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BG John says " the GWR carried on and just absorbed some companies in 1923".

 

Not strictly true and at the time a big issue. Despite their small size most of the South Wales companies were constituents, not absorbed companies. After all some of them had been producing dividends of over 10% for years before World War 1.

 

There has been a mention of GW goods stock red. The Rhymney also had red wagons until towards the end of the 19th century but I have not a clue what that colour was. and in its earliest days the Rhymney had some blue wagons - a colour never mentioned again so I haven't a clue how long it lasted..

 

Add that to the fact that although for the Rhymney we have some early complete rolling stock lists and mentions of orders in the earlier minutes, there is a period between the first stock orders and the Grouping when some wagons were obviously replaced several times but we do not have a clue about anything but the start and end of the process.

 

I suspect that this is a similar situation with many of the companies operating at this period.

 

And then there is the little matter of lettering on 19th century stock . . .

 

Jonathan

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Yes, but, then, 1919-23 is a very mixed bag.  It does not want for variety, but was inevitably less colourful than the Edwardian heyday.

 

Apart from the hangover of drab wartime colour schemes, many companies maintained 'dumbed down' liveries post-war.  To some extent this reflected a pre-war trend, e.g. SE&CR had already simplified its lined green livery for goods locomotives (though not by much!) and the NER had moved to black for its goods locomotives.

 

However, in most cases, there were more plainer liveries evident post-war than pre.

 

The Great Western did return to lined chocolate and cream coaches from 1921, but most of its locomotives never returned from the unlined green introduced in the war.  Mostly it was only the modern 4-6-0 types to which lined livery was returned.

 

The SE&CR went to plain unlined grey, as did the GER.  Though the simplicity of the grey livery is attractive, it is, of course, very plain and I don't think either company returned to their, rather splendid, pre-war liveries.

 

I think the GNR, which also went grey, did reintroduce its pre-war lined green livery, and, of course, the LSWR got its lined Sage Green for passenger locomotives under Urie and Holy Green lined coaches.

 

There is a lot to interest the modeller here.  Set a layout in the mid-twenties and modellers gain the extra variety of running early grouping liveries alongside war-time and post-war grouping liveries.  Of course, if you modelling the Great Western, you may not notice any difference!

 

But, from a strictly personal perspective, on balance I'd rather have Edwardian locomotives mixed with Victorian survivors than with post-war types, and I'd rather have the liveries at their most opulent.  There's not much in it, I admit, though any move away from steam traction in some areas, for me, lessens the appeal of the subject.

 

Overall, though, I'd much rather see a layout set anywhere in the 1914-1947 era than yet another '50s-'60s venture. Individuals must model what they want, of course, which is usually what they remember, but I do wonder about club layouts designed for the public; should we present the public with a predominance of same-era layouts, especially when it is not, necessarily, the most or only interesting period, and is certainly not the most colourful?

 

Railway modellers may be predominantly retirees, but show audiences are across the generations. Do we want to use 'public' layouts to reflect the memories of 1 or 2 generations to quite the extent that we do, or, do we want them to provide the opportunity to show the public our rich railway past?  After all, how else do people see the colourful Edwardian and Victorian eras in colour?

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................ do we want them to provide the opportunity to show the public our rich railway past?  After all, how else do people see the colourful Edwardian and Victorian eras in colour?

Taking the final question from your post, it was exactly that wish to visualise those earlier eras in colour that led to me developing my own small railway - described at http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/1405/entry-15925-read-me-first/

 

Of course, people build model railways for many different reasons but, for me, I find little interest in trying to re-create the railways of my childhood.  On the other hand, I am fascinated to learn more about the ways in which the railways changed the entire nature of the country throughout the 19th century.  As your last question suggests, I wanted to try and get beyond the rather faded monochrome photographs from the period and visualise how this dynamic and revolutionary transport system captured the imagination of the time.  It's not just the colours but also the changes in scale as, for example, railway carriages shook free from their stage-coach roots.

