RITES OF PASSAGE FOR A MODEL RAILWAY - 12 : Non-Passenger Vehicles In Passenger Trains

Moving livestock

Mare and foal being loaded into a horse box. This is a farmer 'moving house'. Most often horse boxes were used to convey racehorses - we have upward of two dozen race courses in mainland Britain for flat and national hunt (over the 'sticks') events
Mare and foal being loaded into a horse box. This is a farmer 'moving house'. Most often horse boxes were used to convey racehorses - we have upward of two dozen race courses in mainland Britain for flat and national hunt (over the 'sticks') events | Source
Cattle pens and wagons awaiting stock or just been unloaded for market, whether to be auctioned off for fatstock (meat) or dairy stock depended on the time of year or month-
Cattle pens and wagons awaiting stock or just been unloaded for market, whether to be auctioned off for fatstock (meat) or dairy stock depended on the time of year or month- | Source
Still on the subject of bovine transport, let's look at milk conveyance: Express Dairy, 6-wheel  milk tank wagon at Goathland on the NYMR
Still on the subject of bovine transport, let's look at milk conveyance: Express Dairy, 6-wheel milk tank wagon at Goathland on the NYMR

Out of the box or kitbuilt, for detailing or modifying (if you're up to it). Some four-wheeled vehicles you'd see on a branch line

Close-up of one of the Parkside LNER/BR cattle wagons I built for the Thoraldby layout, vacuum pipes and screw couplings for fast working or for attachment behind a loco on local passenger diagrams
Close-up of one of the Parkside LNER/BR cattle wagons I built for the Thoraldby layout, vacuum pipes and screw couplings for fast working or for attachment behind a loco on local passenger diagrams | Source
A trio of cattle wagons in early 1948-66 livery, from left to right: LMS, BR (based on the GWR type) and LNER
A trio of cattle wagons in early 1948-66 livery, from left to right: LMS, BR (based on the GWR type) and LNER | Source

The starting point:

There is a wide choice of stock available, from long-wheelbase four-wheeled vans, covered carriage trucks (CCT's) cattle wagons, horse boxes and milk tankers to bogie utility vans and parcels or newspaper stock.

I shall begin with ready-to-run (r-t-r), Bachmann, Hornby etcetera as with the passenger stock, and work through kits in different scales from 2mm (N-Gauge) to 7mm Finescale, but chiefly 4mm scale body structures, i.e., the standard Double-O format of 4mm bodies on 3.5mm chassis, (EM Gauge and Scalefour conversions can be made from proprietary sources with some technical expertise and manual dexterity that most Double-O modellers can muster in the pursuit of high standards).

As you probably well know there is a plethora of r-t-r in the shops which the more adventurous 'mess' around with to achieve a more realistic appearance. There are no shop-bought models in my collection that I have not at least added scale couplings to. If you look at the DOGA web-site (I've added a link below to ease your transit) you will find a number of items I've altered with the addition of wire handrails, loads that can be taken out and inserted to appear as unloaded going one way and loaded the other... If you are a beginner you should be given a chance to express yourself in whichever way you see fit, whether by merely adding a coat of weathering paint or whatever. Skill levels are arrived at, gradually, and you will determine limits to aspire to, or to which you have time to achieve desired results.

Materials and tools are available with which you can work your own magic, if you feel the need to make your model realistic, and in the same way as you might have done with carriages. Bill Bedford produces an etched brass and wire kit you can assemble under your TPO or pacels corridor stock that will keep vehicles in a rake close enough together to resemble buckeye couplings with vacuum pipes. A friend of mine assembled several of these for me, as I they needed to be soldered together and I had no experience with the art. Now they are attached to my 'teak' Gresley corridor full brake that attaches to the end of a rake. By the same token if you wish to, you can file down the token ventilator cowling on the vehicle roof and replace them with either white metal or lost wax castings, along with more realistic sprung corridor couplings or buffers. These last are available in packs of sprung plastic buffers from Replica or Bachmann. There are several alternatives for sprung corridor couplings, some I used were from MJT - see the links in the carriage section. I think Ratio produces a workable version using concertina-ed black paper, but you could make some with thin silhouette paper. You take it as far as you want.

