Building Wagons

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James Moorhouse
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Building Wagons

Postby James Moorhouse » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:57 pm

This post was written originally in response to a comment by David Brandreth on the nature of fiddly and repetitive tasks on his Delivering the Goods thread. As not to distract from David's superb modelling, I requested that this post and the subsequent posts relating to Metropolitan Railway wagons be moved here, to the "On My Workbench" area.

Talking of fiddly repetitive tasks, I'm currently modelling the brakegear for a couple of my Metropolitan opens. I'm using a combination of Masokits components - they don't do a specific Morton brakegear fret for a 9' 6" wheelbase wagon, so I have to mix and match. All pretty run of the mill stuff, but as an aside I thought I'd tackle the clutch mechanism which isn't particularly well represented by the Masokits components...

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The bit on the end of the middle lever represents the clutch mechanism - there's a half-etched hole on the other side that should be pressed out.

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Four strips of scrap brass have been soldered together; a 0.4mm hole drilled through and the beginnings of the clutch cam filed to shape around the hole.

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The four strips separated.

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The cams have been opened-out with a broach so that 0.45mm wire fits tightly in them. Similarly the holes in the Masokits lever have been open-out to take the wire. I had to fettle the cams a little before soldering in place.

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A clutch mechanism complete and fitted temporarily to (the wrong side of) the wagon. The Vees on these wagons were pretty unique (though similar in shape to Gloucester Vees) and have been fretted out by hand - sometimes it's easier to get the piercing saw and files out rather than spend time thinking about getting a batch etched!
Last edited by James Moorhouse on Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Noel
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Re: Delivering the Goods

Postby Noel » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:42 am

James, I admit to knowing nothing about Metropolitan Railway stock, my period of interest being BR, but your last picture puzzled me a bit. It appears to show two Vs, one outside, one inside, the solebar, which is an arrangement I associate with two independent sets of brake gear, with each side the same, or single-sided brakegear in earlier days. With two sets, both would have the RH brake shoe connection above the LH connection, and hence no cross-shaft and no Morton clutch. The Morton arrangement, in my period of interest at least, only ever used one V on each side, outside the solebar. Your caption, however, implies that this is the wagon for which the brake lever is intended, hence my curiosity. Was this arrangement something specific to the Met, please?

Noel
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James Moorhouse
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Re: Delivering the Goods

Postby James Moorhouse » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:00 pm

Noel,

Thanks for your comments. They have spurred me on to resolve a long-standing query I had regarding the brakegear on these wagons.

When I started this wagon, I intended to model it with single-sided brakes (with only one brake lever), but given the 1911 Board of Trade instruction regarding the fitting of either-side brakes and my intended modelling period of 1950 I realized the model would have to be modified. I was unsure whether the Metropolitan would have retained the internal Vee on the braked side upon conversion to either-side brakes, but in retrospect it does seem logical that they would not (the Vee was probably reused on the opposite solebar). Moreover, I have now found photographic evidence to support this:

Met%203-plank%20Morton.JPG
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Last edited by James Moorhouse on Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

martin goodall
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Re: Delivering the Goods

Postby martin goodall » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:48 pm

I metaphorically 'pricked up my ears' at the mention of MET RLY wagons, as I have four of these on the stocks at present, intending to model them in 1920s condition. The Met, unlike other pre-grouping companies, remained independent until 1933. Even after that date it seems that the LPTB did not re-letter the revenue-earning goods wagons, but they were eventually handed over to the LNER in 1937, and then presumably re-lettered (and repainted) by them. The MET wagons that were retained by LPTB as service stock did get re-lettered after 1933 as 'LPTB'.

It is, however, a moot point as to how far the MET's wagons strayed from the parent system, as I don't think the company participated in RCH common user arrangements.

