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Profiles - Opens
The term open is here defined as being wagons designed to carry loose, bulk materials such as coal, ballast and aggregate. Unloading was achieved variously by tippling, mechanical grab or by hand. General merchandise wagons (such as the OBA dropside open) will be found under General Goods, while specialised types like Tube and Pipe wagons are to be included in the Steel Carriers section. Dominating the BR fleet were huge numbers of 16 ton Mineral wagons, plus larger minerals and other open wagons for ballast, iron-ore, etc. The growth of the private owner fleet from the 1970s onwards brought new wagons for aggregates and scrap metal. In recent years, 2-axle and bogie opens have supplanted hopper wagons on many traffic flows.

Image Type Built Qty Used Added Edited

IEA/IOA Network Rail Bogie Box Wagons 2009 160 2009-current 15/10/2014 15/10/2014
Greenbrier built two batches of bogie box wagons for Network Rail in 2009. 120 were high-sided wagons coded IOA and used in block formations to deliver ballast to virtual quarries. The other 40 were low-sided IEAs, assigned to general infrastructure work alongside similar wagons of types JNA and MLA.

JNA 'Falcon' Bogie Ballast/Spoil Wagons 2003-2004 555 2003-current 01/10/2007 09/03/2008
A large fleet of 555 Romanian-built bogie open wagons was delivered to Network Rail in 2004 and they have since become a common sight across the country, carrying ballast and spoil in connection with infrastructure work. Nicknamed 'Falcons' (for reasons unknown) and painted in a distinctive all yellow livery, the wagons often operate in sets of five.

JNA Mendip Rail Bogie Aggregate Wagons  2000-2001 90 2000-current 23/12/2007 08/04/2008
The large fleet of wagons used to haul stone from the Somerset quarries to London and the South East was partially renewed in 2000/2001 with the arrival of 90 rugged-looking box wagons built by Marcroft. These were the first to carry the logo of the recently formed Mendip Rail company, other types continuing with the Yeoman and Hanson brandings. They were also the first to use the TF25 low track force bogie.

MBA/MCA/MDA/MOA Bogie Open Wagons  1999-2003 350 1999-current 23/12/2007 16/05/2008
These large bogie open wagons were one of several types built by Thall at York Works as part of the reinvigoration of the freight fleet by EWS. Ironically, the big, American-looking MBAs turned out to be too large and many had their height cut-down fairly soon after delivery, to form types MCA and MDA. Further wagons were built to the reduced height (as MOAs), these being mainly used on infrastructure work alongside the MCA/MDA fleet, while the full-height MBAs eventually found employment on a wide variety of revenue flows.

MCO/MCV 16t Mineral Wagons 1944-1978 c.304372 1950-c.1992 01/01/2008 14/07/2008
What can you say about the humble BR 16 ton mineral wagon that hasn't been said before? How about the fact that, if made up into a single train, they would stretch over 1,100 miles! It is likely that they were never all in service at the same time of course, the building programme lasting from 1944 to 1959. The vast majority of BR 16 ton minerals had metal bodies with doors in the sides and one end (and in the floor on many), mounted on 9ft wheelbase underframes with plain bearings and unfitted Morton brake gear. The type survived in revenue use until the late 1980s, and a few years longer in departmental service.

MDO/MDV/MEO 21/24t Mineral Wagons 1950-1978 13907 1950-c.1992 01/01/2008 01/07/2008
Although almost 14,000 of these larger mineral wagons were built for BR, they were overshadowed by the far more numerous 16ton variants. Two basic designs were used, both having twin side doors and one end door in their 21ft 6in long bodies, mounted on 12ft wheelbase underframes. The 24t variant (MEO) was over a foot taller than the standard 16ton mineral, at over 9ft 10in. The 21ton wagons (MDO and MDV) were closer to the 16 tonners in height, and lasted longer both in production and in service. Rebodying in later years produced further variations. The South Wales coalfields were the types main area of operation and the last were withdrawn in about 1992.

MEA/MFA Box Wagons  1990-2004 641 1990-current 16/12/2007 12/09/2008
The MEA wagons were produced by rebodying redundant HEA coal hoppers with new box bodies. Intended originally for coal, the type has found use carrying a variety of bulk loads. A total of 641 wagons were converted, although before this was completed, 135 were cut-down for use as infrastructure wagons recoded MFA.

