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Midland Great Western mail train

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Getting there  With the addition of the chimney, dome and cab roof [the latter albeit not fixed and unpainted], the little 4-4-0 is finally taking shape. The list of things still to do is still q

Chipping away at the mail train coaches this week, plus a bit more pondering on the make up of the train. The first picture shows the current plan, which is to have the birdcage brake third at one end

Nearly there  The last week has been spent addressing a list of 30 odd items, that to begin with actually got longer, despite ticking things off. Many were fairly short and simple, like touching

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59 minutes ago, David Holman said:

Throwing myself on the mercy of the court!

Have started trying to do something with the lining and lettering of the coaches & have to say, it is proving challenging for a number of reasons - mainly to do with what might be right.

 

  The rest is likewise cobbled together. 'MAILS' is applied by hand, as above, as is the 'VR' logo [remember, you good folk were still part of the British Empire then - though not for long!]. The two middle doors should actually read 'Passenger Luggage', though I've substituted 'Luggage Compt', while the guard's compartment just reads 'Guard'. Both of the latter are Fox SECR waterslide transfers. Trouble is, these are gold, shaded red, while the others are gold, shaded black...

  As for the passenger and brake coaches, need to know whether the class was indicated by word or number, though have the impression it may be the latter. 

 So, will await opinions with baited breath! Over to you...

 

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Thank you, m'lud. 

On behalf of my client, Mr. Holman, I would like to submit that he has done a superb and accurate job here, and one with which this court may not reasonably find fault. Thus, I submit that the jury must find him not guilty of any wrongdoing..........

Seriously, you've nailed it. From observation of only two very tiny samples of original brown paint that I am aware of, that's perfect. You're going for a slightly older look; gold lining up to approximately 1910, with pale yellow gradually replacing it until the all-over very dark maroon of 1918.

I'm not 100% sure that the "VR" logo was used by the MGWR - some companies here used it and others didn't! It probably depended on the political affiliations of the relevant managements, and would possibly have been influenced by the clientele and general public to be found in the vicinity! If you've evidence of this, fair enough; I'm just unaware of it. I have seen a pic of a coach in blue and white (1902-5) with what appears to be some sort of intertwined letters on the mail coach, but this would have been Edwardian rather than Victorian, as that livery only appeared in 1902. But other mail vehicles don't seem to show anything like this - but it possible I just haven't noticed it.

In any event, a brake third would not have had anything like that - only specifically dedicated mail vans if anything. In Belmullet, mail bags would have been just thrown in the van of the brake coach.

Excellent job, and that coach build is superb, your carriages are perfect companions for the loco. A train like this could have left Belmullet with just those two coaches, picked up two more at Westport, another at Claremorris, and off we go to Athlone, where our D16 remains, and its collection of carriages join the up Galway - Broadstone Mail.

The make-up of a mixed train, as at Achill in the illustration you refer to, was ALWAYS in this order:

Loco

Vacuum braked stock (usually coaches, with passenger (vacuum) brake vehicle like yours last, but it COULD be ahead, maybe right behind the loco); then - 

Loose coupled stock

Goods brake at the end. The only way you'd have a trailing truck without a goods brake would be if it was fitted, or (unofficially) maybe only one. 

So, when your train leaves, if it's passenger / mail only, the two carriages above are enough. If it's a "mixed mail", you'll have your two coaches (the brake will be a brake third and the other a 1st / 3rd or 1st / 2nd), and then any wagons, and at the end a goods brake to control them.

As an aside, this is why it is essential for any modeller to have brake vehicles on EVERY train pre-approx-1970, no matter what it is, or where it is. So, as I've often said, we need the tin vans, goods brakes, and full brake carriages for steam days.

Edited by jhb171achill
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Phew! Thanks everyone and especially Jonathan because Rails to Achill is very much the inspiration for both the train and the layout. Will continue to proceed with caution.

 The IRRS drawing does indeed have the VR logo, with a crown, or in this case, squiggle, between the two letters. There should also be the words 'Post Office', but hope I can be excused that one, as there is absolutely no chance of putting anything legible in the space - not by me anyway!

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2 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

Thank you, m'lud. 

On behalf of my client, Mr. Holman, I would like to submit that he has done a superb and accurate job here, and one with which this court may not reasonably find fault. Thus, I submit that the jury must find him not guilty of any wrongdoing..........

Seriously, you've nailed it. From observation of only two very tiny samples of original brown paint that I am aware of, that's perfect. You're going for a slightly older look; gold lining up to approximately 1910, with pale yellow gradually replacing it until the all-over very dark maroon of 1918.

