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West Midland Railway (Fictitious Railway Company)


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I happen to have an idea for a fictional Pre-Grouping railway company based on the modern train operating services that runs (or ran) through my hometown of Kenilworth. I call it the West Midland Railway. I even came up with some liveries for locomotives, coaches and rolling stock:

 

*Plain dark purple or black for goods or freight locomotives or tank engines

*Dark purple with orange lining for passenger or mixed-traffic engines

*Dark Purple with orange accents for coaching stock

*Light or dark grey for freight stock and brake vans

Private Owner wagons may also be included as well as WWI stock

 

The line shares similar lines with mostly the LNWR, some of the GWR but also some of the MR. It would have been completed and open to the public in 1851 and would operate from the next 71 years before the Grouping Act of 1923 when the company was absorbed and inherited along with locomotives as well as coaching and freight stock.

 

The company has a Coat of Arms displayed on either side of the locomotive tender and side-tanks as well as coach sides. Freight wagons have WM lettering on either side.

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I'm pretty sure there have been at least two fictional West Midland Railway schemes in railway modelling history, one (I seem to remember) by Edward Beal way back when and another more recently by @Nile of this parish - They might provide some inspiration!

 

Nice though purple may sound as a livery colour I'd suggest trying it out on a few old loco bodies before settling on it. There is also, I believe (could be very wrong) the problem that purple was, for centuries, a particularly expensive colour which may explain why it probably wasn't used that much on locos in reality. I believe blue was also relatively expensive, and thus relatively uncommon, but obviously it was far from unheard of.

Edited by sem34090
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West Midland Railway Company: Records | The National ...

discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk › details

Records of the West Midland Railway Company, notably Board minutes, Parliamentary Bill papers, contracts, ... Business history records held by other archives ...

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47 minutes ago, sem34090 said:

I'm pretty sure there have been at least two fictional West Midland Railway schemes in railway modelling history, one (I seem to remember) by Edward Beal way back when and another more recently by @Nile of this parish - They might provide some inspiration!

 

Nice though purple may sound as a livery colour I'd suggest trying it out on a few old loco bodies before settling on it. There is also, I believe (could be very wrong) the problem that purple was, for centuries, a particularly expensive colour which may explain why it probably wasn't used that much on locos in reality. I believe blue was also relatively expensive, and thus relatively uncommon, but obviously it was far from unheard of.

West Midland: A Railway in Miniature by Beal, Edward ... - AbeBooks

www.abebooks.co.uk › AbeBooks › Beal, Edward

Available now at AbeBooks.co.uk - Green hardback cloth cover - Percivall Marshall & Co Ltd, London - 1952 - First Edition. - Dust Jacket Included - 240mm x ...

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4 hours ago, sem34090 said:

I'm pretty sure there have been at least two fictional West Midland Railway schemes in railway modelling history, one (I seem to remember) by Edward Beal way back when and another more recently by @Nile of this parish - They might provide some inspiration!

 

Nice though purple may sound as a livery colour I'd suggest trying it out on a few old loco bodies before settling on it. There is also, I believe (could be very wrong) the problem that purple was, for centuries, a particularly expensive colour which may explain why it probably wasn't used that much on locos in reality. I believe blue was also relatively expensive, and thus relatively uncommon, but obviously it was far from unheard of.

That's interesting to hear. I was only trying to take a modern-day railway company and give it the Steam Days treatment like a Pre-Grouping railway company. Like I said, I did plan out a dark purple (plum/blackcurrant-like) livery, and like other railway companies at the time, they would all have numberplates like the GWR, LNWR and SECR (when it was newly-formed).

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12 hours ago, LNWR18901910 said:

*Plain dark purple or black for goods or freight locomotives or tank engines

*Dark purple with orange lining for passenger or mixed-traffic engines

I am not sure that purple is a great look on a steam loco - especially when all the bolt heads are picked out in a contrasting colour.

