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Bachmann first announced the introduction of these ex London Brighton and South Coast Railway H2 Class 4-4-2 Locomotives back in August 2013. Although its taken a while have they captured the graceful looks of these lovely lovely Marsh / Billinton locomotives and overcome the challenges of such a wheel arrangement with tight clearances, certainly yes. This review could easily be summed up in three words “it’s very pretty”.

Bachmann 31-920 No. 2421 ‘South Foreland’ in Maunsell lined Southern livery

The review is is a version of one I have written for British Railway Modelling magazine the electronic version of which is published today with printed copies to be available next week. The pictures that accompany this post are copyright and courtesy of A York / BRM magazine.

The first H1 Class Atlantics were built to haul express trains between London and Brighton. They were designed by D.E. Marsh, who had been deputy to the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Northern Railway, H.A. Ivatt, for 10 years until he was promoted to the top job at Brighton in January 1905. Such was the urgency for express motive power on the Brighton line that Marsh, with the full support of his former chief, borrowed a set of Doncaster drawings and made a few amendments. The result was five H1 Class locomotives which were built December 1905 and February 1906.

ex LBSC H2 Class Atlantic (picture courtesy of Bachmann)

The second batch known as the H2 Class, as depicted in this Bachmann model, although essentially to Marsh’s design it was modified by his deputy L. Billinton. These modifications included superheating, larger cylinders, a reduced boiler pressure (although this was later increased between 1936 – 1940 up to 200psi to match the H1 class) and probably and the most visible aspect being the running plate which maintained a continuous line above driving wheels and cylinders.
Six H2 Class locomotives were built at Brighton Works between 1911 and 1912 and remained on front line Brighton express work until the arrival of the King Arthur Class 4-6-0s in 1925. They were named by the SR publicity department during 1925/6 after geographical features on the South Coast. The Atlantics then continued to operate other express trains and boat trains to the ferries at Newhaven until the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939.
The class continued to work secondary services after the war but there was less work for them and some were put into store. The first H2 Class withdrawal was No. 32423 ‘The Needles’ which took place in May 1949. The last to survive was No. 32424 ‘Beachy Head’ which was withdrawn on 24th April 1958. The Bluebell Railway is currently progressing well with its project to reconstruct a Brighton H2 Atlantic, utilising a suitable ex GN boiler as the basis. (see http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/locos/atlantic/ for more details)

Although originally built to the ‘Brighton’ generous loading gauge the H2 Class were subsequently modified by the Southern Railway to its composite loading gauge between 1935 and 1937 with a revised cab, cut down boiler fittings and the whistle position relocated away from being on the cab roof.

A higher 3/4 view of No 2421

Bachmann have initially released two versions:

  • 31-920        H2 Class Atlantic 4-4-2 2421 ‘South Foreland’ SR Olive Green (note: was originally announced as being 2426 ‘St. Alban’s Head’
  • 31-921        H2 Class Atlantic 4-4-2 32424 ‘Beachy Head’ BR Black Early livery

The H1 as planned in LBSC Livery for comparison with the later H2 Class. Picture courtesy and copyright Bachmann

Bachmann subsequently announced in January 2017 that they are producing in parallel the earlier H1 Class although these are still to appear.

A 3/4 rear view of No. 2421 with the original Brighton loading gauge cab and boiler fittings, and open coal rails

The 31-920 version number 2421 as modelled by Bachmann is in the condition she was in post renumbering from B421 in 1931 and prior to February 1937 when she received both the SR composite loading gauge changes and being fitted with a Maunsell type superheater and therefore receiving snifting valves on the smokebox.
The 31-921 version as number 32424 ‘Beachy Head’ in BR Black Early livery incorporates the loading gauge changes, revised front lamp iron positions and filled in coal rails on the tender.

The model matches extremely well the dimensions, look, details and elegant lines of the prototype when compared to drawings and contemporary pictures.

A close up showing the cab of No. 2421

Separately applied fittings to the body includes handrails, pipework, smokebox dart, the characteristic LSBSC lamp irons on the front buffer beam. The open cab is well detailed with a number of separately applied parts and nicely painted with pipework, gauges, valves, regulator, reverser and tip up seats all represented. The tender also includes open coal rails, fire iron stands and a cast metal full coal load to add additional weight. Other than those on the buffer beam itself the middle and top lamp irons on the tender body are moulded rather than separate fitted items.

A view of the innards showing the 3 pole motor located in the firebox area and the location of the 21 pin DCC socket in the tender with spadce for a 23mm speaker behind

The diecast metal locomotive chassis is fitted with a 3 pole motor, located within the firebox driving the rear driver axle via a gear tower although no flywheel is fitted. The boiler is packed with weight to ensure good adhesion of the four coupled driving wheels which themselves are like the prototype impressively close, although this has been achieved by them being very slightly under the scale 6’7½”.

The joggle in the connecting rod is clearly visible in this view of 2421

Due to the tight clearances between the driving wheels, footsteps, cylinders and front bogie the connecting rod has an obvious joggle in it, which is probably more obvious in its pristine finish due to reflections than it would be if slightly weathered. This is of a course a something of a compromise to ensure the ability to run round round second radius curves, but other options such as having to leave off the middle set of steps for those tighter curves is I believe a worse option.

The graceful lines of the H2 class are very apparent

Both the front bogie and the rear trailing axle are slightly sprung, the latter being a pony truck style with plenty of swing allowed between the fixed dummy side frames.
Running on my sample was smooth and quiet across all speed ranges and in a test she hauled 8 Bachmann Mk1 coaches on the level with relative ease and no wheel slip on starting.
Electrical pickups are fitted to all driving wheels and the front and rear tender wheels, the tender is permanently connected to the locomotive via a fixed length drawbar (although the locating pin on the tender is slightly adjustable to reduce the loco to tender gap) and a four-wired connection that is plugged into the tender.
A 21 Pin socket is located in the tender along with space for a 23mm diameter sound speaker, a speaker mount bracket and screws are included within the accessory pack.
Brake blocks and factory fitted brake rigging are fitted to both locomotive and tender (although the latter along with the first wheelset will require to be removed to enable the tender body to be removed to access the DCC socket) with the locomotive chassis also featuring sand boxes and fine sand pipes that complete the chassis details.

Yet another view of No. 2421 just to show how pretty the the H2 class is

The model matches extremely well the dimensions, look, details and elegant lines of the prototype when compared to drawings and contemporary photographs.
Separately applied fittings to the body includes handrails, pipework, smokebox dart, the characteristic LSBSC lamp irons on the front buffer beam. The open cab is well detailed with a number of separately applied parts and nicely painted with pipework, gauges, valves, regulator, reverser and tip up seats all represented.
The tender also includes open coal rails, fire iron stands and a metal moulded full coal load to add additional weight. Other than those on the buffer beam itself the middle and top lamp irons on the tender body are moulded rather than separate fitted items.

An accessory pack is included which includes: vacuum pipes, steam pipes, engine head signal discs, a nice option of open or closed cab doors and the cab weather sheet uprights. Also included are cosmetic screw couplings and front guard irons if no tension lock coupling is fitted and front cylinder corner infills for fitting if being used as a static display model. It is good to see that the supplied comprehensive owners information sheet details the positioning of all the separate items.

The livery application for the Southern Railway Maunsell Olive Green with white and black lining is well applied including the rear trailing truck side frames (although not all the class has these frames so lined). The tender frames are correctly plain black. The lubricator boxes atop of the splashers are picked out in brass and the cast nameplates and cabside number plates are neatly printed although a nice touch from Bachmann is that etched name and number plates are included for the owner to fit.

The introduction of these elegant looking locomotives with their distinct character, being of pre-grouping origin, with further future livery possibilities and details, that were long lived are certainly to prove popular with LBSR, SR and BR(s) modellers and gives Bachmann options for a variety of further liveries in due course, including LBSC Umber, SR malachite Green, wartime black, BR numbered malachite green and of BR lined black, as it is understood that provision has been included within the tooling for a number of the details changes that took place over time.

