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Copyright Robert Else 2010©

Rolling Stock

The main aim in deciding what stock to buy was down to a bit of personal liking and what would be seen around this era on a country branch line. After discovering that Bishops Nympton was on the Taunton and Barnstable line, and consultation with Bradshaws revealed that the LSWR ran through trains from London to Barnstable which opened the door to LSWR stock.


The rolling stock is primarily made from different kits ranging from ‘Home of O Gauge’, now long gone, to Slaters, Parkside Dundas, Roxey and Scorpio with the odd ABS Kit.


The 2-6-2T Prairie tank was my first ever kit, In the past, I have always purchased RTR stock but part of the fun in model railways is the building of the stock. This was a relatively cheap kit, £99 some 4 years ago. I had always wanted to build a loco kit and looked forward to the challenge. Being ‘cheap’, I had to do a lot of engineering to make some of the parts fit, look correct and work well. Also, being my first build, a very steep learning curve was in store. During the build, I found out that the design of this particular kit was about 15years old when purchased, long before CAD was used, hence the problems. In the end, I did make a good job of the loco and it runs very well.  Once again, I put a lot of detail into this model, adding extra features as required. On this loco, I used plunger pickups, they turned out to be a bit tricky. One particular aspect I was looking forward to was building the back head and replicating all the pipework.


My next venture into loco building was the Dean Goods 0-6-0. I knew what it was all about now, so this one was easier. I was very soon to find out that every kit has it’s own characteristics. After the Dean Goods, the last one on my list was the 48XX Auto Tank. A very nice model and a good runner. For these 2 locos, I made my own pickups out of phosphor bronze strip soldered on to pieces of copper clad board stuck to the inside of the frames.


To bring the locos to life, I installed 2 flashing LEDs into the firebox, very successful. The plan is to add sound to the railway, not only the ‘chuff’ ‘chuff’ sound but what I  really want to do was mimic the communication signals between the signal box and the loco.


Most of the other stock is of plastic kit construction apart from the odd ABS white metal wagon. The LSWR composite coach, GWR parcels wagon and the Autocoach are etched Brass kits. The GWR parcels wagon was a budget kit from Scorpio, all you get are the side and ends. Once again this turned out to be tricky, but the end result is very pleasing.


The Autocoach was an extremely tricky kit to get to grips with, I gave up with the brass roof altogether and made up a styrene roof which was a lot easier and fits a lot better than the brass roof. As with everything, I tried to include as much detail as possible with fully fitted interiors complete with passengers. The basic Autocoach kit was lacking something on the inside, apart from the seats, so a lot of time was spent researching the detail of what was on the inside with a view to incorporating panelling on the inside and detailing the floor, even down to replicating the leather window straps. Both the driving and guards ends were panelled out as well. The method I used was to ‘batten’ out the sides with styrene and then fix the panelling to these.


The mainstay of the coaching stock was to be the 2 Clerestory coaches, a brake and composite. I wanted something different to what you would expect to see on any normal GWR branch so the chocolate and cream livery was discarded in favour of painting these coaches in GWR Lake and lined out in gold. I’ve put the lining on the back burner until I feel like doing this as it could be very frustrating. As this railway is based somewhere on the Taunton to Barnstable route, the final coach was a LSWR composite which was a personal liking of mine, I have finished this salmon pink and chocolate, a very pleasing coach to see running on the railway. Perhaps I might build another one soon!


Once again many visits to heritage railway centres were made and lots of photos taken to try and get the feel and look of the stock with quite an extensive library being built up over the years.


I still have a few more kits in storage to make and the final item on the list to make is the GWR diesel railcar.


For a bit of fun, I built from scratch, a Wickhams Trolley type 4B. I found this on the back cover of the book, ‘Great Western Branch Line Modelling’ by Stephen Williams, I just liked it and thought it would be a bit fun running this up and down the branch line before the first train ran. The chassis was made up from square brass tube, thick brass wire was bent to shape to make the structure with sheet brass soldered to this wire. The power was developed from the smallest 12v motor I could find. The wheels are OO gauge wagon wheels filled with epoxy glue and fixed to an O gauge axel to get the gauge right. General running is pretty good, the only problem is when the small wheels hit the frog on the point, sometimes, it falls off very authentically.


On the drawing board is a 7mm model of the prototype railcar N0. 100 that was run on the GWR around 1912. Built by the British Thormson-Houston Company, this railcar was powered by a 40hp Mauldslay petrol engine which supplied current to two electric motors mounted on the axle. This being the fore runner of the AEC railcars. For a few years it ran on the Windsor branch. It was sold in 1919 and to the Lever Brothers, Cheshire, to run on their private railway.