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This months picture…

A Drummond T14 4-6-0 “Paddlebox” 461 a NuCast kit heads towards London with a Meldon Quarry Ballast train. The SR Diagram 1774 40T hoppers are modified LIMA wagons on new bogies and other details. Salisbury Cathedral can be seen in the background

A Drummond T14 4-6-0 “Paddlebox” 461 a NuCast kit heads towards London with a Meldon Quarry Ballast train. The SR Diagram 1774 40T hoppers are modified LIMA wagons on new bogies and other details. Salisbury Cathedral can be seen in the background

As promised a few posts ago when I first opened the box on my Wild Boar Models  45T Ransomes and Rapier Steam Breakdown Crane I thought it was about time I started “a whats on my workbench” type series of posts, so welcome to the first of my “Workbench Witterings“. I am sure I am similar to many modellers in that I have a large number of both unstarted and or unfinished projects on the go,  so hopefully this series of posts might encourage me to actually get on with completing a few of the outstanding things currently on the go…

The Wild Boar Models $T Ransomes and Rapier steam crane is nearly complete, just the rigging to go.

The Wild Boar Models 45T Ransomes and Rapier SR steam crane is nearly complete, just the rigging to go. I have modelled number 1561S

First up then is progress on the above mentioned 45T steam crane. Following the comprehensive instructions for this kit has been pretty easy and all the parts, a mix of 3D printed and brass etchings have good together really well and enabled painting to commence. Where the parts needed to simply clip in place or be held with brass wire acting as hinge pins such as between the weight relieving trucks and the main carriage or the crane body and the jib the they have done so very easily. The rest of the items including the etched brass detailing parts such as handwheels and cast name and information plates have been attached with superglue. The components were then primed using the the trusted Halfords plastic primer rattle can and then top coat brush painted using Humbrol matt 32 to represent the SR Grey livery as first carried by  the SR steam cranes before they became black in early British Railways days. I took the opportunity last week to give her a test run on the High Wycombe and District MRS test track and all was fine, although a little additional weight has now been added to the underside of the main carriage truck. All that is needed to complete is the rigging from the fine cotton supplied as part of the kit.

The Hornby Van B is now in malachhite green as number 231. I have also replaced the roof ventilators with white metal castings.

The Hornby Van B is now in malachhite green as number 231. I have also replaced the roof ventilators with white metal castings.

Secondly is the repaint of a Hornby Bogie Van B from its original blue livery to malachite green, embarrassingly looking back at this blog post here I actually started this at the end of last year! Before reassembling the Van B I took the opportunity to replace Hornby’s representation of the roof vents. Although these are separate mouldings  I felt they looked a little flat so replaced them with some suitable cast white metal ventilators from my coaching stock bits box (but I think there were originally obtained from Southern Pride Models) and then repainted the roof. She now awaits some weathering before she enters my operational fleet on Fisherton Sarum.

Now to kick off / complete a few more projects so watch this space…

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend sees a number of events taking place to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 27 May and 4 June 1940. The Dunkirk evacuation, code named Operation Dynamo, was decided upon when large numbers of British, French, and Belgian troops were cut off and surrounded by the German army. The event is renown for the use of a flotilla of 800 small ships used to assist in the ferrying of some 338,226 soldiers to safety.

southern-railway-coat-of-arms-1923-1948The Southern Railway played very much an unsung role in Operation Dynamo, as once back on English shores the soldiers that did not require immediate hospitalisation or were already based at local South Eastern England barracks were dispersed across England away from the main reception ports of Margate, Ramsgate, Folkestone, Dover, and Newhaven. During the nine period of Operation Dynamo the Southern Railway laid on and coordinated an amazing number of special trains comprising of : 327 from Dover, 82 from Ramsgate, 75 from Margate 64 from Folkestone and also 21 ambulance trains.
These trains, known as ‘Dynamo Specials’ moved 180,982 troops, many of these services were routed via  Redhill, Guildford and Reading, in order to bypass the capital and avoid congestion. Where possible during this period the Southern Railway maintained its usual passenger services with the except of some ‘omnibus replacement services’ to free the most heavily utilised routes between Guildford, Redhill and Tonbridge. Not only was coordination required of the departing trains but also the routing of the return empty stock workings and the necessary prepared engines required to keep the transportation of soldiers as quick and efficient as possible.

