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An 'Era' System for Irish models

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UK outline models have been categorised in eras or time ranges / operators for some time and, after a question on Rmweb, I wanted to post the IRM tagging system here for perhaps a little discussion / elaboration?

 

ERA / Livery

- Pioneering

- Pre-Grouping

— Great Southern Railway

— Northern Railways

— GNR

— UTA

NIR

CIE

— Silver

— Grey & Yellow

— Green

— Black (& Tan)

— Supertrain

- Irish Rail

- Iarnrod Eireann

- Preservation

- Permanent Way

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11 minutes ago, the Bandon tank said:

Should green come before gray and yellow

Depends.

If you mean grey, full stop, for locos, this appeared with the GSWR in 1915 and spread to ALL locos in the Republic, bar the three 800s, after 1925, and it lasted until the end of steam in March 1963 on many of the dishevelled survivors.

If you mean the grey AND yellow for 121s, this was short lived -= delivery 1961, until the last 121 was repainted black'n'tan c.1968. Some 121s were repainted black'n'tan after only 2 or 3 years.

The two green liveries, one merging into the other, were 1945-62.

Going to BosKonay's post, yes, I used to rely on the mainland European system of "epochs" when I was into Austrian narrow gauge. Epoch 1, Epoch 2, 3, 4 and so on; I had thought that the British system was based more or less on the same eras. Hattons advertise according to years or dates. Comments here have referred in the past to the "supertrain" era, the "black'n'tan" era, the "grey'n'green" era, and so on; which does just as well, but does not include the north.

Because the railways in Northern Ireland were nothing to do with Britain's nationalisation, BR, Beeching or the like, also leaves a void.

If all of Ireland had been CIE, it would be reasonable to talk about the GSR era (1925-45), then "grey'n'green" (1945-63); "black'n'tan" (1962-72); "Supertrain" (1972-87) and so on - but it was NOT all CIE, and those vary in periods from ten to twenty years, and make no allowance for the GNR / NCC / UTA / NIR / BCDR.

With the GNR covering large parts of both sides of the border, one might then take the view that this system be used as a common reference point - but many parts of the GNR away from the main line were a system frozen in time by the time it closed.

Nationalisation or grouping isn't realistic. Grouping only occurred broadly south of a line from Sligo to Cavan to Dublin. Nationalisation was not all at once like in Brexitland; the UTA took effect in 1948/9, CIE was 1950, and what was left of the GNR in 1958. One might actually even argue that the Clogher Valley was nationalised in a way in 1928, when the local authority took it over!

Dieselisation was too piecemeal until the 1960s to be a coherent manner of classification.

Let's look, then, at time periods, for it seems that other methods are not suitable.

1834 - 1890   Building

1890 - 1910   Second wave of government-assisted building ("Balfour" lines, most narrow gauge)

1910 - 1925   Main companies' "Heyday". (The "heyday" period?)

1925 - 1945   GSR era; if applied to the north, the understanding would be that the "heyday" continues in the north, even as just about everything south becomes CIE

1945 - 1960   Transition Era. THREE aspects to this: Closures (1940s NCC & post-fuel crisis CIE; 1950s UTA, GNR & BCDR, and narrow gauge), Modernisation (mass withdrawals of old rolling stock and replacement by new stock (UTA & (especially) CIE); and dieselisation: gradual elimination of steam on most of the network and mass introduction of AEC railcars on both GNR & CIE, experimental one-offs on the NCC, and MED's on the Bangor line 1950-2; B101, A & C class locomotives CIE.

1960 - 1972   Consolidation era. After years of decline, and the end of the vehemently anti-rail Stormont policies and reduction of the UTA to what is now NIR, and final large closures (West Cork 1961, Tralee - Limerick, Limerick - Sligo '63, Mallow - Waterford & Croom branch 1967), plus final end of steam on NIR, it's now a smaller, more standardised, modern railway north and south.

1972 - 1995   A diesel-operated, air-con modern carriages, and containerised freight railway operated in a steam-type environment, with semaphore signals, a lot more shunting than the 1972 Rail Modernisation Plan ever envisaged, and working practices going back to the Norman invasion. We might call this the "Early Modern" era.

