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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

Tyseley Shed: gwrt2997

Ex-Great Western Railway Special Cattle Van No 986 designed for use in passenger train traffic and seen in Tyseley Carriage Sidings on 27th April 1948

Ex-Great Western Railway Special Cattle Van No 986 designed for use in passenger train traffic and seen in Tyseley Carriage Sidings on 27th April 1948. This was one of twenty wagons built in 1909/10 under wagon lot L639 to diagram W7. They were originally numbered in the Goods wagon series Nos 68464 to 68483 and painted in the standard grey Good's livery, but about 1927 they were renumbered into the Passenger Van stock as Nos 981 to 1000 and painted brown with yellow lettering and black ends. They were given the telegraphic codename BEETLE B.

These Special Cattle Wagons had developed from standard large cattle wagons, but were fitted with both vacuum and Westinghouse air brake systems with clasp brakes on each wheel and with louvered vents at the top and bottom of the sides. In the first version (diagram W4), the airflow through the vents at the bottom could be adjusted by a sliding shutter mechanism, but in 1907 a trial wagon with a central groom's compartment was built as diagram W6. This had two animal compartments, each for three beasts, with more controllable ventilation (vertical sliding shutters for the large top vents, horizontal sliding shutters for the small bottom vents), a fodder rack and water troughs supplied from a roof top tank. It was quickly followed by the diagram W7 version which had slightly larger animal compartments, while the groom's compartment was provided with incandescent gas lighting and other passenger vehicle facilities, such as steam heating and communication chain connections. These Special Cattle Vans were popular with stock breeders when transporting their prize pedigree bulls to Shows and Market. The demand resulted in several subsequent versions being built to the same dimensions, but with the water tank omitted as according to official literature; ‘it was found that herdsmen travelling with cattle preferred to obtain water in pails from station taps which they knew was fresh.’ The table below lists all of the Special Cattle Vans built for the Great Western Railway and British Railways (western region). The Goods Wagon Series Running Numbers in addition to the subsequent Passenger Van Running Numbers are provided where these were changed. The later Lots with no ‘L’ prefix were built on Passenger Lots and had no Goods Wagon Series Running numbers. Those built after nationalisation had six wheels.

Lot Year Built Diagram No. Quantity Goods Wagon Series Running Numbers Passenger Van Running Numbers Length
L81   W4 2 38801 and 38802 948 and 949 17ft 9.5in
L87   W4 20 38803 to 38822 950 to 969 18ft 3.5in
L134   W4 10 38953 to 38962 970 to 979 18ft 3.5in
L168 1897 W4 10 38204, 38205, 38206, 38214, 38215, 38216, 38217, 38218, 38219 and 38220 941 to 947 three not renumbered 18ft 6in
L226 1898 W4 10 68123 to 68132 Not renumbered 18ft 3.5in
L453   W4 10 38201, 38202, 38203, 38207, 38208, 38209, 38210, 38211, 38212 and 38213 928, 929, 930, 934, 935, 936, 937, 938, 939 and 940 18ft
L577 1907 W6 1 68463 980 23ft
L639 1910 W7 20 68464 to 68483 981 to 1000 26ft
1380 1926 W7 10 Not Applicable 200, 203,205, 206, 210,214, 216, 219, 220 and 221 26ft
1467 1931 W13 10 Not Applicable 614, 615, 616, 617, 618, 619, 622, 623, 624 and 625 26ft
1605 1938 W14 11 Not Applicable 720 to 730 26ft
1728 1952 W17 10 Not Applicable 731 to 740 26ft (6w)
1774 1952 W17 20 Not Applicable 741 to 760 26ft (6w)
  1953 W17 10 Not Applicable 761 to 770 26ft (6w)

Robert Ferris