to the Paddington - Penzance Postal.  On the other hand, a brand applied to a van restricting it to a particular working was no guarantee that anyone would take a blind bit of notice.  Why otherwise would a Siphon G branded to work between Whitland and Kensington be loaded with flowers at Weymouth?

 

Chris 

Chris, 

 

If nothing else your confusion gives me some comfort!

 

I do have a "monster" and "giant" that I made up from kits some years ago that are doing nothing important, I could perhaps slot one of those in as the formation build progresses - at aleast until the Swindon Police issue a summons for my arrest for malicious use of non-gangwayed vehicles.

 

Pete.

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12 minutes ago, Star-rider said:

non-gangwayed vehicles

If it were intended to be a corridor vehicle it would have an X next to it in the Marshalling Diagram.

 

It is unlikely to be a goods vehicle.  I have seen break thirds described as van thirds though that could refer to vehicles with luggage compartments but no brake.  Some are described as "wingless vans" which meant without lookouts because of the loading gauge.  Some GWR vans were banned on the LNWR because a lookout struck the spider bridge at Crewe once.  If i were up to me, I would assume it was any van type vehicle that was available and not to be intended to be used by the guard as a brake van.

 

What train is it (ie time) and where did it come from prior to Shrewsbury?  The previous train may give a clue.

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11 minutes ago, Brassey said:

If it were intended to be a corridor vehicle it would have an X next to it in the Marshalling Diagram.

 

It is unlikely to be a goods vehicle.  I have seen break thirds described as van thirds though that could refer to vehicles with luggage compartments but no brake.  Some are described as "wingless vans" which meant without lookouts because of the loading gauge.  Some GWR vans were banned on the LNWR because a lookout struck the spider bridge at Crewe once.  If i were up to me, I would assume it was any van type vehicle that was available and not to be intended to be used by the guard as a brake van.

 

What train is it (ie time) and where did it come from prior to Shrewsbury?  The previous train may give a clue.

 

Thanks for engaging with this.

 

It is part of the 21:50 Shrewsbury to Paddington service. It is noted that the "van" had previously worked the 13:18 Birkenhead to Shrewsbury.

 

Pete.

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1 hour ago, Star-rider said:

It is noted that the "van" had previously worked the 13:18 Birkenhead to Shrewsbury.

 

 

Unfortunately I can't find that train in my references.  It is slightly odd that it was en route so long.  The late departure of the 21:50 from Shrewsbury and the fact that it only has 2 passenger carriages suggests it is a parcel train or similar and would have arrived in Paddington very late.  

 

I have found other earlier ex-Birkenhead trains with vehicles that could have been remarshalled and held at Chester but again these are only described as "van" so no help I am afraid.

 

The 1946 GWR Working Time Table has a 22:15 from Shrewsbury listed as a Passenger and Parcels train.  It only ran as far as Paddington on a Sunday where it arrived at 5:20.  All other days it ran to Birmingham

 

 

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In the summer service of 1961 there was a 20.55 Birkenhead to Padddington which arrived at Paddington at 05.20.  It had rather a lot of vans in the formation:

 

Brake Van, Birkenhead to Paddington.  I'm guessing a full brake of some description

Siphon G 1002 or 1349, Birkenhead to Paddington

Brake Van, Aberystwyth to Paddington.  Another full brake, I suppose

Siphon G, Chester to Paddington

Van, Birkenhead to Paddington

Van, as required, Birkenhead to Reading

Brake Van, 28 or 161, Wolverhampton to Basingstoke, Saturdays only

 

The two "Vans" could be anything, possibly Siphons.  The two vehicles with specified numbers may well have borne suitable branding.

 

Chris

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Untitled_3.jpg.bed1e8be33971c19f141da843afc62a8.jpg

 

GWR Winter 1935-36 - even more vans

 

PS: + means non-gangwayed.  The return balance workings are on the right. SX Saturdays excepted SO Saturdays only MO Mondays only

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Although I know next to nothing about the GWR/BR(W), I am a great fan of the Warwickshire Railways site, which has a first-class set of images from a wide range of dates, inclusing lots of Birkenhead trains with various vans up front. If you use the search facility with words such as 'siphon' or 'monster', it saves hunting for hours.

 

I like this one, because the might of the loco, and the "old orange box" look if the first van are in such contrast. https://www.warwickshirerailways.com/gwr/gwrrj1774.htm

 

These 'jumble sale' trains are very characterful!

