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jhb171achill

PRE-GROUPING AND GSR COACHES IN THE CIE ERA FOR MODELLERS

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PRE-GROUPING AND GSR COACHES IN THE CIE ERA FOR MODELLERS

The purpose of this article is to provide a brief summary of the types of wooden stock to be seen on the CIE system between 1950 and 1975.

I’ll do it in two parts. This bit gives a bit of background to the wooden bodied vehicles still very much alive and well into the black’n’tan era, and in a few cases just past the “Supertrain” era. A few wooden bodied bogies of ex-GSWR origin could be seen alongside Mk 2 air-con “Supertrain” coaches for an overlap period of barely 2 years, 1972-4. The next instalment will concentrate on what Ratio  / Hornby or other vehicles can be approximated to some of the actual types in existence in the post-1955, i.e. diesel era. Prepare yourself, what follows is a dry dusty and long winded piece; I did say I’d little else to do today! I’ll do the second bit over the next few days. I hope that it is of interest.

Particularly with younger modellers in mind (to me, that’s anyone under forty!), it is important firstly to bear in mind how the average train on the average railway differed in times past. With the growing popularity of the “grey’n’green era” (1945-62) and the “black’n’tan era” (1962-72), it is easy for those seeking accuracy to see the past through the eyes of the present.

Since the “Supertrain era” (1972-87), plus more modern times, it is the norm for a passenger or goods train to comprise a long line of a single type of vehicle. The opposite was the case almost from the dawn of the railway age.

Many layouts today have this feature because today it IS accurate – it is prototypical. But in creating accurately a scene from any time prior to 1975 or so, even a long train could barely have two vehicles alike. Today, different types of trains have different couplings, different electrics, different corridor gangways (unless IE have sealed them over with tin foil). In the very recent past, EVERY vehicle on EVERY line, originating with EVERY company, had EXACTLY the same couplings. There was no such thing as “you can’t couple this to that” until the 1970s, when we find that Cravens or laminates can’t be mixed with Mk 2’s in traffic as the corridor connections weren’t compatible, and NIR’s 80s and Castles* weren’t compatible unless one was hauling the other dead.

(* They were never called “450”s, still less “thumpers”, when in use!)

So, during the black’n’tan and grey’n’green eras and before, if accuracy is the goal, we need to rethink entirely what’s on our layout. Instead of the common theme of trains of a number of identical vehicles – a “rake” of this and a “rake” of that – hauled by a variety of engines, it’s the other way round. Most lines had only one or two different types of loco, but rarely had two wagons or carriages behind them that were the same! So many GSWR branches rarely saw anything but J15s, thus a model would have half a dozen of them and nothing else, but no two carriages alike.

Against all of this background, we might look at the bewildering array of carriages types, ages and origins pre-1970, or more so pre-1960. This is what the following will attempt to unravel.

In 1925 all companies whose lines were entirely within the Irish Free State would amalgamate into the GSR. This excluded lines within the 26 counties which had a cross border element: the LLSR, CDR, SLNCR, DNGR and of course above all the GNR. Some of these companies were tiny, and possessed no stock of their own, being worked by a neighbour. Others (e.g. the Waterford & Tramore) had only a few vehicles, whereas the overwhelming majority of the GSR’s coaching stock was previously owned by the DSER, MGWR and GSWR. The distinctive curved-ended stock of the erstwhile WLWR was by now already included in GSWR stock, following their earlier takeover of that concern. The CBSCR had a reasonable stock of elderly relics of their own.

There’s a lot more to the overall story than this, but suffice to say, as far as the modeller is concerned, what was still running in the 1950s onwards is probably of most interest. The purpose of this tome is to illustrate what is possible to represent in varying degrees of accuracy, at the top end of which is obviously a total scratchbuild from original plans.

Many existing kits can be made to look like many prototypes – and there’s practically a prototype for everything. Carriages were built in small batches – often, as one-offs or a pair or trio. Take the “Pullmans” for example – they are not known to have ever run in one train, so a “rake” of them, possibly suitable for Britain, was most certainly not the case here. Instead, they’d put one on each of several trains. The rest of the train – anything and everything.

Firstly, the design features. The Midland, like the GSWR, had two distinctive roof profiles, in each case the older “flat” (low curved) and the later “elliptical” (high curved). Each company had a distinct profile for the higher version, the MGWR one being somewhat flatter on top. Window heights and shapes, and door handle designs, gave away the company origin too.

