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More Pre-Grouping Wagons in 4mm - the D299 appreciation thread.

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A photograph in the Railway Modeller a hundred years ago of a line of MR opens on the W S Norris O gauge layout still motivates me to have a few of these on my layout. I have more than a few in the kit compost heap.

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I'd love to get my hands on some of these, sadly when they come up on ebay they go for stupid money. 

 

Out of interest what are the body dimensions of the 3 plank? 

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You've done well with the paint on the D305. I've always found Precision Paints awkward to apply with a brush.

 

For the large M R lettering, I recommend the Fox Transfers sheet. Much easier than Methfix.

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I'd love to get my hands on some of these, sadly when they come up on ebay they go for stupid money. 

 

Out of interest what are the body dimensions of the 3 plank? 

The D305 low-sided wagon takes centre stage:

 

post-29416-0-85585300-1468683471_thumb.jpg

 

Dimensions are bog-standard late 19th-century (prototype read off the diagram in “Midland Wagons”, model in brackets):

 

Length over headstocks: 14’11” (60 mm); inside 14’0”.

Width over sides: 7’5” (30 mm); inside 7’0”.

Wheelbase: 9’0” (36 mm); wheels 3’2” dia.

Overall height above rail: 5’10 3/8”, height to top of floor: 4’1” (tricky to measure on model).

Internal height (i.e. height of 3-plank dropside): 1’9 3/8” (7 mm).

 

Buffer height: 3’5”; taken with 11” x 4” solebars and headstocks this give 2’11 ½” for the height from rail level to underside of solebar/headstock (the buffers are clearly on the centre-line of the headstocks), giving height from bottom of solebar/headstock to top of side/end: 2’10 7/8” (12 mm). This also gives floor planks 2 ½” thick, which agrees with other drawings.

 

The Midland Railway Study Centre holds copies of the relevant drawings Nos. 213 (1875), 1143 (c. 1895), and 3208 (1909), should anyone want to consider designing a new kit!

 

The pre-D305 version of this wagon didn’t have the door stops that I’ve added to the model; instead the headstocks were wider and angled at the ends to act as door stops. This type can be seen in various photos in the engineer’s livery (red oxide?) with E D in place of M R. Unsurprisingly, the S&DJR built very similar wagons at Highbridge, though with longer brake handle. Looking through my books, I have to confess that L&YR, NBR, NSR, or FR 3-plank dropside wagons don’t quite match these dimensions or else have detail differences that would be a pain to deal with… (L&NWR and of course GWR wagons are a law unto themselves.)

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You've done well with the paint on the D305. I've always found Precision Paints awkward to apply with a brush.

 

For the large M R lettering, I recommend the Fox Transfers sheet. Much easier than Methfix.

Yes, that’s my experience too, Humbrol flows nicely. I don’t have an airbrush. I wasn’t so happy with the Halfords white primer either – it didn’t give as good coverage or go as far as the grey or red. My current bout of wagon-building is an exercise in using up existing material, also as I’d not tried Methfix before it was an experiment. (More on transfer trauma in upcoming posts...) For the tare weights, I have somewhere old sets of Pressfix transfers from boxed Slater’s kits which I’ll use in future! The artwork for the Slater's and HMRS transfers looks right to me; I’ve just looked at the Fox version on their website; I have to say I think the proportions are wrong – undernourished and too low-slung. However, the breakdown crane sheet is exciting – I’ve got the D&S kit lurking in the cupboard…

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You've done well with the paint on the D305. I've always found Precision Paints awkward to apply with a brush.

 

I found it a bit thick on my first wagon I painted. However that was easily resolved by further thinning and using a couple of coats. I have several more kits lined up for an attempt at spraying it. I've got several different good stock colours from them and the LMS grey was the worst but others have been fine for applying by brush.

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The D305 low-sided wagon takes centre stage:

 

attachicon.gifMidland D305.JPG

 

Dimensions are bog-standard late 19th-century (prototype read off the diagram in “Midland Wagons”, model in brackets):

 

Length over headstocks: 14’11” (60 mm); inside 14’0”.

