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Parcels traffic in BR days, from 1948 to Sectorisation

... under construction...

This topic will be in chronological order from 1948 to relatively modern times with trains first, then vehicles; new additions inserted accordingly. and begins coincidentally with appearance of "Parcels Traffic in Late BR Days" in the August Railway Modeller . It will, as far as possible, show captioned pictures that I haven't used before in the articles that looked this traffic in LMS/LMR, LNER/ER, and SR eras.

The shorthand is as established before, the principal braked and other types:
BG = bogie van, gangwayed
BV = bogie van, non-gangwayed
B = 6w and 4w, type described
CCT = covered carriage truck
PMV = miscellaneous van, originally applied to the SR utility vans
vanfit = goods van with vacuum brake (italics for goods vehicles).

M7 parcels

The closest I can get to Nationalisation shows an inter-regional transfer c1948, between Acton (WR) and Stewarts Lane (SR). This picture appeared with a letter in Model Rail but the description got a little corrupted and is corrected here.

The train set off behind a WR loco and was taken over along the way, at Kensington Olympia, by a SR one. In this case it's M7 No 30038, in Southern Railway livery with BR lettering, and is seen passing through the already-closed station at West Brompton. I can identify the leading vehicles before they disappear in the smoke. The goods wagons are shown in italics:

4w van

ex-SR

vanfit

ex-LMS

BG

ex-LNER

61'6"

BG

ex-GNR or ECJS

56'6"

vanfit

vanfit

conflat

vanfit

vanfit

4w van

ex-SR

BV?

ex-SR

... remainder unclear...

The ex-SR 4w vans were the long wheelbase ones, of which construction was to continue until 1955. Presence of the pre-Grouping bogie van is a good reminder of how long such stock lasted.

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A4 No 60020 Guillemot in 1950 at Croft Spa with an Up parcels/empties. The most notable feature is the presence of four ex-GWR bogie siphons in inter-regional rosters. Photo: Photomatic.

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New addition - The date is believed to be 1950 as No 4935 Ketley Hall runs through Leamington Spa with a marvellous assortment of vans. Photo: author's collection.

CCT

ex-LMS

vanfit

BV

ex-GNR

51'1 1/2" milk brake

BG

ex-GWR

Collett

Bogie siphon G

ex-GWR

... remainder unclear/not visible...

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This scene from 1952 at Saughton Junction behind B1 No 61241 doesn't look to me so much a parcels train as a stock movement. It may even be delivery of a horse box to a station that needed one at short notice, with the guard riding in the bogie van.

BG

ex-LNER

63' Thompson

horse box

ex-LMS

Click on the image for an enlargement

Parcels 45603

A grand scene near Rugby in July 1958 as "Jubilee" No 45603 Solomon Islands forges away with an Up "Parcels" train:

vanfit

vanfit

BG

ex-LNER

63' Thompson steel-panelled

B

ex-LNER

4w brake van, D.120

PMV

ex-SR

vanfit

vanfit

vanfit

... remainder unclear/not visible...

The PMV could have been built by the SR or by BR after the War. The ex-LNER 4w brake van dated back to the late 1920s and may have been the oldest vehicle in the train

B17 61629

Long since relegated from Top Link duties, B17 No 61629 Naworth Castle is seen on 29th September 1959 only days before withdrawal with, according to the photo caption "Lowestoft (Up Parcels)" - but thanks to Mike Boakes, it's a Down Parcels at "Iron bridge", just under half a mile from Lowestoft station. Clearly photographed in order to capture the loco, only the first three vehicles can be seen. Photo: Transport Treasury E98/1:

B(4w)

ex-LNER

passenger brake van D.120

BG

BR Mk.1

BG

ex-LNER

Gresley 61'6" on turnbuckle trussing

... remainder out of sight...


B1 61241

B1 No 61021 Reitbok passes through Marsh Lane cutting, a mile or so east of Leeds City, destination York or Hull, with a marvellously mixed parcels train. A quick scan of the stock suggests vehicles from three of the Big Four companies, some BR, and a fair sprinkling of AVB freight vans. The date appears to be late '50s or early '60s when the loco was allocated to York. Photo: Author's collection.