DSER stock had its own window design, but was often characterised by a visibly wider chassis, and a high-pitched curved roof. Midland stock was distinguished by windows with square bottom corners and curved top corners. WLWR stock usually had curved-in ends, like the English Midland Railway; the WLWR being the only Irish company to include this design feature.

After CIE took over in 1945, they inherited a motley collection of museum pieces. Apart from the “Bredins” (as we now know them) or “steels” as they were then known, it was basically the same ageing stock inherited twenty years earlier by the GSR. However, from 1951, CIE started building their own stock (very much modelled on the “Bredins”) and this led to increasing withdrawal of the older types, the average age of which was now about forty five years. By 1950, most DSER types had been withdrawn.

By 1955, only 19 ex-WLWR vehicles survived. These included the only six bogie vehicles that company ever owned – two each of thirds, composites and brake composites, all 48ft long. That’s 192mm body length in 00 scale. By 1959/60, only 7 were on the books.

PASSENGER CARRYING BOGIE

In traffic 1955

In traffic 1970

GSWR

GSWR (Ex WLWR)

188

6

26

0

MGWR

16

0

DSER

Unknown - few

0

CBSCR

4 (see note below)

0

 

 

 

PASSENGER CARRYING 6 WHEEL

GSWR

GSWR (Ex WLWR)

82

13

0

0

MGWR

68

0

DSER

Unknown – possibly nil

0

CBSCR

2

0

 

 

 

NON PASSENGER CARRYING BOGIE

GSWR

GSWR (Ex WLWR)

15

0

7 at least, possibly 11

0

MGWR

0 as far as known

0

DSER

0 as far as known

0

CBSCR

0

0

 

 

 

NON PASSENGER CARRYING 6 WHEEL

GSWR

63

1*

GSWR (Ex WLWR)

0 as far as known

0

MGWR

Some in use but number unknown

0

CBSCR

Possibly 1

0

*This was the last six-wheeled vehicle ever to operate in traffic with CIE. It was No. 79, dating from 1887. The last passenger carrying six-wheeled coaches were withdrawn officially in 1964, but were last used in 1963. It is believed that the last ever use of one of these was an ex-MGWR example in which a party of Cork area IRRS members travelled from Glanmire Road to Albert Quay and back in that summer.

Mail vans are not included. Several ex-GSWR mail vans were in use a few years longer in the 1970s.

For the West Cork system, nineteen vehicles were on the books in 1955, though most would be withdrawn in 1957. By 1959 / 60, four remained. Two were six-wheeled, one being of interest in having its origin on the LLSR before it had been converted to narrow gauge. The other two were very short bogies, 37ft and 48ft long. These non-standard products of the West Cork’s workshops at Albert Quay were for the sharply curved Courtmacsherry branch, where such relics lived on because newer coaches were too long for the curves. None strayed into the non-Cork world, thus models of these are only historically appropriate on a West Cork-based layout.

Almost every Irish company had 30ft as their standard length for six-wheeled coaches, including the GSWR, DSER, WLWR and MGWR. So a 30ft scale chassis would be a good thing to have available even as a kit.  That’s 120mm body length. The BCDR was different with several longer variations. 

Vehicles of ex-GSWR and WLWR origin just had their number inherited from GSWR days. Ex-MGWR carriages had “M” added, thus MGWR No. 124 was now 124M, while ex-Bandon stock had “B”, and DSER stock “D” after their numbers.

Construction of some of the very first coaches technically introduced by the GSR had been started by the GSWR, and their “architecture” would be continued for several years – thus the very few coaches completed by the GSR are identical in design to GSWR types. Only after the “steels” came in, did a distinct GSR style emerge – very closely like the English LMS, whose lined maroon livery Inchicore would copy almost exactly from 1933.

Early CIE types introduced 1951-3 would be similar to these “Bredins”, with the later “laminates” built between 1956 and 1959 being developments of these.

I have not included details above of ex-GNR types which came into CIE stock in 1958. That's for another day.

 

And then we’re off into the era of the Cravens, and after that it all went downhill fast as we stopped building, and started importing standard BR tin cans....... The Supertrain era is born! And jhb171achill slips into a coma; too old to hear new chimes, as yer man said. It has been decreed; all trains forever hence will have a standard rake of exactly the same type of vehicle, for ever and ever, amen.

 

And they all lived happily ever after. Now finish yer cocoa.

 

 

 

JB 060118

Edited by jhb171achill
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That's all very informative.

I had to take a break halfway through, but lots of information there.

