RITES OF PASSAGE FOR A MODEL RAILWAY - 16: Tender Locomotive Models
From the early days of steam... to the 1940s
British Railways steam
In 1948 the newly formed British Railways came into being. The nationalised railway network inherited thousands of old, clapped-out steam engines - some from the pre-Grouping companies built before 1923. Diesel and electric engines were the way forward - electric traction had been used around Britain from the early 20th Century - however these were the Austerity years, post-WWII. No money was spare after re-housing and welfare policies were put in place. We still had large coal deposits around Britain. Until cash was available for new developments steam continued in use.
K4 Mogul 'The Great Marquess' 61994, erstwhile 3442
From when 'Locomotion' first ran between Shildon Colliery and Stockton Riverside,
tender locomotives have been at the forefront of our thoughts when thinking of the railways in steam days. It's the 'romance', after all, seeing a big green or red monster rushing by with a train of express carriages - it's the image we see on our first trainset as older children. It's early Christmas morning, Mum and Dad still in bed, little sister with you admiring the packaging. Looking at the box before opening up we gaze at the Terence Cuneo painting on the cover, fireman hunched with his shovel full of coal rea into the back of the firebox and driver with one elbow on the window frame, right hand on the regulator. Open the box, shaking with anticipation, draw out the track, piece by piece and assemble, still shaking with little sister still big-eyed - ignoring her new Teddy and doll's house - completing the oval.
Controller out, fiddle with the batteries and connect to the track. Sit back, wide-eyed with wonder at the gleaming engine. Then we get to handle the engine and a shudder of excitement runs down our spines. The imagination makes a leap of faith looking down at this electric trainset hurtling along the first straight and into the bend... It's even better looking at it on the level when it's on a board at table height.
All right then, back to reality! You're a few decades on now, wearing jeans and trainers, bending to check the track's straight where it's meant to be, the curves not too sharp - having learned about many factors in the intervening years, one of them is that engines running fast around a sharp curve are likely to come off - now that the layout you're looking at is something you've laboured long and hard on, sworn at yourself several times for different reasons including plonking a signal down in the wrong place and you've got to lever it out again without bending either post or ladder. The scenery's right, so you think - having squinted from various angles - and the coaches are sitting on the track. Ready. You're back at the point where you're putting 'Flying Scotsman', 'Mallard' or 'Cheltenham' (if you've done a Southern layout - it takes all kinds) or even 'Clun Castle' (there's a GW fan lurking around every corner, they say) on the rails. Step back, try to look as if you're looking critically at it even if it's your pride and joy. You're really admiring it without letting on! Turn to the control panel and set it to 'Brake simulator', click the 'Direction' to forwards and gradually apply the power. Watch as she glides away from a standing start and put more power on... Oh, no. Your mate has switched the distant to caution because your other mate is bringing out a shunter onto the running lines, then back in. OK, signal's off, power up and relax as she trundles over the junction past the shunter awaiting its turn back onto the through lines. More power... Cruise speed along the scenery, through the tunnel and into the 'fiddle yard' and through under a bridge that's a scenic break, back along in front of an admiring audience.
That's exhibiting for you. Everybody's come to look, perhaps buy something, but chiefly to take note of what's on show... Is theirs as good as yours? You chat to a few spectators without forgetting your train cruising through scenery, cuttings, stations. You establish a rapport with the ogling public, tell them about groups exhibiting other layouts similar to yours and what they might be interested in. Then they fo back to reading what's on the info board at the end of the layout and you go back to running your train... Once more through the station before letting your engine slide to a halt for a signal check. It's got to look realistic now you're older and wiser. That's why it's being shown... And because of the motive power.
