BR Western Region ‘Fruit D’ van No W92097W
“Fruit D” 92097 was built in 1958 by British Railways’ Swindon Workshops and was produced as part of an extension batch of an outdated design created by the Great Western Railway in 1939. The Fruit D design was so named as during Great Western Railway days each type of wagon was assigned a telegraphic code to enable formations of wagons to be easily communicated by telegraph. As this type of van had extra ventilation built in specifically to handle fruit and produce traffic it was assigned the designation “Fruit”. The D suffix was merely to identify separate types or batches, so presumably the Fruit D was the forth in a series of Fruit vans.
The Fruit D’s were built with electric lighting and were fully braked with standard vacuum braking, two features which made the vehicles suitable for conveyance in passenger trains. For this reason, the vans also carried the branding “Passenger” and during British Railways days carried the colour schemes for passenger coaching stock rather than goods stock.
After a successful career on BR, 92097 was acquired by the M&GN Society and moved to the North Norfolk Railway where it operated in freight (and occasionally passenger), repainted into BR crimson livery. By 2012, the vehicle was looking worse for wear and was brought into the workshops and stripped down, exterior woodwork replaced, new floor fitted, interior restored, underframe repainted and finally the exterior painted into Great Western Railway colours, a scheme that 92097 (being built by BR) actually never carried.
Look out for the Fruit van on the back of the train!