1995 - date   Contemporary era.  Freight decline, locomotive replacement by railcars, the "no-shunt railway" comes of age, along with virtual elimination of semaphore signalling, computers doing more an more work both on trains and off them, and in public interfaces.

For modellers, that suits well. If we divide these into periods, we have:

A   Pre 1910

B   Heyday Period

C   GSR Period

D   Transition Period

E   Consolidation period

F   Early Modern Period

G   Contemporary (or 21st century) Period.

 

Footnote:

From the first ever infernal combustion yoke on the CDR in 1906, to the dimming of the fire in the last NIR Jeep in 1970, was a period of 64 years - WAY in excess of most other countries. So in Ireland the "steam era" and "diesel era" just doesn't make sense; the Sligo line saw little steam on passenger trains after 1952, whereas steam was a vibrant part of summer NCC traffic until 1968/9.

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38 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Depends.

If you mean grey, full stop, for locos, this appeared with the GSWR in 1915 and spread to ALL locos in the Republic, bar the three 800s, after 1925, and it lasted until the end of steam in March 1963 on many of the dishevelled survivors.

If you mean the grey AND yellow for 121s, this was short lived -= delivery 1961, until the last 121 was repainted black'n'tan c.1968. Some 121s were repainted black'n'tan after only 2 or 3 years.

The two green liveries, one merging into the other, were 1945-62.

Going to BosKonay's post, yes, I used to rely on the mainland European system of "epochs" when I was into Austrian narrow gauge. Epoch 1, Epoch 2, 3, 4 and so on; I had thought that the British system was based more or less on the same eras. Hattons advertise according to years or dates. Comments here have referred in the past to the "supertrain" era, the "black'n'tan" era, the "grey'n'green" era, and so on; which does just as well, but does not include the north.

Because the railways in Northern Ireland were nothing to do with Britain's nationalisation, BR, Beeching or the like, also leaves a void.

If all of Ireland had been CIE, it would be reasonable to talk about the GSR era (1925-45), then "grey'n'green" (1945-63); "black'n'tan" (1962-72); "Supertrain" (1972-87) and so on - but it was NOT all CIE, and those vary in periods from ten to twenty years, and make no allowance for the GNR / NCC / UTA / NIR / BCDR.

With the GNR covering large parts of both sides of the border, one might then take the view that this system be used as a common reference point - but many parts of the GNR away from the main line were a system frozen in time by the time it closed.

Nationalisation or grouping isn't realistic. Grouping only occurred broadly south of a line from Sligo to Cavan to Dublin. Nationalisation was not all at once like in Brexitland; the UTA took effect in 1948/9, CIE was 1950, and what was left of the GNR in 1958. One might actually even argue that the Clogher Valley was nationalised in a way in 1928, when the local authority took it over!

Dieselisation was too piecemeal until the 1960s to be a coherent manner of classification.

Let's look, then, at time periods, for it seems that other methods are not suitable.

1834 - 1890   Building

1890 - 1910   Second wave of government-assisted building ("Balfour" lines, most narrow gauge)

1910 - 1925   Main companies' "Heyday". (The "heyday" period?)

1925 - 1945   GSR era; if applied to the north, the understanding would be that the "heyday" continues in the north, even as just about everything south becomes CIE

1945 - 1960   Transition Era. THREE aspects to this: Closures (1940s NCC & post-fuel crisis CIE; 1950s UTA, GNR & BCDR, and narrow gauge), Modernisation (mass withdrawals of old rolling stock and replacement by new stock (UTA & (especially) CIE); and dieselisation: gradual elimination of steam on most of the network and mass introduction of AEC railcars on both GNR & CIE, experimental one-offs on the NCC, and MED's on the Bangor line 1950-2; B101, A & C class locomotives CIE.

1960 - 1972   Consolidation era. After years of decline, and the end of the vehemently anti-rail Stormont policies and reduction of the UTA to what is now NIR, and final large closures (West Cork 1961, Tralee - Limerick, Limerick - Sligo '63, Mallow - Waterford & Croom branch 1967), plus final end of steam on NIR, it's now a smaller, more standardised, modern railway north and south.

1972 - 1995   A diesel-operated, air-con modern carriages, and containerised freight railway operated in a steam-type environment, with semaphore signals, a lot more shunting than the 1972 Rail Modernisation Plan ever envisaged, and working practices going back to the Norman invasion. We might call this the "Early Modern" era.