Everybody's got a stake in checking out everyone else's motive power be it 'steam', 'diesel' or 'electric' ( an electric electric loco!) So what have we got and how did we get there? Firstly we'll look at 'off the shelf' stock, boxed and ready to roll:
If you've been looking through the model press lately - and there's a lot of that - you'll perk up when you see something on offer at the big retailers that you've been practically panting for since whenever. There's a lot of choice, but there could be more. That's the general consensus. My last tender loco purchase was a Bachmann K3 2-6-0 from Monkgate at York a year or so ago. I've re-numbered her 61927, a Hull Dairycoates (53A) shed allocation in the early-mid 1950s. A visitor to this part of 'the region'. However, I'm still waiting for someone to bring out a J27 0-6-0 or Q6 0-8-0. That's how you start thinking after a while. Look at a model, 'would it look right on my layout?' comes to mind. Think of a way of introducing it to your region or a particular 'patch' within that region. Is it feasible? OK, buy it, you might need to re-number the model when you start to detailing it. Some of us don't need an excuse, they'll just buy it and plonk it on their model railway. Call me daft, but I think you've got to limit yourself. Things 'fit' together if there's a limit and a theme. And grime... And a feeling of a time.
There are collectors who will run practically anything on their model railway. They're not fools, they may be true collectors with deep pockets who will go for anything that attracts their eyes. The hobby takes all kinds... Mind you, current trends lean towards 'themed' railways; realism rules.
Leaving steam behind for just a moment, looking at the latest edition of the HORNBY Magazine the new releases for springtime are Bachmann's Class 85 West Coast Main Line electric locomotive, Southern (third rail) electric MLV - motor luggage van - and Heljan's DP2 English Electric Diesel. Looking larger, in 'O' Gauge is Heljan's Class 31 in British Rail blue @ £579.99! (What's that in USD's?) Getting back to our size Heljan has revealed its 'OO' model of the Gloucester Carriage and Wagon company's Class 128 Parcels Railcar.
Back to steam. What's available on the market right now is still a wide choice (never mind my griping). On the Pre-Grouping front in the North West, for example there is the 0-6-0 Midland 2F, 0-8-0 LNWR Super D, and the Midland 2P 4-4-0. Going west we have the Churchwards, 1903 Class 28XX 2-8-0 and 'Grange' Class 4-6-0 from Hornby as well as the Hawksworth 'Saint', ('Saint Patrick'). In the South Drummond introduced his T9' Class 4-4-0. In the south Urie introduced his Class N15 'King Arthur Class, available from Hornby. The Class Q1 0-6-0 class was introduced before WW! and the 'Schools Class was introduced around the same time. Both of these are available as 'OO' models. To the east now, the GER Claud Hamilton 4-4-0 was introduced around the turn of the 20th Century but there only kits for this class, GCR Robinson O4 2-8-0 came out before WWI, and Bachmann has produced the 'OO' version of the class. GNR Pacifics were introduced just before Grouping in 1922 with the first one 'Great Northern'. A Hornby Class A3 is the nearest, and would have to be detailed with a brass and white metal detailing kit. All the NER tender classes are only available in kit form. There is a hint of a J27 0-6-0 coming at some time in the -hopefully - not too distant future. You never know a Q6 0-8-0 might yet appear in ready-to-run The market in pre-Grouping is a bit limited in anything aside from Southern or Great Western classes in 'off-the-shelf' form. Post-1923 the market is saturated with all companies and many classes well-represented but still gaps appear. In January 2015 Hornby released their Peppercorn/Thompson K1 2-6-0 with the late BR emblem. By the end of February they will have released the same loco with the BR early 'cycling lion' and LNER version (although strictly speaking the class didn't appear from the North British factory in Glasgow until 1949. It's just over a year since Hornby introduced their Thompson L1 2-6-4 tank engine. Who knows, they might come up with a Q6 or J27 (stranger things happen). There are also the Peppercorn A1's and A2's. Of course these engines have been available as kits for some time now, but unless you're a dab hand with a soldering iron they can be expensive built by others, even unpainted around the £200 mark in this country by well-known kit builders.
A kind of club meeting... Hornby Magazine, features, news, product reports and so on...
At the NRM, Southern Railway Austerity Class C1
The grit, the grime, hot oil and greasy axle boxes. The only thing you can't do is smell it all! This is Yorkshire in the final throes of steam traction - worn out, dirty, priming with incessant use and nobody to clean them, the last engines were concentrated in industrial areas. Steam in the North Eastern Region ended in the autumn, 1967. In the West Riding - formerly Midland Region - steam could still be seen in 1968. Drink in the atmosphere here...
