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LMS Route: Nuneaton to Coventry

LMS Route: Coventry Loop Line

Three Spires Junction: lnwr_3spires3415

Brush Type 4 1842 with an empty cartic train comes off what became known as the Gosford Green branch on 4th August 1971

Brush Type 4 1842 with an empty cartic train comes off what became known as the Gosford Green branch on 4th August 1971. When it appeared, the Cartic-4 was a revolutionary solution to the problem of transporting cars by train. Simple flat wagons, both 4-wheeled and bogied, had been used for this traffic before, and there had been experiments with double-deck vehicles. These however were cumbersome and slow to load and unload. The Cartic-4 was a set of 4 wagons, semi-permanently coupled, with two decks that dipped between the bogies to provide adequate clearance within the loading gauge. Most importantly, they could be loaded by simply driving the vehicles on, flaps across the gaps between wagons enabling cars to pass over them. The only requirement was for a high-level loading ramp in addition to the normal platform height one. Due to the relatively lightweight nature of the loads, the wagons were articulated, each set being mounted on 5 small-wheeled Ridemaster bogies similar to those fitted to early Freightliner flats. As built, the wagons had posts and chain-link railings along the upper deck to make it safer for staff to walk to and from loaded cars. Each set was just over 200 feet long and capable of carrying up to 30 cars, although 28 was more normal. Taller cars could be loaded in the centre of the upper deck on each.

The prototype Cartic-4 set was built under two wagon lots at BR Ashford in 1964 and the individual vehicles were numbered B909300/1 (inner wagons) and B909400/1 (outers). Initially used for new car traffic from Ford, it was transferred by 1966 to Motorail services. A further 8 similar sets were built by Rootes in 1966-1967 but these were classified as coaching stock and numbered M95001-M95016 (outers) and M95051-M95066 (inners). The livery of this batch was the newly introduced Rail Blue, which was coincidentally very similar to the Ford blue carried by the prototype. The use of Cartic-4s on Motorail services ceased in 1978 and all the sets returned to freight use conveying new cars. The batch built for Motorail were renumbered in the air-braked series as 995001-995016 and 995051-995066, while the prototype set was tacked on the end as 995017/8 and 995067/8. The TOPS code of XMA was applied, with XMA-A for the outer wagons, XMA-B for inner wagons with brake cylinders and XMA-C for those without. The codes were changed to FQA (probably with the same AARKNDs) in 1983, and the livery remained blue. All were condemned in 1988, although two sets were reinstated for a couple of months.