Friday, September 17, 2010

Pulling The Ladies

George Mortimer Pullman (1831 – 1897) was an American industrialist who introduced the Pullman Sleeping Car or "Palace Car" in 1864. When one of these sleepers was used to convey the body of Abraham Lincoln on the Funeral Train from Washington to Springfield in April and May of 1865 it brought Pullman widespread national attention and, as a result, orders for his sleeping cars came flooding in. 
The sleeping cars, which were marketed as "luxury for the middle class", therefore proved very successful, despite the fact that they cost in excess of five times the price of a regular railway car.
Great Britain introduced Pullman Cars in 1874 and these Tri-ang Hornby models are based on cars from the 1920s - during what has become affectionately known as the Golden Age of Steam!
Tri-ang first introduced these handsome models in 1958 and they then continued in production until 1973 when they were finally phased out.
As far as I am aware there were just the four different 1st Class Cars in this original styling, namely: Anne, Jane, Mary and Ruth. Then, in 1960, Tri-ang introduced a Brake / 2nd Class Car, simply called Car Nº 79.
Did you know that George Pullman also created his own company town called, not surprisingly, Pullman, which was later absorbed by, and is now a neighbourhood of, Chicago.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bed Time

This weekend saw us progressing the area between the bus station and the road bridge, as well as forming the bed of the stream that will run through the south-east corner of the town.
The course of this stream has had to be diverted from its original route, and shortened a bit too, but I think it will still make an interesting feature - as will the ornamental lake into which the stream will flow in to and out of. 
We have also now abandoned the planned roundabout that we had marked out in this area in favour of road junctions, again due to lack of space, and there will be a hump-back bridge going over the stream for vehicular access to a probable church and bowling green in this corner of the layout. We had originally planned to have a cricket pitch here but there is just not enough room.
You will see that the Operating Mail Receiving Bin and Pick-up Hook are now in-situ, on either side of the tracks although not fixed down yet. This should be done next time and, hopefully, the landscaping of the area in and around the bus station and police station should also commence in earnest.
We have now decided that we will, eventually, extend the layout by a few feet on the other side of the the small embankment, just out of shot to the left of the photograph. The plan, then, is to build a diesel depot since there is certainly enough room and the layout could really benefit from one. This will also allow us to make the embankment somewhat larger so that it better matches the embankment on the opposite side of the tracks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bold As Brass

No, we are not converting our layout to O Gauge, well, not just yet anyway.
I just thought that it would be nice to feature this lovely O Gauge model of a Fowler 4F 0-6-0 locomotive that I currently have in my possession.
It was made by Bachmann Brassworks and has a Catalogue Nº: BW015.
The Brassworks range consists of many, fine, ready to run steam and diesel locomotives in both O Gauge and Gauge 1 and they are available in either a brass finish, as here, or ready painted in a plain base colour, without lining or decals.
Being made of brass these locos are quite heavy, this one weighs in at around 1700g, so it's pulling power is excellent and it runs beautifully too.
The Midland 4F was attributed to Henry Fowler although much of the design work was supervised by the Chief Locomotive Draughtsman, James Anderson. Apparently it was Midland Region policy to build prototypes so that they could prove the design. As such, building of these locos commenced with just two examples in 1911. The testing period was then extended due to the First World War and was followed by a concerted building programme between 1917 and 1922 whereupon, when the Midland Railway became the LMS, there were 192 in service.
The LMS adopted the design as standard in 1924 and by 1941, when the final two were built at Derby, the final total stood at a very impressive 772 locomotives.
Today, just one of the Midland-built 4Fs survives (43924) together with three of the LMS 4Fs (44027, 44123, 44422) with 44422 being, as far as I am aware, the only one that is operational and currently running on the Nene Valley Railway.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It Carries Cars Well

The Tri-ang Hornby BR Cartic Articulated Car Carrier was produced from 1969 until 1973. It was usually supplied with a selection of 12 Minix cars, although only seven are shown above. These  cars were introduced in 1964 and were available until 1972.

The range, obviously, reflected the makes of cars that were available at the time and, compared to today's standards, were a bit basic and toy-like.

There were, I believe, 18 vehicles in total:
  1. Ford Anglia
  2. Morris 1100
  3. Vauxhall Viva
  4. Triumph 2000
  5. Austin A60
  6. Ford Corsair
  7. Sunbeam Alpine
  8. Hillman Minx
  9. Simca 1300
  10. Hillman Imp
  11. Vauxhall Victor 101
  12. Austin 1800
  13. Ford Thames Van
  14. AEC Strachans Bus
  15. Vauxhall Cresta Estate
  16. Caravan
  17. Rambler Classic
  18. Trailer
The cars came in a variety of colours including: black, white, blue, red, dark yellow, pale yellow, dark green, emerald green, lime green, maroon and vermillion. It seems that the rarest colours were black, maroon and lime green.

