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Mikkel

Road vans on foreign lines

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There's a certain charm to the pre-grouping road vans, I think - especially those that were specifically branded as such (personally I have a particular liking for the LSWR and SDJR ones).

 

But I don't suppose they ever left their own systems - or where they perhaps also used as general vans sometimes, and thereby ventured on to foreign rails?

Edited by Mikkel

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My understanding is that, in LBSCR terminology, a road van was a goods brake van with a compartment for small consignments. On this basis, I imagine that it would have stayed pretty much on its home system. Practice may have differed in other companies.

Best wishes

Eric

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Thanks Eric and Miss P both for responding.

 

Perhaps I should clarify: I meant the kind of goods van that was used for smaller packages and items that could be unloaded on the platform while the train was at the station. As you say Eric, it could be a goods brake van (such as the LBSC and LSWR ones), but my understanding is that it might also be a common van, such as this SDJR one (and early GWR ones that I have seen photos of).

 

The SDJR one has potential for a 4mm conversion from the Slaters' 10 ton MR van, if new doors are built - although it does involve a compromise as the doors will end up slightly off-set to one side (see this superb G1 conversion). But as you say, I suppose it is not very feasible that a van like that would stray far from the SDJR.

Edited by Mikkel
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Some (?all) the GWR ones seem to have been nominated to particular lines or services by painted number so I doubt they strayed very far.

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Hi Mikkel,

 

That photo and a drawing of the S&DJR example (No 1038) also appears in Bixley et al. An Illustrated History of Southern Wagons, Vol 1. Fifty were built for the S&D  at Derby in 1896 and became Midland property in 1914. Similar ones were built in 1899 by SJ Claye and others at Highbridge 1903-12. Fifty six were passed to the SR, becoming diagram 1404. They were 16'6" OH and 10' wheelbase.

 

There was also an earlier type, built 1893-4, with X bracing either side of the door. These were 16' long and had 9' wheelbase. Eventually those that passed to the LSWR became SR diagram 1403.

 

The caption for the latter says

...Many S&DJR covered vans bore the legend 'ROAD VAN', being used to provide a small consignment service to wayside stations under the supervision of the goods train guard. These 'road vans' had regular booked workings, taking in destinations well away from the S&D, including Nine Elms, Eastleigh and Exeter. The LSWR preferred to use its goods brake vans for such duties, which enabled the guard to sort the parcels etc., en route.

Nick

 

edit: ps the last of the early ones was scrapped in 1928 and the later type in 1933.

Edited by buffalo

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I would assume that as Brake Vans they would be treat as "not in common use" as the freight traffic carried  would be parcels/sundries.

 

Mark Saunders

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Nick's post indicates that the life of the non-brake S&DJR road vans, if performing the role Mikkel describes for such vehicles, was limited on the S&DJR. Moreover, I find it difficult to believe the S&DJR envisaged them being used them in that role, because there weren't that many trains tootling around on the S&DJR demanding such a role. Brake compartments of coaches provided the function perfectly well, and on a more regular basis. The large numbers built lead me to think the S&DJR definition of 'road van' was in fact no different to what other railways called a normal covered goods van, and that's exactly what the Midland the SR wanted them for.

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Thanks all for this! So it sounds as if the SDJR were unusual in calling an ordinary van a "road van" - a term that would normally have been used for a brake van - and it seems that their Road Vans could in fact be found outside the S&D, as per Nick's quote and Miss P's reasoning.

 

Thanks also for the details on the vans, Nick. The earlier type of SDJR "Road Van" with the x-bracing can be seen here, and I note that it is also called a covered goods van in that drawing.

 

Regarding the  later 1896 version, Steve Sykes has done a 2mm version of it here on RMweb. The finished result can be seen in the rather nice collection of wagons towards the bottom of this post.

 

For 7mm modellers there are replacement doors for a conversion from the Slaters MR van here (http://www.mremag.com/news/article/poppy's-woodtech-model-railway-products/17548), although that gives the incorrect assymetrical doors.

 

Edit:Links corrected etc.

