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Monday, 21 December 2009

ACE Coach Roof Destination Board

I'm in the process of assembling a representative ACE train with Merchant Navy Pacific and Bachmann Bulleid coaching stock and wanted to add roof destination boards to the coaches. Each coach has provision for four boards, two each side positioned centrally. My research thus far has been inconclusive. I have the impression that there was no hard and fast rules on the use of ACE roof destination boards. Train images show either two boards side by side, one board or none at all! The boards have straw lettering on a dark green background. Legends: "ATLANTIC COAST EXPRESS" either on one board or across two boards, possibly with the word THE preceding ATLANTIC. "WATERLOO TO ILFRACOMBE" and the other destinations BUDE, TORRINGTON, PADSTOW, PLYMOUTH, EXETER CENTRAL and WEST OF ENGLAND. The latter for the East Devon destinations of Seaton, Sidmouth and Exmouth. I have surveyed hundreds of southern train images but yet to find an ACE showing any of the boards with discernible lettering. I am making my best guess as to what to place where until a photo turns up. In 4mm scale I made boards using MS Word and the font Vrinda 8pt. Printed on sticky back labels 43mm x 2.5mm. Two strips of 1mm high x 1mm thick plastic card were applied to the sticky side top of board for rigidity. The board is positioned on the coach roof between the board end brackets and pressed onto the rain gutter where it is held by the label glue showing on the bottom of the board. The board can be easily removed when the coaches are used on other duties and reapplied when forming the ACE, so long as the stickness lasts.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Catch The Bus Part 4 (Final)

Finished the bus today! Just a week of spare time required, much of which was spent researching the prototype to ensure the model finish looked authentic.

Easy to assemble and my initial fears about assembling the glazing panels was unfounded. Very pleased with the outcome.

For the full story:
Catch The Bus - Part 1

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Catch The Bus Part 3

The difference between a toy bus and a bus model appreciated by adults is more than how it looks. It is about its connection with the real bus in its place and time.

I am in the process of making a model bus kit. When it is finished it shall be placed at Misterton station on my model railway as though it was picking up or dropping down passengers at a bus stop.

I have to hand a number of photographs of the real bus and have poured over these to pick up details that need to be added or adjusted on the model and its intended location. Three issues about the real bus and its location have arisen so far and these are:
  1. What does the back of the bus look like? (Photographers have focused only on a view from the front).
  2. Did a Conductor accompany the Driver and what were their uniforms
  3. What did a Crewkerne bus stop look like in the 1960s?

To help find answers my research lead me to the book, Somerset's Buses - The story of Hutchings & Cornelius and Safeway Services by Laurie James. First plan was to visit the local library to see if they could obtain it as I knew such a specialist publication was unlikely to be on the shelf. The response was, "The county does not have it and a nationwide search of libraries would be needed and no, we don't know how long it would take". My next plan was to buy the book and so I turned to the Internet and a search uncovered several second hand copies being sold by individuals on the Amazon web site. I bought the £12.99 book for £3.25 + postage. It was delivered in 2 days and frankly the book looks brand new - no defects at all.

Eagerly I thumbed through the book for the answers to my questions. There on page 92 was the only picture of 200 APB and no, it was a full frontal! Without a rear view of the bus to hand I will have to be guided by the relief detail shown on the model.

My answer to the Conductor issue was answered though with a photo of both driver and conductress in full 1960s regalia - and even their names! So I can now add an authentic driver and conductress to the bus - You can see with research how the bus begins to tell its own story and gives rise to interesting conversation when showing the model to others.

With regard to a bus stop sign. One picture showed a 1950's bus stop at Yeovil. The pole has alternate black and white banding with a rectangular sign at the top depicting the towns and villages on the route.

Catch The Bus - Part4

Catch The Bus - Part 1

Friday, 2 October 2009

Catch The Bus Part 2

My TiNY bus - Burlingham B44F 200 APB, released this month by TiNy Bus & Coach Kits arrived safely by post today. The supplier kept me informed about my order status throughout and delivered in good time.

Very well packed in a sturdy, nicely labelled cardboard box. Upon opening I was both surprised and pleased by the small number of parts required to construct the bus.

The body shell is one piece as is the finely detailed interior. Wheels, axles and a few other fitments together with glazing panels complete the kit. Instructions are also supplied. The glazing panels fill me with dread as they could be the most difficult/fiddly part of the build.

Anyway, first job is to paint the parts, inside and out before assembly. So, I'm now off to research and source the paint colour.

