Dapol's new O Gauge VEA and Vanwide wagon have arrived.
- Extremely detailed and accurate body shell and chassis
- Many separately added fine detail pats to accentuate underframe detail
- Sprung metal buffers
- Metal sprung coupling hook and working Instanter couplings
- Finely profiled wheels and axles with brass bearing pockets
- Compensated chassis for smooth trouble free running
Due to pressure from large customers BR developed a box van design with sliding doors, the Vanwide to Diagram 1/217, with standard dimensions of 17ft 6 inch length with a 10ft wheelbase. The sides were of plywood construction with flush doors that moved out slightly thus enabling them to slide down the sides, so alleviating the problem of confined locations. The end walls were made from corrugated metal sheeting. The door opening method made a door aperture of 9ft possible which aided loading of pallets by fork lift truck. It was this wider door opening that gave rise to the code name. The build was between Wolverton works and Derby works with nearly 2000 being built between 1961 - 1962.
The VEA vans were refurbished versions of the Vanwide and fitted with air brakes from 1977 to suit customers who could not handle the longer wheelbase of more modern designs of wagon. A total of 550 wagons were converted. They were used on Speedlink trains as well as military specials. A decline in MOD requirements led to most of the wagons being withdrawn in the early 1990s with just a handful finding further use in the departmental fleets. However many survived in internal use at Army bases. Several examples survive into preservation.