For non-corridor stock you can also use the Bachmann/Replica sprung buffers, or go the whole hog with Alan Gibson carriage buffers according to the region or company of your choice. Contact: sales@alangibsonworkshop.com. These people produce model detailing items in 4mm and 7mm for standard and finescale modellers. There is also Branchlines' range to consider. Their main claim to fame is the model locomotive kit market, but they also produce parts for non-passenger carrying vehicles: sales@branchlines.com. If you can still find D&S components in some dark corner of your modelshop or exhibition stand, lucky you!

What do we understand by long-wheel-based, four- or six-wheeled non-passenger carrying stock? Pigeon vans, horseboxes, milk tankers, utility vans or covered carriage trucks (CCT's), baggage vans. Hunt around at second-hand exhibition stands for Lima, Replica, Dapol r-t-r as well as some older Hornby vehicles. It helps if you know what is out there, what you need to find and who produced it originally or who later covered a re-tooled version, but that comes with experience. Then again those in the know only achieved their knowledge by hunting down through old boxes and asking questions of the exhibitors/retailers. I would never claim to know everything that is available for other regions outside the LNER. By studying photographs you will learn what sort of traffic crossed the companies/regions, find out what sort of GW vehicles you might find in, say, the eastern counties or the north. General utility vans (GUV's), horse boxes and parcels vans travelled widely, for instance. In the north-eastern area there would be a greater choice of LMS/Midland region stock, Southern stock was about as widespread as GW outside their own area. Passenger trains ran from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Bournemouth and Poole, for instance, with LNER stock and Southern stock interchangeable. Southern baggage or utility vans would be taken off or attached, ditto horseboxes on semi-fast workings and detached at intervals to de-stress the horses. Observation, reading and study helps root out the possibilities from the unlikelies.

Bradford and Liverpool were centres for mail order in England, as were several other towns in the north-west where you saw parcel vans and guv's from other parts. Whole trains would home in on these points, returns unloaded and empty vans laden to be sent out again. There are self-adhesive mini-posters produced by Hollar (available through Parkside Dundas, www.parksidedundas.co,uk) that you can apply to van doors or sides to simulate consignments sent out by these companies, either wholesale or retail.

Couplings: screw couplings, instanter couplings or three-link couplings are available from several sources, again Alan Gibson produce a range of screw- or three-link couplings. The Jackson range are available from 247 Developments, www.247developments.co.uk., with chemically blackened brass or natural brass links and sprung hooks. I prefer the Jackson screw couplings for their durability, but at times - if you're not likely to attach the vehicle to long trains or over-weight it - you can get away with fitting Smiths screw couplings. They are probably more scale-true, but they are fragile and should be handled with care. The Smiths instanter and three link couplings are available now with smaller links, as well as the slightly longer older type. Mostly, however, three-link or instanter couplings are unsuitable for Pigeon/parcels, GUV's, horseboxes, milk tankers and CCT's, more likely on cattle wagons.

Additionally CCT's, GUV's and assorted vans might be allocated to specialist carriers for carrying limited loads of cement bags, milk churns or newspapers down the branch. Short rakes of two or three, or individual horseboxes, cattle wagons, or milk tankers would also be attached on occasion to branch passenger workings for final-mile workings if whole trains were not warranted.

Parkside are also retailers of Model Master decals for vehicles, should you wish to re-number your r-t-r stock, or add detail as in instructions for loading/unloading. Then there is the Historical Model Railway Society (HMRS) who produce sheets of transfers for every pre-Grouping and pre-Nationalisation railway company and British Railways. Their range is Pressfix for water-adhesive transfers and Methfix using methylated spirit - you really need to know what you're doing with these, nor are methulated spirits available to under-18's! There are other manufacturers - consult the model press or your model retailer about these.

On the bogie van front, Triang Utility vans may be lurking around somewhere that you could re-wheel (the original wheels would never run through modern track), or attach new bogies from Comet or MJT. The plus-point of this veteran r-t-r vehicle is that it is fitted with opening doors. This means you can stand it in goods depots with doors open, parcels and crates within ready to be unloaded. Other than that, there are bogie GUV's, parcels and newspaper vans from Bachmann and Hornby being produced currently, or re-tooled from earlier versions. If you can find them, Replica, Mainline and Lima vehicles are available from second-hand stalls, swapmeets... You might even find them in the second-hand cabinet of your local retailer.

