Jump to content

In loving memory of the Wright-Marillier partition locking bar



Everyone knows how the “standard” GWR cattle vans looked, but I’ve always fancied the earlier W2 vans with outside frames. So I dug out an ABS 4mm kit and brought it with me on the family holiday. These were "medium" sized cattle vans, with the option of adding a partition and thereby making them "small" if the customer so required. I've always wondered why this was worth the trouble, as the difference in space seems minimal !




I decided to build the kit as supplied, which is in the post-1905 condition with oil axleboxes, an updated locking mechanism for the doors, and the Wright-Marillier partition locking bar.





And we all know what a Wright-Marillier partition locking bar is, don’t we! A regular household word it is. “Good morning dear. Wright Marillier partition locking bar?”. “Oh yes please, and two sugars”. Well, above is the 4mm version of such a mechanism, as supplied in the kit.





It seems that in the early 1900s the GWR was having problems with farmers who paid for only part of a cattle wagon, and then moved the partition to increase the space when noone was looking. So in 1903 Messieurs Wright and Marillier of the GWR’s Wagon & Carriage department invented a locking bar that would help prevent this. Not quite Nobel prize stuff, I suppose, but a good example of practical engineering for everyday railway operation.






The sides require a bit of preparation. Apart from fitting the locking bar, a door latch must be fashioned from wire and the main bars fitted.






The W2s were built with “bulb” section solebars (where the upper lip is wider than the lower one), and an early distinctive type of round buffer housing. Those lugs on the casting above the solebar caused me a lot of headscratching. They don't seem to serve a purpose and get in the way of the assembly. In the end I simply removed them. I hope I haven't missed some vital point!






Poor man's brass. I've finally realized why I get on better with whitemetal and plastic than with brass. They are much more forgiving materials, eg I can file and tweak and fill in to correct all my mistakes!






Modelling in the wilds of Denmark. A fly of the genus Wotsit inspects the roof bands. Actually it may have a point: I think the bands should have been a tad flatter and wider.





Standard grey and a bit of lime wash. I forgot to add the small "M" and "S" to the livery (now corrected, see the first photo). I know that the lime wash was often more pronounced in reality, but I find it can look a bit odd in 4mm scale. So I prefer this understated look. I haven’t finished the lettering on the ends as I am not sure how it should be. The photo in "GWR Goods Wagons" (Atkins et al) shows an experimental livery on the ends which was not carried forward. The kit instructions indicate the “GW” as seen here, but also with tonnes and tare in italics on the left hand side. But I thought that the standard end livery should be “GW” , running number and “Medium”?




When the GWR introduced the large "GW" on goods stock in 1904, they ran into problems with the outside framed vans. There simply wasn't enough room between the frames. The solution was to use smaller, non-standard letters. I did the same. Photos from the early 1900s also show that on some wagons, the cross-bar on the “G” differed from the later standard style. The HMRS transfers have the later style (bottom right), so I modified them with a lick of paint (top left).






The W2 in the bay siding. Surprisingly, the photo in Atkins et al shows it with screw-couplings, so I have added an (overscale) set of these until I work out if that was standard.






Mr Wright and Mr and Mrs Marillier inspect their invention on the W2 at Farthing. What the world does not know is that the concept for the locking bar came from a clasp on Mrs Marillier's corset. What Mr Wright and Mr Marillier do not know is that they both got the idea from the same clasp.

  • Like 23
  • Funny 2


Recommended Comments

Hi Mike, thanks a lot for the link to that photo, I hadn't actually comes across it before. The Warwickshire Railways site really has become an amazing resource, hasn't it. 


Yes you're right about the lime, but I just can't get myself to paint it so fully white. It looks odd in 4mm I think. Probably just a personal preference.


I just Googled Episyrphus balteatus. Looks very much like the one. I had a look in a book for the exact species, and there were at least 6 that looked almost the same to me. But that is like saying that all GWR locos looked the same! :-)

Share this comment

Link to comment

By coincidence, I was looking at a very good print of that photo in GWRJ 70 earlier this evening. Apart from the lettering and the limewash, it's more good evidence for iron roofs, at least on W1.



Share this comment

Link to comment

Hi Mikkel


It's good to catch up with your work and to see it is of the usual great standard. Looking forward to further updates.



Share this comment

Link to comment

Thanks Jim, much appreciated.


The lettering issue seems to be resolved, so I can finish the ends. Always dangeorus to leave a build with small bits unfinished, as the thoughts turn very quickly to the next project!

Share this comment

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.