Tag Archives: 21C6

A summer excursion to Little Bytham

A am very fortunate through this hobby of ours to have met and made a good number of like minded friends. many of whom I would consider as being ranked as being talented and exquisite modellers that can achieve things far in excess of my humble efforts.  Yesterday I was fortunate and privileged, to have been able to arrange for a small gang of fellow members of the High Wycombe and District MRS, to visit and play trains on Little Bytham the layout , of  one such friend , the well known, talented and respected  Tony Wright. Little Bytham is in fact being built as a collaborative effort via horse trading with other talented modellers whom have carried work in return for Tony’s talents in the building of locomotives etc.

35023 sweeps into Little Bytham station. At this stage a lot of the buildings are just mock ups.

Tony, who actually lives in Little Bytham,  is modelling the East Coast Mainline Station and surrounds as it was in the mid 1950’s before both the station itself and the Midland and Great Northern that crossed the ECML at Little Bytham closed. The four track mainline through the station and its interesting track plan from an operation perspective is a perfect recreation of that period,and that, along with his superb stock completes the scene perfectly.

21C6 heads south towards Little Bytham Station

In addition to being operate his layout for the day, we were also able to run some summer excursion specials from our own collection, so I took great delight in adding a splash of malachite to the East Coast Mainline.

Firstly a few pictures in the shape a couple of my original Merchant Navy Pacifics 21C6 and 35023 ahead of a rake of Phoenix (ex BSL) Bulleid coaching stock, seen running alone the embankment and through the station as some of my fellow High Wycombe and District MRS members look on.

Another view of 21C6

It is  pretty certain that the Bulleid Leader never reached the ECML but I couldn’t resist. Also my Drummond T14 ran through Little Bytham with the SR Cinema coach no. 1308s and Bulleid ‘Inspection saloon’ no. 100s, both paired with their respective generator vans.

The Bulleid Leader waits for the road as a Pullman races past.

All in all it was an excellent, fun and enjoyable day just as the hobby should be.  It was a real tonic of a day being full of laughter, enjoyment and great company.

T14 on the Cinema Coach and ‘inspection saloon’ rake.

I must express my own personal sincere thanks, and those of  all of us at the high Wycombe and District MRS to Tony for allowing us and trusting us to play on his train set!

ps. also thanks to Tony for taking and providing me with the last two photographs, that remain his copyright.


Talking Stock #28 The Atlantic Coast Express – ‘ACE’

The Southern Railway had many evocative and well known named trains such as: the Golden Arrow, Bournemouth Belle, the Devon Belle (as per my Talking Stock #20 post here) but one of the possibly most misnamed but well of them all was the Atlantic Coast Express. Why misnamed you might ask, well of the ten different termini served by the train there was only one that was actually on the Atlantic Coast itself!  The genius of the name, however, a result of a competition run in the Southern Railway staff magazine in 1924 credited to Guard F. Rowland* of Woking, was its simple initials ‘ACE’.

Merchant Navy 21C6 complete with ACE headboard on Fisherton Sarum

Owing to fiddle yard length I do not run a full length or accurate ACE on Fisherton Sarum, although one of my Merchant Navy class locomotives 21C6 Peninsular and Oriental Line does carry the Southern Railway style ‘scalloped’ style headboard and I have to say does look the part on my rake of Bulleid post 1946 coaches.

Although no new train service was actually introduced, the 11am from Waterloo on Monday 19th July 1926 was the first service to carry the name. There were a number of eventual charms about the ACE;  firstly it was a multi-part train with through coaches for destinations including: Seaton, Sidmouth, Lyme Regis, Exmouth, Exeter, Plymouth, Torrington, Ilfracombe, Padstow and Bude. On leaving Waterloo it could be formed of up to 13 or so coaches, many of them brake composites being single coaches for a specific destination, 2 or 3 coach sets (Plymouth or Illfracome)  and a 2 coach restaurant set (as far as Exeter). Secondly on many days there were in fact more than one ACE run in each direction sometimes as little as 10 minutes apart leaving Waterloo. The formation and destinations varied over time so this post is a summary rather than a particular snapshot in time.

Another View of the 21C6 on the ACE. 21C6 was in a fact a Salisbury based engine for her entire life.

The ACE not only changed engines at Salisbury, as per all Waterloo – West of England trains (except for the Devon Belle, that changed just down the line at Wilton as a PR exercise) but also on many occasions the train split there with the second portion containing the through coaches for the Dorset coast branches.

The King Arthur N15 class were the originally engines of choice from Waterloo but these were soon displaced post war by the Merchant Navy Class. once past Exeter where the train once again split a variety of locomotive classes could be seen ranging from  the King Arthur N15. Bulleid light pacific classes  (post war) to more humble engines such as 4-4-0 T9’s and 2-6-0 N classes.

 *footnote, it is unfortunate to record that Guard Roland although based at Woking at the time of the competition moved shortly after to Torrington (one of the ACE’s destinations) but sadly just six years later became the only person to killed on the North Cornwall Railway due to a shunting accident.