The Southern Railway mustered at very short notice nearly 2000 additional carriages, many borrowed from other railway companies including 47 complete rakes from the LNER, 44 from the LMS and 40 from the GWR.  Also 180 engines and crews were required from across the network, to operate these services.

To avoid delay at Dover and Ramsgate it was decided that the soldiers, many of whom had not eaten properly for days, would be fed on the trains. Just simply feeding the men provided Southern Railway with a major logistical problem,  therefore certain rail stations were designated feeding stations. These stations included Headcorn, Tonbridge and Paddock Wood Although the Royal Army Service Corps were primarily responsible many local Women’s Voluntary Service members were involved to provide food and drink, much of which was also donated or paid for with monies rasied from the local communities. Due to the number of trains involved only an eight-minute stop for soldiers to be provide with food and drink that bearing in mind this could have been 550 per train, was again an impressive feat.  Trains often had to pull into a siding at these food stops to ensure that any ambulance trains had priority over the use of the main lines.

Given that Southern Railway had practically no time to organise and plan such an activity, what it achieved without the use of modern day communication systems was very impressive; improvisation and word of mouth were the order of the day. One unknown Army general was famously heard to say: “I wish the Army could operate with as few written instructions as Southern Railway does in an emergency.”

The Southern Railway, as well as coping with troops from Dunkirk, was also evacuating no less than 48,000 school children from the coastal areas due to fear of a German invasion. It should not go unmentioned that a number of the Southern Railway’s shipping fleet and crew, varying from cross channel passenger vessels, Isle of Wight ferries and cargo vessels were actively involved out on the channel itself,  with a number being either badly damaged or lost to enemy action.

We should also pause to remember the 68,000 of our soldiers whom didn’t make it home safely from this particular French campaign.

R3302 1940 Dunkirk train pack

R3302 1940 Dunkirk train pack

The efforts of the Southern Railway has not gone unnoticed by Hornby who are planning to release this year their R3302 ‘1940 return from Dunkirk’ train pack;  comprising of a ex LSWR Drummond 700 class No. 325 and 3 coach Maunsell low window set No. 447. Unfortunately it does not look like it they have managed to release it to specifically coincide with the actual commemoration weekend but at least the intent is there.

I hope this post goes just a little way to remember and honour the part that the Southern Railway played in the overall success of Operation Dynamo out of what was a defeat in military terms in Flanders.

 

Graham Farish first announced that they would be producing brand new tooled Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics in N gauge back in March 2012. For any N gauge Southern Region modellers I can wholeheartedly say it has been very much been worth the wait. I am fortunate, even as a 4mm modeller, to have obtained one of these models to review before they hit the retailers’ shelves over the next few weeks.

35023 as straight out of the box

35023 as straight out of the box, note the loco to tender gap and permanently fixed drawbar (Image courtesy and copyright  A York)

The four models being initially produced by Graham Farish all represent members of the final third series of ten engines that entered traffic between September 1948 and April 1949 under the auspices of the newly formed British Railways, some three years since the introduction of the final members of the second series. They were numbered from new 35021 to 35030.

Another view of 35023 as out of the box before fitting the detailing pack (image courtesy and copyright A York)

Another view of 35023 as out of the box before fitting the detailing pack (image courtesy and copyright A York)

Further details of the three different series of the Merchant Navy class can be found on my very first ‘Talking Stock’ post here with illustrations based on my 4mm scale kit built examples. In brief; the third series differed from the first twenty members class, whilst although maintaining the more angular body shape from the second series, they had the wedge shape cab from new with three side windows and as a weight save measure had a  fabricated (instead of cast) trailing truck.