All this is by way of a digression from what I had orignally intended to write on the topic of brakes. By BoT regulations made in 1911, all new wagons built after May 1912 had to have brakes on both sides. Retro-fitting of existing wagons was spread over a long period, depending on the number of wagons owned. The rules are set out in Appendix 4 of British Goods Wagons (Steel & ors) at page 132 (also reproduced as Appendix 4 in Atkins & ors) - e.g. 10 years where fewer than 3,000 wagons were owned. However, these time limits were later extended. For example the GWR, and presumably others in the Big Four, were given until 1939 to comply.

The point is that the MET's wagon fleet was very small, just a few hundred wagons, and so they presumably had to comply by 1922 (unless they too got an extension of time).

So the question is - Do I have to fit brakes on both sides of those of my MET wagons that were built before 1912, but which will be modelled as running in the 1920s?

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Noel
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Re: Delivering the Goods

Postby Noel » Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:20 pm

Thanks, James. The photo you have posted seems pretty conclusive to me. On another question, the big 4 didn't much like grease boxes, and BR were even less keen, so presumably by 1950 it would have acquired replacement oil boxes or been relegated in some way?

Noel
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Noel

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James Moorhouse
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Re: Delivering the Goods

Postby James Moorhouse » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:41 pm

All this is by way of a digression from what I had originally intended to write on the topic of brakes. By BoT regulations made in 1911, all new wagons built after May 1912 had to have brakes on both sides. Retro-fitting of existing wagons was spread over a long period, depending on the number of wagons owned. The rules are set out in Appendix 4 of British Goods Wagons (Steel & ors) at page 132 (also reproduced as Appendix 4 in Atkins & ors) - e.g. 10 years where fewer than 3,000 wagons were owned. However, these time limits were later extended. For example the GWR, and presumably others in the Big Four, were given until 1939 to comply.

The point is that the MET's wagon fleet was very small, just a few hundred wagons, and so they presumably had to comply by 1922 (unless they too got an extension of time).

Just to clarify, the 1911 BoT regulations required the provision of either-side brakes (i.e. a brake lever on both sides). Here's a useful extract from those 1911 Statutory Rules and Orders which specifies how this had to be done:

BoT%20either-side%20brakes%201911.JPG
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I corresponded with Jim Snowdon (the author of Metropolitan Railway Rolling Stock) on the subject of Metropolitan wagon brakegear some time ago. He told me that "the [Metropolitan's] deadline for fitting either-side brakes was ultimately extended to 1938". Jim referred me to a photograph, dated 1934, in H.C. Casserley's Later Years of Metropolitan Steam (page 20) which shows a Metropolitan open wagon with single-sided brakes, there being no sign of any brake lever on the visible side. This photo shows a Metropolitan departmental train on Metropolitan metals.

On another question, the big 4 didn't much like grease boxes, and BR were even less keen, so presumably by 1950 it would have acquired replacement oil boxes or been relegated in some way?

I haven't seen any photos of Metropolitan wagons with anything other than grease axleboxes. As Martin pointed out, the LPTB ceased to run a commercial goods service in 1937, so thereafter those wagons which remained in service with the LPTB did so only as departmental stock. I'd be interested to see photos of those which were transferred to the LNER.
Last edited by James Moorhouse on Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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John McAleely
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Re: Delivering the Goods

Postby John McAleely » Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:55 am

David B's goods wagons that sparked James to contribute this thread can be found here:

viewtopic.php?f=117&t=4109

Originally, this was one thread, but is now two at James' request, so he can start his own workbench area.

martin goodall
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Re: Building Wagons

Postby martin goodall » Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:10 am

Just a quick note in response to James to say a big Thank You for this information.

This was just what I wanted to hear! It justifies my laziness in putting brakes on one side only of these wagons (with the exception of the 22-foot van). These large vans were newly built in 1914 (although on old underframes), and the (admittedly slightly inaccurate) Werrett drawing does show brakes on both sides. The push rods were of uneven length, with an off-set Vee-hanger, and the brake levers were both at the same end of the van (i.e one right-handed and one left-handed) - neither of which is as shown in the Werrett drawing, but these features are correctly recorded on the drawings in James Snowdon's book. Incidentally the sliding doors both slid towards the same end of the van (again, one left-handed, the other right-handed). I confess that I have deliberately 'overlooked' these points when building my model, my excuse being that I had already built the brake gear before James Snowdon's book appeared, and had relied on the incorrect Werrett drawing in MRN.

