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Short trains with a twist

Posted by Mikkel , in The Bay, Rolling stock, Gallery 06 January 2012 · 2,491 views

517 4-wheelers 6-wheelers stock 3232 850 GWR gwr
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PBV - Composite - All Third.

Above: A few more examples here of prototype-inspired short trains for Farthing. These are all a bit unorthodox, as opposed to the more standard formations shown in an earlier entry. The above formation, for instance, illustrates that not all short trains were pulled by tank locos! This train was inspired by a photo on the Warwickshire Railways website, which shows a 2-4-0 3226 class pulling a 4-wheel PBV to dia V5 (or V11?), a 6-wheel compo to dia U16 and a 6-wheel All Third to dia S3 (many thanks to RMwebber "Penrhos 1920" for help with the coach identification). My interpretation also has the V5 and U16, while the S3 has been replaced with an S9. A 3232 class is standing in for the 3226. I have just finished restoring and repainting the U16, which was originally built by Colin Edge.

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"Toad" - Composite - Brake Third.

Above: This formation was inspired by photos on page 69-70 of "GW branchlines: A pictorial survey" by C.W. Judge, which include a 517 class loco hauling a "Toad" goods brakevan and two 4-wheelers (Composite and Brake Third) on the Presteign branch in 1906. It seems to have been a regular sight on that line for several years. Some photos also show the train without the "Toad", giving an even shorter train. Other similar examples are mentioned in this thread (thanks gents!). The Toad seen here is from an old K's kit for the AA3 type. I'm not sure if the metal end and cab sheathing are appropriate for the 1900s, or if they were added later?

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Autotrailer and PBV.

Above: I've always found GWR autotrains a bit boring, but the trailers were sometimes used in interesting combinations. This little train was inspired by a photo on page 31 of "The Lambourn Branch" by Kevin Roberts and Roger Simmonds, which shows an 850 class loco hauling an Autotrailer and a 4-wheel PBV to diagram V2 in the 1900s. Both of the model coaches seen here are second-hand: The trailer is a scratchbuilt oddity picked up some years ago (featuring real glass windows!), depicting one of the gangwayed diagram D types that worked behind railmotors in the Plymouth area. The V2 is another Colin Edge scratch-build, which I have restored and repainted.

Although these trains are not exactly mainstream, they all feature that ungodly mix of stock that was quite typical of the GWR around the turn of the century. Good fun to replicate in model form!

Note: The GWR would have called a Passenger Brake a "Van". I use the former term here as it seems more intuitive.
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Lovely set of locos and rolling stock
Excellent work Mikkel.

The combinations as you say are unusual and show off you stock brilliantly.


A lovely assortment, Mikkel. So, did you decide whether the one with the toad was a freight train returning empty carriages, an improperly marshalled mixed train, or was it running under a special local dispensation?

btw Atkins et al. say that the steel sheeting on Toads first appeared on AA13 in 1913. Retro-fitting to earlier diagrams probably began post-WW1.

Thanks all :-)

Nick, I haven't been able to identify the reason for the toad used in the Presteign branch train. There are two photos in the Judge book, one dated 1906 and the other 1910, with different loco classes and 4-wheeler diagrams, but both showing this arrangement. I understand that the set was shared with the Eardisely branch, so maybe there was some sort of arrangement in connection to this which called for a goods brake?

In the case of Farthing, I was thinking it could take the role of a freight train returning empty carriages. That does require a reason for the carriages to be returned in the first place, but the race course near Farthing just might have something to do with that...

Thanks for the info on the steel sheeting. I had looked in Atkins et al but couldn't find anything under the AA3s. Not to worry, this is the perfect excuse to build that D&S kit in the drawer :-)
Some lovely trains there. Late victorian/edwardian GWR was a fascinating time.
Jan 06 2012 23:29

I'm intrigued: Some of your coaching stock has what looks like a red oxide colour for the wheel centres. A few others are much darker (almost) black.

Hi Mikkel,
Lovely work as usual! It's one of the areas of GW practice that fascinates me - that an organisation that very quickly settled on standardising locos etc didn't apply the same principles to train formations! This lasteed well into the interwar years & will be a fearture (I hope) on Upton Dene.