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Mike, for me you have succinctly summed up my motivation too!

 

As for exhibition layouts, I wonder if there is more of a place for the BBC mission to "inform, educate, and entertain".  Part of this clearly could be to show "what railways were like in your father/grandfather's day", but I think we probably see enough of this on the exhibition circuit and as a community we might broaden the education whilst retaining the entertainment.

 

This makes me wonder whether the self-styled "Centre of Excellence" will devote significant space to model railways exploring the history of railways, or, indeed, to the history of model railways.  I would like to see a home for retired layouts, so that the fate of such treasures as Buckingham need never be in doubt.  I would also like to see models telling the story of our railways, reflecting the progression you describe.  Layouts, like all artefacts, tell stories on a number of levels; of their subject, their creator(s) and of the time at which they were created; in our case, the history of the model and of its prototype.  As such, layouts would benefit from being created or preserved, and displayed and curated, so as to tell those stories.  I'm not sure that is quite what is planned for Ashford. I recall that some of Ashford's early publicity was quite emphatic in stating that the attraction was not a "museum", which I found a little odd, as I would have thought that a museum is exactly what the hobby deserves.   

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With reference to the last two posts, i.e. those by Mike and Edwardian, and particularly those by Edwardian, it would indeed be nice to see a home for retired layouts, particularly those which were conceived to bring to life our rich railway heritage. I am in the process of building a Scale7 layout, albeit, set in a fictitious location, based on the Hull & Barnsley Railway c.1908. One of my prime aims when setting off down this road was to create a colourful image of one of our smaller, but none the less significant railways. Effectively I am trying to bring to life images we have seen in books to give people an understanding of what the railways of this country were like in the pre-grouping era.

 

People born after 1968, who have grown up with the modern railway, simply have no idea of how the railways operated in the steam era, how busy they were, and how much this island depended on them from their inception. Valuable as they are, heritage railways can never hope to recreate how the railways really were.

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There certainly is space for pre grouping colour. I for one am completely turned off by the plethora of rail blue which seems to be flooding exhibitions. If we are to inspire the young and new modellers to more than just a train set then variety is essential. The pre group scene has scope for individuality and the chance to make something the trade won't.

Ian

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If the nostalgia of the prevalent modelling generation is the factor that determines the subject of the vast majority of built, published and exhibited layouts - and this certainly has been the case with the Transition Era - then, as the present generation of retirees slowly gives way to the next, wall to wall blue diesels is exactly what we can expect. 

 

I wouldn't want to make this next point anywhere but in the part of the forum dedicated to pre-grouping because I would not wish to cause offence to those who like the blue diesel era (many of whom produce extremely fine layouts), and I would certainly not want to provoke one of those "heated debates" that can arise from time to time.

 

So, strictly entre nous, speaking as someone whose childhood was precisely the blue diesel era, I feel not one iota of nostalgia for this period.  First, of course, it lacked steam traction on the national system.  If I examine myself, I am forced to admit that the living, breathing beauty of steam is the reason railways appeal.  It only takes a whirring electric motor in a steam-outline plastic or metal body-shell to indulge that passion, because my imagination does the rest.   Second, the laughingly dubbed "Age of the Train" seemed to represent our national system at its most degraded, the splendid HST notwithstanding.

 

So, the thought that, just a few years from now, I will be surrounded by endless models of blue diseasels traversing the weed-strewn, architecturally vandalised, Corporate Image wasteland of post-industrial Britain, makes my heart sink.  It was bad enough growing up with it. 

 

Perhaps, then, I can be understood and, even, forgiven, for my wish to see greater interest in pre-Nationalisation and pre-Grouping model railways and the encouragement of new entrants to consider these earlier periods.

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Just found this thread and it's a fascinating read.

