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Steam era wagons in "modern" (ie 70s/80s) use


cromptonnut

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Afraid I'm completely clueless about such matters but hope someone can help me.

 

I'm looking for stock for my new O gauge project, which is set vaguely 70's/80's (blue/blue-grey era) and in the Southern area.

 

There are not many options in rtr stock but I'm looking at the Skytrex range - http://www.ogauge.co.uk/555/wagons-and-vans/ - and wondered whether any of those would still have been in use during my period.

 

A wikipedia page about vans states "Vanwides were an improved version of the Vanfit, built with wider doors for easier loading and unloading. Some of these eventually received air brakes and lasted into the early 1990s, by which time they were the last traditional short-wheelbase vans in regular traffic" which is Sytrex item SMR48 - which looks to me very much like the VEA van?

 

I fully understand they'd have gone to the 'darker' brown by then so I'd need to repaint them and get some transfers but I'm not sure whether any of the Skyrex box vans translated across to TOPS codes. If I can figure out - with your help - which of the Skyrex wagons are suitable for a repaint then I can use the various wagon photo gallery sites and then use those for weathering inspiration, positioning of transfers etc.

 

Finally, is there a book or site anyone can suggest that will assist in further enquiries? I found this site http://www.solihullmrc.org/wagon_tops_codes.html but it doesn't quite give me enough detail to be able to figure out what is what.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Afraid I'm completely clueless about such matters but hope someone can help me.

 

I'm looking for stock for my new O gauge project, which is set vaguely 70's/80's (blue/blue-grey era) and in the Southern area.

 

There are not many options in rtr stock but I'm looking at the Skytrex range - http://www.ogauge.co...agons-and-vans/ - and wondered whether any of those would still have been in use during my period.

 

A wikipedia page about vans states "Vanwides were an improved version of the Vanfit, built with wider doors for easier loading and unloading. Some of these eventually received air brakes and lasted into the early 1990s, by which time they were the last traditional short-wheelbase vans in regular traffic" which is Sytrex item SMR48 - which looks to me very much like the VEA van?

 

I fully understand they'd have gone to the 'darker' brown by then so I'd need to repaint them and get some transfers but I'm not sure whether any of the Skyrex box vans translated across to TOPS codes. If I can figure out - with your help - which of the Skyrex wagons are suitable for a repaint then I can use the various wagon photo gallery sites and then use those for weathering inspiration, positioning of transfers etc.

 

Finally, is there a book or site anyone can suggest that will assist in further enquiries? I found this site http://www.solihullm...tops_codes.html but it doesn't quite give me enough detail to be able to figure out what is what.

 

Thanks in advance.

You'd get away with most of them, if you limited yourself to the 1970s (the most notable exceptions being the Pallet van and the Cattle wagon). The Vanwide is the same body as the VEA, but the latter has a more 'sophisticated' underframe. I wouldn't worry about the paint colour; lots of older stock carried on in (latterly very weathered and dirty) early bauxite until scrapping, but with perhaps either a new data panel incorporating the TOPS code on a freshly painted background, or sometimes just the TOPS code painted above the existing data. Paul Bartlett's excellent site should have plenty of inspiration, both in showing what survived, and the condition it survived in. http://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/ will take you to it, though it is currently (08:25) off line for maintenance.

By the 1980s, I'd say you'd be limited to Vanwides, steel and wooden bodied High opens, and the Bogie Bolster C (vac-fitted); the 5-plank drop side and the medium-height steel opens were in engineer's use.

I can't recollect seeing either ex-LMS or ex-SR vans with TOPS codes- by the early 1970s, those that survived were used for seasonal fertiliser/animal feed traffic. Likewise the ventilated and insulated Meat vans- no longer used for meat, they were simply treated as ordinary vans. I last saw one of the Insulated ones in a van train for West Wales in about 1971 or 1972- it was in such a dirty condition that it was barely recognisable.

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Thanks for confirming the Vanwide/VEA - do you happen to know the TOPS codes that any of the others might have had?

 

I'm not 100% bothered about underframes - I know it's more noticeable in O gauge but on the basis that most people wouldn't know it was incorrect, it's a compromise I'm wiling to live with.

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As well as Brian giving you the best advice these books will also help

 

Larkin, David (1998) Working wagons. A pictorial review of freight stock on the B. R. system. Volume 1. 1968 - 1973. Pub by Santona, Hull. ISBN 0 9507960 6 9. 96pp.

Larkin, David (1999) Working wagons. A pictorial review of freight stock on the B. R. system. Volume 2. 1974 - 1979. Pub by Santona, Hull. ISBN 0 9507960 7 7. 96pp.

Larkin, David (2001) Working wagons. A pictorial review of freight stock on the B. R. system. Volume 3. 1980 - 1984. Pub by Santona, Hull. ISBN 0 9538448 2 X. 96pp.

 

Larkin, David (2009) Wagons of the early British Rail Era. A pictorial study of the 1969 - 1982 period. Pub by Kestrel Railway books. ISBN 978 0 905505-10-4 viii+88pp

 

Paul Bartlett
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Thanks for confirming the Vanwide/VEA - do you happen to know the TOPS codes that any of the others might have had?

 

I'm not 100% bothered about underframes - I know it's more noticeable in O gauge but on the basis that most people wouldn't know it was incorrect, it's a compromise I'm wiling to live with.

Most of the ventilated vans would have carried 'VVV', regardless of the individual designs. Vanwides were split into VEV, VMV and VWV under TOPS, IIRC; this reflected whether they had roller-bearings or not, as well as allocation to MoD traffic. I can't remember which code covered which type at present; my recollection is that all three would often be found together.

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Perfect - so a mixed rake of "most of them" except the Palvan and cattle truck (as you say above) with an occasional repaint, TOPS panels and lots of weathering, will do the job. I have a couple on order and hope to be able to "get to work" soon. Guess I need to order some TOPS panels from Fox too...

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