Thursday, January 19, 2017

Carrying Baggage

The cavalry have arrived, in the form of those model railway baggage vans I bought on eBay the other day, just in the nick of time to give me something to write about!  OK, where to start?  The Southern Railway (and later British Railways Southern Region) built two main types of baggage van: the four-wheeled long wheelbase Covered Car Truck (CCT) and the longer General Utility Van GUV) which was mounted on bogies.  I was fortunate to be able to obtain examples of both types, at very reasonable prices, last weekend.  So, first up is the CCT:

As you can undoubtedly guess from its name, the CCT was originally designed for the transportation of automobiles, back in the days when motor cars were very expensive and quite exclusive and therefore had to be protected from the elements.  What isn't apparent from the photo is that they had double doors at each end to enable the loading of vehicles from a ramp or platform.  In service, they were, more often than not, used for parcels traffic or to provide additional luggage capacity on passenger trains.  The model itself is an early seventies Wrenn product, produced from the old Hornby Dublo moulds.  I'm not sure why I was able to buy it so cheaply as, like all Wrenn items, the CCTs tend to be bought by collectors for ridiculous prices.  It might, in part, be because it is in the later BR blue livery rather than SR green, (I have one of the latter which I bought second hand more than twenty years ago, before their prices went sky high).  This livery tends to be less popular.  There is a common misconception that you can't run vans in these colours with steam locos.  In reality, the later BR corporate blue and grey livery started to appear in the mid-sixties when steam traction was still relatively widespread, especially on the Southern Region.  It was quite common to see blue and grey liveried coaches, for instance, interspersed with green liveried coaches in steam hauled passenger trains.  Indeed, somewhere I have a photo of a rebuilt Bulleid pacific hauling a complete blue and grey liveried train out of Waterloo on a regular service circa 1966.

In the photo, the CCT is pictured coupled up behind my unrebuilt Bulleid pacific (a much modified old-style Hornby model), whose tender can be partly seen, and in front of a blue and grey Mk1 BG full brake coach, (this one is the inaccurately long Lima model).

Turning to the GUV, the SR versions of these had corridor connections and were used both for parcels traffic and as baggage cars on passenger trains.  On the Southern Railway and later BR Southern Region, such cars were marshaled between the locomotive and the leading coach, rather than running at the rear of the train, which seemed to have been standard practice on other railways/regions. (An exception was the all-Pullman 'Bournemouth Belle, where it ran at the back of the train).  On boat trains it wouldn't be uncommon to see two GUVs running behind the locomotive.


The above model, (coupled up behind my old-style Hornby King Arthur class - you can just see its tender), is the old Triang model in BR Southern Region green.  The model was produced throughout the sixties.  The body, which isn't at all bad for its era, remained the same, but the bogies and wheels varied a bit over the period of production.  This one, judging by its running gear, comes from the mid-sixties. Prices vary wildly on the second hand market.  The blue ones tend to be cheapest, but you can sometimes get green ones at relatively low prices, as I did.  Hornby reintroduced it in, I think, the late eighties, with improved bogies.  These versions are inevitably more expensive than the older Triang versions. 

Returning to the real thing, you could still see examples of both the CCT and GUV in service until the early eighties.  In the fifties, BR built a new batch of CCTs to the same design, but with solid plywood sides rather than the planked construction seen in the model.  (I have an unbuilt Parkside Dundas kit of one of these).  Later in the fifties BR built both CCTs and GUVs to their own design, this time with steel sides.

With regard to the models, these should eventually see service on my model railway, (the new, smaller layout is still slowly progressing), the GUV in general passenger service and the CCT, along with the green one I already owned, on boat train service.  



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home