 

My Lancaster Green Ayre Layout, thread link below, is ex Midland railway set in 1923. I chose this so that a few early LMS items can appear but more importantly so that locos and stock from other companies that had lines/sheds close to Lancaster, in this case that allows for LNWR and Furness to be added to the mix along with L & Y which worked through from the West Riding. I've always been attracted to the Edwardian era railway and how colourful it was.

 

In the process of researching the layout I've learned an awful lot about how the railway was operated and in particular how it was used as a technology test bed for High voltage AC electrification. Much of it from primary source unpublished material.

 

Jamie

Edited by jamie92208
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I was born in 1968, so I post-date steam on the national railway. I grew up with the slam door trains between Orpington and London and then the blue (mainly class 86 as far as I can remember) pulled trains that passed along the WCML through Stafford, but it was only when I saw a real (steam) loco for the first time that I became at all interested in the railway. That was obviously a preserved example, and I can't actually remember where it was as I was fairly young at the time.

 

When, much older now, I finally realised that I wanted to model a railway I knew immediately that it had to be steam, but I wasn't sure where or when. I have a passion for mid-Wales, the land of half of my ancestors and an idea of the double station of Builth Road attracted me for both location and the mix of GWR and LMS stock. But (at least for the present) that wasn't realistic because of both time and space constraints. So I looked far (well not very) and wide (probably not very there either) for a suitable alternative. I settled on Newcastle Emlyn. Not because it had a mix of companies, but because for most of its existence the track layout didn't change and the buildings remained the same (with just a little stretch and tweak here and there). That meant that I could get variety not through location or company, but through time.

 

Initially my plan was fairly simple... 1930s GWR, 1960s transition and even 1970s diesel (as I liked one picture that featured a class 37). It was then that I started looking at some of the threads that others on this forum were posting and realised from many of them that I wasn't looking early enough! Thanks to threads on here some of which don't even feature a layout yet (rather like mine!) but are full of great research and pictures of rolling stock, people and buildings, the plan now starts at 1899, and features 1911 before still moving on to the 1930, 60s and 70s. I'll be including some replacable buildings, as well as vehicles, people and general things lying around to facilitate this, but it will be more realistic in the early eras as I'm not going to be planting lots of weeds.

 

From this thread, and those of many of its contributors, I've seen the wonders of the Victorian and Edwardian railway. So although I will remain in GWR territory throughout (until nationalisation) I will be able to run the wonders of some of those early GWR and M&MR locomotives... once I've built them of course. So I thought I was safe to contribute to this conversation even though when it first runs NE may have the tidiness of an Edwardian station, but will be running initially post grouping stock (as I don't have to learn how to build them from scratch!)

 

In short, I agree with the nostalgic views expressed above... but I also want the variety of having some of the later stuff as well! I want it all!

 

Kind regards, Neil

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Neil, that is very interesting, and strikes a chord.  I grew up near the Midland mainline and frequently saw blue diesel-era trains.  I even remember standing on a road overbridge while a Deltic roared round a corner before charging under the bridge at many decibels. 

 

No, I've just checked the nostalgia meter.  Still not a flicker.

 

But, family holidays were always in the South Hams.  They always included, inter alia, Dartmouth and Kingswear, Kingsbridge and Totnes and they always included trips on both the Torbay and Dart Valley lines. Railways, for me, were green steam engines with brass safety valve  covers and copper chimney caps pulling chocolate and cream coaches (never mind that they were probably only Mark Is).

 

The point at which Goliath let off steam under the Kingswear footbridge upon which I was standing ... well, I've checked again on the nostalgia meter and I now have a strong reading.  Smuts in the eyes and the hair leaning out of drop lights, little tank engines along the wooded banks of the Dart.  I think the needle has gone off the scale.

 

That, second-hand, nostalgia is why I remain fascinated by the Great Western in Devon in the Thirties.  But everything else has been a wonderful journey of discovery backwards from that last golden age before Herr Hitler's irritating interruption.

