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A Pannier of mixed parentage - GWR 1854 PT (1)


Mikkel

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I’m building an 1854 Pannier Tank for Farthing in ca. 1919 condition, using a modified Hornby 2721 body, a Bachmann 57xx chassis and various parts from SEF and Brassmasters. Pure it is not. The project has been described on occasion in my workbench thread, but in a fragmented manner. This post summarizes progress to date. Prepare for many close-ups of green plastic :)

 

Background

 

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It's a bit of a nostalgia project. I wanted to do something with the old Hornby 2721,  a model I've had a liking for since first seeing it in the magical Hornby 1980 catalogue at the tender age of 11. Note the "X", it was high on my wish list back then. When I finally got one several decades later the running was a disappointment. So it went to sleep in The Big Box of Lost Souls, until I decided to bring it back to life.

 

 

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The original plan was to make a backdated 2721, but along the way I decided to do the outwardly very similar 1854 PT class instead. The components I'm using match an 1854 PT a bit better, including the plain Bachmann conrods and the absence of visible springs behind the Hornby splashers (a feature of the 2721s).  The 1854s were also a bit more widely dispersed during the period in question. Above, I have plotted the 1921 allocations of the 1854s and 2721s into Google Maps. See details below this post.

 

So the goal is a pragmatic 1854 PT in ca. 1919 condition, a period I have a growing interest in. Ironically I have yet to find a 1919 photo of an 1854 PT. Instead I'm extrapolating from early 1920s photos (including a couple on the gwr.org.uk pannier page), and drawings in the Finney/Brassmasters kit instructions and Russell's "Pictorial Record of Great Western Engines" Vol 1. Thanks to Brassmasters for making their instructions freely available, I try to repay by purchasing fittings from them. The RCTS "Locomotives of the GWR" part 5 is a key reference. Jim's book "An Introduction to Great Western Locomotive Development" has also been useful.

 

 

Chassis and body

 

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I’m using a Bachmann 57xx/8750 chassis for the project.  Various chassis versions exist, including 32-200 (left) and 31-900 (right). I’m using the former, which is shorter and lower. 

 

 

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Closer look at the chassis. The weight block has been removed to test the fit. Later it went back on.

 

 

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The Bachmann chassis and Hornby body. There are various well-known issues with the Hornby 2721. Hornby used a Jinty chassis, and so the splashers don’t line up with the more correctly dimensioned Bachmann chassis. The frames and bunker are also too long, and there’s no daylight under the boiler. The chimney is appealing, but wrong shape.

 

 

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I disassembled the body and was surprised to see that the tank/boiler top is a separate component, well disguised under the handrail.

 

 

Butchery

 

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The first job was to get some light under the boiler/panniers. I used a scalpel, scoring repeatedly along the edges of the moulded sides with a used blade, then eventually cutting through with the tip of a sharp new blade.
 

 

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And there was light. 
 

 

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Then the interior was cut, carved and hacked about until the chassis was a good fit along the sides and ends. The photo is early on in the process, a good deal of material was removed.

 

 

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The chassis and modified body. There’s ample room for the Bachmann weight block, so that was re-fitted.

 

 

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The backhead was cut away to allow room for the gears. The motor does protrude a bit into the cab, but will disappear behind a new backhead.

 

 

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From the side.

 

 

Footplate

 

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The Hornby body is too long for both an 1854 and a 2721. This is in fact the 2721 drawing from when that was the aim, but the principle is the same for the 1854.

 

 

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So I shortened the footplate by about 2,5 mm at each end, doing cut-and-shut.

 

 

Splashers

 

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The center splashers, being out of line, were then attacked along with the toolbox.

 

 

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The incorrectly positioned toolboxes, half-relief injectors, and very low sandboxes were also chopped off.

 

 

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I considered scratch building the replacement splashers as per my Dean Goods rebuild, but wasn’t in the mood. So I dug out a broken old Finecast 1854 that came with an ebay job lot. 
 