British Railways North Eastern Region
A few B R North Eastern Region tender classes from the Thoraldby layout - compare the real thing
LNER Steam Locomotives
Besides owning a fleet of diverse freight and branch passenger engines, the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) owned a fleet of passenger express locomotives, the Pacifics and 'Sandringhams' (or 'Footballers', as many were also named after First Division English football clubs in the days before the Premiership) and what had once been prestige engines on the Great Central, Great Eastern and Great Northern as well as North Eastern and North British railway systems. It's the A3 and A4 Pacifics such as 'Flying Scotsman', 'Mallard' and 'Sir Nigel Gresley' that got the lion's share of the publicity. Read on...
A pair of non-LNE classes from the Thoraldby 'fleet'
The great rival of the LNER for the Scottish expresses was the London, Midland & Scottish Railway with their crimson lake express passenger engines and carriages, the heirs to the Midland Railway and the London & North Western Railway. Like the LNER to eastern Scotland, the LMS ran prestige fitted express goods services between London and Western Scotland. Buy both the LNER and LMS books and chart the Race to the North...
London Midland Steam
NELPG's NER Class P3/LNER Class J27 0-6-0 in the workshop off North Road Darlington
NELPG's locomotive fleet is small, with 'flagship' K1 2-6-0 62005, Q6 0-8-0 63395, J27 0-6-0 65824 tender locomotives and J72 0-6-0 T 69023 tank locomotive. Until recently responsibility was shared with the National Railway Museum (NRM) for their NER T3/LNER Q7 0-8-0 and for A2 Pacific 60532 'Blue Peter' with the owner's family. Look into their website (link below) for information on the preservation of these locomotives and facilities shared with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR). There's a staggering amount of knowledge accumulated by the work parties at both sites and volunteers also work the locomotives when on hire (accommodation over long distances in on the support coach). Near the top of the page is K4 2-6-0 61944 'Great Marquess' owned by John Cameron and operated by another group based at Pickering who share facilities with the NYMR.
Those of you 'in the know' may recall K1 62005 and 'Great Marquess' hauled the last passenger working over the Scarborough - Whitby and Grosmont-Malton before closure early in 1965. NELPG member Maurice Burns recorded the event on camera and his photographs were on show at Pickering in the exhibition room next to the tuition centre adjacent to Platform 2 (former 'Down' side).
North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group
- North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group
Based at Darlington and Grosmont on the NYMR, the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG) exists to foster interest in and preserve examples of steam locomotives, rolling stock and other railway items linked to the North East of England
B1 Class 4-6-0 61264 at Grosmont
For those of us - like me - who have never ventured into soldering and would like to.
Some soldering tips from Anthony Garton, associate member of DOGA and owner of Poppy's Woodtech:
- Clean the whole etch sheets carefully so as not to kink or bend delicate parts;
- Think about assembly and which components can be tinned (a thin smear of solder) while they are still in the etch - a lot easier to hold small parts;
- Only cut out parts when you need them - it's a lot easier to keep track - clean the edges and dry fit to check for adjustments;
- For these kits (etched brass) 145c solder will be great. I use Carr's Red on the basis it's organic when you wash, and I apply with a cheap paint brush. Use a small 2mm or 3mm chisel-shaped bit if you have one. I find this shape most useful;
- Use small blobs of solder to 'tack' things together to check fit and square;
- When you are happy use more flux along the joints and use the heat of the iron to draw the solder along - you can watch it flow and achieve a nice smooth joint;
- Where you can only solder on the 'face' of the model (e.g. strengthening ribs) try tinning edges first then clean, hold, flux and apply heat (only the smallest possible amount of solder just to transfer the heat;
- Are there any [white metal] castings? These will distort or melt with too much heat (be confident - in - watch - solder - melt - out). Do it like this: tin the brass with a smear of 145c. Add a smear of 70c solder (don't allow the two to mix, this is unlikely to be of any use and will need removing totally). The 70c will not attach to brass alone. Note, 70c: in boiling water it will detach if you need a rescue! So that is two types of solder - same flux for me;
- Hold the casting in place - more flux - and use a small blob of 70c solder to transfer the heat into the joint and watch the solder being drawn into the gap;
- Keep cleaning, washing - use a plug in the sink and discover detached parts [that] were not as secure as you imagined;
- Every time you finish WASH the flux brush - I have had mine years - it's good practice to wash your hands, do the brush with soap at the same time - if you don't the shank will rust in a couple of weeks;
Nickel silver is easier to solder than brass because it doesn't absorb as much heat into the material, thus leaving more to make the joint. I guess it is either more expensive or harder to find because we don't see many kits in nickel silver. If you find one it is likely to be a nice surprise (providing parts fit).
