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GWR 4 plank wagon with DC1X brakes

wenlock

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I've wanted to model a Great Western Railway wagon bearing the cast number plates for some time now, but have always been put off by the lack of commercially available plates.  While I was exhibiting Sherton Abbas at the Telford O gauge Guild show I met Graham Beare (Western Star) and Chris Brown (Chrisbr) who had been doing research into which wagons carried the cast plates.  Chris also mentioned that he was in the process of drawing artwork with a view to getting some 7mm scale plates etched in Nickel Silver.  This was obviously exciting news, particularly so when Chris offered to etch me some plates for my proposed model!:)

 

Graham sent me a photo of a prototype wagon, which I have used as a reference for my model.

 

Prototype GWR four plank wagon with cast plates.

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 Photograph provided by Graham Beare / Chris Brown from an image supplied by John Lewis (HMRS Steward), the original print is held by the National Archive.

 

 

Slater's Plastikard, formerly Cooper Craft make a 7mm scale kit of a GWR four plank wagon, so one of these was purchased to form the basis of my model.

 

Slater's Plastikard 7mm kit.

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Wagon number 10995 was fitted with the DC1X type brake gear during the period that I am modelling and I was keen to represent this on my model.  The DC1X or cross cornered brakes are a modification of DC1 brakes and ensure the operating crank handle is always at the right hand end of the wagon.  http://www.gwr.org.uk/nowagonbrakes.html   I represented this feature using some brass wire for the cross shafts and pushrods, along with a few bits and pieces from my etched brass scrap box.

 

Underside of wagon showing DC1X brake gear.

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Completed wagon ready for paint.

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The wagon was then painted using Humbrol enamel paint in the red livery that the GWR used prior to 1904. The exact colour is hard to quantify, but for what its worth I mix Humbrol number 100 and Humbrol number 70 as a base colour before weathering with black and grey washes.

 

Painted and weathered wagon.

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The splendid etched plates have reproduced Chris's artwork beautifully, I must admit I'm delighted with them:)

 

Etched plates

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The plates were painted and then glued to the wagon using 5 minute epoxy resin.

 

Plates in situ

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I thought I'd finish this blog entry with a couple of pictures of the wagon in service on the layout:)  It still needs to receive its load, which leads to a question I hope readers can answer for me.  I'd like to model the wagon filled with timber joists/planks, but I'm sure I read somewhere that prior to WW 1 wood tended to be cut in local saw mills and usually wagons only contained uncut timber.  If anyone can shed any light on this, or even better have a photo of a wagon circa 1905 carrying sawn timber, then I'd be delight to hear from them!

 

Wagon in service

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Thanks again to Graham Beare and Chris Brown for their help with this project.

 

Until next time!

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

 

 

 

 

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Did we not provide the photo of the other side of this wagon?  You know, the photo which gives the lie to this being a straight DC1 brake arrangement?

 

Neat and tidy build, regards, Graham

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Reference is made in the bible to 'a prototype RHES arrangement' tested on 5 November 1905, and one assumes the wagon in question was in fact O5 10995 as in the picture above. The brake gear being picked out in white signifies an experimental/prototype purpose. Unlike O5 10793 (bible plate 26 and figure 19) however, which was the 1903 prototype for the subsequent DCI rollout, there seems to be no evidence of the RHES DCIX (figure 20) being adopted at that time on other wagons. What I think is remarkable is that the GWR was prototyping an arrangement long before, but in anticipation of, the BoT 1911 rulings. In the event, the GWR didn't need to get serious about implementing those rulings until the mid- to late-20s, and it seems the DCIX appeared only on V5 minks, so I suspect 10995 probably remained unique amongst the opens.

 

Well done to Graham and Chris for proving DCIX existed long before it was generally thought to exist!

 

I'm off to rewrite the gwr.org page (again), and I might feel the need to snaffle a model picture if I may, with your permission of course Dave.

 

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3 hours ago, Western Star said:

Did we not provide the photo of the other side of this wagon?  You know, the photo which gives the lie to this being a straight DC1 brake arrangement?

 

Neat and tidy build, regards, Graham

You did indeed!  Here's the picture in question showing the other side of number 10995:)

534804206_othersideof10995.jpg.3624f65019cdea9a595292aef6520018.jpg

Photograph provided by Graham Beare / Chris Brown from an image supplied by John Lewis (HMRS Steward), the original print is held by the National Archive.

 

Conclusive proof of the brake lever being on the right hand end on both sides of the wagon!

 

BW

 

Dave

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Miss Prism said:

I'm off to rewrite the gwr.org page (again), and I might feel the need to snaffle a model picture if I may, with your permission of course Dave.

Delighted you would like to use my model to illustrate the topic Russ!  Snaffle away:)

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1 hour ago, Miss Prism said:

I'm off to rewrite the gwr.org page (again)...