The other side of 35023 as out of the box, note the cranked connecting rod (image courtesy and copyright A York)

The other side of 35023 as out of the box, note the cranked connecting rod (image courtesy and copyright A York)

They were also eventually paired with larger 6000 gallon tenders on an asymmetrical wheelbase of 7’4” + 7’0” (rather than the previous 5000 and 5,100 gallon tenders of the first two batches with 6’6” + 6’6” wheelbase). Although it should also be noted that when initially introduced due to a number of the 6000 gallon tenders, being built at Brighton, not being initially available 35021, 35022 and 35024 were paired with 5,500 gallon battle of Britain tenders whilst 35026 and 35027 were paired with 4,500 gallon  West Country class tenders. Their eventual 6000 gallon tenders were available within a couple of months. My own 4mm model of 35022 paired with its temporary 5000 gallon light pacific tender can be seen here.

The Initial four versions being produced by Graham Farish are as follows:

  • 372-310, No. 35024 “East Asiatic Company” in British Railways Express passenger blue the livery she carried between October 1950 and June 1951.
  • 372-311, No. 35023 “Holland-Afrika Line” in BR Brunswick Green with early emblem livery as she carried between February 1952 and her rebuilding in February 1957. 35023 was one of only three members of the class not to carry the BR Blue livery (along with 35011 and 35014)
  • 372-312, No. 35028. “Clan Line” in BR Brunswick Green with late crest, the only Merchant Navy to gain the late crest in original form.  She carried this livery between August 1958 and being the last of the class to be rebuilt in October 1959
  • 372-313, No. 35021. “New Zealand Line” in lined Malachite Green livery with “British Railways” lettering in Yellow Gill Sans which represents her condition between receiving her correct 6000 gallon tender in November 1948 and being repainted in BR Blue in November 1950.

During the periods represented by the liveries above 35028 was allocated to Stewarts Lane and for a few months before rebuilding Nine Elms, whilst the other three were all Exmouth Junction allocated locomotives.

35023 with the front steps, coupling hook and cylinder drain pipes added

35023 with the front steps, coupling hook and cylinder drain pipes added

The models have captured the characteristic look of these engines extremely well,  and the level of detail really shows how much N gauge Ready To Run models have substantially improved over the last few years. This model in my opinion lifts the bar for N Gauge models even higher.
The exceptional detail includes: the front and rear lamp irons, with the three above the front beam separately applied in combination with the electric lamps, whilst the rest of the irons and lamps on and above the smoke box door and tender rear are moulded, fine ‘Bullied clasp type’ break gear including the external rodding, the rear tender ladders and a good representaion of the  cab backhead. The very fine smoke deflectors appear to be separately applied etched brass fitments,  although even the tender raves that are moulded also appear impressively thin. The removable coal load is cast metal to add some additional weight to the tender.

My first impression out of the box was that the gap between the locomotive and tender is slightly too large and that the connecting rod is quite obviously cranked part way along its length to enable the model to navigate 9” radius curves. The only other such compromise I thought Graham Farish had made was the omission of the front steps and cylinder drain pipes; however these are amazingly included within the accessory detail pack, for modellers with more generous curves, to fit (the drain pipes would benefit from a touch of copper paint). The detailing pack also includes: cab doors, an engine head signal disc (which will actually fit over the front buffer beam lamp irons), an alternative front bogie block (for those not wishing to fit a front coupling, although no coupling was included with my model), a front coupling hook complete with a representation of a screw coupling and steam / vacuum pipes for the front buffer beam! I would point out that the front steps are handed and my detail pack contained two of the same hand! It has only been in the last few years that such additional details have been included with 4mm scale RTR models (although I you think they are difficult to fit in 4mm you should try these!).