 

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The Finecast splashers were cut off, cleaned up and fitted to the Hornby footplate.  There are no rear splashers on the Hornby body, so these were also fitted. Will fit bands to the front splasher later.

 

 

Bunker and Backhead
 

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 For the bunker I again turned to the old Finecast 1854…
 

 

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 …and cleaned up the parts as best I could.
 

 

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 The 1854s and 2721s had the same frame and cab width, so in theory the 1854 bunker should be a direct match, but it was too narrow. I thought the Hornby body must be wrong, but checking the measurements again showed that the Finecast bunker isn’t as wide as it should be. Food for thought!
 

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Anyway, I rebuilt the bunker with styrene panels. Later, plated coal rails were fitted. The original Hornby weight block was filed to suit. Along with the weight block on the Bachmann chassis, the loco now runs quite nicely.

 

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The worm and gears were concealed using an old Bachmann backhead, moved slightly back and with a raised section of cab floor beneath it. I’ve done this before, once the crew are fitted I don't notice it.

 

 

Beneath the tanks

 

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The Hornby balance pipe is a blob one each side of the motor block, so I made some new blobs.
 

 

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New firebox sides and rear tank supports (adapted to allow room for the injectors) were also made. Drawings of 1854 and 2721 PTs show the balance pipe fitted just behind the front splasher, but photos suggest that they were soon relocated to a position nearer the center of the tanks. So that’s what I have done.

 

 

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Removal of the “skirts” on the Hornby body exposes the Bachmann motor and lets too much light in. Strips of brass sheet were curved, painted and fitted each side to hide the motor.  Testing for shorts showed no problems.

 

 

Fittings

 

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The Hornby tank top isn’t that bad, but the chimney (odd shape), tank fillers (too small) and grab rails (moulded lump) had to go. I'm wondering what the small pipes/cables running along the top are for, and when they were fitted.

 

 
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The chimney was sawn off, and the tank fillers removed (vertical slices in both directions, followed by a parallel cut along the bottom). The bluetack is for protecting details.
 

 

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Finney/Brassmasters chimney from the 1854/2721 kit, the rest is from Alan Gibson. 
 

 

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Dry fit of the Finney chimney and tank fillers. The safety valve cover is so far an RTR item, can’t seem to find the appropriate shape in brass. I'm confused about the chimney position, forward or center on smokebox? I'm aiming for a pre-superheated version, but despite good photos on gwr.org.uk, I can't work out what it implies in my case.

 

 

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Tank vents from bits of filed styrene, seen here with the Alan Gibson tank fillers.

 

 

Smokebox

 

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The front also needed work. As it comes, the Hornby body has a Churchward pressed steel front. I rather like it.

 

 

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But pre-1920 tank smokebox fronts tended to be plain, so it was all sanded away. Difficult, and it shows. A ring was added to the smokebox door, not quite the dished look but better than nothing. Alan Gibson door darts fitted, and new steps from scrap bits of brass.

 

 

Tank and cab sides

 

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Pannier tanks fitted before ca. 1917 were flush-riveted. After that they were snap head rivetted (1917-1924) and then had welded seams (after 1924).  I decided that my loco was fitted with panniers before 1917, and therefore sanded away the Hornby rivets. That took the shine off her!

 

 

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The lower cabsides are too narrow on the Hornby body, so these have been extended. This photo also shows the plated coal rails on the bunker (which is still loose).

 

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After a hiatus the project is now on the move again. I'm making a new cab roof and have started fitting details. More on that later. Thanks to all who helped with info and advice :good:

 

 

Edited by Mikkel

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PS: During a recent bout of the flu I got bored and compiled data from Ian Harrison's 1921 GWR loco allocations book. The idea was to get a feel for the spatial distribution of the 1854 and 2721 classes. This led to the following overview. Wales was clearly a stronghold of both classes in 1921 - but not as exclusively as I thought, with 53% of the 1854s allocated outside Wales in that year.

