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Coaches for the Alexandra (Newport and South Wales) Docks & Railway

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I've decided that it is time for me to throw my hat into the ring. A combination of this challenge and the Scaleforum scratch building challenge, which is for 2 P4 coaches from scratch by a novice builder, have got me off the sofa and tools in my hand. I've never scratch built anything. I've plenty experience of building kits and bashing RTR but the only scratch built projects stopped after a days effort.


I'm going to try and build, by mid September, 2 or 3 of the Alexandra (Newport and South Wales) Docks & Railway (ANDR for short) coaches. In 1910 they bought 3 coaches that had been touring the UK and Europe for the Barnum and Bailwy circus trains. See MRC 1986 for a series of articles and Backtrack July 2005. The coaches were American design built to the UK loading gauge over here.




When the ANDR bought them they fitted buffer beams and screw couplings in place of the buckeyes, rebuilt the verandas and changed the windows.




Inside they fitted longitudinal seats in place of the beds and toilets. All three coaches were different. Fortunately the body of number 3 still exists at Nantgarw and I was able to spend a day measuring it a few years ago. Number 1 is almost the same as 3 except it has end windows. Number 2 is a bit of a mystery. It had 16 side windows and I have only found one photo plus the GWR diagram which cannot be relyed upon as the GWR diagram is wrong for number 3.


The big hurdles as far as building them have been getting reliable information and trying to decide how to make the roofs, the wrought iron, and where to get the wheels (28" diameter) and buffers from.

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The etches for the wrought iron on the verandas arrived this morning. They are very fragile, I'm going to laminate pairs of gates and letters together to make them a lot stronger - that's once I've plucked up the courage to touch the etch!




Also on the etch are the destination boards and lamp irons Masokits style.

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That is some fabulous artwork! Where on earth did you come up with such an off the wall idea? The coaches are beautiful, if not a little bizarre for this part of our railway world. I shall be watching with great interest.



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Where on earth did you come up with such an off the wall idea?


Many years ago I decided that my model railway would have to meet the following criteria:

  • a junction that was on different levels
  • GWR influence
  • no big engines
  • hopefully some 4 or 6 wheel coaches.


Those criteria narrowed the possibilities down and I ended up modelling Penrhos junctions -see my website link below. The ANDR ran through Penrhos junctions. They provided half of the passenger services through the junctions. They only had 5 coaches, so it’s difficult not to model them. I've been putting off making them for several years, ever since I got to Nantgarw to measure up number 3.

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  • 1 month later...

I drew the artwork in Autocad 2002 which I've learnt over the years courtesy of work; unfortunately only 2D. About 10 years ago I got to Nartgarw to measure up number 3 which was stored there. Fortunately the wrought iron railings still exist and I was able to do a rubbing of them. It was then a matter of tracing that in autocad.


I’m currently struggling with do a 3D drawing of the roof so I can get it 3d printed. I’ve given up on getting it 100% correct as no matter which profiles I use I always get a dip somewhere. So I’m going with what I’ve got and I will be sending something to Shapeways this week.


Once the roof and wrought iron are finished I think the rest should be plain sailing, although there are a lot of windows on number 1.

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  • 10 months later...

Progress has stalled.  Whilst I was waiting for the roof to come from Shapeways I moved onto another project and 'forgot' about the coaches.  The other project is a 14 coach parcels train for Awrhyllgwami Quarry.  It was meant to be a short train but has grown in length!!  This is the roof as it arrived from Shapeways;




What I did not expect was the segmented profile for the main section.  As expected there are a pair of dimples where I could not get the profile correct whatever I did.  Fortunately it is easy to correct with a bit of filler:




At least the inside came out as expected.  All I need to do here is scribe some planking under the verandas.




The roof was printed in White-Strong-Flexible which has turned out good for a trial run, but the final version will be in Ultra detail.  One thing I need to change is the end curves of the verandas; the outside corners need to be about 0.75mm lower.