1523182494_09steamloco.jpg.dce91d10b08ee120f21d4898c262419e.jpgSri Lanka Railway museum

Best wishes 

Eric 

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1 hour ago, burgundy said:

I am not sure that purple is a great look on a steam loco - especially when all the bolt heads are picked out in a contrasting colour.

1523182494_09steamloco.jpg.dce91d10b08ee120f21d4898c262419e.jpgSri Lanka Railway museum

Best wishes 

Eric 

I was going for a blackcurrant colour like this: image.png.24ffdcc28a88a0456211c76fe3447560.png

image.png.be4a6c91abbe7d2c6fd77fbfd03dcee5.png

The darker shade on the left of this palette is what I am choosing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

At long last, I finally got around to completing the West Midlands Railway Coat of Arms.

810350323_WestMidlandsRailwayCompanyCrest.png.6c86549222127809efbbe556982b909e.png

This crest was made up of elements from other coats of arms including Wolverhampton, Coventry, Birmingham and of course the West Midlands itself. However, I could have used the proper West Midlands Coat of Arms, but which one should I stick with?

image.png.cceda3ffd33e0c6bb6c946d2cd758b18.png

Plus, I intend to render my fleet in a dark violet colour akin to the EMU trains on the West Midlands Railway EMUs seen here which is and was how and where I got inspiration from.

image.png.4edd68f2710a1308be82968feec62a78.pngimage.png.c27c883348372733f7c372ee20799dbb.png

The purple is a darkened violet and the orange is used for lining and this colour scheme is used on passenger coaching stock as well.

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The various locomotives on the railway (I have decided) would be used as listed:


*Express Passenger 4-4-0s and later 4-6-0s with a few 4-4-2s

*Mixed-traffic 0-6-0s (some rugged types would be chiefly for use on freight duties) and later 2-6-0s

*Heavy Freight 2-8-0s (possibly a repurposed ex-GCR 8K/ROD 2-8-0)

*Shunting 0-6-0Ts and heavy 0-8-0Ts (the 0-8-0Ts would be seen hauling coal and steel trains along branch lines)

*Local Passenger and branch line traffic 0-4-4Ts and 0-6-2Ts

 

Next time, I will talk about passenger rolling stock, freight rolling stock, station signs, signalling and such.

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It's some time since I read Rev.Beale's "West Midlands Railway" book but I recall that he developed a 'house style' for the WMR engines by cut'n'shut conversions of the old pre-war Essar tank engine bodies. This added to the believability of his WMR as none of the engines was recognisable as coming from an actual railway. The other way to develop a believable house style for a something other than a light railway would be to consider whether the new WMR is a line that builds its own engines or essentially buys them in from outside manufacturers - much of the similarity between what we might call the second rank pre-grouping lines, for example the Furness, the North Staffs, the Cambrian, etc,  was down to their use of firms such as Sharp Stewart, Kitsons, Beyer-Peacock and North British  to build their engines. The difference between the 'standard' designs of , for example, Sharp Stewart and the designs supposedly coming from the FR's drawing office was often quite blurred in practice. Therefore, you might want to think about awarding some 'contracts' to one or two of the big locomotive building firms and then look for their standard designs in the rosters of the old pre-grouping railways.

Edited by CKPR
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15 hours ago, LNWR18901910 said:

The various locomotives on the railway (I have decided) would be used as listed:


*Express Passenger 4-4-0s and later 4-6-0s with a few 4-4-2s

*Mixed-traffic 0-6-0s (some rugged types would be chiefly for use on freight duties) and later 2-6-0s

*Heavy Freight 2-8-0s (possibly a repurposed ex-GCR 8K/ROD 2-8-0)

*Shunting 0-6-0Ts and heavy 0-8-0Ts (the 0-8-0Ts would be seen hauling coal and steel trains along branch lines)

*Local Passenger and branch line traffic 0-4-4Ts and 0-6-2Ts

 

Next time, I will talk about passenger rolling stock, freight rolling stock, station signs, signalling and such.

