Background

BR ordered more than 24,000 21t hoppers to several different diagrams over the 10 years from 1949. These wagons were a continuation of a former LNER design, with some of the earliest examples featuring the long brake lever and single-sided brakes of late LNER examples and also riveted bodywork. The various diagrams featured 2 styles of side ribs, but all had 5 ribs per side. By 1952, examples of Diagram 1/146 started to appear with welded bodies, the shorter BR style brake lever and Morton brakegear, with a single brake shoe to each wheel. This could be considered to be the standard design, with nearly 17,000 constructed.

In common with all coal carrying wagons, they were subjected to the problems of body rot. Policy had been to cut out the worst areas of corrosion and weld in new sections, but this changed in the late 1960’s. A completely new body was the way forward, and some of the earliest examples were given new bodies with the later style of body ribbing. Between 1971 and 1978 a major rebodying programme was instituted, with the body now only featuring 2 ribs per side. Both unfitted and fitted wagons were covered in this programme, with some previously unfitted examples gaining vacuum brakes too.

In March 1977 rebuilds appeared from Shildon Works fitted with new 10 leaf springs, allowing the loading capacity to be raised to 25t and they were renumbered at the same time. Just over 900 examples of Vacuum braked hoppers were delivered through to April 1978 and it is these wagons that are represented in this pack.

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