I have continued this conversation with Richard elsewhere and also been in contact with Mike Barnsley and Neil Lover. Here’s a summary of the main points, in case someone else wants to do this conversion at some point.
Many thanks to all who have helped, and especially to Richard, Mike and Neil for their help with the axlebox issue. Most of the info is theirs, any mistakes are mine.
The documentation on these wagons is very scant. There is only one known photo of the wagons (available on-line, see my earlier post). A drawing has been produced (see Mike Barnsley’s vol 3), but this is essentially an MR drawing with changed lettering, so some details are not certain.
Regarding the axleboxes: Basically no one knows what type was used. They are in the shadow in the photo. As Richard has pointed out, the drawing shows Ellis axleboxes as used on the MR, but this is just a replication of what was on the MR’s wagons. So we have to make an educated guess:
- It seems likely that they were grease axleboxes, because immediately on take-over in 1923, the GWR replaced the existing axleboxes with GWR OK oil boxes.
- We know that the MSWJR ordered wagons from various wagon works, and we know that their wagons had different types of axleboxes. For example, some of the wagons from the Gloucester Co. were of a simple boxy type, while some of those from the Midland Carriage and Wagon Co. were of the proprietary Attocks design.
- On this basis, it seems unlikely that the MSWJR had a standard design of grease axleboxes in the 1890s, when the wagons in question were introduced. As Mike Barnsley puts it, it is likely that at this time the company was much more interested in cost than in standardization or appearances. So when the company ordered new wagons from the various works, they would have gone for whatever type of axlebox was offered at a reasonable price from the manufacturer.
- For the wagons in question, it is not impossible that they ordered the Ellis type used on the Midland dia 305, but given the situation of the company it is more likely that they would have gone for a low-cost, simple design offered by the Oldbury works.
I’ve therefore decided to use a simple, boxy type of axlebox on the wagon, inspired by some of the other wagons running on the MSWJR. It’s only a guess and may seem a bit hazy after all this – but at least that guess is now done on a more informed basis
Incidentally, Mike Barnsley adds that in later years the MSWJR “did have an oil axlebox which the GWR described as "MSW oil". It appears on an MSWJR drawing of an open wagon dated 1917, but was fitted to wagons long before that. It was somewhat similar in shape to the MR oil axlebox, and can be glimpsed in a couple of photos.“
Finally on the subject of buffers, the photo seems to show a type very similar to that employed by the MR, so those in the kit can be maintained.
Edited by Mikkel, 24 April 2014 - 18:04 .