Following it being revealed in the Bachmann Quarterly British Railway Announcements for Autumn 2022 last August the newly tooled SECR/SR Maunsell/Lyons Diagram 1559 25 ton good brake have arrived with retailers.
These ‘modern’ 24ft long 16ft wheel base brake vans with their spacious guard’s accommodation were first introduced in 1918, and given the nickname ‘Dance Halls’ . Although the later SR standard brake vans had shorter bodies they used the same underframe design. A total of 60 of the vans were built between 1918 and 1927 with the first 20 being on 12″ channel underframes to Diagram 1559 and the following 40 on 15″ channel underframes to Diagram 1560.
The difference between the two diagrams can be easily spotted as the Diagram 1560 vans did not have the bottom 3″ plank across the sides. Ten of the vans were rebuilt in 1963 for departmental use, these had one balcony incorporated into the van section and end windows added becoming diagram 1571, some of these after being both vacuum and air piped lasted until the 1980s.
These vans were forerunners of the later SR built Diagram 1578/1579 ‘Pillbox’ vans that had shorter bodies on the same SECR design underframe.
The four Bachmann models of the SECR Diagram 1559 brake vans being released are as follows:
- 38-915 D1559 SECR Grey livery No. 11902 (also the number of the preserved prototype at the Whitwell & Reepham Station in Norfolk)
- 38-916 D1559 SR Pre-1936 Livery No.55462 (although many would have survived in this livery style well after 1936 and throughout the war)
- 38-917 D1559 BR Grey livery No. S55457 as based at Hither Green
- 38-918 D1559 BR Departmental Olive Green No. DS 55455 as based at Eastleigh Permanent Way Dept.
The model nicely and accurately captures the size and bulk of these brake vans. Non sprung (cue the usual nonsense cry, from some quarters, that for the price these should be sprung) self contained buffers are fitted, corner lamp irons (although the end lamp irons are moulded) and handrails are separately fitted items. Care should be taken when handling the models from the sides as the longitudinal rails are very fine and correctly fixed the body at the ends and middle four locations, so the longer prototypical centre section could be easily bent.
The chassis includes brakes nicely inline with the wheels (but not easy to drop in alternative wheelsets for the slightly wider gauges without some slight surgery), and the brake pull rods, the main longitudinal pull rod is included for the user to fit that although simple to do so, although I am not sure of the reason for it why it wasn’t factory fitted.
It appears that only a single tooling exists for the main chassis part that also includes the W Irons and axleboxes, all version are therefore the same, fitted with the later BR style axleboxes but the difference between them and the original style fitted is very slight and possibly a reasonable compromise from normal viewing distances.
The SECR and SR version run on 10 spoke wheelsets whilst the BR versions are correctly with the later style disc wheels. The vans weigh a reasonable 45g and are free running.
These models are also complete with interior detail such as stove, brake handwheel and desk visible through the end windows, The body can be easily prised and lifted off the chassis by releasing the four chassis to body clips at each corner of the main body section, as seen in the image left .
Decoration is neat and crisp as we would always expect form Bachmann, however the sole bars on the SECR and SR livery versions to be correct for the period should really be in body colour with only the iron work below the solebar in black, although as 38-915 is numbered 11902 which is the same as the preserved example, in preservation this currently has black painted solebars. The SR brown colour and finish is nicely rendered and consistent with their SR Pillbox brake vans
The SR and BR Grey versions also have working instruction boards printed directly on the bodysides, in reality these were actual wooden boards affixed and therefore slightly proud of the sides, but again it is a reasonable compromise from normal viewing distances.
Overall these are excellent models, and were often requested, so will be a popular edition to most SECR ./ SR / BR(s) fleets, and I am sure other livery variations will follow in the future.