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Deciphering the Golden Way - Pullman History with Alex.


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Posted (edited)

Something different today, coming to you from Petworth!

 

The 1906 car, Princess Ena, of the last American-built batch, has been moved to the Old Hotel site for restoration and installation as additional hotel rooms, according to the Hotel's Facebook page, and the British Pullman Facebook group, also. 

 

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I can't quite fathom out which bogies the car is sat on currently (I believe there's a pair of six-wheel bogies in Scotland, ex Cambria, burned out in an arson attack in 2000), but it's amazing to see a car that I thought would forever be a dwelling back on the rails after ninety-odd years. Could this see more railway carriage homes being removed from their sites in Selsey and other places and returned to railway use? 

 

It's a pity the car is unlikely ever to be hauled again, it would be a unique example of pre-1923 Pullman history in motion (sleeping/day car Balmoral excepted), one that I would definitely pay good money to see and experience. 

 

 

Edited by AVS1998
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After doing a little more reading about the removal of the car, it seems that area of Selsey is being redeveloped (despite much local protest), necessitating the removal of the railway carriage homes. Whether that's the case for all of them is anyone's guess, but if it were, then I rather like the notion that the cars go to local heritage lines for restoration, even if only as static exhibits.

 

For instance, the ex Folkestone and Hastings cars that have survived could be clustered at Robertsbridge when the RVR and KESR are linked, and that could be an exhibit of the Hastings and Folkestone car trains, and any Pullmans to the Bluebell or Mid-Hants, showcasing Pullman history on the LBSC and later Southern to the resorts and ports. 

 

It would give these artefacts a third life and use, and be a useful exhibition of Victorian and Edwardian luxury railway sensibilities that aren't commonly seen in the UK. However, this is most definitely an expensive pipe dream that is unlikely to actually go anywhere, unfortunately. Of course, I may be wholly wrong and the carriages might not need removing at all. At any rate, it's a situation to keep an eye on. 

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  • 2 months later...

Hello everyone, it's been a while. 

 

In the heat of this afternoon, whilst tidying my room, I rediscovered my Triang clerestory Wild West carriage that I had planned to bash into a facsimile of a Gilbert/Pullman car. After a lot of consideration I came to the conclusion it would never be an accurate model, but that wouldn't stop me having a go at it anyway, for a bit of fun.

 

I'd already marked out the bogie centres and the trussing placement, which was useful as I had enough spare 7mm handrails to form those.

 

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My next task was to modernise the car, as Pullman chose to with the SECR's club cars, by cutting through the window pillars to elongate them in a contemporary Pullman body style. Also added at this time was the Pullman matchboarding below the window. A battery box and gas tank were also glued into place, just to fill the space a little. 

 

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Two end windows were left, one to be filled in on either side, to form the pantry/kitchen and lavatory.

 

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Remembering I had some Wrenn spare bodies, I cut the vestibules away and filed them down until they fit the space at each end. They've been glued into place now, but will need some minor reinforcement with plastic sheet and then filler adding. I think I'll also add a dado rail/waist rail in half-round plastic rod (once I find it) to tidy up the seam of the planking. 

 

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The windows still need to be filed neat, and the planking tidied up along the bottom of the body shell. Filling the lavatory/pantry window shouldn't be too hard on each side, as I in-filled with the window pillar cut-offs.

 

Overall, I'm fairly happy with the project so far, it isn't perfect or accurate by any means but it captures the essence of the cars, which is what I was aiming for. That last photo definitely emphasises how much lower the cars were than a conventional Pullman, though - unless that's just the Wrenn vestibules creating a strange visual effect. Still, as I say, I'm fairly pleased with the results so far. 

 

 

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What if you extend the doors up a bit higher to recess in the roof like the car next to it? The door heights when placed side by side look a bit odd. Then maybe push the window heights up just a little bit more with the sliding dividers along the upper portion?

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Posted (edited)

I did think about that, but on the real Gilberts the door windows were in line with the saloon windows.

 

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I don't know if I could extend the doors up neatly enough to do it justice. They also didn't recess in like a conventional Pullman. Quirks of being a non-Pullman to begin with, I suppose. As it stands, this car will only run with pre-group stock anyway, never Pullmans, so I'm not too fussed. It's only an impression of a prototype, ultimately. What I should have done, I suppose, is cut away the body ends on the car where the clerestory is supported and fitted the vestibules higher up. You live and you learn. If I'd had a Railroad K type, I think their doors are bigger, which might have looked more in proportion. Never mind!

 

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With a quick flash of primer it's apparent I've a lot of filling to do in places, the windows still need more work and I also need to buff out the scratches from the file, but it's shaping up nicely. I'm not too convinced about the windows at the right-hand side - I might cut those together, too, and rethink the interior layout. 

