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MSWJR 3-plank dropside wagon

Posted by Mikkel , in Rolling stock 29 May 2014 · 2,673 views

MSWJR wagon kit modification
MSWJR 3-plank dropside wagon I’ve been building some “foreign” stock for the goods depot at Farthing. It’s a real pleasure, but also humbling to realize just how little I know about other companies, and how difficult it can be to obtain kit parts for other pre-grouping companies. We GWR modellers are a spoilt lot!

My 1900s period is before the “common user” arrangement, so most of the goods stock at Farthing would have been the GWR’s own - but there should be room for a handful of foreign vehicles, especially from the companies close by. This included the MSJWR, which crossed the GWR's Berks & Hants line at Savernake, not far from Farthing.

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So first up was a MSWJR 3-plank dropside wagon. Over on gwr.org.uk I had seen a note by Paul Absalom that this could be made by modifying a Slater’s kit for the Midland Railway dia 305 (thanks Paul!). The MR design was used as the basis for 20 wagons ordered by the MSWJR from Oldbury works in 1899.The sides and ends of the Slater’s kit (above) are virtually identical to the MSWJR versions, so these were used directly.

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The running gear is a less straightforward matter. There is very limited documentation available on these wagons, and the only known photo has the underframe in shadow. A drawing has been made, but there is doubt about whether the running gear is portrayed correctly. So an informed guess is the best we can do. This led to an interesting discussion involving several RM Webbers – especially wagonman – as well as Neil Lover of the “Swindon’s other Railway” site and MSWJR historian Mike Barnsley (see this thread for details). Many thanks, gentlemen!

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To cut a long story short, we concluded that the MSWJR probably wouldn’t have gone for the fairly sophisticated and expensive Ellis axleboxes provided in the Slaters kit. So these had to go. An alternative option would have been to modify the existing axleboxes.

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Instead I fitted MJT units/W-irons (non-rocking). This required some of the framing to be carved away, but was otherwise straightforward. Packing was added underneath the units.

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The exact type of axleboxes used by the MSWJR isn’t known, except that they were most likely of the grease type. In photos of other MSWJR wagons I noticed a simple type not unlike the standard GWR grease box. So I fitted some of the latter (also from MJT) and modified/filed them to suit. The only other modification was to file away the MR build plate on the solebar.

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I couldn’t find any ready-made MSWJR lettering, so opted instead for the “white shaded black” letters from one of the HMRS P.O. sheets. These are slightly overscale but close enough, I think. The sheet is rather costly, but I wanted it anyway for lettering some Farthing based P.O. wagons at some point.

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The finished model. I suddenly realized that a dropside wagon might not often be seen inside a goods depot, as they tended to carry loose material, stone etc. But I’m thinking that a couple of large crates might justify a dropside, to facilitate unloading?

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Shunter George “Bulldog” Mullins studiously ignores the new wagon. A GWR man to the core, Mullins treated vehicles from the competition with poorly disguised contempt. In particular, he refused point blank to shunt vehicles from the MSWJR. The origin of this particular grudge was always a bit of a mystery, although some said it had to do with an unfortunate incident in his youth. The details were unclear, but apparently it involved his pet donkey, a sleepy MSWJR driver and a poorly guarded level crossing.
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Hi Mike, well that page was written long ago and not on here so how could you know.


Anyway, I very much like the idea that the original railway had it's own stock, thanks for that inspiration!

Jun 02 2014 19:16

Excellent, I do like this, and such a simple conversion from the MR wagon too; plans brewing for one in 7mm delivering crates of original Cirencester roundtuits to East London...


I'm in broad agreement with webbcompound:


Regarding foreign wagons there was a fair amount of movement of specific products, returning wagons being empty of course. So all you need is to find the product to explain the wagon. Seasonal or perishable produce was often localised, but tended to go to the big cities where it was transhipped (bananas via LNWR from Liverpool to London for instance), but machinery and hardware could come from quite a distance, and not all the named fast goods trains on the GWR went to London so stuff from Birkenhead for example could easily find its way to Farthing.


except that before WW1 pre-Group Railway Companies sometimes had agreements between each other which allowed wagons (and sheets) which had been loaded on the parent line to be used by the receiving company to, for example,  a) specified stations, b ) any station on a direct route back to the parent line, c) to any joint station, d) to any parent line station, e) to any station beyond the parent line as long as the wagon travelled an agreed distance over the parent line.  There were many other arrangements, many of which were very complex, and the railway staff really had to know their onions to comply with RCH rules for the correct apportionment of receipts.


I know nothing of the MSWJ arrangements as they had no such agreement with the GE (as far as I'm aware to date), but considering the MSWJ's relationship with the GW, LSW and MR it's likely that considerable scratching of each others' backs took place.


