Announced as part of their range for 2016 this time last year the SR cattle trucks (technically correctly termed as being trucks being a sub set of wagons) have arrived in the last week or so from Hornby and certainly raises the bar again for rolling stock.
Hornby have produced two different diagrams of SR truck. The first is a Maunsell version to Diagram 1529. Introduced in 1930 a total of 299 cattle trucks to this diagram were built to essentially the same design as the the previous SR built trucks (Diagram 1515) except being on a steel on a 10’6″ rather than wood underframe, that were themselves derived from an existing pre-groupling ex SECR design. The final batch of 100 cattle trucks to this Diagram were introduced in 1939.
The two versions of the Diagram 1529 cattle truck released by Hornby, both in BR livery, are as follows: R6737, with running number S53732 and R6737A, with running number S53691.
The second is the later Bulleid version introduced in 1947 to diagram 1530. These trucks differed in construction with the end planks being replaced by plywood, reinforced on the inside by metal (I believe, in typical SR not throwing anything away style, from the metal left over when Bulleid carriage windows were stamped out from the sides).
The roof boards were also aluminum sheets rather than wooden. Finally the brake gear was modified to give compensated and equalised brake forces on all brake blocks and also the handbrake was lever moved to the end of the wagon to assist when shunting as it meant the lever was less likely to get covered in deposits from the wagon inhabitants, I will leave you to guess what I mean. Although due to their introduction date the SR livery would be thought of as being very short lived the fact that such trucks would not be repainted often they survived in this livery for a number of years, sometimes with just the SR on the sides and the ‘R’ of the ‘SR’ on the ends being removed.
The two versions released by Hornby, of the Diagram 1530 cattle truck both in SR small lettered livery, are as follows: R6735 with running number 52478 and R6735A with running number 52503.
I will pretty much let the pictures on this post do the talking as Hornby have captured these cattle trucks exceptionally well and I know they have been ably assisted by friend and Southern Coaching and Wagon stock guru Mike King. Hornby’s attention to detail shines through including all the, sometimes subtle, differences between the two Diagrams such as: body ends, brake gear, brake handles, vacuum pipes, roof construction, tie bars (Diagram 1529 only) even down to the correct split spoked wheels (a first for Hornby I believe) on the Diagram 1529 and disc wheels on the Diagram 1530 trucks. My only one question is the colour of the floor and curb rail on the SR version as this appears to be bauxite in colour, perhaps they are trying to represent varnished wood but either way I do not think this is correct (I will be touching mine up with SR brown prior to weathering).
Many have commented that the livery choice of BR livery for both the Maunsell Diagram 1529 trucks and the short lived Southern livery for both the Bulleid Diagram 1530 wagons was perhaps a little odd and it would have made more sense to either do one livery version of each or the Maunsell version being the SR livery version (with either pre or post 1936 styles possible i.e. large SR lettering or small SR lettering).
Although I agree that perhaps this would have been preferable, I can also understand that the way things are manufactured these days it puts possible constraints on multiple livery variations for one given manufacturing run bar a simple change of number. I am sure that other livery variations will be announced in due course, even though I intend to back date to SR liveries, a mix of large and small lettered style, my Diagram 1529 trucks.
Overall Hornby should be commended for these two cattle trucks. I am sure many, not just those modelling the SR or BR(s), will be adding a few to their fleets.