Pottering about the railway back roads of Britain, scenes of idyllic peace and tranquility - door-to-door handling of livestock, parcels, goods, coal and passengers. Look into all aspects of branchline working, types of traffic, pick-up goods, traffic timing, signalling etc

On branch passenger trains, milk tank wagons would be marshalled behind the engine for a smoother 'ride', as would livestock wagons, horseboxes and even fish va

Dapol ready-to-run Co-operative Wholesale Society 6-wheel milk tanker, modified with vacuum pipes and Jackson screw couplings
Dapol ready-to-run Co-operative Wholesale Society 6-wheel milk tanker, modified with vacuum pipes and Jackson screw couplings | Source

Parkside kits for horseboxes, and fish vans

A pair of Parkside LNER horseboxes in early British Railways' livery at the Thoraldby livestock dock awaiting collection (30 were built in 1938 to this diagram, 26 allocated to Newmarket, one each to Malton, Leyburn, Kennet and Acklington
A pair of Parkside LNER horseboxes in early British Railways' livery at the Thoraldby livestock dock awaiting collection (30 were built in 1938 to this diagram, 26 allocated to Newmarket, one each to Malton, Leyburn, Kennet and Acklington | Source
Sometimes fish vans ran behind the loco at the head of passenger trains if they numbered no more than, say two or three. More could run with perishables in a fitted train. Trains of six, seven or more could make up a diagrammed express working
Sometimes fish vans ran behind the loco at the head of passenger trains if they numbered no more than, say two or three. More could run with perishables in a fitted train. Trains of six, seven or more could make up a diagrammed express working | Source
Whereas the van above was a BR-built diagram 800 LNER designed van, this one is a plank-sided LNER-built van to diagram 134 (sliding doors, inset within the body as opposed to its predecessors that were painted in the LNER bauxite livery)
Whereas the van above was a BR-built diagram 800 LNER designed van, this one is a plank-sided LNER-built van to diagram 134 (sliding doors, inset within the body as opposed to its predecessors that were painted in the LNER bauxite livery) | Source

Parcels, newspapers, luggage, cars/carriages

Ex-LMS bogie Covered Carriage Truck (CCT), latterly used on parcels traffic or as General Utility Vans (GUV), Lima with modifications
Ex-LMS bogie Covered Carriage Truck (CCT), latterly used on parcels traffic or as General Utility Vans (GUV), Lima with modifications | Source
Ex-LMS 4-wheeled CCT, also used latterly as GUV or on Parcels workings (probably on mail order traffic - the large mail order houses were based in the North), Lima again
Ex-LMS 4-wheeled CCT, also used latterly as GUV or on Parcels workings (probably on mail order traffic - the large mail order houses were based in the North), Lima again | Source
Mainline ex-LMS bogie corridor parcels or newspaper van
Mainline ex-LMS bogie corridor parcels or newspaper van | Source

Baggage brake and GUV

Parkside kit of Southern four-wheeled BV Utility Van in 1948 BR livery. Later in BR days the Southern Region reverted to green livery to match their passenger stock
Parkside kit of Southern four-wheeled BV Utility Van in 1948 BR livery. Later in BR days the Southern Region reverted to green livery to match their passenger stock | Source
Another Parkside kit, another ex-Southern Railway (orig SECR) vehicle in BR 1948 livery
Another Parkside kit, another ex-Southern Railway (orig SECR) vehicle in BR 1948 livery | Source

Pigeons/parcels, CCT's, Horse-box etc, plastic kits and bits

In the past few years new introductions have appeared on the market on the plastic kit front, more so in the way of wagons, but there are a fair number of four-wheeled non-passenger vehicles. Parkside Dundas have been leading the way in this line of product with their LMS, LNER and Southern CCT's, baggage vans, GUV's and horseboxes. I've added a number of these to my own fleet, namely Southern baggage and utility vans that I've liveried in the original crimson, ex-LNER and LNER CCT's. The Chivers Pigeon/parcels van has unfortunately been withdrawn from the market - whether for re-tooling I have no idea. I still await an e-mail from the present owners of the Chivers 'stable' as to what's happening with the kit RC416.

