Van 1 (1955)

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group
This was the first Van 1 of the preservation era, details of the second one can be found here and the third one here.
Van 1
Type 4-wheel Brake
Original Railway FR
Status Scrapped
1908 Rebuilt from quarrymen's carriage
1963 Withdrawn
Frames Wooden

Van 1 (originally Van 6) was a four-wheeled brake van used on the Ffestiniog railway.


The first Van 1 of the preservation era was an FR goods brake van. Formerly a Quarryman's Carriage, it was rebodied as a brakevan with two balconies in 1908 and numbered 6. It formed part of the last train in 1946 and spent the years of closure in the Loco Yard at Boston Lodge.

In the early days of restoration it was known as No. 1 Van. In 1957 it had on its side the legend "FR PW No 1", indicating it was primarily used on track repair trains. For some time it ran close-coupled to the Baldwin tractor Moelwyn in an attempt to stabilize the rather lively running of the tractor caused by its short wheelbase, but later in 1957 the tractor was fitted with a pony truck which improved its riding, and the van returned to normal use.

By 1963 rot in the underframe proved terminal and it was withdrawn from service, to be replaced by New No.1 Van, now Van 51. However the body of Old No.1 Van was still useful as a shelter, and from 1968 it was used as a temporary signal box at the Rhoslyn Bridge end of Dduallt Station. A green SR platform lamp-post totem declared it to be Clapham Junction. It was superseded as signal box by the Bunny Hutch when it moved to Dduallt later the same year, then in 1977 by a new structure at the other end of the station.

By the 1990s it was beyond redemption and the remains were removed to Boston Lodge and from the dimensions a replica, Van 7, was built in 1998. In its early stages, this was known as New Old No.1 Van. Some metalwork from the original found its way into the replica - three brackets on the balcony ends, one door latch mechanism (also used as a pattern for the second), etc.


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