 

Once I get this wretched house move behind me, I shall resume work on my starter project.  A small layout, very simply conceived, just to learn the skills, and set around the turn of the century. 

 

After that, I am giving serious thought to a longer run.  The plan is to be flexible, like NE, but not in the same way.  The period will be tied down to 5-10 years of the Edwardian era, but because, like you, I want to model it all, it will be geographically ambiguous and 'move about'.  Infrastructure will be Great Western (of course), but will be Great Western and Whatever Suits.  Because I cannot limit or confine my love for all things Edwardian, it will feature GWR and LNWR, or LSWR, or LBSCR. Well, it's either that or build a model of Addison Road! Rule No.1 will allow GNR, MR and GCR as well!   I cannot hope to have separate layouts for every bit of Edwardiana I come across, but at least I can have an appropriate period setting for pre-grouping trains.

Edited by Edwardian
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Neill, that is very interesting, and strikes a chord.  I grew up near the Midland mainline and frequently saw blue diesel-era trains.  I even remember standing on a road overbridge while a Deltic roared round a corner before charging under the bridge at many decibels. 

 

No, I've just checked the nostalgia meter.  Still not a flicker.

 

But, family holidays were always in the South Hams.  They always included, inter alia, Dartmouth and Kingswear, Kingsbridge and Totnes and they always included trips on both the Torbay and Dart Valley lines. Railways, for me, were green steam engines with brass safety valve  covers and copper chimney caps pulling chocolate and cream coaches (never mind that they were probably only Mark Is).

 

The point at which Goliath let off steam under the Kingswear footbridge upon which I was standing ... well, I've checked again on the nostalgia meter and I now have a strong reading.  Smuts in the eyes and the hair leaning out of drop lights, little tank engines along the wooded banks of the Dart.  I think the needle has gone off the scale.

 

That, second-hand, nostalgia is why I remain fascinated by the Great Western in Devon in the Thirties.  But everything else has been a wonderful journey of discovery backwards from that last golden age before Herr Hitler's irritating interruption.

 

Once I get this wretched house move behind me, I shall resume work on my starter project.  A small layout, very simply conceived, just to learn the skills, and set around the turn of the century. 

 

After that, I am giving serious thought to a longer run.  The plan is to be flexible, like NE, but not in the same way.  The period will be tied down to 5-10 years of the Edwardian era, but because, like you, I want to model it all, it will be geographically ambiguous and 'move about'.  Infrastructure will be Great Western (of course), but will be Great Western and Whatever Suits.  Because I cannot limit or confine my love for all things Edwardian, it will feature GWR and LNWR, or LSWR, or LBSCR. Well, it either that or build a model of Addison Road! Rule No.1 will allow GNR, MR and GCR as well!   I cannot hope to have separate layouts for every bit of Edwardiana I come across, but at least I can have an appropriate period setting for pre-grouping trains.

A group in our club (Wakefield) started a layout based on the Addison Road area, called Warwick Road with passenger and goods facilities. The main justification was that t could have stock from virtually any of the London area Pre grouping companies. I can't remember the exact scenario but it would have made for some interesting operation. Sadly it never got finished for a variety of reasons but it was an interesting idea.

 

Jamie

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 Set a layout in the mid-twenties and modellers gain the extra variety of running early grouping liveries alongside war-time and post-war grouping liveries.  Of course, if you modelling the Great Western, you may not notice any difference!

 

Aside from the volume of wagon liveries from the common user pool there would be a very obvious change from red coaches that were probably still commonplace (depending on the vagueness of your mid-twenties definition) despite the expedition of a return to the two colour livery starting in 1922. 

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Well, yes, Lake, not to mention wartime brown.  I was thinking of the locomotives when I hazarded that particular remark.

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I prefer 19th-century GWR because I still can't come to terms with the stark modernity of Churchward's designs :)

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My initial railway experience was early 60s train spotting, mostly steam but I discovered David L Smiths 'Tales of the G&SWR' in the local library and was hooked. I have modelled the later since but have a parallell thread of locos I spotted.