Width over sides: 7’5” (30 mm); inside 7’0”.

Wheelbase: 9’0” (36 mm); wheels 3’2” dia.

Overall height above rail: 5’10 3/8”, height to top of floor: 4’1” (tricky to measure on model).

Internal height (i.e. height of 3-plank dropside): 1’9 3/8” (7 mm).

 

Buffer height: 3’5”; taken with 11” x 4” solebars and headstocks this give 2’11 ½” for the height from rail level to underside of solebar/headstock (the buffers are clearly on the centre-line of the headstocks), giving height from bottom of solebar/headstock to top of side/end: 2’10 7/8” (12 mm). This also gives floor planks 2 ½” thick, which agrees with other drawings.

 

The Midland Railway Study Centre holds copies of the relevant drawings Nos. 213 (1875), 1143 (c. 1895), and 3208 (1909), should anyone want to consider designing a new kit!

 

The pre-D305 version of this wagon didn’t have the door stops that I’ve added to the model; instead the headstocks were wider and angled at the ends to act as door stops. This type can be seen in various photos in the engineer’s livery (red oxide?) with E D in place of M R. Unsurprisingly, the S&DJR built very similar wagons at Highbridge, though with longer brake handle. Looking through my books, I have to confess that L&YR, NBR, NSR, or FR 3-plank dropside wagons don’t quite match these dimensions or else have detail differences that would be a pain to deal with… (L&NWR and of course GWR wagons are a law unto themselves.)

 

Thanks for that, makes it too tall for a conversion to a Cambrian 3 plank too. 

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The D305 low-sided wagon takes centre stage:

 

 

Dimensions are bog-standard late 19th-century (prototype read off the diagram in “Midland Wagons”, model in brackets):

 

Length over headstocks: 14’11” (60 mm); inside 14’0”.

Width over sides: 7’5” (30 mm); inside 7’0”.

Wheelbase: 9’0” (36 mm); wheels 3’2” dia.

Overall height above rail: 5’10 3/8”, height to top of floor: 4’1” (tricky to measure on model).

Internal height (i.e. height of 3-plank dropside): 1’9 3/8” (7 mm).

 

 

 

Slight typo crept in there: internal length should be 14' 6" of course. Nice work there which might just inspire me to tackle my own kit-mountain!

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Slight typo crept in there: internal length should be 14' 6" of course. Nice work there which might just inspire me to tackle my own kit-mountain!

 

Thanks for spotting that error, wagonman, 14’6” is correct.

 

Thanks to those who liked my first post; having seen who you are I’m feeling flattered! This is supposed to be a scratch-building as well as kit-building topic and I hope to show some scratch-building and kit-bashing soon. You’ll be able to judge if my standards have improved since I was in my early teens; I recently re-discovered this on sorting through my boxes:

 

post-29416-0-99320700-1468762982_thumb.jpg

 

My very first attempt at building my own wagons – D299 and D305! I think the underframes are from Airfix 16 ton mineral wagons with the axleboxes filed down and a paper overlay on the solebar; bodies are card with paper strapping; the “riveting tool” probably a school compass. Matchstick end pillars (one’s fallen off). The lettering is Letraset – the “M” suffers from the low-slung look (vide Fox) but I think the “R” is made from an F and an R to give it the right width.

 

Vol 1. of “Midland Wagons” was published in 1980; it was my first proper railway reference book. I must have bought it from Ian Allan in Stephenson Place, just outside New Street Station, when it first came out and these models must have been built very soon after. I think I’d done a few Ratio kits before this.

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I like your 5 plank wagon very much.  Back in 1965/66 I scratch built ten of these vehicles.  No kits then or the Essery books.  I used, I think, a tattered drawing from one of the model magazines, possibly Model Railway News.  I used Plastikard for the bodies and Kenline castings for the axle boxes and brake gear.  The Kenline castings were probably the finest castings at the time.   They ran in pin point bearings which came from the EM Gauge Society,  I painted them in batches of three or four at a time, mixing the paint, each time so that I had a bit of variation in shade,   Building a batch of ten seemed to take forever but they are still running after 50 years but I have to admit they are a bit crude in comparison with todays standards.  Here is a piccie of a few loaded with stone from Kirkby Limes,

Derek

 

Derek, any photo of either your old or new layout is balm to the weary spirit. There’s something deeply satisfying about the combination of fresh green grass, limestone buildings, and crimson lake trains. Yours is the layout I can only dream of aspiring to!