 

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I uploaded the data in an XCEL file to “My Maps” in Google Maps. Hopefully the link below leads to an online version of the map. It can be zoomed, and the class in question can be switched on or off (to avoid overlaps). The pins are just approximate indications of the general area. In some cases I had to adjust the shed name to humour Google (e.g. I‘ve labelled “Branches Fork” shed as Pontnewynydd).

 

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1ukwWmwpqiPGZUrZvlm2pHKAHw1JLXtoF&usp=sharing

 

Perhaps the map can be expanded with other classes later on.

 

Edited by Mikkel
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A very comprehensive and in-depth conversion / data which is what we have all come to expect from you, thank you.

 

G

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I agree with @bgman  entirely. The allocations tables are useful in this format and I like the map app which you used to display them. What is that?

 

With a 2721 at Taunton I've now reason to see one occasionally on my new setting!

 

Colin

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About the pannier, that's the combination of scholarship, craftmanship and ingenuity which we look forward to in 'news from Farthing' - bravo!

 

About the loco allocations, I hope you won't need another bout of 'flu to continue with the mapping - a really fascinating picture emerges.

 

About 1919, I'm interested that you're moving on through the first quarter of the C20th and have now reached 1919 - what happens when you reach 1923?

 

Kit PW

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I also bought a Hornby 2721 very many years ago, because it seemed such a vast upgrade from the very crude Hornby pannier that I had before.  I eventually used the chassis from the old pannier under a Wills 1854 saddle tank kit and retired the 2721, along with other models from the time when i was dabbling in the 1930s (more or less). 

 

I now seem to have moved back into broad-gauge days, so I shall probably pass on my 2721 to my grandchildren but it's good to see how the model can be brought up to more 'modern' standards.

 

Mike

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You'll probably want the chimney in the rear position for a pre-1917 unsuperheated loco (but check with Part 5 on dates).

 

Love the shed mapping exercise, it's very informative.

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I'm reasonably confident the forward chimney position is associated with superheating. Whether it was moved back again after superheaters were removed is another question, but that's not your problem. I believe the pipes along the boiler top and into the smokebox are all or at least mostly lubrication runs. 

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It is great to see this as one post. Your work is always inspiring and informative. I also have started this conversion on a 27xx open cab in my case. With my small exhibition layout al but finished I am back to coaches and locos. Miss Prisms comments on another site jolted my aging brain into gear re the Hornby bunker size and just in time also as I was about to go with the Hornby one!! So far I have converted the Bachmann mech to EM and fabricated a pair of replacement splashers . Next is the bunker. Your normally prodigious pace seemed to slow in recent months and I wondered if you were OK but I need not have worried ,your previous post showed what you had been up to. Keep it up. Doug.

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10 hours ago, bgman said:

A very comprehensive and in-depth conversion / data which is what we have all come to expect from you, thank you.

 

G

 

Thanks Grahame. Probably too comprehensive, we have a tendency in this digital age to document every little action in great detail. It can be useful during a build though, to show up problem areas and remember how you did something.

 

9 hours ago, BWsTrains said:

I agree with @bgman  entirely. The allocations tables are useful in this format and I like the map app which you used to display them. What is that?

 

With a 2721 at Taunton I've now reason to see one occasionally on my new setting!

 

Colin

 

Thanks Colin. The app is Google's My Maps.  To try it out, go to Google Maps, click the menu top left, select "Your Places", then "Maps", then "Create Map" at the bottom. You can then import files with data. For example, the table that I posted in the above comment is a simple Excel (XCEL) file with place names in one column and the number of locos in the column beside it. This was imported into the My Maps app. Once imported Google will recognise the place names and put a pin in them. You can then tweak the settings as appropriate, e.g. to show the number of locos allocated.

 

As mentioned, Google may not know the place name (e.g. historical ones), or it may assume that you mean Newport USA. In that case the names can be adjusted (eg to "Newport UK") by clicking the three dots and then "Open data table".

 

Edited by Mikkel
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10 hours ago, kitpw said:

About the pannier, that's the combination of scholarship, craftmanship and ingenuity which we look forward to in 'news from Farthing' - bravo!