I'm not 100% sure that the "VR" logo was used by the MGWR - some companies here used it and others didn't! It probably depended on the political affiliations of the relevant managements, and would possibly have been influenced by the clientele and general public to be found in the vicinity! If you've evidence of this, fair enough; I'm just unaware of it. I have seen a pic of a coach in blue and white (1902-5) with what appears to be some sort of intertwined letters on the mail coach, but this would have been Edwardian rather than Victorian, as that livery only appeared in 1902. But other mail vehicles don't seem to show anything like this - but it possible I just haven't noticed it.

In any event, a brake third would not have had anything like that - only specifically dedicated mail vans if anything. In Belmullet, mail bags would have been just thrown in the van of the brake coach.

Excellent job, and that coach build is superb, your carriages are perfect companions for the loco. A train like this could have left Belmullet with just those two coaches, picked up two more at Westport, another at Claremorris, and off we go to Athlone, where our D16 remains, and its collection of carriages join the up Galway - Broadstone Mail.

The make-up of a mixed train, as at Achill in the illustration you refer to, was ALWAYS in this order:

Loco

Vacuum braked stock (usually coaches, with passenger (vacuum) brake vehicle like yours last, but it COULD be ahead, maybe right behind the loco); then - 

Loose coupled stock

Goods brake at the end. The only way you'd have a trailing truck without a goods brake would be if it was fitted, or (unofficially) maybe only one. 

So, when your train leaves, if it's passenger / mail only, the two carriages above are enough. If it's a "mixed mail", you'll have your two coaches (the brake will be a brake third and the other a 1st / 3rd or 1st / 2nd), and then any wagons, and at the end a goods brake to control them.

As an aside, this is why it is essential for any modeller to have brake vehicles on EVERY train pre-approx-1970, no matter what it is, or where it is. So, as I've often said, we need the tin vans, goods brakes, and full brake carriages for steam days.

As a humble Juror in this complex case, I can only defer to m'Learned Friend JHB. They look right David! And it's another illustration of how lining brings a model to life, although yours are alive and kicking without it. But the early railways look almost naked without it. 'Rails to Achill' is also one of my favourite Irish Railway books JHB.

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5 hours ago, Broadstone said:

As a humble Juror in this complex case, I can only defer to m'Learned Friend JHB. They look right David! And it's another illustration of how lining brings a model to life, although yours are alive and kicking without it. But the early railways look almost naked without it. 'Rails to Achill' is also one of my favourite Irish Railway books JHB.

Very much appreciated, Broadstone. Thank you.

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On 31/3/2021 at 5:38 PM, David Holman said:

Throwing myself on the mercy of the court!

The court of public opinion need not adjucate on the merits of a project so well executed with a quality thus demonstrated.  A tour de force, methinks!

The reality of the particular era these coaches were extant is recored in grainy and poor quality phoots with only text desrciptoins of what they may have looked like.  To see a modern rendition of these, to me, breathes live into the past.

They look fantastic, well done.

 

Edited by KMCE
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 At long last, the Mail Train is almost finished! The marathon began back in November, with the loco largely complete by mid March - around 100 days and probably 180-200 hours construction time. Somewhat surprisingly, the coaches have only taken three weeks or so. Ok, one only needed a repaint, another was a kit, with just the PLM van being scratch built. There are still a few things to do, not least that Wolf Dog awaits its name and numberplate. It also needs some more lead in the firebox/boiler, as it currently can't pull its train! However, fingers crossed, am fairly confident all will be well - the loco itself runs just fine, but sheet lead is not something you order through the post!

 This week has been spent doing the lining and lettering on the coaches & I'm very grateful for the support folk here have offered. As Ken says, above, information is scarce and much is down to guess work, though JHBAchill of this parish has been a huge source of help.

 So, the [posed] pictures show Wolf Dog arriving with its train and is later seen in the platform alongside my 101 class 0-6-0. The latter is not exactly a big loco, but the 4-4-0 looks very dainty alongside. There are individual pictures of the coaches too.

 However, all is not entirely well in the loco depot. I'd checked that Wolf Dog would fit on the turntable and though it was always going to be a tight fit, I didn't see any problems. Unfortunately though, the loco's buffers are very long and foul the back scene. So, after a pause for a few rude words, it was a case of how do I get out of this then?

 Ideally, the turntable needs to move about half an inch in from the back scene. Well, that ain't going to happen and nor is the back scene going to be moved half an inch back either. Kitwood Models do a very nice laser cut turntable kit of a slightly larger diameter, but I really don't want to do major surgery on the baseboard. The answer [for the moment anyway] has been to add about half an inch to the turntable rails, by using fishplates and soldering small pieces at each end. This has meant clearing away the undergrowth around the turntable, which isn't pretty, but hopefully can be tidied up later. The main compromise is that the rails project about a scale two feet beyond the end of the deck. Clearly not right, but hopefully not too noticeable. Whether I can live with this remains to be seen.

