The first ex LSWR Gate Stock sets arrive from Kernow Model Rail Centre

The ex London and South Western Railway (LSWR) Gate Stock sets from Kernow Model rail Centre, were first announced back in 2011 and although the process has been a long one with a few hurdles along the way, the four being produced will shortly be available (they are on the high seas as I post this). These models represent the 56ft stock, originally built by the LSWR in 1914 and as later converted in the early 1930s by the Southern Railway to their now adopted standard Pull Push air control system and the SR four window driving end.  The last set to be withdrawn was set 373 in 1960.

K1002 Set 373 in Southern Malachite.

Although only four versions are being produced there are a still a number of detail variations  which has meant quite complex tooling, albeit still with a small number of compromises. The most obvious difference being the addition steel plating applied to Set 373, towards the end of its life under British Railways, which has been tooled for as version K1004. The four versions being produced are as follows:

K1003 set 363 in Crimson. Picture courtesy and copyright A York / BRM

K1001 Set number 374 in SR Lined Maunsell Green livery as carried between 1933 and circa 1945
K1002 Set number 373 in SR unlined Malachite Green livery as carried between circa 1947 and circa 1949

K1004 Set 373 in BR Green. Picture courtesy and copyright A York / BRM

K1003 Set number 363 in BR Crimson livery  as carried between 1950 and circa 1954 when subsequent re varnishing made the lining almost invisible.
K1004 Set number 373 in BR (SR) Green livery  (in reality a heavily varnished malachite with BR number style and positions)

The distinctive etched gates. Picture courtesy and copyright A York / BRM

Each set, comprising of a driving brake trailer and an open third trailer, is packaged within a single Kernow Model Rail Centre house style cardboard box with inner plastic tray lid. As supplied the coaches are fitted with NEM tension lock couplings in sprung close coupling cams, but two different lengths of a fixed bar are also provided to allow for different close coupling lengths between the coaches depending on the purchaser’s layout curves.
The characteristic vestibule ‘gates’ that of course gave rise to the name of this stock are exquisitely etched but robust separate components. A detail pack includes the air control hoses for the coach ends.

The development of these models has at times been frustrating with a number of challenges that have tried to be over come in as economical way as possible.  I certainly believe that the models capture the very distinctive look of the prototypes well, however as with any process especially when the CAD work, tooling and manufacture is carried out on a different continent, such as in this case China, occasionally it does mean errors do creep in, but lessons have certainly been taken on board for future projects.

Both the ‘outer’ ends of K1002 Set 373.

A number of us involved have tried to ensure the result is as good as possible, now that the first of the finished models have arrived, the majority of the product batch is still on the high seas, on closer inspection a small number of errors have additionally come to light. However I do not feel that they detract from the overall model (except for those most vocal & critical rivet counters for whom perhaps no model will ever meet their perceived standards).

A view of the underframe of the Driving Trailer.

Starting below the underframe the bogies frames are slightly too narrow (the datum for tooling possibly taken from the 00 wheel face), resulting in slightly deeper stepboards but with weathering the effect will be minimised. Although the detail of the construction of the underframe with fine trussing and planking etc. is well represented an error has occurred with transposing of the brake V hangers and battery boxes (the correct information for which was certainly supplied to China).

A closer look at the driving trailer coach of set 363. Picture courtesy and copyright A York / BRM

On the coach bodies, the slight tumblehome and panelling is well captured and windows fitted with flush glazing throughout. A number of the small detail differences between the sets has been incorporated where possible, such as the air operated whistle and front window wiper positions. The large number of complex and varied shaped handrail are all separately fitted items.

A view of the ‘inner’ ends showing the nicely represented gangways.

A slight mismatch in the tooling tolerances between the side and ends has resulted in a very slight height anomaly only visible on very close inspection of the relative positions of the top of the front driver’s windows and the waistband beading on the inner ends, but this is hardly visible on the final painted versions and the eye is very much drawn to the good representations of the scissors gangways, steps and handrails.

A comparison between the later plated set 373 in Green and set 363 in crimson. Picture courtesy and copyright A York / BRM

On the version of set 373 with the plating (K1004) the requested representation of the flush rivets, that certainly should not be proud, has resulted in slight dimples where perhaps the intention was for the pint to fill more than it has.
Inside the coaches a representation of the seating is provided however one internal partition is missing between the second and third window bays at the inner ends and also for some inexplicable reason a bench seat goes totally across the inner end (on the driving trailer only, the trailer coach is correct) which should be two plus seating giving access to the corridor connection between the coaches.

