Thursday, September 28, 2017

Steaming Ahead

As I mentioned at the end of last week, I bought a couple more items for my model railway.  Well, they arrived a couple of days ago - and here they are.  First up is an R1 tank locomotive.  As you can see from its box, it is a genuine Hornby Dublo item, rather than one of the later Wrenn products made from the same moulds.

This was, I believe, the first model produced by Hornby Dublo using injection moulded plastic for the body rather than cast metal.  I think it was also the first produced for two-rail from the outset (although a three rail version was also produced).  Both of these developments were part of the company's attempt to keep up with the growing popularity of its rival, Triang Railways, with its cheap plastic bodied two-rail trains and track.  It was too little, too late and Hornby Dublo railways were eventually taken over by Triang, becoming first Triang-Hornby, then, in the seventies, simply Hornby Railways.  (There is a long story behind the merger, which I won't go into here).

The choice of the R1 as a prototype was an odd one - it was a relatively small class of locomotive usually confined to a few specific parts of South East England.  Moreover, by the time the model appeared, British Railways had nearly completed their withdrawal and scrapping.  Nevertheless, it is an ex-Southern Railway 0-6-0 tank engine - and not many of those have been offered by the ready-to-run market.  As you will, doubtless, have noticed, it has also been repainted, fairly badly with far too glossy paint.  It is also, for my layout, an anachronistic livery - it should be plain British Railways black.  But, I have to confess that over the past couple of days I've begun to like its current paint scheme.  If I can find a way to bring the gloss finish down, I might leave it in this livery.  I know it is out of period, but truth be told, the locomotive's very presence on my layout is anachronistic: there's no way an ex-SECR tank engine would end up shunting the yard a station supposedly located on the former LSWR Waterloo-Bournemouth mainline.  Particularly not several years after it had been scrapped.

You will also note that the loco is fitted with the old-style Hornby Dublo couplings, (or, to be more accurate, the PECO Simplex type coupling, Dublo - and Trix - used them under licence, but Triang wouldn't pay PECO a licence fee and adopted their own coupling), which are incompatible with the now standard hook-and-bar type I use on my layout.  The rear coupling is actually quite easy to replace with a Triang-type coupler.  The front coupler is a different matter, being riveted in place.  It might still be possible to replace it, though.  Failing that, I might instead run the loco with a 'converter' wagon (probably a shunter's truck) equipped with a Triang coupling at one and, a Dublo-type the other, coupled at the front.

The second item I bought poses fewer, if any, problems.  It is a Hornby British Railways Mk1 restaurant car, finished in Southern Region green.

As with the R1, it has been repainted, but quite reasonably.  This is the old Triang model which first appeared in the sixties and was still being produced by Hornby more than thirty years later.  Their Mk1 coach models were actually very good and still compare favourably with more modern products.  Anyway, this particular coach is destined to form part of the 'Royal Wessex' on my layout, (it was actually the only train on the Southern Region which carried the round British Railways crests seen on the coach's sides). 

Well, that's all for now, in terms of railway news.  We'll probably be back to schlock movies tomorrow.



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