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GWR horse-drawn station bus


Mikkel

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I’ve built a GWR horse-drawn station bus using a modified and detailed P&D Marsh kit.

 

 

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A colourized postcard showing omnibuses in the station forecourt at Minehead. A perusal of period photos suggests that the outside seating wasn’t necessarily the last choice option – on sunny days at least!

 

 

 

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The forecourt at Teignmouth. Lettering on the door shows the fare and “A. Harvey (?), Proprietor”. Many horse-drawn station bus services were operated by individual entrepreneurs, nearby fashionable hotels, or local agents for the railway companies. Actual GWR-owned station buses certainly existed but were, I suspect, a minority.

 

 

 

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Old and new at Helston. The GWR’s first motor-driven road service was introduced at Helston in 1903, signalling the beginning of the end for horsedrawn omnibuses. The horse-drawn bus on the right served a local hotel.

 

 

 

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Phillip Kelley’s two volumes on GWR road vehicles feature a small but useful selection of photo and drawings of GWR horsedrawn buses. Online, a couple of rather interesting GWR omnibuses can be found here (scroll down). An agent-operated GWR service can be seen on the Fairford pages here. For non-GWR omnibuses, Gail Thornton’s website is interesting.

 

 

 

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The P&D Marsh kit is a fairly simple affair but does represent an actual prototype built by the GWR in 1894. There's a Swindon drawing of it in Kelley’s “Great Western Road Vehicles Appendix”. Towards the end of the build I realised that I had overlooked an actual photo of the vehicle in Kelley’s main volume (“Great Western Road Vehicles” p.29). 

 

 

 

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Assembly of the body leaves you with somewhat unsightly corners, as Mike also commented in his build back in 2013.

 

 

 

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Repeated applications of filler and sanding helped, followed by primer.

 

 

 

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The basic components result in a reasonable overall representation of the original vehicle. 

 

 


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Bringing it to this stage was a fairly quick exercise, but I decided to add some detailing.

 

 

 

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First step was some simple seating and glazing. The interior may or may not have been more lavish, but with the roof on very little is visible. 

 

 

 

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The kit’s roof casting is rather thick and does not reflect the pattern on the prototype. A replacement was made by laminating two layers of thin styrene, the top layer being a grid pattern drawn up in Inkscape and printed on my Silhouette.

 

 

 

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This was fixed with superglue, with temporary holes to allow the fumes to escape so they don’t frost the glazing.

 

 

 

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Luggage rails were fitted using 0.5 mm straight brass wire. Later I removed the front rail, as I discovered that the prototype didn’t have it. Same thing can be seen on some other omnibuses. Forward-sliding luggage not a problem on slow-breaking vehicles?

 

 

 

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The drawing and photo show what initially looks like a ladder at the rear. Closer inspection shows it to be three vertical rails with no apparent rungs. My best guess is that they are guard-/guiderails for raising and lowering heavy luggage to and from the roof without damaging the sides. Unless anyone knows better? Anyway, I fitted them using more brass wire. Also seen is the rear passenger step. The one provided in the kit is rather crude and doesn't match the drawing, so I made a simple replacement. The step could be folded down and away for stowage during transport.

 

 


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Discovery of the prototype photo led to some unpleasant surprises. I had overlooked horisontal bolections along the sides and ends, so they were retrofitted using thin wire. There are also what looks like ventilation louvres above the windows (or rainstrips?), these were indicated using thin strips of styrene. 

 

 


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I fashioned a pair of coach lamps using old loco lamps from the scrap box, fitted with bits from my tin of watchmakers’ spares. No particular prototype, just a nod to a certain type seen in some photos.

 

 

 

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Lettering and insignia will have to wait. The prototype photo shows the vehicle in factory finish in 1894, with sans-serif “Great Western Railway” below the windows in quite a small font size (smaller than on goods cartage vehicles), and a simplified garter behind the wheels. My printer can’t do such small lettering to a satisfying standard, so I’ll leave it unlettered until I find one that can.

