Powsides Private owner wagon kit

A quick late evening project. A Powsides PO kit, actually the kit is the exSlaters 1907 7 plank 15′ wagon kit, but with Powsides branding. These are used in their wagon decals packs but they do sell them as undecorated kits, at normal kit prices unlike the inflated eBay prices. No mention of Coopercraft at all.

Although I prefer the Cambrian kits as they have less flash and go together well, this kit is finely detailed, the buffers are a nice turned metal, whereas the Cambrian buffers are a bit of a let down. The brakes however are only ok if your modelling a wagon with the brakes ON!

Coupling hook is my now standard Lanarkshire models whitemetal hook, drilled to take 3 links. Brakes will be replaced by an etched set. Either Masokits or Bill Bedfords as I was kindly sent a few examples to try.

All in all a pleasant hour spent building a nice kit, 4 wagon kits down another dozen or so to go.

Stock building underway

Having made life more difficult by modelling the 1920’s, with the majority of reference photos and details dating to mostly the 50’s & 60’s. Without finding details about which wagon company or companies the Railway used, not to mention the engineering talent and facilities that were available at The Wallows (the engineering works and sheds) there was a chance that some wagons were built on site, like some of the locomotives. Finding suitable stock off the shelf is very limited.

There is a reference to The Midland Railway wagon and carriage works, about a hopper wagon with a similar design built for export to Australia. Which is visible in a photo taken at a land sale wharf, which sadly I can’t post.

So to establish a base of wagons for the layout to get things underway I’ve chosen both the 5 & 7 plank Gloucester 1907 15′ po wagons. Simple but well detailed kits from Cambrian kits.

The buffers have been replaced with Lanarkshire Model white metal buffers for wooden underframed early po wagons. The coupling hooks will also be Lanarkshire models white metal which although originally designed to be cosmetic are more than strong enough for actual coupling use, especially given my rakes would be between 5-7 wagons max.

P4 wheels are from Alan Gibson and although I’ve built the brakes from the kit, they will be retro fitted with Masokits and Bill Bedford brakes and levers a long with all future builds. I always try and build atleast one to the original instructions.

The chassis is the base for the 5 plank and the 7 plank is just awaiting couplings and brakes retro fitting.

These Cambrian kits will be in a reasonable good condition given the 1907 design heritage. For the more older wagons there’s a large variation of types available to model but will mostly require scratchbuilding.

The railway used many plank variations including 1,3,4,5,6 &7 plank wagons. The railway did have many dumb buffered wagons. As seen in this photo, which will require scratchbuilding.

Dated early 20th Century, this is Abbiss coal merchant’s landsale wharf. The third wagon from the right is a 4 plank dumb buffered wagon. There’s a few variations in the rake too, near the back appears to be atleast 1 slope sided hopper.

The following is an extract from the Dudley archive which accompanies the photo:

Mr Joe Abbiss, who owned the coal merchants whose company name is on the lorry, is the gentleman standing in the lorry. The man on the left holding the horses, is believed to be a Major Westwood. The “E D” on the sides of the trucks indicate that the colliery belonged to the Earl of Dudley. The description “Landsale wharf” in the Black Country, usually means a railway siding at which coal is unloaded for sale to merchants or consumers. Coal is usually loaded from the train to lorries by hand. (Courtesy of Mr. J. Abbiss).

Courtesy of Dudley Archives and the Black country History website

The Earl of Dudley’s Railway.

Here’s a little introduction to the fascinating railway that is now all gone but not without leaving it’s mark on history.
The Earl of Dudley’s Railway was an independent mineral and industrial railway, which at one point stretched for some 40 miles across the south west of the black country. The railway has a very long heritage and a little place in history. However with the last steam engine withdrawn from service in 1963, very little remains of the once important railway.
Perhaps though with one lasting connection to the present day, is that the railway once serviced the Round Oak steelworks, with much of the internal railway still left at the site once being a part of the Earls Railway.

Its little place in history (and the NRM) was assured in 1829 several months before the Rainhill trials, when large crowds gathered in the Pensnett area of the railway (at this time known as the Shutt End Railway) for trials of the locomotive Agenoria, which was seen pulling up to 20 mineral wagons, weighing over 130 tons, managing a speed of between 3 and 7 mph. Interestingly the builder Foster Rastrick, of Foster Rastrick and co, Stourbridge, was after this trial run of Agenoria invited to be a judge at the Rainhill trials. Agenoria can now be seen in the great hall at the NRM, minus her tender, but well preserved.