 

 

 

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The weekend saw the Warley National Model railway Exhibition at the NEC,  as in previous years I have endeavoured to round up some of the news and items of interest from mainly a Southern / BR(s) perspective.  It has been usual for some of the manufacturers to use the event to make announcements of new items or showcase updates to new products under development, this year however relevant new announcements were thin on the ground but there are a small number of SR  / BR(s) related updates as shown below.

The full size H Class was the centrepiece of the combined Hornby and Hornby Magazine stand at Warley

Also many thanks to those of you who read this blog for popping by the Hornby Magazine Twelve Trees Junction layout where I was playing trains for the weekend. For the first time Hornby Magazine and Hornby had a joint stand, demonstrating the closer co-operation between the two separate organisations that has been in place for the last twelve months.  The large stand made a big impact due to the centrepiece being the splendid and recently repainted in full SECR livery, twelve inch to the foot scale, Wainwright H class 0-4-4t that had travelled up from the Bluebell railway.

Hornby

In the last few years Hornby had made some of their new product announcements for the following year, however they are reverting to a single range announcement next January, date still to be confirmed, when of course I will fully cover the items of Southern interest on this blog.

Bachmann / Graham Farish

ex LBSC H2 Class SR livery sample. picture courtesy and copyright Bachmann

As is usual for Bachmann / Graham Farish no new models were announced at Warley. Their 2018 catalogue will be announced on Sunday January 7th 2018 and I will report the Southern related news then, direct from the media event. However they did have on display for the first time a few 00 gauge items of interest.

ex LBSC H2 Class BR livery sample. picture courtesy and copyright Bachmann

Firstly the livery samples of the ex LBSC H2 Class 4-4-2 ‘Atlantic’ locomotives first announced back in August 2013 and being initially produced in two liveries as
31-921 – 32424 “Beachy Head” BR Black Early Emblem
31-920 – 2424 “South Foreland” (note chane of name and number as was originally announced as being 2421 ‘St. Albans Head”)  SR Olive Green

Other livery samples on display were: OO9 former War Department Baldwin Class 10-12-D (now in production), Freightliner Flats and Containers, Carflats and Class 66 No. 66779 ‘Evening Star’.

The Impressive 45t Ransoms and Rapier steam crane EP. picture courtesy and copyright Bachmann

Engineering prototypes (EP) of the Bachmann 45t Ransoms and Rapier steam crane were also on display. These models were originally announced in Mach 2015 and initially they will be released in four versions:
SR Black (38-800),
GWR Black (38-801),
BR Black (38-802)
BR Red (38-803)

45t Ransoms and Rapier steam crane EP. picture courtesy and copyright Bachmann

These certainly looked impressive and had the ‘wow factor, although not motorised, all the moving parts do correctly move including all the gears, linkages, job and outriggers allowing the model to the posed accordingly and potentially motorised (DCC?)  in the future.
Tooling variations correctly allow for the slight differences between the cranes supplied to the different railway companies such as toolboxes etc. and also the chimney can be in the raised or stowed positions. Final price is still be confirmed but due to the level of detail and fidelity of these models I would not expect them to be cheap but I am sure they would be worth it.

Also on display were the EPs of the LNER J72 and BR Class 90

Bachmann also advised that: “We are progressing positively with re-engineering a number of models that have been in the catalogue for a while and with the high profile of these items, the focus is in delivering fidelity to prototype that is not compromised by timescale”.

The ex SECR Birdcage stock, reviewed here, that originally arrived in BR Crimson Livery are now starting to arrive in Lined SR green and SECR Dark Lake (slightly revised from the original livery sample) liveries although at the time of writing the SR liveried composite is still to arrive.

Hattons

The Hattons P Class running sample on Twelve Trees Junction DCC fitted with sound!

Hattons Models do not actually exhibit at Warley, however our friends from their team did visit the show and kindly lent us on Twelve Trees Junction one of the Running samples of their ex SECR P Class 0-6-0t not only DCC fitted but with sound as well! Just goes to show what can be done in such a small locomotive.  Further details of the Hattons P Class announcement and the 12 livery versions available can be found here. 
More details and how to order can be found on the dedicated page on the Hatton’s website here.

Dapol 

Dapol livery sample of the ex LSWR B4 No. 88 in SR lined green

The first livery samples if their 00 gauge ex LSWR B4 0-4-0t were on display. These were first announced in March 2014 and initially five versions are being released:
‘Normandy’ (Number 96) as preserved by the Bulleid Society on the Bluebell Railway
‘Caen’ (Number 90) Southampton Docks brown livery with Drummond Chimney
Number 88 in Southern lined black

B4 No 30089 in BR Black early emblem

Number 30089 in BR black, early emblem (originally announced as being 30082 but changed to suit tooling options)
Number 30096 in BR black, late crest
Also being released as a Dapol collectors club model is No. 91 in LSWR pea green livery.

Also on display were the livery samples of the body toolings for the 4 compartment Brake 3rd and 6 compartment composite Maunsell coaches in N gauge.

Rapido Trains 

The Canadian manufacturer Rapido Trains, whom have been extending into the UK market with a number of commissions, made an pre-announcement of their intention to release in 2018 LMS/GWR/BR Gunpowder Vans, they had a 3D print on their stand but it appears to be a combination of possible tooling variants,  full details to follow next year. Although not SR related they are likely to have run on SR metals.

So that rounds up the Warley SR Related news for another year. I had a good time at the show and for a change had an opportunity to have a reasonable look around and there was certainly a variety of some great and interesting modelling on display amongst the 90 or layouts on show. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea as a show but I still believe it is well worth a visit.

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Bachmann first announced the introduction of these ex South Eastern and Chatham Railway 60ft Birdcage coaches back in March 2013. Has it been worth the wait? Although at the time of writing only the BR Crimson versions are due this month, I have to say, yes very much so. The review is is a version of one I have written for British Railway Modelling magazine the electronic version of which is published today with printed copies to be available next week.

These 60ft three coach ‘birdcage’ sets were introduced by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SE&CR) between 1912 and 1915; and comprising of 62 sets were the most numerous sets compared to the previous 50ft examples. With the birdcage lookouts over each of the guards compartments these sets typify the standard SE&CR non-corridor coaching stock.

The sets comprised originally of:  2nd / 3rd class composite Brake Lavatory (later declassified to Brake Lavatory Third (SR Diagram 162), a 1st / 2nd (later declassified to 1st / 3rd) Lavatory Composite (SR Diagram 315/6)  and the Brake Third (SR Diagram 160), The Composites were built in batches with two distinct body side variations, with the initial batch having two wide windows on each side for the saloon, whilst the later batch had one wide and one narrow window for the saloon; Bachmann have tooled for both versions. The Southern Railway renumbered both the individual coach and set numbers between 1923 and 1929.

39-602 ex SECR 60’ Birdcage Brake Lavatory, No. 5468 Set 595

The initial Bachmann releases are as follows:

39-600 SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake Composite SE&CR Dark Lake, No.1174 Set 138
39-610 SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Composite SE&CR Dark Lake, No. 1178  Set 138
39-620 SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake 3rd SE&CR Dark Lake, No. 1182  Set 138

39-611 ex SECR 60’ Birdcage Composite, No. 5423 Set 613

39-601 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake Lavatory SR Olive Green, No. 3518  Set 613
39-611 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Composite  SR Olive Green, No. 5423 Set 613 (Two wide saloon window style)
39-621 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake 3rd SR Olive Green, No. 3446  Set 613

39-622 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake 3rd, No. 3428 Set 595

39-602 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake Lavatory BR Crimson, No. 5468 Set 595
39-612 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Composite BR Crimson, No. 5468 Set 595
39-622 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake 3rd BR Crimson, No. 3428 Set 595

The SR versions are due to follow in October / November with the SE&CR versions November / December.

A view of the ends including separately applied lamp irons and brake control apparatus on the brake ends and showing the ‘birdcage’ lookouts

Separately applied fittings include the roof vents, vacuum pipes, handrails and grab handles. The brake ends also have separately applied lamp irons and brake control apparatus. The glazing is commendably flush and the window corner radii, especially in the drop lights are very nicely prototypically small. A representation of the internal window bars is included on the luggage compartment door window glazing.