 

It is therefore with the greatest temerity that I spy the vertical strapping on the centre-line of the M and R on your wagons, which suggests they are either from the very last lot of D299 built in 1917 or more likely the longer D302 or D663A wagons of 1913 onwards? Whatever, they've probably been in service longer than the originals!

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You are dead right.

You have jogged my memory, when I built those wagons, my knowledge of the Midland Railway was pretty sparse, and the drawing dated them circa 1912 as far as I remember.  At the time I hadn't settled on a particular time, and it was only much later I decided on the year 1908. They were built with a 9'6" wheelbase which gave me a bit of a problem at the time, although Kenline did brake gear to suit.  I did intend building a set of earlier wagons but time passed me by and now I just turn a blind eye to any discrepencies in my rolling stock.

I see that you have named yourself after the second Johnson compound.  I built the first in the series, but numbered it 1000 in line with the 1907  general renumbering of the Midland locos.  I am not very happy with my lining out, and really it is too big an engine to work Kirkby Malham so it doesn't get much use these days  The piccie is actually in the fiddle yard  of my previous layout, Embsay Canal Road.

Derek

post-6110-0-03009000-1468792744_thumb.jpg

Edited by Mrkirtley800
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You are dead right.

You have jogged my memory, when I built those wagons, my knowledge of the Midland Railway was pretty sparse, and the drawing dated them circa 1912 as far as I remember.  At the time I hadn't settled on a particular time, and it was only much later I decided on the year 1908. They were built with a 9'6" wheelbase which gave me a bit of a problem at the time, although Kenline did brake gear to suit.  I did intend building a set of earlier wagons but time passed me by and now I just turn a blind eye to any discrepencies in my rolling stock.

I see that you have named yourself after the second Johnson compound.  I built the first in the series, but numbered it 1000 in line with the 1907  general renumbering of the Midland locos.  I am not very happy with my lining out, and really it is too big an engine to work Kirkby Malham so it doesn't get much use these days  The piccie is actually in the fiddle yard  of my previous layout, Embsay Canal Road.

Derek

 

 

Derek, that’s superb, even in the simplified livery. There’s a stunning portrait of 2632 (later 1001) in Essery & Jenkinson’s “Illustrated Review of Midland Locomotives” Vol. 2, Plate 287, that sums up for me the appeal of the original Johnson compounds. Much is written of the aesthetic appeal of Johnson’s 19th century engines, all of which is very true but possibly obscures what a forward-thinking engineer he was – an early adopter of piston valves, for example – and also how fast his express passenger engines could run. O. S. Nock’s classic “Speed Records on Britain’s Railways” includes a table of the 13 reasonably well authenticated instances of speeds over 80 mph in the 19th century, three of which are with Midland engines: 115 Class 4-2-2 No. 117 tying with NER Class J 4-2-2 No. 1517 in joint first at 90 mph, an unidentified 800 Class 2-4-0, and 1562 Class 4-4-0 No. 1563. Rous-Martin’s clocking of 2632 at 92 mph over several successive quarter-miles on the descent from Blea Moor seems to be the highest published speed at that time – Rous-Martin’s article was published in November 1903; though he hints at higher speeds obtained elsewhere a case can be made for 2632 being for a year or so the fastest locomotive in the world!

 

The Midland board were very proud of the compounds, the most powerful express passenger engines in the country – perhaps why Rous-Martin got permission to publish, when often he had to suppress the details of very high speeds! There’s a works grey broadside view of 2632 (e.g. on the rear dustjacket of “Midland Locomotives” Vol. 2) that was copied as an engraving and used extensively – my profile picture is from a photograph of the cover of the October 1914 WTT in the collection of the Midland Railway Study Centre. No. 2632’s boiler had experimental corrugated tubes giving a larger heating surface area than No. 2631; maybe that was why she was chosen as the “pride of the line”.

