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GWR 4-4-0s on Carmarthen Junction

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I have long been fascinated by the several families of locomotives on the old GWR. While still at school in the 1960s, I assembled many Airfix and Kitmaster static locomotive models and dreamed of seeing them move under their own power. Elsewhere, I have detailed how I motorized a Kitmaster Stirling Single http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/67037-motorising-a-kitmaster-stirling-single/ and diesel shunter http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/59875-motorising-kitmaster-08/ . A couple of years ago, I also succeeded in motorizing the Airfix/Dapol diesel railbus. This paper focuses on the GWR Dean and Churchward 4-4-0s. Their complex history has been well described on the GWR Modelling website: http://www.gwr.org.uk/no440s.html. More detailed drawings of many of them appeared over several years in “Railway Modeller” and were republished as a collection in C.J.Freezer: “Locomotives in Outline” (Peco Publications, 1977). These models help illustrate the point that “not all GWR locos look the same”.


These models are just part of the collection that prompted me to design a layout around the imaginary Carmarthen Junction locomotive depot, described elsewhere: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/67522-carmarthen-junction-engine-shed/


Please note that, for most of my modelling life, I have had to work to a rather restricted budget and so I have not been able to make use of upmarket and beautifully detailed etched kits. Rather, I have had to make the best of what I could afford and obtain locally in Sydney, Australia. I do now have a large collection, but many models have been scratchbuilt or heavily rebuilt from wrecks or old discarded examples. (When someone has given me such models, the first question I have asked myself has always been “What can I make from this?”.) The following projects may not satisfy “rivet counters”, but have provided a lot of satisfying modelling time. I have learned a lot of new skills which have helped me improve my modelling standards over the years.


3440 City of Truro


When I was in high school, one of the teachers used to lend a few of us his Railway Modeller magazines. One of the older copies that I read around 1966 was the May 1961 issue, which has a detailed article showing how to motorise the (then) Kitmaster “City of Truro”. (I eventually purchased my own copy.) In principle, it suggested using 0.5 inch brass channel as the basis for the chassis, Romford wheels, gears and extended axles and a Romford “Terrier” motor.


It took me a couple of attempts before I got it right, but I did succeed in adopting this method, although I used aluminium channel (as I could not find brass channel at that time), a Tri-ang X04 motor instead of the Romford one. I also attached the dummy outside frames to the channel, so that I did not have to modify that moulding significantly. I did find that I had to pack lead into the smokebox and also under the inner frames, between the driving wheels so as to achieve reasonable traction. The model entered service about 1970. Here is an image of the model as originally built:




A few years later, I learned that the axle spacing in a Tri-ang “Nellie” is just right for CoT, so I rebuilt the model with a new chassis made this way and achieved much smoother running. The model still works well, more than 30 years after its modification, and can haul about six heavy Hornby clerestory coaches. It is due for another upgrade, which will include separate handrails and other details, repainting and Modelmaster or HMRS lining.


Body and chassis, seen separately:



The suspension system for the bogie was easy to set up. I removed the plastic spigot from the underside of the footplate, below the smokebox and drilled/tapped an 8BA threaded hole through the footplate. I passed a long 8BA cheesehead bolt through a washer, then through the bogie crossmember, another washer, then a spare ERG 3-link coupling spring into the threaded hole. This is adjustable and provides sufficient upwards force to balance the nose-heavy model. It also steers the model smoothly through curves:



Current appearance (2013):



In 2009, Bachmann produced a RTR CoT, which is no doubt more detailed than I will be able to achieve in the next upgrade, but I won’t be buying one, as I cannot afford it. In any case, I now find more satisfaction in building/rebuilding than opening boxes.


3297 Earl Cawdor


Around 1969, a friend gave me a few old discarded Trix Twin items, chief among which was an ex-LNER Hunt class 4-4-0. The mechanism was completely incompatible with the code 100 Shinohara track system I had adopted by then, so the loco languished in a siding……..until I saw an article in the Railway Modeller (Mar 1971) with a drawing of “Earl Cawdor”. A quick inspection revealed that the boiler and cab of the Trix model were reasonable matches to the drawing of the GWR loco.


