Bachmann reveals OO Palvans

25 March 2024
Bachmann has revealed it is developing models of the BR 12 Ton ‘Palvan’ Pallet Van – the first time models of these distinctive vehicles have been produced in OO.

New tooling allows a range of ‘Palvan’ models to be produced, depicting the various differences incorporated in the different build lots and during their service lives. The first wagons were built with Morton brakes, acting upon four wheels with the associated tie-bar, and with oil axleboxes. Later lots had eight shoe clasp brakes, some of which were fitted with oil axleboxes and others roller bearings, both combinations are catered for with the Branchline tooling. 

Buffers are of metal construction and can be of the spindle, self-contained, or OLEO type, whilst wheels may be disc, 3-hole disc, spoked, or split-spoked – all of metal construction – depending on the specific van being modelled. Advertising boards also feature where appropriate.

Every model includes separately-fitted parts, including the door hold open brackets, handrails (the protrusion of which is too great on the Engineering Prototypesand will be corrected in production) and chalk boards on each side and end. 

The bufferbeams sport separate lamp brackets, vacuum pipe brackets and coupling hooks. The chassis features a full complement of brake gear, including optional brake pulls and safety loops supplied with those wagons that are fitted with eight-shoe clasp brakes. Standard tension lock couplings are fitted via NEM pockets whilst optional accessories include the vacuum brake pipe and Instanter couplings.

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About the prototype

By the early-1950s the use of wooden pallets and forklift trucks to load and move goods had become well established, however the doors of standard railway wagons were not wide enough to accommodate the loading of a pallet. Aware of this new trend, British Railways experimented with modifying GWR and LMS designs before creating its own design, Diagram No. 1/211 of 1954, for the Pallet Van or ‘Palvan’. On the left on each side was a door with an opening of 8ft 6in. – as opposed to the 5ft opening of a standard van door – allowing pallets to be loaded on either side. The body was made from plywood, with distinctive bracing and bracketry making the ‘Palvans’ easily distinguishable in a train of mixed vans. Like other BR ‘standard’ types, the chassis featured a 10ft wheelbase with a total length of 17ft 6in.

Orders were placed for almost 2,400 wagons in 1954, with construction continuing until 1961.

The ‘Palvans’ suffered with uneven running gear wear caused by uneven loading and many were withdrawn before the 1970s. Some entered private ownership, including 20 with Scottish whisky maker Johnnie Walker, which carried advertising boards for the brand.

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