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As self-appointed judge in this enquiry, after gathering the evidence, opinions and conjecture it seems that the definition of a van must be:

 

1] A sizeable bogie vehicle

2] Likely to be gangwayed if positioned in the middle of the train

3] Would have no passenger accommodation

4] Would not necessarily have guard accommodation but may have it if the vehicle deployed was so furnished.

5] Would not necessarily have a facility for braking the train, but may have it if the vehicle deployed was so furnished.

6] Could be identical to another specified vehicle in the train e.g. a full brake or Siphon even though not noted as such.

 

The wonderful thing is that as it is so vague it is going to be hard for anyone to tell me what I have finally chosen is wrong. Unless of course someone replies “I have a photo of the van on the 21:50 Shrewsbury to Paddington, it carried the running number 1234 and was built to diagram M99 at the inception of the GWR and is still running on that service today. In fact I had tea in there this afternoon with the guard and the Blonde One from ABBA, we ate rusks cooked on the back of the fireman’s shovel”.

 

Whilst that would be a definitive answer it would inevitably lead on to further problems. No one makes a kit of an M99 or worse still someone did, but it is now part of the Coopercraft range. There is a specialist supplier based in Goole who produces transfers but only in Gauge One and for the period around 1990 when it briefly carried Railfrieght Petroleum Sector livery. But would this dishearten me?

 

No. Let’s get philosophical for a moment; someone once asked “if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?” The truth is that as best as I can remember there are only three people who have ever ventured into my loft to look at my model railway and they would not know a Siphon from a sink plunger so I can really get away with anything. The only problem is that I am in the metaphorical forest and if there is a tree falling I want to hear it so that I can run away if necessary. The point is that I want to reasonably satisfy myself, nothing more.

 

The preceding vehicle is noted as a Siphon G and I have an outside framed Mainline model to hand for which some alternative 3D printed bogies are due to turn up tomorrow from SRMW / Shapeways. My current thinking is that for my “van” I could relatively cheaply obtain a Lima inside framed Siphon G, it would mean ordering yet another set of bogies, but at least it would offer some further variety to the train. If anyone wants to free me from my delusions please shout up.

 

Only the gentlest application of Rule One is going to be required, after all I am not aiming to make an accurate model of an historic service, merely to put together an interesting train that may credibly have been seen somewhere around the West Midlands in the 1930’s (and not be more than 7 coaches long ‘cos it won’t fit in my station). In fact if the Van becomes troublesome it could just disappear – you know what I am saying…:triniti:

 

As of this morning that is the solution. It is perhaps not perfect but there again nothing ever is -  the Blonde One from ABBA is now 70 and your rusk has an after-taste of coal dust.

 

Stay safe.

 

Pete.

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17 hours ago, Star-rider said:

 

 

I do have a "monster" and "giant" ..........arrest for malicious use of non-gangwayed vehicles.

 

 

 You'll get let off easy as a first offense on the MONSTER because the GIANT has a corridor. (in the late 40s)

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1 hour ago, M.I.B said:

 You'll get let off easy as a first offense on the MONSTER because the GIANT has a corridor. (in the late 40s)

 

It's not that I in any way doubted you, but I just took a look in the box marked "kits that I built when I still had hair and need re-working one day" to see what was there.

 

It turns out that they were a Monster and a Python - I suppose that neither are things that that you would want roaming loose in your bedroom in the dark hence my confusion.

 

Pete.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

Although I know next to nothing about the GWR/BR(W), I am a great fan of the Warwickshire Railways site, which has a first-class set of images from a wide range of dates, inclusing lots of Birkenhead trains with various vans up front. If you use the search facility with words such as 'siphon' or 'monster', it saves hunting for hours.

 

I like this one, because the might of the loco, and the "old orange box" look if the first van are in such contrast. https://www.warwickshirerailways.com/gwr/gwrrj1774.htm

 

These 'jumble sale' trains are very characterful!

 

Thanks, I am slightly familiar with it, I wish there was a similar web site of such quality for the line beyond Handsworth.

 

Last time I was browsing the site I came across a special service consisting of a Grange hauling thirty-odd conflats and containers from the Vono factory near Tipton out towards the east coast.

 

With it's bespoke head board it would make an interesting train, I rather fancy a stab at that in a reduced way - but that's a whole other discussion.

 

Pete.

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7 hours ago, Brassey said:

Untitled_3.jpg.bed1e8be33971c19f141da843afc62a8.jpg

 

GWR Winter 1935-36 - even more vans

 

PS: + means non-gangwayed.  The return balance workings are on the right. SX Saturdays excepted SO Saturdays only MO Mondays only

 

The time you have taken to look into this is appeciated.

 

My one and only source has been the WS Beckett book which I have heard does contain some errors, but it is all I have to work with.