1995 - date   Contemporary era.  Freight decline, locomotive replacement by railcars, the "no-shunt railway" comes of age, along with virtual elimination of semaphore signalling, computers doing more an more work both on trains and off them, and in public interfaces.

For modellers, that suits well. If we divide these into periods, we have:

A   Pre 1910

B   Heyday Period

C   GSR Period

D   Transition Period

E   Consolidation period

F   Early Modern Period

G   Contemporary (or 21st century) Period.

 

Footnote:

From the first ever infernal combustion yoke on the CDR in 1906, to the dimming of the fire in the last NIR Jeep in 1970, was a period of 64 years - WAY in excess of most other countries. So in Ireland the "steam era" and "diesel era" just doesn't make sense; the Sligo line saw little steam on passenger trains after 1952, whereas steam was a vibrant part of summer NCC traffic until 1968/9.

Very well put JHB. Its not like hattons where you can put CIE "early crest" when CIE was not the only railway company by a longshot

 

I would say that transitional period ends either when the 121s first entred service or 1963 when 141s arrived, end of steam, new logo and new livery Came in But there is no concrete fact on "when a certain period ends" all up to enterpretation really which i suppose is why its good to have this conversation

 

Also call the "hey-day" period the "prime years"

Edited by Westcorkrailway
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I'm not sure I've quite grasped what is being discussed here. If it is a system to classify certain models by time period, let me ask a purely hypothetical question.

Having won the lottery I have commissioned a run of RTR GNR 'K 15' carriages. They will come in a selection of liveries -

1. GNR 'Mahogany' (Steam hauled carriages) 1937 - 1959

2. GNR 'Blue/Cream (Railcar trailers) 1950 - 1961

3. CIE 'Green' (Steam / DE hauled carriages and Railcar trailers) 1959 - 1963

4. CIE 'Black & Tan' (Steam / DE hauled carriages and Railcar trailers) 1962 - 1972

5. UTA / NIR 'Green' (Steam / DE hauled carriages and Railcar trailers) 1959 - 1970

6. UTA 'Blue/Cream' (Railcar trailers) 1965 - 1969

7. NIR 'Maroon/White' (Railcar trailers) 1967 - 1974

How would I as a producer classify my products within the various time spans mentioned above?  

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49 minutes ago, Lambeg man said:

I'm not sure I've quite grasped what is being discussed here. If it is a system to classify certain models by time period, let me ask a purely hypothetical question.

Having won the lottery I have commissioned a run of RTR GNR 'K 15' carriages. They will come in a selection of liveries -

1. GNR 'Mahogany' (Steam hauled carriages) 1937 - 1959  Transition Era D  (Rationale: modernisation)

2. GNR 'Blue/Cream (Railcar trailers) 1950 - 1961   Transition Era D (Rationale: modernisation AND dieselisation)

3. CIE 'Green' (Steam / DE hauled carriages and Railcar trailers) 1959 - 1963  Transition Era D  (Rationale: modernisation)

4. CIE 'Black & Tan' (Steam / DE hauled carriages and Railcar trailers) 1962 - 1972   Consolidation Era E (or "Black'n'Tan Era as now well known and understood)

5. UTA / NIR 'Green' (Steam / DE hauled carriages and Railcar trailers) 1959 - 1970  Consolidation Era E (This is why I referred to this period as "Consolidation" rather than "black'n'tan in my definitions; black and tan only applied to the south, although "consolidation" after 1960s closures was very much the case both in CIE and the UTA / NIR.

6. UTA 'Blue/Cream' (Railcar trailers) 1965 - 1969     Consolidation Era E

7. NIR 'Maroon/White' (Railcar trailers) 1967 - 1974    Consolidation Era E  As you say, it's never going to literally precise; this overlaps into the next "era", where loose-coupled four-wheeled things are becoming rare beasts!

How would I as a producer classify my products within the various time spans mentioned above?  

First, Steve, the "commissioning" of a load of GNR coaches very much impresses me!

Using the system I suggested, it naturally can't tick every single box - for example, if something highly significant had happened on, say, the SLNCR or CDRJC in some year, it's more of a "localised" thing, whereas the early 1950s switch to diesel affected the remaining bit of the BCDR, and much of both the GNR's and CIE's main lines, with the all-encompassing AECs that you and I remember so well.

