GWR 105873 'Mica B' Refrigerated Meat Van

GWR 105873 'Mica B' Refrigerated Meat Van
GWR 105873 'Mica B' Refrigerated Meat Van.jpg
GWR 105873 'Mica B' Refrigerated Meat Van
Built By GWR Swindon
Status Under repair
Number 105873
Other Numbers PBA 8
Built 1925
Diagram X.8
Lot 921
Type 6 ton refrigerated meat van
Telegraphic code MICA B
1973 Arrived on the SVR
1984 Restored
1985 Used on the main line
2012 Most recent overhaul

Goods Wagons

105873 is a 'MICA B', the telegraphic code 'MICA' designating a Refrigerated Meat Van of which 'B' is the ventilated variant. The ventilated vans were mainly used to transport chilled beef carcases from ports such as Birkenhead to Smithfield and other markets.[1] It is fitted with internal tanks for solid CO2 and trap doors on top of the roof for loading the dry ice. Meat hooks were fitted.



105873 was built at Swindon in 1925 to Diagram X8, Lot 921.[2] It has a 6 ton capacity. The X8 diagram included 1ft 8½in GWR ‘C’ type self-contained buffers and Morton brakes.

After service with the GWR and BR(W), its working life ended at the Port of Bristol Authority, Avonmouth Docks, numbered PBA 8.


Initially preserved at the Dean Forest Railway at Lydney, 105873 was acquired by The GWR 813 Preservation Fund in 1973, arriving on the SVR on 11 September in that year in poor structural condition.[3][4] It required extensive renovation which was carried out at Bewdley, beginning in spring 1984. A major body rebuild was undertaken including the construction of new doors, the replacement of door pillars and side planks, and other work on the roof and ends.[5] As restored the trap doors on top of the roof for loading the dry ice are dummies with no holes in the roof. Internally the remains of the meat hooks have been cut off at some point in the past.

Once restored, 105873 appeared on the main line in 1985 when it was used in the GW 150 demonstration freight train which ran to Newport behind GWR freight loco 2857.[6] It has also been used for moving presents for Santa’s Grotto, and for storage of 08 shunter spares. [3]

By spring 1995, 105873 was noted to be in 'shabby' condition and was brought in for further repairs and a repaint. Rot was found in three of the doors and the right hand half of both sides, probably made worse by the wagon’s design which includes a double skinned body combined with an air gap through which water could enter. With the wagon no longer needing to be refrigerated, drainage holes were added in the bottom stringer in an attempt to prevent the problem recurring.[7]

In 2006, rot was again found to be present, and the wagon was brought into the goods shed for drying out. The underframe was cleaned and repainted at the same time, but 105873 was then taken outside and sheeted while other wagons received attention.[8] The further renovation, which included re-canvassing the roof as well as a repaint, was completed in 2012.[9][10]

In October 2018 it was moved outside Bewdley Goods Shed with further work by the Wagon Department starting the following month. This revealed considerable rot for such a recently restored wagon. As in 1995, conjecture is that the cause is condensation caused by the vehicle being double skinned and zinc lined and having inadequate ventilation.

When operative, 105873 is regularly seen in the demonstration goods train, and can be easily recognised by its distinctive white livery with red lettering.


See also


  1. Atkins et al (1976) Vol 2 p. 100.
  2. Railway Heritage Register Wagon Survey
  3. 3.0 3.1 SVR Stock Book Ninth Edition
  4. SVR News 30
  5. SVR News 74
  6. SVR News 78
  7. SVR News 114, 117
  8. SVR News 155
  9. Web Round Up September 2012
  10. SVR News 180