MLA Bogie Box Wagons 2006-2008 245 2006-current 15/10/2014 15/10/2014
The MLA code first appeared in 2006 and is applied to two batches of low-sided bogie box wagons used by three different operators. An initial batch of 140 yellow wagons was ordered by GB Railfreight for use on their Metronet contract, some being diverted to Network Rail. EWS followed this with 105 similar wagons but in a red livery. All are used for infrastructure duties.

MRA Side-Tipping Ballast Wagons  2003-2004 400 2003-current 1/1/2008 1/1/2008
Each MRA bogie ballast wagon has two shallow boxes which can be tipped to either side, discharging ballast onto parallel trackbeds. They operate in fixed rakes of 5 wagons, one of which is fitted with a generator to provide power and air to the whole set. The first 300 were delivered in a cream livery for use by Railtrack while a second batch of 100 was in yellow and branded Network Rail. 25 of the second batch were later transferred to GB Railfreight for use on the Metronet contract.

MTA Open Ballast Wagons  1998-2007 396 1998-current 01/01/2008 26/07/2009
The MTA box wagon is a simple-looking type with a complicated history. Together with the similar but more numerous MFA and MHA types, the MTAs are used to carry ballast and spoil in connection with infrastructure works. The three types often work in mixed rakes and were responsible for replacing the last of the vacuum-braked Grampus wagons.

POA/SSA Scrap Metal Wagons 1978-1984 181 1978-current 1/10/2007 16/12/2007
A large number of open wagons for carrying scrap metal were built (or converted) during the 1980s. Perhaps the most distinctive were those owned by Standard Railfreight and painted in a bright blue and yellow livery. BR bought these wagons in 1990 and recoded them from POA to SSA. Most were eventually given new bodywork to a slightly revised design, and painted in EWS maroon. Although trialled on other traffics, the type continues in the main on scrap metal flows.

PTA/JTA/JUA Bogie Iron-Ore/Stone Tipplers 1971-1977 458 1971-current 1/12/2006 24/12/2006
Several large batches of these rugged bogie box wagons were built to convey iron-ore from ports to steel works in the 1970s. The changing fortunes of the steel-making industry has seen them lead interesting lives.

PX030 Sheerness Steel Bogie Steel/Scrap Wagons  1974 8 1974-current 01/01/2008 12/04/2008
Although only 8 were built, these wagons were of interest in being among the first modern private-owner bogie steel wagons. In appearance they were similar to the BR-built BBA wagons but with higher ends. After just a few years service they were rebuilt as open wagons for carrying scrap metal, a role in which they continued following the end of traffic to Sheerness. A transfer to infrastructure duties was shortlived, having resulted in the derailment and withdrawal of 3 of the class.

YCV 'Turbot' Bogie Ballast Wagons 1982-1988 992 1982-2006 1/12/2006 24/12/2006
The Bogie Bolster E design built by BR in the 1960s turned out to be too short for their intended traffic but, when fitted with low-sided bodywork, found use as ballast wagons. Almost 1,000 were rebuilt in the 1980s and renumbered in the departmental series. Their vacuum brakes and relatively fragile drop-side doors saw the type displaced by more modern designs and conversions, and most of the Turbots were withdrawn in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

'Clam', 'Rudd' and 'Tope' Ballast Wagon Rebuilds  1984-1991 2069 1987-current 01/01/2008 16/03/2010
The Clam, Rudd and Tope wagons were all rebuilds of HTV coal hoppers for use by the Civil Engineers. The Clam and Rudd conversions both involved the fitting of a new box body, the Rudds having dropside doors and air brakes. The Tope was a simpler job, merely having the original hopper body cut down in height and a solid floor fitted. The programme started in 1984 and, although scaled back, still involved over 2000 wagons, the vast majority of which appeared in the attractive grey and yellow livery. The vacuum braked Clam and Tope fleets were fairly rapidly withdrawn in the early 2000s, but the Rudds lasted longer, with over 200 still in use at the start of 2008.

Page added: 01/10/2007 Spotted an error? Got some additional info?
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Last edited: 15/10/2014