Diagram 87 Covered Goods Van for Express Traffic
This 16ft, 10ton van can arguably be regarded as the first of the ‘modern’ L&NWR goods
vehicles. The design was introduced in 1904 by the new wagon Superintendent, Mr H D Earl,
who had only recently taken over from the long serving Mr J W Emmett. The latter had been
responsible for the company wagon development since 1867 and during that time had maintained
a small wagon policy. However, in 1902/3, just before his retirement, he had experimented
with larger versions of the standard covered van in the form of Diagrams 34 to 37. The last
of these designs, D37, was 27ft long and planked externally and had many of the design features
that were later used in the D87 design, and eventually adopted for the D88 18ft standard
covered van. Minute books of the time discussed the desirability of increasing the standard
size of vans and dispensing with the roof door. Eventually, it was resolved that
In present renewals covered vans be constructed without roof doors. There is no
mention of increasing the size and as history shows it was a further 4 years before the
18ft D88 design evolved.
Vehicles to the Express Traffic D87 design started to emerge from Earlestown in late 1904 and continued unabated until 1908. During that time 1349 vehicles were built to this design, 950 of them had vacuum brakes complete and 399 were fitted with vacuum pipes only. They were 16ft long, 8ft 1in wide with a 9ft wheelbase. The side doors had a 1ft 8½in high drop-flap at the bottom and an upper section consisting of a pair of 5ft. wide cupboard doors. Those with full vacuum brakes were built as shown in the GA drawing below and those with pipes only would have looked like the one in the photograph. Since all were intended for express traffic they were fitted with screw couplings. The pipes only version had a single brake block and lever operating on one wheel only. The vacuum brake version had clasp brakes on all four wheels and a handbrake that operating on a single block on one wheel only, for parking purposes. It is possible that the brake systems were upgraded later, but there is no photographic evidence available.
The GA drawing reproduced above is based on Earlestown Dwg. No.93 dated 20.5.04. and preserved as HMRS 1126. It represents a vehicle built with a horizontal vacuum sack and clasp brakes on all four wheels. Note the handbrake lever to apply the inner block on the left hand wheel while the van is parked.
Source LNWR Soc Neg. No 102
D87 Van number 12553 is a ‘pipes only’ version with a single brake operating on one wheel only. The paint date reads July 1904 indicating that this was an early version, even the prototype. The axle boxes are the first oil filled type and accommodated 9in by 4in journals to support the 10 ton load the van was capable of carrying.