Thursday, 7 July 2011

MOTW - Carriage 23

This week's model is another carriage but is nearly a century older than the one we featured last.

Carriage 23's story has come full circle. It was built by Ashbury for the NWNGR in 1894 as a not-fully-enclosed 'summer coach' with half height doors. In 1923 it became part of the carriage fleet for the WHR and later lost a few inches in height in order to run through the FR tunnels when the systems were combined.

The FR took ownership in lieu of WHR debts in 1936 and it was one of the first two carriages used when services began again in 1954, and was in time rebuilt with full height doors.

In 2002 it returned to its first home, Dinas, to strengthen the WHR carriage fleet and lend the operation some token heritage.

Our model was scratchbuilt in a typically labour-intensive fashion. Rather than use pre-formed wood panel effect styrene every single plank on this carriage was added by hand.

It shows number 23 as running on the FR in the early 1990's after it had been extensively rebuilt with matchboarding and repainted green. The original Welsh Highland Railway lettering (save for one letter, I believe) was discovered in one of the Boston Lodge glory holes - sorry, storerooms - and it was finished in this all- over dark green livery.

At the time of the revival the carriage had been restored with plain panels and over the decades to come ran in green and ivory, all over red and maroon & ivory liveries.

When Dduallt first appeared on the exhibition circuit we had a whitemetal 23 built from the ancient GEM kit, which was finished in the Cherry Red livery it carried in 1988.

Along with a GEM number 11 (and a kit-bashed 12) these whitemetal carriages dictated how we built our Dduallt layout. There was no point building a model of the spiral if our locomotives wouldn't be able to haul such ludicrously weighty rolling stock up the hill. So we conducted a series of experiments to establish the maximum gradient we could haul trains up and reverse engineered the project from there.

Little did I realise that I would go on to scratchbuild dozens and dozens of featherweight styrene carriages in the years to come. Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing!


  1. Rob, Carr 23 did not transfer to the FR in 1936 in lieu of whr debts but rather in a swap deal for 3 bogie wagons. Source Johnson 2007.

  2. When you say every plank was added by hand, do you mean the sides were scribed, or were they made from a sheet of plasticard with individual planks glued on? Either way it is a most impressive replica of a lovely vehicle.

    Out of interest, what paint did you use for the green, and, I'm guessing the red on the ends?



  3. Jaymz,

    Each plank is a single piece of styrene strip which was glued on.

    I think the paint we used was Humrbol 'Brunswick Green'. No red ends on this one, it's in the all-over green livery it sported in the mid-90's.