Rapido trains UK have announced today (15/04), following a bit of a hint in one of their videos and me here, that they are producing the South Eastern & Chatham Railway Diagram 1558 six wheel brake van.
Forty 6 wheel 20t brake vans were built in 1898 by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway to Diagram 1558, were heavily influenced by Midland Railway practice, these had an open veranda platform (i.e. with no roof, sides or end rail) at one end and a closed one at the other. In 1910, 50 more were built with close verandas at each end, between 1914 and 1920 the original vans were modified with two closed verandas. These modified vans were identifiable as had double top rails at the rebuilt end only. All 90 vans entered Southern Railway stock and most passed into British Railways ownership. There were also variations in some of the framing, planking and handrails between the two built versions.
Rapido trains UK have tooled two bodies to cover both the dual veranda vans built new in 1910 as well as the single-ended vans re-built that year and have announced ten initial versions:
931001: No. 2033, SECR grey with black underframe
931002: No. 2036, SECR grey
931003: No. 55382, SR brown with red ends (large lettering)
931004: No. 55389, SR brown with red ends (large lettering)
931005: No. 55384, SR brown with red ends (small lettering)
931006: No. 55366, SR brown with red ends (small lettering)
931007: No. S55429, SR brown with red ends (BR lettering)
Graham asked: “should this review be written in the style of a Rapido marketing email,?” but Muz replied: “Right! Stop that! It’s silly.” (with apologies to Monty Python).
I will let the photographs show how good these wagons are and provide a welcome addition to any SECR / SR modellers fleet. I have only purchased some of the SR versions, but SECR grey and BR Grey and BR Departmental versions are also available (see the original announcement here for the full list).
Some people, without a full understanding of the manufacturing process and where production and overheads costs lie, might crawl away at the RRP of £32.95; and whilst there might still be other manufacturer’s wagons currently available at a cheaper prices the realistic market prices are certainly changing as all costs rise. The models can of course be purchased from retailers such as Kernow Model Rail Centre at a slight discounted price.
The 7 plank open, later SR Diagram 1355, were the SECR’s most numerous wagon with 2,121 wagons built between 1915 and 1927. The SR later fitted a sheet rail. British Railways had over 70 wagons still in service in the 1960s and the last withdrawals were not until the 1970s.
The 5 plank opens utilised the same steel chassis as the 7 plank wagons, 550 were built between 1920 and 1925 with standard buffers that became SR Diagram 1347. A further 150 were built 1921/2 with the self-contained buffer type, as on the 7 plank D1355 wagons, and became SR Diagram 1349. They were withdrawn in the early 1960s.
All three versions of the models, sharing the same underframe, have accurate body detail, including nicely planked insides and now becoming much more common on wagon releases good underframe detail that includes both etched and wire parts. They also feature nice split spoked wheels on 26mm pin point axles that run in brass bearing cups, that along with a with a weight of 32/33g ensures very free running.
On my examples, as can be seen in the images, a number of the self contained buffers were glued in at wonky angles, but being separately applied parts these can be carefully reaffixed.
The livery application is crisp and well printed. I know for a fact that Rapido have used the same paint colour reference for the SR brown as the Kernow Model Rail Centre used on their ex LSWR/SR D1541 Road Vans, although this appears to be a slightly lighter but still more than acceptable, interpretation of the colour possibly due to the more satin finish, (and even lighter with the lighting I have used in my studio), on these wagons.
The tooling allows for both taped plain and the self-contained buffer types for the 5 plank wagons. To achieve the 7 plank versions fitted with the sheet rail, a pre shaped wire rail along with its moulded mounting brackets for each end of the wagon have been supplied as separate parts for the use to fit (glue) into position (instructions on fitting is included with each wagon).
The holes in the mounting brackets for the sheet rail will need to be opened out very slightly to ensure a good fit. The one slight downside is that the rail can only be positioned in the upright position, as it would be when a sheet was covering the wagon and not, without some modification, in the sideways stowed position when no sheet was fitted.
[Edit 20/05/22] To demonstrate the effect that the factory satin finsih has on the paint colour as mentioned above, the picture left shows a comparison with one of the Rapido wagons given a coat of Testors Dullcoat matt varnish and brings the colour much closer to the Kernow Model Rail Centre ex LSWR/SR D1541 Road Vans, and therefore looking much better.
