M.R.W.A. Class FA brake vans. Later W.A.G.R. classes Z and ZJ

The M.R.W.A. bogie brake vans are one of the most confusing groups of M.R.W.A. stock. At least seven different diagrams are involved. In 1894 four vans numbered 1FA-4FA were built by the Lancaster Wagon Co. for the M.R.W.A. A fifth van was built before 1902 followed by two more before 1913. The seven vans were then renumbered FA274-280. These vans were all thirty feet long with an end platform. Eventually there were nine vans of this type when the whole sequence were then renumbered FA61-69 in numerical order (I think). It is possible that the last two were built without end platforms. In 1932/3 FA66 was written off and from 1948 FA67 was used for a period as a workmen's van.

Another pair (FA305/6) were built in 1913 but they were then lengthened by 11'-9" and 12'-0" respectively in 1915/6. Both were fitted with electric light in 1922/3. In 1932 these two were renumbered FA56/7. In 1959 FA56 was re-bodied followed by FA57 in 1960. In 1964 they became Z40811/2. Z40811 was written off in 1971 whilst Z40812 lasted until 1982.


A new van (FA411) was built in 1927. This was 30'-0" long had two sets of doors and no end platform. In 1932 it became FA70. It was given a new underframe in 1963 and the following year became Z40822. It was written off in 1967.

In 1930 a new 49'-2" long brake van comparable to the W.A.G.R. ZJ class was built numbered FA51. A second van (FA52) was built in 1932. These two vans became ZJ40801/2 in 1964 when the W.A.G.R. took over and they were both written off in 1975.  I believe that this van is shown in this Weston Langford photo.

The first four vans (FA61-4) were re-bodied at some point with wider bodies, which had no end platform. In 1964 FA61-4 became Z40813-6. Z40815 was the first to go in 1972 followed by 40814 in 1973 and the final pair (40813/6) in 1977.

In 1951 a new FA66 (originally to have been FA71) was built. FA67 was converted to this new standard in 1953 followed by FA65 in 1954. These three vans had angle iron strengthening to the underframe rather than the truss rods retained by the rebuilt FA61-4. The three vans became Z40817-9 in 1964. Z40819 was the first to go in 1972. Z40817 followed in 1977 whilst Z40818 survived to be the last ex M.R.W.A. van in traffic. It finally went with most of the W.A.G.R. Z vans in 1985.  There is a  photo of Z40817 in the Weston Langford collection.

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