 

post-29416-0-16543500-1468877702_thumb.jpg

 

An attractive aspect of Samuel Waite Johnson is that he seems to have been the paterfamilias of a network of locomotive engineers: Walter Mackersie Smith’s involvement in the design of the compounds is well known; he joined the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway when Johnson was its Locomotive Superintendent and moved with him to the Great Eastern; he named one of his sons Samuel Walter Johnson Smith. Also working for Johnson at Cowlairs in the 1860s were William Stroudley and Dugald Drummond. Many years later Drummond’s daughter Christine married Johnson’s son James (briefly Locomotive Superintendent of the GNoSR); one of their sons was named Dugald Samuel Waite Johnson; Johnson was evidently held in great affection as well as respect.

 

Sorry, this romancing is taking me off the topic, which is supposed to be dirty old coal trucks:

 

post-29416-0-34830300-1468877738_thumb.jpg

 

Left, a PowSides pre-printed wagon based on the ex-Slater’s Gloucester 8-ton 5-plank wagon. Morris & Shaw were, as stated, proprietors of Birch Coppice Colliery on the North Warwickshire coalfield. This was connected to the Midland Railway’s Kingsbury Branch. For comparison, an RCH 1923 standard 12-ton 7-plank wagon – the Parkside kit with PowSides rub-down lettering. (Not a pre-grouping wagon.) The owners’ names now take second place to the colliery name. The family of Parkside RCH wagon kits are about the best-designed and moulded plastic wagon kits about. The buffers are the only weak point; the plastic ones really aren't quite the thing. This wagon is between buffers - I've cut the plastic ones off and drilled the casings out to take metal ones which I've yet to fit.

 

The earlier wagon has “Load 10 Tons” in italic script on the side rail but this size of Gloucester wagon was normally rated 8 tons – as evidenced by many photos in Keith Montague’s “Private Owner Wagons from The Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Ltd” – illustrating the pitfalls of modelling PO wagons. The internal dimensions of an 8 ton 5-plank Gloucester wagon are 14’5” x 6’11’” x 3’1” = 11.4 cubic yards; an RCH 1923 standard 12 ton 7-plank wagon is about 16’0” x 7’6” x 4’3” (measured off a model – sorry) = 18.9 cubic yards, over 50% greater volume, as one would expect.

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There are a great many people out there who know a great deal about Great Western wagons, so I know I’m sticking my neck out here with a couple of rather speculative models – I welcome your comments!

 

First, the Coopercraft O4 – another purchase at ExpoEM 2014. A lovely kit with beautifully crisp mouldings even though it goes together in a slightly odd way. No need to thin the W-irons. I’m grateful to a couple of fellow club members for letting me study both the original two-volume and later single-volume editions of Atkins et al., “A History of G W R Goods Wagons”. I learn that the O4 was moderately numerous, with 2,706 examples built in 18 lots in 1901-4 – to make a fair comparison with Midland D299, that’s around 3 a week! I have been closely reading the various discussions on pre-1904 GW wagon livery and reached the following conclusion…

 

post-29416-0-10814500-1469048021_thumb.jpg

 

… which was so shocking I covered it up with a wagon sheet!

 

It’s entirely possible that many/most/all of these wagons emerged from Swindon after the adoption of the 25” G W lettering, despite the lot authorisation dates. Supposing, however, that many were completed in 1902 – early 1903, they could have had the cast number and owner plates and, in balance of probability, have been painted red all over.

