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Farish N - 50 years

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The 50th anniversary of Graham Farish's first N gauge products is approaching and I'm building a short article on the history and milestones for BRM.

 

I thought it would be nice to include some input from RMweb members on your personal milestones with regard to the range and build some submissions up to run a vote on their most influential or best models from the range.

 

Aside from what we may get to include within the feature it's pertinent to have a topic anyway on what the 50 years has brought you; did any products influence a change of your modelling direction? Do you have any early memories of interest?

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Here's an advertising flashback for you for starters!

 

GF-4.jpg

 

Just how many liveries did the loco and coaches get to see?

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In the late 1980s I'd be taken by my Dad to several of the local model railway shows. Whilst we had a OO Gauge layout at home it was always the N Gauge models that drew my attention, and the smart black and yellow boxes on the traders stalls (complete with "now with 5 pole motor" stickers!). Sadly, due to the OO gauge railway we had I was never allowed any N Gauge. Fast-forward a decade or so and I now had my own home and a pay cheque each month. A visit to a model shop followed and I was soon the proud owner of a Farish Royal Mail train set. Whilst most of my RTR stock from that period has been replaced with newer models the enthusiasm for the small scale models hasn't diminished.

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Hi Andy,

 

I swapped all my OO and HO stock when Farish N was introduced.

 

From memory I got a Holden, a Pannier, 6 off 2 axle coaches, 20 assorted wagons and a double oval of trrack with 4 points in the exchange at Bradford Model Railway Centre.

 

As I cycled past the shop 6 days a week I became a regular visitor and usually bought something each week on the Saturday. Again from memory, i think I was buying a 3 wagon pack or a bogie coach for equivalent of 99p. I also saw my first Peco  Jubilee at that shop and decided to get one on a 'Put Away' arrangement equivalent of 50p per week until I coered the cost - it seemed like an age before I could walk out of the shop with it! I then did the same wirth the latest Farish loco - the GWR Hall and it took a lot shorter time before I could take that home!

 

When new the Farish locos looked OK but not very smooth runners, then, as they got older, the running deteriorated and they began to suffer from split gears. The shop replaced them both after 3 months due to this. The replacements lasted about the same time before they too started to havee the same problem

 

By this time I had discovered Trainshop Supermarket but they didn't have much N Gauge stuff as N was 'too new' for people to be trading it in with them. My parents then banned me from going to the shop as they discovered it was in the 'Red Light' area of Bradford at that time.

 

Then I found Cavendish models in Keighley and started visiting them one Saterday each month until we moved away.

 

Moving away started me out on a whole new search for model shops - but that's another story all together!

 

Thanks

Phil H

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Posted (edited)

I have an original 1970 94xx with the first chassis which I acquired some years ago. It still runs (if noisily) and was a a whole lot better designed and made than the next incarnation with the plug together plastic chassis which were one of my first experiences of N around 1975 - split gears anyone?! 

 

Thankfully it wasn't long before the "new" chassis with integral motor came along and the "Blue riband" range was launched. My new 94xx had pride of place on my layout along with a Hall I got one Christmas. 

 

I have a number of Holden Tanks, and these came in three liveries, GER blue, LNER green and BR black, they are not to be confused with the "General Purpose" Tanks that derived from the Holden Tank's tooling (rendering more Holdens impossible) which I believe were available in LMS red and Southern green.

 

4 wheel coach liveries? GER brown, SR Green, LMS maroon, GW chocolate and cream, S&D blue, Shredded Wheat livery, "Gaffer" trainset livery... probably more too.

 

Wouldn't it be nice if Bachmann announced something to celebrate the 50 years, logic says a new tool 94xx as they have the 00 research work, but personally I would love a Holden Tank! The pic attached is a real survivor, it still runs really well but wouldn't a state of the art one be nicE

 

Roy

20200424_115809.jpg

Edited by Roy L S
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4 minutes ago, Roy L S said:

these came in three liveries, GER blue, LNER green and BR black

 

I've also found  Southern and LMS flavours. :unsure:

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1 hour ago, Steven B said:

"now with 5 pole motor" stickers!

 

What was the first 5-pole motored loco? I'm trying to recall the first blackened wheel loco too even though that's far more recent.

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1 minute ago, AY Mod said:

 

I've also found  Southern and LMS flavours. :unsure:

 

Hi Andy

 

They would be the General Purpose Tanks, the Holden tooling was tweaked to produce them, if I recall correctly the prominent toolboxes were removed. I have an LMS one somewhere, I'll have to dig it out and check.

 

Regards

 

Roy

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The first blackened wheels were around the time of the Bachmann takeover before production moved to China. If I recall correctly the first was a blue A4 (silver Fox?). There were some real odd ones produced at that time with blackened drivers and tender wheels and the rest shiny! 

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Hi Andy,

 

I'm sure I have seen somewhere a written history of Graham Farish N Gauge?

 

I think the frst 5 pole fitted locoi was the slightly revised Black 5 - that would put it about 1979/80.