That's an impressive fleet for a small railway, I think only the Great Central had a mix of 4-4-2, 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 express power, the GWR had 3  4-4-2s and 100+ 4-6-0s post WW1 and the NE some rather sluggish 4-6-0s backing up is 4-4-2s...
That said Beyer Peacock built some 2-8-2 Tanks for Australia very similar to the GCR 8K  but with tanks, no great surprise as their works were a stones throw from the GCR Gorton works.      Some of the fun is adapting RTR to look different, the Triang Jinty makes a nice 0-4-4T and a change of cab to full width, new chimney and smokebox door makes it look very different, but when it comes to chopping up Bachmann 2-8-0s well....

A lot of locos were designed and built by outside contractors and showed a family likeness, for instance 
The ex GSWR 4-6-0s, the MSWJR 4-4-0s and some of the Bengal - Napur railway locos look very similar.

Some railways bodged their own shunting locos together from old bits, Highland and L&Y, some bought standard designs from completely different makers, MSWJR 0-6-0 and 4-4-0, very different.   Others, Col Stephens especially, snapped up bargains  and the LSWR was selling 4-4-2Ts and the LBSC Terriers circa 1900 if you want an excuse for repainted RTR pre 1923
My current project is a fictitious Isle of Skye railway in OO on a Minimum size board so I am cutting up Pollys to make 4-4-0Ts, M7s to make 4-4-2Ts, Annies and Clarabels to make non corridor coaches and anything else I can get my hands on, might draw the line at a Triang Princess, or maybe not.  Have fun.

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16 hours ago, LNWR18901910 said:

The various locomotives on the railway (I have decided) would be used as listed:


*Express Passenger 4-4-0s and later 4-6-0s with a few 4-4-2s

*Mixed-traffic 0-6-0s (some rugged types would be chiefly for use on freight duties) and later 2-6-0s

*Heavy Freight 2-8-0s (possibly a repurposed ex-GCR 8K/ROD 2-8-0)

*Shunting 0-6-0Ts and heavy 0-8-0Ts (the 0-8-0Ts would be seen hauling coal and steel trains along branch lines)

*Local Passenger and branch line traffic 0-4-4Ts and 0-6-2Ts

 

Next time, I will talk about passenger rolling stock, freight rolling stock, station signs, signalling and such.

 

5 hours ago, CKPR said:

It's some time since I read Rev.Beale's "West Midlands Railway" book but I recall that he developed a 'house style' for the WMR engines by cut'n'shut conversions of the old pre-war Essar tank engine bodies. This added to the believability of his WMR as none of the engines was recognisable as coming from an actual railway. The other way to develop a believable house style for a something other than a light railway would be to consider whether the new WMR is a line that builds its own engines or essentially buys them in from outside manufacturers - much of the similarity between what we might call the second rank pre-grouping lines, for example the Furness, the North Staffs, the Cambrian, etc,  was down to their use of firms such as Sharp Stewart, Kitsons, Beyer-Peacock and North British  to build their engines. The difference between the 'standard' designs of , for example, Sharp Stewart and the designs supposedly coming from the FR's drawing office was often quite blurred in practice. Therefore, you might want to think about awarding some 'contracts' to one or two of the big locomotive builders and then looking for their standard designs in the rosters of the old pre-grouping railways.

 

55 minutes ago, DavidCBroad said:

That's an impressive fleet for a small railway, I think only the Great Central had a mix of 4-4-2, 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 express power, the GWR had 3  4-4-2s and 100+ 4-6-0s post WW1 and the NE some rather sluggish 4-6-0s backing up is 4-4-2s...
That said Beyer Peacock built some 2-8-2 Tanks for Australia very similar to the GCR 8K  but with tanks, no great surprise as their works were a stones throw from the GCR Gorton works.      Some of the fun is adapting RTR to look different, the Triang Jinty makes a nice 0-4-4T and a change of cab to full width, new chimney and smokebox door makes it look very different, but when it comes to chopping up Bachmann 2-8-0s well....