With due respect - being as you are the author of the relevant page - I suggest that you delay for just a while so that I can ask Chris Brown about the appropriate Wagon Register entries.  The wagon in the photograph - which was submitted to the brake trials according to the photograph album in Kew - is shown in the Wagon Register as having "Right-hand new lever" brakes; looking through the entries for other four plank wagons which were built at about the same time as no.10995 the brake arrangements appear to be:-

 

* double brake with single handbrake lever;

* "new lever" - which we think is probably DC1;

* "right hand new lever" - which is DC1X on the basis of the evidence of the photographs posted here.

 

If our interpretations of the register entries are correct then no.10995 is not unique amongst the four plank wagons.

 

Dave asked me about copyright of the two photos - given that the date has to be inn the Edwardian era then copyright has expired.  John Lewis supplied copies of his photographs to me without caveat so I thnk that Russ can include the GWR photos in GWR.org as long as the source is acknowledged with use under "fair play" guidelines.

 

regards, Graham

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Dave, looking at the second photo of no.10995 I think that the second handbrake shaft has the far-side "V" support reversed compared to the near-side shaft support - ie. an indication that in building this wagon the four "V" supports for the two handbrake lever shafts were all of the same hand (all the same forging), the two inner supports being reversed so as to simplify mounting those supports from the "long middle bearers".

 

regards, Graham

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Hi Graham,

 

Yes I think you are right, the vertical arm of the V support is at the very end of the wagon, rather than the 45 degree arm.  Too late to change it on my model I’m afraid, I’ve also just noticed that the door bangers on the braked side of the wagon are square, but on the other side they are round!  Goodness only knows what that’s all about:)

 

BW

 

Dave

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Very well done as ever Dave. From my limited knowledge of all things GW I usually have to take my cue from you as we model the same era - so I might copy you again! 

On your question of plank loads I know an extremely realistic and reliable source of accurately machined maple ‘planks’ to any size you should require...!

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6 hours ago, Miss Prism said:

... there seems to be no evidence of the RHES DCIX being adopted at that time on other wagons...  I suspect 10995 probably remained unique.

I spoke with Chris this evening about the research done on GWR 4-Plank Open wagons built circa 1900-1904 and he has provided details of the brake arrangements for Lot 374, wagon no. 10995 was built on this Lot.  The registers show the brake arrangements of wagons built on Lot 374, there are three different annotations used for this Lot, as:-

 

* "double brake" or "lever, double"  or "lever" which appears to be two brake blocks and a single handbrake lever;

* "new lever" - which we think is probably DC1;

* "right hand new lever" - which is DC1X on the basis of the evidence of the photographs posted here by Dave.

 

Lot 374 for 123 wagons was built April 1902 to July 1902.  Chris has summarised the brake details from the register entries as :-  62 Lever (50%), 23 New lever (19%) and 38 Right Hand New lever (31%).

 

What is not clear to us at this time is just which wagons of Lot 374 were given cast plates - or if the fitting of plates was restricted to wagons with the same arrangement of barake gear.

 

Inspection of the registers and tabulation of the information was done by Chris - my contribution was restricted to asking questions, providing Chocolate cake and drinking tea.

 

regards, Graham

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Dave,

The different door bangers are testament to your fidelity to the prototype as I'm sure you meant to say.... ;)

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Lovely work,Dave. The prototype pictures are very interesting and I’ll now have to do a 4mm version to bring my rake of non identical GW 4 plank wagons up to date with this latest find.  I’m sure I’ve still got an unmade Coopercraft kit in the stash somewhere! 
DrDuncan

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13 hours ago, Tricky said:

Very well done as ever Dave. From my limited knowledge of all things GW I usually have to take my cue from you as we model the same era - so I might copy you again! 

On your question of plank loads I know an extremely realistic and reliable source of accurately machined maple ‘planks’ to any size you should require...!

Thanks Rich:)  Once  I find a nice prototype picture of a wagon filled with planks circa 1905 I'll be in touch!

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4 hours ago, drduncan said:

Lovely work,Dave. The prototype pictures are very interesting and I’ll now have to do a 4mm version to bring my rake of non identical GW 4 plank wagons up to date with this latest find.  I’m sure I’ve still got an unmade Coopercraft kit in the stash somewhere! 
DrDuncan

Thanks Duncan:)  I shall look forward to seeing your 4mm version of number 10995!

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19 hours ago, Western Star said:

With due respect - being as you are the author of the relevant page - I suggest that you delay for just a while so that I can ask Chris Brown about the appropriate Wagon Register entries.

 

The only thing I have changed is to note that DCIX was trialled and proved in 1905 (which was the missing bit of the narrative).

 

Other details can follow as and when. It's taken nearly 120 years to uncover this nugget of history, so a leisurely editing pace seems appropriate. The gwr.org wagon brakes page is, in Jim Champs opening remarks, "only intended to provide a broad-brush introduction", so I'm conscious of not overloading it with what for many people would be obscure detail, That said, it would be churlish not to use it as a means of publishing the fruits of research.