 

I’ve followed those who suggest “red” is red oxide, on the grounds that this was a standard pigment. I doubt anyone thought it worth-while to mix up a fancy shade of red for mere goods wagons. On the other hand, I’m not sure it really answers the description of “warm red” or “the only decided red trucks going” ( http://www.gwr.org.uk/liverieswagonred.html ). A really red colour would fade to pink (like my father’s old Vauxhall Vectra!) and I’m not quite brave enough to offer a pink wagon for criticism! So this is Humbrol 100 with a light wash of the grey slop in the bottom of my brush-cleaning jam-jar. For the plates, I scanned a photo in Atkins (Vol. 1 p. 70, wagon no. 73697), imported into CorelDraw, traced and printed onto photo paper at the best resolution of my HP Deskjet printer. The base colour was adjusted to hex code #BD6038 (R: 189; G: 96 B:56) but some highlight and shading was added to try for a tromp l’oeil effect for the raised numbers and edge of the plate. After cutting out I went round the white edges of the paper with a reddish-brown felt pen! I now suspect the numberplates on the ends should be on the second plank up.

 

Painting the brakegear red unfortunately emphasises what’s missing! Chiefly the large curved rod that actually makes the brakes work when the little hand lever is turned – I think this passes between the wheel and the axleguard? Then there should be a rod linking the brake levers on either side, so that the brakes can be released from the opposite side to that from which they were applied, much to the horror of the Board of Trade. Then there’s a little quadrant ratchet that transfers the rotation of the rod to the long curved lever… (Or is there another link between?)

 

I’m in doubt about the pair of straight door stops – were the wagons built with them? They look like a more modern addition.

 

The wagon sheet is taken from the artwork posted on here some years ago by Ian Smith. I scaled it to 84 mm x 57 mm in CorelDraw and printed it onto ordinary 80gsm printer paper. I went round the edges with black permanent marker. The ropes are grey sewing thread (of a shade matching our boys’ school trousers…) attached by dipping the end into a very small puddle of Roket Max thick non-runny cyano glue and steering into place with a sewing pin. The way the ends of the sheet are folded is inspired by the example in Wenlock's blog but I’m afraid I failed to rise to the challenge of brass eyelets in 4 mm scale! The headstocks have a couple of moulded bumps that I think represent the rope cleats, so I fixed the thread to these with dabs of cyano on the end of the pin. One rope is tied to a buffer housing, which I think is against regulations. On the sides, ropes are passed through the holes in the solebar and tied off and also, again rather naughtily, tied to the V-hanger. I suspect the real thing had rope cleats tucked under the side rail? Unfortunately in the few weeks since I did this, the thread has gone a bit slack.

 

I ought to have crumpled the sheet up more than I did – it looks too smooth. My excuse, based on the October 1903 date, is that it’s a brand new sheet. (According to an article in “Midland Record” No. 3, at least on the LMS in the late 30s, the white month/year mark indicating date of manufacture or last repair should be accompanied by a similar red mark indicating the date the sheet is due for inspection – unsurprisingly this doesn’t show up in photos. Does anyone know if this was standard practice?)

 

The sheet also hides the fact that the trapezoidal plate that should be fixed to the sheet bar is actually part of the wagon end moulding…

 

What are the holes in the solebar for? Did I read somewhere that they were in place of the horse hook found on wooden-solebar wagons? (Missing from my Midland wagons…) Or are they for lifting the wagon off its wheels for overhaul?

 

 

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The holes in the solebar were indeed for horse hooks.

 

Thanks for confirming that. Not that I have any horses for shunting at the moment...

 

However...

 

Vindication! Serendipity! Having some minutes to wait for the bus, I popped into Reading Museum and Art Gallery, to find that there is currently an exhibition “On Track: Reading’s Railways, Past, Present and Future” http://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/events/details/679/. This includes several magnificent photos of Reading goods yards in the early 20th century, including one of Reading Central goods yard in the 1910s. The shot is looking along the yard, so most wagons are nearly end on. There are numerous iron minks and opens, the latter mostly with the large G W lettering as far as one can tell. There are at least two Midland vans, but what really caught my eye, nearest the camera, is a 5 plank open with sheet bar, with the number 77445 on a cast plate on the bottom end plank. (This number is higher than the range noted in the two-volume edition of Atkins, which records “diverse numbers incl. 31263-8; 75001-600/801-76500” but is lower than the range for V4 which begins at 79146; V4 was lot 476, the last few lots of O4 straddle this.)

