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Spotted at the Romsey Show

Dec 20, 2012
It’s a three-ton horse-drawn Tunnel Van designed with the top behind the fascia boards slightly curved to permit travel on flat railway cars and also enable to it go through the standard type railway tunnels and bridges of the late 19th century.


This vehicle was spotted at the Romsey show on 14 September.

The vehicle was built for White & Company in Portsmouth in 1889 and used in the Portsmouth area to transfer trunks and baggage from the Great Western Railway Station at Portsmouth to various locations in the Portsmouth and Chichester areas.

For long distance moves the tunnel van would be taken to the customer’s home, drawn by a team of horses.  After loading it would be loaded onto a flat railway cart.  The staff and the tunnel van would then travel by rail to the nearest railway station at destination and locally hired Shire horses would take it to its final destination.

When the vehicle is full it holds 700 cubic feet of furniture and effects.  The vehicle weighs three tons and has a five-ton payload.  A team of two Shire horses could easily be pulling eight tons over cobbled streets.

This vehicle was retired from active service in 1920 and spent the next 45 years laid-up in the warehouse.  It was reconditioned and lovingly restored in 1968 under the direction of Mr Dudley White, the grandson of the founder of White & Company.  It has been displayed in both Jersey and Guernsey and various vintage shows throughout the South East of England.  For the last 15 years it has been at an industrial museum in Basingstoke.

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