 

About the loco allocations, I hope you won't need another bout of 'flu to continue with the mapping - a really fascinating picture emerges.

 

About 1919, I'm interested that you're moving on through the first quarter of the C20th and have now reached 1919 - what happens when you reach 1923?

 

Kit PW

 

Many thanks Kit. The plan is to do - at some point - a Farthing layout set in 1919. It's after the pooling, so I could run more wagons from other pre-grouping companies. And a mix of panniers and saddle tanks. And build some of the motor lorry kits that I have.  As for post-1923 it's not unheard of at Farthing, though so far only during the occasional out-of-period operating sessions.

 

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10 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

I also bought a Hornby 2721 very many years ago, because it seemed such a vast upgrade from the very crude Hornby pannier that I had before.  I eventually used the chassis from the old pannier under a Wills 1854 saddle tank kit and retired the 2721, along with other models from the time when i was dabbling in the 1930s (more or less). 

 

I now seem to have moved back into broad-gauge days, so I shall probably pass on my 2721 to my grandchildren but it's good to see how the model can be brought up to more 'modern' standards.

 

Mike

 

I like this mixing and matching approach of bodies and chassis, we're fortunate that the GWR were fairly consistent with its wheelbases for the tank locos. It's nice to think that your rather good 1854 ST will be enjoyed by your grand children. I wonder how she will take to top speed around the curves, though :)

 

Edited by Mikkel
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9 hours ago, Miss Prism said:

You'll probably want the chimney in the rear position for a pre-1917 unsuperheated loco (but check with Part 5 on dates).

 

Love the shed mapping exercise, it's very informative.

 

Thanks for that Miss P. The plan is that this will be No. 1899, which received B4 boiler and panniers in Nov. 1911 and was superheated in May 1922 (later received a non-superheater boiler, no date given for that). So non-superheated it is.

 

It would be interesting to have the allocations for all the GWR classes mapped together - but also very time consuming. Ian Harrison lists the allocations by class and by shed, but to arrive at the number of a class at each shed you have to rework the data, which is a bit mind numbing for the larger classes.

 

 

9 hours ago, JimC said:

I'm reasonably confident the forward chimney position is associated with superheating. Whether it was moved back again after superheaters were removed is another question, but that's not your problem. I believe the pipes along the boiler top and into the smokebox are all or at least mostly lubrication runs. 

 

Thanks Jim, I'll move it back then. Typically, this is the position that requires most work on the Hornby smokebox, as the hole from the original chimney will then need to be filled in.

 

I considered modelling the A19 diagram version which features on page 211 of your book, but the round top firebox would have involved cutting up the Hornby body even more. Incidentally, I am a bit puzzled when the firebox was raised above the boiler. Lee Marsh's lovely build of an early 1854 PT using the Finney kit shows the raised Belpaire firebox as per the Hornby body, but the drawings in the kit instructions for that same kit show a firebox that seems to be level with the boiler.

 

1 hour ago, gwr517 said:

It is great to see this as one post. Your work is always inspiring and informative. I also have started this conversion on a 27xx open cab in my case. With my small exhibition layout al but finished I am back to coaches and locos. Miss Prisms comments on another site jolted my aging brain into gear re the Hornby bunker size and just in time also as I was about to go with the Hornby one!! So far I have converted the Bachmann mech to EM and fabricated a pair of replacement splashers . Next is the bunker. Your normally prodigious pace seemed to slow in recent months and I wondered if you were OK but I need not have worried ,your previous post showed what you had been up to. Keep it up. Doug.

 

Thanks Doug, yes it's all been a bit slow recently as work has taken up too much time. What time I had left has been spent mostly on scenic work. It's nice to be back to this project though.

 

Your 2721 build sounds interesting, I can imagine the Bachmann chassis would be very useful for EM modellers, assuming the conversion isn't too tricky. One compromise about the Hornby body that I can't see how we can overcome is the distance between the footplate and bottom of the tanks. I measure this as 1mm too high. I think the cab may also be a little too high, although not too bad when compared to some 1854 drawings.

