GWR wagon plates

From c 1894, wagons carried cast plates on the wagon body. There were two plates, one for the number, placed on the lowest plank on the left-hand of the bodyside, and the other for 'G.W.R' placed on the lowest plank of right-hand of the bodyside. Some cattle wagons also had cast number plates high up on the ends of the body.

4-planker built from a Cooper-Craft kit by Mikkel Kjartan

These body plates were no longer applied after c 1904, the insignia being painted on thereafter.


On some early brake vans, the depot branding was displayed on a cast plate.

Adjacent is an AA1 brake van with a 'SWINDON' cast plate soon after 1904 following a repaint with large 25" lettering, and a Worcester van, with post-1920 16" lettering, still carrying its cast depot plate in April 1923.


Wagons also carried rectangular cast number and ownership plates on the solebars at the left-hand end (one on each side). The rectangular plates were approximately 14.5" x 7" in size. For wagons built before the grouping, the fixing bolt holes were on the centreline of the plate:

but for wagons built after the grouping, the fixing centres were raised:

GWR wagon number plate

For wagons manufactured with RCH fittings after 1922, the solebar numberplate became the standard RCH 'D' shape. Wagons from the Hire fleet were suffixed with 'H'. BR recast many plates with just 'W' as the prefix.

The large wagon plate images above are thanks to Malcolm Peakman.


Rectangular "Return To G.W.R. Not Common User" plates, with white lettering a black ground, appeared on many GWR wagons after the grouping. On some wagons, this lettering was painted on, but a thin plate was the most common form of the notification. On some wagons, the 'non common user' indication was a smaller lozenge-shaped plate.