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More research (or a weekend out)


Gingerbread

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A couple of months ago I ventured out for a weekend's research, visiting Didcot (for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Great Western Society) and STEAM (20th anniversary of the closure of Swindon Works).

 

I returned with lots of photos, and I include below a few that are relevant to my layout (and a few that aren't, but seemed worth including anyway).

 

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I haven't yet established when 4 or 6 wheel coaches were replaced by bogie coaches in my area, but this one is from the right period (about 1890) and the livery is right, as far as I can tell. I have a set of 4-wheel coaches, and a selection of Dean clerestory bogie coaches, waiting their turn in the construction queue. The locomotive is deliberately excluded - although it was also from the right period, it was an 0-4-0 dock shunter, not suitable for the planned layout, and the bunker capacity must have been tiny, it seemed to need refuelling rather too often to be effective.

 

Just visible in the background is part of 93 - the recently rebuilt steam railcar. Almost the right period for me, but unfortunately none ran in my area. The North Staffs Railway had three steam railcars which ran about half way along the line from Stoke to Market Drayton, but I don't think they ever actually appeared at Drayton.

 

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An interior view - not actually the same coach, but it gives a general idea of the colour scheme and furniture in the compartments.

 

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These are also rather attractive, but about 50 years too early for me. There would be a problem with the track too.

Replicas of broad gauge Firefly and a second class coach - originals built in the 1840s, replicas about 20 years ago.

 

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I need a set of bogies like these for a Siphon F (I don't think it actually ran through my area, but it's just within my time period, and I have a part built kit).

 

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I will use this as a justification for some of my less successful paint jobs! Definitely suitable for my layout - one of the ubiquitous Iron Minks.

 

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Another one for the layout - a Y2 fruit van dating from about 1890, and there were many of these passing through on their way north from Worcester and back again. However, I'm not convinced by the brake gear - the DC variety shown here (short lever on the extreme right) wasn't introduced until 1904 or thereabouts, and I have photos from 1890 and 1923 both showing a more conventional lever system, with a somewhat shorter than normal lever positioned centrally.

 

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Tankers like this ran through, carrying creosote from Manchester to the Sleeper Plant at Hayes.

 

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Details of the interior of the verandah of a Toad (brake van for those who aren't familiar with the GWR terminology). The first of mine is about half-built at present, so this will provide an excuse to procrastinate further, as I work out how to reproduce the brake handle.

 

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Unfortunately subsequent research suggests this is probably a bit too modern - benches would be of a rather heavier plain wooden style in my period, I think.

 

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An interesting lineup - the HST on the right was a temporary visitor, receiving the name "Great Western Society" at a ceremony around midday. The only one I could justify is the Mogul (though not in that ROD khaki colour scheme), but following the realignment of the Ixion-Dapol partnership the production of Ixion's N gauge Mogul must be in doubt.

 

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Another "must-have" for my layout - the Dean Goods locomotive. However, I think I would want a bit more elbow-grease on the boiler, at least in my era.

 

David

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Nice photos, David. Did you take any more of the T49 in the first photo? I need to build one sometime as one was used in a mixed train on the Camerton branch in the early years of last century. Unfortunately, whenever I've been to Didcot it was in the carriage shed, so I've several very oblique photos, but nothing like yours.

 

...However, I'm not convinced by the brake gear - the DC variety shown here (short lever on the extreme right) wasn't introduced until 1904 or thereabouts, and I have photos from 1890 and 1923 both showing a more conventional lever system, with a somewhat shorter than normal lever positioned centrally.

Quite so, as far as I can work out, the DCIII brakes were grafted onto the original Armstrong vacuum gear. I have several photos of the underside of this wagon and most of it, apart from the DC parts, looks quite original. If you look carefully at the photos in Russell and Atkins et al. you'll see that the lever is shorter than usual as the V-hanger is offset to clear the cylinder.

 

Nick

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Nick

Yes, I have a T47 and T51 in the set I have awaiting construction, so I took quite a few pictures - I will add them as a Gallery later.

