Fish and Express Parcels Vans

One traffic that disappeared from BR was the conveyance of fish from ports to markets, often hundreds of miles away. In later years to keep fish fresh it was packed in boxes in ice and conveyed in insulated vans. BR needed its own fish vans and adopted an LNER design, several hundred of which were built at Faverdale. They were equipped with oleo buffers and LNER-type handbrakes. When their original oil axleboxes proved unsatisfactory, roller bearing ones were substituted and they were then marked with a large blue spot on the body side. Note that these vans were regarded as coaching stock, not goods.

When the fish traffic was lost these vans were put to other uses, some as goods vans, and some, refurbished, as Parcels Vans (the latter still rated as carriage stock) in plain blue livery with "Express Parcels" written on them. These were used all over the system including in Southern Region parcels trains, although they mostly retained their Eastern Region "E" prefix to their number. Known as SPV or Special Parcels Vehicle, their TOPS vehicle code was NRV. Many of the remainder were in general freight use for a few years. None was ever renumbered, so adjacent numbered vehicles could have been in freight and parcels use.

The last of the Parcels allocated vehicles was withdrawn in 1981. A number existed for further years as "internal user" stock - often to be seen at the buffer stops of sidings, or grounded as stores.

87049 80749 at Clapham Junction in the 1970s. This is an early example, having been built in 1954 and shows some detail differences to later examples, e.g. in the roof and side strapping.

photograph by John Lewis


87889 and 87570 (above) together with 87977 (below) are examples of later wagons being built in 1960-1. These were also photographed at Clapham Junction.

photographs by John Lewis

083402 was originally insulated fish van E87720, but it was made into an internal user van, painted olive green, numbered 083402, allocated to East Croydon. This van is now to be found on the Bluebell Railway where it is in use as the Tool Van for their SR hand crane.

photograph by John Lewis

These vehicles were built at Faverdale Works as insulated (or "blue spot") fish vans as follows:

In 1954-55 Nos. 87000-87499 Lot No. 30125
In 1960-61 Nos. 87500-87692 Lot No. 30344
In 1960-61 Nos. 87693-87957 Lot No. 30384
In 1961 Nos. 87958-88057 Lot No. 30442

When in use as fish vans they ran in white livery with a "blue spot" on the body side.

All photographs are copyright

return to picture gallery page

This page was last updated 28 July 2004

SR Target

Valid CSS!    Valid HTML 4.01!