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BR 25 ton Low Machine Wagon "Lowmac MS" DB904696

Above: Lowmac DB904696 as delivered to Caverswall Road [photograph by Jon Beardmore]

This is a British Railways Low Machine Wagon, designed primarily to carry large road vehicles, both civilian and military. The low floor and small wheels allow relatively large items to be carried within the British loading gauge. The ramps at each end mean that wheeled or tracked vehicles can be easily driven on and off. The design of this wagon owes a great deal to designs built in the 1940s by the GWR and LNER. The code for these vehicles was "Lowmac", to distinguish them from the more traditional machine truck with a higher well, coded "Hymac". The latter fell out of use by the 1950s but the Lowmac design has proved remarkably versatile, with several of 50-odd years vintage still in use on mainline railway maintenance today.
 

The example now preserved at Foxfield is rated to carry 25 tons, built in 1958 to BR diagram 2/253 by the Derbyshire Carriage & Wagon Co, as the second wagon in a batch of 15, to order lot 3172. The first ten wagons of the batch were coded "Lowmac MS" and were fitted with vacuum braking from new. Some identical wagons were built at Swindon the following year. Originally numbered B904696, the "D" prefix was added when it was transferred to the departmental fleet for engineering use. After a long search for a suitable example of a Lowmac for use at Foxfield, this one was purchased privately by two members and delivered to Caverswall Road during winter 2004-5. It will prove very useful carrying permanent way equipment, the low floor making loading/unloading at the lineside easier than a normal wagon.
 
For more information on the Foxfield Steam Railway, its passenger services and special events please see the official website at http://www.foxfieldrailway.co.uk.