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Ford's Tank Wagon


Ex Ford Oil Tank on Down Yard running line

Photo:
Robert Frise - Ex Ford Oil Tank on Down Yard running line

Ex Ford Oil Tank alongside Buffer Depot in Down Yard

Photo:
Ray Jackson - Ex Ford Oil Tank alongside Buffer Depot in Down Yard


One of two ten-ton saddle-mounted tank wagons that arrived on 4th December 2002 from Fords' of Dagenham. They have been donated as a result of the photo-charter involving Peckett No. 2087 during 2001. This wagon is believed to be over 75 years old, and possibly over ninety years old. It was probably used for storing oil or diesel at the factory compound at Dagenham.

This is thought to be part of a number of old tank cars of varied manufacture acquired from Charles Roberts in 1933 for internal use at Dagenham. It is even more of an enigma than its partner in that it has not only the syphon and vent fittings of a Class A fuel tanker and the bottom discharge fittings of a Class B carrier but the high saddles to allow discharge above the solebars normally associated with chemical tankers. Its condition is quite good for the age of the vehicle, it lacks its buffers, and all its plates, and has various fittings associated with its later life as a static storage tank, which ought to be removed. The bearing surfaces are very worn, but the wheels are reduced only from 37.5" to 36.5", half way through their permitted wear. The tank will need to be cleaned out if the vehicle is to be restored.

Impressions in the paint of the solebars can be seen of the maker's plate, a small oval repair record plate and the registration plate. The makers' plate was that of Charles Roberts & Co. of Wakefield. There is no sign of a star plate to indicate that the vehicle ever ran in fast goods trains, and the axle boxes are of the original, low-speed, grease-filled type. The wheels can be seen to be an early type with split spokes, a form used until supplanted by disc wheels in the 1930s. The brakes do not have the Morton dog-clutch and cross-beam, the handles operating each on two wheels. The buffer casings are of pre-1923 type.

The tank on this wagon is secured by two cables wrapped round the filler port, a requirement which was abandoned in 1927. The securing straps meet the chassis in line with the inner legs of the W-irons as in Railway Clearing House drawing Nos 72 & 100 of 1907. Its dimensions, 7'4" x 5' 10", are those of a Class B tank of 1907 design, but the bottom discharge outlet is of the 1917 pattern. Class A top discharge fittings are also mounted. The drain plate is secured with 6 rivets, the bottom discharge pipe with 10. Horizontal rows of rivets on the sides show that this tank is fitted with internal baffles, allowing it to run part filled. The tank is supported on four saddles and two end stops.

The filler port is the pre-1927 2'6" diameter with the discharge control wheel inside. The valve and rodding is intact. There is a 7" clearance between the tank crown and the bar which indicates the maximum fill level. The flat, post 1907 pattern, lid of the filler carries the instruction to fill only to the bar, but is not original, as traces of four turnscrew fittings can be seen, whereas the lid is now secured by a single clamp.

The tank is mounted on a typical 18' by 6'10", 14-ton, 10' 6" wheelbase chassis which appears to be to drawing 97 of 1911 except that it has a 10-hole rack plate of 1907 type. It runs on standard 9"x 4¼" grease-filled boxes, one carries a patent number with the suffix /10 perhaps indicating the year that patent was taken out. The bearing springs have five leaves. The buffering and drawgear has a 14 leaf spring and 11" buffer casings. It is marked W.R. Ltd on at least one buffer. In addition it has "Scotland" rolled in the steel frames.

The vehicle has been painted several times, traces of red can be seen on the saddles, buff, white, silver and blue on the tank and blue and yellow on the chassis, this last not being the shade currently seen on one solebar. Under the paint on one side of the tank the letters VAL and DEPT can be detected in capitals about 1ft by 7in. The wagon seems to be identical to a series of 40 produced for the Admiralty in 1916, of which this might be no.4, and which can be seen to carry these letters in the same position. Originally these vehicles had red tanks and white letters.


How this tanker may once have looked

Photo:
Courtesy Procor - How this tanker may once have looked


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


Imprint of the Charles Roberts makers' plate in the paint of the solebar Imprints of the registration and repair plates on the solebar

Photos:
Ray Jackson - Imprint of the Charles Roberts makers' plate in the paint of the solebar
Ray Jackson - Imprints of the registration and repair plates on the solebar

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


Origin :- Unknown Date Built :- Before 1920? Number :- unknown
Diagram :- unknown Lot :- unknown
Capacity :- - Tare Weight :- 10 ton Gross Weight :- -
Type :- Fuel Tank Builder :- Charles Roberts & Co? Wheelbase :- 10' 6"
Owner :- QRS Status :- Awaiting Restoration Location :- Down Yard
Accession No.: W/0112 Arrival Date :- 2003    

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Page Updated: 27 September 2017