 

Edited by AVS1998
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Hi Alex.

 

That's a very interesting project. The old Tri-ang Wild West coaches always made me think of the Weston Clevedon and Portishead Light Railway coaches, though they probably looked nothing like them.

 

I seem to recall that the Bluebell Railway or the Kent and East Sussex Railway have a recovered body for one of these cars. If I remember correctly it had been a grounded body and was recovered in two halves. I probably have a photo somewhere, but cannot think where the body parts are stored ? (Get Agatha Christy on the job). The SECSoc did produce a book about the cars a few years ago, which I do not know if you have a copy of ?

 

It looks like you have used Slaters planking for the match-boarding. I think that the Evergreen equivalent would have been better as it is machined rather than moulded and therefore has much sharper detail. (It costs more though).

 

I believe that a number of the Hornby Pullman cars could actually be issued in S.E. & C.R. livery, although they have not shown any interest in doing them. Perhaps with the swing to pre-grouping models some of these may yet appear ?

 

Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing further developments.

 

All the best

Ray

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3 hours ago, wainwright1 said:

Hi Alex.

 

That's a very interesting project. The old Tri-ang Wild West coaches always made me think of the Weston Clevedon and Portishead Light Railway coaches, though they probably looked nothing like them.

 

I seem to recall that the Bluebell Railway or the Kent and East Sussex Railway have a recovered body for one of these cars. If I remember correctly it had been a grounded body and was recovered in two halves. I probably have a photo somewhere, but cannot think where the body parts are stored ? (Get Agatha Christy on the job). The SECSoc did produce a book about the cars a few years ago, which I do not know if you have a copy of ?

 

It looks like you have used Slaters planking for the match-boarding. I think that the Evergreen equivalent would have been better as it is machined rather than moulded and therefore has much sharper detail. (It costs more though).

 

I believe that a number of the Hornby Pullman cars could actually be issued in S.E. & C.R. livery, although they have not shown any interest in doing them. Perhaps with the swing to pre-grouping models some of these may yet appear ?

 

Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing further developments.

 

All the best

Ray

it is the Bluebell. They have Gilbert car 'Constance'. Although in 2 parts, the body is reputedly in pretty good condition with much original detail and is stored on an underframe in the new Carriage shed. It is very much a restoration for the future- i doubt I'll see it in my lifetime

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9 hours ago, wainwright1 said:

Hi Alex.

[...] The SECSoc did produce a book about the cars a few years ago, which I do not know if you have a copy of ?

 

Hi Ray, yes, I do have a copy of the Constance volume, much-dog-eared at this point. 

 

9 hours ago, wainwright1 said:

 

It looks like you have used Slaters planking for the match-boarding. I think that the Evergreen equivalent would have been better as it is machined rather than moulded and therefore has much sharper detail. (It costs more though).

 

I believe that a number of the Hornby Pullman cars could actually be issued in S.E. & C.R. livery, although they have not shown any interest in doing them. Perhaps with the swing to pre-grouping models some of these may yet appear ?

 

The twelve-wheel cars, aside from the elusive brakes, are the only cars suitable to be reproduced in Lake. If Hornby decided to produce the 1910-14 cars, I'm sure they'd prove very popular, and they also were long-lived in the livery.

 

9 hours ago, wainwright1 said:

 

Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing further developments.

 

All the best

Ray

 

Thanks Ray,

 

I'm glad that people are still discovering this thread!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another small update on the clerestory car this evening; much filling has been done to try and remove as many of the file scars as possible, it's taking time, but I'm getting there.

 

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I decided to check  the ride height again and compare it to the actual prototype - would you believe the model is only 1mm overscale at the moment? It's sat on the wheel treads at present, which makes me think I'd need to use 12mm wheels with suitable spacers to bring the ride height up to scratch, but I'm actually rather pleased with that! For bogies I'm torn between caving in and using either GWR American bogies or 8' Fox ones from somewhere, or, as seen in this thread,  HOn3 bogies which look to be the right sort of size and style. I did compare the Bachmann narrow gauge bogies with the Gilbert designs, they're not quite the same but will do from afar. Besides, as and when this car is retired I can recycle them on another Pullman model. 

 

Once I'm finished with the filler and sanding, I need to source a new red primer and fit the buffer beams. I was thinking of just using the Keen Pullman spares I have, with SECR buffers in the provided space, but forming new blank ones out of thick plastic card and fitting proper SECR pattern buffers is also an option. 

 

The original interior got hacked up and respaced to fit the new window arrangement, and just had a quick spray in a green car rattle can. I can't remember what shade, off the top of my head. Looks nice inside though.

 

To the left, the GER brakes are progressing very slowly. I intend to get all the planking done before the middle of September, and any filling that needs doing. Fitting the roof details would be excellent, too. 

