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LNER NPCS - D.86 and D.87

These two designs of 32ft 4-wheel van were built in the 1920s for agricultural traffic on the GE-Section thus:

D.86 General Van



D.87 Milk Van



The account covers design, development, fittings and service in LNER and BR days over 12 pages with 19 illustrations and is here as a pdf file:

LNER D86 and D87

The kits

This is a separate issue and there have been three kits over the years:

D&S - two kits, for D.86 General Van and D.87 Milk Van. Both with oil lighting.
Isinglass Models - "D.86/87 Milk Van" with electric lighting.

The last of these kits is only actually suitable for a simplified version of D.86 General Van with oil lighting and is the result of confusion in the Isinglass modellers drawing which relied on the simple sketches in the Diagram book and misinterpretations which my account explains; readers will be able to see the lie of the land for themselves. As modellers, we all have personal standards and the simplest thing I can say is that the two D&S kits are quite accurate (if you can find one on eBay, or order one off Dan Pinnock who will do a run if the interest is there). The Isinglass Models kit is, because of its roots, an approximation and the etching cannot be corrected while other parts need adding. The decision on how to proceed is entirely a personal one.

PS - Andy Edgson and Isinglass Models are well known. D&S Models less so these days because Dan Pinnock is in semi-retirement. He attends O-gauge shows and his 4mm kits get re-issued every so often and even appear via other traders. Best approach is to drop Dan a line and explain what you're interested in. All the whitemetal kits have been sold on to other manufacturers, and so have some of the etched brass ones, but Dan retains quite a lot and has re-issued quite a few in recent years. He's happy to do more where there is demand. No internet contact, you have to send an SAE to: Mr. D. Pinnock, D&S Models, 46 The Street, Wallington, Nr. Baldock, Herts., SG7 6SW.

Meanwhile here are some illustrations which didn't make the account where 16 of the pictures are from originals and which help set the scene.

Two D.86

The first picture of a pair of D.86 General vans.is an enlargement from a large print from 1947 which appears in the account. The blow-up is a useful introduction to all the oil lighting fittings on the roof: the lamp tops, the plug holders and the handrails either side. The details are sharper in the broadside portraits in the account but here, from a typical modellers' point of view, you can see how "busy" the roof was on these vans with 20 fittings altogether, and how much they add to the character. These were no ordinary vans.

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This scene at Newcastle in March 1962 with station pilot J72 No 68723 shunting the parcels bay is tantalising because so much is hidden. Next to the loco is a former milk van to D.87 with the different body. The oil lamp tops are still in place and the rain strip is still Stratford-style. The recesses on the doors are partly visible. Most evident is the spacing of the louvres and division into smaller parts and their short lengths. It made sense because wooden slats like this were prone to rot and easily damaged, as other pictures in the account show. Photo: ArthurK.

Click on the image for an enlargement

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An enlargement of a short parcels train at Sandy on 4th April 1963 is a classic from the time when quite a few parcels trains were very short - sorry, separate subject! With three ex-LNER vehicles, from the front they are:

61'6" late-period BG
32ft 4w former milk van to D.87
51'1 1/2" late-period BV.

The D.87 van is still carrying oil lamp fittings and the rain strip is the curved one. Photo: Ken Fairey.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Some more info for modellers

I have managed to get GAs for the u/f and D.86 body from the NRM and they have proved helpful, although not necessarily for modellers who have completed the Isinglass Models kit! They confirm my account in the pdf file re dual braking, end steps and oil lighting. The lamps, by the way, were fitted between the doors.

Turning to the body, the composite picture below is based on the picture of the D.86 van at Godley with focus on the ventilation grilles and toplights. Note how the grilles towards the end were divided beneath the toplight - which all the photographs show. The Isinglass Model gets this part wrong because it's based on the Isinglass modellers' dwg which was based on the Diagram, and that, on the GA - which is not what Stratford actually built. IF a revised GA was issued later, and another for D.87, neither appears to have survived

A second point about the grilles, and this is best seen by comparing adjacent pictures in the pdf file, is that when D.87 Milk Van was built and the arrangement of toplights and grilles was changed (see the pdf for details), Stratford made another change by choosing one size of grille, like the almost-square one at the end, and used it throughout. Being smaller between the doors, they were simply spread out more. All these changes were examples of a works acting on its own initiative and the two D&S kits, by taking service photographs into account, get it all spot on.

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To the right I've added an enlargement from the GA and a new finding that vertical bars were fitted behind the toplights: four to each one. This modification was stipulated in March 1929, two years after construction of both Diagrams had ended. They can't be seen on the service pictures because of the lighting and dirty toplights, but most modellers ought to fit them, or cover the glazing with lots of muck, just like the real thing...

The rear of the grilles was screened by perforated zinc sheet: they weren't completely see-through. I'm not sure what would work best on the models, black gauze, perhaps?

If you enlarge the picture, the detail view from Godley shows the roof really well with an oil lamp top, bung holder and handles alongside. As the train views also show, it was quite a "busy" roof.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Related topics:

Related NPCS via these links:

LNER D86 and D87 - 12 page pdf file is here.

BR parcels traffic is here.

cattle traffic is here.

LNER cattle trucks are here.

Moving the Goods - 8 - Livestock: review is here.

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