Quick search:

Full search

Parcel traffic in BR days - via passenger trains

Through vans - The brake ends of passenger trains, 2nd brakes and so on, were used to carry parcels-rated traffic as required and extra vans weren't ad hoc additions but rostered through vans in their own circuits. This was a long-standing practice although it began to diminish in BR days in favour of dedicated parcels trains. Express and Ordinary Passenger trains carried through vans and, especially with the humbler trains, all manner of types could be attached.

Luggage & parcels vans - A small number of prestigious long-distance expresses carried a high quality BG as part of the formation to help with passengers' luggage. It's only a pity that such expresses were photographed disproportionately frequently, giving the impression that they were common: in fact they were relatively rare.

On the ER these vans could be recognised because, along with the passenger carriages, they carried prominent destination boards on the roof - at least while ex-LNER BGs were being employed.

I've tried to separate the two types, each laid out in chronological order.

Through vans

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

In a scene from the early 1950s, "Royal Scot" No 46129 The Scottish Horse heads an express on the West Coast Main Line in which all the visible coaches are still ex-LMS Staniers. Behind the tender is a non-gangwayed ex-GNR 51'1 1/2" bogie van. Photo: Author's collection.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

B1 No 61325 heads south at an unknown location with a secondary express at the head of which a through van has been placed, an ex-GWR bogie siphon. Photo: author's collection.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

Ex-GWR 45xx No 4564 stands at Portmadoc with a 3-coach Ordinary Passenger train and two through vans - a SR PMV and a fairly massive Hawkesworth BG. 19th August 1958. Photo: Author's collection.

Click on the image for an enlargement

B1 61190

B1 No 61190 pauses at Peterborough sometime in the 1950s judging by the smart carmine and cream livery with an express passenger train while the crew takes water and parcels are loaded - into the van of the Thompson BTK(4) at the head of the train. Behind the tender is a through working of a SR Bogie "Van B". With thanks to Frank Routledge for resolving the questionable location I'd copied off the back of the print. :)

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

Ex-SECR D1 4-4-0 No 31506 drifts by with a secondary service between Reading and Guildford. The elderly 3-set with birdcage lookouts for the guard has had a SR-design Utility van placed at the head and, behind the loco, an ex-LMS cattle truck, which looks as if it's loaded. 15th June 1957. Photo: T.B. Owen. 15th June 1957.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Aylesbury parcels

A view at Aylesbury shows a Black Five taking water while a Porter loads wooden cases into what looks like an ex-LMS Stanier 50ft BG attached to a passenger train.

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

Bulleid "Battle of Britain" No 34086 219 Squadron waits outside Bournemouth with the stock for a modest 6-coach train for Waterloo. Two vans have been placed at the head, a BR Mk.1 BG and an ex-LNER/BR long-wheelbase CCT, possibly in an inter-regional circuit, although Common User practice was well advanced by now and observers at Waterloo recall seeing every conceivable type from the rest of the system working in and out!

Allocation records and the surrounding foliage suggests the summer of 1965 with Bournemouth shed presenting four rebuilt Pacifics, all with different head codes! Photo: author's collection, source unknown.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Luggage & parcels vans with heavy expresses

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

A classic view of the "Elizabethan" hauled by A4 60028 Walter K. Wigham passing Geneva Road in Darlington with the Up train, complete with a Thompson BG behind the tender, a formal part of the formation and carrying destination boards like the rest of the train. The 11-coaches of Thompson 63' stock extend some way into the distance. 28th July 1952. Photo: William Rogerson, Photomatic.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

It's August 1954 at Brixton as a spotless "Merchant Navy", No 35027, Port Line swings through the station with the "Golden Arrow". A gangwayed bogie van (without a guard's position) was usually placed at the head and on this occasion it was still a 1930s design coded by the SR as "GBL". Mike King advises that the telegraphic code in BR days was "corr. PMV".

The SR was the only one of the Big Four companies not to design a bogie van on the lines of its carriages and a goods-style van at the head of its most prestigious expresses never looked the part to my eye. BR Mk.1 BGs were eventually used. Photo: Author's collection, source unknown.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

Riddles 8P No 71000 Duke of Gloucester attacks Camden Bank with a heavy northbound express of around 14 coaches. It's spring 1957 and there's a mixture, perhaps 50:50, of ex-LMS Stanier and BR Mk.1s, most of the latter carrying the newly introduced maroon livery. Behind the tender is a Stanier 50ft BG. Photo: Peter Groom.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

It's the summer of 1959 and V2 No 60969 has an express near Kinnaber Junction. The coaches are a mixture of Gresleys (especially the catering), Thompsons and BR Mk.1s and, at the head, a Gresley 61'6" steel-panelled BG complete with roof board. Photo: E.R. Morten.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

And finally for now, Brush Type 4 D1923 has the "Bournemouth Belle" on a sunny winter's day near Basingstoke. The luggage & parcels van has been modernised by a BR Mk.1 BG in regional SR green. March 1967. Photo: Author's collection, source unknown.

Click on the image for an enlargement

To be continued.....

BR parcels trains: are here.

Latest News

Leeds - West Riding

Leeds map

A new section with its own menu.

Read more ...

LNER Passenger Trains and Formations

The book took 12 years for me and Clive to complete and, though I say so myself, Ian Allan have made a beautiful job of it (see full description and sample pages). Vol.2 about the Secondary Services should follow in a year or so's time.

Site Updates

Copyright © S.W.Banks 2014    Privacy Policy    Terms & Conditions    Design by PageUp