For many years after opening, the Metropolitan Railway did not run its own goods services, though there was much goods traffic on the Metropolitan – so much so that the Widened Lines were proposed due to the frequent and intense nature of the goods traffic operated by the Great Northern, Great Western, London Chatham & Dover and Midland railway companies. By 1890 – the beginning of the Basilica Fields project’s time frame – the company only had fifty 6-ton open ballast wagons, six bolster wagons for carrying rails, three 10-ton goods brake vans, and two or three road van types for permanent way and maintenance duties.
The company appears to have been content to act as a distribution and collection agency, utilising the exchange yard at Finchley Road it shared with the Midland, and during the 1880s made use of the Midland Railway’s rolling stock for outward traffic, though the economics proved to be very unsatisfactory. Therefore, in 1891 the Met. began to build up its own fleet of goods rolling stock, and by 1900 had amassed 255 10-ton open wagons – the majority of which were low-sided 3-plank wagons with drop-sides – and the rest of the 5-plank variety, some of which may have been designated as coal wagons (though not loco or steam coal, as the met used outside contractors for these…Stephenson Clarke?), along with six covered vans, six cattle wagons and twenty three brake vans. 268 new wagons were added to the stock list by 1905, mostly opens, but included eighteen new covered vans and three new 10-ton machine wagons, and by 1910 the company’s wagon register had swollen to include 600 opens.
The increase in goods working by the company led to the opening of its own depôt at Vine Street, located between Farringdon Street and the Ray Street gridiron. It was to be the smallest of the City goods stations, and the shortest lived, lasting only twenty six years. Traffic was general in nature, dealing with all types of goods except minerals and livestock. It consisted of a short double-sided covered goods platform at rail level, each of the two sidings capable of holding seven wagons, a manually operated traverser and three van docks. The warehouse directly above was initially connected to the rail level by a single 20cwt electric hoist and a spiral staircase, and a second hoist was installed a year later. At the time of writing the building survives, albeit partially rebuilt, though the back and front walls at road level appear to be original.
Trade support for suitable goods stock is limited to post-1900 rub-down transfers from Powsides for the 3-plank wagons, so all stock will need to be scratchbuilt. I foresee a single goods brake and no more than a dozen opens being made, the latter probably resin cast from a master as I have suitable drawings here.