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Saturday 26 October 2013

YMRV MK1 SK Coach Enhancements - Final

What perplexed me most about the YMRV* coach is its lack of coach numbers. After all, as a beginner's model I would expect a detail like this to be included. But, as I researched suitable coach numbers to apply it occurred to me that this is a very clever tactic that the major manufacturers would do well to consider. The trouble is, if we buy a rake of same style coaches from a major manufacturer the chances are they will all have the same coach number since they are mass produced.

What would be ideal is for coaches to be supplied without applied numbers but with a transfer sheet giving a range of number sequences for each region.


I used HMRS pressfix sheet 14 (BR steam era) transfers with a clear varnish coating to seal. Each character is individually applied, which is extremely fiddly (This is why I suggest in the above paragraph a number sequence transfer). The photo above also shows the home made concertina gangways.

From the same transfer sheet triangular no smoking signs are added to the two central windows of the non corridor side. All transfers are positioned by reference to a Bachmann green SK that I already have.

'Emergency lighting point' and white star vacuum points are added to the solebar each side.

'Restricted C1' is applied to each end.

The other modifications to the standard coach were painted grey roof, painted handles and the heavy weight removed for better free running.

 * Your Model Railway Village part work.

To Part 0.

Saturday 19 October 2013

YMRV* Maroon Coach on BR(S) S.W. Division - Part 4

The other 1960s train of note is the Brighton/Portsmouth to Plymouth. In fact two trains because the first that drew my attention was the Saturday only service 9.03 Portsmouth to Plymouth because, as previously stated, there is reportedly a photograph somewhere showing the 4th August 1962 9.03 Portsmouth-Plymouth service with set 875 [BSK(34251)-SK(24311)-CK(15033)-BSK(34252)] having one of the centre coaches in maroon.

For the rest of the week the Portsmouth set was added to the Brighton to Plymouth service. This train had two claims to fame. Firstly it was the longest, regularly worked route across Southern Region and secondly it was the last steam hauled service to/from Brighton because steam locomotion was needed to operate the steam heated rolling stock used on this service.

The last timetabled through service from Brighton to Plymouth was March 1967.

The train comprised 10 coaches plus the Portsmouth set at the rear.

The Brighton sets:

Set 515* [BSK(35014)-SO(3836)-RB(**)-SO(3935)***-CK(15914)-BSK(35015)]
Set 516 [BSK(35016)-SO(3837)-RB(**)-SO(3936)***-CK(15902)-BSK(35017)]

* withdrawn prior to 14th June 1965
** various numbers
*** summer only

There are four good colour photographs of the Brighton to Plymouth train on route between Brighton and Worthing in 'Southern Counties Main Line Steam' by Michael Welch and these show a six coach formation (without the Portsmouth set) in 1966. Clearly, at this date of the Brighton sets only 516 is in use, if at all because sets were disbanded in 1966. The first SO in the train is maroon and one of the photos shows another maroon, possibly CK, towards the rear. The other coaches are Southern Green.

I cannot determine from black and white photos I have seen of earlier years whether the SOs are green or lined maroon and none of the coaches reveal their numbers.

Whilst the YMRV maroon MK1 is a maroon SK (second corridor) it almost passes as an SO (Second Open). The difference being roof vents and interior.

Aside from coaches it is worth noting that the engine carried the Brighton to Salisbury 3 disk head code (bottom left, middle top and middle bottom). This was changed at Salisbury for the Waterloo to West of England code (middle top and middle bottom). However, I have seen one photo of the train on Honiton Bank with the Brighton head code still in place.

* YMRV = Your Model Railway Village part work.

To Part 5.

To Part 0.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

YMRV* Maroon Coach on BR(S) S.W. Division - Part 3

Having discovered coaches on the SW division that were subsequently painted maroon and the coach sets that they were originally allocated to (in green) I found myself researching further the associated train services and this revealed two that were noteworthy. This posting is about the Cleethorpes - Exmouth train.

If anyone has a layout based on the south western main line and wants to run a rake of maroon coaches then here is an inter regional train seen between Templecombe and Sidmouth/Exmouth in the early 60s. Cleethorpes is a seaside resort situated at the mouth of the River Humber in the North East. Exmouth and Sidmouth are seaside resorts on the south coast in Devon. Why should a train service ever exist between the two, especially as the journey time was over 10 hours? I can only think that adventurous holiday makers in the Midlands and North travelled south because 'summer comes soonest in the south' according to one famous poster, and the reason they travelled by train was due to the poor road network. It is hard to imagine Devon residents going north was as popular, which is probably why the service only ran on summer Saturdays for two years from 1st July 1960 to September 8 1962.