Edited by Mikkel

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The numbers of these S&DJR vans passing into other ownerships (MR, LSWR/SR) seems to indicate either that the S&DJR was broke by c 1914 or that the amount of non-minerals goods traffic on the S&DJR had become a fraction of what it was 10 years earlier?

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The numbers of these S&DJR vans passing into other ownerships (MR, LSWR/SR) seems to indicate either that the S&DJR was broke by c 1914 or that the amount of non-minerals goods traffic on the S&DJR had become a fraction of what it was 10 years earlier?

 

Actually, the situation was quite the opposite. The S&DJR had come into existence as a 'joint' railway leased by a committee of the MR and LSWR in 1875/6. At that time, the S&D was in a dire financial situation and the agreement between the MR and LSWR had been set up very quickly in eight days primarily to avoid the B&E or GWR gaining control.

 

The early years of the twentieth century was a period of reasonable profits and substantial growth in goods traffic. In 1914 they decided to split all of the Traffic Dept goods wagons between the two parent companies. It appears to have been more of a 'rationalisation' than a response to any particular problems. In all, 1136 wagons and vans were divided equally between the two companies with 221 'service' vehicles remaining in the joint ownership. The latter, with some additions, mostly retained S&DJR livery until 1930. The service vehicles included 14 8T open peat wagons, 65 10T loco coal, 24 ballast, 14 miscellaneous, 41 brake vans and 63 'service duplicates'.

 

In most cases, the two companies received vehicles of their own design, or based on their own designs. Each company received a hundred covered vans. Other than the 'road vans' discussed here, it appears that the remainder of the covered vans were a mix of MR and LSWR designs. The fact that over fifty of the MR design eventually passed into SR ownership suggests that the Midland types were in the majority.

 

Although the two photos show vans labelled as 'road vans', I do wonder whether all were. We seem to have two possiblities, either all were labelled in this way and the S&DJR had a quite different understanding of the term, or only a few were and these were used for small deliveries to stations...

 

Nick

Edited by buffalo

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Although the two photos show vans labelled as 'road vans', I do wonder whether all were. We seem to have two possiblities, either all were labelled in this way and the S&DJR had a quite different understanding of the term, or only a few were and these were used for small deliveries to stations...

 

A very interesting point, Nick. The photo I linked to above is certainly an official one, and as we know there is always a danger in assuming that these represent something "typical" and everyday. A search on the HMRS site seems to suggest that the official Derby photos are a (the?) main source of photographic evidence on S&DJR stock, and Kevin Clapcott suggests that more research is needed on the S&DJR goods stock.

 

I suppose the S&DJR stock books would provide some clues, as would photos of everyday operation from the 1900s. I'll try to get in touch with Kevin Clapcott and via him perhaps Russell Garner to see what they have to say.

Edited by Mikkel

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The Cambrian had a nice one on the Mawddwy branch, basically they stuck some windows in the end of a regular van and gave it footboards and grab rails for the guard! Yes I shall be modelling one! 

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The Cambrian had a nice one on the Mawddwy branch, basically they stuck some windows in the end of a regular van and gave it footboards and grab rails for the guard! Yes I shall be modelling one! 

 

Sounds like an interesting vehicle. I suppose the guard didn't actually travel in it, as there wouldn't be anyone in the brake van then! In a way it's odd they didn't just make side doors in the regular brake vans (for easy loading/unloading), like the GWR did. Was there simply not room in the brake vans maybe, or did they have special regulations for the use of brake vans perhaps...

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The LSWR had Road Vans designed as such, as did the Metropolitan Railway (Ex R.O.D. based on the LSWR design). IIRC the GER also had a few.

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Almost all, if not all, the ex-ROD vans which went to the constituent LNER companies were used as brake vans and the side doors sealed up.

 

The NER had road vans which were basically longer goods vans and worked specific diagrams. They went into general goods traffic after Grouping, way too late for Mikkel.

 

I'd have suggested that unless required for a specific traffic these vans would have stayed very much on home lines.

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In response to earlier comment regarding not "straying far" I vaquely remember seeing an article in a book about NER brake vans and in passing it mentioned that some GWR versions were borrowed during the First World war. I guess that they needed some work to meet gauge restrictions.

 

Will do some digging when get home later.