CCT

LMS/BR*

30'5" Motor Car Van

CCT

BR

BV

ex-SR Bogie B

vanfit

vanfit

BG

BR Mk.1

vanfit

CCT

ex-LNER

CCT

ex-LNER

vanfit

CCT

BR

*The ex-LMS design Motor Car Van at the head was a relatively rare vehicle - the design originated in 1938 when 150 were built, but BR added 74 more (from Earlestown and Swindon) between 1951-56, nearly all lasting into the 1970s. This one was almost certainly probably carrying normal parcels traffic.

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New addition - "Hall" No 5933 Kingsway Hall passes the signal box at Kennington Junction with a short parcels train comprising vehicles from all the former Big Four companies except for the GWR. Date unknown, possibly the early 1960s. Photo: author's collection.

CCT

ex-LNER

4w "extra long" 37'6"

BG

ex-LMS

PMV

ex-SR

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New addition - A miserably dull day at Woodford Halse sees Riddles 5MT No 73159 pass through the station with a long Up parcels train. The date is around 1960 and most of the vehicles are relatively modern. Photo: Author's collection.

vanfit

ex-GWR

former fruit van D

GBV

BR standard

BG

BR Mk.1

BG

BR Mk.1

BG

BR Mk.1

BSK

BR Mk.1

BG

Thompson deal

BG

BR Mk.1

... remainder unclear...

Note the empty goods brake van and, barely visible among the BGs, a passenger carriage travelling as ECS. A Thompson deal BG is further back with, possibly, another beyond it but alas too blurred to be sure. Unusually, not a single ex-LMS BG is in the formation!

Click on the image for an enlargement

5982 Pcls Sonning

A dozen years after Nationalisation, some of the Big Four stock was still in regional rosters but quite a lot had got dispersed. In this 1961 view 5982 Harrington Hall is in Sonning Cutting with an Up working of only four vans, but the same number of design origins:

CCT

BR

BG

ex-LNER teak

61'6"

BG

ex-LMS

50'

Bogie siphon G

ex-GWR

50'


D5606

D5606 heads a down parcels past Holloway in August 1961. Departure from King's Cross was mid-morning, running nearly all-stations to Hitchin and Baldock.The load varied a good deal, on this day being just two vehicles:

vanfit

BG

BR Mk.1


60500 parcels

Before Nationalisation non-LNER vehicles running into King's Cross were unknown because the Big Four companies had their own rosters and termini in the Capital. This changed gradually in BR days as stock became more mixed (although the "foreigners", which tended to arrive in the "Up" direction as strengtheners or stand-ins, did not work back: they taken out, stored, and then be worked as dedicated ECS specials to LMR or WR centres).

This picture taken at Hadley Wood in December 1961 shows A2 No 60500 Edward Thompsonwith the Newcastle-KX parcels. Resolution of the whole train is poor but the leading vehicle is clearly an "ex-GWR" Hawksworth BG, three batches of which were built under BR in 1949-51.

As far as can be ascertained, the stock comprises:

BG

ex-GWR

64' Hawksworth

vanfit

vanfit

BG

BR Mk.1

GUV

BR

... remainder out of sight...


Parcels 46237

A long, well-loaded "parcels" train could be heavy and it's unfortunate that one as long as this is disappearing round the curve! The date was 11th April 1962 and No 46237 City of Bristol is on the Fast Line in charge of a Down working near Preston.