Running straight of the box was exceptionally smooth with pick ups also included on the tender wheels, which appear to be split axles running in bushes, with electrical transfer carried to the locomotive via the permanently fixed draw bar.

A test run for 35023 on the lovely 2mm finescale layout Tucking Mill (picture courtesy and copyright J Clifford)

A test run for 35023 on the lovely 2mm finescale layout Tucking Mill (picture courtesy and copyright J Clifford)

Its first run was in fact on Jerry Clifford’s exceptional 2mm finescale layout Tucking Mill, and she even managed to negotiate, albeit by bumping over them, the 2mm finescale points (which of course in reality, being made to N Gauge standards, the model is not designed to do!) I have not yet been able to give her a full run with a full rake of coaches but I have no fear that she will not perform exceptionally well. They would certainly look good in front of a rake of the latest Graham Farish Bullied that arrived last year or once once released in BR(s) livery the Dapol Maunsell coaches .

I can only say that this is an exceptional model and I repeat my opinion that it lifts the N Gauge RTR standards bar even higher, well done Graham Farish. I certainly believe this excellent model, will prove popular, and with any luck might in the future lead to some of the earlier Merchant Navy series and variations being tooled.

This months picture…

Bulleid Merchant Navy class 35023 ‘Holland-Afrika Line’ has just been coaled and sits along side Bulleid Leader class 36001 on shed following a trial run from Eastleigh.

Bulleid Merchant Navy class 35023 ‘Holland-Afrika Line’ has just been coaled and sits along side Bulleid Leader class 36001 on shed following a trial run from Eastleigh. Shed staff are clearing away ash from the ash pits in the foreground.

The humble brake van was an every part of the railway scene up until the advent of continuous brakes for most freight stock in the early 1970’s.  They initially served two purposes: to provide additional braking for ‘unfitted’ goods trains and of course somewhere for the guard to travel; later vans were also ‘fitted’ for working on such vacuum brake fitted formations. They were a weighted wagon equipped with a hand internally operable brake acting on all wheels they ranged from the 4 or 6 wheel type to sometimes 8 wheels and also bogie types. The ‘fitter’ versions having vacuum cylinders and able to operate the brakes on the fitted stock that make up the train (some vans were simply through piped to allow continuity of the braking system without being able to actually operate it, in such such cases just the hand brake was available for use.

The guard’s accommodation often included one or two verandas, or closed ends with windows and many also incorporated side lookouts or duckets to allow a guard to look forwards along the side of the train.

This post follows on from the announcement by Kernow models of their ready to run version of the ex LSWR 10T Road van to diagram 1541 and will look at a few kit built examples of brake vans that can be found running on Fisherton Sarum.

Dia 1545 Road Van

Dia 1545 Road Van

The ex LSWR 10T road van mentioned above was known as a road van as in addition to the guard’s accommodation and single veranda it has side opening doors on each side and the van could also be used the carrying of goods. This van is currently available in resin kit form from The Smallbrook Studio.  To the left can be be seen my model of the  20T Diagram 1545 Road Van also a resin kit form from The Smallbrook Studio. As well as being heavier that the Diagram 1541 road van  they were also larger, had a veranda at both ends and side duckets.

Dia 1543 Van, still requires completion of transfers and matt varnish before being complete

Dia 1543 ex LSWR 20T Brake Van, still requires completion of transfers and matt varnish before being finished

Staying with the LSWR seen left is my model  20T brake van to diagram 1543. This is built from a Jedenco / Falcon Brass  etched brass kit. 75 of this this type of van were built between 1915 and 1921.  They were known to staff as ‘new vans’ a name which they kept well into the 1950’s!