Prior to 1960, and in fact from the late thirties, the Southern destination was Bournemouth West (via the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway) leaving Cleethorpes at 0657 and Bournemouth at 1005.

The route change in 1960 to Exmouth and Sidmouth made this the only regular inter-regional train working the main line between Templecombe and Sidmouth Junction. A Saturday only service it left Cleethorpes at 0700 travelled via the Somerset and Dorset to Templecombe, passed Crewkerne at 1600 and divided at Sidmouth junction with the Exmouth portion arriving there at 1740. The return journey left Exmouth at 1042 arriving in Cleethorpes at 2131. Information about this period can be found at the Narkive Newsgroup Archive.

Passenger coach types alternated between Eastern lined Maroon and Southern Green. For example, if Eastern coaches left Cleethorpes on a Saturday then those leaving Exmouth would be Southern. On arriving at each destination the stock was stored for the return journey on the following Saturday.

The makeup of the train was 8-10 coaches and for the Southern green formation was two four corridor sets (BSK-SK-CK-BSK) and a couple loose. Restaurant or buffet faclities were not provided! The Eastern maroon formation may have been (BSK BSK SK SK CK SK BSK BSK CK BSK).

Here is a couple of Ivo Peters videos showing green stock on the Somerset and Dorset.
2.55 time mark (Exmouth to Cleethorpes, green coaches).
9.14 time mark (Cleethorpes to Exmouth, green coaches).

If you have further information or corrections about this train please comment.

Next time, the other train service of note.

* YMRV = Your Model Railway Village part work.

To Part 4.

To Part 0.

Sunday 13 October 2013

39th Farnham Expo.

A bit odd writing a review of an exhibition in which I had a vested interest because this year I was party to exhibiting our Cliddesden layout there.

Being on the other side of the model railway layout gave me privileges and time to explore the exhibition across two whole days. Needless to say leisurely circuits of the exhibits were undertaken during breaks from operating our own layout.

Attendance was steady across both days with plenty of space for visitors to view layouts. I was told that visitor numbers were up on last year.

Nowadays we expect to see a high standard of modelling and once again I was not disappointed. There was a best in show award, as voted by the public, and the fact that little separated the top tranche of votes (I understand) exemplifies the high standard of layouts on show.

Loch Tat (N) won best in show but my personal favourite was Westcliff (EM), a seaside GWR branch line station set above a Dorset beach. I liked the openness, staging of people and the soft hues of the landscape and building colours, or was that influenced by the lighting?.

Loch Tat

Unusually, I could not obtain a couple of items I wanted from traders. One had sold out the previous week and the second can only be obtained second hand, of which none were available at the show. However, I did pick up three other items one of which I had tried to obtain elsewhere without success but here it was on display. So, a mixed result this year from the trade for me.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

YMRV Maroon Coach Numbers for BR(S) S.W. Division - Part 2

I said in the last posting about this subject that I would explain the 'unexpected path' my research lead me. When I started writing about it I realised that there was probably too much information for one posting, in fact there is potential for a book! So, I'll save it for the next posting. I have now selected the three numbers I will use on my maroon YMRV (Your Model Railway Village part work) coaches, or maybe not use. You see, I have Keith Parkin's book on order from the library because it is considered the bible on MK1 coaches and may give more insight into history of the coaches. It was suppose to be available to call in from another library but some 3 or 4 weeks later still no sign of it. (I bet another YMRV purchaser has it out on loan).

These are the three numbers I have chosen from the short list shown in the previous posting on this subject.


In 1962 24311 was allocated to set 875 [BSK(34251)-SK(24311)-CK(15033)-BSK(34252)] and would be seen passing through Crewkerne on these services:- Portsmouth/Brighton to Plymouth and Exmouth/Sidmouth to Cleethorpes.

There is a comment in the SEmG archives of a photograph somewhere showing the 4th August 1962 9.03 Portsmouth-Plymouth service with this set having one of the centre coaches in maroon. I don't know whether it was the SK or CK. But it is a close call and I'm happy to assume it was the SK for my purpose.

The coach transferred to WR in February 1964 and came back to the South Western Division in July 1964 for 'loose' workings. With the WR controlling South Western Division from 1963 it is reasonable to conclude that 24311 was in maroon with a W prefix and used in any set or special service that required an extra SK.


In 1962 24312 was allocated to set 876 [BSK(34253)-SK(24312)-CK(15034)-BSK(34254)] and like 24311 would be seen west of Salisbury for the same services.

