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Index - History - The Wagons - The Containers - News - Acknowledgements
Container Summary:
A????B - A1610B - AFP66414B - AFP16496B - B55733B - BC9900B - BD46631B - BD47376B - BD48839B - BD50343B - BK????B - D?????B

The containers:

A number of containers both on and off the GCR have been surveyed with a view to establishing a representative selection. It is clear that we can't preserve all of them; the survivors are generally in a bad to awful condition having spent more than half of their 50-year lives standing in industrial yards and farmers' fields. They were of fairly light construction in the first place and many years of only limited maintenance have not been kind.

The container numbers consist of a prefix letter or letters denoting the type, a unique serial number, and a suffix denoting the company which built it. All of our containers carry a 'B' suffix indicating that they were built by or for British Railways. Pre-Nationalisation examples acquired different suffixes under BR ownership.

'Diagram' numbers refer to the design details in the BR diagram book. In some cases more than one diagram exists for containers intended to fulfil the same function. 'Lot number' refers to the particular order number under which a given batch of containers was built. It was not unknown for a single lot to include containers to more than one diagram!

This page includes all of the containers currently on the GCR or promised to the project. However, some of them are owned by private individuals or groups and their inclusion in this list does not necessarily mean that they will be made available or that they are 100% 'safe'. Watch this space...

'A' type containers:

The 'A' type containers were 7' 6" long and had doors at one end only. They were a general purpose container and could carry either 4 or 5 tons. Two could be carried on a single 'Conflat A' wagon, although it was more common to see a single 'A' type container sitting in the middle of the wagon.

Apart from a handful of experimental containers, there were three basic designs: diagram 3/001 was the most numerous, with 3,800 containers made from wooden boarding with one end of pressed steel. Diagram 3/003 was similar but without the steel end, and diagram 3/002 was clad in plywood.

'AFP' type containers:

'AF' containers were small containers desiged for carrying frozen food. The 'AFP' was a slightly longer variant, the 'P' indicating that the food would be loaded on pallets. 136 wooden containers were built in 1958-59 and 6 experimental fibreglass containers were added in 1961; we have been fortunate in finding one of each. It is intended to restore both to their original 'Birds Eye' livery although reproducing this will be a challenge!

The former LNWR branch to Loughborough Derby Road was already closed when these containers were built - in fact passenger services were withdrawn as early as 1931 - but both the goods shed and the locomotive shed survived in industrial use, the latter in considerably modified form. At some point in time the occupier of the locomotive shed acquired these two containers, and it is thought that they were used to store sacks of coal before eventually falling into disuse and decay, along with the locomotive shed itself. With the site due for redevelopment, the owner kindly agreed to donate the containers and they were rescued on 10/01/07.

'AFP' containers are an obscure size and can only be carried, in pairs, on a 'Conflat B' wagon. About which, more on the wagons page - under 'Future Plans'!

'B' type containers:

The 'B' type was effectively a double-length 'A' type, 16' long with doors at one end only. 50 light alloy examples were built in 1958, but the 325 containers to diagram 3/049 was a more traditional wooden design.

Two batches were built, lot 2888 (Swindon, 1956) comprising containers 55700 to 55849, and lot 2965 (Earlestown, 1957) comprising containers 55525 to 55699.

'BC' type containers:

Essentially a 'B' type with the addition of racks to carry 76 bicycles, 351 of these were built between 1951 and 1957 to two similar designs: diagram 3/100 (285 containers) had boarded sides and pressed steel ends, while diagram 3/101 (66 containers) had boarded sides and ends. As the cycle manufacturer Raleigh was a famous Nottingham firm, there is a significant local connection, so a BC container is an important part of the collection.

Another 'BC' from the same lot, BC9937B, was located at Loughborough GCR for many years. This was in very poor condition and was finally broken up in December 2006, although some useful parts were salvaged to assist with the restoration of some of the others.

A metal repair plate with traces of its number painted on it was salvaged from the bonfire, so it was finally positively identifed when it had already been reduced to a pile of bits.

BC9937B at Loughborough.
Photo © P. Hetherington 11/12/04.

Two further 'BC' containers have been viewed in the south of England. One has been re-coded 'B' following the removal of its bicycle racks, and is in fairly good condition. The other is from the much rarer diagram 3/101 design, but is in a fairly fragile state. Both containers may become available in due course.

'BD' type containers:

The 'BD' is basically a 'B' type container with the addition of side doors. These were found to assist unloading where the container could remain on the wagon, and this eventually became the most numerous container type with almost 10,000 examples built between 1949 and 1958.

Over 9,000 of these were to diagram 3/050, of boarded construction with one end of pressed steel, and all but the last 400 were built at three former LMS wagon works: Earlestown, Wolverton and St. Rollox.

'BK' type container:

These were similar to tbe 'B' containers, but were designed specifically for carrying furniture and were therefore provided with internal laths to secure the load. 1,435 were built to three very similar designs, but were of all-plywood construction which has ensured that few have survived.

'D' type container:

'D' type containers were open containers, 14 feet by 7 and with a six-plank body, and were never particularly popular - 1,975 were built, 465 at Eastleigh and the remainder at Earlestown, but they are thought to have been withdrawn fairly early. They were numbered from D21000B to D22974B.