Dia 1748 ex SECR Ballast Plough

Dia 1748 ex SECR Ballast Plough Brake Van

Moving further east, I have a couple of ex SECR brake vans firstly is one that is perfectly at home on the ex LSWR metals as it is ex SECR 20T Ballast Plough brake van, diagram 1748, in the civil engineers fleet. The first lone prototype was built in 1914 with 3 more being built by the SR in 1932, a further 8 with slight detail differences were built in 1949.  In addition to the brakes it also had ploughs to rake freshly applied ballast from hoppers in the same train. These ploughs could be raised or lowered as required from inside the van. This particular model, also built from a Jedenco etched brass kit, has already featured on these pages here along with its companion rake of 40t Ballast hoppers.

Dia 1559 ex SECR 'Dancehall' Brake Van, yes must properly fix that handrail!

Dia 1559 ex SECR ‘Dancehall’ Brake Van, yes must properly fix that handrail!

Finally for this post we see an ex SECR ‘Dancehall’ 25T brake van to Diagram 1559 First introduced in 1921., The SR built a further batch between 1923 and 1927 but these had deeper 15” instead of 12” channel underframes and were given the diagram number 1560. These vans gained the nickname ‘Dancehall’ due to the large amount of space inside them. They were long lived vans surviving, albeit modified, in departmental use right up until the 1970’s. This is built from a Cambrian Models plastic kit. 

There are of of course other SR related kits and ready to run brake vans available and some of these may well feature in future posts, although my review of the Bachmann RTR 25T ‘Pill box’ brake van can be read here. 

Wild Boar Models develop and produce a number of 3D printed 4mm scale kits including a 45T Ransomes and Rapier Steam Breakdown Crane based on the two that were supplied (procured by the Government) to the Southern Railway, four to the Great Western Railway and a further two to the Ministry of Supply /  LNER under wartime conditions in 1940. The kit has been made possible by the evolving technology of 3D printing. The kit was available, and indeed I purchased mine, before the Bachmann announcement last month, reported here,  that they intend to also produce a Ransomes and Rapier 45T Steam Breakdown Crane, although Bachmann have not fully started the development of their model so the actual versions they intend to produce is not yet known.

Front cover of the excellent instruction book

Front cover of the excellent instruction book

The design was based on the 36T cranes supplied to the Southern Railway in 1937 with a modified carriage to suit the increased capacity.
The two supplied to the Southern Railway were numbered 1560S (later British Railway numbers DS1560 and ADRR95209) and 1561S (DS1561 and ADRR95210). Number 1561S is preserved and is currently located on the Swanage Railway.
The two Southern Railway cranes were prior to nationalisation based at Guildford / Nine Elms and Feltham, the crane allocated at Salisbury was in fact a 36T version, so not totally correct for Fisherton Sarum but will hopefully make appearances nevertheless.

The impressively and well thought out kit and supplied box

The impressively and well thought out kit and supplied box

The kit, although at first glace might seem a little pricey at £167 (including Post and Packing) impressively contains everything that you need as in addition to the 3D printed parts it includes wheels, bearings, sprung buffers, wire, etched plates and detail parts and even the cord for the rigging. NEM coupling pockets are provided along with tension lock couplings that can be fitted if required.

The comprehensive instruction booklet

The comprehensive instruction booklet

Also included is an excellent, professionally produced and printed instruction manual with prototype information including pictures, very step by step instructions and diagrams. It has the feel of the excellent instructions provided within LEGO Technic kits of my childhood. Even the box with a machine cut foam insert for all the parts, including a pre-cut area to locate and protect the completed model, is very impressive and well thought out.

An example off the parts supplied with the kit

An example off the parts supplied with the kit

As with most 3D printed parts at the moment there is some cleaning up to be carried out  due to the linear printing process, but they have designed the kit to minimise the impact of this. I intend to post details of this kit build as I progress on a proposed new blog section “Workbench Witterings” so what this space.

Further details on the prototype cranes that this kit is based on can be found on the excellent website of the Breakdown Crane Association and also within Peter Tatlow’s excellent book “Railway Breakdown Cranes, the story of breakdown cranes on the railways of Britain volume 2″ ISBN 978-1-906419-97-4

 

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