 

 

 

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The bus will be parked in the station forecourt at Farthing, with passengers outside. So I decided to add some luggage. The prototype photo shows leather straps (or similar) fitted to the luggage rails, so I painted some thin masking tape to imitate this. 

 

 

 

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I'm not sure about the principles for how luggage was packed on omnibus rooves. Photos suggest pragmatic solutions.

 

 

 

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I replaced the horse in the kit. I first painted up the mare on the left, but decided it was more of a goods type. So an exchange was made with the pretentious type on the right. Both are from Dart Castings.

 

 

 

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I normally go with matt varnish for my horse-drawn vehicles, but couldn't resist a satin finish in this case. 

 

 

 

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I'm pondering my choice of driver. Current offerings aren't that good, so will probably modify a seated passenger. No reins, too impractical with my current layout arrangements.

 

 

 

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So that's yet another horse-drawn vehicle for Farthing. Good thing I've got a big stable block :)  There are plans afoot for an early motor bus, but that's another story.

 

 

Edited by Mikkel

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ChrisN

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Simond said:


 

perhaps more up to date, at least on the weights, 83.6 kg for men and 70.2 kg for women.  Assuming equal numbers, that would be 6.5 couples per ton.  Or, if you prefer, 12 men or 14.25 women to the ton.

 

 

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjq0fqNtLH1AhWClFwKHeQrAyMQFnoECAoQAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fuk-11534042&usg=AOvVaw3aH9rsMfO0sFl8JPW9VD6_

 

 

 

Interesting.  The standard man in Radiation Protection is still 70kg.  Still, it is not my problem now.

Edited by ChrisN
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A beautifully done model, Mikkel. I have been thinking about buying the kit myself, so seeing how you've done it has come along at just the right time!

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Many thanks Dana. Would be nice to see you build one. Let me know if I can help with drawings/photos. 

 

These horse-drawn vehicles really are addictive, I've had to force myself away to get on with other things!

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Hi Mikkel,

 

Good to see an something from the latest edition of "Horse Drawn Weekly":)  Beautifully modelled, I particularly like the roof rails and luggage.

 

BW

 

Dave

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3 hours ago, Mikkel said:

...These horse-drawn vehicles really are addictive, I've had to force myself away to get on with other things!

I agree - I'm doing a lot of reading at present, with future modelling in mind.  It's a fascinating world of splinter bars, swingles, futchells, and lots of other mysterious paraphernalia.

 

Incidentally I read that the raised box 'seat' for the driver is usual, with a lower seat sometimes provided for a passenger to ride alongside - this appears to be the correct configuration for the horse bus.

 

Mike

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5 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

Incidentally I read that the raised box 'seat' for the driver is usual, with a lower seat sometimes provided for a passenger to ride alongside - this appears to be the correct configuration for the horse bus.

The driver's seat is often raised and wedge-shaped, tilting forwards.  One adopts a position which is more upright, more like perching on a bar stool.  It enables you to put more pressure on your feet which helps controlling the horse(s).  I did a bit of driving some years ago.  If I had the space I would do it again.

Edited by davidbr
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Mikkel.  Your work has often been described as 'inspirational' and for once, I have been inspired actually to do something.  I have had this omnibus part-made for some time but your post here has got me going.

 

The kit is very similar to yours but I am not sure of it's origin as there are differences.  The roof is cast in the checked pattern which I filed down and filled the holes with some paint to reduce the chunky look.  The two mouldings around the waist are cast on my kit.  I can't remember the corner joints as I had already made and painted the model.  

 

However, I have aded the railings around the top and added a couple of small rollers of brass micro-tube at the top of the luggage hoist; there is a rail around the driver's seat; I have painted a faint gold lining on the mouldings and added 'Great Western Railway'.  The latter I culled from a photo of a cast sign, bumped the resolution up to 300dpi then reduced it to 1mm tall and printed it on ivory coloured paper.  I have coloured the tyres with an HB pencil, a tip I was given recently and to get the silver in to the lamps I used a very small burr.

