GWR 102691 5 plank Open Goods Wagon

From SVR Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
GWRGreat Western Railway 102691 5 plank Open Goods Wagon
102691 at Highley.jpg
GWRGreat Western Railway 102691 at Highley Shortly after restoration in 2016
Built By GWRGreat Western Railway Swindon
Status In use
Number 102691
Built 1924
Designed By GWRGreat Western Railway
Diagram O22
Lot 912
Type 5 plank open with sheet rail
Telegraphic code OPEN B
Brakes MortonA type of brakes used on GWR wagons after Grouping in 1923, replacing the earlier DC (Dean Churchward) types. with vacuum
1975 Entered preservation
1985 Arrived on SVRSevern Valley Railway
1989 Restoration completed
2015/16 Further restoration

Goods Wagons

GWRGreat Western Railway 102691 is a 5-plank Open Goods Wagon, also referred to as an open merchandise wagon. It is one of two OPEN Bs on the SVRSevern Valley Railway, the other being 108085.

The earliest GWRGreat Western Railway open wagons were known as 'low-sided trucks' and had only a single plank. Construction switched to two-plank in 1872 using 11in planks, and to three-plank in 1879 using 7in planks which became more or less the standard as further planks were added to increase height. Four-plank open wagons appeared in the late 1880s and 5-planks in 1902. In 1904 the top 5th plank was widened to 11in which thereafter remained the usual configuration for GWRGreat Western Railway 10-ton (later 12- and 13-ton) open wagons.[1] During World War Two a scarcity of wide planks resulted in a modified 6-plank Diagram of the same effective height but with the top 11in plank replaced by a 7in and a 3½in plank.[2] This construction compromise can be seen on 102691 which is now a "5½-plank wagon".


A total of 2,186 5-plank open wagons built at Swindon between 1924 and 1926 to Diagram O22. The wagons were 16ft in length over the headstocksThe underframe member across each end of a wagon carrying the buffers and coupling. Known as the Bufferbeam on a locomotive. with a 9ft wheelbase and had a capacity of 12 tons. A central drop door on each side aided loading and unloading. 875 were vacuum fitted (designated by telegraphic code OPEN B) and the other 1,311 were unfitted (telegraphic code OPEN A).[3].

102691 was built at Swindon in 1924 as part of Lot 912, the first 375 OPEN Bs.[4] It saw service with the GWRGreat Western Railway and BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W).[5]. It also saw service with the Port of Bristol Authority[6] [note 1].


After being saved for preservation, 102691 spent some time at the West Somerset Railway and the Bristol Docks Museum. It arrived on the Severn Valley Railway from the latter on 28 March 1985, along with OPEN A 13154 (later PBA 58206), having been acquired by the The GWR 813 Preservation Fund. They were initially stored at Kidderminster with OPEN A 98480 which had arrived in 1982. 98480 and 13154 required the least attention and were therefore moved to Bewdley for restoration in early 1986.[7]

By late 1988 102691 was still awaiting restoration. The sheet supporter was missing and would require replacement, but the vacuum brake cylinder and part of the vacuum pipe were still in situ. Assessment revealed that it would require complete retimbering and replacement of the curb rail. Both wheelsets would also have to be removed for attention, as one flange on each had been found to be worn excessively thin.[8]

It was intended to carry out the work in between more pressing jobs. In the event mild, weather that winter allowed the work to go ahead faster than anticipated. The re-timbering was carried out using second hand planks salvaged from BRBritish Rail or British Railways china clay waggons being cut up at Sharpness docks, while the mild weather also allowed the painting to be completed. However progress was than halted by the lack of a suitable wagon to transport the wheels to Bridgnorth for tyre turning. This was eventually done using LORIOT N 42343 which had just completed its own overhaul. After further assessment of the wheels at Bridgnorth it was decided that turning would reduce them below scrapping size and they were therefore taken back to Bewdley and refitted, with the intention of replacing the wheelsets at a later date. The vacuum brakes were tested and found to be in order. The brackets for the sheet support rail had been fitted but the 813 Fund were still sourcing components for the rail itself, so in spring 1990 102691 was released into traffic with that task also to be completed at a later time.[9]

While preparing the Demonstration Goods Train for the 2001 Autumn Steam Gala, major bodywork problems due to wood-rot were found on 102691. It was quickly emptied and brought into the Bewdley yard for attention. All of the rotten timber was removed and the opportunity taken to repaint the chassis before it was rebuilt using second-hand china clay wagon planks. The missing sheet supporter had still not been fitted.[10]

102691 was subsequently used by the carriage cleaners at Kidderminster; being vacuum fitted it could easily be attached to the diesel shunter and used to transfer rubbish from the carriage shed back to the station for onward disposal. By 2013 that use had been ended by operational changes, and 10291 was returned to Bewdley requiring further attention to the bodywork[11][12].

The overhaul began in May 2015, and by July all the planks and floor boards had been removed. The mechanical repairs needed were mainly to a bent axleguard which resulted in excessive axlebox free play, giving one box a tipped-over appearance. By February 2016 the replacement body planks had been fitted, and sign writing was taking place during the Spring Steam Gala in March 2016. The missing sheet support rail was also reinstated, sufficient material having been ordered when 108085 and 13154 had received their own new rails.

A number of other photos of the overhaul, which was completed in April 2016, can be seen in this thread on the SVRSevern Valley Railway-Online forum.

Following the 2016 overhaul, 102691 appeared in the used in the 'wartime' train which featured in the 'battle' staged at Highley during the 2018 and 2019 'Step Back to the 1940s weekends. It was also in the Demonstration Goods Train from 2018, and received a repaint after its careworn appearance in the 2023 Spring Steam Gala.

102691 is owned by The GWR 813 Preservation Fund

See also


  1. PBA wagons were normally allocated a PBA number distinct from the GWRGreat Western Railway wagon number. There is no record of such a number in the SVRSevern Valley Railway stock book or the RHR Wagon Survey


  1. Atkins, Beard & Tourret (2013) pp. 270-276.
  2. Atkins, Beard & Tourret (2013) p. 41.
  3. Atkins, Beard & Tourret (2013) pp. 288.
  4. Atkins, Beard & Tourret (2013) pp. 29, 282.
  5. SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book 9th edition
  7. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 82
  8. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 90
  9. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 92, 95
  10. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 139, 147
  11. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 191
  12. February 2013 photo on Flickr