GWR 41990 'Loriot Y' Machinery Truck

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GWRGreat Western Railway 41990 'LoriotGWR telegraphic code signifying a machine truck Y' Machinery Truck
GWR 41990 20210417.jpg
GWRGreat Western Railway 41990 'LORIOT Y' at Highley in 2021
Built By GWRGreat Western Railway Swindon
Status Operational
Number 41990
Built 1939
Diagram G39
Lot 1247
Type 4-wheel machinery flat
Capacity 25 tons
Telegraphic code LORIOT Y
Brakes DCII, non-Vac fitted
1994 Preserved on SVRSevern Valley Railway

Goods Wagons

GWRGreat Western Railway 41990 is a LORIOT Y Machinery Truck. The GWRGreat Western Railway telegraphic code LORIOT was first introduced in the nineteenth century and denoted a well wagon, typically with a 10 to 20 ton capacity. The wagons were normally described using terms such as 'machine trucks', intended for transporting large road vehicles such as traction engines, or 'agricultural implement wagons' intended for moving other large vehicles such as agricultural machinery and similar. The LORIOT's well incorporated sloping ramps at each end to assist with loading and unloading the vehicle.[1] A number of different designs of LORIOT were built before 1930, with the SVRSevern Valley Railway also being home to three other examples, LORIOT D 42138, LORIOT L 42272 and LORIOT N 42343.

In 1931 the GWRGreat Western Railway build two LORIOT Ws to Diagram G27, primarily intended to transport engineering excavators and the like. These were unlike the previous versions, having very low, wide wells and no end ramps. Another two were ordered in 1937 as Lot 1247, originally to the same diagram and intended for the same purpose. However they were constructed very differently and were therefore given their own description of LORIOT Y and Diagram number, G39. While both types had a 20ft well, the LORIOT Y used built up I-beam girders rather than rolled beams and end axle guard plates, and had a 26ft wheelbase and 32ft over the headstocksThe underframe member across each end of a wagon carrying the buffers and coupling. Known as the Bufferbeam on a locomotive., an increase of 1ft in both cases. It was also rated at 25 tons rather than 20 tons. The first, 41989 was built in 1937 while 41990 was built in 1939[1].

The LORIOT Ys were labelled "Empty to Swindon" on the sides, while the ends carried the legend "Where possible this vehicle must be marshalled in the rear of the train and GREAT CARE TAKEN WHEN SHUNTING." They were fitted with self-contained large buffers and had separate DCII brake systems at each end.

Service and preservation

Having been built just before the Second World War, the LORIOT Y's were used for transporting the company bulldozers which no doubt saw much use during the wartime bombing. 41990's service with BRBritish Rail or British Railways ended with an extended period spent at the Engineers' Yard at Radyr, lasting into the 1990s before the lack of vacuum braking ended its usefulness. It was moved to Bescot, from where it was saved in 1994 on the day of being dispatched for scrapping by the intervention of a group of interested railwaymen. This allowed negotiations for its sale into preservation to take place, with 41990 arriving at Bewdley on 18 September 1994.[2]

Following its arrival, 41990 was found to have a crack in one headstockThe underframe member across each end of a wagon carrying the buffers and coupling. Known as the Bufferbeam on a locomotive. through the drawbar mounting. After investigation, Steve Peplow noted in SVRSevern Valley Railway news that "I will no doubt get lynched for my next comment, but it has to be said that the LORIOT Y is not one of the GWRGreat Western Railway's better designs, and I am only surprised that both headstocksThe underframe member across each end of a wagon carrying the buffers and coupling. Known as the Bufferbeam on a locomotive. do not have the same fault. In order to cram the brake ratchet into the end of the wagon, the bottom leg of the channel section has a cut out in it, at precisely the point where it needs to be strongest, below the drawhook hole. The condition of this in use will need to be monitored, with possible strengthening at a later stage if required." A welding repair was duly carried out and the wagon repainted.[3]

41990 is owned by The GWR 813 Preservation Fund. Since arrival in 1994 it has been used to carry locomotive boilers and frames as well as P.W.Permanent Way materials, one of the first loads carried appropriately being the tank and boiler from the Fund's locomotive GWR 813 during its major overhaul in 1996.[4]

Sister vehicle 41989

The sister vehicle to 41990, 41989, featured in the 1953 film "The Titfield Thunderbolt".[5][6] It was subsequently scrapped[2], leaving 41990 as the only surviving LORIOT Y[7].

LoriotGWR telegraphic code signifying a machine truck

The word LoriotGWR telegraphic code signifying a machine truck is the French term for the family of birds known as Orioles. This is presumably the origin of the GWRGreat Western Railway telegraphic code used for this type of well wagon (a group of Diagram J flat wagons are named 'MACAW' after another bird), although the other early diagram G wagons were the HYDRA ('road vehicle wagons' or 'tramcar trucks') and SERPENT (horse drawn furniture van trucks etc.).

See also

List of goods wagons


  1. 1.0 1.1 Atkins, Beard & Tourret (2013) pp. 19, 152-160.
  2. 2.0 2.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book 9th Edition
  3. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 113/114
  4. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 123
  6. A history of GWRGreat Western Railway goods wagons. A G Atkins, W Beard, D J Hyde, R Tourret. 1986. ISBN 0-7153-8725-1
  7. Railway Heritage Register Wagon Survey