The 12 T Ventilated Goods Van, diagram No. D1828/D1829 were built between 1929 and 1930 by a number of different carriage and wagon builders including Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited and Metro Cammell/Metropolitan for use by the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company.
We currently do not know much of its operation during the LMS period at the moment but we are currently undertaking some research on this but on the other hand we do know rather a lot of its preservation history which can be seen below...
Out of a total of 1000 original built only approx. 32 similar goods vans have made it into the present day mostly being located on farms and in fields as when these vehicles they were disposed of and used by farmers and others as garden sheds, they were taken off their wheels and sometimes chassis and placed directly onto the ground so they can be accessed from ground height (grounded). Since then, most of these van's have deteriorated and have been scrapped but some still survive on farms and in fields still grounded but two examples are still in existence being on the chassis and wheels they were made for and these are LMSR 179162 built by Metro Cammell/Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon in 1929 based at Washford, Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust and the other example is Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon M 187085 built 1930 which you can see further information below.
M 187085 (other Numbers: 187085,KDM 187085,I/U 024531) was one of 300 built to diagram D1828/D1829 by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited in 1930 with a Lot No. Of 485. M 187085 and one other built to the same diagram and lot number by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited were preserved but now only M 187085 is known to be preserved.
We in the UK are lucky to have one example for both build years of 1929 and 1930 preserved although both are not of Gloucester origin but the 1930 built one is and has a rather interesting build history being given different drawings/Diagram numbers with a number of differences and it seems Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited combined these drawings to create what we know as M187085 which in our minds is a unique survivor of its class and type.
Although we do not know its exact colour scheme we can look at other examples of this type of wagon that have been created in model form to which the colour was Standard LMS Wagon Grey with grey underframe and chassis with black W irons, Brake rigging and running gear with white rim wheels, LMS Lettering in white with the wording 'Ventilated Van' also in white on the lower door panel also on the side of the wagon would have been it's TARE weight, Wagon Number and a few other details. On the chassis of M187085 we as a museum are lucky that it is still has to this day it's Builders plate which is easily identified as GRC&W as well as a gently repaired plate.
During the Nationalisation of the Railway by British Railways in 1948, some wagons and vans changed usage while other stayed the same but painted differently and many of these LMS Ventilated Vans had their colours changed to a Bauxite livery as well as a white/grey livery. We are not sure what liveries M 187085 carried other than LMS Grey but we are currently researching this and also during the BR Period M 187085 was given a TOPS Code of ZRO which in basic terms means Stores Vehicle.
M187085 was purchased by the Southern Catering Project Group (SCPG) in February 1999 and arrived on the Avon Valley that same month, in 2005 it moved to the Swanage Railway. During it's period being owned by the Southern Catering Project Group, M187085 was loaned to a preservation/preserved railway to undergo full restoration during which the vehicle was used to store road salt rather than be restored and anyone who what salt does to metal would know that this was not a smart or good move as the salt has started to corrode the metalwork on this wagon so once the SCPG found out the wagon was immediately returned to them and where is has spent the remainder of it's preservation life siting in a siding waiting like many wagons and carriages on heritage railways awaiting restoration and a brighter future before being purchased by Avonbank Engineering Services Limited and gifted to the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Museum on a permanent loan basis.
While on permanent loan to the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Museum it will undergo a full restoration to its former LMS Grey Livery and then it is hoped that the Museum collection will be housed inside the vehicle which would make an added benefit for both the museum and the Goods Van gaining a new use and once the museum has gained a more permanent premise then M187085 will go on display within the Museum and on the occasion may be hired/loaned out to other heritage railways subject to contract, agreement and arrangement (with permission from its owners).
As mentioned previously a total of 1000 goods vans were built and here you can see a breakdown of total numbers, builders and Lot Numbers:
Lot No. - Total Number – Builder
Lot 484 – 400 – Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon (1 preserved)
Lot 485 – 300 Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon (1 preserved)
Lot 486 – 150 Charles Roberts
Lot 487 – 150 Pickering
The Funds raised during this appeal will help with the start of the restoration. There will be further funds required for the restoration of this Goods Van but this will help with the initial start of the restoration. Once further funds are required for the major components then we will endeavour to raise the required funds for these parts and we will be happy to offer those interested in an opportunity to sponsor a particular part/component of the wagon as well as general donations and we do hope that we can offer those who donated/contribute to the restoration of the vehicle with some interesting benefits.
UPDATE: M187085 is now at a temporary storage facility awaiting a permanent home and the funds to enable us to restore it. We initially made £35 from our first restoration attempt last year while awaiting for the van to arrive at its temporary storage facility, now that it is there we are now looking to kick-start its restoration.