Thank you to Matt for the articles on signwriting. A very useful reference for those of us looking after and modelling heritage rolling stock. For this weeks update, I’ve gone back to the Vehicle in Profile series to look at what is the longest wagon in our fleet – a Salmon.
Built to an LMS design, the Salmon was built between 1949 and 1961 to 15 different lots. In that time many sites and companies built them including Head Wrightson Ltd, G R Turner and British Railways at Derby and Wolverton. The designs started with diagram 1/640, which had LMS style bogies with an independant ratchet handbrake on each bogie (shown in the picture below). There was a wooden floor down the 62ft length of the wagon with 5 bolsters. Early on Salmon were found unfitted or fitted with a vacuum through pipe.
Later designs of Salmon had Plateback bogies with a wheelbase of either 5ft. 6in. or 8ft. These still had oil axleboxes so were limited to 50mph. In the TOPS era these were classed ‘YMO’. In the 1980s some of the fleet of Salmon were overhauled and had air brakes fitted, with extra tie down points added for ratchet straps. These became YMA or YMB depending on whether they retained the vacuum through pipe or not. In the late 90s two wagons were fitted with roller bearing bogies. A further 125 wagons were converted. The conversion didn’t result in a speed increase for the wagon, but bought about reliability improvements. For those remaining in service further conversion work was undertaken in 2009 to add 3 bolsters to the wagons to simplify the loading of track panels. The bolsters would locate the track panel on the wagon laterally and longitudinally. These conversions received another TOPS code, YKA, and another fishkind name; Osprey.
Our Salmon is the sole survivor of the LMS designed batch. Numbered DB996000 is was the very first Salmon built by BR to the LMS design. It was built at Derby Litchurch Lane works in 1949. Not a lot is known about its service life, but this wagon ended up as an internal user with the number 024717. It served at the very works it was built at as a vehicle to move items around the works. We don’t know exactly when it was confined to the works, but the earliest sighting on departmentals.com puts it at Litchurch Lane in 1985. It served in this role until 2014, where it was donated to us by Bombardier Transportation. Soon after it had arrived various accoutrements were ground off and a floor added using used sleepers cut in half down the length. With a pad exam and oil up of the brake gear it was released to traffic and has remained available ever since.
Thank you for reading! We hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy at this time.