 

One interesting feature, though I don't think I have any pictures, was the communication cord. It runs outside the coach, at roof level, and inside the top of each door is a notice indicating that the communication cord only works on the right side of the train (looking forwards in the direction of motion, I think). There is a large wheel in the guard's compartment, which the communication cord appears to go round. Chatting to the guard, he didn't understand how it was supposed to work, but I assume that it needs to be "set" to work in one direction of movement of the cord.

 

Yes, I hope that construction of models of this fruit van will form a future entry in the blog - I have the first one mostly finished, and the rest are planned for early next year, by which time I hope to have ironed out the building problems. They will have the "original" style brakes. Haven't decided the livery yet, as we have discussed elsewhere - it's currently in red primer, but may switch to grey later.

 

David

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  • RMweb Gold

Your photo shows how unobtrusive is the thin brown line in the cream panels. Perhaps best left out in 2mm.

Regarding the Dean Goods in your era it would have had the round topped boiler I would think. Lovely engines.

Don

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I've never noticed the lamp on the ducket in photographs before. There is an arguement that the bolections and droplights were mahogany and even when painted to look like mahogony they would be much darker than the red colour that is often depicted. I read that the red colour is a fallacy from models that has been perpetuated. Don't ask me where I read this because I cannot remember.

 

To be helpful:

 

The bogie is the 'american' style and is available from the shop (I presume you know this already).

 

The iron mink appears as though it may have quite modern brake gear, but it is difficult to be certain with the platform in the way.

 

I'm also not convinced by the position of the brake levers on the fruit van. On pictures of Micas the brake handle (even the DC ones) are nearer the middle, although Micas don't have the footboards that would probably be prohibitive to such location for a short lever.

 

Benches like this are available from Shire Scenes (and also the earlier wooden style).

 

The 'short' brake standard available from N brass locomotives is pretty much the right size for toads. That is what I have used in mine (and will be using for the remainder).

 

I would also like some 0-6-0 tender engines, however I require a belpaire firebox and have so far failed to produce anything satisfactory.

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I've never noticed the lamp on the ducket in photographs before...

Bulls-eye lamps in the tops of duckets were used on the GWR until side lamps were abolished in 1934 though, equally, there are many photos showing even the less common end duckets without the bulls-eye, and separate side lights in use on vehicles with the bulls-eyes in place.

 

There is an arguement that the bolections and droplights were mahogany and even when painted to look like mahogony they would be much darker than the red colour that is often depicted. I read that the red colour is a fallacy from models that has been perpetuated.

Yes, I've read suggestions to paint them in indian red on more than one occsasion. From memory of surviving GWR coaches in BR days, they were not painted at all, and I believe they had always been polished and, probably, varnished mahogany. Polished mahogany is a reddish brown colour, nothing like indian red. The GWS may have evidence for that strange colour they have used on the T49 but, frankly, it looks to me like they borrowed some dark stone left over from painting buildings. Whatever it is, it bears no resemblance to anything I've ever seen in service or photos.

The iron mink appears as though it may have quite modern brake gear, but it is difficult to be certain with the platform in the way.

That one actually has a single sided lever brake as built on one side and a lever acting on a single shoe on the other. As such it represents an early and common way of providing brakes that could be operated from both sides, although there is no connecting shaft between the two sides.

 

I'm also not convinced by the position of the brake levers on the fruit van. On pictures of Micas the brake handle (even the DC ones) are nearer the middle...

The brakes on the Y2 repesent one of the ways in which 8 shoe fitted vans were converted to DCIII. In most cases these were conversions from the earlier lever types. The brakes that you mention on MICAs and which were also fitted to Y1s (built later than Y2s despite the diagram numbers) are the earliest type of DC mechanism used on fitted vans. They are, in fact, a form of DCII with the single cross bar carrying the ratchet mechanism fitted near the centre, rather than at the end. There are photos in Atkins et al. of MICAs showing all variants, including an X1, originally built in 1899, converted to cross-cornered DCIII (retaining the Armstrong cylinder as on the Didcot Y2), an X2 MICA B of 1904 with the DCII fitting as you describe, and a 1921 X7 again with DCIII, but probably fitted from new.

