Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘GWR’

This week sees the release of a new blockbuster style film ‘Dunkirk’; directed by Briton Christopher Nolan, whose stars include Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and some singer or other Harry Styles (I didn’t think I would ever include his name in a post on here!); is of course about the the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 27 May and 4 June 1940.
As it is probably not mentioned much in the film (as I have not seen it yet) I thought it would be worth revisiting a past post from May 2015 that commemorated the 75th anniversary of the event and discussed the vital part played by the Southern Railway.
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.

I hope this post goes, once again, 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.

 

Read Full Post »

At long last, assisted by a few days off work over the recent Easter weekend, I have finally completed a few outstanding items on the workbench. This has mainly been around renumbering, naming and weathering a few items of rolling stock so I thought I would share with you some of the locomotives that I have now finished.

I have detailed a few times on this blog my method of renumbering (see Workbench Witterings #3 here) and also weathering (such as in this post here) so I wont repeat all those details this time.

Battle of Britain Class 21C149 'Anti Aircraft Command'

Battle of Britain Class 21C149 ‘Anti Aircraft Command’ with her distinctive orange background to the emblem

First up, is a Bullied Battle Britain Class 21c149 ‘Anti Aircraft Command’ for friend and fellow post war period modeller Robin Sweet (Gwrrob on RMweb) for use on his excellent, albeit GWR,  layout ‘Brent’ based on South Brent in Devon to represent one the regular SR crew route familiarisation turns, via Dawlish to Plymouth that also took WR engines over the ex LSWR north Dartmoor route.

The other side of 21C149 the addition of the RT Models front steps and Cylinder Drain pipes certainly complete the look.

The other side of 21C149 the addition of the RT Models front steps and Cylinder Drain pipes certainly complete the look.

21C149 was in this period a Salisbury engine, so again like the N Class I have done for Rob before, again a nice link to Fisherton Sarum, but Exmouth Junction must have hijacked her for a while…
She started as a Hornby 21C159 split from one their train packs as this was in the correct condition with the original forward position of the safety valves, She gained the wedge shaped cab modification in March 1948, was named in April that year and not fully renumbered to 34049 until April 1949. In addition to the renumbering and naming using HMRS Pressfix decals and Fox Transfers etched nameplates, I also fitted front steps and cylinder drain pipes from the excellent RT Models range, Springside Models front lamps and real coal in the tender.

S15 number 829 with Urie flared topped tender

S15 number 829 with Urie flared topped tender

Secondly are two Hornby S15s,  one as number 829 from the first batch of the Maunsell S15s built in July 1927 paired with a Urie style tender and one as number 845 from the third batch of Maunsell S15s  built in October 1936 paired with a Maunsell flat sided bogie tender.

S15 number 845 with Maunsell flat sided tender

S15 number 845 with Maunsell flat sided tender

Number 829 was a Salisbury allocated engine during my 1946 to 1949 modelling period, whilst 845 was initially allocated to Feltham but in 1947 was moved to Exmouth Junction and therefore would also have regularly been seen at Salisbury.

Schools Class V 929 'Malvern'

Schools Class V number 929 ‘Malvern’

Finally for now, is Hornby Schools Class V number 929 ‘Malvern’ whose repainting and numbering was the topic of my Workbench Wittering #2 post way back in June last year! Now finally her weathering is complete. As I mentioned in that post Schools class number 929 “Malvern” was one of only seven members of the class not to regain malachite green livery after the war, but stayed in SR black until January 1949. The Schools Class V were not often seen at Salisbury in SR days but as she was a Brighton allocated engine from 1947 my excuse is that she has arrived on one of the Brighton to Plymouth services that changed locomotives at Salisbury.

That’s all for now, I will post some details of some of the other items of rolling stock that I recently completed in due course.

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

Back at the start of December I started and posted about a repaint of a Bachmann N class into post war SR black livery for friend and fellow post war period modeller Robin Sweet (Gwrrob on RMweb) for use on his excellent, albeit GWR,  layout ‘Brent’ based on South Brent in Devon.

The finished and weathered Bachmann N class as 1848

The finished and weathered Bachmann N class as 1848, the  top front lamp iron, missing from the Bachmann model is made from a staple and a Sprinside SR lamp drilled to be an interface fit added

I detailed my process in my post mentioned above but will remind you of it again here for completeness now that the process has been completed over the Christmas break and the locomotive weathered, delivered and run on its new home.

a rear 3/4 view of 1848, Real coal has been added to the tender along with crew.

a rear 3/4 view of 1848, real coal has been added to the tender along with crew.

My repainting process takes place with the bodies removed from the chassis:

– Remove the existing decals (with Bachman locos I used good quality enamel thinners on a cotton bud)

– Remove factory fitted such as smoke deflectors, pipework, valve fittings, glazing etc.

– Mask any areas such the buffer beams

N Class 1848 enters Brent Station on Rob's excellent layout

N Class 1848 enters Brent Station on Rob’s excellent layout

– Give a dusting of the excellent Halfords plastic primer, this gives a key for the top coat and prevents any reaction between the factory paint and the top coat of Halfords Satin black

– Brush paint matt black the smokebox and cab roof, repaint the buffer beams if required

– Decal using HMRS Pressfix decals.

The train spotters view over the fence at Brent station

The train spotters view over the fence at Brent station

My weathering process once the locomotive is fully reassembled (prior to weathering I apply oil on moving parts

!848 catches late evening sunlight as she rounds rounds the curve leaving the station

!848 catches late evening sunlight as she rounds rounds the curve leaving the station

such as valve gear joints etc) is as follows:

– Pick out some details in relevant colours such as block dust colour on and around brake blocks, rust on guard irons and exposed firebox sides under the running plate, oily steel and grease on brake pull rods and reversing rod etc.

– Streak a wash of dirty thinners from top to bottom of

Crossing the road bridge with a view of South Dartmoor  beyond. Meanwhile the Postman is completing his round.

Crossing the road bridge with a view of South Dartmoor beyond. Meanwhile the Postman is completing his round.

tender and cab sides and boiler

– Airbrush dirty black over the boiler took to represent soot deposits

A final close up of 1848 at home amongst Rob's excellent scenic work and very effective backscene.

A final close up of 1848 at home amongst Rob’s excellent scenic work and very effective backscene.

– Airbrush a dirty track colour mix from the bottom upwards over the chassis and slightly up the body sides, not forgetting the tender rear and smokebox front. I do this as a couple of light passes moving the wheels and motion between passes to ensure no shadows appear.

– If required lightly clean off weathering from some areas such as around numbers etc or where crew might had lightly cleaned or grabbed handrails etc.

It was nice to see some Southern influence deep in GWR territory, but of course it was a usual practice for both SR and GWR crew to remain familiar with each other routes to Plymouth in case of the need of diversion, due for example to weather conditions. Number 1848 was in fact a Salisbury based in engine just post war, so quite apt from Fisherton Sarum perspective,  she must therefore have been hijacked by Exmouth Junction shed for a run down to Plymouth.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: