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Posts Tagged ‘Atlantic Coast Express’

By the very nature of the fact that you read this blog of mine, you will I am sure like me not help but admire the Bulleid Merchant Navy paciifics in either original air smoothed or their later rebuilt form. It is of course  great that a number have been preserved and are at various stages of restoration / preservation. Regular readers of this blog will know, via the two dedicated pages that I have been for a while a shareholder in both 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. and 35011 General Steam Navigation. I am also a member of the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society that maintains and operates 35028 Clan Line in such wonderful running condition on the main line.

35011 at her new home on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway

The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society that has relocated, in April this year, to its new home at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway (yes it is in Swindon but not on that railway but the old Midland and South Westen Junctin Railway!) which enables a wider range of work to be carried on the locomotive was not practical at its previous temporary location.

Myself hands on, finding out just how heavy a 17ft long Bulleid Boiler tube is as we remove them!

Work has started in ernest to remove items that either need restoration or due to her be being restored in the Bulleid original condition are no longer required for this locomotive. Removal of the boiler tubes has also started prior to the boiler being lifted in due course to allow full restoration work on the chassis to commence.

In additon to being able to enjoy getting my hands dirty on the 1:1 scale locomotive going back to my engineering roots, I am delighted to be able to announce that I accepted a request by the The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society and the General Steam Navigation Community Interest Company (CIC) to become both a trustee of the Restoration Society and a Board Director of the CIC.
Membership of the Society costs only £12 per year and full details on how to become a member can be found here. Also full updates on progress can be found on the 35001 Society website here.

35006 flying the Red Ensign and a commorative headboard for Merchant Navy Day

As I reported last month the 3rd September is now, since the year 2000, recognised as being Merchant Navy Day with its’ slogan  ‘ Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day – 3rd September’.

35006 heading towards Toddington

Merchant Navy Day  has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘island nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports.
This year Merchant Navy  Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ ran on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day.

No.6 approaches Hayles Abbey Halt

She was suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. The day started with a brief remembrance service at 9.30 am for members of the Merchant Navy Association, at Toddington station, before pulling the 10am departure for Cheltenham. I spent an enjoyable day as a guest on the train and also took the opportunity later in the day to photograph her from vantage points along the line.

35028 still looking pristine having arrived at Salisbury

Lastly,  in the company of my parents spent a very enjoyable day travelling over 400 miles and 14 hours behind the splendid Merchant Navy pacific 35028 ‘Clan Line’ on the UK Railtours ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ that although it didn’t actually reach the coast, headed from Waterloo to

No.28 at Exeter Central

Exeter via Salisbury down the South Western, returning via Bristol, Bath and Westbury to Salisbury before returning up the South Western back to Waterloo.

Clan Line meets the new at the Buffer stops at Waterloo having travelled over 400miles

35028 ‘Clan Line’ is a credit to the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society , and whose professionalism, superb condition, upkeep and operation is something that all persevered locomotive operators must aspire to. She performed fantastically well, unassisted with 12 coaches in tow, with some very spirited running regularly hitting 75mph for prolonged running and also topping Honiton Bank from a standing start at the end of Axminister loop in the rain (where we stopped to allow a up service to leave the section) at around 27mph,  as well as looking great she sounded fantastic too!
I also admit that we travelled in first class dining so in addition to enjoying such Bulleid Brilliance we were extremely well fed and watered throughout.

My friend and fellow Bulleid fan Alex Clements captured 35028 at various locations, including climbing Honiton Bank,  throughout the day and his excellent video can be seen below…enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this Bulleid Brilliance update, if you are able to get involved in any way with any of the Locomotive societies, you will be made more than welcome and every little helps and it is also very rewarding.

[Apologies for the inital draft post going live and emailed to subscribers before it was intended and fully proof read!) 

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Ok it is not the proper Atlantic Coast Express , but I’m off for a much welcome summer break to a lovely island where the main airport code is coincidental ACE! Anywho, before I depart for some sun, sea, volcanoes and relaxation I will also leave you with a photo review and few very quick initial thoughts on the new Dapol ex LSWR Adams B4 0-4-0t in 00

Merchant Navy 21C6 complete with ACE headboard on Fisherton Sarum

The Atlantic Coast Express was probably the most misnamed of all the Southern Railway named trains but was a stroke of genius at the same time. 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’.

Moving on to the Dapol ex LSWR Adams B4 0-4-0t, first announced in March 2014  it has now hit the retailers.

Dapol B4 No. 88

My immediate first impression is that the model is quite light, certainly lighter than recent small tank releases such as the Horny Peckett and the Hatton’s Andrew Barclay. Despite the lack of weight they have run nicely albeit briefly on Canute Road Quay.

A rear 3/4 view of No. 88

The B4s were not a large class but as usual were a minefield of subtle and not so subtle variations over time such as: cabs, boilers, chimneys and buffers.

A view of BR late crest version No. 30096. Note the larger buffers (none are sprung) and different style cab

Dapol have tooled for some of these variations but have also managed at first glance to achieve a few errors including: possibly the number of boiler bands, variation combinations not appropriate to the particular livery (such as buffer head sizes), missing injector, missing front middle lamp iron (as fitted to some prototypes at the base of the smokebox door) and the cab ventilation holes just under the roof line front and rear are raised mouldings rather than actual holes (a possible translation from CAD to tool issue).

B4s No. 30089 and 30096 front comparison

I also note that on the BR livery version the smokebox door number plate is unusually completely a transfer rather printing on a moulded or an etched plate (although this may possibly be an advantage to those like me that will be repainting into an earlier livery).

Rear cab comparison between No. 30096 and 30089

There is also a pronounced joint line apparent around the front of the smokebox.

Electrical Pick ups are, as you would expect and indeed necessary, wipers on all the rear of four wheels with an open slew wound five pole motor (rather than now more common can motors) driving the rear axle via a flywheel and gear tower.

A trio of B4s

It also features a firebox glow which is quite dim, especially at low speeds on DC but might appear consistently brighter on DCC. No separate items are supplied for the owner to fit, with thee exception of a  unique very wide replacement tension lock coupling bar, but I am not convinced it will work well in conjunction with the lightly sprung close coupling NEM pocket.

Despite the initial comments above, I am sure the Dapol B4 will still be popular with most SR modellers and from normal viewing distances looks ok and runs well.

Normal service of posting will be back in a couple of weeks, with perhaps more on the B4 and also some views of the Heljan 07.

 *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.

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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

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.

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.

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