The moulded interior and painted seating, and also showing the position of the body fixing clips.

The body is removed via easing the four clips located on each side to reveal a moulded interior with partitions, table in the saloon and even lavatories (where appropriate) and the seating painted in respective colours.

The fine underframe details with four sets of truss rods

The underframe detailing is exquisite with finely mounded brake details, 4 sets of very finely moulded queen post truss rodding and even the turnbuckles. The buffers are separate moulded items and not sprung.
Dynamos and battery boxes are fitted only to the the SE&CR composite, and on the SR / BR versions the Composite and the Brake Third as the electric lighting was through cabled to the other coaches in the set.

The separately fitted items and finely moulded 8ft Heavy Fox bogies can clearly be seen.

The all new well detailed 8ft Heavy Fox coil spring bolster bogies fitted with metal wheels sets and pin point axles running in metal bearings are very freewheeling. Detachable couplings in NEM pockets are mounted on the now standard close coupling mechanism.

The underside of the 8ft Heavy Fox bogies showing the electrical pickups incorporated

The resulting gap (4mm on the straight) between coaches could still benefit from being reduced slightly with perhaps an alternative to the supplied tension lock coupling (I test fitted Kadee No.18s, although of course the prototypes were not buckeye fitted, and this reduced the gap to 2mm) if your minimum radii allows. The coaches when test ran, run very smoothly both hauled and propelled though a complex range of pointwork.

No internal lighting is fitted but each bogie includes wiper pickups so this might be a potential option in the future.

Depending on the lighting that the coaches are viewed under the rendition of the crimson livery might appear to some to be slightly on the dark side, although it does match previous ready to crimson releases in that respect. The  initial SE&CR Dark Lake livery sample as previously shown by Bachmann has been commented on as being too brown and Bachmann I believe are currently looking at revising this to give a deeper red colour.

Please note: all the images on this post are copyright and courtesy of A York and BRM Magazine.

The complete set 595

Bachmann have been given assistance in the research and preparation of these excellent models by friend Trevor Rapley the owner of,  albeit one of the earlier 50ft version, birdcage Brake lavatory Composites preserved on the Bluebell Railway and the results speak for themselves (although I am sure someone will moan cryptically due to finding maybe a rivet slightly in the wrong place). The introduction of these sets with their distinct character, being of pre-grouping origin, that were long lived and little modified during their lifetime; along with recent and planned (check back on here after midday on Monday 11th for a further announcement) South Eastern & Chatham Railway / Eastern Section Southern Railway locomotives; will ensure that these excellent coaches prove popular.

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Today, via their Engine Shed blog, Hornby have announced that they are to produce the ex SECR / SR Wainwright H class 0-4-4 tank as part of their 2017 range. The blog post also includes images of the first 3D Stereolithography printed samples showing the excellent progress that they have made so far. Ever since they posted a teaser picture some time ago on their Engine Shed blog and social media, taken on the roof whilst photographing and measuring the only surviving member of the class, number 1263, on the Bluebell Railway the rumours have been circulating; although I have been fortunate to know it was being worked on for some time now.

My model of H class number 1522 buit from a South Eastern Finecast white metal kit

My model of H class number 1522 buit from a South Eastern Finecast white metal kit

The first 64 of the eventual 66 members of the class were first introduced by Wainwright of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway between November 1904 and 1909. The final two members of the class were eventually built under the auspices of Maunsell in 1915! They first appeared in Wainwright’s fully lined dark green livery followed by by Maunsell’s plain dark green livery, then the wartime dull grey livery up until 1923. In Southern Railway days they were in lined olive green which gave way to Bulleid black under wartime conditions and eventually British Railways lined black.

