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About this blog

This blog complements my Pre-Grouping Blog by covering my modelling activities in the Broad Gauge era of the Great Western Railway.  As with the earlier blog, I intend to cover the various methods by which I construct elements of the Broad Gauge scene.  For more background see https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blogs/entry/17705-a-different-type-of-railway/

 

Entries in this blog

Pearson’s ‘small’ 4-2-4T

After dissecting the workings of the extraordinary 9ft. Pearson 4-2-4T engines in my previous four posts , I was interested to examine how these engines compared with William Dean’s later attempt to create something similar for the standard gauge.   To make the comparison on as level a playing field as possible, I looked up information on the slightly later Pearson engines fitted with smaller 7’ 6” driving wheels – similar to those on Dean’s standard gauge engine. I have previously mod

MikeOxon

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Pearson 4-2-4T – Part Four

I ended Part Three with the prospect of modelling the many rods and brackets on the underside looming over me. I had intended to write more at that time but found myself struggling to understand how various parts of the engine fitted together. I think all the ‘easy’ bits have now been done, so I could no longer avoid the complex underpinnings.   To gain an overview, I ‘mirrored’ one half of the split plan-view from ‘The Engineer’ and then colour-coded various elements – blue for frames

MikeOxon

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Pearson 4-2-4T – Part Three

By the end of Part Two , I had modelled all the most visible parts of the engine and felt tempted to stop there but many of the peculiarities of these engines were below the platform, so I had to keep going ‘down there’.   Photo by Snell of B&ER 4-2-4T No.42   Although I have collected quite a number of drawings and photos, there are still some difficulties in determining the layout of all the parts, especially since some drawings omit features and others show some

MikeOxon

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Pearson 4-2-4T – Part Two

In Part One , I wrote that “this engine had several very unusual features” and, in regard to building a model, “I had to start somewhere and, with so many peculiarities, it was hard to choose. As a ‘gentle introduction’, I decided to start with the two bogies.”   I intend to continue, as far as possible, to follow a line of ‘least resistance’ but before going any further, I collected as much potentially useful information , photos, and drawings as I could.   In his book

MikeOxon

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Pearson’s 4-2-4T – Part One

In a comment on my previous post @Mikkel wrote “I never know what's next on your blog Mike”. Actually, I feel much the same – I never know where a whim will take me next!   A week ago, the thought of a Bristol and Exeter Railway (B&ER) engine was nowhere in my mind and then @Annie posted some splendid photos of Pearson’s magnificent 4-2-4 Broad Gauge tank engines.   B&ER No.42 4-2-4T designed by James Pearson   It wouldn’t be true to say these engines hav

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West Drayton Coke Ovens 1839

Background   Almost 10 years ago, I made a model of a lime kiln as a ‘scenic accessory’ on my North Leigh layout. For some reason, I never wrote a blog post about its construction but did write a short article for ‘Railway Modeller’, published in November 2015.   I have, however, described how my model was based on the kiln at Fawler that originally had a siding from the Oxford Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway. Fawler is close to the real North Leigh, on which my pre-gro

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Paddington Engine House 1840

“Towards the end of July 1837 I heard that Mr. Brunel wanted some one to take the post of locomotive engineer on the Great Western Railway, and I at once went to him, on July 20th, preferring that department to railway making.”   Thus wrote Daniel Gooch about the event that changed his life when he was just 21 years old. As a result, he left Manchester and went to London, beginning his duties with the Great Western Railway at West Drayton on the 18th August 1837. Because no engines had

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Paddington Station 1840

Brunel’s great arched roof is to many people the epitome of Paddington Station but this was not built until 1854. The passengers who first travelled on the line from Paddington to Maidenhead, which opened on 4th June 1838, started their journey from a far less imposing structure – little more than a collection of wooden sheds.   A London terminus for the GWR was needed in a hurry, after negotiations with the London & Birmingham Railway for a joint terminus at Euston broke down. Wit

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3 - BG Wagons - Sheep, Coke, & Coal

I shall round off my modelling of the early wagons, produced for the GWR during the formative years before 1840, by considering three types intended for specific duties, rather than the ‘general purpose’ wagons described in my previous two posts.   Sheep Truck 1840   A sheep truck is one of the types mentioned in Whishaw’s ‘The Railways of Great Britain and Ireland’, published 1842. He described these ‘trucks’ as having high sides, four wheels, and to weigh 8,237 lbs. Apart f

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Broad Gauge Trio – 2nd Movement

In my previous post, I described modelling of some of the earliest wagons ordered for the GWR in the late 1830s. At that time, much of the railway was still under construction – the complete route from London to Bristol was not opened until 30th June 1841. Information on these early wagons is sparse, although we are fortunate to have several illustrations by J.C.Bourne, which are sufficiently accurate to indicate the main features.   Bristol Goods Shed – J.C.Bourne 1842  

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A Broad-Gauge Trio of Wagons

Following my stock review , I realised that, although I have quite a good selection of early broad-gauge carriages, there are relatively few examples of early goods wagons.   While thinking about the possibilities, I looked at the contemporary pen and wash sketch by J.C.Bourne, which shows three types of early broad-gauge wagons, including one with wheels outside the body sides and a tilt cover.     For more information and drawings, I turned to the invaluable set

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Taking Stock

On one or two occasions, I have received comments along the lines of “we want a layout”. From the beginning of my exploration of the broad gauge, it has been my intention to produce some sort of layout or diorama to display the various models of rolling stock that I’ve constructed.   Of course I already have a small layout carrying both narrow and standard gauge routes, based in Oxfordshire, towards the end of the 19th century. This layout continues to provide entertainment to my grand

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A Missing Link?