With regard to the Presteigne branch formation - could it be something as prosaic as 'station working' - ie the movement of goods & stores for the station's own use? Either that, or the staff got so used to seeing it they didn't bother changing it - the 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' syndrome!


Don, couldn't agree more! I see you've got some lovely 7mm panelled stock, any chance we can see some more photos of it at some point?

Richard, for a long time I've had this mental note in my head: "Must get around to painting the Mansell wheels red". So recently I've started doing that, but haven't done all the stock yet which is why some are red and some are not. But seeing your query this morning led me to search frantically through my books to find a reference for why the wheel centers should be red - and I can't find any!

All I can find is Michael Harris' book ("Great Western coaches from 1890") where on p. 33 he states about 1890s to early 1900s livery "If a vehicle was fitted with Mansell wheels the wheel-centres may have been varnished natural wood when new." But that's not red. The thing is, some other models I've seen have the red wheel centers (eg http://www.gwr.org.uk/galikb1.html and http://www.gwr.org.uk/galwalley.html ) but that doesn't prove anything. By 1903 window bolections and droplights were changed from varnished wood to the Venetian Red (see also Harris). Could the same change have happened to wheel centers? There must be some reference to this that I've forgotten about. Anyone?

Ian, glad to hear there will be non-standard trains on Upton Dene :-). I agree that's it a paradox how an organisation so known for standardisation had such non-standard trains. But I suppose it's part of the same logic really, ie being practical and economical about things.

Interesting idea that the Toad could simply be a stores van (if that's what you mean). That would actually make a lot of sense!
Mansell wheels were made with Teak centres so far as I am aware which naturally has a reddish apearance. I assume once in service it became rather dirty.
Once the building work is complete I hope to clear the railway room out and get on with layout building.
Wonderful work Mikkel, my favourites would have to be the 2-4-0 in the first picture and the autotrailer.

Are you trying to tempt me into back dating Penhydd with all this talk of the Presteign branch ? :)

Nick, I haven't been able to identify the reason for the toad used in the Presteign branch train. There are two photos in the Judge book, one dated 1906 and the other 1910, with different loco classes and 4-wheeler diagrams, but both showing this arrangement. I understand that the set was shared with the Eardisely branch, so maybe there was some sort of arrangement in connection to this which called for a goods brake?

This book which has become my bible is a very good history of the railways around Kington and includes many old photos as well as timetables, which might explain the above working ?
When I have a moment I will have a look to see if there is any mention of the workings that you mention.

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Mikkel, really interesting combinations ( and models)!
I thought the GWR were more standardised than the Midland ( who also ran anything together) but I see not!!
Don, you may well be right about the teak. This Bluebell coach certainly shows a reddish tinge to varnished Mansell wheels: http://www.bluebell-..._news/1520.html. But I wouldn't personally choose red to emulate that. Looks like my wheels are in for a repaint. Serves me right for not checking up on the sources!

Geoff, yes please, I am sure a backdating of Penhydd would be quite popular :-) And thanks very much, it would be interesting to see if your "Bible" has anything to say about goods brakes.

The 3232 was one of only two models I’ve ever had professionally built – and not with very good results. I think the builder underestimated the complexity of the (Finney) kit. But after much back and forth and a lengthy period where it was stationary, I managed to get it back to working order.

I should perhaps emphasize that while I prefer building my own stock these days, some of what is shown here is second hand and has therefore originally been built by others. Over the years I've developed a liking for restoring and repainting second-hand stock - partly because I am not very good at building in etched brass, and partly because I like the idea of bringing together used stock from other people's railways. It is also very satisfying to take an old worn model and restore it to former glory!

By way of example, here's a shot of Colin's U16 when it was in the process of restoration. Work included new stepboards, brakes, springs, droplights etc, and blanking out the two center windows (which did not have droplights, contrary to what Russel's drawing shows), as well as new glazing, and a repaint.

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Chris, perhaps on the mainlines the GWR were more standardized, but I don't know?
These are excellent looking models. Are they all your own work? I have made a couple 517's in O gauge. But never toook up the challange in oo.

Hi Peter, no not all my own work (see comment above) - bit of a mix of my own and s/h stock. But I try to give them a degree of consistency by repainting etc. I'm off to your blog to see how things are going on the Brazilian balcony :-)

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