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650 Class

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The 2-4-0 was a standard passenger/mixed traffic type on the Midland from the 1870s up to the late 1950. Built the 1890s the GSR was impressed enough with the K or GSR 650 class locos to use them on DSER suburban and main line trains.


The Midland had a policy of replacing or "renewing" its loco fleet every 20-25 years, the K Class were renewed in late MGWR/early GSR days with superheater boilers mainly to improve fuel economy.


MGWR Weight Round Cab resized.jpg


The appearance of the engines change dramatically, the traditional MGWR 'fly-away" cab was first replaced with a low roofed GNR style cab and later with a GSWR style cab. Upon superheating the locos received flush riveted smokeboxes, later replaced with pop riveted type in late GSR days.


Information is sparse to say the least, while a GA exists for the Beyer Peacock D Class, it took approx. 20 years to un-earth a MGWR & a GSR weight diagram. Oh the K Class valve gear is said to be different in design to the D, Attock had a fundamental re-think in the 1890s and the motion in his later designs is supposed to be similar to Drummond practice.


I ordered two sets of test etches to in brass build a pair of study models on in Midland & one in later GSR condition. The engraver accidentally supplied another two sets in nickel silver how could I refuse , I might as well build a pair for myself:).


I intend modelling the locos in CIE condition so they can rub side sheets with AEC railcars and possibly even a B141 diesel.




While the body fret is in brass the chassis is in n/s for strength. I was intending to do a how to on assembling the frame but seem to have missed out. At this stage I have fitted the fore and rear frame spacers, motion bracket and a representation of the inside cylinders.




I have built a OO gauge study model with a rigid chassis and Romford Wheels, but I am trying a beam equalisation system on this loco which will be in 21mm to EM standards.




Most suspension systems involve considerable modification to the chassis in fitting separate hornblocks and some form of compensation or springing system. Paul Bernstein a professional NZ modeller advocates equalisation normally with on axle fixed, in this case I an experimenting with all axles floating.


I will give the chassis a trial run once I have the wheels fitted.

Edited by Mayner
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Cheers Minister, I'm guessing black all over liverywise? Did they get a snail on the tender?


I'd say go and have a rummage for a pic of the loco you want to model. I would think not all of them got a snail, judging by their hit and miss application elsewhere.


Battleship grey when freshly applied, prob turned to black or near black due to lack of cleaning or 'cleaning' with oily rags. Refer to JB's notes on livery.

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I'd say go and have a rummage for a pic of the loco you want to model. I would think not all of them got a snail, judging by their hit and miss application elsewhere.


Battleship grey when freshly applied, prob turned to black or near black due to lack of cleaning or 'cleaning' with oily rags. Refer to JB's notes on livery.


Thanks Minister, I shall go and do some research!

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Whose are the etchings? Tempting to think they could be blown up to 7mm... Have a thing about 2-4-0s. My Great Eastern E4 [much fettled Gibson kit] is a real favourite and the 650 looks another little gem.


This is a kit John is developing himself David. I can tell you that his etches are superb. It's worth looking at this workbench thread to see his heating van under construction http://www.irishrailwaymodeller.com/showthread.php/2427-Georges-Workbench?p=44719#post44719 4mm scale I know, but worth a look!

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Cheers Minister, I'm guessing black all over liverywise? Did they get a snail on the tender?


All over dark grey, smoke box, chimney, motion and cab included; the only relieving detail was the red buffer beam with shaded numerals (loco only, never tender) light yellow painted cabside number, and light "eau-de-nil" green "snail". I have seen many pictures of these locos over the years, and most would have "snails" on their tenders, but tenders could be swopped, and running with a plain tender would be possible.


None were ever green. Six of the twenty lasted into the 1960s so a very late repaint in black is possible if you are modelling post 1958, say. However, I never saw a picture of one that was definitely black. Prior to that, they were all grey since the late 1910's. This became, even in CIE times, the "default" livery to the end, not black. Having said that, a combination of dirty oily rags and soot, as well a natural wear, tended to darken the grey so that in many photos it looks as good as black!

Edited by jhb171achill
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The K Class were originally introduced in an emerald green livery with ornate black and white lining, in the early 1900s a number were painted in a short lived royal blue livery, the blue was replaced with a grass green from 1905, followed by lined black from 1913. Broadstone started rebuilding the locos with superheated boilers from 1918 the work continued following the amalgamation and the entire class was superheated before Broadstone closed as a railway works. The situation on the GSR in the 1920s was similar to that on the LMS with something of a power struggle between ex-GSWR & MGWR factions. In the 1920s Inchacore under Bazin was sceptical about the value of superheating with the Midland encouraged by f saving took the opposite approach superheating most of its loco fleet. This changed when an ex Midland man Morton took over and a standard range of superheated boilers was designed that could be made to fit nearly all the major ex-GSWR & Midland classes including the J15.