Under such circumstances a loaded MSWJ wagon arriving at and the same wagon loaded leaving Farthing should pose no raising of the eyebrows nor twitching of the soup-strainers.


Interesting, thanks for that info, I didn't realize such agreeements existed.


As of this morning, then, an arrangement has been made between the GWR and MSWJR (much to the regret of Mr Mullins). I'm sure I can find an astute checker to keep track of the paperwork.


Cirencester roundtuits, that would be very ad hoc traffic I think? It would be nice to see a 7mm version of the wagon - as you say a very simple job.


BTW I now have the Southern Wagons volume 1, and can see that quite a number of SDJR wagons and vans can be made from MR and LSWR kits. It's all so tempting!

Jun 05 2014 17:13

Very ad hoc, as are thingamajigs and wotchamacallits.


Of course now you have volume 1, volumes 2 and 3 will shortly call across the wind. Volume 4 is about the futuristic designs of an entity called the SR which exists in an a kind loose federation of polities called The Grouping. Very H.G. Wells if you ask me, and best ignored unless you like that sort of fiction...

"Grouping"? Impossible. I suppose next you will propose a tunnel under the Channel!


Or a communication system that connects all the world's typewriters...

Welcome to Farthing!

Attached Image: farthing2.jpg


This blog chronicles the building of "The Farthing layouts", a series of small OO layouts that portray different sections of a GWR junction station in Edwardian days.


Intro and concept
How to eat an elephant
Design principles
State of play


Gallery (1900-1904)
Four o'clock blues, ca. 1902
What really happened in the Cuban...
The honourable slipper boy (Part 1)
The honourable slipper boy (Part 2)
The honourable slipper boy (Part 3)


Gallery (1904-08)
The trials of Mr Bull
A most implausible arrival
A parcel for Mr Ahern
Blue skies and horse traffic
The Remains of the Day
Motley crew

Edwardian daydreams


Gallery (1914)
All in a day's work, Part 1
All in a day's work, Part 2
All in a day's work, Part 3
All in a day's work, Part 4


Out of period
Undecided sky (1867)
The sleeping giant (1887)
Bunker first (1927)
Fitted fish and piles (1947)


Once Upon a Time in the West
Summer silliness
The unbearable lightness...
Across the years
The Sidelight Job
Painting coach panels

Traverser testing


Low-tech pre-grouping stock

Short trains for short layouts
Short trains with a twist
Hand-me-down coaches
Low-tech coach restoration (1)
Low-tech coach restoration (2)
Low-tech coach restoration (3)
Low-tech coach restoration (4)
Low-tech coach restoration (5)


Sprat & Winkle couplings
3 plank Open in GWR red
Outside Framed 8 Ton Van

In the red: GWR 1900s wagon liveries
In loving memory...
Scratchbuilt one-planker (1)
Scratchbuilt one-planker (2)
MSWJR 3-plank dropside
LSWR 10 ton sliding door van
SDJR Road Van
LSWR stone wagon
Fake news and wagon sheets
Same but different: 1900s wagons


GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (1)
GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (2)
Shiny domes and safety valve covers
Backdating the Oxford Dean Goods (1)


C+L underlay and Carr's ballast
Experiments with C+L track
Comparing track
Messing about with track panels
Laying track on "The depot"


GWR horse-drawn trolley
GWR 5-ton horse-drawn vehicle
Parcels van and coal trolley


Fun with crates
Barrels, baskets, bales
Small crates and tea chests


Andrew Stadden 4mm figures
Backdated Monty's figures
Footplate crew
HO figures for an OO layout
Lesser known whitemetal figures


Building "The branch bay"
First bite: "The bay"
Simple structures for "The bay"
Platform trolleys and barrows
Signs, posters and adverts
Six lessons learnt


Building "The goods depot"
Second bite: "The depot"
Shunting Puzzle
Sketches of The depot
Soft body, hard shell
Kit-bashed roof structure
Dry Run
Dusting off the cobwebs
Playing with mirrors
Mezzanine floor
Progress on "The depot"
4mm slate roofing
The treachery of images

A roof for "The depot"

A tall bird from Paddington
Cranes for the depot
Shoulders of giants
Flight of the bumblebee


Building "The sidings"
Third bite: "The sidings"
Wagon propulsion
Progress on "The sidings"
Rising from slumber
The Biscuit Shed
A shed and a lock-up
Agricultural merchant's warehouse
Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall


Building "The stables"
GWR Park Royal stable block
GWR stables - an overview


Railway modelling and Art
Moving Pictures
Season's greetings


Layout ideas
A flexible layout
Kicking back in Gloucester


Pre-grouping livery clippings
Journey to Didcot
Detail hunting at Didcot
Here's looking at you
The mists of time (and all that)
My friend the operating chair
Ready-to-plonk freight
GWR Modelling website


RMweb Workbench
Flickr photostream

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