Sunday, 4 January 2015

In Honour Of 'The Goog'

The death of FR legend Allan Garraway has inspired me to bring forward a project which has been on my wish list for a number of years now, to build updated models of the bogie brake twins 11 & 12.

We already have two pairs of models of these carriages.

The originals which we made 25 years ago from ancient whitemetal GEM kits and a pair I scratch built in styrene.

Both sets, however, are in all over red livery which is what the carriages wore in 1988, the original nominal date we set for our layout of Dduallt.

Since then the real carriages were first given two tone red / ivory livery in the early 1990's and then, when they were relieved of the duty in daily service repainted into the LNER tourist green / ivory colour scheme they had in the 1960's.

Recently both have been given heavy overhauls to return them to a more heritage condition which is how I will be modelling them.

At vintage galas they've become known as the 'Garraway Set' in honour of the man who was at the helm at Harbour station from the very first days of the revival in 1954 until the FR steamed back to Blaenau in the early 80s.

It was Allan who had the idea of turning the two 1880s vintage brake vans back to back and running them as a pair.

11 had windows cut in the end and was fitted with comfy ex-Mersey Rail seating which was sold at a premium as an Observation Carriage - the start of a new tradition on the FR.

Carriage 12 had a buffet counter installed to relieve the passengers of even more of their money on the move.

It was a stroke of genius by a man who famously organised the practical side of the rebirth of the FR in a no-nonsense fashion with what we might now call a 'refreshingly direct' approach to volunteers whom he preferred to be 'enthusiastic railwaymen' rather than 'railway enthusiasts'.

The FR today bears no comparison to what he was managing in the 50s and 60s when his sense and strength of character was what was needed to ensure a focus on the infrastructure and not whimsy.

In Allan's day communication with supporters was by telegram, not twitter, while the railway was run on a shoestring with ancient equipment which had to cope with fearsome peak traffic volumes and a limited period in which to generate income.

It was very different to the current era of year-round operating, diverse revenue streams and multi-million pound grants and intense competition for a share of the tourism market.

Making these two models will, for me, be a way of honouring the massive contribution Allan made to getting the FR where it is today.

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