24312 is identified in BRSCarriages1_5.pdf‎, available from SEmG Online, as being maroon on transfer from BR(S) to BR(W) in August 1963. The file archives at SeMG also reveal a comment that the S prefix was changed to W. Prior to this date the coach would have been green, if I have interpreted the comment correctly. The coach returned to the South Western Division by July 1964 and used for 'loose' workings. Assumed maroon with a W prefix. It was condemned and converted to a carflat by WR in 1968.


No evidence found as to what livery this coach carried but it was used on the same services as the other two in 1962, being allocated to set 877 [BSK(34255)-SK(24313)-CK(15035)-BSK(34256)]. The coach transferred to WR in February 1964 and came back to the South Western Division in July 1964 for 'loose' workings. Assumed to be maroon with W prefix.

Note: Coaches in a train were arranged into fixed sets. The 'loose' maroon coaches could have been included in any numbered set or special service that required an SK to meet passenger demand, resulting in mixed liveries of green and maroon. Fixed sets were abandoned in 1966.

Postscript: Just to show how varied/unusual passenger stock was after Western Region took over I found a photo in 'Ralway World Annual' 1976 of Bulleid WC 34099 Lynmouth on 05/09/64 hauling a Bulleid BCK in 'freshly painted lined maroon' and an ex-LNER Thompson SK also in lined maroon at Honiton tunnel!

To Part 3.

To Part 0.

Friday 27 September 2013

YMRV Maroon Coach Numbers for BR(S) South Western Division

This is about BR(S), south west division, coach numbers for the unnumbered YMRV (Your Model Railway Village part work) maroon coach. Well, that is the main intent but research sometimes takes us down an unexpected path that draws us into a fascinating subject. More about that in the next posting.

The YMRV coach is a 1960s era, MK1 SK (second corridor) maroon coach with BR1 bogies and seats without arm rests.

It is well documented that BR(S) MK1 coaches in the early 60s were green and any allocated in other colours were 'quickly' repainted green. However, there is photographic evidence of maroon coaches in service on south west division and this arose from either inter-regional workings or transfer of stock between regions. It has to be said though that green was most common.

What follows has been gained from publicly available resources. I cannot vouch for its accuracy as I have yet to see photographic evidence of a maroon SK coach showing its number on the Waterloo-Exeter mainline west of Salisbury in the early 1960s. If anyone can shed light on this or give more information please comment.

To run coaches in maroon for local services, rather than inter-regional, I need to identify those that were transferred in from elsewhere. After the Western Region took over the running of Southern Region west of Salisbury in 1963 there was rationalisation of passenger rolling stock and transfers of MK1 coaches both ways. In theory coaches arriving on Southern Region would have been in maroon livery and then repainted green. Coach numbers would have remained the same but the prefix letter would have changed to 'S'. However, since the Western Region operated the line west of Salisbury from 1963 I assume transfers in would have retained both maroon livery and 'W' prefix. There is documented evidence at SEmG and in photos I have seen confirming W prefixes on some stock.

Keith Parkin (author of British Railways Mk1 coaches) states that Diag. 147 applies for SK coaches without seating arm rests. Sadly, numbers he quoted for Diag. 147 stock indicate only coaches from the 25906 range were allocated to BR(S) and these had commonwealth bogies (coil sping) and not the BR1 (leaf spring) of the model. However, BRSCarriages1_5.pdf‎ available from SEmG Online states that lot 30020 were built to Diag. 147 and this lot shows some numbers that Parkin attributes to Diag. 146 (with armrests). Who is right? If lot 30020 did include arm rests then I saw a comment somewhere that arm rests were removed from some coaches to increase passenger accommodation from 48 to 64 seats. No matter because since the coach seats of the model are less visible than the bogies I shall focus on numbers from the SeMG document for Lot 30020 that had BR1 bogies. As a rule numbers below 25704 carried BR1 bogies.

Lot 30020 Candidates

Note: Coaches in a train were arranged into fixed sets. The coaches listed below were classified as 'loose' on transfer 'in'. This means they would have been included in any numbered set or special service that required an extra SK to meet passenger demand. Fixed sets were abandoned in 1966.

All these were originally allocated to BR(S) then transferred to BR(WR) between 1963/64 only to return to the south western division a few months later:

24304, 24306, 24308, 24309, 24311, 24312, 24313, 24314, 24315, 24319, 24324. From this list I need to select 3 for my coaches. The next posting will be about my selection and the extraordinary diversion my research lead me.