So, I would be inclined to classify the items you mention broadly as I have added in bold to your list above.

Just me tuppence worth.

The periods are well-enough understood and defined. The items you mention are all within a 1937-74 range, thus obviously what I had called Eras A, B, C, F & G would not apply.

 

Edited by jhb171achill
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The more you think about it, the more complicated it becomes, as there are overlaps everywhere.

 My impression with the Hatton's system is that is is designed as a guide for folk interested in getting into the hobby, who don't have much knowledge of railway history. While it should be fairly obvious that steam precedes diesel, after that, the lines do begin to blur, so guiding folk to know what coaches or wagons run with what loco at what time seems sensible. 

 After that, then (hopefully) people will be drawn into deeper historic research as they start to focus on a particular time period and/or location. Something like jhb 's system makes good sense to me.

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15 minutes ago, David Holman said:

My impression with the Hatton's system is that is is designed as a guide for folk interested in getting into the hobby, who don't have much knowledge of railway history.

Hi David, this makes all the more sense to me now.

7 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

black and tan only applied to the south

Hi Jon, thank you for your well considered input. My thoughts were about CIE 'green' and 'black and tan' carriages being hauled through Lisburn by black UTA steam engines. Conversely UTA & NIR 'green' carriages being hauled through Malahide by CIE diesel locomotives. I think David hits the nail on the head about such a system being purely a "guide" for those with a limited history knowledge.

My question by the way was purely hypothetical. Just to clarify, NO I have not won the lottery and NO I am not about to commission a run of 'K 15's in seven different liveries!!!!!!!! 

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I think there's too much overlap on each side of the border and then throwing NI and the Republic together adds to the confusion. What about removing the layer of abstraction (Era/Epoch) altogether and just state the approximate years an item was in service in that livery? 

I know it's not as elegant but I'm not convinced there is an elegant solution that encompasses even the individual parts of the island, nevermind the whole island.

If I was hellbent on introducing an era system with abstraction it would be simple numbers like the German one. Epoch 1 to epoch x.

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Much wisdom here. I suspect, to be honest, that the bulk of the classification detail required will be on the post 1970 stuff, and the distinctions will be required for Supertrain/IR/IE etc. That’s, I think, where the production emphasis will be. Sadly, I don’t anticipate a cornucopia of GSW/GSR/CIE steam stock requiring differentiation.
 

Easy classification for SLNC modellers! 

The green era 1880-1920

The black era 1920-1957

Edited by Galteemore
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1 hour ago, Billycan said:

A great idea.  Eras or Periods?  Is Contemporary applicable to all eras?  Is there value in using the terms like Pioneering Steam and Pioneering Diesel? 

Maybe. But i feel like transitional period is perfect for the 1945-63 era as at the start we were almost all steam locos and by the end we were almost all deisal locos. So many liveries changes in that era too

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Should an era of non authentic models have its own class  sub section  ?  Would it help the historical side of collecting.?

The JHB codes work well and perhaps should be enshrined by IRM on the end of future boxes and enclosed on fact sheets .

 eg  NIR 80 class  080 - 001  (era E)  would be in maroon /blue and NIR  80 Class 080 - 20SS (Era  F) would be a sound and smoke fitted   post intercity NIR stripe livery .  The yellow sandite and facelifted ones would be era G.  All models would be factory fitted with intelligent DCC chips to run limited functions on DC for lighting and smoke and sound. - just saying how the coding could work ...  but you know it makes sense! 

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2 hours ago, Robert Shrives said:

Should an era of non authentic models have its own class  sub section  ?  Would it help the historical side of collecting.?

The JHB codes work well and perhaps should be enshrined by IRM on the end of future boxes and enclosed on fact sheets .

 eg  NIR 80 class  080 - 001  (era E)  would be in maroon /blue and NIR  80 Class 080 - 20SS (Era  F) would be a sound and smoke fitted   post intercity NIR stripe livery .  The yellow sandite and facelifted ones would be era G.  All models would be factory fitted with intelligent DCC chips to run limited functions on DC for lighting and smoke and sound. - just saying how the coding could work ...  but you know it makes sense! 

That's the idea....

You raise an interesting one about non-authentic models, like (say) the orange and black Hymek and some of those other 80s yokes.