Nick

 

ps Belpaire boilers started appearing on Dean Goods in 1901, so either should be possible if you choose the number correctly, although none were superheated before 1911.

 

Edit: I should also have added that there are several photos of Y2s in Russell's GW Coaches Appendix, vol 2 showing both original Armstrong lever brakes and cross-cornered DCIII, the latter as per the Didcot example. The former are particularly interesting as they show the lever arrangement on the opposite side to that shown in the Atkins et al. photo.

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Don -

Yes, some of the brown lines are much narrower than I would have expected from the mouldings on my etches - though conversely the droplights and bolections are more prominent than I expected. Fortunately it will be a few more weeks before I get to painting my first coaches, so I have some more time to ponder the alternatives.

 

Agreed - I think the Dean Goods would have had round firebox in my period.

 

Richard -

I've seen that colour described either as "Mahogany" or "Venetian Red", both of which seem closer to red than brown. On the other hand, the illustration of coach livery for that period at http://gwr.org.uk/liveriescoach1880.html , albeit using a model, seems closer to brown than red. Very inconsiderate of the early railway photographers not to have used colour film :)

 

Yes, I have a pair of suitable American bogies from the Association now.

 

I have now added another photo of the same Iron Mink, in my "Didcot 2011" Gallery, showing the part previously hidden by the platform. It has oil axleboxes, whereas I think most would have been grease in my era.

 

I almost ordered the benches (and trolleys) from Southwark Bridge Models, advertised in the last Association Newsletter, but realised that they were of the pattern in the photo above, rather than the earlier plain pattern, which is the version I think I want. Will follow up the Shire Scenes option - I was looking at them a couple of days ago, but the photos weren't clear enough to see whether they were appropriate.

 

Thanks for that suggestion, I hadn't thought of n Brass locomotives - wasn't thinking of Toad brakes last time I looked around their site. Confusingly, the illustrations suggest that the "short" brake is larger than the "long" brake, but if the quoted size of 7mm is correct that should be about right.

 

Perhaps the n Brass Dean Goods body would be suitable - though it always seems to be about 3 months away from being available (a bit like the corresponding Association chassis kits)!

 

David

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Bulls-eye lamps in the tops of duckets were used on the GWR until side lamps were abolished in 1934 though, equally, there are many photos showing even the less common end duckets without the bulls-eye, and separate side lights in use on vehicles with the bulls-eyes in place.

I don't think that's what I meant. There is a lump (like the those along the roof) on the upper panel of the ducket. Unless this is the 'ventilator' for the lamp? In which case it probably is what I meant. If you understand?

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Yes, I believe it is a ventilator for the lamp. If you look at the other T49 photos that David posted on his gallery, this one shows the bulls-eye at top left. I have a close up photo of this ducket that clearly shows the red bulls-eye but, unfortunately, can't post it to someone else's blog page.

 

Nick

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An update on the Y2 fruit van.

 

I have now read the article by David Geen in an early (1991) copy of the Pannier (magazine of the Great Western Study Group), which gives details about the history of individual vans.

 

Firstly there were two slightly different body styles (one of which was itself subdivided into two):

The early vans had multiple slats, like the one pictured.

The later vans had a single line of slats at the top, as described in Atkins et al - an example is preserved on the Severn Valley Railway, and there's a photo of it at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GWR_6_ton_fruit_van_2303_severn_valley_railway.jpg

The version with single line of slats was itself split into two subversions - the distinction isn't clear to me from the article, but I think it relates to the distance from the slat to the top of the side - either half-plank or full-plank.

 

There's a broadly similar split in the brakes originally fitted - the first lots had lever brakes, later lots had Thomas brakes (earlier version of DC brakes), and both were converted to DC brakes from about 1909 onwards.

 

Unfortunately nothing about whether the original livery was red or grey, merely the change from grey to brown and accompanying renumbering from freight series to coach series.

 

There is an interesting comment that the earliest known ("official"?) photo for the van, which is the one reproduced in Atkins et al, is wrongly numbered (blamed on signwriters error) - it shows 47950, which is the number of a Mica meat van, and should probably have been 47900.

 

David

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