Vehicle Profile #4 – Grampus


Grampus are 20 ton multi-purpose engineering wagons, designed by British Railways and built between 1951 and 1961. The design is based heavily on the earlier GWR all steel Tunny (which we also have one of) and Starfish, with ends similar to the Southern region Lamprey. Grampus had a 20 ton capacity and as such had 10″x5″ axle boxes. Our fleet show a variety of variants of these. Most of these wagons were built unfitted, though few were vacuum braked. Our fleet, naturally follows this model, with six being unfitted, and one being vacuum fitted. Details of our fleet are below.

Number Year Built Allocated Region Allocated Region
DB984642 1957 Eastern Region Chesterton Junction Central Permanent Way Depot
DB984713 1957 Western Region CO
DB985730 1954 North Eastern Region Darlington Reclamation Depot
DB985884 1953 Scottish Region Greenhill Creosoting Depot
DB985933 1954 Midland Region Liverpool
DB990585 1952 Midland Region North Wales
DB991408 1959 Eastern Region District Engineer Ipswich

Grampus are built with three drop down doors and two removable cast iron stanchions per side. Across the end of the wagon there are two removable planks on the end, which can be stowed in pockets under the end of the wagon. The end of the wagon also has a drop down door to allow wheeled vehicles to roll from one wagon to another. These make the wagon very versatile, able to be loaded and unloaded by hand and able to take loads over the length of the wagon.

Being a truly versatile wagon, they could carry sleepers, ballast and chippings. In the era of the steam loco, it carried loco ash away from depots for re-use elsewhere. However in more modern times, with mechanised loading machinery, the wagon’s single skin steel doors, wooden floors and removable end planks made them susceptible to damage. The later Rudd and Clam wagons suffered with this less as they had much stronger doors (though Clams had no doors), solid ends and steel floors.

All but one of our fleet have had steel floors fitted in place of wood, and where doors have been damage, particularly at the top, we have tried to straighten them as best we can. Doing this means the doors shut correctly and can be retained by the pins. Ours stand ready to be used, receiving regular maintenance awaiting their turn in the paint queue. As they are all steel, they do stand the weather better than any of the wooden bodied wagons we have in the fleet which take the priority in the queue. Join us next time for a profile of their successor, the Rudd.

Author: Ross Loades

Wagon Basher and Systems Engineer in the Rail Industry

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