I made a new inner chassis from 0.5 inch brass channel, with a front bogie adapted from a “City of Truro” spare, mounted as illustrated above. The chassis assembly was similar to that which I had used originally for CoT. The motor is a Tri-ang X04, with MRRC 5-pole armature:



I fabricated the dummy outside frames and footplate from sheet nickel silver which a family friend had found in a scrap bin. I made the boiler fittings from brass. I used solder as a kind of filler to join the diecast boiler to the nickel silver footplate. The tender came from a CoT spare, with new wheels and a ballast weight made from a piece of linotype (a leftover sample from the lab I was working in at the time).


I painted the model with Humbrol enamels and etched my own name and number plates.


This work was completed around Aug 1971. The model runs very well and easily hauls eight Hornby clerestory coaches. It represents the loco for a narrow period in 1903 and so is a reasonable stablemate for my two Dean Singles and CoT. ( I also have a few other GWR locos  from that period, but in 1930s condition and liveries: B&E 0-6-0T, 517 class 0-4-2T, 1854 class 0-6-0PT, Aberdare 2-6-0 and Dean goods 0-6-0.)


Appearance in 1971:



As I look at the model now, it is quite crude when compared with my more recent models and is due for a thorough rebuild.


Appearance in 2013:



To the best of my knowledge, no-one has made a kit or RTR model of this unusual GWR loco. So, I’m looking forward to this project. I now wonder whether others have similarly rebuilt the current Hornby “Hunt” model.


3814 County of Chester


This model was another one inspired by a drawing in the Railway Modeller (Oct 1968). Having motorised CoT, it seemed an obvious step to try to make its inside-framed “cousin”. So, just like CoT, I made a frame from aluminium channel, with Romford brass bearings, axles, gears and wheels. I built the body as one of the early, straight frame versions, as my great-grandmother (Johanna Murphy) was born in Chester and I chose to name the loco in her memory. I used the CoT boiler and a few other bits, but much of the rest of the body was made from styrene sheet. I inserted lead into the smokebox.  The model began trials around 1971.


The loco was far too light to be reliable or useful, so I eventually completely rebuilt it.


I made a new chassis from that of a Tri-ang “Nellie”, as the axle spacings are appropriate, with a front bogie adapted from one in my scrapbox. I used a smaller motor that fitted better inside the very narrow boiler/firebox. I extended the chassis forward with brass channel and then attached new (old stock) Jamieson whitemetal cylinders, crosshead and nickel silver slidebars. The connecting rod is a shortened Hornby item. Coupling rods came from “Nellie”.





I replaced the front plastic footplate extension with one made from copper – from a split and flattened 2 inch diameter steam pipe. (Really!) The steam valve caps on the cylinders pass through the vertical part of the footplate, near the smokebox – just like the real ones did. This helps locate the body on the chassis.


I had a spare Mainline GWR tender in better condition than the old Airfix one I had been using, so adapted this to the rebuilt model. It is set up to steady the rear of the loco to prevent it from tipping forward and helps maintain steady and smooth running.


I painted the model with Humbrol enamels and lettered it with HMRS transfers. I also used Modelmaster lining and commercial etched name/number plates. This upgrade was completed around 2010.


The model now looks and runs well and can haul appropriate loads.



Hornby released a tender-drive model in 1981, but I’m still not tempted to buy one, even in its newer loco-drive incarnation.


3265 Tre Pol & Pen


This model was inspired by the image in Casserley and Johnston: “Locomotives at the Grouping No. 4” (Ian Allen, 1966), reproduced in larger format in Williams, C.L.: “More Great Western Steam In Wales and the Border Counties” (Bradford Barton, 1975).  I first saw a drawing of the 3200 class in the Dec 1967 Railway Modeller. More info came from photos in various books and magazines. Further information and a lot more images were posted in April 2013 at http://www.gwr.org.uk/no-dukedogs.html.


I made my model using the footplate, dummy outside frames and bogie from an Airfix CoT, with the rest of the body made from copper and brass and a mix of commercial and home-made boiler fittings. (Yes, I know – the wheel splashers are too big!) Like my original chassis for CoT, I made the chassis from aluminium channel and attached the dummy outside frames to it. I used Romford wheels, gears, extended axles, bearings and cranks as well as a Tri-ang X04 motor. The tender is a reworked Tri-ang one from a Dean single.     


I completed the model around 1973 but upgraded it in 1993. Here is an image of the model before painting, showing the mix of materials in the superstructure:



 I finished the model with commercial etched nameplates, Humbrol enamels and HMRS transfers. It runs very smoothly and well. Here is a 2011 image:       



Bachmann plan to release a RTR Dukedog in 2013, but I don’t need to buy one, as 3265 will do me!


