Refrigerator van. Refrigerator van. Refrigerator van.

PW025 Hull & Barnsley Railway
Refrigerator van.
White body and roof.
Unshaded black lettering.

The city of Kingston upon Hull, on the north bank of the Humber estuary, has been one of the major ports on the east coast of England since the Middle Ages. During the 18th Century it expanded rapidly, and by the dawn of the railway age it was ideally positioned to become a major player in the new era of international trade. Things didn't work out quite that way, however, and Hull found itself out-competed by the neighbouring ports of Goole and Grimsby. The only rail link into Hull was provided by the North Eastern Railway, who neglected Hull in favour of other maritime interests up in their north-eastern heartlands, while blocking any attempt by other railway companies to build a connection to the city. Things finally came to a head in the 1870s, by which time the NER's inaction had reduced Hull's trade to a state of near-paralysis. A consortium of local businessmen led by banker Gerald Smith decided that enough was enough, and by 1879 they had formed a company to build a new rail connection between Hull and the outside world. The following year the grandiosely- titled Hull, Barnsley and West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Company received Parliamentary approval for its plans, and construction started. By 1885 the line was completed, along with the vast new Alexandra Dock, which at 46 acres was the largest in Britain. Operations began, but things didn't run at all smoothly at first. The line had required an inordinate number of bridges, tunnels and elevated sections in its construction, and the expense of these works left the new company in serious debt. For a while it hovered on the verge of bankruptcy, but fortunately things picked up as the 1890s wore on, and by the dawn of the 20th century it was in much better shape. Exports of coal from the pits of Yorkshire kept the business in profit, and in 1905 it ditched its unwieldy title in favour of the snappier Hull & Barnsley Railway, despite the line never having never actually reached Barnsley itself. (It terminated a couple of miles away at Stairfoot.) As well as coal the H&BR also carried a great deal of fish landed in Hull, along with other perishable goods for import and export, and to keep these fresh while in transit they had a fleet of insulated vans which would have been chilled with dry ice. These were painted in a smart white livery with the company's initials writ large on the side, along with the slogan 'Continental Trade via Hull' to advertise the service provided.
The H&BR's independent existence came to an end in the upheaval of the railway industry following the Great War, and in 1922 they were absorbed by their hated rivals the NER, which in turn became part of the newly-created LNER in the grouping of 1923. But the company's wagons would have run on for a good few years before their new owners got round to repainting them, and of course the liveries of the old companies can be seen again on today's heritage railways.
Recreate the goods traffic of a bygone age on your layout with our H&BR refrigerator van. So far as we are aware this is the first ready-to-run wagon in H&BR livery ever produced in N Gauge.

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