Wagon reveals its spots! (Hopper Update II)

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You will recall that we acquired a rare wagon from the York Group of the NYMR last year with a strong suspicion that it was an early private owner iron ore hopper wagon. It is the sole survivor of three wagons latterly used, and heavily modified by Rowntrees of York before its operational life in preservation at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on loco ash trains.

Recent research and a chance find of a photograph on eBay, showed an identical wagon at Scunthorpe in around 1950. This photo is significant as it shows a wagon of this type lettered to show its owner at nationalisation – Richard Thomas & Co. as well as its allocated nationalised number P64965.

The Richard Thomas & Co. business ran steelworks at Redbourn in Scunthorpe and Ebbw Vale in South Wales with iron ore mining interests in the East Midlands at Blisworth, Finedon, Hunsbury Hill and Irthlingborough.

The steelworks at Scunthorpe were originally developed in the early 1900’s by the Redbourn Hill Iron & Coal Company and were hugely expanded in the latter part of the First World War. The entire output of pig iron was taken by Richard Thomas & Co. who eventually bought out the company.

We therefore deduce that the wagon, which was built by Midlands manufacturer W. Rigley in around 1910, was acquired by the Richard Thomas & Co. through its business acquisitions but would have been taken into nationalised stock in 1948.

Given the timeframe for our museum, after restoration of the bodywork to its correct profile, the wagon will assume the P64965 identity of the example in the photo.