Thursday, July 28, 2011

Private Owner Wagons post Nationalisation

by John Kendall

Students of British Railways history will be aware that in 1939, all the Private Owner wagons (with some exceptions) were pooled under government control for the duration of the war. The idea in 1939 was that the wagons would be returned to their owners at the end of hostilities - this never happened.

In 1948 the nascent nationalised British Railways inherited a hodge podge of rolling stock from the 4 big companies (LMS, GWR, SR and LNER) plus the PO wagons. Now, much of this was antiquated and had been poorly maintained during the war. However, BR was in no position to scrap vehicles wholesale so had to make do with what they had - at least for the time being.

So, here's my beef. I frequently see pristine PO wagons hauled by BR locos on layouts at exhibitions. This can be corrected. First of all, as I said above, after the war they were in dreadful shape. Second, the concept of Privately Owned wagons had gone by the board in 1939, so there was no need to maintain their identity. Third, BR tried to standardise the identity and marking of all their wagons. Therefore, PO wagons in BR ownership received numbers prefixed by "P" on sloppily painted black panels in the corners of the wagons. Those wagons with end doors also received a white stripe. My source for the appearance of the wagons is "The 4mm Coal Wagon" by John Hayes (Wildswan).

The markings can be acheived easily by using the excellent range of ModelMaster decals. Heavy weathering is in order as well. Certainly by the early 1960s, the previous identity of the surviving wagons (and few were left by then) would have all but disappeared.

Here are three I did:

The two on the right are Bachmann. The Great Mountain wagon is possibly a kit - it is riding on a PECO chassis.

The video above shows a mineral train running with a collection of ex PO and BR standard wagons. While most BR wagons look very similar there were a large number of variations. In the train most of the wagons are unique types.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Coach Corridor Connections and Couplings

One of the things that really bothers me when viewing a passenger train is that most of the time one sees a great deal of daylight between coaches. Another issue is that coaches out of the box have couplings that make the coaches way too far apart. I'll discuss simple ways to improve matters.

These are some Mk 1s I improved (well, I think I did).

Making working corridor connections is not difficult, nor does it take a lot of time and you can use materials that are probably already to hand.


Photocopy paper which is on the heavy side
0.020" Evergreen pastic sheet

Take the corridor connection off the coach to be treated and mark the dimensions of this on the paper:

Note there is a half line at the center of the corridor outline.

Cut the connections as shown. Use the back of an Xacto knife to score the fold lines:

Fold each piece and cut the half line in the center. Colour the paper black.

Now thread two connections together to obtain a concertina:

Make end/rubbing plates from the plastic sheet using the original coach corridor as a guide:

Glue the plates to the paper concertinas, and paint black:

The surface of the rubbing plates needs to be smooth since coaches negotiating points and curves have sliding contact at this location and any resistance will cause a derailment. Here's one I did earlier:

I should probably say that you can get the MJT design from Dart Castings. These come with white metal end plates and etched rubbing plates, as shown here.

Now, as to distance between coaches. If your coaches stay in more or less fixed rakes, ie. there is no coach shunting/marshalling on the layout, you can use something I learned from Tony Wright. This method is detailed in BRM's Right Track 4 DVD, "Detailing and Improving RTR". (By the way, these DVDs will play on my DVD player but not on my BlueRay).

The method involves:

1) removing the proprietary coupling system.
2) fixing copper clad strip behind the buffer beam. The surface of the strip should be flush with the buffer beam so will need shimming.
3) 0.45" nickel silver wire is soldered to the copper clad strip. On one end of the coach in a hook shape and on the other a loop.

These pictures illustrate what I mean:

Before painting, you will want to test the coupling on your layout. Check it through curves and points and especially check while propelling. If the coaches are too close for your layout, buffers will lock so its a simple matter of tweaking the distance of the hook from the bufferbeam until all is well. The loop should be in line with the buffer heads. For corridor coaches this is less critical since the working corridor described above will stop the coaches getting too close. For non-corridor coaches you might need to solder a piece of wire across the loop to prevent the buffers from getting too close:

This coupling method works very well and permits propelling. I put Kadees on the ends of coaches that will couple to the locomotive.

One other thing, if the coaches are quite close coupled, as mine are, you may find that there is a lot of pressure on the end plates. Too much pressure will reduce the ability to slide when going round curves and through points causing derailments.
The solution is make the corridor concertina only three corridor widths wide instead of four. When coupled there should be very little rubbing plate pressure while the corridors stay in contact.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

4mm scale figures

I've noticed in many reviews of layouts that the very good Bachmann prepainted figures are frequently used. Most of the time these are used straight out of the box and, in this condition, to me, thay are flat and lifeless.

These are some figures I had lying around:

You can see that the figures lack shadows etc.

In addition to Bachmann, Woodland Scenics figures are excellent, Model Scene not so much. I've found that a very simple way to bring these to life is to apply a black wash (very thin acrylic paint). Dab the excess paint with a paper towel. The paint will be held in the crevices but flow off the smooth surfaces giving the impression of shadow lines and facial features.

Now this is very much a personal opinion thing. I think that the figures are improved. They will be at normal viewing distances on the layout and, like many things in model railways, we strive for the "impression" of realism.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Short Video

This is a short video clip of our club layout, Allingham.
Shot by John Kendall on June 19' 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Lima Flying Banana in GWR green leaves Allingham station

Southern N Class backing onto a rake of coaches 


N Class 31860 passes the loco shed at Allingham
Long-time club member David Tozer has been building operating signals for our layout, Allingham. They can be seen in the following photos. They are made from brass stock and are operational....they still need to be painted and then, during the coming weeks they will be wired into the layout.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A great passion for small trains. Admire the display of model railways built by modellers from Quebec and Ontario.

The British Model Railway Club of Montreal will be exhibiting the larger of our two DCC equipped layouts, Allingham, at Exporail at the Montreal Railway Museum at Delson during  the weekend of this August 20-21. Please join us there and see some great model railways alongside the real thing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome to the British Model Railway Club of Montreal

The British Model Railway Club of Montreal is made up of a diverse group of railway modellers who focus on 00 gauge British prototypes of all eras. Our association rents a clubhouse in the Montreal West area where we are building and running our two new DCC exhibition layouts, Allingham and Frome,according to British railroad practices from pre-grouping (1923) to post nationalisation in 1948. Some of our members are also modelling in EM gauge. Are you interested in British or European trains? Don't have enough space for a layout at home? Want to show off or develop your modelling skills? Why not join us?