Friday, 15 April 2016

Horrible History

I know I bang on on this blog about the 1980's and the tin cars, etc, but I make no apology for doing so again.

It seems sometimes like the FR treats the era as its dirty little secret and I'd like to see it getting a little more acknowledgement from a heritage perspective.

Once Earl of Merioneth is out of traffic, and all but one of the 'tin cars' sent off to their new homes, there will be very little to represent a very considerable chunk of the FR's history to be seen on the rails.

(Although I suppose you could argue the very railway itself - the Deviation - is enough of a reminder of the 1970's and '80's)

When we first built Dduallt we set it in 1988 which was the last year the passing loop was in use and also the transition in carriage liveries from plain red to the two tone livery which persists to this day.

So feeling, as I do at the moment, that this era is a little under-appreciated I got our red set out for a play the other day to create some authentic 1980's scenes.

We should the grateful that at least Linda and Blanche are currently wearing the classic FR lined green livery but I would like to start a lobby to get some carriages in Cherry Red before it's too late.

As a start maybe 110, the prototype tin car, could be put back into this livery - and with authentic bus seats if there are any still around - and also the original Barn 104 while it survives in its early 1980's rebuild condition.

A case could also be made for 116 and 123 (ex-101) although they've both had their window positions altered in recent years and been reclassified.

I'm all too aware that mid 1980's was not the FR's finest hour from a presentational perspective, and fully appreciate why the Garrawegian diktats on locomotive and carriage liveries had to be relaxed to make the railway more attractive to the punters.

But consider this.

We have half of our unique and splendid Victorian carriages dressed up in drab 1930's liveries to represent the Colonel Stephens era which was surely the FR's nadir - if you  ignore the period of closure, that is.

If that can be celebrated then why not the 1970's and 80's?

Probably because too many people lived through it and still think it was only yesterday.

Well it wasn't!


  1. Isn't part of the problem that people want to pickle things in aspic at a point when they were lovely, even though it's not true. Usually it's a point beyond living memory, and they get very selective about the "facts" ignoring anything that doesn't fit the fantasy. The 70s and 80s weren't "proper" FR in that they were just something to be passed through before arriving at the "true" idea of the FR.

    On the IOM, there is the bizare idea that Hutchinson painted blue with a square cab isn't authentic. However, it ran that way for 12 years. How long did it need to be like that to be authentic?

    I'm with you. Those vehicles are an important part of FR history. Without them, would there be an FR?

  2. Seconded and thirded !! 110 with bus seats and pushpull gear along with Hebog gets my vote- my first buffet! with its Swiss air Trolley.
    Entertainingly 110 with individual seats still likes as you can open windows to take pictures- but ask Stephen Paul the window springs are a nightmare!