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David Holman

MGW glasshouse brake van

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Am interested in building one of these. Have a drawing, which according to the wheels, seems 7mm scale. However, the dimensions in this article suggest otherwise, particularly with width, which you can see is given as 9'7" - generous, even by Irish standards.

 Also, cannot find any info on how long they lasted, though clearly at least up to 1932. Likewise, they seem a little camera shy.

 Essentially, am thinking that one of these, as part of a fish train (using the MGW hearse van), would make a nice consist for my new J19 to pull. 1950s period, would that be appropriate? Thanks as ever.

IMG_20200628_082445.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Thank you! Some interesting details there - though I think it is the six wheel, 20ton version, but very useful nonetheless.

The dimensions on the drawing I have are quite difficult to read, so these should help. What I've done so far is to use a standard dimension, in this case the 6'3 between buffer centres, to rescale it on the printer/copier. Turns out the body is 9' wide, though maybe the 9'7 quoted is over the extremities?

Edited by David Holman

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David, likewise I cannot trace any information indicating when a beast like this might last have turned a wheel.

With the GSR building new brake vans in the 1940s, I suspect that few if any were about by 1950 but I agree it would make a very nice thing on a layout. If it did last, it is very possible that instead of being spick and span, it might me more likely to be in a very tatty condition, with a barely discernible, badly faded "G" and "S" on its side!

There were six of these, and they were initially intended specifically for branch lines, particularly for Killala, Achill, Clifden and probably Loughrea and Ballinrobe. Following the closure of the first three of those, I would strongly suspect that they were done away with after the Achill line closed in 1937 - possibly earlier, as photos of trains on the Achill line show passenger brake vans in use more often, especially in later days. 

They were, of course, probably black when built, as that's what the Midland did with wagons in the 1890s, but by 1918 anyway they were a very dark grey, lightening slightly to a more usual "wagon grey" (similar to LMS wagons in Britain) after the GSR took over. Obviously, a big "G  S" on the side, and "M" added to the number, thus No. 52 becomes 52M.

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Fascinating, thanks JB. Especially pleased to hear that at least one van worked on the Achill branch. In my fiction for Belmullet, not only does the SLNCR and WL&WR combine to build a line west from Ballina, but the MGW also decided to get in on the act by building one of the lines suggested in your book, north from Achill. Therefore, I have  a tenuous excuse for a mixed train from Belmullet to Westport, carrying fish and other stuff, with the MGW 4w hearse at one end and the glasshouse brake at the other, with of course some 'semis' in between. It's my railway...

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, David Holman said:

Fascinating, thanks JB. Especially pleased to hear that at least one van worked on the Achill branch. In my fiction for Belmullet, not only does the SLNCR and WL&WR combine to build a line west from Ballina, but the MGW also decided to get in on the act by building one of the lines suggested in your book, north from Achill. Therefore, I have  a tenuous excuse for a mixed train from Belmullet to Westport, carrying fish and other stuff, with the MGW 4w hearse at one end and the glasshouse brake at the other, with of course some 'semis' in between. It's my railway...

Indeed, had such a line been built, it is as good as certain that such a van would have been a regular performer there! As you know, there were several proposals at various times (one as late as 1911!) to build a line to Belmullet. No matter from what direction it would have come, these vans are exactly what would have been used on them. Travelling across North Mayo on a cold, damp, windy day in one of those hen-coop third class compartments on a hard plank "seat" would have been an ordeal worse than the red line tram on blue-bag day, or Finaghy - Sydenham in a "Castle class" railcar!

Edited by jhb171achill
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