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Posted (edited)

Some round buffers were grabbed from my stash, I think I salvaged these from a wrecked luggage van kit, and glued into the slots under the vestibule (if anyone's seen the vestibule ends of a Dublo/Wrenn Pullman car, you know there are slight recesses where the buffers are seated into the chassis and covered by the car body).

 

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As the car would be running, in a corridor set with the birdcage brakes and other such coaches.

 

A paper mock gangway was added to assess buffer and ride height, and I wasn't very happy with how things were going, so I swapped out the 14mm wheel sets in the bogies for 12mm, and immediately everything looked far better. The car's Triang-originated vertical challenges were remedied. 

 

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Below the buffers I added a strip of thick plastic card (not sure of the gauge) to reinforce the join and also add enough material for adding couplings at a later date. More filling was added around the vestibule graft seams and on the infilled windows, which I think are almost there - I'm wary of filling and sanding too much more, as I did experience a little breakage of the uppermost bodyside when removing the clerestory earlier today.

 

I'm tempted to make up thin layovers for the doors to extend them vertically and make them more like the remodelled doors provided by Pullman during the refit;

 

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As I keep saying, it'll never be a perfect model, but it'll be good enough for me until I find confidence to scratch-build. Someone did a marvellous job in the SECR Society's modeller's gazette of these cars and the Folkestone ones, constructed from wood and card, I believe. 

 

Of course, that door illustration demonstrates that the fascia isn't the right shape either, but at this point, I don't know if it's something worth trying to 'fix'. If it looks good enough in a train, then I'll be happy with it until a later date. 

 

 

 

Edited by AVS1998
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  • 2 weeks later...

We have paint!

 

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I'm afraid the lighting in my room isn't very good, but hopefully against a lighter background you can see the slight difference between GWR and SECR lakes. I definitely prefer the GWR shade, myself - I might reserve this for chronologically older stock, once I've built it, for a bit of variety.

 

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There's not much to report on the clerestory, really, just much more sanding and filling, rinse and repeat. That got me to  a stage where I was happy to prime (I couldn't sand much more, the body sides were getting very thin where the roof clips on), and so into a grey primer the car went. Really I should have gone for red, but I haven't got any to hand and I didn't want to buy anything new just yet. 

 

I brush-painted the body in two coats of Phoenix's GWR Lake, 1912-22, and then followed up with a quick matte black for the trussing, buffers and sundry other parts. 

 

Then this evening I was going to try and do some of the lining and lettering tonight, but the transfers I dug out of my stash are quite old and fragile - so old that the PULLMAN fascia transfer isn't in one panel, as it is by Fox and HRMS, it's separate letters you have to cut out then stick in place according to a spacing chart (what makes that even more complicated is Pullman faffed about with said spacing a lot, changing it at least twice that I know of, and on a short car, that's a challenge!)

 

They're Woodhead, if anyone was curious - must be fairly old, at least from the late 90s. 

 

Nearly there, at any rate. 

 

In other news, I fitted all the remaining panelling to the two GER brakes yesterday. Initially cut too long and too deep, I then trimmed it to the correct height, length, and sanded the sides equal on a flat sheet of sandpaper. 

 

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The dado rail was added in plastic rod, too, I'm not sure of the gauge but it looks right to my eye. Ventilator locations were also marked out in pen. A light grade sanding was done to remove any residual glue or furring, and to chamfer the door-ends of the panelling, just to make it look a little neater. Hopefully a coat of primer, once the vents are in, will bring the bodies together and let me see what I'm really working with. 

 

- Alex

 

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Those 'Woodhead' transfers are probably even older than you think and likely to be from the late 1980s-early 1990s. Until ModelMaster came on the market, I used to use Woodhead transfers for PO wagons and recall them being both very tacky and also needing a coat of ' Klear' or similar to seal the edges and generally smooth them down. 

 

I really like the GER Pullmans as they remind me of my HO 'cut and shuts' using the old Roundhouse 'Pullman Palaces'.

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  • 1 month later...

A wee break from the hit-the-ground-running level of reading I've got for this semester of history (Don't get me wrong, I'm loving it already, but there's a lot to get through!)

 

We're back to looking at the Hastings/Bexhill Pullman service folks - I had a nagging feeling it wouldn't have just stopped suddenly in 1907, and lo, I was correct. 

 

I haven't found an initial revival date for the train, but, according to the Bexhill-On-Sea Observer (March 8th, 1908), 'The express, 8:30am Bexhill to London Bridge, and 5:20pm Victoria to Bexhill will be discontinued'. Later in the month (March 28th) the timings were changed;

 

Departure from Hastings at 8:10am (the former 8:30 departure), arriving in London Bridge at 10:25am, Victoria at 10:33am.

 

The 5:20pm Victoria to Hastings train was cancelled outright. 

