Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hornby ACT Freightliner Wagon

This Hornby Freightliner Container Flat with three 20' ACT Containers was produced, I believe, for the Australian market.
I am not sure what ACT stands for but it could be Australian Cargo Transport.
These wagons were only made between 1970 and 1972 and the containers were also produced in silver and blue, as opposed to the white and blue above. These silver and blue versions are rarer to find than the white and blue as they were only produced in 1970.
The Catalogue Number for both versions is R839.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Outlines of Power - Nº 6 : Class 35 'Hymek' B-B

For the sixth 'Outlines of Power' article by Mike Turner, that 'Rail Enthusiast' ran during the early 1980s, we have the Class 35 'Hymek' with a great portrait of D7000 in BR green livery with small yellow warning panels.
The accompanying annotation reads as follows:
With that smooth, busy beat so much associated with locomotives of the Western Region's bold diesel-hydraulic era, the 'Hymek' B-B locomotives produced a notable performance when you consider that their weight in working order was just 74 tons. 
Their 16-cylinder Bristol Syddeley Maybach MD870 engine, producing 1,700 bhp at 1,500 rpm, drove through a Stone Maybach Mekydro transmission and final drive. The short, stubby locomotives, with their endearing inward-sloping front-end design, had a starting tractive effort of no less than 49,700lb, a continuous tractive effort of 33,950lb and a top speed of 90 mph.
Numbered from D7000 onwards, the locomotives were ordered from Beyer Peacock (Hymek) Ltd., in 1959 and they first appeared in 1961. Although they performed many and varied mixed-traffic duties, events led to their early downfall and by the start of 1973 only 20 survived, D7000 herself succumbing in July of that year. Happily, however, a handful of the distinctive "Hymeks" have survived into preservation. D7017 is preserved by the Diesel and Electric Group at the West Somerset Railway; D7018 is preserved by the same group at Didcot; D7029 is working on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, preserved by the Diesel Traction Group, and the Bury Transport Museum has acquired D7076 (together with some parts from D7096) which had been at the Derby Research and Technical Centre.
By way of updating the current state of the preserved "Hymeks"
Both D7017 and D7018 are now on he West Somerset Railway. The former is operational while the latter is undergoing a long-term overhaul at Williton Shed.
D7029 is still undergoing major restoration work and was recently moved from Old Oak Common shed to the Severn Valley Railway for more restoration after which it will be returned to service in BR blue.
D7076 in currently on the East Lancs Railway and was taken out of traffic in late 2008 for repairs. It was then discovered that the engine would need a complete rebuild so a Maybach MD-655 engine from D1041 "Western Prince", which itself was being overhauled, was fitted to D7076 to make it operational. Unsurprisingly, the resultant loco acquired the nickname "WesMek". However the oco was again taken out of service early in 2010 when MD-655 itself developed a fault.
During the summer of 2011, two ex-Hymek MD-870 engines were discovered in a York scrapyard! Both engines were in excellent condition and both were purchased by the East Lancs Railway and one was subsequently fitted to D7076 with the second engine being kept as a spare. So it was that, in the summer of 2014, D7076 emerged in BR blue livery with full yellow ends.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tri-ang Pullman Cars

These Tri-ang Pullman Coaches were first introduced in 1958 and were scaled at 57ft (9") as against 66' of the real cars.
The body profiles, with the upper sides sloping slightly inwards, was closest to the electric multiple unit Pullmans and could be quite easily modified to represent a Brighton Belle car.
The tables mostly had plain brass lampshades but, sometimes, they were painted pink, as in 'Mary' above. At one stage the lamps were even reduced to a narrow spike!
An example of 'Jane' has apparently been found with blue lampshades instead of pink. I have not seen one myself and, not surprisingly, it is considered to be quite rare.
Other rarer versions of these cars had them with cream coloured roofs instead of white ones and I have seen examples of these.
Later models were adorned with white rimmed wheels, as in 'Jane' above.
In 1962, Golden Arrow stickers were also supplied, separately, together with a locomotive headboard. 
The Catalogue Number for all of the three parlour cars was the same, i.e: R228 while for the Brake Car it was R328.
These iconic coaches continued in production until 1973.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hornby Signal Gantry

I managed to pick up this Hornby Signal Gantry the other day in a small model railway shop in Plymouth.
It is missing one of the track clips but, apart from that, it is complete and undamaged.
The Catalogue Nº is R140 (later to be renumbered as R203) and this particular gantry dates from around 1979.
It is really quite rare to find one of these in such a nice, boxed condition.

Ballast, Bothy and a Baby Bachmann

Time for another update on our progress so far and from the top picture, you can see that the Ballast Yard is still being worked upon. I think we have now given it its final coating of stone and rock dust and, from the photo, you can see that the glue is still fairly wet! Next time we will be concentrating on the edges and, maybe, installing some yard lights.
Meanwhile, behind the ballast yard, and with the help of my nephew and his girlfriend, we have 'built' a stone shelter, or bothy, complete with camp fire and outside seat for sitting and admiring the countryside. A couple of hill walkers are also crossing one of the footbridges while, in the distance, a farmer and his dog are coming up the hill in order to gather his sheep.
The third photo gives another general view of this section of the layout wherein we are also slowly adding more trees to make the hills look a little less barren.
Finally, we have added sound to our Bachmann Class 03, not an easy job given the restricted nature of these smaller locos. The sound is by SWD and is very good, I must admit. We used a YouChoos SugarCube7 speaker and the sound is quite impressive from such a small speaker. However, either through dirty track or faulty pick-ups the loco's performance was decidedly dodgy when we were running her in. So, unfortunately, it is back to the workshops for a quick check to see what the problem might be!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Outlines of Power - Nº 5 : Class 73

Here we have the fifth 'Outlines of Power' article by Mike Turner that 'Rail Enthusiast' ran during the early 1980s. This features the BR / English Electric Class 73 electro-diesel and has a great portrait of Nº 73105 whilst the accompanying text reads as follows:
The square and stubby-looking Class 73 Bo-Bo electro-diesels have been part and parcel of Southern Region operations for 21 years - and their ancestry goes right back to the 1940s-built CC1-3 straight electric locomotives, which carried motor-generator "booster' sets to get them moving when "off the juice". These locos were eventually renumbered 20001-3. The Class 73s differ from most of their predecessors (with the exception of the Class 74 rebuilds from Class 71 locos) in that they have a four-cylinder English Electric Type 4 SRKT diesel engine which allows the locomotives to operate indefinitely - or at least until the fuel runs out - on non-electrified lines. There are 47 examples of Classes 73/0 and 73/1, the first half dozen, 73001-6, being the 73/0s built in 1962. These have detail differences from the rest of the class, which followed three years later, and cannot be run in multiple with them. The 73/0s weigh about a ton less than the rest, and have a top speed of 80 mph instead of 90 mph. The locomotives are surprisingly powerful on straight electric third-rail pick-up, producing 2,450 bhp with a maximum tractive effort of 42,000lb. On diesel engines alone they struggle a bit, with only 600 bhp on tap. The Class 73s were built at Vulcan Foundry, Newton-le-Willows, are are used as general mixed traffic engines. They are chosen for some prestige runs such as visits by Heads of State from Gatwick Airport and for the Venice Simplon Orient Express. They will also power the soon-to-be-introduced Rapid Rail-Air Link between Victoria and Gatwick. These locomotives will be push-pull fitted and may eventually carry a new classification.