Diagram 103 Open Goods Wagon - 9in sides - 18ft - to carry 10tons
These 18ft,10ton, single plank open wagons were built as
replacements for the last remaining 6000 of the earlier 15ft. 6in. 6/7ton D1 type low-sided
goods wagons as the latter fell due for renewal after 1910. From records surviving in the
Company minute books, the usefulness of single plank wagons was recognised by management
because they could be loaded with large heavy crates etc using the ubiquitous small hand
cranes, installed in every goods shed, but which had insufficient reach to hoist such loads
up and over the side of a four plank wagon.
The Table below shows the rate of increase of the stock of the D103 wagons, which almost exactly matches the rate of withdrawal of the by now elderly smaller ones of the D1 design.
Because they were designed and built last of all of the
LNW‘s ordinary goods wagons they already incorporated the many progressive design
changes that had taken place over the previous 10 or 15 years. Consequently, they were
little changed during the rest of their lives. However, in LMS days, because of their
extra length over the Midland equivalent and their low sides, they were used extensively
for the growing container traffic. Indeed, some were converted to drop side wagons and fitted
with full vacuum brakes and screw couplings for running in express trains.
All but the earliest the photographs show them fitted with either single or twin ribbed buffers. There is no evidence that there was any progressive change in this feature although it was probably the earlier ones that had the single rib version. From this same photographic evidence the brake gear remained unchanged from that shown in the Earlestown GA drawing throughout their LNW working life. However, those converted to a drop-sided version by the LMS were also fitted with full vacuum brakes and screw couplings.
Photographs of earlier wagons show them equipped with oil filled axle boxes of the second LNW type, that is with the facetted [pointed front] or carriage type. However most photographs show them fitted with the third or Bulbous type. In LMS days some, mostly the drop-side conversions, were fitted with the early LMS flat fronted pattern of oil box, but many retained their LNW bulbous pattern oil boxes to the end of their service.
Except for the single 9 x 3in. side planks, the body dimensions followed those of the slightly earlier D84 18ft. 10ton, 4-plank Open goods wagons. The floor was constructed from 7 x 2½in. wooden planks and they are easily distinguished from the 15ft 6in. D1 wagons by the five square nuts in their corner plates compared with six domed bolt heads in that position on the shorter wagons.
All passed to the LMS at the Grouping and the length of time they remained in revenue service is a mark of their usefulness to the LMS. Although there is no complete record of their LMS service, there are a number of photographs of them taken in the 1930‘s and 1940‘s and, from circumstantial evidence, it is likely that most of the ~ 6000 were still in service when the railways were nationalised in 1948. Furthermore, a privately preserved BR withdrawal register shows at least forty of them surviving until the 1958-67 period when they would have been about forty years old.
From the above register information and the extensive photographic record of this type of wagon the following Table containing 94 of their running numbers has been compiled. Perusal of the table shows that most D103’s that are on record carried numbers below 30000, which is not surprising since having been built in revenue replacement of withdrawn D1 wagons each took the number of the earlier wagon it replaced. Since the D1’s had been built between 1860’s and 1887 they carried lower numbers, reflecting the smaller capital stock in those days.
Source NRM collection ETN100.
Diagram 103 wagon, No.21961, is shown in this photograph, taken at Earlestown in February 1915, to illustrate an experimental brake system.
Source LNWR collection.
Shown above is a side elevation detail from a GA drawing of a Diagram 103 18ft single plank open wagon. 6000 of these wagons were constructed between 1910 and 1920 and many lasted in LMS service until the 1960s.