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Nearly right

 

Found the reference; NER Brake Vans, Railway Bylines Special, I G Sadler 2003 

 

1920's shortage of brake vans on NER resulted in 20 being borrowed from GWR. Article lists numbers and alterations required. Loan lasted approximately one year but no photographic evidence has come to light.

 

There's a oddity for the modellers  

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Sounds like an interesting vehicle. I suppose the guard didn't actually travel in it, as there wouldn't be anyone in the brake van then! In a way it's odd they didn't just make side doors in the regular brake vans (for easy loading/unloading), like the GWR did. Was there simply not room in the brake vans maybe, or did they have special regulations for the use of brake vans perhaps...

 

I believe the GWR only had two brake vans with the side doors which were used on branch lines (I think one was at Cirencester). The road vans were operated on numbered routes – Mike the Stationmaster says above that the number was painted on the van though I've not noticed this. They used ordinary goods vans for these services. There were several hundred designated routes.

 

Richard

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Interesting stuff. Sounds like "Road Vans" was a more developed/institutionalized part of the pregrouping railways than I had realized.

 

I'm still intrigued by the mention in Bixley's History of Southern Wagons that the S&DJR Road Vans had scheduled workings off the S&D to Nine Elms, Eastleigh and Exeter (as mentioned by Nick above). It's debatable whether that is "foreign" lines of course, given the relationship between the S&DJR and LSWR, but it does seem to suggest that their Road Vans moved off on their own without an S&DJR guard around.

 

(Whether that justifies one in a GWR goods depot is a different matter though. For an S&DJR appearance in forign territory, perhaps it's safer to just convert a Slaters MR 5-planker to the S&DJR equivalent).

Edited by Mikkel
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I believe the GWR only had two brake vans with the side doors which were used on branch lines (I think one was at Cirencester). The road vans were operated on numbered routes – Mike the Stationmaster says above that the number was painted on the van though I've not noticed this. They used ordinary goods vans for these services. There were several hundred designated routes.

 

Richard

When I refer to 'painted number' that means the wagon number (which was painted on it).  I don't think the Road Van route/whatever number was painted on the vans but someone else might know different.

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Whilst  the 'Road Van' disappeared in the UK many years ago, they survived on some routes in France until the beginning of the 1980s. I saw one on the standard gauge line from Chateau-Arnoux to Digne, in the Alps de Haute-Provence, some time in the summer of that year. Knowing that fully-fitted freights without brake vans were the norm, I was a bit surprised to see a short freight, with diesel on one end, and a four-wheeled 'fourgon' on the other. Closer examination showed that this van had a small compartment for the guard, and a somewhat larger one for what we'd term 'sundries' traffic. I think it was even equipped with a scale, in case the stations it served didn't have one. This is a link to a photo on a French Forum:- http://forum.e-train.fr/viewtopic.php?p=202830&sid=b9adec14ae930f183bb6cd8b55c66ce6

I was surprised how late they appeared on the scene (1953 is quoted); presumably they dealt with parcels and sundries traffic on lines where passenger services were bustituted (as in the case of Digne), or operated by railcars with little space for parcels.

Within a year or two of my seeing this rarity, 'SERNAM' (the French equivalent of National Carriers, I suppose) had gone over to road transport for all but trunk hauls, and these vans went into the engineers' fleet.

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The M&SWJR had about a dozen Road vans, based on the LSWR design, but built by the Oldbury Railway Carriage Co., and the Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. in 1900 or 1901. 

 

All were passed to the GWR on Grouping, in 1923.  They remained on the M&SWJR initially, but at least one was taken into departmental service, and ended up at Laira.  Generally, in GWR service the loading doors on the side were boarded up.

 

All this taken from the 'Midland & South Western Junction Railway Vol 3 Carriages and Wagons'.

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I believe the GWR only had two brake vans with the side doors which were used on branch lines (I think one was at Cirencester). The road vans were operated on numbered routes – Mike the Stationmaster says above that the number was painted on the van though I've not noticed this. They used ordinary goods vans for these services. There were several hundred designated routes.

 

Richard

 

There is a 4mm kit available from Frogmore confederacy / Dart Castings - http://www.dartcastings.co.uk/frogmore/3943.php

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