A lot of locos were designed and built by outside contractors and showed a family likeness, for instance 
The ex GSWR 4-6-0s, the MSWJR 4-4-0s and some of the Bengal - Napur railway locos look very similar.

Some railways bodged their own shunting locos together from old bits, Highland and L&Y, some bought standard designs from completely different makers, MSWJR 0-6-0 and 4-4-0, very different.   Others, Col Stephens especially, snapped up bargains  and the LSWR was selling 4-4-2Ts and the LBSC Terriers circa 1900 if you want an excuse for repainted RTR pre 1923
My current project is a fictitious Isle of Skye railway in OO on a Minimum size board so I am cutting up Pollys to make 4-4-0Ts, M7s to make 4-4-2Ts, Annies and Clarabels to make non corridor coaches and anything else I can get my hands on, might draw the line at a Triang Princess, or maybe not.  Have fun.

 

My twopenneth

 

First penneth, is this is to be set in the pre-Grouping era? That seems sensible because if not, you have to imagine distinct locomotives and repaint them and 'spoil' them with group standard fittings for one of the Big Four, unless you're positing a Big Fifth.   Assuming this is to be set in the pre-Grouping era, the choice of locomotive types suggests a large company late in the pre-Grouping era. Is that what you want?  The pre-WW1 world can offer you predominantly shorter coaches and locos and would be more manageable.  How many real life companies needed 4-4-2s for express work, or 4-6-0s as mixed traffic or express types?  The answer is the generally the larger ones with significant route miles. Many would not even have needed to push the boundaries of 4-4-0 design given train loadings; 2-4-0s and small to medium 4-4-0s seem more proportionate.  Likewise, how many companies needed eight coupled goods. Generally only those large and/or with significant mineral traffic. I should have thought six-coupled types would suffice. What you describe seems to me more like a freelance 1930s loco stud; a mix of modern (post WW1) and the larger of the older types.

 

Second penneth, what is the scale and nature of this company?  I have before said that one can conveniently divide independent companies into categories.  Here are two that might assist your thinking;

 

- The small company that buys in locomotive products from private builders to those builder's designs. Here you would be dealing primarily with Sharp Stewart and Beyer Peacock. Others possible would be Vulcan Foundry, Neilson & Co, Dubs.  If 'industrial' types are to be used, as outfits at the Light Railway end of the spectrum often did, there are a plethora of builders such as Manning Wardle, Hudswell Clarke, Hunslett, Peckett etc, etc.

 

- Larger companies where the key distinction is that they design their own locomotives. These might be built partly or wholly by outside contractors, but are to designs unique to the company.  Of course, such companies might also by-in private contractor's standard designs to supplement.  This will involve a history of design, with a family resemblance between locos of different types that are designed by the same Locomotive Superintendent.  Realistically, at any one time the railway would be running the locos of 2-3 Locomotive Superintendents, so you would need 2-3 distinct 'looks' or styles, each reflecting the practice of the era in question, and ideally with the older ones re-built to include some fittings used by the designer's successor.  

 

Thus, you can take anything you fancy and paint it purple, or whatever colour you like, but I suggest asking yourself in relation to each choice you make whether it makes sense. 

 

Intended to provide food for thought, not to criticise.  I like freelance projects!   

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Edwardian said:

.....  Realistically, at any one time the railway would be running the locos of 2-3 Locomotive Superintendents, so you would need 2-3 distinct 'looks' or styles, each reflecting the practice of the era in question, and ideally with the older ones re-built to include some fittings used by the designer's successor.  

Not necessarily.  In the case of the Caledonian, for example, there was a distinct continuation in styles (and internal layout) from 1882, when Drummond was appointed, through to the retiral of J F McIntosh just pre WW1.  This was as a result of each successive CME having come up through the company and building on the Drummond foundation.  Lambie and McIntosh both started out on the footplate.

