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Graham_Muz

Pre Grouping general discussion

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Welcome to the new pre grouping special interest group. Although I do not myself model the pre grouping period (as I model 1946 to 1949), the idea for this group was created from a discussion within the Southern Railway Group and I am happy to kick of this group and create a bit of a structure.

 

Feel free to contribute in any way, let the discussions commence...

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My public thanks to Michael, for asking his original question, which got us to this point. To Claude for requesting the creation of this sub forum, to Andy for setting it up, and all the others who supported the idea.

 

Thank you all.

 

Jim F

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This discussion thread seems to have had a bit of a quiet start so lets see if I cant “kick start” a bit of thoughtful discussion . At the moment the pre-grouping period seems to be the poor relation in the railway modelling hobby but is this going to change with in say the next ten years with more people looking to model this period.

Now my other interest is classic and vintage cars and there is a general belief that most people will show an interest in cars from a period that they can remember ie. Cars that dad owned or from their early days of motoring “I learnt to drive in a car like this” is one of the things I hear a lot but there has always been an element that was interested in cars built in times before there owners were borne (which is the group I’m in as my car was already 13 years old when I came along) which is a bit like this hobby as a lot of modellers have and still do model images from there childhood which is why the biggest areas modelled are in a broad band from the 1940s up to the present day which to reflect this is the area most catered for by the RTR manufactures.

Now the golden age of classic cars is from the 1950 to the 1970s and there is a growing belief that as time moves on people coming into the hobby will not have that nostalgic link to cars they can remember and will start to show a general interest in all periods of cars, well that’s the hope if the movement is to keep going (which is a much debated subject in the classic vehicle field)

So my question is as the end of the steam period slips further back will new people coming into the hobby who want to model steam have a more open minded view of periods to model having no direct connection or nostalgic link to the 1950/60s era, are we going to see a shift to a more even balance to periods modelled and are RTR manufactures going to see this if they haven’t already as it seems that more pre-grouping subjects are being covered now than say ten years ago. The companies that went to make up the southern seem to be doing quite well at the moment. So are we on the eve of a golden period for pre-grouping modellers or will the hobby continue to jog on as it has for the last 30 years with the majority modelling periods they can recall if this is the case then steam period models could decline in favour of post steam period models (see what I did here, managed to keep away from the much debated modern image turkey) anyway lets have your views. Regards all Steve

Edited by Londontram
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I do not myself model the pre grouping period (as I model 1946 to 1949) ...

 

Feel free to contribute in any way, let the discussions commence...

 

I am intrigued by the Midland & Great Northern Railway whose two owners were, of course, placed in different groups - LMS and LNER. The M&GN therefore carried on as an independent, pre-Grouping railway after the 1923 grouping had taken place, and remained largely independent until the two owners did a deal in 1936 where the LMS effectively gave a present to the LNER of the M&GN.

 

I mention this well-known stuff only because I wonder whether the M&GN is effectively a pre-Grouping company running as late as 1936 - which, of course, brings it into RTR rolling-stock territory, making it easier for us modellers at the rubbish end of the talent spectrum to produce something decent-ish.

 

Or is this all an insane red herring (haven't slept for a couple of days, so may well be hallucinating).

 

Paul

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I am intrigued by the Midland & Great Northern Railway whose two owners were, of course, placed in different groups - LMS and LNER. The M&GN therefore carried on as an independent, pre-Grouping railway after the 1923 grouping had taken place, and remained largely independent until the two owners did a deal in 1936 where the LMS effectively gave a present to the LNER of the M&GN.

 

I mention this well-known stuff only because I wonder whether the M&GN is effectively a pre-Grouping company running as late as 1936 - which, of course, brings it into RTR rolling-stock territory, making it easier for us modellers at the rubbish end of the talent spectrum to produce something decent-ish.

 

Or is this all an insane red herring (haven't slept for a couple of days, so may well be hallucinating).

 

Paul

The M&GN existed as a legal entity until1948 although operations had been taken over by the LNER in 1936.  There was a lovely little story written by JN Maskelyne many years ago in the old 'Model Railway News' about him coming across an ex-works passenger van of some sort newly outshopped from Melton Constable works (little of which was still active by then) in early January 1948 fully lettered 'M&GNR' - presumably the story was true.

Edited by The Stationmaster
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This discussion thread seems to have had a bit of a quiet start so lets see if I cant “kick start” a bit of thoughtful discussion . 

I guess not!

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I find it interesting that there are some younger modellers who are modelling the steam period but it still tends to be the late 50s.  However, I think once people begin to get interested in steam then they wil begin to want to model the type of locos and stock that appeals to them.

 

The main issue is that at present there is no R-T-R much towards the beginning of the twentieth and locos that were running then are never in their original condition and so will need modification.  Go back to the nineteenth century and it is easier to model narrow gauge.

