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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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9 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

Can your list of allocations for 1921 be taken as any sort of guide to allocations in, say, 1902?

 

That's too much of a time spread to expect any sort of similarity in respect of specific engines. Mikkel's 1919 scenario however is very close to 1921, so one would expect some 1919 inhabitants of a shed to still be there a couple of years later. Low-mileage goods engines weren't serviced anywhere near as often as high-mileage passenger ones. What I think will hold true over a longer time period is the general geographical disposition of a particular class of loco, hence the value of the mapping exercise, which shows a predominance for the 1854 and 2701 classes in Wales.

 

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The pits in the foreground are a bit reminiscent of ecclesiastical surrounds, viz. the Hunchback of Norte Dame. Getting along the pit under a loco meant adopting a form of crouch with an added slew to one side, something like a two legged crab as you scuttled along.

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I went to the NRM at York about 12 (!) years ago. They had one of their Pacifics over a pit with invitation to visitors to view the working bits. 

I don't recall the experience as being cramped ... Perhaps I was so much in awe of the engineering that any discomfort was overlooked! 

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39 minutes ago, DonB said:

They had one of their Pacifics over a pit ... I don't recall the experience as being cramped ... 

If the pit under Caerphilly at Swindon is any guide then its far deeper than a working pit would be. In fact it would be quite useless for doing any work on the locomotive!

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Shed allocations:  On the Cambrian at Machynlleth with four passenger locos and six goods locos, between 1894 and 1898 only one of each were the same.  When you look at individual locos on the GWR they seemed to move around quite frequently.  Whether a loco based close enough to Farthing in 1921 was there in 1919, only the Station Master of Farthing would know, and if I remember rightly the one there in 1905 had disappeared to South America by then, and I am not sure who replaced him.

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Yes, my impression is also that individual locos were re-allocated quite often. That said, my guess would be that some classes (or very similar classes) would have been found at the same locations over a number of years -  as Miss P also said above.

 

It would be interesting to plot in allocations for different years in the map above, to get a feel for this. From what I can see, available publications showing GWR loco allocations include the three below. I have not yet come across compilations from earlier dates, more's the pity:

 

Harrison, 1921 allocations: https://britishrailwaybooks.co.uk/books/ISBN/0906867215.php

 

Pockok & Harrison, 1934 allocations: https://britishrailwaybooks.co.uk/books/ISBN/0906867347.php

 

Rowledge, presumably (going by the title) 1922 and 1967 allocations:

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/book-search/title/gwr-locomotive-allocations-first-and-last-sheds-1922-1967/author/rowledge-j-w-p/

 

Edited by Mikkel
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3 minutes ago, Mikkel said:

From what I can see, available publications showing GWR loco allocations include the three below. I have not yet come across compilations from earlier dates, more's the pity:

 

The data must be out there, since Locomotives Illustrated No. 157 provides allocations for all the Gooch, Armstrong, and Dean 0-6-0 goods engines at January 1902 (te-he!).

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14 hours ago, ChrisN said:

Whether a loco based close enough to Farthing in 1921 was there in 1919, only the Station Master of Farthing would know, and if I remember rightly the one there in 1905 had disappeared to South America by then, and I am not sure who replaced him.

 

Ha! :) Well remembered - and you have a point, must ensure continuity in our character stories! We know that Station Master A. Woodcourt served the GWR for 27 years. The earliest date at which he appears in photos is, I believe, 1902. So he could still be around on a 1919 layout.

 

Sticking with the fiction, above I mentioned how the yards at Newbury were worked by Didcot and Reading engines. If we take the liberty of transposing that situation to Farthing in 1919, then the source of an 1854 PT could include not only Salisbury shed as suggested by Miss P, but also alternatively Swindon or Westbury - all of which had 1854 allocations. The following map shows the situation before the GWR took over the N&SR, but you get the idea.

 

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Speaking of Westbury, the 1921 allocations at Westbury were interesting...

 

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53 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

 

The data must be out there, since Locomotives Illustrated No. 157 provides allocations for all the Gooch, Armstrong, and Dean 0-6-0 goods engines at January 1902 (te-he!).

 

A very convenient date. Clearly an issue worth tracking down. 

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6 minutes ago, Mikkel said:

A very convenient date. Clearly an issue worth tracking down. 

 

I assumed you had it. I could PM you a scan of the relevant pages, if you're interested.

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3 hours ago, Mikkel said:

 

Ha! :) Well remembered - and you have a point, must ensure continuity in our character stories! We know that Station Master A. Woodcourt served the GWR for 27 years. The earliest date at which he appears in photos is, I believe, 1902. So he could still be around on a 1919 layout.

