Wednesday, 9 May 2012

MOTW - Semi-Open 2022

If you're a railway enthusiast - as opposed to a tourist - then this will be the carriage you'll make a bee line for when you board a train on the Welsh Highland.

Even on a wet day - and yes, that has been known in North Wales - this is the best way to experience both the scenery and the sounds and smell of steam, standing and leaning on a perfectly-positioned handrail watching Snowdonia slip past.

(And if you do get a wet day then the scenery won't be the only thing slipping if my experience of riding behind the Garratts is anything to go by....)

2022 is one of a pair of second-generation WHR carriages built by Alan Keef in 2002.

There were a few detailed changes from the original Winson design, the most notable of which was a secondary bar / handrail between the window pillars.

That had me scratching my head a little when I came to make these models. The lower, square sections, were pieces of styrene cut to fit and glued into place, but this thinner, round bar would be too vulnerable if done the same way.

What I did in the end was to drill a hole in every pillar and thread a length of brass wire through the whole lot. I had to make a jig to ensure the hole was drilled in exactly the same place in each pillar. The extra effort was repaid with a much more rigid bodyshell as a result of the wire.

The park bench style seats, with their varnished wooden slats, were scratch built slat by styrene strip slat.

Today 2022, and 2021, are the only remaining semi-opens on the WHR. The original Winson carriage, 2020, having been rebuilt as a service vehicle instead of the brake carriage 2090 as had once been planned.

I'm sure it was done for the soundest of commercial reasons after careful study of the traffic data, but as an enthusiast I found it a disappointing move because for me nothing beats travelling in these semi-opens.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on this. My one and only (so far) trip on the WHR was in one of these and on a sunny day it was fantastic. The experience is the sort of thing that should convince those who didn't want a railway there that it is a good thing. Far better than you can get a from a car.