Foxfield Railway Virtual Stocklist
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Bolster, Flat and Well Wagons

The standard open wagon used for general merchandise proved unsuitable for the safe transport of long or bulky items, such as telegraph poles, girders or rails. For these goods, wagons without sides were developed, but often with bolsters, pins and shackles to support and retain the load. Before 1900 many bolster wagons were built as small single four wheel units, to be coupled in multiples as required to carry the longest loads. Most railway companies also built permanently coupled pairs of single bolsters, able to carry loads up to 30 feet. Double bolsters were built to carry loads up to about 20 feet. Later the bogie bolster was developed to enable loads up to 60 feet to be carried on a single wagon, and these are particularly useful for rails. Conventional designs of bogie bolster have four or six bolsters spaced equally along the wagon. At Foxfield can be seen examples of all three types, although of very different styles and origins:

English Electric Single Bolster wagon no 1
Shelton Iron & Steel 20 ton Double Bolster wagon no 23
London Underground Bogie Rail Bolster wagon

There are also three designs of flat wagons converted from tank wagon underframes, which perform a similar purpose at Foxfield Railway, carrying rails, sleepers and various other large items:

CEGB flat wagons ex 20ton tank wagons
C V Buchan flat wagons ex 14ton tank wagons
CEGB flat wagons ex 35tonGLW tank wagons

For bulky loads likely to exceed the height or width allowed in the British loading gauge, wagons with low floors have been designed, called well wagons. Foxfield Railway took delivery of its first such wagon recently:

BR 25 ton "Lowmac MS" B904696


For more information on the Foxfield Steam Railway, its passenger services and special events please see the official website at