VD Class bogie covered vans

The post-war standard bogie van was the 36'-0" long VD class. Unlike the V class (which was a bogie version of the D) and the VA/VB design (which was essentially a bogie DA) the VD class was based on the FD class louvred van. This was probably a mistake and over the years the sides of the vans were progressively boarded up as repairs took place. This closely paralleled the process going on with the FD's. However, the final variant illustrated by VD23075 (bottom) did not become a new class like the FDF class vans.

There was a total of 180 VD class vans built in 1952 (23001-23030) and 1953 (23031-23180) by Societe Metalurgique D'Engien. From an early point in their lives variants arose. The first was the VDR class freezer conversion of 23024 in 1956. The similar WVD class conversion of 23026, 23131 and 23140 followed in 1957. More VDRs were created in 1958 (23017), 1959 (23118), 1960 (23087) and 1961 (23057). Most of these vans ended up as class VDB.

Six vans (23025, 23028, 23058, 23079, 23130, 23156) were fitted with internal battens in 1955 but it not clear why or if/when they reverted to standard.

As early as 1957 changes were made to the ends to try to eliminate the vulnerability of the louvres but this was a slow process. Between 1957 and 1966 a number of vans were fitted with timber sheeted ends presumably as a result of damage repair whilst others retained the louvres but the ends were sheeted with galvanised iron. Those recorded are listed below.

1957 23056, 23138, 23161 timber sheeted ends
1958

23005, 23084, 23096, 23097, 23108, 23147 timber sheeted ends

23001, 23003, 23006, 23007, 23008, 23016, 23021, 23023, 23025, 23029, 23031, 23033, 23037, 23039, 23042, 23044, 23054, 23057, 23058, 23060, 23065, 23067, 23088, 23092, 23123, 23126, 23130, 23151, 23157, 23158, 23170, 23175 Ends sheeted with galvanised iron. Louvres retained.

1959

23059, 23068, 23114, 23128, 23148, 23167, 23174 timber sheeted ends

23014, 23018, 23047, 23052, 23062, 23063, 23121, 23122, 23124, 23132, 23171 Ends sheeted with galvanised iron. Louvres retained.

1960

23013, 23020, 23034, 23046, 23053, 23075, 23098, 23101, 23102, 23117, 23144, 23163, 23173, 23179 timber sheeted ends

23012, 23032, 23045, 23066, 23079, 23080, 23082, 23100, 23107, 23120, 23127, 23134, 23136, 23137, 23141, 23144, 23146, 23149, 23155, 23162, 23166, 23176 Ends sheeted with galvanised iron. Louvres retained.

1961

23038, 23077, 23099 timber sheeted ends

23004, 23027, 23036, 23048, 23073, 23074, 23083, 23093, 23105, 23109, 23153, 23164, 23165 Ends sheeted with galvanised iron. Louvres retained.

1962

23019, 23035, 23041, 23063, 23067, 23151 timber sheeted ends

23040, 23049, 23081, 23145 Ends sheeted with galvanised iron. Louvres retained.

1963

23010, 23022, 23023, 23025, 23029, 23051, 23055, 23062, 23078, 23112, 23124, 23132, 23150, 23166, 23171, 23176 timber sheeted ends

23111, 23113, 23168, 23177 Ends sheeted with galvanised iron. Louvres retained.

1964

23001, 23008, 23012, 23021, 23116, 23119, 23154 timber sheeted ends

23015, 23030, 23115, 23129 Ends sheeted with galvanised iron. Louvres retained.

1965

23007, 23037, 23083 timber sheeted ends

23072, 23104, 23133 Ends sheeted with galvanised iron. Louvres retained.

1966 23113 timber sheeted ends

From 1960 some VDs were stencilled to run at 50MPH (later 45MPH) for use in passenger trains. At least the following vans are known to have been stencilled in this way. There may have been others. In later years they seem to have been stencilled for 75KPH.

1960 23013, 23018, 23020, 23030, 23032, 23034, 23045, 23046, 23051, 23053, 23055, 23066, 23069, 23071, 23075, 23079, 23080, 23082, 23085, 23096, 23098, 23101, 23102, 23107, 23108, 23113, 23116, 23117, 23120, 23125, 23127, 23130, 23135, 23136, 23141, 23144, 23146, 23150, 23154, 23155, 23157, 23162, 23166, 23173, 23176, 23178, 23179
1961 23004, 23054, 23095
1962 23104, 23147

Three vans (23117, 23147, 23161) were rebuilt with metal louvres in their upper sides and planked lower sides in 1967. They became the VDA class.

In 1970 nine vans (23009, 23027, 23034, 23035, 23050, 23073, 23076, 23090, 23106) were fitted with load dividing equipment and were reclassified VDL. Most of the class ended their days in a state similar to 23065 (above) although all variations could be seen. The final variant is illustrated by 23075 below. I don't know how many vans got this full treatment but it was relatively few.

Most vans in the class remained in traffic until 1986 when the effects of "Total West" on the less than trainload traffic rendered them redundant. Most of the chassis were used for RCJ class steel open wagons. The fate of the VD's is listed below:

1963 23077 destroyed Coolgardie derailment and written off
1966 23039 written off
1976 23001, 23078, 23100 written off
1979 23031, 23169 written off
1982 23055 written off
1983 23020 written off
1984

23072, 23095, 23153 (all w/o 1983) converted to JOC

23013 written off

1986 23002, 23003, 23008, 23016, 23030, 23040, 23041, 23048, 23058, 23060, 23066, 23070, 23071, 23074, 23082, 23084, 23086, 23088, 23092, 23093, 23096, 23097, 23099, 23103, 23112, 23114, 23121, 23123, 23124, 23126-23130, 23132, 23137, 23138, 23144, 23145, 23148, 23149, 23155, 23163, 23165, 23173, 23174, 23178 converted to RCJ
1987

23005, 23007, 23010, 23012, 23014, 23015, 23017, 23023, 23025, 23032, 23033, 23037, 23038, 23045, 23046, 23047, 23053, 23054, 23059, 23061, 23064, 23079, 23080, 23085, 23089, 23091, 23094, 23098, 23104, 23107, 23109, 23110, 23111, 23113, 23116, 23119, 23120, 23122, 23133, 23135, 23136, 23139, 23141, 23142, 23146, 23156, 23158-23160, 23162, 23164, 23166-23168, 23172, 23175, 23180 to RCJ

23021, 23081 to VT

1988 23018, 23028, 23043, 23044, 23052, 23056, 23065, 23150, 23154, 23157, 23177 to RCJ
1990 23062 written off
1991 23004, 23006, 23019, 23022, 23029, 23036, 23042, 23049, 23051, 23063, 23067, 23068, 23069, 23075, 23083, 23101, 23102, 23105, 23115, 23125, 23134, 23143, 23151, 23152, 23170, 23171, 23176, 23179 written off
23108 unaccounted for but probably written off 1991 or before.

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