Posts Tagged ‘Merchant Navy’

To commemorate 100 years of the Merchant Navy, and in remembrance of all those from various countries throughout the world that served in the Merchant Navy and who lost their lives during wars, conflicts and campaigns, Merchant Navy  Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ will be running on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day – Tuesday 3rd September 2019.

35006 in the sunshine at Toddington

Locomotove No.6,  which was built in 1941 for the Southern Railway and formally named after the shipping company P&O in 1942 – with the unveiling of a grand nameplate on the side of the locomotive,  is based at Toddington station on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway which runs between Cheltenham Race Course and Broadway in the Cotswolds.

35006 has the signal off at Cheltenham Racecourse (ready to run around rather than head further south)

No.6  will be suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. It is intended to have 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.

Following many years of lobbying to bring about official recognition of the sacrifices made by merchant seafarers in the two world wars and since, Merchant Navy Day became an official day of remembrance on 3 September 2000.

Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September 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.

The Merchancy Navy Asscociation aims to ensure the recognition of the Merchant Navy Veterans and the critical and strategic role of the Merchant Navy in times of war and conflict.
Why 3rd September? –  This date marks the sinking of the Merchant Navy ship – S.S. Athenia in WWII – the very first casualty of the war – torpedoed by a German U-Boat, with the loss of 128 lives, within 10 hours of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939, by Neville Chamberlain and the outbreak of  World War II.
Anyone who wants to come along and see and photograph the train is welcome to turn up at Toddington – entry is free. Anyone wanting to travel, this is a normal service train,  just buy a ticket and jump on board, all are welcome

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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.

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Back in March I was delighted to be able to post that friend and fellow Bulleid fan Robert Thompson of RT Models had acquired the range of Bulleid castings and parts from the late Albert Goodall following the decision by Shirley Goodall to retire from continue to trade.

Robert advises that the first part of the range  is now available online via dedicated pages on his RT Models website.  Over time almost everything will be re-introduced although some parts will be upgraded or replaced as well adding a few more items to the range. Roberts own Bulleid parts (such as Cylinder Drain pipes and lost wax brass front footsteps) have now also moved moved over to the Albert Goodall area of the RT Model website.

As I have said before this is great news for anyone who models Bulleid Pacifics as Robert will be an excellent custodian of the range, along with his intention to both improve and expand it with new items and the fact that the name of Albert Goodall will live on.

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Since my post made on Tuesday morning about Bachmann / Graham Farish plans for 2012/3 I am able to provide a few more details / information on the Southern related elements of the announcements

’00 gauge’ SR Luggage / Parcels Vans PLV/PMV & Van U / CCT.

Bachmann have listed these as being:
39-525 Southern PLV Passenger Luggage Van Southern Railway Green
39-526 Ex-Southern PMV Parcels & Miscellaneous Van BR Crimson
39-527 Ex-Southern PMV Parcels & Miscellaneous Van BR Green
39-528 Ex-Southern CCT Covered Carriage Truck BR Blue – Weathered

As the PLV/PMV differs from the Van U/CCT (which has end opening doors) I have sought clarification from Bachmann that they do in fact intend to produce two different body mouldings and I will advise their reply in due course.

‘N gauge’ Original Style Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics

Those announced to be release are from the are of the Third Series that were paired with 6000 gallon tenders and different body shapes to the Second and first series. See my post on original Merchant Navy Pacifics here for more information on the differences. The ten in this series were built after nationalisation in 1948/9 so whilst they originally appeared in Malachite they never carried ‘Southern’ lettering. The Initial versions are:
372-310 No 35024 ‘East Asiatic Company’ in BR blue with early emblem
372-311 No. 35023 ‘Holland-Afrika Line’ in BR green with early emblem
372-312 No. 35028 ‘Clan Line’ in BR green with late crest.

‘N gauge’ Bulleid Coaches

Four types will become available over the next 18 months including the Brake Corridor Second (sic. aka Semi Open Brake Second), Second Corridor, Open Second and Composite Corridor versions. They will all the deep 15″ vent versions built post 1948. It has been advised that these will be produced from new research and not simply a scaled down version of the now quite old 4mm tooling (it may perhaps be hoped, or is it simple wishful thinking, that in the future this new research will be used to retool the 4mm versions?)
The initial versions will be:
374-430 63′ Second Brake Corridor Open – Green & 374-431 in Crimson & Cream,
374-440 63′ Second Corridor – Green & 374-441 in Crimson & Cream,
374-450 63′ Second Open – Green & 374-451 in Crimson & Cream,
374-460 63′ Composite corridor – Green & 374-461 in Crimson & Cream.

