James Holden’s  five-plank open to Diagram 16 was a direct continuation of Worsdell’s four-plank wagon,  the overall dimensions remaining the same  including the interior depth of 2′ 10¾”.

Apart from the extra plank, Holden’s Diagram 16 9 ton 5-plank opens were virtually identical to their 4-plank predecessor built by Worsdell. Modernisations include the Holden E-Type grease axleboxes and full-length buffer guides obviating the need for wooden packing pieces. One of the first in service, no.2376, was photographed in 1887, straight from the paintshop, in the livery that lasted until 1902.
Photograph ©Public Domain

Conflicting statements have been made in documents concerning the date this new design was introduced as being either 1885 or 1887, and the total number of wagons built down to 1893 as either 3640 or 3740. The General Arrangement drawing is dated 1887, which actually solves nothing as Stratford often produced GAs after the introduction of an item of rolling stock, but it does mean that Stratford GAs are often a useful record of what was actually built, rather than the intent of the designer. As with the Worsdell wagon, a proportion of these wagons were set aside and put to use on loco coal duties over the GN & GE Joint Line until the advent of dedicated loco coal wagons in 1891, after which they were put into revenue earning service.

Despite retaining the same timber underframe as its predecessor, the new five-plank design made it into Holden’s Wagon Register in 1901 and was designated Diagram 16. This ensured the design had a longer lifespan by avoiding early obsolescence and withdrawal, and in consequence 3,000 examples were still in revenue-earning service at Grouping.

Livery details both pre-and post-1902 are exactly the same as for the earlier 4-plank open.

A 7mm kit exists for this wagon, which when I first encountered it in the mid-90s, was marketed by Wagon & Carriage Works, and is now in the hands of Powsides. As the prototype represented approximately 20% of the total wagon stock of the GER in at the start of the Basilica Fields timeframe 1890 (a total of 14,893 in revenue-earning service), they will be the the second most common wagon to appear on the layout after the subject of the next instalment of this mini series.