As for the Car Carrier itself, a label with the Inter-City Logo and the word Motorail was attached to each of the four sides. However, the one in my photograph does not have these although you can probably see where two of the labels should be.
For its day, this was an excellent model that could be attached to the rear of any suitable passenger or sleeper train to recreate the Motorail services that began in the UK in 1955 but which, sadly, ended in September 2005. 
The final Motorail service being that of the Night Riviera from Paddington to Penzance. Fortunately The Night Riviera service does still operate but it no longer transports cars.
The Catalogue Number for the Car Carrier is R.666 and the model is still highly sought after by collectors today.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Going Round The Bend!

This week we finally got around to creating the rest of the embankments on either side of the road bridge and, in so doing, formed a cutting which nicely matches the cutting on the other side of the gap - albeit somewhat smaller. Please see previous post entitled 'Valley Good Work'.
However, just like Topsy, it somehow grew and became rather longer than we had originally intended inasmuch as we decided to continue the embankment around the top of the loop so that it would connect with the retaining wall on the other side. 
There is not much space, at this point, between the track and the edge of the baseboard, so we had to make the embankment here somewhat lower and narrower but it should look okay especially when a backdrop is finally put into place behind it.
Actually, we were uncertain as to whether a cutting was the right way forward here before we started but, now that it is in place, I think we all felt that it was the correct decision and it should look very good when fully landscaped.
You can also see where I have replaced the two Hornby crossover points, that lead to Platform 3 and the Brewery Siding, with ones by Peco which are much superior. Surely it is high time that Hornby improved their track, especially their points and diamond crossings, to make it more compatible with the fine-scale wheels that are found on today's rolling stock.
You might also notice that we have made provision for an Operating Mail Coach Receiving Bin on the up line, between the end of the embankment and the points. A Pick-up Hook is going to be installed on the down line, opposite, so that we will then have one of each accessory at either end of the layout. The intention will then be to run an overnight sleeper service in each direction with an operating mail coach coupled to the rear of each train. This can then collect / drop off the mail bags whilst the train conveys its slumbering passengers between Sueston and Davemoor.
Okay, so this might be nothing more than a toy something that, I am sure, many a serious railway modeller will not even contemplate using. However, the whole objective of this layout is to have as much fun as possible and to make it interesting to operate as well. That is why we have several such operating accessories at various locations around the layout; they all provide our trains with a reason for running and give us a lot of pleasure into the bargain.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Giraffe Car

Suppose you had to transport a giraffe by rail, how would you do it? 
So stated Tri-ang in their introduction to the Giraffe Car which first appeared in the 1963 catalogue.
Well, I have to say that not too many giraffes do get transported on the Lakeland Railway and, indeed, this is the first and, probably, the only time that such an animal will travel on the line - there being no zoos along our route.
This was definitely an original and amusing operating accessory although, I believe, it was actually based on an idea by Lionel Trains of America.
The car came in a variety of liveries, based on Canadian and Australian outline railways, since it was clearly designed for sale in these countries. It was predominantly sold as an individual item but it did also appear as part of the Pacific Steam Freight Set of 1967 for the Canadian market.
Below is a reproduction of an advertisement for the Giraffe Car that appeared in the model railway press during 1966. The words to the left of the advert read as follows:
"Exactly three things can be said for being a giraffe. 1. No school. 2. The best bits off treetops where other animals can't reach. 3: A view for miles. Giraffes, in fact, have it made. But life has trials, too. Like being eaten by lions. And travel. England built Africa's railways and they're fine for humans. Some are anyway. But giraffes? Nobody thought of them at the time. So, later, they had to cut holes in coach roofs. SUCCESS story, now they can nod to one another all down the train, needn't worry about "No Smoking" signs, can still see for miles. Though there are DANGERS. They still remember poor Fred. On the Up train from Nairobi. So bemused by scenery (he composed light verse) he forgot to duck at low bridge. No Fred. If only they had had this Tri-ang trackside tell-tale he would still be with us. Our giraffes get a gentle tap on the head whenever a low bridge or other obstruction is near. They then gracefully duck and NEVER come up again until the danger is past. Your giraffes would appreciate the simple fitting of this set to their layout!"
The only problem that I can see here is that if you had more than one low bridge or other obstruction you would need more than one tell-tale otherwise your giraffe might then suffer the same fate as poor Fred!
The Giraffe Car had a Catalogue Number of R.348 and a Running number of TR937 and was last produced in 1971.