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Cravens Railway Carriage
and Wagon Company Ltd
Industry Railway Engineering
Fate Acquired
Successor Metropolitan-Cammell
Founded pre 1900
Defunct 1966
Headquarters Sheffield, England, UK
Products Carriages, locomotives

Cravens Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited was a railway rolling stock builder in the Darnall district of Sheffield, England. Cravens built many diagrams of coaching stock for the pre-grouping Railway companies of Great Britain, the grouped companies and for British Railways itself. They also constructed coaches for many railway companies around the world. As well as surface running stock they also built vehicles for underground railways and especially noted are the London Underground A60 Stock. With modernisation the company adapted to build diesel multiple units and electric multiple units for British Railways. In 1966 Metropolitan-Cammell absorbed the railway rolling stock business of Cravens.

One of its last orders, in 1963, was of 55 mainline carriages, broadly similar to the British Railways Mark 1 design, for the Irish railway company Córas Iompair Éireann.

Another of the orders received and completed before the absorption by Metro Cammell was a royal train for Peru.


In Spring 1961 CIÉ (National Railway Company of Ireland) sought tenders for the supply of 40 new Standard Class coaches, 10 to be delivered complete, the rest "part-finished" for assembly in Inchicore, Dublin, with technical assistance from the suppliers. The £500,000 contract was awarded to Cravens of Sheffield. It was reported that these new vehicles "would set a pattern for future construction of CIE carriage stock." The first of the Sheffield-built coaches was unloaded at the North Wall, Dublin on 3 May 1963 and taken to Inchicore for acceptance. These saw long service, the last not being withdrawn from main line service until 2006 and some are preserved by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

Preserved Cravens rolling stock[edit]

Cravens trains are preserved by the Craven Heritage Train group.

One carriage built by Cravens for the Metropolitan Railway in 1892 (No353) is preserved by the London Transport Museum. Another built in 1900 is preserved on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex.

Ex-Iarnród Éireann (which operated Ireland's railways after CIÉ was split up in 1987) Craven Carriage Numbers 1505, 1506, 1508, 1514, 1522, 1523, 1529, 1532, 1539 and 1541 have been preserved in regular use by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI). [1] They are used on their Dublin area excursions. The body of No.1558 is preserved at a pub in Naas County Kildare.

Cravens also built four 40-tonne capacity steam cranes for the New Zealand Railways in the late 1930s. One of these, NO 200 (TMS EL 4007), was purchased for preservation by Euan McQueen of the Rail Heritage Trust in 1990 while it was in storage. The crane was transferred to Steam Incorporated's Paekakariki depot in 1993. The crane was being restored by the Craven Crane Group, although it is listed in a roster of preserved railway and tramway equipment as having been transferred to Steam Inc ownership in 2009. It is at present under overhaul, having last operated in the late 1980s.

Health and safety aspects[edit]

Many employees in the railway industry in general developed diseases related to asbestos, used during the locomotive and carriage building process. These diseases include peritoneal mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, diffuse pleural thickening and other pleural abnormalities.[2] Some ex Cravens employees have been awarded significant compensation in such cases but some families received relatively small amounts of compensation.[3]

One of the methods of working employed at Craven's was shooting a wet slurry of asbestos from a pressure gun. The operators would stand under a railway car supported on large trestles and spray the asbestos slurry in a 2-inch-thick (51 mm) layer onto the underside of the railway car. This was done to provide sound insulation to the floor of the railway car prior to final assembly.

Problems with asbestos in Cravens' stock continued for many years. Cravens' standard stock cars 4906 to 4909 were withdrawn from service in 1975 and 1976, and the schedule for their replacement suffered severe delays due to the discovery of asbestos in some of the Driving Motor cars. Because of this, it was 1983 before all the standard stock cars were replaced.[4]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]