Tuesday, 20 September 2011

MOTW - Upnor Castle

Our Model Of The Week this time is my first scratch built loco, Planet diesel 'Upnor Castle'

Upnor - or Uproar as it is nicknamed on account of the appalling noise levels in the cab which require crews to wear ear-defenders - was the FR's first proper mainline diesel loco.

It arrived from the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway in 1968 (having spent six years there after being bought from the Royal Navy's Lodge Hill and Upnor Railway in Kent, which is how it came to acquire its name) and was re-gauged from 2 foot 6 to the FR's 1 foot 11 and a half inch gauge.

In the '70's and early '80's it was found most often on the bargain early morning and late evening trains until replaced by 'Conway Castle' (see the Model Of The Week Archive for more on our model of this sister machine).

It was transferred to Dinas at the start of the Welsh Highland rebuilding project, having been 'sold' to the in-house construction company, and put in over a decade's hard work on engineering train duties until, to use a good bit of Scottish slang, it was completely gubbed.

It had a thorough mechanical overhaul, and a repaint, at Boston Lodge in 2010.

Our model was built with a styrene body sitting on a whitemetal underframe from a Chivers 'Conway Castle' kit (to give a decent weight for traction) and utilising an Ibertren 'Cuckoo' chassis with a Mashima motor.

There have been many subtle changes to Upnor over the years, with the ancillary bits and bobs beside and on top of the bonnet changing places. Our Upnor was built to show the loco as it was in the mid-90's at the end of it's first period on the FR and is correct for its early years on the WHR, so there is a justification for using it on both Dduallt and Bron Hebog

These pictures show it on typical duties over the years. Here hauling a WHR construction train. (Let's ignore the fact it's at Dduallt for the moment)

Upnor has also been regularly employed tripping the loco fuel oil tankers from Minffordd to Porthmadog Harbour station. (In this case taking the scenic route via Blaenau!)

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