You should write a book about it. :cheers:

  • Thanks 1

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17 hours ago, Andy Cundick said:

Brassmasters do a couple of very good kits for 6 wheel coach chassis.Andy.

I  saw that, Andy, many thanks. Reckon I'll be after several shortly...

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Sorry to be coming to this thread so late @jhb171achill. It is very informative indeed. There is definitely more interest in the periods that you describe in the thread. I don't know how many modelers 'young' or old, though I suspect that the 'younger modelers' you refer to may be more familiar with the post Supertrain era and may not associate with the grey 'n' green era through nostalgic reminiscences or familiarity with the rolling stock of that time. perhaps the number of replies to the thread is indicative, I'm not sure. Sadly there is a paucity of models from the period that are readily available (yes, they can be modeled by those already familiar with the period). In contrast, the UK market still has a a strong showing in the pre-grouping era with many models of the rolling stock of the GWR, LMS etc. Possibly the long awaited early versions of the 121 class or the 'you never know' A classes might help instill a little more interest in the earlier eras, may with some rolling stock to follow. Fingers crossed, I suppose. Thanks again for the thread. Kevin

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, Kevin....

What would really get the grey'n'green era going would be at least one RTR 6-wheeler, a C and a J15 (the latter in progress). I can, however, understand that not much from the 1950s would be commercially viable.

Edited by jhb171achill

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On 4/3/2018 at 4:14 PM, jhb171achill said:

... not much from the 1950s would be commercially viable.

I'm not sure jhb. I can see rakes of  high quality, proper length and more importantly proper width and shape, CIE built carriages being popular. Follow with a TPO, I'm not sure.

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9 hours ago, DiveController said:

I'm not sure jhb. I can see rakes of  high quality, proper length and more importantly proper width and shape, CIE built carriages being popular. Follow with a TPO, I'm not sure.

Indeed, Dive.....now that you mention it.  Models to date have all sold out,  and standards increase all the time, thanks in part to Messrs Glenderg, Garfield & Co. 

A high quality RTR laminate,  tin heating and luggage van, and Park Royal would cover the mid 1950s to mid 1980s, an era with much interest. Available in weathered unpainted silver, green, and black'n'tan would cover everything; indeed, revolutionise passenger trains on layouts.  More RTR wagons are needed from the 1940-1980 period, as many many superbly excellent layouts still rely on British Rail goods stock among good quality CIE / GNR / UTA locos and passenger stock.

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On 6/1/2018 at 8:20 PM, jhb171achill said:

. . .There was no such thing as “you can’t couple this to that” until the 1970s, when we find that Cravens or laminates can’t be mixed with Mk 2’s in traffic as the corridor connections weren’t compatible . . .

. . .And then we’re off into the era of the Cravens, and after that it all went downhill fast as we stopped building, and started importing standard BR tin cans....... The Supertrain era is born! And @jhb171achill slips into a coma; too old to hear new chimes, as yer man said. It has been decreed; all trains forever hence will have a standard rake of exactly the same type of vehicle, for ever and ever, amen.

laugh.gif

Thank you again @jhb171achill for this fabulous encyclopaedia on stock during an era when real trains ran in Ireland. Re-read it last night, its is pure archive gold. Travelling recently on a plastic yo-yo through stations that no longer even have loops nor points reminded me how boring trains now are to look at, to travel on, to look out of the window from, boring stations devoid of activity, no freight, no shunting, no runarounds, no variety, just luas'y look-a-likes. I found re-reading 'Rails Through The West' a most pleasant antidote and tonic for nostalgia, and of course this hobby allows us all to relive whatever era we like old or new.

I was chatting to a lady on board who also remembered regularly getting the Galway train years ago from Amiens street, and being told by the conductor to sit in the front coaches of the train because it would be splitting at Mullingar with the rear coaches going on to sligo. Galway station's once vast goods yard now only has two sidings for stabling yo-yos. Pages 46 and 47 of RTTW were pleasant reminders of what once was and what sort of scenes could still be modelled.

Your post at the head of this thread may even be worthy of a possible sticky. :) 

PS: Did you receive my PM yesterday? 

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Very many thanks for that, Noel....I couldnt agree more. As a regular user of Galway (and other) stations nowadays,  I see absolutely nothing of what inspired me in the past. Progress, no doubt, as many will say - a modernised railway is better than none at all. Doesn't make much consolation for oul fossils like me who remember steam, flying snails,  green things, and the black'n'tan era from birth to death.......!

Didn't get pm, by the way....maybe resend?

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