Private Owner Wagons (Pre 1948)
Private Owner Wagons were common on the railways up to the formation of British Railways when the newly nationalised BR inherited over half a million of them. After 3rd September 1939 they had been operated under government control but prior to that were operated according to the requirements of their owners. Wagons belonged to four main classes of owners, collieries, factors, industrial users and local coal merchants.
Collieries and factors fleets could be numbered in thousands whilst small local merchants may have had fleets numbering anything from one to fifty. Industrial users such as gas and chemical companies had wagons that were normally used on a specific route between the colliery and industrial plant and would not normally stray far from their usual traffic. Factors wagons could be seen anywhere, whilst colliery wagons involved on export trade would only run to and from the port.
Operators And Resources
Mineral wagons carrying coal and coke were by far the largest proportion of wagons but private owner wagons could also be seen working for oil companies, breweries, gunpowder manufacturers, granaries and tar distillers. The HMRS has a large collection of photographs and drawings available to researchers and the searches below will allow you to find if there is an image in our records. The steward will probably be able to offer further advice about operators that have appeared in print or the records of the Railway Clearing House
Pre-1948 PO Wagons Steward; Arkell, John; JHMRS Volume 18, Number 12, October - December 2005 p. 407
Private Owner Wagons from the Ince Waggon & Ironworks Co. ; Watts, A. J.; HMRS 1998; ISBN 0902835041
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