To Part 2.

To Part 0.

Sunday 8 September 2013

YMRV MK1 SK coach enhancements

First job on the coach enhancement was a bit of painting. Me and air spray painting don't seem to get on too well. I made an awful mess of my working environment, and self, spilled the paint twice and as to the coach roof  it had to be sprayed several times to get an acceptable finish. It is fortunate I disassembled it so that I could focus on the roof without messing up the bodywork

The roof was first primed with car primer and then sprayed with Humbrol enamel paint. A final over spray of artists fixer was applied. This protects and gives a lovely satin finish. The ends were hand painted black to give a thinner appearance to the thick moulding. I decided not to over paint the roof pipework as prototype pictures show them to be the same colour as the roof, which must be due to the grime built up over time.

Reassembly of the coach was difficult as the chassis kept bowing. I could only correct this by leaving out the metal weight. I am hopeful this will be acceptable as the coach seems heavy enough without it and free running might also be improved as there was a bit of drag compared to other brands.

You can see the improvement from the picture. The roof is now representative of the prototype shown below it in the magazine than the original model shown above. In fact it is even better than my Bachmann MK1s which have a lighter grey though not as light as the YMRV* model.

The final enhancement was to paint the door handles a brassy colour. I don't intend to do any other painting.

Next job is to apply coach numbers, which I can tell you demanded quite a bit of research to identify likely numbers seen on maroon coaches on southern region, south western division in the early 60s.

*Your Model Railway Village partwork.

To Part 2.

Friday 30 August 2013

Tell Me I'm Mad

Or a clever opportunist!

I have been caught up in the frenzy over the new magazine 'Your Model Railway Village' because of the coach given away with issue 1 at only £3.99. I saw it in WH SMITH and dithered over whether or not to buy. Do I really need a MK1 maroon coach? Probably not, even though my railway is set in the 1960s. So I left empty handed.

Back home I did a search and discovered the model railway forums were buzzing with reviews, especially of the coach, which by all accounts suggest the quality is on par with the Bachmann's of this world, and yet it is only £3.99.

Then this review appeared on YouTube. If that guy is not a salesman he should be because he inspired me to go out and see if I could find one.

Immediately I went to our 'One Stop' shop, a few minutes walk from home to see if they had one (unlikely I thought). But, tucked away on the bottom shelf almost hidden, was only one magazine. Grabbed it and enquired at the counter if they had anymore. The manager went out back and returned with another two! So, I bought their entire remaining stock of three for less than £12.

In my excitement I entered my PIN number incorrectly three times and locked my debit card! (Thankfully I have others).

Now what do I do with this collection?
  • Leave them unopened as an inheritance for my three children to sell for profit in about 30 years?
  • Use the three coaches myself and give the extra magazines away? 
  • Sell them on eBay after the shop stocks have all evaporated? 
 SDJR7F88 you have a lot to answer for but, I am pleased with my find (It awakened the primeval hunter instinct in me).

If your shop has sold out you can subscribe online via this link. (28 days notice to cancel subscription)

To Part 1.

Friday 14 June 2013

A Railway Adventure

An apt title because booking a seat on a steam train excursion over the UK mainline network has to be undertaken with an understanding that the unexpected may occur. Vintage steam trains are old and can fail causing delays, postponement or, loco replacement (perhaps with a diesel) at short notice.

And so it was with some apprehension we set out on a dull, drizzly summer morning to meet our train for our first excursion, having booked seats a couple of months in advance for a birthday treat.

The service was the Swanage Belle hauled by a Southern Railway locomotive, the Bulleid Pacific 'Tangmere'. Joining at Basingstoke it would take us via Southampton and Bournemouth to Wareham and then along the single branch of the Heritage Railway to Swanage. A few hours exploring the town and sea front before returning via Romsey and Salisbury.

Now, Tangmere had failed on another tour 4 days beforehand but with no notification of schedule change our expectation was that it would be repaired in time. Not to be so. On the day of departure a change of locomotive was announced and I assumed it was to be a diesel.

But, joy of joy as the station announcer reported the train was at Winchfield taking on water - this meant it had to be a steam locomotive. A little while later and another announcement that the train was delayed due to a 'problem'! About 15 minutes of uncertainty before the train pulled into platform 2.

The locomotive was Class 5MT (Black 5) 44932, which I had photographed nearly 3 years earlier from lineside hauling the same excursion!