 

Bob Russell would be able to provide a lot of information as he became a Farish rep in either 1980 or 81.

 

Thanks

Phil H

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LMS GP Tank body, subtle differences to the Holden (I do have a complete one somewhere!).

 

 

20200729_145105.jpg

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2 minutes ago, Scottish Modeller said:

Hi Andy,

 

I'm sure I have seen somewhere a written history of Graham Farish N Gauge?

 

I think the frst 5 pole fitted locoi was the slightly revised Black 5 - that would put it about 1979/80.

 

Bob Russell would be able to provide a lot of information as he became a Farish rep in either 1980 or 81.

 

Thanks

Phil H

 

I would have said slightly later, possibly 1983 ish, but it's a long time ago now!

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3 minutes ago, Roy L S said:

LMS GP Tank body, subtle differences to the Holden (I do have a complete one somewhere!).

 

 

20200729_145105.jpg

 

You're right!

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6 minutes ago, Roy L S said:

LMS GP Tank body, subtle differences to the Holden (I do have a complete one somewhere!).

 

The differences seem to be the side tank feeds and chimney - was there anything else or were these just artists impressions at the 1973 catalogue stage?

 

1973 Holden GP.jpg

 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, AY Mod said:

 

The differences seem to be the side tank feeds and chimney - was there anything else or were these just artists impressions at the 1973 catalogue stage?

 

1973 Holden GP.jpg

 

Hi Andy

 

The position of the dome, it is further back on the GP Standard Tanks (just checked to be sure and it is).

 

Regards

 

Roy

Edited by Roy L S
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Posted (edited)

1970 saw me leave school and start employment in the City of London - a few yards from Bank station. Commuting into Liverpool Street reawakened my interest in model railways. Helped by the fact that there were four model railway shops that could be visited at lunchtime. The closest was Chuff's the most chaotic ship I think I have ever come across.

 

On one visit to Chuff's saw me purchase the GER Holden set with the rest of lunch being spent tuning the train around on my desk - to the great interest of others in the office. Thus started on an on-off interest in n gauge. I shared a couple of exhibition layouts with others but it is only now 50 years latter that my first permanent sizable n gauge layout is under construction. Place of honour will go to my Holden tank although not the original.

Edited by MyRule1
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Posted (edited)

My Farish journey, and my introduction to the world of N Gauge, started with breakfast: 

 

5A875E08-3B6B-4AF6-85C7-1DF17B65EE1A.jpeg.a953e5f202028ab6d5453a9ba11477d7.jpeg
 

A lot of Shredded Wheat was consumed to obtain the full set! 

 

After using (playing with) my Grandfather’s OO scale layout, I was fascinated by the small size of this scale and despite returning to OO a couple of times since, N Gauge has always been my scale of choice. 

The first powered Farish model I purchased, having furiously saved my pocket money for months, was a “Merchant Navy” from a now closed model shop in Newcastle whilst on Holiday in Northumberland. It had two speeds, stop and fast, but I thought it was fantastic! 

 

F20F87D8-6668-4FEE-8B41-5EA360AE8363.jpeg.e009f9923141c60c1a9fb6f95f3d5cf0.jpeg

 

The first big turning point for me though, and the model that sparked a revived interest in N Gauge, was the Farish Standard 3 Tank. This really was a ‘wow’ moment when I first saw one and is ultimately responsible for Ropley coming in to existence. It prompted a huge change in direction for me as all previous projects had been modern image, but this beautiful little model saw me move into rarely modelled preservation scene. Initially this was an excuse to run anything, but has subsequently become a little more serious! 

85017E6E-75F9-434A-9B5D-CE165FA94122.jpeg.08fbfd42ba90b5926f8dc6f9216f319c.jpeg

 

Since then there has been a steady flow of some really quite beautiful models and new innovations under the Farish brand. The introduction of DCC fitted sound has probably had the most impact on my recent modelling after initially being quite sceptical about it, however within a few minutes of having the Castle and Class 40 steaming and whistling up and down the layout my mind was firmly changed.  

86C37B03-D855-496A-B5DF-1A4BB0E017BF.jpeg.c7f7c6778f7634ee1b4ce9a288f49161.jpeg

 

Whilst we haven seen the volume of new releases slow down recently for well publicised reasons, the quality of the products now being produced now is astounding, and the most recent ‘wow’ moment was the stunning Birdcage stock. 
 

AC292D19-5BAB-4F94-84D8-E87ABB8E8EFF.jpeg.5aedebbdb63f9e5a8c195bea9a4d3b0c.jpeg

 

So far out of my modelling era but impossible not to be impressed by the level of detail and quality of finishing on these models. Who would have thought that we’d ever see pre grouping rtr coaching stock in N gauge to this standard! 
 

Oh, and as I’ve said elsewhere, whoever did the artwork for the recent teak effect Thompson coaches deserves a pay rise! 
 

0691B995-74DF-418F-8D01-3A899EFE4140.jpeg.08ff50f03f746440fb1c8a837dd30716.jpeg

 

Stunning!

