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Birchenwood Gas, Coal and Coke Co
14 ton Class B Tank Wagon no 30
Above: Birchenwood tank wagon seen at Blythe Bridge sidings on 7 June 2006 awaiting repair and restoration
This tank wagon represents a type which saw widespread and lengthy service on the railways of Britain, consisting of a rivetted steel tank secured to a standard hand-braked underframe by a combination of heavy wire ropes and end bearers with diagonal ties. Originally built by Charles Roberts of Wakefield and registered by the London & North Eastern Railway in 1927 as number 38386, it was later re-registered by the Southern Railway in May 1931 as number 38386A. This may be due to down-rating from Class A, used for petroleum traffic, to class B, used for other heavier oils which were less dangerous to transport. If so its livery would have changed from silver grey with a red solebar, to plain black all over. Sold to Victor Blagden & Co of London it became wagon number 925 in their fleet.
On 13 June 1947 the Birchenwood Gas, Coal and Coke Co of Kidsgrove bought it and renumbered it 30 in their fleet. Birchenwood had a fleet of thirty four tank wagons to transport various by-products all over the country. Last used for this duty in 1968, by which time this wagon had seen over forty years of mainline use, most were broken up for scrap. An assortment of four were retained at the Birchenwood plant for internal use, and when it closed in 1973 No 30 was purchased from a local scrap merchant for preservation at Foxfield, arriving on 9 June. Its latter years in a sulphurous environment have led to bad corrosion of the barrel and frame, but it was restored in the late 1970s to black Birchenwood livery. It is now stored awaiting further repair and restoration.
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