After 1901 the D class locomotive further more powerful locomotives were investigated by the companies. After Richard Maunsell took over as CME from Harry Wainwright in 1913 he worked on a series of new locomotives which were intended for a long service life, this involved the conversion and upgrade of 11 E class locomotives, resulting in the E1 class. This proved very successful and led directly to the conversion of 21 D class into the D1 class between 1921 and 1927. Though arguably, not as elegant as the D class equipped with a larger boiler, a belpaire firebox and longer travel cylinders the D1 was able to produce a considerable haulage and power increase over its predecessors.
Initially allocated to Ashford shed, this class was to be found all over the south-eastern division from London to the south.
All were withdrawn by November 1961, no preserved examples exist.
The model variations include:
Two frame variations (to include early D class conversions)
Two cab types
Two Chimney types
Two Smokebox types
Three dome types (with/without top feed and plated)
Two safety valve types (Ross-pop and Ramsbottom)
With and without smokebox snifter valves
‘High capacity’ tenders
Manual and automatic lubricators
The technical specification includes: Diecast Chassis, Sprung buffers, Pickup from tender and driving wheels, 5 pole motor located within boiler, Pull-out PCB for tool free DCC & Speaker fitting, ‘Snap-fit’ conductive tender drawbar, Options for bass reflex speaker in tender (pre-wired) and Firebox glow.
Rails of Sheffield advise “The images shown are of early decorated production samples and are NOT final production models. Various amendments and alterations have been reported and will be altered on final production models.” Lets hope that that the review includes improvements to some of the colours lining and lettering, but such issues were not improved on the previous D class (I still need to replace the decals’ on mine with correct versions).
One of those occasions when looking for an item you come across something else purchased a while back and think I should really finish it… The other weekend I found my 3D print, purchased from Simon Dawson’s store on Shapeways (in those days when it was much cheaper than it is now…), of the 6 wheel ex SECR Diagram 1558 20 ton brake van, so I decide it would make a nice quick win project and be one less thing on the things to do one day list/pile…
Forty 6 wheel 20t brake vans were built in 1898 by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway to Diagram 1558, these had an open veranda platform (i.e. with no roof, sides or end rail) at one end and a closed one at the other. In 1910, 50 more were built with close verandas at each end, between 1914 and 1920 the original vans were modified with two closed verandas. These modified vans were identifiable as had double top rails at the rebuilt end only. All 90 vans entered Southern Railway stock and most passed into British Railways ownership. There were also variations in some of the framing, planking and handrails between the two built versions.
The one piece 3D print represents one of the first batch as modified with both verandas enclosed and correctly has the double end top rails at one end only. The print is pretty basic but was quite a clean print, has no floor, and is missing some of the fine top corner strapping detail. Handrails and lamp irons are thankfully not part of the print as I would have replaced these if they were. I replaced the printed bufferheads with finer turned metal 13″ versions, drilling the buffer stocks to take the shank.
There is no representation of any brake gear, although its omission is mainly hidden behind the full length stepboards, I will at some stage add some brake gear, once I purchase some suitable etches.
I drilled the axle boxes to take standard brass top hat bearings for Alan Gibson 12mm spoked wheels, wire handrails and lamp irons fashioned from Bambi staples were added. I made a floor from plasticard onto which I added some lead strip to bring the van weight up to approx. 45g to ensure good running. To affix the floor I first glued some plastic ‘T’ section to the inside of the van sides to provide a mounting location.
Following a dust of Halfords plastic primer the van was brush painted with Precision Paints P91 SR Freight Brown and P90 SR Venetian Red for the ends. Lettering and numbers were added using HMRS Pressfix SR Wagons transfer sheet 13 and then give a spray coat of Railmatch satin varnish to seal. Glazing for the end windows was glued into place before the floor was affixed.
For the time being standard slim tension lock couplings have been fitted using Peco Parkside P34 mounting blocks. It is now added the queue of items to be weathered.
I am sure there is potential for these vans to become a ready to run model one day, as interest in pre-grouping rolling stock is on the increase, hence this project being done as a bit of quick win.
Rapido Trains UK have announced today that they are producing two new ‘OO’ gauge South Eastern & Chatham Railway wagons, the Diagram 1426 van and the Dia. 1744 ballast wagon. These vans were introduced in 1918 and they lasted well into BR days, setting the standard for future Southern Railway vans. They shared the same 9ft 6in wheelbase with the five and seven plank open wagons that Rapido Trains UK announced in May last year.
The Diagram 1426 covered van sports the following features: Two types of rain strip: curved and straight, separately-fitted end ventilators, split-spoked wheels running in metal bearings and highly detailed body and under frame.