 

My layout is based on one of the South Wests bylines which changed very little from building to closure so I can run two periods without much alteration, just road vehicles etc. there is a secondary benefit in that the early period is virtually all scratch building but the br period is mostly kits which can be, not always, quicker to build. Below is an example of two recently finished models, both could have been seen together but would have been in LMS livery then.

post-6089-0-29639100-1438348421_thumb.jpg

Ian

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Mike, I see what you mean.  I read somewhere that the appearance of the GW at the turn of the Century was typified by Churchward boilers on Dean Engines.  Really only from 1903, when the Saints got into production, did the fully realised 'modern image' start to become be seen.

 

I suspect one could make an argument for the last 5 years of the Nineteenth Century as an aesthetic golden age for the GW, with comparatively slim, elegant and even lithe standard gauge Dean designs in the opulent lined green and Indian Red livery and fully lined chocolate and cream clerestories. High Victorian majesty.

 

Ian, lovely models, but my eye is constantly drawn to the left of the picture; a real beauty.

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I am Australian born and bred with a Welsh father who spent the first eighteen years of his life growing up in and around Cardiff before seeking sunnier climes. From an early time in my life he regaled me with stories about the Great Western Railway and the various locomotives of that company and the various grouped concerns that he saw daily from the late 30's until the early 50's.

 

He would tell me about staying with his Grandfather at his residence of Porthkerry House watching a 72XX class loco running from Swansea to Cardiff or days spent around all the various rail yards and sheds in Cardiff looking out for the latest arrivals from Swindon. One story he still repeats is about the time he and his best friend were waiting at Cardiff General for the South Wales Expess. It was getting on to being about an hour late when it finally came in. At first he couldn't make out what was hauling the train but as it came closer he could see that it was a pair of Dean Goods working hard after deputising for a failed 4-6-0. He told me they were both disappointed with that! The first model train I can remember watching him run was a Hornby Dublo Castle class with a train of chocolate and cream painted Kitmaster Mk 1's. 

   

Even though I grew up at the time the last of the South Australian Railways steamlined 520 class 4-8-4's, 700 class heavy freight 2-8-2's and Victorian Era Rx class 4-6-0's were making their last runs there was really no choice for me when it came to modelling - it had to be GWR.

 

I have slowly built up a large reference library covering everything that I can find about the company and constituents. My collection of models can be used from early broad guage era up until Nationalisation. At model railway shows (few and far between in these parts) I always look for any GWR themed displays as a matter of course. Every visit to the United Kingdom must included at least one trip to Didcot and to two or three preserved lines where the GWR predominates.

 

Reading through all may various books I have come across many references to the Great Western's dealings with other companies, either friendly or fiercely competitive. This has steered me to start building a collection of other references and models in both pre and post grouping eras but tending to favour the earlier period. I now have about six LNWR locomotive kits either building or in waiting. I have a pair of P class 0-6-0's in SE&CR and SR paint schemes on the go plus a number of other pre-group prototypes and stock from all around Britain such as a scratch build of Drummond's LSWR 4-2-4 inspection saloon. Some of my models would never had been anywhere near Great Western rails. I think 'Rule 1' will have to apply for these.

 

Dave       

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Ian, lovely models, but my eye is constantly drawn to the left of the picture; a real beauty.

 

THANKS. It's a G&SWR 306 class. Not many folk know that a couple of these locos worked on the GWR during the Great War. Replacing Dean goods which were sent to France.

 

A bit of variety and something different.

 

IAN

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I think that, so far, pretty much all of my limited Pre-Great War GW loco stud is in 1906 livery, and includes a Mogul (introduced 1911), so initially I would have to concentrate on the immediate pre-war years. Georgian, I suppose, rather than Edwardian!

 

Ian, what a wonderful reason for setting a running session a few years further forward!

 

Dave R, another form of 'second-hand' nostalgia, but what a wonderful path it's led you down.