There is a certain amount of duplication in the SR stock, however. The same vehicles covered by Parkside were also available through Wrenn and Dapol. Having assembled the Parkside model and previously owned one of the Wrenn models, I would say the Parkside version has to be truer when finished well.

Recommendations for assembly and detailing:

With long-wheelbased vehicles or carriages I generally spray paint sides in crimson or whatever the era demands before assembly. 'Teak' can be painted when complete because the wood finish is best achieved by brushing horizontally on long body panels and vertically above the waistline. The ends can be painted beforehand or afterwards. It's up to you on that score.

Generally with enclosed vehicles, vans (including covered carriage trucks or CCT's) and horseboxes on assembly I reinforce the ends with scrap plastic squares and buttress the side-walls with scrap plastic section secured against the walls with plastic weld - a couple of thin scraps added to the underside of the section will stop it sliding downward. In the horseboxes the grooms' toilet and wash facilities are obscured by whited glazing so you can't see through anyway, the grooms' bunk/day accommodation is separated by thin walls, and you can't see in very well. You could always have the glazing down in one door and a groom standing close to the window opening. It's all down to your observation/imagination.

Instead of the plastic buffer heads supplied with Parkside, Slaters, Dapol/Airfix or Chivers Finelines I always use Alan Gibson's sprung buffer heads in the moulded buffer housing. You can either add the springs behind the heads (be sure to bend the buffer shanks to stop them coming out). As to couplings, I use either the Jackson (from 247 Developments) or Smiths' screw couplings. as I already hinted at, the Smiths' ones are more fragile but closer in scale. It's all up to you. Three-link or instanter couplings aren't suitable for these vehicles. Vacuum pipes are also applicable, so Branchlines' or Romfords' brass type or Springside white metal are suitable, for instance. For my money I prefer the Romfords' wire-wound brass version that look much more realistic and can be bent or cut to length safely without breaking. I've been buying them when available from the Engine Shed in Leytonstone, London E11.

Parkside wil exchange wheels if you model in EM or P4 gauges, or swap their usual profile metal wheels for Alan Gibson finescale plastic profile wheels.

Finishing:

I tend to use matt enamel paints, Humbrol, Revell and Precision (if I can find them), mixed in jam jar lids. Anthracite grey, black, rust red, sand or dust and tan are ideal for mixing weathered finishes; judge the mix, add a little grey and white if needed and consult colour photographs. Generally it was the bogies and underframes that were affected by running, as the sides tended to be washed regularly in pre-WWII years. Wartime and post-war wear and tear was more noticeable because of the lack of manpower in cleaning depots. After the nice new coats of paint were applied on or after Nationalisation, dirt soon accumulated. Stock on prestige express trains and Pullmans was more thoroughly washed down than on branchline or secondary mainline passenger and parcels services. So the further down the 'pecking order' you went, the muckier it would be. Country brancline stock tended to be that much cleaner than was used between the cities or within urban areas. Again I use HMRS and Modelmaster waterslide decal/transfer sheets. HMRS covers the different companies before Nationalisation and British Railways' regions are catered for on different sheets with steam and early diesel era stock and locomotives representated on one sheet. You may find yourself using more of a particular section of transfers and the only way out is buying more sheets. You might have a friend or club-member who needs those transfers you don't use, or you could even sell them on e-bay! Parkside sells the Modelmaster decals direct by mail order if you call them. The link is above. On these mini-sheets there are groupings of lettering, numbering and images that you can cut out and soak before application. The warning on their packs is not to let the decals float off the backing paper; work quickly but don't rush - if that makes sense. I've spoilt countless transfers rushing, or taking too long over the work (it seems sometimes as if I'd been working for the railway companies with the assembly lines I have sometimes followed, especially when I fulfilled my commissions through the Booking Hall in the 1990s. Much of the stock I built then was in British Railways livery, with black and cream lining applied by transfer along the corridor stock sides. I sometimes felt like chewing the carpet, the stress I put myself under)!

