All posts by grahammuz

A railway modeller with a keen insterest in all things Southern Railway especially the 1946 to 1949 period. I can often be seen on the exhibition circuit with my Layout Fisherton Sarum or assiting MIke Wild the Editor of Hornby Magazine with his layouts at shows. I am also long time member of the High Wycombe and District Model Railway Society

Smoke & Steam, new quarterly ‘bookazine’ includes a number of Southern related articles

A brand new quarterly ‘bookazine’ from Warners called ‘Smoke & Steam’ is published on 30th April.  It features some of the most famous – and not so famous – routes, featuring locomotive legends. With in-depth articles, including a few Southern related, explaining some of the most important moments of Britain’s railway history from a variety of eras and regions, accompanied by rare or never-before printed photography.

The contents include:

  • Following the Flagman – Dover’s seafront railway – Paul Isles
  • Forgotten Railways – The Peak District mainline – Graham Nicholas
  • Iconic stations: Exploring Salisbury – Graham Muspratt
  • Travelling in style: The Cornish Riviera Express – Adrian Vaughan
  • Mallard: A Pictorial Journey – Tony Wright
  • Semaphore Signalling – Why the GWR was different – Mike Romans
  • There’s only one Edinburgh Waverley – Ian Lamb
  • Restoring an SR Merchant Navy – Graham Muspratt
  • Goods locomotives of Buckingham – Tony Gee
  • Moving Into BR – the GWR becomes the Western Region  – Mike Romans
  • Modelling coal and how to weather a locomotive – Phil Parker

Available digitally or on high-quality paper, Smoke & Steam should make an ideal coffee table companion.

It will be on sale from 30th April – you can pre-order your copy here. Initially, this bookazine will only be available mail order, but once things start to return to normal in the news trade, it should be appearing in good newsagents.

Despite including my articles, having had the opportunity to review some of the excellent other contributors articles from which I have already learnt new things (everyday is a school day) I think it will be a cracking publication.

 

ex SECR D Class samples from Dapol/Rails of Sheffield/ Locomotion Models break cover

First announced in October 2019 and following amendments to the first livery samples, examples of all seven versions of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway D Class 4-4-0 from the Dapol production line have been received by Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield. These have now completed extensive running trials and final checking. Following approval, shipping from the factory can now commence.

Six versions are available to Pre-order through Rails of Sheffield:

  • 4S-027-001 Wainwright D Class SECR Green 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.488 (Pre Grouping Silk Finish)
  • 4S-027-002 Wainwright D Class Southern Lined Maunsell Olive Green 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.1730
  • 4S-027-003 Wainwright D Class BR Sunshine Black 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.31731
  • 4S-027-004 Wainwright D Class BR Lined Black Early Crest 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.31574
  • 4S-027-005 Wainwright D Class SECR Grey (Scraped Beading) 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.726
  • 4S-027-006 Wainwright D Class Southern Sunshine 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.1734

The preserved example No. 737 is currently on display at the National Railway Museum, York. This locomotive has been produced exclusively for Locomotion Models, which is part of the National Railway Museum.

On the whole these look very good and I am looking to receiving my SR Sunshine version (although I will be renumbering as the numbers size shown above do appear to be slightly too large). Definite improvements have been made since the initial livery samples were shown, especially with the colour rendition of SR Olive and the toning down of the bright handrails on some versions (although strangely not the BR lined black version). The only other issue that has been noted is also with respect to the BR lined black version in that the cycling lion early emblem is facing backwards on the right hand side, at the time these emblems usually faced forwards on both sides as it does on at least one photo I have seen for 31574. As these are production samples it is likely to be too late to amend this.

 

Daffodils and Easter wishes

The daffodils are in bloom this Easter as LSWR B4 ‘Guernsey’ in early Southampton Docks lined green livery shunts at Canute Road Quay.

May the angels protect you, may the sadness forget you, may goodness surround you and may your God always bless you. The budding trees, the new flowers, and birds that sing, whisper to me that it’s Easter,  and that the supermarkets full of chocolate of all shapes (many irrelevant), sizes and special offers!

Here is wishing a warmth in the firebox of your soul on Easter & always!

