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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been through quite a questioning of why I enjoy Model railways of late, I’ve found it so easy in the last few years to model US railroads, and I struggled to understand why I couldn’t get motivated to build something British. I didn’t lay this at the door of modelling to P4 standards, although I think that it may have crossed my mind at times, but I struggled to find something worth modelling. However after a discussion on the Scalefour forum( http://www.scalefour.org/ ) I decided that I would use a ‘Track plan’ rather than find a prototype and copy it. Its this barrier I think that’s kept me away from a British layout for some time, but I have always been fond of a track plan that Iain Rice published many moons ago, and I decided to modify the operation but keep the track plan, but it couldn’t think of a way of including my usual theme of 1980s West Midlands. However the ace up my sleave was a Cornish China Clay layout. My Parents run a B&B ( http://www.thechapelguesthouse.co.uk/ ) in Carthew, Nr St Austell and are surrounded by China clay and Wheal Martyn is just a 2 min walk away. I have always had a fascination with Cornwall and the China clay layout has a lot going for it.
So here it is, a settled plan, its small, compact with plenty of operational potential, a scenic setting and very much manageable!
The operational changes to Iain’s plan is the mainline enters from the track bottom right of the plan, and enters the loop area. A local shunter will be available to help split the train up. The exit off scene top right allows access to the clay dry which will be the long building along the top of the plan, but off scene will be a coal power plant and bagged clay loading facility, so wagons for both of those can be used on the layout and can come in full and leave empty and vice versa. From the plan the engine shed will not be present, and could be replaced by using that small spur as a cripple siding. The longer siding which will occupy the front edge of the layout scene will become a slurry loading facility.
Some stock has already been purchased and others I already have which is always good, I’m going back a little further than I usually do, back to about 1976, so I can for the first time have an excuse to use a Western, but I go as far forward as 1984, thus allowing everything from the Western, to 25s, 50s, 37s, and 47s and peaks. I’m working on the wagons to start with as this will be a slow project, little pieces will be completed over time. I plan on using the Ratio Clay hood kit and I’m not totally convinced of the Bachmann version and their tarp hood is far from pleasing. A set of old Airfix 5 Plank open merchandise wagons will be modified for a Clayliner service. There’s a myriad of other wagons that will be looked at over time and hopefully you’ll be able to follow along with my attempts at modelling these trains.