GWR 65620 'Vanfit' Covered Goods Van

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GWRGreat Western Railway 65620 'Vanfit' Covered Goods Van
GWR 65620 20160504.jpg
GWRGreat Western Railway 65620 'VANFIT' Covered Goods Van
Built By GWRGreat Western Railway Swindon
Status Operational
Number 65620
Built 1945-47
Diagram V36
Lot 1467
Type 4-wheel ventilated van
Capacity 12 tons
Telegraphic code VANFIT
Brakes vac fitted
1976 Arrived on SVRSevern Valley Railway

Goods Wagons

GWRGreat Western Railway 65620 is a vacuum-braked covered goods wagon or 'Merchandise Van' with a capacity of 12 tons. This type of wagon had the telegraph code 'VANFIT'.

65620 was one of 700 such vans built to Diagram V36 Lot 1467 between July 1945 and May 1947, at the end of the GWRGreat Western Railway's existence as a separate company. The wagons were replacements for condemned vehicles and were allocated miscellaneous unused numbers in the 65XXX series.[1][2] They were fitted with InstanterA type of three link chain coupling with a special triangular-shaped middle link which provides sufficient slack for coupling, but when rotated through 90 degrees shortens the length of the chain, reducing the slack without the need to wind a screw. couplings and also received a plywood body as a wartime / post-War economy measure, the inside having horizontal planks as ‘bump guards’ up to a height of approximately 3ft.


65620 at Hampton Loade in 2013
Under overhaul at Bewdley, July 2015

65620 was rescued from Barry Scrapyard in 1975, arriving on the SVRSevern Valley Railway in January 1976.[3] The '7714 Group', who had use of it as a store, re-canvassed the roof in 1979[4] and it received a repaint in 1982[5]. An overhaul including replacement of the doors and a repaint was carried out in 1993.[4]

65620 continued in use as a store,[3], but by early 2004 was in need of ‘major surgery’.[6] A more comprehensive overhaul was carried out in 2005-6. The roof was re-canvassed using a second-hand canvas as a cost saving measure. The panels from two ends and one side were replaced, as were both door lintels.[7] In 2010 65620 was used in a photo charter Demonstration Goods Train with guest locomotive 61994 The Great Marquess.[8]

By 2015 the exterior of the van was again in poor condition and it was brought into Bewdley Goods Shed, initially for a repaint. Investigation revealed that many of the panels not replaced in 2005-6 were suffering from rot, as were some of the internal planks. On this occasion six of the eight side panels and three of the six end panels were replaced before the repaint was carried out.[9]

65620 is owned by The GWR 813 Preservation Fund.

See also

List of goods wagons


  1. Atkins, Beard & Tourret (2013) pp. 35, 384.
  2. SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book and state 1947, Wagon survey states 1945
  3. 3.0 3.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book, Ninth Edition
  4. 4.0 4.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 107
  5. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 63
  6. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 147
  7. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 152
  8. SVR-Online forum
  9. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 191