Old FR bolster wagons

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Iron Bolster Wagons[edit]

Usually kept in a set of 3.

Iron Bolster Set with several match waggons in Minffordd Yard.
Date: 27th January 2018 Photo: Will High

Wagon 131[edit]

Built FR Co. at Boston Lodge Works in 1875, Old FR No. 9, Four wheel all-metal close-coupled rail and timber bolster wagon. Unbraked.

Wagon 132[edit]

Built FR Co. at Boston Lodge Works in 1875, Old FR No. 10, Four wheel all-metal close-coupled rail and timber bolster wagon. Unbraked.

Wagon 133[edit]

Built FR Co. at Boston Lodge Works in 1875, Old FR No. 11, Four wheel all-metal close-coupled rail and timber bolster set match wagon. Unbraked.

Wooden Bolster Wagons[edit]

Pair of Wooden Bolsters in original form at Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1947. Note how bolsters are higher than a slate wagon so the latter can be used as a runner. Note also Feldbahn type bogie opens behind.

Spooner's design for these waggons was cleverly arranged to place the load at such a height as to clear an empty slate wagon if a runner was required, either between or at the ends of a bolster set; this saved on having wagons with no other, useful, purpose. This may be seen in the photograph below, taken in the LNWR yard in 1947. Bolster wagons were numbered in the range 64-77, 82-87, 103-104 and 106-109.

History during the preservation years[edit]

3 Wooden Bolster wagons at Boston Lodge in April 1960 still with raised bolsters

In November 1968 the set (originally three separate bolster wagons, numbers unknown), being completely useless has been broken up. Usable iron-work was taken away by the East Anglian Group to be rebuilt into two bolster wagons and an intermediate match truck. (A detailed report of this extensive re-build by the EAG (using Keruen or Japanese Oak) appears in Heritage Journal No. 37 Spring 1994 pages 8 - 16). The rebuilt set returned on the 1969 AGM weekend. One bolster was braked on one axle and the set was permanently coupled. In their rebuilt form the bolsters now sat upon the chassis, rather than being raised as they were before.

The set was worked very hard during the track laying on the deviation with the result that the bearings on the outer wagons became very worn. To keep the set running, axle sets and bearings were swapped with those from the centre wagon (which carried much less load). They were taken out of use following a snatch which pulled the end out of one of the outer wagons. Towards the end of the 1980s the London Area Group agreed to rebuild that wagon. Over a period of 10 years the other two wagons were also rebuilt.

By 1991 the rebuild was finished on one end wagon by London Area Group using Jarrah and extra steel angle brackets. The other end wagon was rebuilt similarly in 1993. The match truck was completed in 1969.

By 2005 the set was not used and was residing in the Maenofferen bach shed, loaded with FR's stock of heritage bull head and double head rail for eventual use in museum. After several years of standing loaded, the timbers had become severely warped. The setw as dismantled by Kids Week volunteers in 2012. Nos 136 & 138 were to be rebuilt as two bolster vehicles in original form, whilst 137 was rebuilt as a wooden slate waggon. The slate waggon was completed in 2014. The rebuilt bolster wagons were completed for Vintage Weekend October 2016 apart from number plates. Over the 2016 vintage weekend they ran as a pair loaded with a crane jib. By the 2017 vintage weekend they had there numbers fitted and were close coupled to 2 ton iron slate waggon number 681 allowing longer loads to be carried

Restored Wooden Bolster waggons 76 & 73 with slate waggon 681 acting as a barrier vehicle.
Date: 27th January 2018 Photo: Will High

Waggon 76[edit]

Four wheel wooden framed rail and timber bolster wagon, No. 76 (1967 No. 136) Built FR Co. at Boston Lodge Works 1874/75.

It was dismantled by Kids Week in 2012 for reconstruction in original form. Completed by Vintage Weekend October 2016 but not bearing numberplate, it was renumbered 73 by Vintage Weekend 2017. It is currently unbraked, but the intention is to fit them in due course.

Waggon 73[edit]

Four wheel wooden framed rail and timber bolster wagon, No. 73 (1967 No. 138) Built FR Co. at Boston Lodge Works 1874/75.

Formerly running as a match wagon (originally a bolster wagon), it was dismantled by Kids Week in 2012 for reconstruction in original form. Completed by Vintage Weekend October 2016 but not bearing numberplate, it was renumbered 73 by Vintage Weekend 2017. It is unbraked.

See also[edit]

References[edit]