 

let’s hope we get another 50 years of Farish products! 
 

Tom. 

Edited by TomE
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47 minutes ago, TomE said:

A lot of Shredded Wheat was consumed to obtain the full set! 

 

I'd rather have eaten the box!

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I can remember seeing Farish stock in the local toy shop and after much pestering I got one as my Christmas present. I still have the loco (Class 47 "track 29"). This was soon followed by battle of Britain class "Spitfire". I still have both locos and they both still work, though the class 47 has had several sets of gears, something that has blighted many Farish models. 

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Wow, is it really 50 yrs?

 

My introduction was, like many, the GP tank. LMS maroon in my case. I recall the choice then was SR Green, LNER Green and there was also the 94xx. Can't remember the exact year but the Black 5 had just been introduced. I wanted the 94xx but was bribed by my dad with the promise of a Black 5 for Christmas.

 

The first step change for me was the (I think) early 80s when the 47 appeared, closely followed by 37, 20 and HST and could start to collect the real locos I could see on the real railway. 

 

Like many I had a break from model railways until I randomly purchased Model Rail, sometime in the early 2000s containing an article by Ben Ando on detailing the newly reintroduced 37/4. Found myself purchasing "Highland Region" and, whilst still stretched to fit the chassis,  the wheel profile and running quality was a world away from my old blue one- that was the next step change for me. Not lost on me that the man who unknowingly prompted my return to N and Farish is now getting a big slice of my N gauge spending money!

 

Last step change for me was when Bachmann began to replace the old toolings to give us the new Diesels. Many still not perfect from what I read on here but really moved N (with a nod to the push from Dapol's competition ) into the 21st century.

 

Thank you Andy, you inspired me to knock off working from home early and take a trip down memory lane looking at some of those early models that I still have in the loft. Really bought home how far N and Farish has moved on, apart from those couplings and, even there, NEM sockets provide much easier options. 

 

I would have attempted to post some pictures but was told in no uncertain terms that I "wasn't bringing all that old rubbish downstairs". Some things haven't changed in the 50 years of Farish N!

 

Rob

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My slightly alternative view.  When Farish was first launched I had a close look and decided to stay with 00. I thought the Farish items were a long way from being models I would ever run; they just weren’t anywhere near decent models. It was less than 20 years ago that N gauge started to become acceptable in terms of realism. From what I can recall Graham Hubbard had quite a hand in improving the realism of Farish locos when he was in charge at Bachman UK.

i had a sabbatical from model railways in the late 90s and came back to indoor model railways around 2012. By then I found the detail and accuracy of N gauge was brilliant and because the N gauge models were so good I decided to go for a new N gauge layout rather than 00. Since then I have been a very happy N gauge modeller.  Farish has come a long way since those early days and it has been all good news (except for the prices).

 

7B83FCFB-CF6A-4119-B9D6-F4694DF903FE.jpeg

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2 hours ago, AY Mod said:

 

I'd rather have eaten the box!

 

I haven't eaten it since!

 

Tom.

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It was my old N gauge layout Gouldby for Caldecote that was used in the early Farish catalogues in the mid 70s. They subsequently used the north end of CF for a later edition.  


My first N gauge engine was the original 94xx. It scarcely worked: the best bit being the box. If I hadn’t had a Peco/Arnold dock tank at the same time, followed by a Minitrix Britannia, I would probably have given up on N gauge. As for the Holden and derivative tanks, one needed to wear ear defenders, when they weren’t shedding coupling rods. 
 

I got to know Peter GF quite well over the years. He was a true gentleman and very proud of his range. There is a fascinating  back story to the post war development of the company as well.
 

The integral motor and chassis was a game changer for N gauge, especially as PECO failed to deliver with the Collet 2251 0-6-0 for 20 years! However, the five pole armature development nearly bankrupted GF because the dealers wouldn’t by new stock until the locos with old motors had cleared. The Shredded Wheat range was a real money spinner and enabled them to invest in a far superior die casting machine: subsequent locos had far superior bodies. Industry developments overtook Farish on the motor front; the design was inherently flawed for having plastic bearings which could seize very quickly indeed if the motor started to run hot. 
 

It took a while for the Bachfar locos to hit new standards of excellence following the takeover.  The much awaited V2 was a very poor relative and disappointing in so many ways.  Newer Farish models look excellent, but many would benefit from much more weight. 
 

I think it is fair to say that without Peter Farish’s input there would have been no real development of British N gauge through the 80s, 90s and naughties. 

Best wishes 

Tim

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I remember the adverts on the back of old issues of MRC.

 

Particularly the advert for the new Hall and the "Love Is" Christmas one with a pretty girl giving her husband a Bulleid Pacific*. It was something like the December 1975 issue. 

 

The Hall one is here.

 

http://www.ness-st.co.uk/N-gauge-catalogues.html

 

 

 

*Not a euphemism  ;) 

 

 

 

Jason

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