 

Edited by Mikkel
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5 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Probably too comprehensive, we have a tendency in this digital age to document every little action in great detail. It can be useful during a build though, to show up problem areas and remember how you did something.

information is never wasted and you never know which little nugget will solve a problem for someone.  I write quite a lot of the details simply for myself - I frequently have to remind myself how to do things by reading my own posts.  On the other hand, I can also have a good laugh over my clumsy earlier attempts :)

 

Little things, like how to recognise a superheated engine, are always useful, too.

 

Mike

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Like the rest, I thought the map presentation for the allocations was a brilliant way to bring clarity. Amazed at the amount of detail work added to the basic shell.

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10 minutes ago, Northroader said:

Amazed at the amount of detail work added to the basic shell.

Careful there: some on this forum classify such attention to detail as being a nerd and wish us all to distance ourselves from them.

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18 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

information is never wasted and you never know which little nugget will solve a problem for someone.  I write quite a lot of the details simply for myself - I frequently have to remind myself how to do things by reading my own posts.  On the other hand, I can also have a good laugh over my clumsy earlier attempts :)

 

Little things, like how to recognise a superheated engine, are always useful, too.

 

Mike

 

Yes, I can't count the number of times I have assumed that I would remember how I did something, only to completely forget. Or I experiment with something, forgetting that I have already experimented with it :rolleyes: 

 

 

8 hours ago, Northroader said:

Like the rest, I thought the map presentation for the allocations was a brilliant way to bring clarity. Amazed at the amount of detail work added to the basic shell.

 

One issue with the allocation map is that it only shows the home shed. Some classes would obviously have wandered far during their daily work. I'm not sure about these particular classes though. Something to investigate.

 

 

8 hours ago, Regularity said:

Careful there: some on this forum classify such attention to detail as being a nerd and wish us all to distance ourselves from them.

 

If a nerd is someone passionate about a subject and interested in detail, then I don't mind being called a nerd.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mikkel said:

One issue with the allocation map is that it only shows the home shed. Some classes would obviously have wandered far during their daily work. I'm not sure about these particular classes though. Something to investigate.

 

For Farthing, I guess Salisbury is the obvious first choice for an 1854 loco. (Presumably Salisbury GWR shed was probably closed when the GWR station closed, but I'm not sure.)

 

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And another thing, the presence of the old 27xx model can’t be escaped, you see them all over the place and want to give them a good home, so I can see why you did it, but would turning a Bachman 57xx bodyshell into a half cab have been simpler? (Just asking for a friend)

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20 minutes ago, Northroader said:

but would turning a Bachman 57xx bodyshell into a half cab have been simpler? 

But maybe not as much fun? There's probably more than might be thought to "back reving" a 57xx. The shorter front overhang of the pre group classes is quite distinctive, and the valancing under the footplate needs quite a lot of extra material added.  

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I did have a quick go at the Bachmann 57xx body during a moment of doubt about the Hornby 2721 body. This is the 57xx with the bunker removed.

 

IMG_20200615_065710812_HDR.jpg.530b1185fc7da34e918cdd0dacef88e9.jpg

 

 

I got to the point of removing one of the top feed pipes: 

 

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But as per Jim's comment: The more I looked, the more it became apparent that the 57xx body would also need a lot of work.

 

IMG_20200615_093824262_HDR.jpg.385cdfa8d289a51b2895be2bc42accca.jpg

 

 

There are things to address on the 57xx that you don't notice at first, e.g. the footsteps, cab profile etc. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it was enough to put me back on track with the Hornby 2721.

 

IMG_20200614_203636592_HDR.jpg.ad3408a5b2256d8d619fea1af20b4d90.jpg

 

Edited for precision

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4 hours ago, Miss Prism said:

 

For Farthing, I guess Salisbury is the obvious first choice for an 1854 loco. (Presumably Salisbury GWR shed was probably closed when the GWR station closed, but I'm not sure.)