Settling into our seats, the old maroon carriages were spacious, comfortable and very clean. A booklet was given out to passengers containing quite detailed information about sights to see along the route, timings, gradients, maps and colour photos. As the journey progressed the weather brightened and sunshine enhanced the expansive, lush green views of the British countryside. Herds of cows and horses stampeded across fields spooked by our own stallion in full flight. There was a great feeling of nostalgia hearing the rhythmic beat of the steam loco with puffs of white smoke passing the window occasionally sending a few smuts of coal dust through the open window onto the table before us. Enthusiasts and onlookers spaced out along the lineside and stations photographed our progress or waved enthusiastically.

Throughout the journey staff shuttled to and fro answering questions, staging a raffle (first prize another excursion), offered pastries, sandwiches and scones at cut prices to clear remaining stock and most importantly frequently cleared the tables of picnic waste. An exemplary service throughout.

If the journey was not enjoyable enough we then had the excitement of stepping back in time on the Swanage Railway to see vintage rolling stock, locomotives and station architecture, not forgetting the pleasures of a seaside resort.

All in all an enjoyable and well organised day out.

Excursion Organiser.

Saturday 9 March 2013

30th BNHMRS expo

A sort of Déjà vu. 

Same halls, same traders, similar layouts and as big a crowd as last years show. 

Shortly after opening time to visit a show can make viewing layouts or browsing a trade stands difficult because of the initial throng of people. But, it is the best time to be sure of finding what you want to buy before it is sold. Not disappointed in this respect. Quite amazing the plethora of modelling items available from the traders.

With regard to layouts, perhaps it was the throng of spectators clouding the viewpoints that distracted me because not much excited or inspired me. Corris 1930 (009) was a delightful welsh valley scene that drew my attention and repeat visits. Alkham (EM) was nice too showing a great illusion of depth from the railway station across well made residential properties at the rear. I wanted to see Fisherton Sarum, billed to show but not to be seen (unless hidden by the crowds.) 

A smile was brought to my face upon viewing Stodmarsh (0 gauge). The cameo scene shown below is based on BBC's Dad's Army with Jones's van, its gas balloon deflated because the troops rifles (which were animated on the model) punctured it as they pushed through the roof!. For me, Dad's Army is a regular Saturday evening programme that is always enjoyable to watch.

Back to model making for me now armed with my purchases. 
Progress will appear on our n gauge blog (link top right).

Friday 18 January 2013

LSWR Signal Box - Furniture

Final view of the Signal Box interior shows the recent addition of furniture etc.

Starting from the lower left is the Tyer's Token Instrument for single line working atop a cupboard. This is not needed for Hewish Gates but I made it for other locations. One aspect of the hobby I like is learning about real railway practises. Not being a railwayman myself I did not appreciate that the hoop passed between signalman and driver is not the token itself. The token is in fact a key that is taken from the token instrument and placed in a pouch attached to the hoop.

In the top left corner is a sink unit comprising cupboards and a Belfast sink. The gap next to it is where the Romesse stove is located (it is attached to the stove pipe which is fixed to the roof not shown here). Next is a table and chair and then the booking desk with the train register on top.

Beneath the far window is the level crossing gate operating wheel.

Attached to the back of the instrument shelf is the track diagram that was missing from the photo in the previous posting.

On the side wall next to the sink and not visible here is the clock and notice board.

I know there is no telephone or signalman installed but have I missed anything important that could be modelled?

To Part 1

Tuesday 8 January 2013

LSWR Signal Box Interior - Instruments & Levers

The limitations of paper modelling is manifest with the construction of the signal box instruments.

How can bells and dials with their sinuous shapes and only a few mm in size be represented easily with paper and card? Picture shows the cop out - square blocks.

To Part 4

To Part 1

Monday 7 January 2013

LSWR Signal Box Lever Frame

Here is the lever frame for the new signal box (previous posting). It is loosely based on the Stevens Frame in common use on the L&SWR.

This was the third attempt at devising a paper and card construction method that can be made without too much difficulty. Even so, these are very small parts and a bit fiddly to assemble. (Levers are 15mm tall and 1mm wide).

There are 5 parts to the build:
  • the frame base plate
  • convex slotted frame overlay and foot board
  • row of levers in 'Normal' position
  • row of levers in 'Off' position
  • lever identification plates.
The frame looks operational but is entirely cosmetic - levers do not move.

There is a useful site about lever colours here.

To Part 3

To Part 1

Tuesday 1 January 2013

LSWR Type 4 Signal Box

Picture shows my new box for Hewish Gates.
It is another of my own card kit designs.

I plan to create interior fittings for it next - all made from paper and card.

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