I did manage to laminate the wrought iron, although it was very easy to fill up the tiny scrolls with solder.  In the end I have managed to make 6 ANDR ends and 12 gates out of the etch shown in a previous post.  The little bits are lamp irons which are almost a fiddly as the wrought iron.




The bogies are totally unique to these coaches so they are going to be etched.  This is a screen print of the autocad drawing which I think is complete except for the tabs and frame.  The bogie is a one piece fold up job with overlays for extra detail on the outside.  The leaf springs are formed of the laminates in the bottom left corner and the rectangularish plate is the spring carrier which sits inside the bogie under the coach body.  The coil springs will be hand made from brass wire (but won't work!).  The only castings will be the axleboxes which I think are going to be L&Y.




I'm part way through drawing the sides, ends and internal partitions.  This etch is a hybrid of numbers 1 and 3 which had the same sides but different internal partitions and ends.  I figure that I'm bound to get something wrong so I'll draw all the parts I need and then get 2 coaches out of one etching tool and save £25 or so.




This last drawing is where most of the remaining work is left.  The plan is to modify the roof drawing and send it to shapeways along with a second version of my Rhymney van.  Then I'll finish the etch drawings and send them off.

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  • 6 years later...

How did this coaches (cars?) come along in the end? I've considered somehow scratch-building them myself for some time but doubt my skills would stretch that far. Perhaps a bash from one of the clerestories would prove easier. 


I'd love to see what your end result has been!


- Alex 

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  • 1 year later...

Look what arrived over the weekend, a 3D test-print of one end.  I was told to expect a  little warpping and that joining 2 halves together would be difficult, but that was not the objextive of this test-print.  Having heard so much about how 3D printing has come on since I last tried it I wanted to find out for myself.  As I've got several locos as well as these 3 coaches waiting to be printed and the modelling account has currently cash, I went for it.  I also wanted to see if the slots for glassing would work and how the matchboard would come out.




Overall they are as expected.  The matchboarding is a bit fainted and as my son said, what you can see will disappear under some paint!  What is surprising is that the matchboard on the veranda end is more prominent than elsewhere.  So the big question is do I continue the 3D route or go back to etching the sides and ends?

Edited by Penrhos1920
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  • 4 months later...
On 19/05/2012 at 17:42, Penrhos1920 said:

Number 1 is almost the same as 3 except it has end windows. Number 2 is a bit of a mystery. It had 16 side windows

Hmmm.  My reading of those 3 is that 1 & 2 had 15 windows each, all the same size but, assuming they were built on the same chassis, either the windows were a tad wider than No. 3; (really?  Possible; they probably were all hand made in those days afaik), or the gap between each light was a bit wider.  
As far as I can tell from that angle, the end coach of the rake in original (i.e. 'for sale' condition), has 15 windows and a blank panel which, if replaced with another light, would make 16 windows.  My money's on that being the soon-to-be ANDR No.3...    


As for 28" wheels, try continental.  They do use smaller wheels than us and some have really very fine flanges...  At 3.5mm to the foot they'll be precisely to gauge too -  but since you're P4ing, you'll need broad gauge ones, of course...)  8^D 

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  • 1 month later...

Progress.  The Bogies (Walthers) and wheels (Kadee) have arrived, but it's 2 steps forward, 1 step back.  The 33" HO wheels, whichscale to the required 28" in EM, are stub axles which when widened to EM lengthen the axle as well.  So I need to find different wheels.




Scale 28" wheels on the left, normal 36" HO on the right.  I've also finised the artwork for the etched sides and ends for number 3 and sent it to PPD.  The chassis and roof are still to be 3d printed using shapeways WSF.




Everything for no.3 is based upon a visit I made to measure the existing body a few years ago.  I think that originally the bodies were the same overall dimensions but windows and the internals were different for each depending upon the original B&B needs.  When the ADR bought them they removed the original sash windows and fitted fixed windows with ventilators above.  At the same time they removed any central matchboard sections.




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