Although in a spurious malachite green livery, this is my very early attempt at producing an H Class tank using an much cut about Wrenn R 0-6-0T as the starting point, but is one of the 15 with the flat sided bunker

Although in a spurious malachite green livery, this is my very early attempt at producing an H Class tank using an much cut about Wrenn R1 0-6-0T as the starting point, but is one of the 15 with the flat sided bunker

All but two members of the class (numbers 1264 & 1312 due to cracked frames) entered British Railways service with withdrawals taking place initially between 1951 and 1953 as a result of the spread of electrification and the remainder between 1959 and 1964.  A large number of the class were fitted with standard SR air control Pull Push gear from 1949 onwards to replace some of the aging D3, R &  R1 0-4-4 tanks. There were a number of slight differences within the class such as steam and Westinghouse braked versions, slight variations in coal and water capacities, while fifteen of the class had straight sided rather than flare topped coal bunkers.

Hornby have announced their intention to initially in 2017 to produce three versions: SECR full lined green, Southern olive green (subject to confirmation) and early emblem BR liveries; along with a fourth BR late crest variant in a train pack with two Maunsell 6xx series Pull Push coaches.
Final details and actual locomotive numbers etc will be further revealed in due course, and posted on this blog when available, however the Hornby design team have advised me that they are tooling to accommodate steam and Westinghouse braked versions, flat and flared bunker sides along with those fitted with air control pull push gear.

This will no doubt be a popular release and very useful for modellers of the Eastern and Central sections of the Southern Railway rather then the Western Section which has already recently been well catered for by Hornby with their M7, N15, S15, T9 and 700 class releases.

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At  their annual Collectors Club event, this year held at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, last Saturday, Bachmann announced their intention to produce Class 117 and 121 Suburban DMUs, along with a Limited Edition E4 for the Collectors Club members.

An example of the Class 117 as preserved on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway

An example of the Class 117 as preserved on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway

More information about this release can be read on the Bachmann website here. Some of you will remember that The Kernow Model Centre announced their intention to produce this family of Western Region suburban DMUs at Warley last year.  In fact they had already laser scanned a Class 117 and had completed their initial research.  Following meetings with Bachmann after the Warley show at Warley it became clear Bachmann were also working on this model.  The Kernow Model Centre had previously said that they have no interest in “taking on” a major manufacturer and so immediately offered their research and laser scan data to Bachmann and they have been working with them on this project ever since.  Although primarily based on the Western Region the Class 117 units could be seen on Southern Region metals on Reading – Guildford services.
In addition to the main Bachmann releases there will also be a version of both classes exclusive to the Kernow Model Centre in the GW150 celebration Chocolate and Cream livery.
The Kernow model Centre have also advised that they have not forgotten about the Class 116 and Class 118 and further news about these will be announced  in due course (but with no current timescale for such an announcement).

E4 as Birch Grove

E4 as Birch Grove

One of the benefits of the being a member of the Bachmann Collectors club is the fact they produce limited edition model exclusively for club members. One of the models announced and available for purchase at the event on Saturday was a version of the ex London

Another view of E4 as Birch Grove

Another view of E4 as Birch Grove

Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) E4 class 0-6-2t in LBSC Umber livery as Birch

Grove a livery she was also regularly seen carrying in preservation on the Bluebell Railway. This will prove to be a popular model amongst club members I am sure.

I was fortunate to attend this event as a guest of Bachmann whom I thank for their hospitality provided to myself and my other media friends.

 

 

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Hornby have today announced via their Engine Shed blog that they are to release, in 2016, Southern Railway 58ft non corridor brake coaches, to diagrams 99 and 418, that formed two-coach 2-Lav Sets Nos. 42-46, converted in 1936.  Also to be released are the diagram 98 six compartment Brake Third Lavatory (physically the same as the Diagram 418 but without first class branding and all third style seating) and the diagram 31 Third Lavatory, converted in 1935, that were used as loose coaches for strengthening trains, one example of the diagram 31 No 320 is preserved on the Bluebell Railway, having been one of the first two coaches operated by the fledgling line.
These coaches totally compliment the ex LSWR Adams class 0415 radial tank being released later this year as the 2-Lav sets regularly operated on the Lyme Regis and other Devon / Dorset branches between 1935 and 1958.

The potential release of such coaches was hinted at last Friday via their video released here of the Adams radial running sample that purposely and cheekily showed the engineering samples being hauled by the radial tank, prior to today’s announcement.

