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Thos Bolton & Sons 10ton 1 plank open wagon no 15

Above: Thomas Bolton & Sons 1 plank wagon seen at Foxfield Colliery in 1977, as first restored
and carrying a locomotive saddle tank [photograph by the late Dr George Chadwick]

This wagon has an important place in the Foxfield collection as the only surviving Private Owner wagon registered by the North Staffordshire Railway. Built by the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Co in Birmingham in 1916 for Thomas Bolton's copper works on the NSR Churnet Valley line, it was inspected and given the NSR registration number 11995 on cast plates on either side. Although it incorporated the basic features of the RCH 1907 wagon design, as a non-standard low body vehicle it would have required special inspection and approval of the drawings by the Railway Clearing House before it was registered. Number 15 was one of a small fleet of these wagons operated by Bolton's; they also operated tank wagons numbered in the same series. It is a simple single plank vehicle very similar in design  to hundreds built by the NSR itself in the late nineteenth century for general merchandise traffic, but contrary to some published accounts, this wagon was never owned by the NSR.

Above: Boltons' similar wagon No13 when delivered new

Boltons used their wagons for carrying copper ingots between their works at Oakamoor and Kingsley & Froghall until the 1960s, and latterly they were restricted to a small amount of internal traffic within the Froghall factory site. In 1963 many of the wagons were scrapped by being burned on site but number 15 was presented by Boltons to the infant Foxfield Railway and was fully restored shortly after arrival, including new body sides and floor. Unfortunately the subsequent years of use and open storage have seen a great deal of deterioration and theft of most of the number and registration plates, so number 15 now needs a total rebuild including two new headstocks and a new solebar, all in solid oak. It is now usually stored under a fitted tarpaulin and not on public display.

Above: Thomas Bolton & Sons wagons being scrapped at Froghall in the early 1960s
[photograph by the late H B Holland, cty Birch Holland Collection]

A similar wagon, number 10, was acquired by the Railway Preservation Society's Chacewater base but has sadly since been scrapped as it received no restoration work there.

Above: Bolton's 1 plank wagon seen under a tarpaulin cover at Caverswall Road in 2000
           [photograph by John Sherratt]

As the wagon is not currently displayed, but is often of interest to model-makers, some detail photographs are included below. In addition, a copy of the General Arrangement drawing for Bolton's 1 plank wagons is available from the Birmingham Central Library Metropolitan Collection.

Above and below: Thomas Bolton & Sons 1 plank wagon detail views in 1977, as first restored
                            [photographs by the late Dr George Chadwick]


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