 Either way, I'm pretty much 'Mail Trained out' for now, so am looking forward to doing something different. There is the oil tank to finish, the scenery certainly needs tidying up around the turntable and the baseboard fascias are long overdue a fresh coat of paint. That's model railways for you - always something new took keep you busy. And of course, many, many thanks for all the positive comments - they really do inspire you to keep going.

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This is wonderful. Model railways can be evocative in a number of ways - such as echoing the railway we know or can remember, and many of us choose to do that in our modelling. 

What you are doing is another dimension entirely - bringing to life and colour a world that no one can now remember. This is just glorious - the railway that Yeats, Wilde, Pearse, Carson and Synge knew. 

Edited by Galteemore
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Top stuff David, engine, coaches and layout! The train is looking very good and so evocative of that era. As you say, a small engine compared to the J15, itself not a giant. As to the turntable, I'm sure I have seen pictures of protypical turntable extensions to accommodate longer engines because it was uneconomical to build a new well and deck. I'll see if I can find proof.

On a related note, my S Scale GSWR Kerry Bogie 4-4-0 always struggled pulling a heavy train, particularly round the curves at either end of Kilbrandon, especially that leaving the station which went straight into the bend (or round it!). At the other end there was a bit of straight track beforehand and so it got a bit of a 'run-up' before hitting the curve. I therefore had to actually drive this engine which was fun.  

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Would it be feasible/worthwhile/desirable to cut out a small amount of the backboard and place some sort of 'concave bush' there - or something similar?

 

 

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 Thanks both. Still pondering the turntable, though at the moment am hoping the extension rails won't be too noticeable once I've worked on the ground cover. However, the rails actually stick out a good 2cm (three scale feet), which must be dubious in real life. 

 A Kitwood Models 11.25 inch turntable would fit, though the motor would project below the bottom of the baseboard frame, not ideal for transportation. Also, at the moment, the kit is unavailable. Moving the backscene a bit might be necessary if I go along the Kitwood route, but it all adds up to quite a bit of surgery. Still, no shows for a while yet, so plenty of time to ponder.

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I thought I read somewhere that the 400 class 4-6-0 rebuilds could only be turned at certain depots using extension rails? So you may be in good company!

  Lead, I have a roll of 3mm thick flashing leftover from a building project. PM me if you want some and I'll despatch some.

    Mic

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Thanks Mic, that's very kind of you, but have solved the problem by adding a piece of solid brass rod to the boiler. Mayner's post in the Tutorials section  on balancing 4-4-0s came in useful too.

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At first, I thought it wouldn't take long to fit the new plates and indeed the first stages were simple - spray black and the once dry sand back to reveal the raised brass figures. After cutting out and filing the edges smooth, the plates were then fixed to double sided tape and could then be stuck on the loco. Nice and easy - however, like the rest of the loco, the cab side number plates were lined in black and white, so out came the Fox transfers sheet again. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of the curves left, apart from some 5'6 diameter circles, meant for driving wheels. Therefore had to do a lot of careful teasing to get these in place around the plates, which was especially difficult on the tighter radii. Once dry, I then used a fine black lining pen to put in the middle line.

 So, there we are - just about complete now and must say I'm very pleased with the result. Many thanks to everyone who has helped with advice and information, along with all the positive comments which as ever, are very much appreciated.

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A very fine model of a beautiful engine David. I've also learned a lot from your stage by stage construction posts  and the many photographs you have taken of progress. Thank-you!

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On 23/4/2021 at 5:35 PM, David Holman said:

At first, I thought it wouldn't take long to fit the new plates and indeed the first stages were simple - spray black and the once dry sand back to reveal the raised brass figures. After cutting out and filing the edges smooth, the plates were then fixed to double sided tape and could then be stuck on the loco. Nice and easy - however, like the rest of the loco, the cab side number plates were lined in black and white, so out came the Fox transfers sheet again. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of the curves left, apart from some 5'6 diameter circles, meant for driving wheels. Therefore had to do a lot of careful teasing to get these in place around the plates, which was especially difficult on the tighter radii. Once dry, I then used a fine black lining pen to put in the middle line.

 So, there we are - just about complete now and must say I'm very pleased with the result. Many thanks to everyone who has helped with advice and information, along with all the positive comments which as ever, are very much appreciated.

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Even by your “Almost-impossible-to-equal” standards, David, that is an absolute masterpiece in every way. Superb.

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