 

Sticking with the fiction, above I mentioned how the yards at Newbury were worked by Didcot and Reading engines. If we take the liberty of transposing that situation to Farthing in 1919, then the source of an 1854 PT could include not only Salisbury shed as suggested by Miss P, but also alternatively Swindon or Westbury - all of which had 1854 allocations. The following map shows the situation before the GWR took over the N&SR, but you get the idea.

 

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Speaking of Westbury, the 1921 allocations at Westbury were interesting...

 

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My feeling is Westbury would be more likely than Swindon, but you have yet to write the history of the N&S Rly post amalgamation. Was it like the M&SWJR; ignored/neglected?

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8 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

 

I assumed you had it. I could PM you a scan of the relevant pages, if you're interested.

 

Thanks Stephen, very kind of you. I'm fairly sure I don't have that issue - if so quite an omission. But I am away from home at the moment (and struggling to keep up with RMweb, I did enjoy the the reference to Benedictine monks!), so let me check before you go to the trouble. 

There is also the "William Dean, greatest of them all" book, which may have allocations (can't remember).

 

5 hours ago, richbrummitt said:

 

My feeling is Westbury would be more likely than Swindon, but you have yet to write the history of the N&S Rly post amalgamation. Was it like the M&SWJR; ignored/neglected?

 

Yes I'd like it to be Westbury. Of course there is still the option of a shed at Farthing itself.

 

The N&S Rwy was inspired by the M&SWJR but especially the DN&SR. Farthing owes a lot to Newbury, only shifted further West along the Berks & Hants extension. Somewhere around Bottlesford perhaps, as seeen here on Google maps:

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.3362395,-1.8507471,13z

 

Although it's a bit flat there for a station with embankment walling :rolleyes: Some serious rolling downs would be useful.

 

Edited by Mikkel
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With Farthing apparently somewhere in the area west of Pewsey, there are a good few sheds to choose from but it wouldn't surprise me if, when Salisbury closed in 1899 (Lyons & Mountford 'Great Western Engine Sheds', note that Salisbury closed in 1899 and "was replaced by a larger depot further along the line towards Westbury, see Volume 1" [which I don't seem to have]), the shed at Farthing was retained as a Westbury sub-shed (a piece of the elephant yet to be described?); after all, Farthing is the junction for the Overbourne branch.

 

And as for Overbourne and wondering about its traffic, it sounds as if it might be a flat, damp sort of place, ideal for watercress beds fed from the bourne; perhaps a weekly output of six or seven tons, packed as 7lb chips, 28lb flats or 56lb hampers and delivered to the GWR by motor van. (https://www.hungerfordvirtualmuseum.co.uk/index.php/36-themes/transport/822-railway for description of 1923 watercress traffic and much else about GWR Hungerford).

 

Kit PW

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32 minutes ago, Miss Prism said:

Bottlesford is a bit of a one-horse town (very small village, actually) but it has some nice trees.

 

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Ha ha, yes, at least the trees are there. 

 

But look again at that field with half-closed eyes and imagine the possibilities!

 

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9 minutes ago, kitpw said:

With Farthing apparently somewhere in the area west of Pewsey, there are a good few sheds to choose from but it wouldn't surprise me if, when Salisbury closed in 1899 (Lyons & Mountford 'Great Western Engine Sheds', note that Salisbury closed in 1899 and "was replaced by a larger depot further along the line towards Westbury, see Volume 1" [which I don't seem to have]), the shed at Farthing was retained as a Westbury sub-shed (a piece of the elephant yet to be described?); after all, Farthing is the junction for the Overbourne branch.

 

And as for Overbourne and wondering about its traffic, it sounds as if it might be a flat, damp sort of place, ideal for watercress beds fed from the bourne; perhaps a weekly output of six or seven tons, packed as 7lb chips, 28lb flats or 56lb hampers and delivered to the GWR by motor van. (https://www.hungerfordvirtualmuseum.co.uk/index.php/36-themes/transport/822-railway for description of 1923 watercress traffic and much else about GWR Hungerford).

 

Kit PW

 

Excellent, thanks Kit. Lot of ideas to work with there. Of course ideally I should have thought it all through beforehand. 

 

A subshed of Westbury, I like that. Incidentally, the old shed at Salisbury was a wonderful structure, wasn't it. IIRC the new one was much more functional and a bit uninspiring.

 

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Does the Lyons and Mountford book have shed allocations?  When I was building my 645 @southern42 quoted Lyons p76 for the allocations at Corwen.  I am sure, somewhere, I have shed allocations in that area within a few years of each other but cannot find them at present, and if I remember correctly, the locomotives had changed mostly, but the classes and class numbers were about the same.