In the very early part of the 17th century it was discovered that the land in the black country was rich in minerals, Coal, Limestone, ironstone and clay were in abundance, however a ridge some 800′ above sea level ran through the area, while to the North and East of the ridge the minerals were pushed to the surface and easily collected, the terrain to the South and West was more hostile, and it was for this reason that ultimately brought the railway in to being, alongside the many canals in the area. The owner of the land to the South and West of the line was the Ward family, who had succeeded the title and ownership of the Dudley estate in the late 18th century.
As the railway developed in the mid to later half of the 19th century, the railway purchased tender locomotives from Manning Wardle, which worked the line for many years, before the railways own workshops rebuilt them in to small 0-4-0 and 0-4-2 locomotives, these worked up until the turn of the century when further purchases were made trialling different makes of small tank engines, with locomotives from Avonside and Peckett being used on the line, but when a few Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 st were introduced to the railway they soon became the mainstay of the line up to until their withdrawal in the 1960’s. Barclay 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 saddle tanks were in abundance on the lines. Very few survived in to preservation, as most were cut up at the works and the scrap used in the furnaces at Round Oak.
The Earl of Dudley’s Railway was a very complex and interesting system, with vast workshops on site at ‘The Wallows’, a 90 deg crossing of the GWR mainline at Round Oak, connection to multiple coal mines, canal basins, landsale wharves, which for instance took the railway almost in to the town centre of Dudley, the railway has a long history and hopefully by modelling this little railway I can convey some of that importance and history.
If anyone would like to learn more I canhighly recommend the book The Earl ofDudley’s Railways, by Ned Williams.

A Shift in Direction

Far too much time passes by between blog posts. Unfortunately the same can be said for my modelling time. Although I’ve not managed to get much modelling done this year I have managed several projects, some of which  I shall be blogging about this year as I develop the projects further. One major project I’m embarking on is Radio control. More about that in the new year.

I have decided to change my direction a little for the time being and have begun collecting items and ideas and information on GWR railways in Wales. More specifically in Mid Wales, the Lampeter Aberayron and New Quay Light railway and the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth mainline in the late 1940s. There may be a move in to British Railways but to start I shall concentrating on late 40’s pre BR. With the recent Bachmann class 64xx pannier having another run after selling out its possible to start this project, Tom Foster on his Blog has very finely modelled the GWR Pannier of the 74xx class from the Bachmann 64xx, from which I shall be taking great inspiration. As with the typical 14xx and autocoach, the 74xx pannier was the mainstay of the branch from their introduction until the line closed in the early 1960’s.

Aberayron Station, 13 Nov 1963

BR built Ex GWR 74xx pannier class no.7439 at Aberayron in 1963 shunting the yard. The platform no longer receiving passengers now doubles as another freight loading point. Photo Copyright Ian D Nolan.

There are not many photos of line from the post war years and most are taken in mid to late 1950’s which should of meant that I did indeed model the BR days, but passenger services ceased in the years just before nationalisation and as I wanted to model passenger trains late GWR it is.


Hornby’s Welsh excursion…

Hornby have produced a number of models in their ‘Super detailed’ range, and this class 67 locomotive is one of their latest editions. Although the Hornby class 67 has been produced for a number of years now, this version, the Arriva Trains Wales Class 67, 67003 is a 2014 Hornby release in the new plain blue livery, it’s the second of its class in this scheme to have been released by Hornby with 002 preceding it.

Full Product packaging
Full Product packaging

Thirty class 67 Diesel Electric locomotives were ordered by EWS (English Welsh & Scottish Railway) and these were built by Alstom in Valencia, Spain. These powerful Bo-Bo locomotives are powered by a General Motors 3200hp EMD Prime Mover – known as the 12N-710G3B-EC. This EMD prime mover forms part of EMDs 710 engine series which powers a number of modern diesel locomotives around the world, this 12 cylinder version powers other locomotives such as the Irish Rail 201 class, as well as the British class 66 locomotives.

After a few teething problems, with a gauging issue and a bogie issue which resulted in the fleet being restricted to 110mph until all were modified by 2003 to run at 125mph, they were the workhorses of the Royal Mail trains, until EWS lost the contract to carry mail by rail, with this venture all but ceasing in 2004.

Since the class were no longer required for hauling mail trains, they became well spread across the rail network, some of the class were used in Scotland to pull the sleeper trains over non electrified routes, other were employed to rescue failed express trains on the East Coast Main line. Just a handful of the class have become synonymous with Royal Train duties and also the EWS directors train. Their appearance with mk3 coaches and a DVT in the short lived Wrexham & Shropshire railway, gave a very welcome boost to the popularity of the railways and showed that locomotive hauled trains still had a place on todays system.