There are eleven Diagram 1426 covered vans being produced:
927001: No. 15782, SECR grey
927002: No. 16737, SECR grey
927003: No. 45784, SR brown (Pre 1936)
927004: No. 47162, SR brown (Pre 1936)
927005: No. 45779, SR brown (Post 1936)
927006: No. 47159, SR brown (Post 1936)
927007: No. S45819, BR grey
927008: No. S47144, BR grey
927009: No. DS47182, Departmental black
927010: No. DS776, Departmental brown
927011: No. 15750, SECR grey (preserved)
The SECR used the same underframe for the two-plank ballast wagon. It introduced the first in 1919 and 120 were built over the next four years. Incredibly, BR didn’t withdraw the last until 1971. The Diagram 1744 two plank ballast wagons feature: Two floor versions: curve-ended planks and straight-ended planks, split-spoked wheels running in metal bearings and highly detailed bodies and underframes.
There are eleven Diagram 1744 vans being produced:
928001: No. 567, SECR grey (preserved)
928002: No. 11835, SECR grey
928003: No. 1789, SECR grey
928004: No. 62454, SR red oxide (Pre 1936)
928005: No. 62398, SR red oxide (Pre 1936)
928006: No. 62371, SR red oxide (Post 1936)
928007: No. 62466, SR red oxide (Post 1936)
928008: No. 62444, BR Departmental
928009: No. DS62402, BR Departmental black
928010: No. S62433, SR red oxide with BR(S) number
Rapido Trains UK have also confirmed that they are going to produce the ‘OO’ gauge LBSCR ‘E1’ 0-6-0T, that was first mooted by Model Rail magazine. They have not yet confirmed what running numbers or liveries they are going to produce, although I am advised it will cover as number of variations throughout their lifetime and geographical working area, but I will post the details as soon as further progress is advised.
A total of 51 of these elegant D Class 4-4-0s were built in a number batches between 1901 and 1907 and were built by a range of manufacturers. The first 20 being split between Sharp Stewart and Ashford, the next ten by Dubs & Co, followed by ten split between Stephenson & Co and the Vulcan Foundry, the final eleven being once again built at Ashford. Initial duties included the main express services on all the SECR primary routes. Following grouping and the introduction of newer classes such as the N15s they were transferred to secondary services such as Brighton, Redhill, and Basingstoke stopper services.
The main withdrawal commenced in the early 1950s with the last six being based ay Guildford shed working Redhill – Reading services until 1956. Number 737 was saved for preservation as part of the National Collection and cosmetically restored to SECR livery and condition.
During the 1920s Maunsell rebuilt 21 as the D1 class with a larger Belpaire firebox, superheating, new piston valves a Maunsell style cab. Whilst improving efficiency and performance the rebuilds certainly lost much of the elegance.
The dimensionally accurate model certainly captures the Wainwright elegance wonderfully well with an excellent detail. It features a five pole motor driving the front driving axle and a the now standard Dapol ‘pinless’ click to couple drawbar that also carries the electrical connections. Electrical pick up is on all tender wheels as well as the locomotive driving wheels. For those using DCC the model has Next-18 Decoder socket mounted on a pull out PCB behind the smokebox door with space for a 15mm x 11mm cube speaker, plus provision for customer to fit a larger bass speaker in tender. The loco also features the current gimmick of a firebox flicker although on DC you would hardly know its there .
The level of detail is wonderful including a good representation of the inside valve gear between the frames, well modelled and decorated cab details even down to the padlocks on the tender tool lockers. Separately applied items include lamp irons, pipe work, handrails and factory fitted brake rodding on both loco and tender. The buffers (once you have fitted the tender buffer back on that often appears to be loose in purchasers boxes) are sprung. The the slightly plasticly coal, is not so much removable as needs something to stop it falling off the model, and the water tank and limited coal space on these engines is modelled underneath it.
An accessory bag supplied with the model includes: cab doors, front guard irons and steam pipes and pipework (incorrectly names as vacuum pipes in the supplied owners manual), along with a ‘tool’ for pulling out the DCC PCB in the smokebox for what Dapol call their ‘Tool-less’ system (begs the question when is a tool not a tool?).
The tooling appears to allow for at least two chimneys. When first introduced they were fitted with tall copper capped chimneys. Circa the1910s they fitted with a shorter larger diameter capuchon chimney, that were then gradually replaced with a plain topped version after Grouping, although 1493 kept the capuchon chimney until withdrawal. With this model in the wartime SR Sunshine black livery it is unlikely to have still been fitted with a capuchon chimney (unless I can find a dated picture). The BR Lined black version also has the same incorrect chimney.