These coaches were made up from ex London and South Western Railway  (LSWR) 48ft bodies, originally built between 1894 and 1902, mounted on completely new 58ft underframes. Each of  sets 42 to 46 comprised of one eight-compartment Brake Third (Dia 99) and one six-compartment Brake Composite Lavatory (Dia 418). The bodies being extended in length accordingly. The new underframes were to newer standard dimensions, intended for a coach body 6″ wider than the ex LSWR coaches, the bodies were slightly widened and these rebuilds can be easily identified by the weatherboard strip along the bottom edge to keep rain out of the gap between the body and underframe. The new underframes had the SR standard 8’0″ steam bogie, therefore the bodies resembled traditional LSWR practice whilst the underframes resembled the SR’s Maunsell Restriction 4 stock (as already produced by Hornby).  

Hornby should be congratulated on the joined up thinking of producing suitable coaching stock for use with the previously announced ex LSWR Adams Class 0415 radial tank. This change in announcement policy follows on from unexpected announcements such as the original style Merchant Navy made earlier this year. It further demonstrates the positive progress being made by the Hornby development team, as I can personally vouch that they have been working on these coaches since last year, and some yet to be announced future products.

As I hinted in my summer comes soonest post on Saturday, this post was prepared prior to my vacation and was correct at the time of writing and I will amend and or provide additional information in due course.

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This is not only my 200th post on this here little part of the interweb blogosphere, but more importantly today marks the 50th and Golden Wedding anniversary of my Mum and Dad.
I offer them my most hearty congratulations and also thanks for sticking with it and coping with bringing up myself and my older Brother. Also of course it was Dad and his upbringing that gave me the interest in all things Southern Railway. I also have to thank them both for regularly assisting me with operating Fisherton Sarum at a number of exhibitions across the country from Wadebridge to Hartlepool.

So in addition to the joining in matrimony of my parents Ken and Wendy, 1963 was a notable year for a number of other things, I wont go into the politics of the time, dreams, or assassinations (as I definitely can’t remember where I was at the time as I didn’t exist!) however the following are railway related:

  • The year started on Monday 1st January when the British Railways Board took over responsibility for the running of the railways from the British Transport Commission’s Railway Executive.
  • On the same day all the Southern Region west of Salisbury, was transferred to the British Railways Western Region for the final time. This was really the first nail in the coffin of the old Southern Railway route to Exeter, North Devon and Cornwall.
  • 1963 also started with the worst winter conditions since 1946/7 and I am sure many of you will have the footage of railway locomotives stuck in the snow across the network. For example on the 8th February snow totally blocked the old Southern main line route at Meldon and no doubt many other place over that period too.
  • The 27th March saw the publication of the infamous Dr Beeching “Reshaping British Railways” Report as I discussed in my post here.
  • On Saturday 31st March the Railway Clearing House (RCH) was disbanded after 120 years and its functions and staff transferred to the Chief Accountant’s Department of the British Railways Board. The RCH had been apportioning railway receipts between the British railway companies since 1842.
  • A more sinister event took place on 8th August with what has become known as the “Great Train Robbery” (although not so great for Jack Mills the driver), I now drive past the farm they used as their initial hide out every day to and from work.
  • Metropolitan Railway Loco No.1, that so successfully returned steam to the UndergrounD this year to celebrate the the Underground’s 150th Anniversary was originally withdrawn from service in 1963 having taken part in the centenary celebrations earlier in that year.
  • In November the Bluebell Railway was just 4 years old when the line from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes was closed leaving them without a connection to the British Rail Network right up until earlier this year when the northern extension to East Grinstead was triumphantly reopened.

Finally: The Beatles released their first album “Please please me” and gained their first Number One with “From me to you” and later that year had Number One singles with “She Loves you” and “I want to hold your hand” all perhaps very apt for my parents starting their new stage of life together!

So to Mum and Dad, I say with love, congratulations and many thanks!

To regular readers of this blog, I thank you for your time taken to read my ramblings over the last 200 posts, I hope you found them to be informative and sometimes entertaining. I also thank you for the comments and messages received, I always try to respond to as many of them as I can. Whilst I can not expect you all to read every post it might be worth trying the random post button sometime as you never know where it might lead you…

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