 

 

 

Edited by Miss Prism
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Pit props! I am fairly sure that these were manufactured by dedicated suppliers so would then have to be transported to mines. Larger mines undoubtedly manufactured thier own but small scale concerns would not have. One owner would often have a number of mines so might manufacture them centrally and these would then need distributing. Can't come up with any one source that would confirm  this as has been dredged from the morass of my mind but makes sense to me and would make an excellent wooden load.

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Great wagons, Dave. Glad to see your project with the plates worked out. Also very interesting peototype photos and discussion!

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More lovely work Dave, may I ask if these etches are going to be available to individuals wanting to model these wagons ?

 

G

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7 hours ago, KH1 said:

Pit props! I am fairly sure that these were manufactured by dedicated suppliers so would then have to be transported to mines. Larger mines undoubtedly manufactured thier own but small scale concerns would not have. One owner would often have a number of mines so might manufacture them centrally and these would then need distributing. Can't come up with any one source that would confirm  this as has been dredged from the morass of my mind but makes sense to me and would make an excellent wooden load.

Great idea!  I shall research this further:)

 

5 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Great wagons, Dave. Glad to see your project with the plates worked out. Also very interesting peototype photos and discussion!

Thanks Mikkel!
 

4 hours ago, bgman said:

More lovely work Dave, may I ask if these etches are going to be available to individuals wanting to model these wagons ?

 

G

Hi Grahame, I’m not sure, probably best to send Chris a PM 

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Excellent modeling. Love to see that how you make the goods wagons for your excellent layout.

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51 minutes ago, Job's Modelling said:

Excellent modeling. Love to see that how you make the goods wagons for your excellent layout.

Thanks Job, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog:)

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cast-plate-red-background.jpg.f041084466ea72982d861d19069321bf.jpg

 

The bible says, in plate 349, of a nondescript open photographed in 1894: "Letters and figures on the plates were picked out in white on a grey background."  [my italics]

 

Looking at the b&w header pic here of 10995, and I accept one surface is metal and the other is wood, but there is a distinct difference in tonal value between the body and the cast plate background. This tonal difference is borne out in plates 25 and 26, opens with presumably red bodies.

 

Hmmm.

 

 

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This is where we would really benefit from a reference as that statement seems pretty categorical. Indeed plate 349 does have significantly different tone. I think that 25 and 26 are less convincing. While 25 clearly has differences they look possibly the wrong way round for me. I'd expect red on metal to weather slower than red on wood (it can only get moisture from one direction and the surface itself wears less). So I'd expect the heavier red of the metal to be darker in the way that it is in plate 25. To me plate 26 shows very similar tones. If you look at the tone of the GWR plate (away from the edges where there are shadows and potentially grime, but close to the lettering) then I think it's very close to the tones of the planks just above it.

 

Obviously I don't know. But I'm not convinced that the pictures give enough evidence to be sure. Which is why a reference for the sentence would have been perfect... especially if it was along the lines of "Swindon instruction memo to workshops dated 1894" :)

 

So in short I totally agree with your last statement... Hmmm.

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By way of experiment, in a very unscientific way, I looked at the header picture of the completed model, with its red plates, and converted to greyscale, no other processing at all.

 

Untitled.png.db6fe25d3ed5b24637c76a288c9f5338.png

 

To me the plates now look to have a darker tone! In this case I think it's just an optical illusion caused by the presence of the lighter border to the plates and the white GWR lettering. Proves nothing other than colour is both subjective, and very difficult to nail down in monochrome!

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"GWR Freight Wagons & Loads In Service On The Great Western Railway And British Rail, Western Region" has a picture (Fig 11) dated to 1910 of a 4 plank open (No 54156) with a caption "...a different system of loading sawn timber into open wagons" - although the "sawn timber" looks to be riven, not sawn, and may be protecting another sort of load behind  a "hedge" of timbers standing upright in the wagon.  Nevertheless, JH Russell suggests that sawn timber was carried in GWR 4 plank opens in 1910 and I dare say it was already established practice. 

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56 minutes ago, kitpw said:

"GWR Freight Wagons & Loads In Service On The Great Western Railway And British Rail, Western Region" has a picture (Fig 11) dated to 1910 of a 4 plank open (No 54156) with a caption "...a different system of loading sawn timber into open wagons" - although the "sawn timber" looks to be riven, not sawn, and may be protecting another sort of load behind  a "hedge" of timbers standing upright in the wagon.  Nevertheless, JH Russell suggests that sawn timber was carried in GWR 4 plank opens in 1910 and I dare say it was already established practice. 

 

I've made a model of that wagon and will always wonder if it is atypical. 

 

SmartSelect_20200227-220222_Chrome.jpg.73d5b34c38a7310374516c39554a0c98.jpg

 

I assumed the surrounding timber was increasing capacity for more timber. 

 

 

Edited by richbrummitt
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