Something I baked earlier. MGWR K Class on left canopy cab saturated boiler with short smokebox. GSR 650 Class on right Inchacore cab superheated boiler with extended smokebox Inchacore style boiler fittings




Anyway back to work & a quick look at the tools of the trade so to peak.1/8” Parallel reamer for boring out brushes and axle bearings, I also have a 3/32” & 2mm for bogie and tender axles. Stainless steel tapered broaches for opening out holes for bearings and rods etc, the disc like thing is a back to back gauge for 21mm wheel sets supplied by Terry McDermott founder of TMD about 20 odd years ago, the section of threaded road with the punch is a London Road Models riveting tool which will see plenty of work later.




Loco chassis with wheels temporarily set up as a test bed for the equalisers. I will probably add some weight and push/pull the chassis around to see how it behaves. I wont fit the motor or detail the chassis until I am happy with the running!




Comparison of OO & 21mm gauge chassis or the dilemmas involved in building a model of an Irish steam loco in OO gauge




OO Gauge chassis with frames under the smokebox wrapper wheelsets inside the firebox.




Mashima 12X20 motor and High Level gearbox allows cab to be kept clear and motor to be hidden inside firebox.

The wheels are Mike Sharman and were salvaged from an earlier model of a D Class in true MGWR fashion.






Comparison of 101 J15 and 650 classes. The MGWR locos appear to have been a tad narrower with a slightly higher pitched boiler, the boilers on the two classes were the same diameter similar length. In real life the two classes were most likely to have crossed paths in Athenry, Claremorris and Sligo and worked trains together on the South Eastern and between Athlone and Portarlington & on the Banagher Branch. Even in CIE days the two systems were operated like separate railways with Midland & Southern engines generally kept to their own territory.



Edited by Mayner
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  • 2 weeks later...

Test run the 21mm gauge chassis by pushing it by hand and with a loco through a crossover next step is to ray he same with the coupling rods fitted.


For the next stage I decided to look a the firebox boiler and smokebox. Attock locos like the K Class were unusual in that the smokebox finished flush with the boiler cladding rather than projecting out a couple of inches past the cladding like most other railways. I formed the boiler and firebox from sheet rolled to shape with half etched rebates for the boiler bands which has worked out well on the trial build loco.




Boiler, firebox and smoke box parts


I was initially unsure of how I would attach the smokebox to the boiler, in the end I settled on a bolt together assembly with a brass disc as a kind of dummy tube plate. I simply butt the firebox & smokebox wrappers together with a piece of strip brass to reinforce the joint.




Boiler wrapper with disc/dummy tube plate


I suppose I could go the whole hog and detail the disc & inner smoke box former as tube plates.


This arrangement keeps the boiler and smokebox wrappers flush with each other. To complicate matters the Midland took a completely opposite approach to Inchacore, with smooth platework on locos and tenders with little visible riveting even on smokeboxes. Wanting to have my cake and eat it the smokeox can be assembled either as smooth or riveted platework by embossing the rivets using a centre punch or a riveting tool.




Rolling the smokebox tends to be interesting on account of the reverse curves where the vertical & curved sections meet, I used a rolling mill to form the main curve then formed the reverse curves around the shaft of a screwdriver. the two rows of horizontal rivets are a useful reference point.




Smokebox wrapper temporary clamped together

The smokebox front was designed for the flush riveted version, this is covered by a half etched overlay for a riveted smokebox.



Mock up of boiler smokebox assembly

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Great photo fairly typical of the Mid 1950s when older GSR & GSWR corridor composites replaced 6w stock on the feeder branches with passenger services in the Midlands & South West.


The bogie coaches were probably displaced from the main lines by newly introduced Park Royals and Laminates, but a 6w rake 3rd was normally retained for the guard and parcels.


CIE introduced C Class diesels on the Baltimore, Birr & Clonakilty lines & fitted some early GSR Composites with electric heating driven off an alternator. This did not work out and some Cs were modified with jumper sockets to provide electric train heating to these coaches.


Kenmare, Ballinrobe and Ballaghaderreen were steam worked to the end, Loughrea went over to G Class operation with a modified 1959 Laminate Brake Composite.

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