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All this talk of GWR is of some interest to me, a confirmed red engine man.  The nearest I could get would be the odd GWR wagon.  However if my chosen prototype location was a bit closer to Leeds I could include the through GWR  coach that used to depart for Paignton from Bradford Forster Square on Summer Saturdays.   There is a photo of it at Shipley somewhere.

 

Jamie

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Growing up near the Midland mainline, for years 'my' station was St Pancras (now it's King's Cross/the Harry Potter theme-park), so I 'get' red engines.

 

I have identified a number of prototypes that I want to model, but can't model them all, hence the idea of a fictional set up governed by Rule No.1.

 

Oh, but I have dreamed, I have dreamed. Each of these is entirely do-able, but just not all of them:

 

  • Wolferton, 1900.  Prussian Blue No.1 class, T19 and a Royal Claud.  Fin de siècle architecture, royal train and 6-wheeled teak.
  • Craven Arms - GWR, LNWR, Bishops Castle - BIG!
  • Chirk, early 1900s.  GW green and Indian Red plus GVT
  • Barnstaple Town - Drummond era LSWR & L&BR
  • Rothbury - North British in Northumberland, my sort of 'alternative' Ashburton, with one of my favourite Victorian motifs, the turntable runround. I'd do pre-1915, with the original wooden ES.

The list is seemingly endless. 

 

One I am keen on, and that might appeal to a red engine man, is Marple c.1898-1902 when it was still the mainline.  MR and GC joint.  A certain operational intensity combined with a long and stunning scenic run; you could include the parallel viaduct and aqueduct and North Staffs traffic via the junction. The canal passes under the railway, then, the railway tunnels under the canal! Mind you, anywhere on the Manchester - Miller's Dale route would be stunning, e.g. New Mills. 

 

The next station Up from Marple was Strines, which would lack the operational nightmarishness of all those expresses splitting and re-forming at Marple (pre-1902), and which is an attractive wayside station.

 

There is a school of thought that says Strines, and the line around there and Marple, was one of the settings that most influenced E Nesbitt's The Railway Children.  So, not K&WVR after all!

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I grew up in Derby but felt that I was always being brainwashed with 'Midland' ideas so followed the Great Northern "interloper" instead!

Since then, I have matured and can now appreciate the beauty of the Midland designs or is it nostalgia for the place?

I certainly feel nostalgic for Derbyshire.

Would I model it though? As I already have far too much on my plate, realistically no but, knowing me there is always a chance!

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I have identified a number of prototypes that I want to model, but can't model them all, hence the idea of a fictional set up governed by Rule No.1.

 

Oh, but I have dreamed, I have dreamed. Each of these is entirely do-able, but just not all of them:

Fortunately, my list is a bit more vague and can be achieved on a smaller scale. 40-47 years after adding them to the list, I'm working on, or towards, all of them with small/micro layouts:

 

Broad gauge: Part built 4mm micro layout, but hardly any working locos or rolling stock yet

Early 1900s GWR: Just cut the first bit of the baseboard for half an EM BLT, where I can run the stock that hasn't moved for years. You'll have to wait to see how half a BLT will actually work though!!

Light railway (preferably Colonel Stephens): Waiting for the new Dapol K&ESR Terrier to arrive, and hoping it will be suitable for either 1905 or 1910, as those are the dates I've picked. I've got the track, a plan, and some rolling stock to get started, but I'm building an Inglenook micro layout first to dip my toe in the 7mm water.

Narrow gauge: Some O-16.5 included in the micro layout mentioned above.

 

I should get through that lot in the not too distant future, even if it's a few years, and my very long held ambitions will have been achieved. After that, my current inclination is a big 4mm Bristol & Exeter Railway broad gauge layout, but I'll have needed to master my Silhouette Portrait (or whatever comes along to replace it), to mass produce the locos and rolling stock for it. Which is what I'm starting to practice now.

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