A Water Orton 'windcutter'. Ex LMS Fowler 0-6-0 4F 44458 passing Water Orton Station Junction and on to the fast lines to Kingsbury with a train of empty mineral wagons.
A mineral wagon is a small railway vehicle used in the United Kingdom and elsewhere to carry coal, ores and other mine products . In the United Kingdom they usually have four wheels. They were originally made of wood and were often of very simple construction, with no train brakes, but from the 1930s on were more commonly made of riveted or welded steel. These wagons were cheap to make and a common sight all over the country. In BR days there were even unfitted mineral trains run at express freight speed, locally known as "the Annesley Cutters" or "Windcutters". These ran from Annesley, a collection yard for the collieries of Nottinghamshire served by the ex Great Central Railway to Woodford Halse and then to major destinations across England. These days have been recreated on the preserved Great Central Railway using over 30 of these wagons purchased in 1992 by readers of Steam Railway magazine.
Mineral wagons were phased out in the UK in the 1970s, following reduction in demand for household coal and the development of merry-go-round trains, which use much larger (and braked) hopper wagons.
See also