Like so many trains in this period, much 4-wheel stock was included. The visible part of the train until it gets too blurred to make out, comprised:

vanfit

vanfit

BG

BR Mk.1

vanfit

GUV

BR Mk.1

PMV

ex-SR

BG

ex-LMS

50'


Parcels 45672

"Jubilee" class No 45672 Anson lays its exhaust over its "parcels" train near Preston. The formation is unusual in several ways. beginning with the horse box that has been placed behind the tender - possibly because it's loaded, or simply as a movement of empty stock. .Another unusual aspect, although probably by chance, is the apparent separation between 4-wheel and bogie stock. The date was 14th April 1962 and as far as I can tell the composition of the train was:

horse box

BR Mk1

vanfit

vanfit

vanfit

vanfit

PMV

ex-SR

vanfit

vanfit

vanfit

vanfit

GBV

ex-LNER goods brake van

bogie vans

(x5)


60056 parcels

In the summer of 1962, A3 No 60056 Centenary" has the Up Newcastle-King's Cross parcels near Hadley Wood. Only five vehicles make up the train but the oldest design dates back to 1928. In this case there is only one goods vanfit:

BG

ex-LNER

61'6" steel-panelled

B(4w)

ex-LNER

4w brake van, D.120

vanfit

CCT

BR

BG

BR Mk.1

A regional weighting is evident in two of the five vehicles. The second van along is not a "pigeon van" as many modellers believe (see details with a close-up of one of these brake vans lower down).

46201 Hest Bank

Ex-LMS 46201 Princess Elizabeth storms Hest Bank on the WCML with a parcels train in June 1962. To the casual observer the leading three bogie vans are identical BR MK1 BGs, but a closer look shows how very differently the maroon livery has weathered, from quite a dingy one at the back, to a recently refurbished body at the head with freshly applied slate grey panels on the double doors.

The stock further back is harder to resolve but includes at least one pre-nationalisation bogie van, several vanfits, and BR GUVs.

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One of pair of small prints taken at Coventry, this one in early 1961, with Ivatt 2-6-2T No 41285 with a short parcels train consisting of two SR-design vans: note the guard leaning out of the brake van on the rear, with its periscopes on the roof. Photo: Author's collection

PMV

ex-SR

BV(4w)

ex-SR

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Another small print showing a short parcels train leaving Coventry for Nuneaton, 13.7.62, this time behind Ivatt 2-6-2T No 41231. The load this time is a single LMS-design 50ft BG (although it could have had the gangways removed and be classed as a BV). Photo: Author's collection

Click on the image for an enlargement

46160 parcels

Ex-LMS "Royal Scot" No 46160 Queen Victorias Rifleman at Farrington Jc in August 1962 with a parcels train. Only the first four vehicles may be indentified but what a selection they are, leading with two SR-designs and a Thompson deal BG!

PMV

ex-SR

BV

ex-SR Bogie B

BG

ex-LNER

61'6" Thompson deal

BG

BR Mk.1

... remainder out of sight...


61158 parcels

A scene from 1963 at East Leake, showing another inter-regional parcels train, in this case from Banbury (WR) to York (ER), behind B1 No 61158. Only the leading part can be seen and identified as follows:

BV

ex-SR bogie B

CCT

BR

CCT

ex-LNER

Van

ex-GWR Fruit D

Van

ex-GWR Fruit D

... remainder out of sight...


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New addition - It can be hard to draw the line between a fully fitted express freight made up with vanfits and a "parcels" train. Drawing away from Woodford Halse under the bridge carrying the former SMJ towards the Banbury Branch is "Hall" No 6982 Melmerby Hall with what appears to be a fitted express freight which has had a BR GUV attached to the head, possibly only as far as the yards at Banbury.

Almost hidden among the vanfits is an ex-LNER goods brake van. April 1964. Photo: Paul Riley.

Click on the image for an enlargement

L1 67714 Aylesbury

An undated scene at Aylesbury (which I wrongly captioned off the back of the print as "Rickmansworth" in a Model Rail article, and in the Index here, and nobody has spotted until now; thank you Nigel Pitt)! Thompson L1 No 67714 is marshalling an ex-LMS 42ft CCT, a classic multi-purpose vehicle that was used for all kinds of parcels traffic.

. B1 61392

A slight enlargement of a picture showing B1 61392 setting back at Leeds City in 1965 prior to departure with a parcels train. Many vanfits were in this train of which the leading part can be identified:

vanfit

CCT

BR

BG

BR Mk.1

BG

BR Mk.1

vanfit

PMV

ex-SR

... remainder unclear ...


