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Covered VansCovered vans have gradually increased as a proportion of the stock of wagons throughout railway history. As manufactured goods began to be increasingly carried by train, it was found that they needed much greater protection from the weather and potential theft than raw materials required. Conventional open wagons covered with a tarpaulin sheet were prone to leakage and consequent claims by customers for damage or loss to their goods. Hence covered vans were developed - in the case of wagons for gunpowder they also needed to be very secure indeed! Early vans had heavy wooden outside frames supporting tongued and grooved boards, but as tonnages increased the framing was usually metal and the sheeting could later be steel or plywood. The roof has been traditionally made of boards covered in canvas in linseed oil - this method was used from the 1850 right through to the 1960s. Various companies favoured hinged or sliding doors, and there are many different styles of ventilation and running gear.
At Foxfield the development of British railway vans can be seen very well through the following examples:
ton Van, number 120400
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