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Quainton Virtual Stockbook - Goods Vehicles - Tank Wagons

Esso Tank Wagon No. 1869

Esso No. 1869 in freight train outside Wembley Shed

Robert Frise - Esso No. 1869 in freight train outside Wembley Shed

Esso tank in Down Yard

Ray Jackson - Esso tank in Down Yard

This tank wagon was formerly owned by Esso Petroleum Co. Ltd., who donated to the QRS in 1982.

This ex-Esso tank car, dating from 1939, is one of a large number built for the Air Ministry just before the second world war, and operated by the wartime Petroleum Board. These standard 14-ton, saddle-mounted, Class-A wagons on a 10-foot wheelbase, were required for the carriage of aviation fuel from the west-coast ports to the east of the country, where fuel dumps were forbidden in case of invasion, but where most airfields were situated. They were built by a variety of manufacturers, and this one carries no makers' plates, however the wheels are stamped 'Scottish Steel Coy 1939', and it was in fact one of a batch of 25 (AM276-300) built by R. Y. Pickering in May/June 1939 and registered by the LMS as Nos. 165334-58. No. 1869 (as AM282) was inspected in June 1939 and registered for fast traffic by the LMS, being given the number 165340. Perhaps the journey from the builders counted as the mandatory 100-mile running-in distance required for fast traffic registration.

Repair and Registration Plates Express star Plate

Ray Jackson - Repair and Registration Plates
Ray Jackson - Express star Plate

As with all Class A tankers this vehicle is fitted with top discharge siphon and vent, but it has also been fitted with bottom discharge equipment, the control wheel for which is necessarily outside the 16 inch filler port introduced in tankers from 1927. The tank is welded, and the ESSO logo is an early pattern, in which the tails of the E and S are cut at right angles to the line instead of vertically, indicating that the tank was painted before 1966. This is supported by the repair plate, which shows that the vehicle was given a general repair in November 1961 by Wagon Repairs of Wellingborough Northants, and all four oil-filled axleboxes are marked with the initials of that company.

After the war the decline in the need for aviation spirit reduced the need for Class A tankers. Esso purchased a large number and converted them to Class B for fuel oil carriage, among them No. 282 - renumbered in the Esso series as 1869 - which explains why both top and bottom discharge fittings are mounted. Part of this modification was to fit steam heater pipes and coils and to lag the tank with cork. This enabled the contents to be raised to 150°C in under two days, and to maintain the temperature above 70°C for four days. The connections for this are still to be found on one end of the tank.

Affixed to the filler port is a metal label giving details of capacity - 4070 gallons, permitted ullage and its Air Ministry fleet number, 282.

Traceable paint samples indicate that the wagon had red solebars and saddles, and an ochre tank with some red, this presumably being the remains of the red band once compulsory on Class A tankers, and which was discontinued during the war.

Gross Load Plate Owners Plate Ullage Plate

Ray Jackson - Gross Load Plate
Ray Jackson - Owners Plate
Ray Jackson - Ullage Plate

Esso Tanker with tank removed for repairs to end support timbers - 17th April 2016

Tony Lyster - Esso Tanker with tank removed for repairs to end support timbers - 17th April 2016

The Esso Tank Car and the Cattle Truck - Quainton News No. 47 - Autumn 1982
Research and text prepared by Ray Jackson - details of sources in the Acknowledgments section

Origin :- Esso / LMS Date Built :- 1939 Number :- Air Ministry 282
LMS - 165340
Esso -1869
Diagram :- - Lot :- -
Capacity :- 4000 gallon or
14 tons oil maximum
Tare Weight :- 10 tons 9qrs Gross Weight :- 24 tons
Type :- Heavy Oil Builder :- LMS / R Y Pickering Wheelbase :- 10' 0"
Owner :- QRS Status :- Restored Location :- Down Yard Shed
Accession No.: W/0071 Arrival Date :- 1981    

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 09 December 2017