 

Again, on my thread in the same discussion I am sure it was mentioned that the shed allocations are at Kew Archive, but only from about 1920 or so.  The information, for the GWR, is there somewhere for before that date but I understand it is not as easy to find.

 

Is the above book the same as E.Lyons 'Great Western Engine Sheds 1837-1947?, as this was the one quoted for Corwen.

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6 minutes ago, ChrisN said:

E.Lyons 'Great Western Engine Sheds 1837-1947

 Lyons & Mountford 'Great Western Engine Sheds 1837-1947' Revised Edition (including amalgamated companies): Oxford Publishing 1979  [phew, long title!] is the edition I referred to above.  Corwen (1880 trackplan) is covered on page 76.  The shed allocation in January 1901 is there but only for that date.  Shed allocations are given throughout but, again, only a "sample" for a single date, for instance Cheltenham MSWJ for 1923.

 

Kit PW

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1 hour ago, kitpw said:

 Lyons & Mountford 'Great Western Engine Sheds 1837-1947' Revised Edition (including amalgamated companies): Oxford Publishing 1979  [phew, long title!] is the edition I referred to above.  Corwen (1880 trackplan) is covered on page 76.  The shed allocation in January 1901 is there but only for that date.  Shed allocations are given throughout but, again, only a "sample" for a single date, for instance Cheltenham MSWJ for 1923.

 

Kit PW

 

Thank you.  As I do not have the book I was not sure what was in it.  The information must be out there somewhere as the writers of the book found it.  

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13 hours ago, ChrisN said:

The information must be out there somewhere as the writers of the book found it.  

sadly "out there" is a very big place :)

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On 15/11/2021 at 14:04, Mikkel said:

Speaking of Westbury, the 1921 allocations at Westbury were interesting...

 

image.png.d7ba8c43289ca5e6a34b7c04db76cd89.png

 

 

Following up on this. The CR locos mentioned in this 1921 allocation list for Westbury shed raised my eyebrows. The list can be found in Ian Harrison's book on GWR shed allocations for that year.

 

Things become a little clearer in the book's Appendix A, where the author discusses locos on loan to the GWR in 1921. These were:

  • 84 ROD GCR 2-8-0 locos which were on loan to the company to make up for the GWR locos used by the ROD overseas (in addition to the 20 purchased outright by the GWR).
  • Three LBSCR C2X/C2 locos loaned to the GWR in December 1919, based at Old Oak Common and used on through goods to Three Bridges.
  • The above mentioned two "CR" locomotives Nos 6 and 10, about which the author is uncertain as the original GWR registers do not indicate what CR stands for. Intriguing!

The author does make some educated guesses about the "CR" locos. He doesn't think they are Cambrian or Cardiff, as that is "normally spelt out in full." Instead he thinks they may have been Caledonian Railway ROD 2-8-0s. Apparently the Caledonian borrowed 50 of those locos and overhauled another two destined for the Highland Railway. However it seems they never went to the HR but were recorded instead as sent "to the South of England" in early 1920.

 

But, as the author concedes, the numbers 6 and 10 do not match the GWR numbering schemes for ROD 2-8-0s, and both numbers were already taken in the CR and HR numbering sequences. So he remains uncertain.

 

Not sure why I'm writing this, except that I'm unexpectedly stuck in a hotel (first work trip since lockdown, feels strange) with little more than scans of this book to entertain me, and I do like a good railway mystery! 

 

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Not a railway mystery but... plotting data on a map as a way of understanding the "bigger picture" has a not atopical history. Apart from loco allocations, your map post(s) above also brought to mind the story of the Broad Street pump and the cholera epidemic of 1854, a localised incidence of the cholera pandemic of the late 1840s/early 50s. Whilst this article  https://www.immunology.org/john-snows-pump-1854 is a useful description, it doesn't mention the 'outlier' piece of data - a woman in Highgate who, every day, sent for water from Soho's Broad Street pump because she thought it so much better than Highgate water. Her case (I forget whether fatal) was mapped into the data and when Dr Snow checked, he found that she was drinking Broad Street water but had never herself been near the pump - definitive evidence that the cause was water from the pump, not contaminated air ("miasma") around it. (Loco allocations - mapping - cholera epidemic - 2020/21 pandemic - first work trip post-lockdown: read forwards or backwards, you choose...)

 

Kit PW

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I had not heard that particular story before. A good example that outlier data can be important.

 

For the mapping, it would be nice if the number of locos allocated per shed could be made more visually apparent, e.g. with larger dots. Google Maps does not seem to allow that. Will have a look to see what other maps are out there.

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