 

Other photos in the exhibition include one of Kings Meadow Goods Yard in the 1900s, with iron minks and 4-plank opens predominating, the latter with a mix of large G W lettering and small G.W.R. on the right-hand end of the bottom plank. There is the obligatory Midland D299 5-plank open and immediately behind it a little cameo scene of an iron mink being unloaded into a C & G Ayres covered cart hauled by a rather dinky-looking traction engine. Two behind this, there’s possibly a Midland D305 3-plank dropside wagon. There’s also a splendid interior shot of the Kings Meadow goods shed, with wagons loaded with barrels, platforms with piles of crates, bales, etc. and porters with sack barrows going about their business. It looks like one of Mikkel’s scenes!

 

Another photo shows Vastern Road low level yard in 1904. This seems to be principally a coal yard, with wagons from various Reading coal merchants – S. M. Sandy & Son, Abbey Mills, No. 2; George West Nos. 2, 3; T. Simmons & Son, No. 99; What [ ] Bros – two wagons, Nos. 61 & 73, both with the side door open so what bros they are is hidden from view; also wagons from further afield – a couple from W. Fardon of Rugby, Nos. 6 & 10, two from Cwmbran Colliery, and three from Wyken Colliery, Coventry, Nos. 322, 30?, and 441 – the latter is dumb-buffered. There’s a second rather decrepit-looking dumb-buffered wagon, with only visible writing being the number, 4064. Also visible is a C & G Ayres container, whilst in the background, on lines parallel to Vastern Road, are many sheeted opens, with again a mix of large G W and small G.W.R lettering. The chimneys of the first house we bought, in Lynmouth Road, are just visible – Mothercare now occupies part of the site of this goods yard now; very convenient when our first child was born!

 

The moral of all this is that old liveries and old wagons hang around – if the average life expectancy of a wagon in traffic is, say, 30 years, then the majority of one’s wagons should date from at least 10 years before the date one is modelling. Certainly circa 1910 the Great Western covered vans are mostly iron minks, wooden vans being the rarities, and there are still plenty of wagons with the pre-25” letter livery – i.e. red wagons – around.

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Which is why it's so frustrating that all the published books I'm aware of on Great Western wagons don't start until around 1900. They may have photos taken before that time, but generally with captions pretty much along the lines of "this is some quaint early wagon that we're not going to give you any useful or accurate information about, because no one is interested in such antiquities"! Like the dumb buffered wagon on page 1 of Great Western Wagons Appendix that is claimed to be ex broad gauge, but probably isn't. And what's the wagon in the centre of this photo? I want to know if they were still running in 1905, so I can have them on my layout.

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I think the exact shade of red is a moot point: it was red oxide, which would vary a bit. Add some weathering, and it would vary a lot more!

Peter Totman of the BGS told me some years ago that he painted a series of wagons in varying shades of red oxide, then took photographs using a filter to reproduce the effects of the film emulsions in use in the late 19th century. When printed, they all looked the same, so monochrome pictures really don't help here - the grey used does produce a different effect, though.

 

I think you are right: you are sticking your neck out! What makes you think 1904 was the starting date for the application of grey to goods stock, rather than just brake vans, etc? I haven't seen anyone else suggest this. Most of the printed material I have read (HMRS, Beard et al) suggests that red oxide ended earlier than that, circa 1896/7. This means that any wagon with cast iron number plates would be grey, and the O4s would also be grey. A 4 plank (be it diagram O5, or one pre-dating a designation) would have been red at some point, but by the time it came to have cast plates or large G W, it would be grey. The GWR did not let its stock go too long without a repaint, as failure to do this would leave the wagon more exposed to the elements leading to more costly repairs down the road, so it is unlikely that many wagons were red as late (or early!) as 1902. Incidentally, the lower sided wagons with round ends would be red, but the removal of the round ends would have coincided with or even preceded the change to grey.

 

One thing is certain: broad gauge revenue goods stock should be painted red oxide. If you see them in grey, then the builder hasn't done their homework.

