Baggage trucks has been used on South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR) and subsequently Southern, Continental boat-train services but these original 6 wheel vehicles ceased being used at the onset of World War 2. When boat-train services resumed in 1946 simple goods stock ‘Conflat D’ wagons were initially used until it was decided by the Southern Region in April 1950 that the Golden Arrow service required two specific baggage trucks once again. Two good wagons (Nos 39582 & 39614) were duly converted, painted in passenger crimson lake (side rails only), renumbered S4207/8 and could be seen loaded for four SNCF boxes. They were given the British Railways operating code of Carriage Truck – Open (CTO). The livery changed to green in June 1956 and they lasted until February 1961 when they regained their original goods stock running numbers and livery.
My friends at Marc Models are in the process of producing an etched kit for these two baggage trucks, including their boxes and although slightly outside own modelling period I have been privileged to have been give one of the test samples to have a look over. As with all Marc Models products (see my Talking Stock #5 post about the Cinema Coach and Inspection Saloon models from their stable here) the quality is exceptionally high, and dimensionally accurately matches the drawing available, figure 22, in Mike King’s An Illustrated History of Southern Wagons, Volume 4 (OPC, 2002) and available pictures. The inset floor etch currently slightly too narrow but this is known to Mike Radford of Marc Models (and indeed the issue was advised to me by Mike) and is being corrected, which is of course the purpose of such a test etch and assembly, the brake handle is also currently missing.
The details are of a high level and include the various chain anchor points to hold the boxes down along with, as you would expect, all the fine underframe details and brake rigging. The boxes themselves are exceptionally fine including their vents, doors complete with mesh panels, end ladders and handrails giving access to the lifting eye included on the roofs. The lifting eyes has been the subject of some discussion and doubters but Marc Models do have photographic evidence, which I have seen, showing the eyes as they have be reproduced here in miniature.
This kit, once released by Marc Models, will be invaluable to anyone trying the model the correct Golden Arrow formation between mid 1950 and February 1961.