In March of 2012, Arriva Trains Wales leased three units from DB Schenker, namely 001,002 & 003. These locos replaced the class 57’s on the Premier North-South Wales route, a weekday premier service running between Cardiff and Holyhead, offering a First class route with dining service.

67003 makes up the review piece here. The all over blue and yellow very reminiscent of the heady days of BR blue. 67003 was the first locomotive off the production line and became the first of the three Arriva Trains Wales 67’s to be painted so.

Hornby have created a good rendition of this paint scheme, the silver roof and Arriva blue match up very well, there are the odd few blemishes in the paint on this review item, there is perhaps a little too much paint bleed on the front of the loco where the Yellow warning panel meets the surrounding blue.

Front cab, slight paint blemish

Having mentioned the slight paint blemishes the text has been crisply reproduced and is legible. With such a (used hesitantly) bland paint scheme the detail of the locomotive really needs to stand out and be just right, as on a significant majority of other models the extravagant paint schemes often steal the eye and offer their own Wow factor, but in the case of this model that isn’t the case.

For me the showstopper is the ability to see through the grilles and not seem a big lump of Mazak, the prototype allows you to pear through the locomotive grille and this is well replicated.

See through Grille and crisp bogie detailing

The bogie detail again is crisp along with the underframe detailing and the long fuel tank is moulded well. This is a refreshing change amongst a number of RTR locomotives, that have very little detail or just incorrect detailing. The only detailing lacking is the myriad of pipes between the bogies and the cab sides which are clearly visible on viewing the prototype. While these are easily added by a competent modeller, I’m not in a position to make this a criticism as these are after all toys and are still required to navigate sharp train set curves.

Hornby’s well used 5 pole skew motor runs very smoothly with the Bo-Bo wheel arrangement, this test piece was the DCC ready version and it comes pre wired with an 8 pin socket. The motor was responsive  and ran very well when coupled with a Lenz Silver decoder and I also had quite pleasant control from the older Hornby R8215 decoder 8pin 4 function decoder (These have now been superseded with the newer R8249 or Sapphire).

The Hornby Cl67 comes with what would perhaps be considered quite a small bag of detailing parts, (if any of you have bought Heljan or Vi trains locomotives you’ll understand just how many parts you get!). However the detailing is very crisp and the small cab front pipes and swing knuckle couplings will add a very good touch once added by the modeller. The lower skirt is also an add on detailing item which will complete the front look of this locomotive really well. This however is where the next issue arises, adding all that detail may mean in some instances that the loco will now not negotiate tight trainset curves, (just bear that in mind when fitting them). Hornby nicely give you the option of the large or small standard 00 gauge coupling, which will fit the NEM pockets on this loco. Although If I were to detail this to a high standard I would be tempted to fit Kadee (Or even a Sergent Coupling from the US) knuckle couplings. The prototype is fitted with a knuckle Buckeye type coupling that can be swung to the side if the need for connecting to coaching stock arises and the screwlink coupling is required.

Small or Large standard couplers
Small or Large standard couplers
Lower front Valance and detailing parts.
Lower front Valance and detailing parts.








Overall this model is good, there have been discussions over the Quality control of the paint issues before and most if not all can be easily rectified by the modeller, with a little generous weathering, and if not then a simple replacement is all that is needed, so hysterics its a hobby after all!

Match this up with the up coming Arriva Trains Wales DVT and Mk3 coaches and you can have a simple and short but very prototypical train without any comprises! Brilliant.



First Published article



I couldn’t resist a quick post as I’ve had my first article published. The Partwork series that is Your Model Railway Village on reaching issue 19 has published my article about building Model Railway Dioramas and small layouts, based around my Long Logging Line Layout which is the On30 layout I’ve mentioned on here and the little wooden wagons a few posts down. Whilst it may not be in one of the big 4 magazines, not that all of them would entertain an On30 layout in their pages, its still a great feeling to know that some people will get to read your article and hopefully gain something from it. It takes you through the thought processes needed for a small layout, and aims to get across the message that it doesn’t take long to build  a small layout or diorama and that they can really help you refine your modelling skills if your aim is to build a large layout.

The partwork can be ordered from Hacette if your local shops no longer stock it.  https://www.hachettepartworks.com/our-titles/model-railway/