 

That decision can't have been popular, or there was a major rationalisation of stock and services by both Pullman and the Brighton, as by the 27th of June that same year, it was announced that the 'Bexhill express will be reinstated', using the same times and termini as the original train. Interestingly, in the spring of 1908, after the announcement of the Southern Belle, there was much speculation that there would be a 'revived' or 'renewed' Hastings and Bexhill service, possibly run in conjunction with or on the coattails of the 'Belle. Now, I anticipate that cascaded cars may have been kept under consideration for such a service, but, as we've seen before in complaints in the Observer, there was naught but a single first class car provided. What I'd really love to see are any photos of the Brighton side of Hastings in this time period, see if anyone actually caught a glimpse of the Bexhill Special. 

 

By 1914, there is an arrival at Hastings for 8:27am, no 8:30 or closely timed return journey, but no indication of any Pullman services that I've found as of yet. However, there is a hint at a shortening of Pullman services from the town in the March of 1912 due to a shortage of coal affecting operations; 

 

'[...] it is understood that on Monday [4th March 1912] the following trains will be taken off the London, Brighton and South Coast line: [...] 8:15am Hastings to Bexhill and London, [...] 5:20pm Victoria to Hastings'. (Hastings and St Leonards Observer, March 2nd 1912)

 

I'm hesitant to say for sure that the 8:15 departure is the same train as the same as the earlier 8:30am, but here it appears to make sense. But this is conjecture as I haven't got any timetables in front of me at the moment. 

 

In April of 1910, the SECR re-introduced a conventional express up to London, of 'first, second and third class carriages, and will leave Hastings at 7:50am [...] arriving at Cannon Street 9:45, Waterloo 9:53 and Charing Cross 9:57' - two hours, seven minutes into the city. Only around ten minutes longer than the Brighton's service, but likely operated with more club cars - and, more importantly, with no surcharge. (Hastings Observer, 23rd April, 1910) Described as 'satisfactorily patronised' (Observer, May 7th 1910), I can't help but wonder if this train's success drove the Brighton and their Pullmans away again, given I've found no trace of an actual Pullman mentioned in timetables, despite timings remaining largely the same. 

 

Edit: with all the yes-but-no-but-and-actually-then-this-changed going on with my historical findings, I can't help but feel like Bob Hale...

 

 

Edited by AVS1998
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  • 2 weeks later...

Another bit of light on the Bexhill Express;

 

[Mid Sussex Times, April 13th 1915]; 'The L.B.& S.C. Railway Company will shortly place Pullman cars at the disposal of third-class passengers. [...] and will go to Brighton, Hastings, Eastbourne and other towns [...] The charge for travelling in the Pullman will be 9d. extra to the ordinary third-class fare'.

 

It may appear then, that alongside the increased demand for third-class fares on the Southern and Eastbourne Belles, the Bexhill Special had increased patronage after all, and, after nine months of war, perhaps not much had changed at home? Rail services didn't seem to have faced a reduction until later into 1915, including the impact on Pullman operations. What I'm thinking is that Pullmans to Hastings have been quite deeply hidden in timetables and the like, and never disappeared for too long from the LBSCR network, until the War. This lines up with the introduction of additional cars between 1911 and 1917, including third-class vehicles - so an expansion of the services across the network. Interesting. 

 

I'll speak to Antony Ford and others if I can about my thoughts and findings, see what they think.

 

See, this is what happens when you're tired of reading for an essay but you still have an idea in your head... 

 

Edited by AVS1998
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Is it a sign of madness to be emailing a tutor asking if the book review one has to do as part of the coursework can be done on a Pullman book?

 

I've got to assess a monograph through a theoretic lens, or at least, how it engages with theory (culture, gender, class, post-colonialism or memory), and I'm thinking that Ford's text on the steel K-type might fit well with a class analysis. 

 

Alexandra, you've only got 1000 words... 

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I was thinking more of the process by which the actual car names were chosen. All those princesses - did the Pullman Car Co. ask for permission? It's a moot point whether it's entirely flattering to have a railway carriage named after one. I'm reminded of the story of the Cunard Company asking George V's permission to name their new super-liner Queen Victoria - the King mistakenly assumed they meant not the old Queen but his consort: "She'll be delighted. I'll let her know right away." So Queen Mary it was. 

 

But if ever there was royalty with the aura of an ocean liner, May of Teck it was:

 

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  • RMweb Gold
35 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

But if ever there was royalty with the aura of an ocean liner, May of Teck it was:

Ocean liner?

With that scowl, maybe an ice-breaker…?

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  • RMweb Gold
1 hour ago, Compound2632 said:

 

Only in the Arctic sense - not at parties.

Although, if short of ice, that stare might turn the nearest glass of liquid H2O solid…

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