 

If there is an upsurge in pre-grouping layouts will the R-T-R guys follow?  Not sure as it would be such a diverse market I am not sure that they could have large enough runs to make a profit, unless of course they could do 3D printing and put the bodies on R-T-R chassis.  This would be similar to the resin kits of Dean Sidings.

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There are enough pre-grouping layouts about to show what can be done. The kit manufacturers provide a wide range of locos, stock and infrastructure items to enable those that want to build pre-group models to do so.

 

The main issue is that the majority of "modellers" only buy what the RTR manufacturers produce and with the exception of a few locos, the interminable wishlists don't feature pre-group items. So until kit building is a more trendy hobby than buying Far Eastern made models and spending your time writing about it, things won't change.

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So my question is as the end of the steam period slips further back will new people coming into the hobby who want to model steam have a more open minded view of periods to model having no direct connection or nostalgic link to the 1950/60s era, are we going to see a shift to a more even balance to periods modelled and are RTR manufactures going to see this if they haven’t already as it seems that more pre-grouping subjects are being covered now than say ten years ago. The companies that went to make up the southern seem to be doing quite well at the moment. So are we on the eve of a golden period for pre-grouping modellers or will the hobby continue to jog on as it has for the last 30 years with the majority modelling periods they can recall if this is the case then steam period models could decline in favour of post steam period models (see what I did here, managed to keep away from the much debated modern image turkey) anyway lets have your views. Regards all Steve

The other way of looking at this is that the nostalgic link will keep moving and be focused on the diesel/electric traction of later years and that if people model steam then it will take the form of a heritage line. Of course, if this were true then I should want to model the BR blue/grey period but I have no nostaligic feel for that, though I am sure there are some that do. As it is I do want to model a pre-grouping railway, in my case the G&SWR, but I suspect that is because I have always loved history in the broadest sense and have taken that same interest in the historical into my love of railways.

 

Although there are more pre-grouping models I suspect that we are not on the verge of a golden age of pre-grouping though because to do it properly will (almost certainly) always require kit- or scratch-building which puts most people off. I know how they feel because I am approaching the whole idea of kit building with great fear and trepidation. My children keep on asking why I haven't started building the stock yet and I am running out of excuses, so who knows.

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So my question is as the end of the steam period slips further back will new people coming into the hobby who want to model steam have a more open minded view of periods to model having no direct connection or nostalgic link to the 1950/60s era, are we going to see a shift to a more even balance to periods modelled and are RTR manufactures going to see this.

Yes, I think so. The whole notion that the BR steam era is popular solely because it is what people remember is, in my opinion, a false claim. (Of course it is true for many, it's just less important than the perception.) I'll explain what I mean.

 

Certainly nostalgia is a factor and for enthusiasts in the the range of say 57 - 75 (who could legitimately remember the BR era, being say at least ten years old in any of the period 1948 - 1966) it fits, But this assessment doesn't stand up to a full analysis.

 

There are plenty of people who are younger than 57 who model the BR steam era. They can't possibly remember it. (I like the GWR pre-1935. I certainly don't remember it and nor do I have any family history with the GWR.)

 

Andy did a survey of ages on RMweb a couple of years ago. There are lots of people here under 50. By this "nostalgia rule" they should all be modelling BR blue or later periods. Most of them don't. If anything, given the number of people who remember BR blue, it is BR blue that is the poor relation of modelled periods.

 

I think the factors driving a choice of periods are:

  • What you can see from your window (the contemporary railway)
  • What you remember (and with the exception of some spry octogenarians, this completely excludes the grouping and pre-grouping periods altogether)
  • What you find appealing for some individual reason besides a direct memory
  • A function of what is available RTR (or as kits for those so inclined) combined with 1, 2 or 3.

My personal opinion is that it is factors 3 and 4 that have the greatest impact on what period people choose to model and this is bourne out in the demographic data.

 

I think the fact that the BR steam era is currently the most popular period is influenced by the nostalgia factor, but also because you can run stock from any region (with the flimsiest 'excuses') and run everything from Edwardian locomotives to the Blue Pullman without violating any laws of temporal anachronisms. This is the same reason that the "transition" era is the most popular era in the US. That many of our most sage fellow enthusiasts have a understandable fondness for the railways of their salad days certainly helps.

 

So are we on the eve of a golden period for pre-grouping modellers or will the hobby continue to jog on as it has for the last 30 years with the majority modelling periods they can recall if this is the case then steam period models could decline in favour of post steam period models

It's getting better all the time.

 

The pre-grouping period will always have its diversity strike back against it in terms of popularity. There are too many companies and liveries and periods. In favour of pre-grouping is the beautiful liveries and the Victorian/Edwardian decorative ethos that also appeals to fans of steampunk but because of the variety it is hard to build a whole railway around the pre-grouping scene.

