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.
Two of the more unusual items of rolling stock built by the Southern Railway were the cinema coach and also the 100 inspection Saloon. Marc Models have now produced kits of, or will supply Ready to Run, these unique prototypes.
These models of both coaches and generator vans are in etched brass and have the correct style bogies. A resin cast generator is fitted into the vans that can be viewed through the van windows.
The Cinema coach was built during 1938 utilising an underframe from a fire damaged ‘Thanet’ stock composite No5337. It emerged from Lancing in November 1939 and could seat 60 persons. Initially it was used for wartime staff instructional films and subsequently staff mutual improvement classes.
Numbered 1308s it was paired to a generator van, no 1309s, converted from an ex LSWR 24’ passenger luggage van. The unit lasted some considerable time, well into British Rail and was finally withdrawn in 1973. Whilst in British Rail ownership it was repainted in 1964 with a Blue and White livery close to but not quite the same as Rail Blue and Grey.
The Inspection saloon as it was officially designated and numbered 100s, built in 1946, was in fact a sleeper coach with 11 beds longitudinally placed within individual compartments. There was a central corridor, an attendant’s room and also a shower room, hence the large water tank mounted on the underframe. Each compartment also contained a wash basin and even a trouser press!
Although it was built to Bulleid’s standard 64’6” coach length and body profile the construction of the body was entirely plywood and formed a bit like an upside down boat hull. Even the bogies were unique to this coach mounted on radial pads which was said to give a very smooth ride. Whilst Bulleid remained as CME the coach running paired to its own generator van 97s converted from an ex SECR utility van in 1947 and was also often run along with dining firsts and a saloon brake.
Due to the use of the Cinema coach for staff mutual improvement classes I can justify its occasional appearance on Fisherton Sarum having being shunted into the coal stack siding road allowing the shed staff and loco crew to take part in such classes.
The Inspection Saloon will either trundle past on the main line to and from the West County or will occasionally be seen berthed in the carriage siding.
The model railway world and mainly Southern Railway meanderings of Graham 'Muz' Muspratt