 

Simon, available evidence (scant) is summarised here: http://www.gwr.org.uk/liverieswagonred.html

 

I plan to hedge my bets by back-dating a Coopercraft 4-plank O5 to a similar pre-diagrammed wagon of 1895, which is comfortably pre-grey.   

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I think the exact shade of red is a moot point: it was red oxide, which would vary a bit. Add some weathering, and it would vary a lot more!

Peter Totman of the BGS told me some years ago that he painted a series of wagons in varying shades of red oxide, then took photographs using a filter to reproduce the effects of the film emulsions in use in the late 19th century. When printed, they all looked the same, so monochrome pictures really don't help here - the grey used does produce a different effect, though.

 

I think you are right: you are sticking your neck out! What makes you think 1904 was the starting date for the application of grey to goods stock, rather than just brake vans, etc? I haven't seen anyone else suggest this. Most of the printed material I have read (HMRS, Beard et al) suggests that red oxide ended earlier than that, circa 1896/7. This means that any wagon with cast iron number plates would be grey, and the O4s would also be grey. A 4 plank (be it diagram O5, or one pre-dating a designation) would have been red at some point, but by the time it came to have cast plates or large G W, it would be grey. The GWR did not let its stock go too long without a repaint, as failure to do this would leave the wagon more exposed to the elements leading to more costly repairs down the road, so it is unlikely that many wagons were red as late (or early!) as 1902. Incidentally, the lower sided wagons with round ends would be red, but the removal of the round ends would have coincided with or even preceded the change to grey.

 

One thing is certain: broad gauge revenue goods stock should be painted red oxide. If you see them in grey, then the builder hasn't done their homework.

 

Simon, thanks – I hoped to provoke debate! As to 1904 rather than 1898 or earlier for the adoption of grey in place of red, Edwardian has cited the discussion on the GWR Modelling website that I had referred to; I was also strongly influenced by Mikkel’s work – see http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/75/entry-12025-in-the-red-gwr-1900s-wagons/ – though I’ve gone with red below the solebar. After reading all the discussion there, my conclusion was that the balance of probability was that grey came in with the large letters. Either in Atkins or one of these threads I’ve read that the cast number/owner plates weren’t applied very consistently.

 

I agree with you that photos won’t resolve the debate about colour. This doesn’t alter the fact that these early 20th century photos show a good proportion of wagons in 19th century livery (i.e. small G.W.R); this also gives some insight into the likely repainting cycle - though a further point is that dating of photos may be inexact. For instance, the one of Vastern Road yard is stated to be 1904 but my feeling is there are too many wagons with large G W for this to be likely.

 

Now for the key question for me as a modeller: are transfers for the small G.W.R lettering available?

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The BGS have an exhibition in Newbury on 17th September:

 

17 Sept 2016 - The Broad Gauge Society exhibition will be held on at St. Nicolas Church Hall, Newbury, from 11am - 4pm.
An opportunity for members to bring and display static models and other items of Broad Gauge interest.
The Society's trade stands will be present, along with a photo display, and books for sale.  £3 entry charge, refreshments available.  A short walk from the station.

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It is a difficult area.  At the moment I am looking at a single GW 4-plank that has been sent with a load to Norfolk in 1905.  I have found an example of a pre-diagrammed 4-plank of 1895 photographed in 1901 that can be assumed to be red. I won't  repeat the details, they are at post 1350 on page 54 of Castle Aching, following some comments on GE wagons (http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/107713-castle-aching/page-54).

 

Where problems arise are with depicting wagons built c.1898-1904.  In what livery was a cast-plate O5 of 1902 out-shopped? 

 

If you model that (IMHO) most fascinating of GW moments, 1905-6, full of elegant Dean designs and Indian Red frames, but leavened with the startling modern Churchward designs and a new, simpler livery, nothing built c.1898-1904 will have yet been repainted, so you would need to reach a view as to when dark grey came in.

 

Compound2632 makes a good case for his decision, the weight of recent research may tend to support him, but the issue is far from certain! 

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I'll be using red up to 1904, unless more evidence comes to light before I get my brushes out.

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