 

3D printing might change this. It will change everything in our hobby anyway. It's just a matter of time.

Edited by Ozexpatriate
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The biggie for most people is painting & lining. This is why there is a market for pro paintjobs. Back in the 1970s I was innundated with locos for one pre-grouping livery or another, and boy did they go for the most complicated and time-consuming...LB&SC, SE&CR, M&GN etc. Customers were sticklers for accuracy to and I often had to match my cellulose paint to actual paint panels. Before getting out of the game my final paintjobs involved pre-grouping locos ranging from 4mm to 10mm scales. The modelling world outside of RMweb is a different one and while I am pretty sure those folk into the Big Four and BR now tap into plastic RTR, the folk modelling the pre-1923 scene readily build kits. They have to!

 

I only deal with LMS and Constituents carriages these days but for what it's worth the customer base breaks down as follows :-

 

LMS full panelled 1923-32 era (most popular).

BR Blood & custard (second).

BR maroon (Third).

Midland Railway (fourth).

LMS 1935-47 (fifth). In fact this long era lags well behind.

 

It goes without saying I could model any era I chose, but while rakes of LNWR white & plum coaches would look neat along with Midland stock, they do not do it for me like plain 'ol BR blood & custard.

Edited by coachmann

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Of course, if this were true then I should want to model the BR blue/grey period but I have no nostaligic feel for that, though I am sure there are some that do.

Which is exactly why I think that the idea that nostalgia for a period one has lived through is the primary determinate for choosing a model railway period for the majority of people is bunk.

 

Of course it influences lots of people, but I maintain it is less influential than we assume.

Edited by Ozexpatriate

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I chose the L&Y in1910 as representing railways at their peak in terms of transport they were the fastest thing, planes had yet to catch them and trucks were rare.

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I model pre-grouping although I have only the haziest memories of any steam at all, pre 1968.

 

I firmly believe that the railways were at their peak in the years just before the first world war.

 

It wasn't just a case of good engineering, it was that, plus superb elegance in design and livery. Not just in locos and rolling stock but in buildings, signalling and all the little bits that make up the whole railway picture.

 

Having given the matter some thought, I reckon that I model that wish I wish I had seen, rather than what I actually saw.

 

Most of us only know the pre-grouping era from black and white photos and a small number of colour images, either tinted photos or paintings.

 

So creating a moving 3D picture in model form is as near as we can to seeing what it was like until somebody invents a real time machine.

 

Tony

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Being Danish and a child of the late 60s I never witnessed the British steam age. But the Edwardian period has always fascinated me, even before I started modelling it. Seen from afar it somehow combined the rough, dangerous and diverse “old world” with the elegant and dynamic “new world”.

 

You’ve got the unsurfaced yards, the outside framed wagons, the steaming horses and the bearded gangers on the one hand - and the elegant locos, the elaborate liveries and the stylish clothing of the better-off on the other hand.

 

It’s a very romantic view of course, and a lot about aesthetics. Most of us probably wouldn’t have lasted long in the Edwardian age. We’d be considered barbarians by the well-offs, and wimps by the poor!

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Being Danish and a child of the late 60s I never witnessed the British steam age. But the Edwardian period has always fascinated me, even before I started modelling it. Seen from afar it somehow combined the rough, dangerous and diverse “old world” with the elegant and dynamic “new world”.

 

You’ve got the unsurfaced yards, the outside framed wagons, the steaming horses and the bearded gangers on the one hand - and the elegant locos, the elaborate liveries and the stylish clothing of the better-off on the other hand.

 

It’s a very romantic view of course, and a lot about aesthetics. Most of us probably wouldn’t have lasted long in the Edwardian age. We’d be considered barbarians by the well-offs, and wimps by the poor!

 

I have to admit I was attracted by the era, late Victorian, first.  My main interest has been 009 so there is not much difficulty in setting it in any period as long as you know enough about what was possible.  I believe I have made a big mistake in that I have chosen blue as a livery and I have just found out that blue paint was not too common then.

 

As the layout is set in Wales this lead onto the Cambrian, four and six wheel coaches, GWR into London on the widened lines and the LC&DR.  I will probably end up building a Cambrian layout if I can get to build two that is.  The pressure is there as the grand kids will not be able to play with a 009 and I can run R-T-R on a 00 when they are there, at least until they grow up a bit.

 

As I have limited skills in brass and very little with a soldering iron how I actually build stock, (I do have thoughts about scratch building in plastic), remains to be seen.  As for locos...........

 

Still, I can do the buildings and the people, they may have to wait some time for a period train of the right area.

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not like you to mention Kits Jol.....