The last touch is spray-varnishing. For passenger train stock - including the full brakes - built for others I used satin varnish to look nice and crisp and catch the light. For myself I generally use matt varnish, because my own stock represents branch line use. With the Modelmaster decals you have to watch the letters don't start floating away on application, and matt varnish spray tends to make the backing look odd. The manufacturer recommends peeling off the varnish cover off on bigger surfaces, but unless your hands are rock-steady avoid this to prevent frustration.


ex-LNER Brake parcels, CCT, Pigeon van

One of the two ex-LNER CCTs on the Thoraldby layout - another Parkside kit
One of the two ex-LNER CCTs on the Thoraldby layout - another Parkside kit | Source
Chivers Finelines Pigeon van also used for milk churns, whatever branch staff saw a need for - there were bogie vehicles for main line express traffic (pigeon express trains ran with racing pigeons to be let loose in the south or wherever
Chivers Finelines Pigeon van also used for milk churns, whatever branch staff saw a need for - there were bogie vehicles for main line express traffic (pigeon express trains ran with racing pigeons to be let loose in the south or wherever | Source
Ian Kirk non-corridor passenger brake bought from fellow DOGA member and modified - Fox bogies, as originally fitted, replaced couplings
Ian Kirk non-corridor passenger brake bought from fellow DOGA member and modified - Fox bogies, as originally fitted, replaced couplings | Source

Not only passenger stock, but also parcels, mail and utility vans, Royal Mail stock and horseboxes illustrated with running numbers and building sequences for the modeller or carriage renovator. Michael Harris' authoritative book covers also pre-Grouping non-passenger stock

LNER Carriages

Inspection saloons

Inspection saloons were vacuum fitted and tended to be drawn by passenger locomotives for ease of ride. Being braked, they were generally the only vehicle behind - or even pushed ahead of the locomotive. They developed over the years, although some were in use from pre-Grouping (1923) days until British Railways took them over and ran them within their original regions.

All companies had them - Inspection saloons afforded permanent way inspectors a close look at engineering work undertaken or called for. This is a North London Railway Inspection Saloon. The company would be absorbed by the LNWR, then the LMS in 1923
All companies had them - Inspection saloons afforded permanent way inspectors a close look at engineering work undertaken or called for. This is a North London Railway Inspection Saloon. The company would be absorbed by the LNWR, then the LMS in 1923 | Source
Great Northern Railway Inspection Saloon - this one definitely made it into BR ownership
Great Northern Railway Inspection Saloon - this one definitely made it into BR ownership | Source
North Eastern Railway Inspectors' Saloon seen here in LNER livery - often taken out by 'Aerolite', the twice-converted tank locomotive which can be seen in the National Railway Museum, York
North Eastern Railway Inspectors' Saloon seen here in LNER livery - often taken out by 'Aerolite', the twice-converted tank locomotive which can be seen in the National Railway Museum, York | Source

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Comments 8 comments

Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

Interesting


peanutroaster profile image

peanutroaster 4 years ago from New England

Nice article!


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Thanks Phoebe and peanutroaster. Let's see what you think when the rest has been added.


Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

Are these pictures of the ones you personally own?


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Hello again, Phoebe. The pictures have been 'borrowed' from various Internet image sources to illustrate the article, although there are some of my own projects, such as the CWS milk tanker on this page and the first two carriages on the previous article, No.11., the crimson and cream carriage and the teak carriage. A number of my projects have appeared on these pages, including mineral and bogie wagons, loads for wagons (they'll appear in No's.13 and 14), and shortly I shall be entertaining DOGA guests, when one of them will be taking digital pictures of my THORALDBY layout. As a member I will be able to download pictures for my Hub-pages to show the big wide world what these articles are about: sharing experiences within the railway modelling community.


Arthur Kinber 4 years ago

I have a number of etched kits for NER locos. These have been developed over about four years. Altough not complete kits they include the castings required. The builder will need to find handrail knobs and assorted wire as well as the motor/gearbox of their choice although suggestions are included in the instructions.

the models currently available are the J24, J73, J77 and Q5. Parts are included to enable the locos to be built as OO, EM or P4.

All enquiries to CharlesArthurK@aol.com or via the forums on RNMWEB or the LNER site Look for ArthurK "NorthEastern Kits" or "Athur's Workshop"

ArthurK


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Thanks,Arthur. Let's see if that drums up some business for you. Each of these loco classes would look right on a North Eastern layout, pre- or post-Grouping. The Q5, J24 and J77 survived up to Nationalisation as far as I'm aware.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 20 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Anyone who's interested, since I first launched them, I've added images of my own stock to this page and others in the RoPfaMR series.

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