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Photographer / Copyright
James Mair
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4821B R65VJM

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Details: From the mid-1980s until the early 2010s, the Bedford/Vauxhall Astra van was a common feature of the central fleet, over 270 being used. This compares to nearly 600 examples of the broadly similar Ford Escort van, though production of the latter had started over ten years earlier. As at April 2000, there were 14 Astra vans in use, alongside 42 of the Escort van. Although the Astras were all badged as Vauxhalls, the vans carried a mixture of B and V fleetnumber suffixes. 4821, seen here, avoided the confusion by omitting the suffix altogether. New in June 1998 this was a petrol-engined 1.6LS 2+2 van. The 2+2 designation usually referred to the fitting of a second row of seats, although since such vans had no additional doors or windows, it was almost impossible to confirm their interiors from photographs. 4821 had 'Engineering services' lettering, with department lettering that appears to read 'Civil & Track Consultancy', curiously using title case rather than sentence case. No allocation information is available and the location and date of this photo are not confirmed but could well be Chalfont and Latimer Station on 16th June 2001. The van was withdrawn in October 2001, while production of van Astras ended in 2013. Also visible in this photo are LUL wagons GP937 (General Purpose, built by Procor in 1985) and what looks to be FW351 (Flat Wagon, Gloucester 1951). The latter was officially numbered F351 and, despite its age, remained in stock to at least 2013.

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Thomas YoungJames has confirmed the date and location details are as suggested. He also drew my attention to the fact that there was a dog in the driver's seat, visible in this photo! How did I not notice that?Fri 08/05/2020, 18:08