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BR 12 ton Ventilated Vans nos B765621, B785734 and B780153 

Above: BR 12 ton ventilated van B780153 as restored

These three “Vanfits” represent the last design of traditional 12 ton capacity short-wheelbase railway van built with vacuum brakegear. They were built before longer vans, equipped with airbrakes and wide doors for loading pallets, took over in the late 1960s. The BR standard design was an amalgamation of several successful features of vans developed before WW2. Some were built with traditional planked bodies, but the three at Foxfield are all constructed with plywood bodies. They feature hinged doors similar to GWR designs, but with corrugated steel ends similar to those used by the LNER and LMS (see LMS number 500851), while the underframes are RCH standard 10'0" wheelbase designs for running at passenger train speeds, hence the branding "XP".

Above: BR 12 ton ventilated van B765621 as restored but not yet lettered, 23 June 2004

B765621 was ordered in 1952 to diagram 1/213 but probably due to continuing post-war shortages not actually built at Darlington until 1955. It has traditional buffers and vacuum brakes, ending its BR service in internal use as 024447 at Edge Hill CARMD. B765621 has received major roof and side repairs since arrival at Foxfield, and the doors it now carries are from a van of planked construction with diagonal bracing.
B785734 also ended its BR days at Edge Hill as 024501 and they both arrived at Foxfield on 29 January 1998. But B785734 is to the later diagram 1/224, being built by Pressed Steel in 1961 and sporting Oleo hydraulic buffers and 8-shoe clasp brakes. It too has received extensive repairs and restoration and is used for storage at Caverswall Road.
B780153 is also clearly built to diagram 1/224, but the number does not accord with those ordered to this design, belonging instead to a shock-absorbing variant. We know the number is correct, because when delivered on 20 October 1994 from ROF Glascoed as Army 41454, the paint was soon rubbed down to reveal the BR lettering. It has now been restored in correct BR bauxite livery as B780153, though the number remains a mystery.

Below: Official BR photograph showing the appearance of diagram 1/224 when built


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