If you live in the London area and need assistance, 4D Model Shop in Leman Street, London E1 run seminars to get you started.
4D Model Shop, Leman Street, London E1
Offering model making supplies and bespoke services including laser cutting, photo etching, 3D printing as well as Industry jobs, events, guides and more.
Detailing and Improving Ready-to-run and kit-built...Some elements of 'bodging' are straightforward... Here are a few variations on a theme
Learn techniques for airbrushing to a showroom finish from an expert. Learn also how to weather your locomotives for added realism - there's a growing number of modellers who follow this path. (Look first and decide for your yourself if this is what you want, as reversal of the process is nigh impossible).
Airbrushing for Railway Modellers
Detailing and Improving Ready to Run Locomotives
For anyone unwilling to tackle the assembly of kit locomotives there's another way around creating realistic looking locomotives for your layout. There is a paperback book in the series Model Railways Illustrated Handbooks No.4 titled 'Detailing and Improving Ready to Run Locos' by Iain Rice published 1994 by Irwell Press if you can find it on the Internet on e-Bay or wherever. the ISBN reference is 871608 54 6.
In seventy-two pages you are given a lot of useful information, beginning with a study of the model, to see where 'surgery' is necessary. If you've bought a model and wish to add realism merely by adding metal (wire-wound brass vacuum pipes or white metal castings) and couplings, then there is little point in buying this book. This is serious 'bodging' territory, cutting off/out parts and replacing them with detail etchings or castings, such as when I bought a Hornby D49 'Shire' in order to convert it to a D49/2 'Hunt' with the aid of a Crownline detailing/conversion kit. About half the motion needed to be cut off on one side with side-cutters and various mouldings on the body needed to be completely cut away and the reversing rod went with them. The whole process was very fiddly but I was rewarded with a realistic representation of a loco of which there were many in the region I am modelling. The alternative was the Hornby D49/2 which is a travesty. The only thing it had in common with the real things was the depiction of the nameboard mounted by a flat fox figure - how's that for alliteration?
You have a list of tools you may need to buy, many of which are inexpensive and can be bought in local hardware shops. Some tools need to be bought from specialist suppiiers, i.e., Eileen's Emporium; you'd be be surprised at the extent of their range. There are also plastic fillers to be bought, which are available at your local model shop or over the Internet/phone.
Within the pages (colour at the rear from page 65) the diagrams and photographs show how complete cabs are cut away, for example on a Wrenn SR R1 body and a GW 57XX, and how the replacements are fitted. You are also shown relatively easy jobs like drilling out for and fitting handrail stanchions.
At the rear of the book on page 72 is a list of suppliers. The book was published before the Internet was made accessible for all, so suppliers phone numbers only are printed but they can be tracked on Google etc by entering the names... You don't need me to tell you that. Listed are the model manufacturers (this was in the days just after Mainline went to the wall and Replica surfaced, and Dapol took over the Airfix range), parts suppliers and tools & materials suppliers. Incidentally, some addresses will have changed as firms changed hands over the years - after all, not much stays the same for over eighteen years, only the advice! Some of the tools and parts have become more sophisticated, which is a plus, and the scope of materials has improved in the interim
The Great Western only ever had one Pacific locomotive, 'Great Bear', which was rebuilt to 4-6-0, from when all their crack expresses to the West Country and South Wales ran behind a fleet of gleaming dark green engines, many being to Collett's designs. This is a tribute to his 'Castles'.
If the notion of building kits yourself doesn't appeal...
You can always turn to a professional kit builder. There are several around in this part of the world, and I daresay the same service is provided across the Pond or Down Under.
When I visited the East London Finescale Exhibition today (2nd November, 2013) at the CEME Campus near Rainham in Essex, I stopped by at a regular visitor's stand and took one of his business cards. He is Chris Page. From looking at what he had on show, I'd say he's worth asking about the service he offers.