 

The horse is temporary, just for the photos.

 

I apologise for the photos.  I just cannot take a decent one at the moment, whatever I do.  Perhaps it is the poor winter light but I am more inclined to my ineptitude.

 

Thank you, Mikkel.

 

Station-Bus_S2725.jpg.397f9cad67069aa34e3f46425b2abf2c.jpgStation-bus_S2726.jpg.db9886a312ba730cbe4d1d3d547af682.jpg

Edited by davidbr
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On 20/01/2022 at 11:33, wenlock said:

Hi Mikkel,

 

Good to see an something from the latest edition of "Horse Drawn Weekly":)  Beautifully modelled, I particularly like the roof rails and luggage.

 

BW

 

Dave

 

Hi Dave, many thanks. I had forgotten about Horse Drawn Weekly! I hope it will feature an entry from Sherton Abbas soon? If all else fails, a 7mm horsebox will do.

 

 

On 20/01/2022 at 12:25, MikeOxon said:

I agree - I'm doing a lot of reading at present, with future modelling in mind.  It's a fascinating world of splinter bars, swingles, futchells, and lots of other mysterious paraphernalia.

 

Incidentally I read that the raised box 'seat' for the driver is usual, with a lower seat sometimes provided for a passenger to ride alongside - this appears to be the correct configuration for the horse bus.

 

Mike

 

Now you've made me look up swingle-trees and futchells. Excellent words, I'll see if I can discretely pop them into a sentence at work to test my English-speaking colleagues :)

 

 

On 20/01/2022 at 17:54, davidbr said:

The driver's seat is often raised and wedge-shaped, tilting forwards.  One adopts a position which is more upright, more like perching on a bar stool.  It enables you to put more pressure on your feet which helps controlling the horse(s).  I did a bit of driving some years ago.  If I had the space I would do it again.

 

Thanks for confirming that David, good to hear it from the horse's mouth (sorry!). I think this superb photo demonstrates the position:

 

2_2004-3354-LGOC-horse-bus-on-Peckham-Pa

London 1895. Source: Embedded link from MyLondon. 

 

Edited by Mikkel
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41 minutes ago, davidbr said:

Mikkel.  Your work has often been described as 'inspirational' and for once, I have been inspired actually to do something.  I have had this omnibus part-made for some time but your post here has got me going.

 

The kit is very similar to yours but I am not sure of it's origin as there are differences.  The roof is cast in the checked pattern which I filed down and filled the holes with some paint to reduce the chunky look.  The two mouldings around the waist are cast on my kit.  I can't remember the corner joints as I had already made and painted the model.  

 

However, I have aded the railings around the top and added a couple of small rollers of brass micro-tube at the top of the luggage hoist; there is a rail around the driver's seat; I have painted a faint gold lining on the mouldings and added 'Great Western Railway'.  The latter I culled from a photo of a cast sign, bumped the resolution up to 300dpi then reduced it to 1mm tall and printed it on ivory coloured paper.  I have coloured the tyres with an HB pencil, a tip I was given recently and to get the silver in to the lamps I used a very small burr.

 

I apologise for the photos.  I just cannot take a decent one at the moment, whatever I do.  Perhaps it is the poor winter light but I am more inclined to my ineptitude.

 

Thank you, Mikkel.

 

Station-Bus_S2725.jpg.397f9cad67069aa34e3f46425b2abf2c.jpgStation-bus_S2726.jpg.db9886a312ba730cbe4d1d3d547af682.jpg

 

That's fantastic David! 

 

And very interesting to learn that there seems to be an improved version of the kit - unless it's a different one altogether. In any case your extra detailing looks great. The lettering does add a lot (the 1894 prototype photo shows all over chocolate, but you could always claim it was repainted at a later stage!).

 

 

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