Merchant Navy 35024 ‘East Asiatic Company’ in BR Blue livery with early emblem form @hornby finally arrives.

It was back in February 2015 when Hornby announced that they were to produce an original air smoothed Bulleid Merchant Pacific as part of their 2016 range, however they were then moved into the 2017 range. These first three R3434 21c1 ‘Channel Packet’, R3435 21c3 ‘Royal Mail’ and R3436 35028 ‘Clan line’ arrived in March 2017, see my review of 21c1 here.

Since then the high seas between China and the UK have been devoid of Hornby ‘Merchant Navys’ despite further versions being announced in the following years.

The right hand side view etched plates fitted

In 2018 R3632 35024  ‘East Asiatic Company’ in BR Blue was announced (the subject of this post as she has now arrived) followed in 2019 by three more versions: R3649 3502 ‘Ellerman Lines’ in BR Green, R3716 35022 ‘Holland America Line’ in BR Green and R3717 21c7 ‘Aberdeen Commonwealth’  in SR Wartime Black. Included in the 2021 range is R386135017 ‘Belgian Marine’

Hornby advised in January 2020 that the delay was due to one of factories that they use being unexpectedly at very short notice closed, due to a compulsory purchase of the land by the Chinese government! This impacted the production of the new Merchant Navy pacifics, versions of the Peckett industrial tanks, the Class 800 Azuma units and the GWR 61xx large Prairie tanks locomotives. Work to move the tooling to another factory appeared to take longer than had been hoped, however the backlog is slowly being cleared and 35024 should hopefully now be the first of the overdue excellent Merchant Navys to arrive.

Rear RH 3/4 view, the lamp lens are yet to be toned down at the rear

35024 ‘East Asiatic Company’ was the first Merchant Navy to appear in the Express Passenger Engine Blue for the newly formed British Railways. Whilst in Eastleigh works in March 1949 for Minor ‘D’ examination she was first painted in a dark blue (note: not recorded as being the experimental purple seen on some other non SR loco classes, including the wheels with three horizontal crimson bands and a hand painted early emblem on the tender. She however re-entered service in what was to become standard express passenger blue with two horizontal black bands with white lining, following inspection of the livery by members of the Railway Executive at Brighton Works.
The blue paint of the time wasn’t very practical in practice, due to the elements and the heat from the engine causing the paint to discolour and fade quite quickly hence the change to BR Green for all Passenger Locos only a couple years later.

Hornby have released 35025 in the condition in which she first ran for a while in this livery from Exmouth Junction, as she does not carry the later BR shedplate (72A) it would have been fitted sometime before May 1949 when she was also fitted with the battens on the smoke deflectors to carry the ‘Devon Belle’ wing plates.

The left hand side view, although I’ve painted out the silver lamp lenses I might make the lens itself gloss.

I wont repeat my full review of 21c1, as that can be read here, and all the positives are also on this model such as: the powerful 5 pole motor with large flywheel, all wheel pick up, the excellent coupling rods, the loco and tender brake rodding being factory fitted. Included with the loco is an accessory pack that contains a pair of front steps for the loco buffers (which might like the wheel tyres benefit from being toned down from the bright steel) and rear steps for the bufferbeam on the tender, cylinder drain cocks and also steam and vacuum pipes.
As with previous Hornby Bulleid pacifics the front steps in particular require glue to affix and is a little tricky.
The fixed rear pony truck has flangeless wheels as is Hornby’s current way for pacific wheel arrangements allowing for a better representation of the ashpan etc. It may be possible if your curves allow to fit a flanged wheelset if you wish.

Rear LH 3/4 view

The paint finish, whilst a slightly different hue to the printed box not that it maters, I think captures the drabness of the BR Passenger Blue well.
If the carpet crawler YouTube reviewer is to be believed this should along with the flat casing top be a stain finish just because another manufacturer has done so on a totally unrelated model, he also claims the nameplates are etched but printed, and that the brass cab side window frames are wood (to be fair they are wooden on the Light Pacifics). For the record whilst the blue could perhaps be only slightly more satin for an ex works condition, the casing tops should be matt black.

The excellently detailed cab interior, even down the the gauge dials, has been supplemented by some crew by Masterpiece Figures.

I only have two niggles are firstly the nameplates, whilst separately applied plastic parts are printed with none of the casting relief and I have already replaced these with etched plates from Fox Transfers.
Secondly the characteristic electric lamps that in reality are hung from the underside of the swan neck style lamp iron and also had electric conduit attached. However, on the model the lamp is attached via a perpendicular lug on their back into holes on the sloping front casing them to point upwards slightly and the very fragile plastic lamp irons to lean backwards.
I have replaced these three lamp irons with etched brass versions so they are stronger and correctly face forwards, this in itself helps trick the eye away from the lamp angle. The lamps are correctly black (the lamp casing were black painted brass on the front and body livery colour painted steal casings on the tender). Each lamp has a silver blob to represent the lens, however in reality these lens appear black unless the lamp is actually lit. I have touched away the sliver and again it helps disguise the incorrect angle of the lamps.

For anyone wanting to renumber and rename to one of other the third series Merchant Navys in blue (for details of the differences between the third series read my first ever Talking Stock post here) then the candidates to choose from are 35021/2 and 35025 to 35030, as 35025 is one of the three members of the class along with 35014 and 35011 (currently being restored back to original condition) not to gain the Blue livery.

Little niggles aside, I stand by my earlier review these models have raised the bar, capturing splendidly the front face and overall look and details that Bulleid intended. Along with the excellent smooth running powerful drive system and chassis we can look forward happily to adding other versions to the fleet when then arrive, with hopefully more versions from the tooling suit that Hornby have produced to cover most of the potential variations.

 

 

 

58 years since “The Reshaping British Railways” – the Beeching report

It is fifty eight years to the day when Dr Richard Beeching’s report “The Reshaping of British Railways” was officially published on the 27th March 1963. This is a sneaky repeat post from eight years ago on the fiftieth anniversary, buts its still spoken about, with many opinions to this to this day, and currently in connection with the proposed reopening of some lines (including Exeter to Okehampton), so my thoughts below are still relevant.
Beeching was at the time Chairman of the British Railways Board. The report identified 2,363 stations and 5,000 miles of railway line for closure, 55% of stations and 30% of route miles, with an objective of stemming the large losses being incurred during a period of increasing competition from road transport (that also had the support from the then Minister of Transport Ernest Marples whom it appears had connections to the road construction industry and had also appointed Dr Beeching in the first place).

The Reshaping of British Railways report published on 27th March 1963

Many of the ex Southern Lines especially in the South West of England, already coined the ‘Withered Arm’ were closed as a result of the report.  A few protests resulted in the saving of some stations and lines, but the majority were closed as planned and Beeching’s name is to this day associated with the mass closure or ‘axe’ of railways and the loss of many local services in the period that followed.

One such line that was included in the report for closure was the Tamar Valley line, however due to the poor road links in the area some of the line was reprieved and survives to this day between Plymouth, Bere Alston and Gunnislake. In fact there is currently a growing movement and support for the line to be reopened north of Bere Alston back to the south end of Tavistock and even through to Okehampton to complete the Northern route to counter the issues sometimes experienced along the ex GWR coastal route via Dawlish.

In addition to the main report there were a number of maps included within Part 2 of the report  that diagrammatically showed data such as : Density of passenger traffic, Distribution of passenger receipts, Density of Freight Traffic, etc. and of course the main outcome of the report the map of Proposed Withdrawal of Passenger Services. I have reproduced part of a couple of these maps in this post showing the Southern Region area.

Map 3 of the report shows the Distribution of Passenger Traffic Station Receipts (click for larger version)

Map 9 of the report shows the Proposed Withdrawal of Passenger Services (click for larger version)

Map 9 Proposed Withdrawal of Passenger Services shows the almost total eradication of the ex Southern Railway lines in the South West as already mentioned above, and a number of other lines in the South of England identified for closure. Happily some of these lines have now since reopened as preserved railways such as the Alton to Winchester line that between Alton and Alresford now forms the Mid Hants Watercress line.

