Announced as part of the Hornby 2021 range, the Gangwayed Bogie Luggage vans have now arrived at retailers. An old version of these vans with a Triang heritage has been in and out of the Hornby catalogue for some time and were very much something of a comprise (and it is not even worth comparing it with these new models). These newly released models are totally new tooling from the ground up and are a very welcome addition to the range.
In total 120 of these bogie luggage vans were built between 1930 and 1931 utilising ex LSWR underframes and bogies surplus from the bogie block set coach bodies having been converted to electric stock. They were built in three batches, two different body lengths and three different bogie centres, that resulted in three initial diagrams:
- Diagram 3098, 25/26 ton 51’ 3” bodies with 36’ 3” bogie centres. Numbered 2331-54 & 2482-90
- Diagram 3099, 27 ton 53’ 3” bodies with 36’ 3” bogie centres. Numbered 2355-70 2461-81
- Diagram 3100, 25/26 ton 51’ 3” bodies with 34’ 3” bogie centres. Numbered 2281-2330
The Southern coded all these vans as ‘GBL’ (Gangwayed Bogie Luggage) and later COR PMV (Corridor Parcels Miscellaneous Van) by British Railways. They we utilised mainly on Southampton Docks and other South Western Section trains and also the various overnight newspaper and mail trains.
30 of the GBLs were converted for use within casualty evacuation trains as stretcher vans. Most of these had received droplights in the centre pair of doors and when returned to the SR in 1945 these and a small number of other vans were allocated new diagram numbers as follows:
- Diagram 3096 for the 17 ex Diagram 3098 51’3” GBLs
- Diagram 3097 for the 16 ex Diagram 3099 53’3” GBLs
They were initially introduced in SR Olive Green livery, a very small number gained malachite. Under British Railways they were in crimson, with as few as six gaining BR(s) Green.
All were withdrawn during 1959 and 1960 with twelve lasting to 1961 for pigeon traffic. A few entered departmental use and two have been preserved. Number S2464S was painted in Pullman car livery in July 1962 and stored in readiness to be used as Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral hearse on 30th January 1965
Hornby have initially released five versions of the 53’3” Diagram 3099 / 3097 vans
- R60020 – SR GBL Gangwayed Bogie Luggage van No.2362 to Diagram 3099 in SR Olive Green livery (it should be noted that 2362 was one the vans that received centre door droplights and reclassified to Diagram 3097 in 1945, so is modelled by Hornby in its pre-war guise)
- R60020A – SR GBL Gangwayed Bogie Luggage van No.2471 to Diagram 3099 in SR Olive Green livery
- R60021 – BR COR PMV Gangwayed Bogie Luggage van No.S2477S to Diagram 3097 (modified from Diagram 3099 with centre door droplights) in BR Crimson Lake livery
- R60021A – BR COR PMV Gangwayed Bogie Luggage van No.S2467S to Diagram 3097 (modified from Diagram 3099 with centre door droplights) in BR Crimson Lake livery
- R60057 – BR COR PMV Gangwayed Bogie Luggage van No.S2464S to Diagram 3097 in Pullman livery as used as Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral hearse on 30th January 1965
These models capture the prototype extremely well and dimensionally accurately matches the the drawings that I have available. The heavy ex LSWR underframe is well represented, including the steel flitching plates and their retaining bolts at each end where the extension pieces for the original frames were fitted. The underframe also includes the battery boxes, dynamo and the brake vacuum cylinders, rods and V hangers, although the pull rods to the bogies are omitted.
The bogies are a well detailed recreation of the LSWR 8 foot bogies that were used on these vehicles. They are fitted with steel disc wheels, it should be noted that prior to 1945/48 these vans ran on Mansell wooden cantered wheels.
The NEM coupling pockets are mounted on close coupling cams. However, the tension lock coupling fitted already extends beyond the buffers by approximately 4mm and although the cam allows the coupling to pivot in a arc and is sprung it is hardly driven by any bogie movement except at the very extremes of bogie swing. Even on the short radius turnouts and tight curves of Canute Road Quay the coupling and cam hardly moved, so I will be fitting a shorter tensions lock coupling in mine.
The models contain a wealth of detail and separately applied parts that includes: wire handrails, flush glazing with the protective mesh behind each window, all door handles, lamp irons, starboards, delicate foot steps on each corner of the chassis, sprung metal buffers, brake handrail and pipework.
The roof mounted torpedo vents are also be separate parts and sit well alongside the moulded rain strips and the roof board mounting brackets.
Supplied within an accessory pack are steam heat and vacuum pipes that can be fitted into the buffer beam at each end if you are not using the tension lock coupling. Also supplied are the oval chalk boards that should be located under the outer window of the pair either side of the centre doors. These would have been fitted to the vans from new, however at least one of the preserved vans and also S2464S as the hearse van does not have them fitted. This is I assume is why Hornby have not included these as part of the body moulding or factory fitted them.
Livery application is to the standard that you would expect from Hornby with the shaded numbers and letting on the SR version clearly well reproduced and includes the extremely small by legible “Distributed Load 10 Tons”, the end lettering and data panel, sole bar cast number plate (although the plate on the crimson version still shows the ‘R’ of ‘SR’ whereas under BR only the ‘S’ would have been picked out in white) and brake wheel notations.
These GBLs give Southern modelers another excellent luggage van to work alongside the Bogie Van B and 4 wheeled Van C previously from Hornby (or Ratio and Parkside kits) and the 4 wheeled PLV and Van U from Bachmann (or Parkside kits).