Diagram 86 General Vans and Diagram 87 Milk Vans

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Diagram 86 General Vans and Diagram 87 Milk Vans

Post by 65447 »

This post clarifies the origin and genesis of these vans. My complete article was published in GER Society Journal 187 in July 2021 but, due to copyright restrictions, is only available to members of the Society.

Steve Banks, on his website, writes that:
'designs are believed to have originated at Darlington, which is puzzling - why not at Stratford (which built them)? One possibility is that it may have been influenced by Alex Wilson, an ex-NER man who had taken over as General Manager of the Southern area in mid-1924, after an ex-GER man, Sidney Palmer, had resigned. It has been suggested that Wilson was appointed to shake up the companies to the south and he might have nominated Darlington instead of Stratford to deliver something "new". What is certain is that Darlington's design leaned heavily on an almost twenty year old NER design of 1908 for a milk van built for a co-operative, the Wensleydale Pure Milk Society, which hadn't been happy with the poor ventilation in the NER 6w passenger brake vans. The new design, a one-off, as it turned out, had glazed toplights protected on the outside by louvres to limit incoming sunlight, and grilles underneath, all along the body except for one end where a guard's compartment was added. The NER Diagram number was 168.

The main changes for D.86 were reduction to four wheels, elimination of the guard's compartment, allowing a third sliding door to be added,
and addition of ventilation grilles on the ends, just above the buffers, a common device at the time.
Dual braking was fitted and a through steam heat pipe. It was, after all, designed for use with passenger trains and overnight runs carrying fruit and vegetables all over the country, including on the LNER, the West Riding, Liverpool, the North East, and Scotland. The LMS area was reached via Peterborough and the GWR via Acton. I suspect that traffic to the SR was lower and was carted across London. Novel features which added complexity were on the sliding doors: most prominent was the GER-style recessed locking handle. The second was the pull handle, usually placed horizontally in the middle of the door, but here it was mounted
vertically, also in a recess. Both were probably to maximise the width of a body fitted with external sliding doors inside the loading gauge, which at the time required a maximum width of 9ft.

See https://www.steve-banks.org/prototype-a ... 6-and-d-87 and https://www.steve-banks.org/images/hist ... _pdf_9.pdf

In fact the requirements and design originated with the GE Section, the drawings being produced by the Stratford Drawing Office, as the following extract from my article explains:

'When instructed, Stratford produced drawings for a van 32ft over the body, having three pairs of sliding doors per side, toplights below the cantrail, and slatted ventilators in the sides below the toplights and in the ends above the floor. The underframe originally requested by the GE Section was to be six-wheeled, perhaps for consistency with the previous GER types, and the Darlington general arrangement drawing (12800D) for the body of the diagram 120 Pigeon Van that shares the underframe outlines three axles but the centre one is partially erased. This request was not approved and so a new underframe was designed having four wheels with a 19ft wheelbase which was employed under vans to diagrams 86, 87 and 120.

'Microfiche copies of the general arrangement drawings for the body and the underframe are in the OPC collection at the National Railway Museum
and are reproduced on pages 38 and 40. Stratford built 52 four-wheeled General Vans to diagram 86 under LNER Order 125 (Stratford Order N.C/16 dated 23 September 1925). These were originally numbered 6231-6282 (70079-70130 under the 1943 renumbering scheme). The first 22 entered
revenue service during 1926 and the remaining 30 in 1927.

'The year before the LNER was approached to transport milk in tanks from Staffordshire and at the time the new [smaller capacity] 10 gallon churn was being introduced, a requirement for additional milk vans resulted in LNER Order 160 (Stratford Order N.C/19 dated 6 August 1926) for 14 four-wheeled vans to the same design as the General Vans but allocated to new Diagram 87. These were numbered consecutively to the above, originally 6283-6296 (70131-70144 under the 1943 scheme), although 6283 (70131) and 6289 (70137) were condemned in Period 5, 1948 and never carried their later numbers. All 14 entered revenue service during 1927.

'The majority of these vans remained in service until the late 1950s/early 1960s, with between 13 and 15 transferred to Departmental use and possibly two underframes saved for preservation (details not known)

The Stratford design was very much based on earlier GER Parcels and Sundry Vans, especially the sliding doors, and the LNER drawing numbers are:

SX25808 - General Van four wheeled 32ft body arrangement dated June 1926. OPC ref: 1373
SX25809 - details each piece of ironwork used in construction of the body
SX25810 - Steel underframe arrangement for 32ft four wheeled General Van dated March 1926. OPC ref: 1372

The body general arrangement is a Copy drawing and includes annotations detailing subsequent modifications, such as the decision to fit oil rather than electric lighting, whilst the underframe was also used for the subsequent Diagram 120 Pigeon Van also built at Stratford. That perhaps explains why the battery boxes under the Diagram 120 vans were not fitted uniformly, since no provision had been made for them in the original underframe design.

These vans were generally found on the GE Section but inevitably some travelled further afield. The GE Section continued the GE practice of running what it termed 'Parcels and Milk' trains in the working time table.
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Atlantic 3279
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Re: Diagram 86 General Vans and Diagram 87 Milk Vans

Post by Atlantic 3279 »

Most informative for we GERS non-members, thank you for posting the information, and for doing the necessary research.
Most subjects, models and techniques covered in this thread are now listed in various categories on page1

Dec. 2018: Almost all images that disappeared from my own thread following loss of free remote hosting are now restored.
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Re: Diagram 86 General Vans and Diagram 87 Milk Vans

Post by john coffin »

One of the reasons for this posting was a debate on another part of the forum about coach formations.

I feel that is is important to remember that NO ONE has all the answers to the question of coach formations.
I have so far not found anybody with a full set of all platform and station train formation documents for the
whole of the LNER, since they were rather flimsy documents and often issued daily, they were often destroyed, as instructed
or used as scrap etc. They are to paraphrase, like Hen's teeth.

Anyone who claims to know for sure about every train that travelled over LNER rails from 1923 to 1947 is I am sure
whistling Dixie.
I agree that certain trains were well established, but even then on different days they were dependent upon what stock
might have been available, you know, hot axleboxes, broken toilets etc.

Steve Banks may not have all the facts but at least he has published what he has found, and put his head above the
parapet, and discovered what every author who publishes knows, someone will come along with a killer fact that changes
everything, and then claim they didn't know the book was being published.

This article about the Milk vans is but one part of the story, and shows how complex the whole picture is.

So step back, stop being so pedantic and think about the problem a passenger train formation manager would
have every day trying to meet the needs of the traffic department.
In the end you are modelling, so Rule 1 applies

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Re: Diagram 86 General Vans and Diagram 87 Milk Vans

Post by Woodcock29 »

Also a thanks from me 65447.
Last edited by Woodcock29 on Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
LNER Thompson B1 4-6-0 'Antelope'
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Re: Diagram 86 General Vans and Diagram 87 Milk Vans

Post by Woodcock29 »

I also like Paul's comments. I have what I think are most of the books that cover LNER carriages including NPCS by Harris (4), Hoole, Campling (1.5), Tatlow, GNRS (4 and 1 still to get) and Banks and Carter and look forward to volume 2 by B&C. Inevitably there are some contradictions but possibly that's part of the fun trying to sort out what is probably accurate. At the end of the day I'm just trying to obtain or build the most accurate model within my skill set. Also at the end of the day Rule 1 will apply as there is a limit to what I can fit on the layout!
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