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D9018 Ballymoss on 22st January 1967 approaches Hertford North with the Edinburgh-King's Cross parcels. Vans from all the Big Four companies can be seen with, from the rear:

CCT

BR

Bogie siphon

ex-GWR

CCT

BR

BG

ex-LMS 50'

Vanfits (x4)

Misc., one ex-SR

BG

ex-LNER 61'6" teak-panelled

GBV

BR

PMV

ex-SR

BG

BR Mk.1

After which the vehicles repeat...

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A fine evening sun slants across the fells at Tebay as 70004 William Shakespeare attacks the gradient with a north-bound parcels train. The last of the Big Four designs, many built by BR, were still running and the BR blue era was just beginning. Photo: S.V. Blencowe collection

The seven vehicles comprises:

PMV

ex-SR

PMV

ex-SR

BG

ex-LNER 61'6" steel-panelled

PMV

ex-SR

CCT

BR

PMV

ex-SR

BG

ex-LMS 50'


Click on the image for an enlargement

37114 March

A scene from the 1970s shows 37114 at March in 1976. Over half of the load consists of BR GUVs and Mk.1 BGs, but there are still Big Four design vehicles including ex-SR 4w PMVs (Vans or CCTs) and a high roof, ex-LMS CCT.

Parcels at Ais Gill

This is 25120 on the Settle & Carlisle again, after the photographer chased the train from Culgaith (picture shown in the Railway Modeller article). With a load of 17 bogie vans, the Class 25 was probably not moving very quickly up the 1:100 gradients to Ais Gill where it was captured again - indeed, I didn't at first realise that this was the same train! So it's exactly the same vehicles at the head, but coming off the curve, closer to the camera and looking like a shorter train!

BG

GUV

BG

GUV(x5)

... remainder out of sight...


27014 Annan

A Scotish scene from the 1980s with 27014 passing the signal box at Annan. Among the BGs and GUVs, two saloons are being conveyed as Empty Coaching Stock (ECS)

25161_Bangor

A mid-1980s scene at Bangor as 25161 runs through in April 1984 with a modest Red Bank empties, the whole train made up with BR blue liveried Mk.1 designs>

BG

GUV

GUV

GUV

GUV

BG


Pcls Crewe

31450 swings off a curve at Crewe on 11th August 1990 with the vans reduced to two BR designs: GUV and Mk.1 BG. In colour the various degrees of weathering really stand out, with a tendency for the BGs, which were also being used with passenger trains, to be cleaner. [Same picture as in the Rly. Modeller article].

The vehicles

Gresley BY

The 32' long-wheelbase passenger brake van introduced in 1928 for East Anglian fruit and veg traffic, to replace life-expired ex-GER vehicles for that traffic in a like-for-like replacement (plus a small batch for Scotland, likewise replacing pre-Grouping vans, in that case for general service). Like other braked vans in the NPCS fleet, they were multi-purpose and by BR days were more widespread in parcels service. Contrary to modeller's misconceptions, they were not built as "pigeon vans" nor were they ever used for that purpose (see also The Pigeon Traffic section under "Prototype and traffic"). They lasted into the 1960's, this being E70232E, one of the York-built batch for East Anglia.

Mk1 BG M80571

Portrait of a BR Mk.1 BG in b&c livery, M80571.

BR GUV S86796

BR GUV No S86796 on the SR in lined maroon livery. Caption corrected after feedback from Chris Foren, thank you, who adds his belief that at first only the eight GUVS allocated to the Surbiton-Okehampton car carrier were green.

Mk.1 BG

A classic view of a BR Mk.1 BG, No M80697, in 1978 sandwiched between a BR CCT and a GUV with Express Parcels branding.

BR CCT W94575

In fresh BR blue livery, BR CCT No W94575.

GUV newspaper

A GUV branded NEWSPAPERS for that traffic.

Click on the image for an enlargement

BR parcels traffic (via passenger trains): is here.

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