He has an address: 12 Passmore Way, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6AD; a landline, 01622 685467; and a mobile number 07856 128144; as well as a website:
www.cpkitbuilder.co.uk and e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a contact page to put your details down and your requirements, and below is his stand:.
Last but not least, the Southern Railway. Their main express links were on the former London & South Western to Southampton for the liners to America, as well as the Dover and Folkestone Boat Trains to the French ports across the Channel, the most notable being the 'Golden Arrow' Pullman service before electrification
Southern Region Steam, BR
If you're looking for Eastern/North Eastern/Scottish Region railway atmosphere, you could do worse than track down the following titles that cover NER/LNER/BR tender locomotives. The last volume is a general overview of British railway locomotives including narrow gauge:
BRITISH RAILWAYS - STEAMING ON THE Ex-LNER LINES Volume 4 by Peter Hands, publ. Peter Hands 1996 ISBN 0 946857 57 1 - b/w images, lots of gritty, grimy atmosphere, travels south to north through the LNER regions from the GE/GN to NBR/GNoSR (Scotland);
YEADON'S REGISTER OF LNER LOCOMOTIVES Vol 17 Blass B13, B14, B15 & 16 (The North Eastern 4-6-0's) edited by John Hooper, publ. Booklaw/Railbus 2000 in association with Challenger ISBN 1 899624 45 7 - good, crisp b/w images with lots of detail with shed allocations up to January 1948, boiler rebuild dates etc, a must-have for researchers!;
LNER PACIFICS IN COLOUR by Derek Penney, first publ 1997 Ian Allan, first reprint 1998 and 2001, ISBN 0 7110 2548 7 - classic images in full colour showing the engines in all their glory + grime and grease in later years;
WORKING STEAM - LNER 2-6-0's by Peter Walker, publ 2004 Ian Allan ISBN 0 7110 3061 8 - Again oodles of colour (with one b/w image of the fifth GN K2 No. 1634 - renumbered No. 4634 and rebuilt 1931, renumbered 1946 to 1724 and again in 1948 to 61724) - the book goes through the constituent regions of the LNER/BR from south (GE and GN) through the Midlands and GC to north (NE and Scottish). many good reference images;
THE POWER OF THE V2's by Gavin Morrison, publ. by Oxford Publishing 2001 ISBN 0 86093 556 6 - crisp b/w images with a summary of the building programme plus numbers, dates and names (where applicable) to withdrawal dates;
THE POWER OF THE A3's by Gavin Morrison, publ by OPC again 2002 ISBN 0 86093 573 6 - same first rate presentation;
THE POWER OF THE A2's by Gavin Morrison, publ by OPC again 2004 ISBN 0 86093 588 4 - presentation as above pair, images include Thompson rebuilds of class P2 2-8-0 and some V2 2-6-2's. As above, each locomotive is dealt with including allocation, rebuild and withdrawal dates - a set of images of preserved A2 60532 'Blue Peter' at the back (sadly this engine is now a static exhibit at Barrow Hill Shed until the owners decide what they want doing with her. She was in the care of North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group [NELPG] until recently and exhibited for a while at North Road Station Museum just off the Durham road in Darlington);
BRITISH STEAM ENGINES by Jon Mountfort, Tom Dodds, Tony Evans and David Adams with foreword from Oswald S Nock, publ Igloo Books Ltd (www.igloo-books.com) ISBN 978 0 85734 258 4, project management by Bookcraft Ltd - excellent colour images, maps, drawings and period images with detailed information and data, information on preserved railways and their stock.
In case you've decided to follow the path of weathering your locomotives - and stock - let Martyn Welch show you how in this 126-page paperback book from Wild Swan Publications. Colour pictures are at the rear to show you the finished product, down to the rust and dirt around the rivets. Many suggestions, hints and 'how-to' achieve the degree of weathering you want to achieve.
The Art of Weathering
More by this Author
Mineral wagons, hoppers, specialist hoppers and tank wagons. Models, drawings and the real thing. More inspiration for railway modelling.
In true Blue Peter tradition, here's the 'story' of a short model railway I built for son Robert when he was eight (his birthday comes four weeks after Christmas). It's downstairs now, he's in Germany
This time we look around the links to ironstone mine workings that dotted the landscape around late 19th-early 20th Century Guisborough, a quiet old market town that was an unlikely industrial hub.