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Grey & Green Era - coaches

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With the (very welcome) growing interest in the "Grey & Green Era", i.e. just before the "Black & Tan Era", which is now evident, I was thinking about what coaches would be suitable on such a layout. It is an excellent period for modelling - probably the best in fact - due to a mixture of steam and diesel, ancient wooden coaches of both bogie and six-wheeled varieties, and the sheer variety in both passenger and goods trains. The vast majority of both had barely two items of rolling stock of the same type.


We're looking at the late 1940s through to about 1963, when steam ended on CIE. The UTA (also with grey wagons and green coaches!) was just as diversified, with the added interest of a motley fleet of railcars of many different types, including some one-offs like former NCC No. 1 (now at Whitehead).


My curiosity was aroused by Noel's old repaint of an elderly Triang coach into black'n'tan, featured here recently, and Mike84C's article some time ago about converting two old Hornby "Thomas the Tank" carriages into a very credible version of a GSWR six-wheeled first.


Clearly, a great variety of coaches is necessary to create an accurate look for the period. The UTA aspect is easier, as there are now kits for GNR and NCC types of vehicles, plus AEC & BUT railcars. I am unaware of any MPD cars, but some varieties of this species can be made reasonably convincingly by surgical procedures on some types of bought LMS coaches.


CIE - someone really needs to produce a decent six wheel chassis! Manufacturers might comment?


We have recently seen an excellent start made on Bandon, and an existing masterpiece of Ballyshannon and hopefully we'll see more of this era. So what can we use, other than the painstaking procedure of building actual models of actual carriages from scratch?


In terms of "new" stuff, we have IFM's Park Royals and Bredins, and now there are several kits of laminates available. (The new IFM laminate brake is too late for the 1950s, but the full standard coach is just right). Worsley Works do the "scratch aid" kits for a GNR K15, which in the 1958-63 period could be seen on a number of lines on CIE, particularly the DSER. They also do several nice GSWR six-wheel kits, but you'd have to be a brass-proficient modeller to assemble them. (Dare we call such folks "brass necked"?)


But I was in Mark's Models yesterday and noticed the Roxey kit, for about €10, of a grounded coach body. This appears to be modelled on either a GWR or Midland Rly (England) design, as it has curved-in ends. The only railway company in Ireland to design carriages like this was the WLWR, and many of their coaches didn't survive long into the 1901 amalgamation with the GSWR. But - with a Mike84C type job, two of these together could make a credible bogie coach, or a West Cork style short wheelbase 6-wheeler.


These would NOT be accurate models of anything, but would look the part, with design features not unlike those of GSWR-era Inchicore.


There are a number of Roxey plastic kits which can be "botched" to make models at least as convincing as those mentioned initially, which thus create the "feel" of the period without being necessarily strictly accurate.


The beauty about such a system is that each model would be a one-off, exactly suitable for train make-ups of the day, where a brand new laminate might sit with an 1887 Midland six wheeler, a new tin van, and an old GSWR side corridor bogie.


Curiously, while MGWR six wheelers saw out the six-wheel era (the last runs being in 1963), MGWR bogies did not fare so well despite being just as well built. However, a few were to be seen; there was a beautiful side corridor composite in West Cork - pure Broadstone - in the 1950s.


So, sides of suitable donor vehicles are well available. We just need a good six wheel chassis of scale 30ft length.......buffer to buffer that equates to 128mm in 00 scale.

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Further to my above mumblings, here are a few of possible interest:


Roxey LCDR Van, LSWR non-corridor bogie, SECR bogie compo.


Ratio - GWR four wheel coaches, kit nos. 610, 612 & 613. Add something to build up the lower part of the ends to avoid the "turned-in" effect. Possibly, one and a half of these would make a 30ft coach - didn't measure it.....


Mix and mingle with a silver laminate, a tin van and an old Bredin, and hey presto!

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Thanks for the in depth and informative post jhb!

It relates something I have been wondering for a while now. Would you, or anybody else, know; what would be the most suitable donors for repainting to resemble the green era laminates and other coaches? I know there are kits and scratch aids for such coaches but I am not quite skillful enough just yet and I'm not aiming for too much accuracy, more just something that 'sets the scene'.

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Many thanks, folks.


Barl - if technical accuracy is the main thing, obviously the brass kits are the best. I tried gluing one together once, but it was a 009 gauge 4-wheeler, a much smaller thing.


If technical accuracy is not paramount, and as you say the "look" is what you want to go for (and possibly financial economy too) I would think in terms of cutting up second hand old Hornby chassis to use with bought coach sides as mention d above. This covers bogies too.


For a straightforward repainting, any model of the LMS Stanier coaches is a reasonable approximation to some Bredins. Beware of brake seconds of British origin, though. In Ireland it was always more common to have a separate van, and in the grey / green era this tended to be an old wooden six wheel brake 3rd or full brake, or in the later part of that period a tin van.


There were SOME brake 2nds and brake 3rds (very few brake 1sts) but these would be wooden, not Bredin or Laminate style.


The British non-corridor suburban stock can sometimes vaguely resemble one type of GSWR third, but would need gangways. While the 1333 series Bredins were built as suburban for the DSER, they were very quickly given corridors within GSR days. Thus, no "modern" coaches ever ran without gangways in CIE times.


As I mentioned initially, a fairly reasonably priced 6-wheel chassis would be a great help too.

Edited by jhb171achill
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Just delving a bit...


For NCC / UTA modellers, the following are fine, but you'd have to add gangways to them:


DAPOL Ref. nos. 4P 010 002,3,4 & 6. Not the brake-ended ones. Just add gangways! If NCC-ing, just get rid of the crests and replace LMS with LMS NCC. If GSR, get rid of crests and lettering, and put numerals for class on door. Otherwise, CIE green of either type pre or post 1955.


Bredins - DAPOL REf. 4P 010 007 and 011.


RATIO reference nos. 610 and 612, which are kits of GWR long wheelbase four wheelers. Just about long enough to look 6-wheel-ish with appropriate chassis. West Cork and early GSWR had some six wheelers as short as 24ft, which must have been a severe knee-knocking exercise with whoever was opoosite you - unless you were both midgets. The BCDR thirds were like this too - very uncomfortable for long journeys indeed.


In the wagon arena, Dundas' PC08A is a reasonable approximation of a GNR 1954-build cement van (used as general goods vans by CIE right until mid 70s, with an "N" after the number, e.g. one I saw at Templemore in 1976, 66N. Their PC 87 is an LMS cattle truck. Not at all the design of CIE (we await this in kit form, hopefully!) but as close as anything proprietary is.


It must be remembered that any pre-1963 Irish railway layout will need cattle trucks, and often cattle specials! No fertiliser or cement (other than in sacks in normal goods vans), acrylonitrile, dolomite, shale, andydrous ammonia, magnesite, Taras or the like back then.....!

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I'm looking at doing a chassis for 6 wheelers for myself but can do them for others- it's slightly on the bench but hopefully will have something to show!!




If so, that (at the Irish standard scale 30ft) would be a boon. A MGWR body kit would be an asset; GSWR examples exist in the form of Worsley "scratch-aid" kits.


Has anyone ever seen one of these made up?

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Hi jhb


I have a Worsley 'First Second Centre Lav' kit, it looks the business, I'll be making it up very soon as my own chassis will be made to take this body as I work things out....


The Brassmasters 6 wheel chassis look interesting



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