At a glance:
Builder: Córas Iompair Éireann (Inchicore Works)
Build date: 1953
Original company: Coras Iompair Éireann
Withdrawal date: 1987
Final company: Iarnród Éireann
Arrived at DCDR: 1990
Current status: Operational
Current owner: DCDR

18864 is one of hundreds of covered goods wagons constructed by CIÉ throughout the 1950s and 60s to replace their ageing and non-standard fleet of GSWR, MGWR and DSER wagons. Built to uniform design with four wheels and three-link instanter couplings, 18864 and its classmates became known as ‘H Vans’, a name which continues to be used to describe it today.

Our H Van was built in Inchicore in 1953, and over the course of its career could be found on goods trains all cross Ireland, from Derry to Cork, Galway to Belfast and anywhere in between. As well as goods use, they could also be found on permanent way trains as mobile tool stores. 18864 was finally withdrawn from service some time in the late 1980s.

Although many H vans survive today as grounded bodies on farms across the country, ours is the only one that we know of that is preserved in railway use. It arrived in Downpatrick in 1990 along with a former GSWR ballast plough van, and the two vehicles have been paired up for much of their DCDR careers. 18864 was fitted with a generator in the mid-2000s to power the Halloween display at Magnus Grave every year, and soon earned the nickname ‘Roaring Meg’ as a result. 18864 is no longer used as a generator, but still makes the trip to Magnus Grave every Halloween as it is used to store all the required props.