Catch The Bus - Part 3

Catch The Bus - Part 1

Saturday, 20 June 2009

1960s Atlantic Coast Express (ACE) Summer Train Formation

The ACE departed Waterloo at 11am until the final run of this named train on September 5th 1964. Whilst the destination of the engine was Exeter coaches ended their journey at either Ilfracombe, Plymouth, Torrington, Padstow, Bude, Sidmouth, Exmouth, Exeter or Seaton (the Seaton coach was discontinued after 1957) . The east Devon and Exeter coaches were taken off at Salisbury to continue the journey behind a Salisbury engine. In summer, coaches were split between the 11 am and an extra 11.05am service, e.g. for Plymouth, Padstow and Bude.

The composition of the ACE was complex and varied depending on the time of year and passenger demand for the service. My interest is the early 1960s and the train as it would have been seen running through Somerset to and from the west.

A representative makeup of the down 11.am ACE .
14th July 1962 as shown in 'Portrait of the Atlantic Coast Express' by Stephen Austen:

Acceptable coaches are Bullied 63' or BR MK1 or a mixture of both for later years .

1. Merchant Navy class engine
2. Brake (BSK) - Ilfracombe
3. Composite Corridor (CK) - Ilfracombe
4. Brake (BSK) - Ilfracombe
5. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Torrington
6. Restaurant 2nd (RS)
7. Kitchen Buffet (KB)
8. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Padstow
9. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Bude
10. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Plymouth
11. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Exmouth (Detached at Salisbury)
12. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Sidmouth (Detached at Salisbury)
13. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Exeter (Detached at Salisbury)

Up ACE departing Exeter Central 12.30pm.

1. Merchant Navy class engine
2. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Padstow
3. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Bude
4. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Plymouth
5. Restaurant 2nd (RS)
6. Kitchen Buffet (KB)
7. Brake (BSK) - Ilfracombe
8. Composite Corridor (CK) - Ilfracombe
9. Brake (BSK) - Ilfracombe
10. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Torrington
11. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Exmouth
12. Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Sidmouth

00 gauge (4mm scale) Model Sources:

Merchant Navy Class Engine - Hornby
MK1 Brake (BSK) - Bachmann, Lima
MK1 Composite Corridor - Bachmann, Lima
Restaurant - Bachmann, Lima
Buffet MK1 - Hornby, Bachmann
MK1 Brake Composite Corridor (BCK) - Bachmann, Lima
Bullied 63' composite corridor and 2nd Brake Corridor/Open - Bachmann

No one produces a RTR (ready to run) Bullied BCK* but the Bachmann 2nd Brake Corridor/Open is a close match and could be converted by applying the yellow 1st Class banding above the two windows nearest the guard/luggage area - post 1963 era, or a yellow 1 (one) on the coach door - before 1963, which is also relavant post 1963.

*Postscript: Partial Self Assembly Mk 1 BCK  is available from Replica Railways.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Catch The Bus - Part 1

I have been searching for a model bus that fits the place and period of my model railway and I think I have found it. First I had to find out which bus service operated in Crewkerne in the 1960s and a route that included the station, because it is at the station I want to position the bus. The bus service that fits the bill was Safeway Services of South Petherton and the bus I fancied is the AEC Reliance with Burlingham bodywork, registration 200APB. Pictures shown on the web site about Safeway Services placed this bus in the early 1960s and in fact it eventually went into preservation in the 1990s and can be still seen at bus shows today.

I spent a long time searching for an 'off the shelf' Safeway Services model bus of the 1960s to no avail until I came across TiNY Bus & Coach Kits who are planning to introduce a 4mm scale kit of this very bus during 2009 (product no.TK8). (What a coincidence!) Tiny responded very quickly to my email about its availability and price. It is planned to be available later this year. I will need to supply my own decals for the model, not an easy thing to make. I started looking into what company logo Safeway had used on this bus in the 1960s. 

Photos of the bus from that period show an indistinct shield emblem that did not seem to match other Safeway logos from later years. It was only after researching the bus history that it dawned on me what was going on. This bus was originally owned by the bus company Safeguard Coaches of Guildford but was sold to Safeway in 1962. Safeguard had a shield type emblem and what I think Safeway initially did was paint over name details on the shield, which is why the shield in the Safeway pictures looks blocky. I still don't know what logo they applied to the bus before 1965 but I came across another photo of the bus from the period that shows no logo at all! So that could be a blessing for me as I will not need to create an intricate logo for the side of the bus.

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