 

I'm reluctant to copy a page as I would prefer to respect the autor's copyright but I've extracted the relevant bits in the hope that is OK.

 

A note has been made of the model that I am intending to put into service, as usual any constructive comment is happily accepted.

 

 

Shrewsbury-Paddington.pdf

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I was just about to suggest the same thing,  He has the Oct 46 - May 47 document on there which has proved invaluable to my formation research (even if I really need the next year's equivalent.)  They do appear fairly often on ebay, although the prices vary wildly, I got very excited to find the winter 47 CWP on ebay earlier this year only to be disappointed with it went for well over £100 (all the more painful when you just want a scan of it!)

 

@Star-rider I have seen a siphon J available as a 3d print available on Shapeways which might be an option, I managed to source a Blacksmith kit about 10 years back which is awaiting a spot on my workbench for finishing...

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43 minutes ago, The Fatadder said:

I was just about to suggest the same thing,  He has the Oct 46 - May 47 document on there which has proved invaluable to my formation research (even if I really need the next year's equivalent.)  They do appear fairly often on ebay, although the prices vary wildly, I got very excited to find the winter 47 CWP on ebay earlier this year only to be disappointed with it went for well over £100 (all the more painful when you just want a scan of it!)

 

@Star-rider I have seen a siphon J available as a 3d print available on Shapeways which might be an option, I managed to source a Blacksmith kit about 10 years back which is awaiting a spot on my workbench for finishing...

 

That does sound a heafty price for a book or document, but as with everything an item's true value is what someone is prepared to pay for it! It would probably be OTT for my needs (as I say I am looking for credible rather than accurate) but I can see that it would have a value to an enthusiast more serious on the subject than myself.

 

Unfortunately it is the same with the SRMW/Shapeways Siphon J. I had noted it when searching for 3D printed bogies but the price of it is beyond what I am prepared to reach to at the moment (about £120.00 for body, roof, chassis and bogies). I may go that way as a last resort, but there are other vehicles in this formation to buy and get on with yet so I might just keep looking around and hope that something else turns up over the next couple of months.

 

The ideal solution would be for somone to revive the Blacksmith range which is currently locked up with Coopercraft but that would take time. I missed out on a built Blacksmith one on Ebay by a pound over my maximum bid a couple of weeks ago and have since regretted not going for it more aggresively.

 

The thought of having a first attempt at scratchbuilding has crossed my mind - I even downloaded a drawing, but I think I would need fo find a source of correctly embossed pastic sheet for the planking, I doubt that I would have the patience or skill to scrible something myself.

 

Pete.

 

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One other option worth considering is dropping a line to Worsley Works to see if they will do sides.  They are apparently very receptive to suggestions and there are a few builds on the forum which originated in that way.  My Blacksmith siphon J build is basically a set of Blacksmith sides rebuilt with a Lima siphon roof and a scratch built underframe due to damage in the kit. 

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19 minutes ago, The Fatadder said:

One other option worth considering is dropping a line to Worsley Works to see if they will do sides.  They are apparently very receptive to suggestions and there are a few builds on the forum which originated in that way.  My Blacksmith siphon J build is basically a set of Blacksmith sides rebuilt with a Lima siphon roof and a scratch built underframe due to damage in the kit. 

 

Yes, I may get in touch wil Allen, I have made he odd purchase from him in the past and he has always been helpful.

 

As you say, the sides and ends are the main fight.

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3 hours ago, Star-rider said:

 

The time you have taken to look into this is appeciated.

 

My one and only source has been the WS Beckett book which I have heard does contain some errors, but it is all I have to work with.

 

I'm reluctant to copy a page as I would prefer to respect the autor's copyright but I've extracted the relevant bits in the hope that is OK.

 

A note has been made of the model that I am intending to put into service, as usual any constructive comment is happily accepted.

 

 

Shrewsbury-Paddington.pdf 418.04 kB · 5 downloads


I copied the original GWR document which is well out of copyright by now. I don’t have the Beckett book which is outside of my period which is 1912. 
 

You have made a great start on the formation. I too have a couple of earlier Haye 70 footers in my pile that would have come down from Birkenhead. I model from Shrewsbury down towards Hereford so have some info on the area. Some of it is at Kew on the through services. Information on the local services formations is a lot harder to come by though!

 

There are some Working Time Tables on the Clemens web site if you have not found them yet

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3 hours ago, chrisf said:

My first port of call for CWPs is usually Robert Carroll's e-group.  He has a truly remarkable collection of these elusive documents.

 

Chris

Google failed me so how do I find this e-group please

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