 

 

but apart from that I didnt realise there was a Grouping....Im sure pre first war and early 20s GW stuff looks the same ;)

Mickey,

 

someone has to, otherwise all pre-group model railways will be based around a solitary L&Y, LSWR, GWR or SECR loco (unless I've missed some) with some wagons.

 

As for the GWR, the grouping didn't apply to them, it was a take over.

 

Jol

Edited by LNWRmodeller
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Some interesting points.

 

I am on the cusp of those who remember mainline steam in this country and abroad (57 next birthday). Interestingly, as I get older I get more interested in diesels -- even the modern stuff. This certainly has a lot to do with what is available on the r-t-r market as I have never had much success with locobuilding. Also, as I have downsized to N, model diesels work so much better and give more scope in terms of DCC and perhaps even sound.

 

I first started taking an interest in model railways in 1960 when my father started purchasing Railway Modeller. Pre-grouping was only 37 years in the past then (far more recent than some current "modern image") and yet pre-grouping models were quite rare. There seem to be far more of them these days although still a small percentage of the overall number of layouts. That is due to some excellent trade support from the artisan producers, better technology (smaller motors) and so much access to research materials via the internet.

 

I totally take the points made about wanting to model railways at the height of their supremacy and also the greater aesthetics of that period. To that I would add that in an era when many of us are rather limited for space, train lengths were shorter at that time. So, for 3mm scale and above (2mm is tougher although there are some super pre-group  layouts out there in 2mm/N), pre-group is really an interesting option. I doubt whether it will ever be mainstream enough for the r-t-r manufacturers apart from items like the Terrier, Beattie Well Tank and Adams Radial etc which lasted for so long into the grouping and BR eras. There were some long-lived items of rolling stock which could be of interest and had the advantage, by comparison with locos, of not changing much. GCR matchboard stock anyone to run behind those Directors?

Edited by Joseph_Pestell
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Mickey,

 

someone has to, otherwise all pre-group model railways will be based around a solitary L&Y, LSWR, GWR or SECR loco (unless I've missed some) with some wagons.

 

As for the GWR, the grouping didn't apply to them, it was a take over.

 

Jol

 

You mean there were companies other than the LNWR ? sheesh

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You mean there were companies other than the LNWR ? sheesh

Beast,

 

no, but let them dream.

 

Jol

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For me, I think the fascination is for a time before the dominance of motor (road) transport, when railways represented the 'cutting edge' of transport technology.  I remember vividly the first time I saw a photo of one of the Gooch broad-gauge singles and marvelled that such things could ever have existed!

 

For modellers (at least in 4mm and larger) there is the advantage, which others have mentioned, that locomotives and trains were smaller than now, so that less space is needed for a credible representation.  I agree that scratch-building is quite a hurdle for many people but, if you are going to take the plunge, modelling a 2-2-2 locomotive need be no more difficult than modelling a wagon, if you are prepared to accept tender drive.  I have used old Mainline Dean Goods tenders to power my own scratch-build attempts.

 

For lettering and lining, it is now possible to print your own transfers using an ink-jet printer. I have shown some examples in my pre-grouping Blog at http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/1405/entry-12657-cheats-lining-lettering/

 

All in all, then, this era provides an opportunity to re-create a world where railways really were the centre of attention and not struggling to be noticed amongst all those motor vehicles :)

 

Mike

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I am intrigued by the Midland & Great Northern Railway whose two owners were, of course, placed in different groups - LMS and LNER. The M&GN therefore carried on as an independent, pre-Grouping railway after the 1923 grouping had taken place, and remained largely independent until the two owners did a deal in 1936 where the LMS effectively gave a present to the LNER of the M&GN.

 

 

Paul

 

The Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway was similar - the Joint being the MR and LSWR. It maintained its independence, and distinctive blue livery, until 1930. My own modelling covers the dozen or so years after the first war, up to 1930, although the focus is on the early twenties immediately prior to grouping. My reason for choosing this is that I like the wide variety of wagons and pre-group liveries to be found following the common user agreements.

As a 2FS modeller hanging around for RTR isn't an option.  Scratchbuilding is the norm although there are an increasing number of kits becoming available.

 

Jerry 

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You mean there were companies other than the LNWR ? sheesh

LNWR?...........Ah yes I remember - thats the southern section of the Caledonian isnt it?  ;)

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LNWR?...........Ah yes I remember - thats the southern section of the Caledonian isnt it?  ;)

No it was a sideline for the L&Y.......

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The three truly great railways were the GWR, Midland and the LNWR. The GW for its advanced loco design, the Midland for its carriage design & colour adopted by the LMS, and the LNWR for its superb permanent way and ability to keep the West coast mainline ahead of the game for so long. And all three bequeathed their liveries to British Railways. So when you next visit a restored line, you will likely see at least one reminder of those three companies. :)

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