Twenty wagons were converted to grain wagons in 1931, to S.R. Diagram 1320.There was new side sheeting (planks) to do away with the doors, the gaps between the planks were sealed with pitch and unloading was simply by means of a hole in the floor controlled by a valve. The sheet rail (& sheet!)was retained. All 20 wagons were possibly used for grain traffic from Southampton Docks (as had their predecessors) but by 1936 had been transferred to the Canterbury & Whitstable branch, delivering grain from Whitstable Harbour to flour mills near Ashford, Kent, and all were lettered to be returned empty to Whitstable Harbour. Over the course of time 4 were withdrawn but the 16 survivors continued on the same duty until the branch closed in December, 1952, and were scrapped the following year. This page has a photo showing ten of the wagons on the quayside at Whitstable in 1949: The CW&R, plus a history of the line and its working.There were several variations in the design, which can be modelled using the supplied parts (but not the wagons with coil spring suspension. The grain wagons can be modelled with just a little extra work)
Instructions for building the grain wagon
Using a sharp craft knife and steel safety ruler, cut out the centre section of each side between the outer supports and curb rail, taking care to leave the outer supports and curb rail intact.
Replace the section removed with a same size piece of 1.00mm thick Plastikard with planks scribed to match the rest of the side.
Add an etched brass rivet strip support down the centre of the new section, Mainly Trains MT163 or equivalent, fixed with Evo-Stik impact adhesive.
Drill a 2.00mm dia. Hole just off centre in the floor and underneath a short piece of 2.00mm o/d Plastruct or similar tube, cut at a 45 degree angle where it is glued onto the floor. This represents the unloading valve which would have been positioned so as to avoid the brakegear and linkage when the grain was being discharged into a hopper between the rails at the flour mill.
Complete the kit as per the general instructions, using the no door controllers (no doors!) Lift-link brakes and with sheet rail options – it is definitely better to leave fitting the sheet rail until everything else, including painting and lettering, has been completed.
Lettering for the converted wagons, S.R. 1923 style including the "Empty to…" instructions, is available to order from Powsides. The wagons were lettered as shown in the general instructions except that the capacity (12 TONS) and tare were both moved up one plank so that the tare was opposite the running number. The empty to instructions were on the left hand side of the new section, where the door used to be, opposite the capacity. They read:
WHEN EMPTY RETURN TO
The specific running numbers for the 20 wagons were 8042, 8048, 8059, 8087, 8120, 8227, 8295, 8315, 8549, 8620, 8660, 8822, 8875, 8926, 8999, 9004, 9039, 9199, 9224 & 9237. The non-common user symbol, the letter "N", was positioned at the bottom of each corner plate.If the wagon is going to be portrayed as running empty then no further work is needed, but if it is going to be portrayed as just loaded then a suitable load to represent the bulk grain is Javis "Countryside" Scenics, light brown, extra fine ballast chippings, ref. JGX112BR.If the wagon is going to be portrayed as running with its tarpaulin sheet then it would be a good idea to add ballast weight at this stage before fitting the sheet. lt is highly likely that except for loading from above and when in the works for repairs and maintenance, the sheets would have been left in situ at all times in order to keep the interior of the wagon and the grain dry, grain can be easily spoilt by damp.
To make the sheet cut out a rectangle of thin, black, lightweight, polycotton, Poplin fabric, size 120.00 x 62.00mm, with the edges prevented from fraying by an application of Prym Dritz Fray Check, which dries so as to be invisible and does not adversely affect the flexibility of the fabric.
The S.R.sheets were normally lettered in white, but very little of the lettering is visible in the prototype photograph published. Modellers wishing to letter the sheet could use an appropriate white fabric marker such as a Sakura Gelly Roll medium point.
Fix the sheet to the wagon sides first so that the initials Sand Rare just covered, and the empty to instructions still visible, using Flexi Grip repositionable/removable adhesive, which does not affect plastic or varnished surfaces and does not bleed into the fabric, or an appropriate equivalent, using small blobs of adhesive along the line of the cleat rings and also on the corner plates.
Then fold down the centre part of each end of the sheet and glue below the sheet ring mechanism, and finally fold down/over the left and right hand sides of the sheet and glue them as well. The completed ends of the sheet should thus be just above the solebar. Flexi Grip adhesive is tacky enough to hold the sheet in position in normal running without it ever coming loose.
The converted wagons were eventually repainted in S.R. 1936 livery and later still in British Railways, Southern Region livery, but retained the empty to instructions without any change. B.R., however, added the word GRAIN on the left hand side above the other information, plus had dedicated sheets for the wagons, which included the words GRAIN TRAFFIC ONLY stencilled on them.
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SR Hopper - side view
Left hand end