In my last few posts, I’ve been delving into the almost lost world of the early days of the GWR broad gauge. I notice that my previous post aroused little comment so, perhaps, I have moved rather too far from what most people think of as ‘railway modelling’ - but I do like using models as a way of improving our understanding of these early engines.  I do appreciate the various 'likes' that many of you have given me.   Before I move back into more familiar territory, there is one more p

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A Galaxy of Stars

In my previous post, I wrote that I needed to make a model of one of the longer-boilered ‘Stars’, to see if it made a better comparison with the photograph taken at Cheltenham shed around 1850.   According to the RCTS booklet Part Two, two ‘Stars’ were built with boilers that were 2 feet longer than the others – these were ‘Rising Star’ and ‘Bright Star’. We are very fortunate that E.T. Lane not only made several sketches of ‘Rising Star’, including end-elevations, but also produced a

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A Tangled Web

I’ve referred before to the problems that arise from using published drawings as the basis for creating 3D models of early locomotives. The usual dictum of “find a photograph of your selected prototype” simply doesn’t apply to the years before photography became established.   That leads to the next problem – so much of the information we read about early locomotives comes from books that were written decades after the time to which they refer. Even Gooch’s own ‘diary’ is considered su

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Photographic Evidence

Having wandered into South Devon territory with my atmospheric caper, I started to look at some of the steam engines used on that line. I realised that, although I have modelled several early passenger engines, including the Firefly class, I have not tackled any of the early goods engines.   The Leo class 2-4-0 were built as goods engines, starting in 1841. It was soon realised, however, that they had insufficient adhesion weight, so all the engines were converted to carry saddle tanks

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My Atmospheric Caper – Part 3

Assembling the Parts   In tackling the assembly of the components that I printed as described in Part 2 of this series, I was reminded of President Kennedy’s words “We choose to … do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard“   I had realised that the assembly of the parts was not going to be easy but it turned out even trickier than I had expected. To re-cap, the parts I printed were as shown below:   3D printed Atmospheric Apparat

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My Atmospheric Caper - Part 2

Introduction   In Part 1 of this series, I described my model of the piston-carriage for the South Devon (SDR) atmospheric railway, based on drawings by Paul Garnsworthy in the Broad Gauge Society (BGS) Journal ‘Broadsheet’Nos 44 and 46.   It’s been great to receive so many positive comments – clearly some of my viewers like reading about ‘forgotten’ corners of railway history. They spurred me into getting on with the next phase. Thank you!   The carriage body was r

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My Atmospheric Caper - Part 1

Introduction   Having worked my way back to the very beginnings of the GWR, it’s been hard to think of where to go next. I’ve enjoyed exploring those odd-ball engines that Brunel ordered for his new concept of a railway, even though they proved to be disastrously undersized. Nevertheless, several of them had quite long lives as branch-line engines.   I do enjoy ‘bringing to life’ forgotten areas of railway history and, for the broad gauge, the ultimate in odd-ball ideas was,

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An 1850s Broad Gauge Tilt Wagon

The ‘tilt wagon’ seems to have been a popular design in early broad gauge (BG) history but I hadn’t got round to building a model before now. A very few of these wagons were converted to standard gauge and I did model one of those back in 2014, regarding it as an interesting curiosity!   In the early days, it seems that most goods (and 3rd class passengers) were carried in open wagons but a growing need for weather protection led to the addition of canvas covers, known as ‘tilts’ (from

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A Change of Gear

The ‘gear’ I’m referring to in the title is my 3D-printer, which I have just replaced.   As I mentioned in my previous post, my Geeetech E180 is no longer supported, with essential items like replacement print-heads not available. I have therefore bought a Prusa Mini+ as its replacement. The E180 was cheap and took me some time to optimise, following a rather shaky start, but eventually performed very well, until key components started wearing out.   My choice of the Prusa ma

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‘Rob Roy’ Re-Framed

Six years ago, in June 2017, I embarked on scratch-building a model of the Broad Gauge ‘Waverley class’ engine ‘Rob Roy’. The prototype was involved in an accident near Bullo Pill, where some of my wife’s ancestors were working for the GWR at the time.   ‘Rob Roy’ – Accident near Bullo Pill, 1868   I took advantage of the fact that the boiler used for the Waverley-class was the same as that on the Gooch Standard Goods engines, for which the Broad Gauge Society (BGS) provide

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1837 Carriage

I.K. Brunel wrote the following, in a letter to T. E. Harrison on 5th March 1838: “... let me call your attention to the appearance - we have a splendid engine of Stephenson's, it would be a beautiful ornament in the most elegant drawing room and we have another of Quaker-like simplicity carried even to shabbyness but very possibly as good as engine, but the difference in the care bestowed by the engine man, the favour in which it is held by others and even oneself, not to mention the public, is

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Modelling a ‘house removal’ train

I see that we’re now in the 10th year since I started writing my pre-grouping blog. Looking back, I realise how much my approach to railway modelling has changed over that period. There have been two major technical innovations and one significant change of emphasis in my interests.   The first technical innovation, which occurred soon after I started exploring the earlier period, was the Silhouette Cutter, which opened up the possibility of creating complex panelled carriage sides. Si

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Broad Gauge Covered Van

Because of various distractions, I’ve not had much time for model-building recently. I have however been spending quite a lot of time thinking about those very early days of the GWR when those first engines, which I modelled last year, were being delivered. Some of these engines were delivered by canal to West Drayton, where it seems that the first depot of the GWR was established. At that time, the way ahead was far from certain and concerns about the desirability of adopting Brunel’s proposals

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