When announced the Engineering Prototype shown included a diecast boiler and smokebox, model 4-4-0s are notoriously difficult to balance, the boiler and smokebox on the production models first appeared to be plastic, with the loco minus tender only weighing 155g, and traction tyres fitted on the front driving wheels. Having now taken the model apart it does seem to still be die cast. The change to fit traction tyres only came to light publicly when the models started to be delivered, so is no different than a Hornby T9 in that respect.
Possibly if a more traditional DDC approach with the socket etc. hidden inside the tender, rather than the smokebox and some of the boiler, more space might have been available for more weight. As a compromise, and to be fair a nice touch, the model has been supplied with a non traction tyre fitted drop in wheelset (along with a tool for undoing the crank pin screws.
It has also been noted that on my model the front traction tyre fitted wheelset has blackened rims whilst the rear drivers are not blackened. This is possibly as a result of the late change to fit traction tyres as the spare wheelset supplied matches the rear driving wheels i.e. no blackened rim. Also supplied are spare traction tyres. The model runs smoothly and quietly on the limited space on Canute Road Quay although I have not been able to test its haulage capacity.
A number of the models have also demonstrated a notable difference in height between the tender and loco running plates. My example is not as noticeable as some. It appears to depend on the fit of the loco body at the rear of the chassis, I am led to believe that all the models have has some form of work carried out on them in the UK to ensure the loco to tender drawbar connects correctly and the rear chassis screw tightness is part of the fix.
The other elephant in the room is the decoration: on my model pictured the Sunshine lettering and number style character height is 3.71mm when they should be a scale 9″ high i.e. 3mm and also the green shading is over weight further emphasising the oversize and immediately detracts to my eye, and I will have to replace them at some stage, some of the metal work has been picked out in bright silver paint, including the coupling hook and randomly part of the smokebox door hinge and will need toning down.
From photos I have seen the SR olive green version, as well as the odd shade of green, has an issue in some areas with registration of the lining and also the number font on the tender not a correct representation of the SR number font, the ‘3’ should be completely curved version and is to heavy weight The RH side tender emblem on BR lined version faces the wrong and also suffers from the number font being too heavy and therefore the over width of the numbers is too wide.
So my D Class will need to get in to the workbench queue to have the chimney corrected and the lettering and numbers replaced along with the toning down of some of the random silver paintwork and generally weathered.
Overall, despite the livery niggles and the slightly disappointing overall weight and the need for traction tyres the Rails Of Sheffield in partnership with Dapol Wainwright D Class 4-4-0 is a lovely model with some great detail and a welcome addition for pre-grouping / SR modellers especially those modelling the Eastern Section and will be a good stable mate for the Bachmann C class, Hattons P Class and the Hornby H class.
Rapido Trains UK have announced their first 00 gauge ready to run South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR) / Southern Railway wagons. These new models cover the Diagram 1355 seven-plank open and both the Diagram 1347 and Diagram 1349 five-plank opens built by the South Eastern & Chatham Railway on the same Maunsell/Lyons steel underframe.
The 7 plank open, later SR Diagram 1355, were the SECR’s most numerous wagon with 2,121 wagons built between 1915 and 1927. The SR later fitted a sheet rail. British Railways had over 70 wagons still in service in the 1960s and the last withdrawals were not until the 1970s. Several were sold into private usage, including the Port of Bristol Authority. Three of these wagons are preserved on the Bluebell Railway.
The 5 plank opens utilised the same steel chassis as the 7 plank wagons, 550 were built between 1920 and 1925 with standard buffers that became SR Diagram 1347. A further 150 were built 1921/2 with self contained buffers and became SR Diagram 1349. There were withdrawn in the early 1960s. Two D1347 wagons are preserved, with one at the Bluebell Railway and the other at the Severn Valley Railway.
The model tooling allows for variations to be produced including the 7 plank open with or without sheet rails and the two different buffer styles on the 5 plank versions. They will include high levels of body and underframe detail, metal stamped parts, metal bearing cups and NEM coupler pockets.
The initial versions being produced are as follows:
My friends, Andy and Richard at Rapido Trains UK advised: “that it their long-term aspiration to undertake some manufacturing in UK. Having a UK design team is the first step towards that. These wagons have been researched and designed 100% in the UK. All we’ve done is to send the completed CADs to our factory in China for manufacturing. We have a number of wagon projects that our UK designers are working on and we’ll announce these shortly. As the business grows and our range increases in size, we’re hopeful that more and more rolling stock projects will be designed in this country.”