I wonder how the continental "Epoch" classification treats these?

Personally, I would be inclined to categorise them within whatever group they were closest to "supposed to be in", or vaguely "representative" of - in that case, the "Early Modern" (F) period / era.

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21 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

2. GNR 'Blue/Cream (Railcar trailers) 1950 - 1961   Transition Era D (Rationale: modernisation AND dieselisation)

3. CIE 'Green' (Steam / DE hauled carriages and Railcar trailers) 1959 - 1963  Transition Era D  (Rationale: modernisation)

What about 2A?

CIÉ from 1945 to 1959. A mixture of former GSR maroon (LMS) and CIÉ  with two shades of green lined in black and white. If my memory serves me correctly, there were 2600 Railcars in the darker shade of green with a single line of light green below window level.

Edited by Old Blarney
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13 minutes ago, Old Blarney said:

What about 2A?

CIÉ from 1945 to 1959. A mixture of former GSR maroon (LMS) and CIÉ  with two shades of green lined in black and white. If my memory serves me correctly, there were 2600 Railcars in the darker shade of green with a single line of light green below window level.

Hence why we called it the transitional phase. Between 1945 and 1963 there were so many different liveries, often mixing together. That picture of macmine junction with GREEN, B&T and gnri blue coaches. 

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1 hour ago, Westcorkrailway said:

Hence why we called it the transitional phase. Between 1945 and 1963 there were so many different liveries, often mixing together. That picture of macmine junction with GREEN, B&T and gnri blue coaches. 

Yes, that was my thoughts too.

We had, during the CIE period 1945 to 1959, on carriages alone, maroon, old green, new green and then unpainted silver; plus even some green unlined secondary stock. Locos - grey, green and some black on CIE. Wagons - several shades of grey with markings in three different styles. GNR brown, GNR dark blue & cream on carriages, with locos blue or black - plus dark blue and cream railcars. NCC and BCDR (UTS) gave us BCDR maroon, NCC maroon and UTA green on coaches, and locos in NCC lined black, NCC plain (wartime) black, BCDR deep green..... and we're not into Donegal yet. The GNR had two wagon liveries.

We COULD divide and subdivide to the Nth degree, as a schoolteacher of mine used to say, but we have to stick to broad definitions, at the very edges of which at least some details will blur into the next category.

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Purely from limited personal memory there seems be pre-1974 and post-1974 in terms of models and rolling stock availability especially when it came to the way goods were handled and moved. Supertrain in 1972 (relivereied A class locos hauling smart new mk2d coaches) seemed a significant sea change in passenger transport as was 2007 with the switch to ICRs. I still remember the TV adverts.

Edited by Noel
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It seems to me that the UK system has a little more practical import as there are models available for most periods, some more than others obviously (full disclosure, I no longer have any real interest in British modeling for the last 20 years) 

In an Irish setting most of the models being produced in recent times are mostly 1970s onwards with earlier eras substantially under represented or not at all, and I don't really see that changing.

Sure there are possibilities to create many things when resorting to scratch building or kits, I understand that. The pre-1970s A Class are being produced solely (thank the Lord!) as a result of being part of a lot with the later variant A classes. As for Irish track no classification required there at all.

I think that most important thing to most modelers (well to me anyway) is to have as much information on the prototype that the product represents, years of service in particular and specific details seen on the model (which is often taken for granted by the mature gricer but may not be ever even spotted by a newbie who buys over the counter (virtual or otherwise))

Edited by DiveController
Typo
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I had thought of the same terminology with regards to my wagon book, but especially for steam there is a lot of overlap with the various companies so its not as 'cut and dry' as the UK with its distinctive 'big four' era etc. 

So far I'm working along the lines of:

Era 1 - Pioneers (Pre 1900)

Era 2 - Golden Age of Irish Steam (1900-1940)

Era 3 - Decline and replacement (1940-1970)

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It's so detailed that only epochs will do. So forget about liveries, they're on the models anyway.

Pre-grouping - MGWR, BNCR, INWR, SLNCR

Grouping - GSR, NCC, GNRI, SLNCR

Nationalisation - CIE, UTA

Dieselisation - diesels

Rationalisation - block freight, no freight

Each model spread across epochs according to livery

Edited by NIR
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