 

 

Yes, or maybe Farthing had its own shed.... I considered adding it to the map, but didn't want to lead anyone astray!

 

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35 minutes ago, Mikkel said:

 

Yes, or maybe Farthing had its own shed.... I considered adding it to the map, but didn't want to lead anyone astray!

 

I wonder just how big the GWR route map including everyone's fictitious lines would be [grin]

Salisbury shed closed in November 1950 according to Lyons.

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Even Newbury didn't have its own shed, which is a bit strange considering its status as a significant junction. I guess nothing originated or terminated there.

 

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In GWRJ No 102 (p 323) Chris Turner discusses the working of Newbury yards in the 1940s:

 

"... official instructions show a No. 1 Pilot leaving Didcot at 4.0 a.m. each day and running light to Newbury, where it arrived at 4.40 and covered passenger shunting work until 9.0 a.m. For the next 21 hours until 6.0 a.m. (sic) the following morning, it became the Town yard pilot goods engine. It returned to Didcot working the first passenger service at 6.45 a.m."

 

"No. 2 engine was supplied by Reading, leaving there at 5.0 a.m., calling at the Racecourse, just before 6.0. a.m. to pick up a shunter [...]. After shunting at the Town Yard, the engine returned to the Racecourse yard and became the pilot engine there. In addition to trip workings to and from Hungerford, the Racecourse engine shunted as required and returned working the 5.55 a.m. goods to Reading the next day, whilst a fresh engine left Reading at 5.0 a.m. to begin the daily cycle again."

 

I found this quite interesting, not just because of the mixed goods and passenger work, but also because several engines (four?) would be required to make this happen. Mind you this is the 1940s so I'm not sure about 1919.

 

For the DNSR, there was the Winchester shed (and Didcot), and Lambourn had its own shed. IIRC the DNSR locos sometimes also did Lambourn workings, but I'm not 100% sure.

 

Edited by Mikkel
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That's wonderful work, Mikkel!

 

I'm not quite as ambitious, so my pre-Great War pannier 2764 conversion/alteration (when I get round to it) won't be as accurate as yours, but I can still learn a lot from your experience here.

 

Looking at the Bachmann 5700 in your pictures, I was surprised to see that as good as it is (especially compared to the old Hornby version), the body is not vastly superior to Hornby's 2721 Class, though the chassis obviously  is.

 

On 10/11/2021 at 17:53, Miss Prism said:

You'll probably want the chimney in the rear position for a pre-1917 unsuperheated loco...

Though definitely not an expert on GWR locomotives, I thought I would hazard that the position of the chimney is not a guarantee of the engine being superheated or not superheated. From the gwr.org section on pannier engines, referring to the photo of 2752:

 

"2721 class 2752, with its chimney in the forward position, has never been superheated, although it has been fitted with an S-shaped blastpipe casting used for locos that have been superheated. Any superheater elements in its boiler will have been removed."

 

So, clearly, reference to the books is a must, as would be a good photo for the chosen period. Unfortunately, there's no picture of your chosen engine....  (and for many of us, not enough books). Decisions, decisions....

 

Dana

 

 

Edited by Dana Ashdown
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The vows taken by Benedictine monks are not as is popularly supposed, obedience, chastity, and poverty, but obedience, stability, and conversion of life.

 

We're seeing the last vow in action here but it's the second I am particularly interested in. To what extent were these locomotives moved around from shed to shed? Can your list of allocations for 1921 be taken as any sort of guide to allocations in, say, 1902? There were many Midland 0-6-0 goods engines that would have met with St Benedict's approval, remaining at the same shed for sixty years or more through successive rebuildings, ending their days as Venerable 3Fs.

 

There is something about a steam shed that evokes the cloister or chapter house:

 

2743.jpg

 

[NRM DY 2743, embedded link.]

 

... with the Shed Foreman as Abbot?

 

Edited by Compound2632
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