3283 Comet


This started life as a K’s whitemetal kit, bought cheaply in a (now departed) Sydney model shop in the late 1980s. It went together reasonably easily and looked great, but it ran like a dog! The original K’s motor/gearbox was very weak, soon overheated and then burned out. The plastic-centred wheels became loose on their axles.


It was given a heart transplant around 1993: new Hornby mini-open-frame motor, grafted into the K’s motor/gearbox frame, Romford wheels, extended axles and cranks. Further improvement came with a Mashima motor in a brass (probably Finecast) gearbox frame. The model now runs well and very smoothly and has adequate haulage capacity.







What next? I’m considering some absorbed 4-4-0s – possibly from the Cambrian or the MSWJR. These inside-cylinder designs will provide even more variety within my group of 4-4-0s. I think the choice will largely depend on what materials and parts I have to hand in my spares and scrapbox. We’ll see……..

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks for this fascinating account of one man's work with his locos over the years.


Very impressed with your perseverance and insistence on finding solutions despite the circumstances. I also like how you elect to improve the locos you have as time goes by, rather than just discarding them and building or buying something new. In both these respects it seems to me that your modelling captures the spirit of the old railways better than many of us.

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Hi R. B.,


This is an absolutely cracking set of pictures. It's all very well opening the box of a band new Bachmann City of Truro but nothing can beat the satisfaction of creating a model like the locos you have here. What's more, the fact that these models have served for so long Is a real testament to your skills. Do you have any more for us to have a look at at all?


All the best,



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GG"day everyone,


Thanks, Mikkel and Castle for your kind comments.


I have a large (a lifetime's) collection (over 80 locos, including 3 live steamers), hundreds of wagons/coaches and around 18 Aussie trams). Do you want me to show images of the models I've built/modified/restored? (I can also list those that are largely as they came in their boxes also.)


This could take a while - possibly a few uploaded batches.......


Let me know what you would like.





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Hi Rob, I'm happy with whatever you choose to put up. I liked your idea with a "theme" though (4-4-0s).  And built/modified/restored sounds good!

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Excellent post.


Just had a look at the link posted regarding DukeDog class - http://www.gwr.org.uk/no-dukedogs.html


Interesting point which raised my attention - "With the exception of 3265, which appeared in 1930 with GREAT WESTERN on its tender"


Are there any pictures with 3265 appearing with 'Great Western'?

How far removed is 3265 with the version Bachmann will release?

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...Are there any pictures with 3265 appearing with 'Great Western'?

How far removed is 3265 with the version Bachmann will release?

3265 seems to have been rather camera shy before about 1936 though, as it was rebuilt four years before the shirtbutton was introduced, it is fairly certain the tender would have carried "GREAT WESTERN". Here's a 1936 view. Main differences from the Bachmann version are the cab and chimney. Much more in the dedicated topic.



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3265 seems to have been rather camera shy before about 1936 though, as it was rebuilt four years before the shirtbutton was introduced, it is fairly certain the tender would have carried "GREAT WESTERN". Here's a 1936 view. Main differences from the Bachmann version are the cab and chimney. Much more in the dedicated topic.




Thanks, I see much discussion on the dedicated topic, lots of people having the same idea.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

G'day, Hancockshire,


I've checked and compared the chassis in my scrapbox. The current 0-4-0s do have the same wheelbase as Polly. BUT!!! They also have a plastic frame and depend upon their cast footplates to achieve enough traction to pull a few wagons or coaches.


You woudn't be using the donor loco's footplate - just the frame and that would not be heavy enough. You could put weight in the smokebox of the model, but that would move the centre of gravity even further forward than it would be with Polly's chassis.


4-4-0s are tricky beasts to get right. In my experience, it's best to keep as much weight as you can over the driving wheels. So, for me, Polly's chassis works (just) but the current 0-4-0s are just not on.


If you wanted to build an inside cylindered 4-4-0, the rebuilt MSWJR locos seem to have the same wheelbase as that provided by Hornby in their old M7 0-4-4s. (I have one in the scrapbox waiting for me to start that project.)


Good luck with your kitbashing. Don't be afraid to give things ago and build upon your experience.





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  • 2 years later...


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