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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 brake gear, with a single brake shoe to each wheel This could be considered to be the standard design, with nearly 17,000 constructed. The code given for these vehicles was HOP 21, or HOP 21 VB for those fitted with vacuum brake equipment.

After over a decade of hard work, the 21T hoppers were experiencing the body corrosion common to many coal carrying wagons. In a change to the previous practice of patching the worst affected areas, BR had started to replace whole bodies with the late style of Diagram 1/146 bodies, irrespective of the original Diagram. From 1971, this changed to a newer style of body, in a major body replacement program. These new bodies featured only 2 side ribs, compared to the 5 of the original bodies, and they included the later style of end bracing that had been introduced to accommodate vacuum brake cylinders, even if that equipment was not fitted.

Large numbers of the unfitted wagons from Diagram 1/146 were included in this program, and it is these vehicles that are represented in this pack.

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