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Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) and Singer Motors: misc_bsa&singer181

Covered carriage truck (telegraphic code PYTHON) No 580 of lot 1238 seen here when built in 1914

Covered carriage truck (telegraphic code PYTHON) No 580 of lot 1238 seen here when built in 1914. These four wheeled covered carriage trucks had an internal length of 27 feet ½ inches, thought sufficient for two motor cars. They made full use of the gauge clearance having an internal clear width of 7 feet 10 inches and had full width doors at each end to allow cars to be driven on. The framing was internal with vertical planking. Sixty of these carriage trucks had been built prior to 1933 in four lots and details are given in the table below. The Vacuum and Westinghouse dual braking allowed these to run in passenger trains on other company's railways.

Lot No Year Diagram Overall Length Wheelbase Brakes Quantity Running Numbers
L1106 1905 P13 31 foot 18 foot Vacuum Ten 521 – 530
L1134 1907 P14 31 foot 19 foot Vacuum Ten 531 – 540
L1197 1912 P14 31 foot 19 foot Vacuum and Westinghouse Twenty 541 – 560
L1238 1914 P19 31 foot 18 foot Vacuum and Westinghouse Nineteen 561 - 579
L1238 1914 P20 Strengthened 31 foot 18 foot Vacuum and Westinghouse One 580
L1650 post 1940 P22 32 foot 20 foot Vacuum and Wstinghouse Six 1 - 6

The earlier diagram P13 and P14 covered carriage trucks can be identified because their windows were the same width, but square. In the train at the Singer Motor Works (see misc_bsa&singer178) the first three are these earlier trucks while the fourth and fifth are diagram P19 trucks.

Although No 580 appeared to be identical to the other covered carriage trucks, it differed by being specially strengthened to make it suitable to carry elephants. This was because in addition to carrying motor cars, these covered carriage trucks were also used to carry Theatre scenery and the equipment and livestock associated with Travelling Circuses and Fairs. For instructions for the movement of Bertram Mill's Circus from Walsall to Leamington Spa in 1954, see here.

Robert Ferris