This combination will therefore allow for a typical 3 coach sets, BSK – CK – BSK, and longer to be created, although just like Hornby when they first introduced the Maunsell coaches Farish do not appear to grasped the Southern and the later regions use of sets by only producing one running numbered version of the Semi Open Brake Second when each set would have had two with different running numbers . I hope they prepare production to allow for twice the number of Brake coaches than the other varients.

Programme timings

It is worth noting that these plans for 2012/3 are just that; i.e. an 18 month programme, just they announced this time last year an 18 month programme which is why some items such as the ex SECR C lass have not made it into the shops yet but are still mainly on schedule.

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This is the first in hopefully a series of posts looking at the various items of rolling stock that have and operate on Fisherton Sarum. Over time the intent is that the series will include locomotives, coaching stock and wagons.

First up are Bulleid’s masterpieces the Merchant Navy class in original ‘Air Smoothed’ condition. I am not going to get into discussion about the success or otherwise of the design as plenty has been published elsewhere, but to cover some of the models that I have built / can be seen running on Fisherton Sarum.  All of the Merchant Navy models you see here have been built from, the now discontinued, Millholme Kits and using a few additional castings by the late great Albert Goodall (See my update post about his castings here).

The first of the class 21C1 ‘Channel Packet’ was introduced in February 1941. Being under war time conditions the class was even promoted for justification reasons as a mixed traffic locomotives! The whole of the class were named after then famous shipping lines.  The original style of “air smoothed” (rather than streamlined) casing is shown in the picture here of a model,  by Stan Chandler, of 21C1 in as built conditions, so in reality a little early for my usual modeling period on Fisherton Sarum (but she does occasionally make an appearance). Soon after introduction it was apparent that a better form of smoke deflection was required to improved the drivers view, already restricted enough by the casing, and after various trials changes were made and the more familiar style of smoke deflectors were fitted by 1944/5.

In contrast to the model of 21C1 in original condition, 21C6 represents the period that I model i.e. 1946 to 1949, still with original style cab, standard smoke deflectors and all other fairings in place. 21C6 being one of the first series MN’s had the sweep to the cab front, distinctive curved fairings in front of the cylinders and the side casing made from limpet board, hence the prominent rib horizontally along the middle of the side. She is paired with an original style 5000 gallon tender. She has been finished using Railmatch post war malachite green, lining and decals from the HMRS and nameplates from Fox Transfers. I have also fitted a Fox Transfers Atlantic Coast Express headboard for good measure.

The second series 21C11 to 19 were introduced between December 1944 and June 1945 this series such as my example of 21C14 had detail difference from the first 10 with changes made to the shape of the casing including; a flat front to the cab and a more angled and slightly higher bottom body side edge, exposing more of the driving wheels and was coupled to a revised larger 5100 gallon tender.  She is seen here complete with the Devon Belle headboard and wing plates from Fox Transfers (although I have some doubt over the correct size of their wing plates as they seem slightly too small to me.

The third series introduced shortly after Nationalisation in 1948 and 1949  were numbered in the New British railways numbering sequence from new, 35021-35030 and had modified V shaped cab from new (that was also being retro fitted to all members of the class to give improved driver forward visibility), were even more angular in the bodyside around the driving wheels and were paired with an even larger 6000 gallon tender. 35023 is pictured left while 35021 is currently still on my workbench. My model of 35026 in the later Brunswick Green livery can often be seen running on the High Wycombe and District MRS’s layout Hinton Parva.

Further information about the real Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics can be found on the excellent SeMG website here. 

Another reason for choosing 21C6 as the basis for my model is that was one of the few members of the class to be allocated to one shed only throughout here life which was in her case Salisbury, which is of course the inspiration for Fisherton Sarum. I am also a member of the of the 35006 Locomotive society who are very close to getting her back to working order and further information about the society can be found here or clicking on the menu bar above.

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