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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Podcast looks at our ambitious project in detail, we the Trustees answer questions and discuss: the history of 35011; the main issues arising from the project returning her to original condition including: the missing crank axle, replacement middle cylinder, the work being undertaken in cooperation with Loughborough University and the University of Birmingham students on drafting and smoke clearing arrangements; visibility from the cab; the potential liveries and dispels some of the myths associated with casing fires.
The Trailing Truck currently with 21c11/35011 is unique in preservation as being one of the later fabricated type that replaced her original cast type in 1955. All other preserved Merchant Navy locomotives have the cast type. The Trailing Truck was removed from the frames at the same time as the successful boiler lift on 2nd October 2020. The estimate for the full refurbishment, overhaul and certification of the Trailing Truck by specialist contractors is £15,000.
The GSNLP Society are offering a maximum of 30 members to purchase a ‘Lot’ for £500. Members are welcome to purchase as many ‘Lots’ as you wish up to the maximum target amount. Lots can be purchased as a single payment of £500 per lot or by five monthly payments of £100 each lot.
Members of the Fund Group would receive a number of benefits including:
Certificate of membership of the ‘Trailing Truck Transformers’
Name engraved on a suitable brass plaque attached to the refurbished Trailing Truck
Regular updates on the refurbishment of the Trailing Truck