Jim

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16 minutes ago, Caley Jim said:

Not necessarily.  In the case of the Caledonian, for example, there was a distinct continuation in styles (and internal layout) from 1882, when Drummond was appointed, through to the retiral of J F McIntosh just pre WW1.  This was as a result of each successive CME having come up through the company and building on the Drummond foundation.  Lambie and McIntosh both started out on the footplate.

Jim

 

An exception to prove the rule?

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2 hours ago, Edwardian said:

 

An exception to prove the rule?

Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.

As m’learned friend no doubt knows, the specific exception proves the existence of the general rule, I.e. the continuation of the Drummond style on the Caley was so unusual it is worthy of attention.

Or, put another way, the usual “prototype for everything” excuse is exactly the opposite: unless you are actually modelling the specific example, there is no such justification. (I personally prefer the complete honesty of Rule #1, paragraph ii, subsection b: “Eff off, it’s my layout!”)

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If you don't look too closely, all Scottish engines look the same - due to Dugald having been Locomotive Superintendent on the North British and then Caledonian at key pints in the development of their motive power, and then his brother Peter taking the same basic designs to the Highland and Glasgow & South Western. Even the ones that don't look like Drummond engines look the same, thanks to James Manson having been on both the Great North and the Sou' West. The Drummonds were born in Ardrossan, Manson in Saltcoats. That other great family of Scottish locomotive engineers, the Stirlings, came from Kilmarnock and cut their teeth on the Sou' West before heading south of the border. What was it in the Ayrshire air?

 

As for purple, don't forget LNWR carriages.

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7 hours ago, DavidCBroad said:

That's an impressive fleet for a small railway, I think only the Great Central had a mix of 4-4-2, 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 express power, the GWR had 3  4-4-2s and 100+ 4-6-0s post WW1 and the NE some rather sluggish 4-6-0s backing up is 4-4-2s...
That said Beyer Peacock built some 2-8-2 Tanks for Australia very similar to the GCR 8K  but with tanks, no great surprise as their works were a stones throw from the GCR Gorton works.      Some of the fun is adapting RTR to look different, the Triang Jinty makes a nice 0-4-4T and a change of cab to full width, new chimney and smokebox door makes it look very different, but when it comes to chopping up Bachmann 2-8-0s well....

A lot of locos were designed and built by outside contractors and showed a family likeness, for instance 
The ex GSWR 4-6-0s, the MSWJR 4-4-0s and some of the Bengal - Napur railway locos look very similar.

Some railways bodged their own shunting locos together from old bits, Highland and L&Y, some bought standard designs from completely different makers, MSWJR 0-6-0 and 4-4-0, very different.   Others, Col Stephens especially, snapped up bargains  and the LSWR was selling 4-4-2Ts and the LBSC Terriers circa 1900 if you want an excuse for repainted RTR pre 1923
My current project is a fictitious Isle of Skye railway in OO on a Minimum size board so I am cutting up Pollys to make 4-4-0Ts, M7s to make 4-4-2Ts, Annies and Clarabels to make non corridor coaches and anything else I can get my hands on, might draw the line at a Triang Princess, or maybe not.  Have fun.

Nice suggestions, there!

 

I would need to find a Triang Jinty body and the right 0-4-4T chassis to accommodate it (Possibly the SECR H Class chassis) as well as a GWR smokebox door without BR numberplate and the right cab for it. Three simple rules come to mind for a good working model- strength, character and accuracy.

 

The first locomotive I started work on was the 3P 4-4-0 using a Hornby D49 with the removed cylinders, valve gear and steam pipes. The cab has been altered to look less LNER, I will be posting pics of the model in progress as I am basing my 3P on the ACE Trains O Gauge Freelance 4-4-0.

image.png.678838455a5734b9d3f1eceb7d3f6932.png

Known as the Celebration Class, I intend to make a 00 version of it in WMR livery alongside this O Gauge Basset-Lowke 0-6-0 Goods Locomotive I also plan to model in 00 respectively.

image.png.011f9f6c28182f52f2e06d8efced8eb6.png

I was thinking of getting away with using a Bachmann C Class 0-6-0 model with modified splashers to do the job although there may be other 0-6-0 tender locomotives to choose from. What does everyone think?