An extract of an image of set 363 taken in 1952 showing the waist lining

At least one magazine reviewer has questioned the waistband lining on K1003 set 363 in BR crimson, but this is correct and  the photographic evidence exists, taken at Bisley in 1952  (although I cannot post the full image here due to copyright).

The body off the chassis. Picture courtesy and copyright A York / BRM

The large windows and the open nature of these coaches with the gated vestibules do mean that populating the models with passengers would add to the effect and to enable this the bodies are simply fixed the chassis via clips along the sides and can therefore be carefully prised apart. Grip the body in one hand and the chassis in another, and sliding a piece of plasticard between the two, lift the body off, leaving the representation of the interior seating  available to add passengers and if required perhaps add the missing partition and cut back the spurious bench seat across the inner ends.

These sets could be found on the following services at various times during their life: Seaton – Seaton Junction, Yeovil Town – Yeovil Junction (363, 373), Lee-on-the-Solent – Fareham (374 up to 1930), Ascot – Guildford (374), Farnham – Guildford (374), Bordon – Guildford (373), Plymouth – Turnchapel (363, 373, 374), Plymouth – St Budeaux – Tavistock (including Bere Alston – Callington non Pull Push mode) (363, 373, 374). They also saw railtour use during the 1950’s and have been recorded at Plymouth, Plymstock, Callington, Turnchaple, Exteter, Yeovil, Salisbury, Bisley, Bournemouth, Poole, and Swanage.

I am sure that most modellers of the SR and BR(s) of the western section will be pleased with these models and they make an ideal companion to either the Hornby ex LSWR Drummond M7 or indeed the Kernow Model Rail Centre’s own commissioned ex LSWR Adams O2 0-4-4Ts.


11 thoughts on “The first ex LSWR Gate Stock sets arrive from Kernow Model Rail Centre

  1. They are a lovely prototype and I can’t wait to see them in green. I wonder if you should have kept the deficiencies to yourself for a later article, and seen which magazine reviewers know what they are talking about?

    They remind me of the unique GWR Clifton Down set.

    1. Hi Simon. I did think long and hard what to include in my review but wanted to maintain my integrity, as most magazines have now also reviewed the models I felt an open and honest review would be the best approach. I still think the models look the part and will be popular

  2. I doubt that any magazine reviewer will have the depth of knowledge that Muz has on this relatively obscure vehicle so all will fail your test. That might provide a satisfying new stick to beat people with for some, but does it achieve anything?

    On the basis that for every prototype there is always someone who has lived their life examining the minutiae then the only way to do a review if to get that person on board – at which point readers will be faced with a many page rant listing every perceived inadequacy. This will then be followed by forums being filled up with disagreements from others who have also lived their life for that prototype slagging off the original reviewer AND bringing new “facts” to the table.

    Mag reviewers have to write for their readers, many of whom will accept errors if they like the model. Oxford’s cattle wagon is the classic case – flawed but still selling well. If the people who pay your wages (the readers) are happy, then that’s what matters.

    I’m sure that the gate stock will be the latest “wurst model evah” to many but that may be as much to do with some of the people involved in the development as much as any errors. On-line reviewers can be entertainingly blinkered over errors if the box colour is right.

    (Cue the usual, “Mags won’t say bad things because of advertising” comments – untrue, but it won’t stop anyone)

    Ultimately, these look good and deserve to do well. If you want a Gate Stock set and find the RTR models beneath you, there is still kit building. You’d have to be pretty skilled to beat these though.

  3. Honestly I can live with the underframe deficiencies and can fix the interior but if someone told me I could buy a ready to run LSWR P/P set I’d have laughed in their face. Thank you Graham for the honest review it is much appreciated, now how about s9me RTR Ironclads lol

  4. Can you tell me if the Gate stock has arrived
    I have a set on order
    Post code is NP16 5FB
    John Phillips

    1. John

      Yes the Gate Stock as arrived and orders are being dealt with by Kernow but you would need to contact them to check your order status (I do not actually work for them)

  5. Hi Graham,

    If the bogie frames are noticeably narrow, do you think that there would be problems converting them to EM or P4?

    1. Peter

      The pin point axle length is 25mm and distance between the inside of the frames is 22.5mm. I had originally requested that a standard 26mm pin point axles were used but unfortunately this is not the case.

  6. They were also regularly used on the Turnchapel branch line into Plymouth – nice phot of a pair in a four-car set behind an Adams 02 crossing the long-gone Hooe Lake swing bridge in my late friend and colleague Crispin Gill’s book ‘Plymouth River.’ The Adams was still in LSWR livery.

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