Although the Unions at the time released their own version of the report titled “The Mis-shaping of British Railways” a number of facts (although in some cases the basis of collection of some of these facts have been questioned) within the report appear compelling and it is perhaps not surprising that the conclusions reached were so wide ranging.
The report with respect to freight on the railways proposed the move to quicker, higher capacity trains, serving the main routes, transporting greater loads to hubs. Not with the then traditional wagons but trains loaded with containers. Does that seem familiar today?
Whilst Beeching is a much maligned name  for the passenger line closure section of the  report it is easy perhaps forget that this report dramatically modernised freight on the rail network promoting containerisation and long-distance freight haulage.

Who knows if the current growth and success of the railway network as it stands today would have been possible if some of the harsh decisions as a result of “The Reshaping of British Railways” were not taken…

Canute Road Quay features in the April 2021 issue of BRM Magazine and Fisherton Sarum makes surprise appearance on BRM TV

I am pleased to advise that Canute Road Quay makes an appearance in the April 2021 issue of BRM Magazine available now for digital subscribers and next Thursday 25th March for the printed version.

I open the article by discussing; how although I usually model the 1946 to 1949 Southern Railway time period but to allow for additional interest and how I have purposely built Canute Road Quay without having any fixed item that dates the period modelled or really identifies the area modelled.
This allows a wider range of rolling stock to be used giving a range of different locomotive traction, classes and livery choices that would be still be applicable to such a quayside location. I then continue to describe the layout itself.

The article, similar to some of my “Making Quay Changes” posts,  covers time periods from the mid 1920s through to the 1960s starting with Southampton Docks liveried Adams B4 0-4-0t  through to the USA 0-6-0 Tanks, industrial locomotives and the Class 07 diesels.

Being only a small layout, the scenic section is only 4ft x 1ft, in this issue of BRM Magazine it joins two other ‘compact’ layouts which is the theme for the issue.

Due to the current Covid restrictions rather than being able to enjoy the company and a new pair of eyes photographing layout, I provided all the photographs myself to go alongside my text.
I have used my Canon G7x camera along with my set of studio lights and spent some time one weekend in January utilising the camaras ability to automatically take a series of ‘Focus Bracketed’ images, i.e. multiple shots from the same position but with slightly different focus point, and then combining them in post processing into one image to give an increased depth of field. Hopefully you will enjoy the article and the accompanying photographs.

As a surprise bonus the April edition of BRM TV that is available for digital subscribers of the BRM magazine this month has Fisherton Sarum as its main layout feature (remind me to teach Howard how to pronounce Sarum..).
It includes video footage, that to be honest I had forgotten had been recorded, from the appearance of Fisherton Sarum at the Doncaster Festival of British Railway Modelling way back in 2012 and also includes another look at some of the images that accompanied the article about the layout in the February 2021 issue of BRM Magazine.

The next Steam’s Lament book from Strathwood Books Merchant Navys, Q1, Leader and other works

Following on from the excellent Steam’s Lament – Bulleid’s Light Pacifics is the next title provided to me by my friends at Strathwood Publishing being Steam’s Lament – Bulleid’s Merchant Navy, Q1, Leader and Other Works .  This follows the same wide landscape format and contains 208 pages often with multiple black and white photographs per page along with well researched and informative captions.

Steam’s Lament – Bulleid’s Merchant Navy, Q1, Leader and Other Works features every one of the Merchant Navy Pacifics in both original and rebuilt condition, together with a photograph of every one of the forty Q1s and all three of the Leaders that were built. Also included are some of Bulleid’s other works including his diesel & electric locomotive designs.

The photographs are from a number of sources such as: Colour Rail, Rail photoprints ,  Anistr.com,  Rail-Online.com and the Transport Treasury so will not be new to many of us, there are also a number of photographs from other sources such as Strathwood‘s own library, that are not so familiar and many that I have not seen before. The selection of photographs covers details and variation in liveries and naming and shows the locomotives in action, on shed and in close up. The benefit is that the they are all nicely reproduced in the one book and at a good size afforded by the wide landscape format.

It is of course good to see pictures of my favourite Merchant Navys 21c6/35006  ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ and 21c11/35011 ‘General Steam Navigation’ included with again some images new to me.