 

Kindly leave your thoughts and comments below!

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After so much effort and work, here are the locomotives I have planned and designed similar to Pre-Grouping steam locomotives.

209962511_WMRRollingStock.png.e7c1c7b93d48bd1ac9b9cd92cc7cfd9c.png

The passenger and freight rolling stock will soon be added to the roster. I will be creating my own coaches inspired by the GWR, Midland clerestory coaches and the SECR Birdcage Coaches. The brake van I once created will be added to the list as I already had it pre-made beforehand.

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My (stalled) 'Glamorgan Railway' project was planned to use various modified RTR models and kits for locomotives and rolling stock. The most ambitious class (for South Wales at least) was the express passenger 'Castell' class 2-2-2 locomotive No.3 'Castell Coch'. This partly completed conversion is based on the Bachmann TTTE 'Emily' suitably shortened at the front end with a modified cab profile and various spares box boiler fittings such as a Dean chimney, misc. dome and safety valve. The GR passenger loco scheme is very similar to the LNER garter blue A4's including the red wheels and black & white lining. Passenger rolling stock is based on the old Furness Railway blue and white.  GR freight and mixed traffic locos (2-4-0T, 0-6-0 tender, 0-6-0T & 0-6-2T types) are an unlined, slightly darker. blue finish with rolling stock a mid grey with black ironwork and large GR initials. The paint schemes were developed by experimentation on various scrap loco bodies and old Triang goods wagons until I found something I liked that was different from the other Welsh railways variations of red, green and black. One of the first things I did was to work out a back story for the line from its foundation until eventual closure. This gave me the basic details I needed to plan the various acquisitions of equipment and rebuildings by the company throughout the history of the line.

 

Dave R.

 

PS - After typing all this I might dig all the bits and pieces out and make an attempt at getting some of it up and running. 

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4 hours ago, Devo63 said:

My (stalled) 'Glamorgan Railway' project was planned to use various modified RTR models and kits for locomotives and rolling stock. The most ambitious class (for South Wales at least) was the express passenger 'Castell' class 2-2-2 locomotive No.3 'Castell Coch'. This partly completed conversion is based on the Bachmann TTTE 'Emily' suitably shortened at the front end with a modified cab profile and various spares box boiler fittings such as a Dean chimney, misc. dome and safety valve. The GR passenger loco scheme is very similar to the LNER garter blue A4's including the red wheels and black & white lining. Passenger rolling stock is based on the old Furness Railway blue and white.  GR freight and mixed traffic locos (2-4-0T, 0-6-0 tender, 0-6-0T & 0-6-2T types) are an unlined, slightly darker. blue finish with rolling stock a mid grey with black ironwork and large GR initials. The paint schemes were developed by experimentation on various scrap loco bodies and old Triang goods wagons until I found something I liked that was different from the other Welsh railways variations of red, green and black.

 

Sound like an excellent scheme

 

 

4 hours ago, Devo63 said:

One of the first things I did was to work out a back story for the line from its foundation until eventual closure. This gave me the basic details I needed to plan the various acquisitions of equipment and rebuildings by the company throughout the history of the line.

 

Nail on the head there.  Otherwise it's just a random mish mash of things thought to look pretty.

 

4 hours ago, Devo63 said:

Dave R.

 

PS - After typing all this I might dig all the bits and pieces out and make an attempt at getting some of it up and running. 

 

Please do!

 

And show is pictures!

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Here I am back with the shade of dark violet I was talking about.

DSC_0026.JPG.31d5c0eafff93ed39537be03423be6ba.JPG

Yes, I know it looks brown, but this was the best I can do. I'll take a better picture of it in the daytime.

DSC_0027.JPG.6d524a6e25c5fd073b14a20ff2e92825.JPGDSC_0028.JPG.6ee81d21e167349ff551bd54461327ed.JPGDSC_0029.JPG.1c1263b9bc81efab49b323841a08b810.JPG

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