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LMS Hopper Wagon 691804 History

LMS Hopper Wagon 691804The London Midland & Scottish Railway ordered the construction of these 20 ton hopper wagons for iron ore from various independent carriage and wagon builders in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It has been suggested that each batch was built using a different grade of steel for durability comparisons. Wagon No. 691804 was built by Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Company in 1936.

After withdrawal by BR it was sold to the National Coal Board, and used in a small coal yard next to Stockport station. Whilst the 2857 Society is primarily interested in items of GWR interest it was long felt that the opportunity should be taken to broaden the SVR’s magnificent collection of freight vehicles by the addition of vehicles from companies other than the GWR. Consequently when this LMS hopper wagon was spotted by a keen-eyed Society member as the Stockport coal yard was about to close it was purchased by the 2857 Society for the astonishingly low sum of £25-00. It was moved to the SVR by road, though the low loader was inadvertently routed to the valley by a highly scenic route involving steep hills, narrow lanes and sharp corners well to the west of Shropshire before final unloading at Highley Station on Saturday 23rd November 1985.

During 1988 it was given a brake overhaul and the worst of some major dents straightened out. The springs were in a deplorable state, with rusting between the leaves forcing them apart at all angles. It was decided that the cost of a professional overhaul of these springs would easily exceed the cost of the whole wagon, so Society members stripped them down themselves. Once the rust had been removed the spring leaves tended to spring back to their original shape, enabling new central buckles to be made and welded into position. Reassembly was followed by a repaint into LMS grey livery, the job being completed just in time for the wagon to feature in the Anniversary Goods Train organised by the Society to celebrate 2857’s 70th birthday. This goods train was one of the first to be sponsored entirely by photographers, voluntary contributions raising about £455. After cost of coal, publicity etc a small surplus was made, divided equally between the ‘2857 Society’ and the SVR Wagon Department who had given much encouragement and assistance in the wagon’s restoration.

After featuring in several photographers’ freight train demonstrations it failed to to secure a regular slot and was stored at Eardington for many years. A plan to make it more useful by converting it to a ballast hopper failed to come to fruition with other projects taking precedence. In 2012 an approach was made from a member of the Living Ironstone Museum and a sale subsequently agreed in 2013. The wagon was sold and transferred to the Living Ironstone Museum in early 2014. Details of this museum can be found on their website.

 

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