BR 993876 'Shark' Ballast Plough Brake

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BRBritish Rail or British Railways 993876 'Shark' Ballast Plough Brake
DB993876 20170726.jpg
DB 993876 at Kidderminster (July 2017)
Built By BRCWBirmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company Smethwick
Status In service
Number DB 993876
Built 1957
Diagram 1/597
Lot 3040
Type Ballast plough brake
Capacity 20 tons
Telegraphic code Shark
Brakes Air braked
2017 Entered preservation on SVRSevern Valley Railway

Goods Wagons

This BRBritish Rail or British Railways-era Ballast Plough Brake, of type ‘Shark’, was based on the equivalent LMSLondon Midland & Scottish Railway 16-ton design (also used in BRBritish Rail or British Railways diagram 1/596) but uprated to 20 tons.[1] It had large metal ingots installed below the Guard’s floor to add extra weight. Fitted with a handbrake and stove, they were used in ballast train working, the ploughs being used to spread newly-dropped stone ballast.[2]

993876 in service

993876 was built by BRCWBirmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company at Smethwick in 1957 to Diagram 1/597, Lot 3040.[3] It was later rebuilt by Network Rail with roller bearings and plywood bodywork in place of the original oil axleboxes and planked body. It is a 'vacuum blow-through, air fitted' vehicle.[4]

A Hornby model of DB 993876 has been produced showing the brake van in Loadhaul livery, and other references can be found referring to the van in this context. Loadhaul Ltd was a railfreight operator based in the north east of England which came into being in 1994 during the privatisation of BRBritish Rail or British Railways and ultimately became part of the company English Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWSEnglish, Welsh & Scottish Railway, a rail freight company).[5]

Prior to acquisition by the SVRSevern Valley Railway, 993876 was used on Bridport steel trains on the East Usk Branch. An article and photo by Paul Theroux describes the process, which involved the locomotive running round the train at East Usk yard and then propelling it down the branch with the brake van leading.

993876 in preservation

Newly arrived DB 993876 (April 2017)

The SVRSevern Valley Railway's other 'Shark', 993989 is vacuum braked. 993876 arrived at Kidderminster on 30 March 2017 by road from East Usk yard. It was repainted in grey in July 2017. The same month, GB Railfreight Class 66 No 66763 Severn Valley Railway visited the SVRSevern Valley Railway with five biomass hoppers. The locomotive and hoppers made round trips over the line on 26 and 27 July with 993876 included as the brake van, a purpose for which it was suited being air braked. It is now used regularly on Permanent Way duties along with the other recently acquired air-braked rolling stock such as the Rudd, Seacow and Parr wagons.

See also


  1. Rowland (1996) p. 109.
  2. Severn Valley Railway Stock Book Ninth Edition
  3. Rowland (1996) Appendix 4
  4. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 200, Winter 2017
  5. Wikipedia