Diagram 17B 4-wheel 20ton Goods Brake Van with ogee
The D17B design, colloquially known as 'Crystal Palaces' on account of their larger end windows
was, I believe, introduced in early 1917 based on the evidence of two official photographs of this design, dated 10/16 and 2/17
respectively. The photograph shows the vehicle in the later of the two photographs referred to. The drawing, Earlestown GA 950,
date illegible, shows the 4-wheel van with a body 18ft long by 7ft 8½in wide on a 10ft wheelbase. The body was 8ft 5in wide
because of the Ogee projections. In addition to the larger windows the design was distinctive for its use of coil as well as
leaf sprngs. At first sight it appears to have a steel underframe but the drawing shows that it is merely a channel section
flitch plate to protect the wooden solebar. The clasp brakes and heavy duty self-contained buffers are also novel features for
This design continued to be built until the 1923 grouping or even to the year after. A total of 539 of these vans had been built by 1924 on the assumption that they were the only type made from the beginning of 1917. Since the total stock of goods brake vans did not increase during the whole of this period, the new D17B vans were all built in renewal of scrapped older vans and as a consequence carried the register numbers of those condemned vehicles which they replaced. This is borne out by the spread of numbers which presently are on record: 198, 322, 361, 626, 786, 936, 1122, 1147, 1260, 1282, 1340. All passed to the LMS in 1923 and most lasted until beyond 1948 but only seven reached the 1958-67 withdrawal register. A further five lasted in departmental stock until about 1967-8.
The D17B type shown in this photograph was much changed in design and mechanical construction from earlier designs. The most obvious difference was the introduction of three large windows in each end which with wry railway humour gave rise to their nick name, 'Crystal Palaces'. Other new mechanical features were the 1ft 8½in long self contained buffers and Ogee seat which previously were only to be found on a few of the 15 ton vans. The 10in by 3½ in channel iron to protect the wooden solebar and the use of coil springs to assist the usual plate springs were certainly novel at time of their introduction. Note that since the van is loaded to its full tare weight the plate springs are fully loaded and flat at the top. The oil filled axle-boxes with 9in by 4½in axle journals as used on the D17A were retained as was the standard screw coupling. The only livery that these vans would have carried in LNW days is that shown in the photograph. All LMS photographs show a return to 3-link couplings and the centre window appears to have lost its middle vertical bar. The only obvious feature to survive throughout all these designs from the pre-1885 10 ton D16 to the 1917 D17B types was the veranda door and its handle!
Earlestown Drawing no. 950 [HMRS 1528]
The original of this general arrangement drawing is heavily marked and patched. This side elevation has been cleaned, strengthened and simplified to make it presentable for use here. The details and dimensions remain those of the original and so may be relied upon for modelling purposes.