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Ten Ton Wagon, Fleet No. 2065

Ten Ton Petroleum Tanker in Down Yard

Robert Frise - Ten Ton Petroleum Tanker in Down Yard

No. 2065 in Buffer Depot after 2014 repaint

Robert Frise - No. 2065 in Buffer Depot after 2014 repaint

This 10-ton tank car was kindly donated by Castle Cement from their Pitstone Works in 1991.

Whilst this came to Quainton from a Cement manufacturer at some time in its life it has belonged to Shell Mex & BP as the remains of the letters SHELL and BP could be discerned on the tank. The two companies amalgamated in 1934 and various liveries were used up to the time of the second world war. Company identification was removed during the war, and again in about 1974 when cleaning was abandoned, so presumably this wagon was taken out of service between those dates. The company identification can partially be made out on the tank side, also the words PETROLEUM PRODUCTS which can be seen to be obscuring earlier lettering, part of the standard instruction to notify Shell Mex and BP in the event of the car's needing repair. A yellow square with the symbol Cc can be made out in the lower left-hand corner of the tank, this is the Commuted Charge label. There is no sign of a 'Fast Traffic' star although oil axle boxes are fitted.

The only surviving plate describes the wagon as built 1915 by the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Co. of Ashbury Works, Manchester, the axleboxes are marked Charles Roberts who, perhaps, carried out a general repair at some time, perhaps in the immediate post-WW2 period when many redundant Class-A tankers were being converted to Class-B. Previous research suggested its fleet number was 2065, with a capacity of 2528 gallons and a tare weight of 8t. 11cwt. 2qrt. 14lbs. However this is at variance with the information on a metal label attached to the inside face of the filler port, which gives the fleet number 65 and the capacity 2729 gals. This label may indicate the vehicle's use by the Petroleum Board during the second world war, but is curious as a Shell tanker with that number would have dated from the nineteenth century. Mr. Tourret (author of 'Petroleum Rail Tank Wagons of Britain') confirms that it is not an Air Ministry number, as AM65 had a welded tank, small filler dome and no crossed ropes. The lid of the filler port is not attached, and has been reinforced by four short metal straps which obscure parts of a label cast into the periphery of the cover which reads:


The tank is 17' 4" long and 5' 10.5" in diameter, which would suggest it to be a Class B unit, however it is fitted both with Class B bottom-discharge valve and control and Class A top-discharge vent and siphon. It is held by two wire ropes round the filler, a pre-1925 design. The filler port is of 2' 6" diameter and contains the control for the bottom discharge valve, which is of the early pre-1917 type.

Metal label attached to the inside face of the filler port Filler port
Manufacturers Plate

Ray Jackson - Metal label attached to the inside face of the filler port
Ray Jackson - Filler port
Ray Jackson - Manufacturers Plate

The chassis is 18' by 7' and the wheelbase is 10' 6". The chassis has no rack plates, which does not conform to Railway Clearing House specifications for either 1907 or 1911, although allowed by 1927 on wagons with headstock stays, but the buffing and drawgear has a 14-leaf spring as required by the 1911 drawing, and pre-1923 casings. One buffer is missing. The tank securing straps terminate between the inner legs of the W-irons as shown in the 1911 Railway Clearing House drawing 97, and they lie outside of the rivet lines. There are no internal baffles for running with half-loads.

This vehicle probably once carried a livery similar to this

This vehicle probably once carried a livery similar to this

Further research avenues remain to be explored, and in time further confirmation of the origins of this vehicle may be possible.

The tank wagon was repainted in 2014 to wartime livery consistent with its manufacturing date. The reference photo used for the new livery came from a photo of a very similar tank wagon reproduced below.

Photo courtesy Rail Album website

Photo courtesy Rail Album website.

Research and text prepared by Ray Jackson - details of sources in the Acknowledgments section

Origin :- Unknown Date Built :- 1915 Number :- 2065? or 65?
Diagram :- unknown Lot :- unknown
Capacity :- 2528 gallons? or 2729 gallons? Tare Weight :- 8 tons, 11 cwts, 2 qrts, 14 lbs Gross Weight :-
Type :- Petroleum Tank Builder :- Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Co., Ashbury Works, Manchester Wheelbase :- 10' 6"
Owner :- QRS Status :- Restored Location :- Buffer Depot Museum
Accession No. W/0096 Arrival Date :- 1991    

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 27 September 2017