A step change in GWR open wagon design occurred in 1902 when a fifth plank was added to its four-plank design. The five-plank became the GWR’s standard wagon design and, essentially, variations on the post-1904 version with a 3ft 3in deep and 8ft body continued to be built well into the 1940s.
Much like their predecessors, the Diagram O18 have a 10t carrying capacity (later built as 12t) and uses a 16ft underframe with GWR self-contained buffers. The only difference was on the drop-side door. Unlike the O11 and O15 which had a flat door, the O18 featured a tapered foot drop door with the bottom plank of the door set at an angle along with adjustments to the metalwork. This feature became standard on many of the later GWR open wagon designs. In later life, many of the original 10t wagons were up-rated to 12 or even 13 tons.
The GWR built 2850 O18s ‘Open A’ wagons between 1914-1924. As records are few and far between, it’s not known exactly when the last of these wagons were withdrawn as they slowly disappeared over the years, but they lasted well into BR days. A batch of O18s was also built for the Rhymney Railway and delivered complete with their own lettering – these were identical, except they were provided without the sheet rail. Many wagons were sold out of service into private railway companies including the Port of Bristol Authority, Port of London Authority and Manchester Ship Canal. Thankfully, several O18 wagons have survived into preservation including examples at the Severn Valley Railway and Bristol Harbour Railway.
Both the N19 Loco Coal Wagon and O18 5-plank Open feature full external, internal and underframe details including brass bearings for smooth friction-free running, NEM coupling pockets and a high-quality livery application.
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