UK wagon factory has latest project box-fresh for delivery

JNA-U MegaBox in rotator at WH Davis

WH Davis, the last independent rolling stock manufacturer in the UK, is nearing the completion of another important project. Their speciality, open box wagons, are in high demand, and their latest customer is expecting delivery of a brand new rake of thirty examples any day now.

It will be a short journey from the outskirts of Mansfield to the outskirts of Crewe to deliver the ‘MegaBox’ fleet to the railhead for Land Recovery, the latest customer for the WH Davis signature wagon. The delivery underlines the manufacturer’s continued success and demand for bulk loads by rail in the UK.

Establish their position in rail freight

While all the high-volume wagon building factories have long since closed in the UK, the specialist manufacturer WH Davis remains as a ‘go-to’ supplier for specialist and short-run orders. When WH Davis signed the deal to deliver 30 new ‘JNA’ box wagons due for delivery in this financial quarter, they were typically coy about the customer, other than to say they were new to rail.

Two MegaBoxes at WH Davis. Image Shan Liu

The secret is out of the box now that the rake is getting ready for out-shopping. Just under a year ago, Land Recovery bought into an existing rail operation to establish their position in the sector. The order and acquisition of this new MegaBox rake cements that position.

A clear vision for development

“Based on our MegaBox design, this JNA-U will follow the traditional 60m3 capacity with a gross weight of 101.6tons”, says a company statement from WH Davis. “The first of the JNA-U boxes for LRL are nearing completion, with the delivery of the full rake to the customer by the end of next month”, added Les Bryant, the Group Engineering Director at WH Davis. “I think they look great in this livery”, he proudly added.

Two are ready to roll. WH Davis makes good on its delivery of wagons for their customer (Image Les Bryant)

The MegaBox certainly lives up to its name. They are bigger in floor space and volume than the average British apartment and have been engineered to a specification developed between the manufacturer and the customer. The twin-bogie units are rugged enough to handle the roughest mineral loads. Land Recovery may be new to the rail freight sector, but they have a clear vision for developing the business. “[We have] over 20 years of contracting and construction experience”, says their statement. “We’ll bring our wealth of knowledge and insight to provide the most complete industrial solutions.”

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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