As well as the Leader, the book includes a few examples of: Bulleid’s drafting improvements with Lemaitre multiple-jet blast pipes and their associated large diameter chimneys, his 500hp 0-6-0 shunter 11001, the 350hp 0-6-0 shunters, the 10201-3 main line diesels and also the Bulleid/Raworth electric locos 20001-3.

By covering each locomotive in turn and including images from different periods of their working life it provides a great reference for railway historians and modellers alike, a welcome addition to my library and wholeheartedly recommended.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all mums especially mine

It’s Mother’s Day today, although it might have become a bit like ‘Clinton’s day” (other card shops are available) it actually originated in the Middle Ages, when the custom developed of allowing people who had moved away from where they grew up to come back to visit their home or ‘mother’ churches, and their mothers, on the fourth Sunday of the Christian festival of Lent.

T14 class No 461 heads west passing the daffodils appearing on the embankment between the main line and 21c159 “Sir Archibald Sinclair” waiting on shed.

This year perhaps the day is more poignant than ever as due to the current restrictions in place Mother’s Day can not for many be the usual family gathering, however for most of us we can still keep in touch, pick up the phone and perhaps also say it flowers.

For those whose Mum is unfortunately no longer with us, then take a moment to smile with a memory as she still lives on in your heart and mind.

Raise a glass to all Mum’s out there but especially mine.

 

 

 

Dapol announce O Gauge exLSWR/SR/BR Adams B4 0-4-0 Dock tank.

This weekend at the second Gauge 0 Guild Virtual exhibition, Dapol announced that they are to produce an 0 Gauge version of the ex LSWR/SR/BR 0-4-0 Dock tank, These follow from their well received 00 gauge range, you can read my review here.

The B4 Class were produced in 3 batches (all overall classed as B4) commencing in 1891 as follows:B4 batch numbers 85 to 94D6, batch, finished in 1892, numbers 81, 95 to 100, 102, 103, 76, K14 batch, built 1907, numbers 82-4, 746/7 (later renumbered 101, 147).
Each batch had detail differences between them especially the last batch of 5 which had Drummond style boilers rather than Adams style, other detail differences included open / closed cab, cab roof profile (K14 batch) and buffers (appears to vary over lifetime).

Dapol have are initially producing six models in the first production batch:

  • 7S-018-001 – L & SWR B4 0-4-0T “NORMANDY” – As Preserved – Open Cab
  • 7S-018-002 – L & SWR B4 0-4-0T “CAEN” Southampton Docks lined brown 90
  • 7S-018-003 – B4 0-4-0T SOUTHERN Black 88
  • 7S-018-004 – B4 0-4-0T (Drummond Boiler) BR Early Emblem 30084
  • 7S-018-005 – B4 0-4-0T BR Late Crest 30096
  • 7S-018-006 – L & SWR B4 0-4-0T Lined Green 91

Normandy in preservation has an open cab whilst 88 and 90 both had closed cabs. 30096 before preservation in BR days had a closed cab that differs from 88 and 90 as it was modified from an open cab at the start of the war. 30084 being part of the later K14 batch originally had a Drummond boiler with dome mounted safety valves and a Drummond style chimney rather than the Adams stove pipe.

Dapol advise that the tooling will allow for four cab types, two different boilers, two forms of chimney as well as other prototypical features catered for such as water injectors and buffers. Hopefully but yet to be confirmed the 0 Gauge versions might also include, features missing / needing improvement: such as the tool box positions, extended lower middle lamp iron from the base of the smokebox and correct some of the cab sheets details, although again this might required more that four cab variants.

The specification includes:

  • Slide in PCB – With space for 2 x sugar cube speakers and a 21 pin decoder socket
  • Removable cab roof held in place with magnets to allow easy crew insertion
  • Highly detailed cab interior with fire box glow
  • High torque five pole skew wound motor driving the rear wheels
  • Fully compensated die-cast chassis to give excellent running capabilities
  • All wheel pick up
  • DCC Ready, DCC Fitted and DCC Sound Fitted models available

Expected Q2 in 2022.

Firstly, no I am not going to upsize Canute Road Quay and secondly more information about the B4 class can be read in my Talking Stock #38 Post here.