drawn up in the late 1800’s and were still being used here 150 years later. Under BR’s engineers stock naming scheme (where vehicle types were named after sea creatures), the 19 LMS 16T ballast ploughs were named “Oysters”, a name which remains with the vehicle to this day. It is easy for enthusiasts to confuse this rare Oyster with the far more common “Shark”, which was BR’s own development of the “Oyster”. Sharks are very similar (they look the same) but are four tons heavier and had smaller cabins (and larger verandas) than the Oysters. To make matters even more confusing, DB993707 had its body rebuilt in the 1960’s to match the Shark design!
DB993707 was taken into the Churnet Valley Railway’s engineers wagon fleet after preservation in 1997. Initially running in “as bought” condition, the vehicle was used as a general brake van until around 1999/2000 when it was taken out of service for restoration. This was partially completed over about 12 months, with much woodwork, planking and the roof canvas replaced plus a repaint into its original black livery. However some parts such as the handrails and lookout duckets were never refitted before the vehicle was put back into a form of service. For many years the vehicle then languished at Oakamoor sidings, now not used as a normal brakevan and only brought out once every few years when its ballast ploughs were required for a major track renewal. The missing duckets and lack of maintenance caused the vehicle to deteriorate to the extent that the floors became unsafe and started to affect the operation of the plough gear. It was last used in 2010 during the Cauldon Lowe branch revival.
A BRCW group member who had spent many years “eyeing up” the vehicle at Oakamoor during the restoration of M50455 & M50517, was by this time interested in acquiring the vehicle to indulge a soft spot for brake vans. A change in ownership was agreed, the transfer being made in 2011.
Between April 2011 and April 2014 the vehicle was fully restored to 1960's condition. Whilst the metalwork and running gear were in good condition, simply requiring rust treatment and repainting, the woodwork that formed the body was in very poor condition and had to be fully rebuilt or replaced. The interior and roof were also fully restored before the vehicle was released back into service.
Since reentering service, DB993707 has been used by the railway in several works trains during theclosed season, in photographic charters and in demonstration freight trains during special events. It is intended for DB993707 to continue these duties for many years to come.