The next question is whether there is any excuse for Met wagons wandering as far as the Burford Branch. I suspect not, in which case I shall just have to plead modellers's licence. GWR records do show a regular daily wagon movement between Oxford and Harrow (Met), so maybe I have the glimmer of an excuse.

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Noel
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Re: Building Wagons

Postby Noel » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:37 am

martin goodall wrote:GWR records do show a regular daily wagon movement between Oxford and Harrow (Met), so maybe I have the glimmer of an excuse.


It depends on which way the traffic was going, Martin. Oxford to Harrow would undoubtedly have been in GW vehicles unless the two companies had an agreement about back loading each other's wagons. Traffic the other way would presumably have been in Met vehicles, if possible. If the traffic required specialist vehicles that the Met did not have then they would presumably have hired in, not necessarily from the GW. Of course, if the traffic used ordinary unfitted three plank or higher opens, then from 2/1/1917 it could have been any railway's vehicles, since from then they were common user, as you know, I'm sure.

Noel
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martin goodall
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Re: Building Wagons

Postby martin goodall » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:50 pm

I've only just managed to look this up. My source was a diagram showing (or 'shewing' in the approved GWR spelling) loading of direct wagons, station trucks and pick-up trucks to and from Oxford (GW of course, not the 'Ell of a Mess). It turns out that the service I had in mind was one-way only (outward from Oxford to Harrow).

So it seems that Noel is correct in suggesting that this would probably not have been a Met wagon. [It looks as though I am driven back on modeller's licence after all.]

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James Moorhouse
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Re: Building Wagons

Postby James Moorhouse » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:44 am

While waiting for a few bits from Masokits to complete the brakegear, I thought I’d tackle the rather distinctive drop-side “bangers” these Metropolitan wagons had (they can be seen in the prototype photo posted above). The bangers were wooden, distinctively shaped and each one had three holes so that when the hinge, which was attached to the drop-side, hit the banger the bolt-heads on the hinge would not be clouted.

I keep various packets of Evergreen strip in stock and no. 157 (60 x 156thou) was of the about right dimensions for these bangers. The strip just needed to be filed to the correct form and a series of shallow holes drilled along the centreline of the banger. I knew I would need to make a jig since I required eight of them. The following images illustrate the production process:

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This sketch shows the complex shape I was faced with producing repeatedly. In the end I didn't bother producing the step at the top as this would have been hardly discernible in 4mm scale.

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The jig was made from 0.7mm brass. Four strips of brass were bolted together and the form of the banger cut out using a piecing saw and files. The bolts were loosened and the strips pulled apart so that three pieces of the Evergreen plastic strip could be sandwiched in between. This “sandwich” was then carefully located over another piece of brass in which three holes had been drilled and secured with solder. Care was taken so that the three holes were along the centreline of the middle plastic strip.

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Blanks of the Evergreen strip were cut to length (for a snug fit between the bolts) and placed in the jig.

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The plastic strips were then filed until the file started to grate the thick brass – you can both see and hear when you need to stop. I have often thought parallel round files (i.e. not rat-tailed) would be useful for such jobs. Are small diameter files as such available, perhaps as machine files?

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The basic shape of the bangers was now formed. Initially I tried to pick the strips out (the scars can be seen on the ends) before realizing I could just remove a bolt to release them!

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Each strip was placed in the middle slot to be drilled. The spare blank was used to hold the strip down during the drilling operation.

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The drilling operation. The drill bit was shoved almost all the way into the pin vice leaving only a couple of millimetres proud to drill the holes.

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The resulting holes.

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The eight strips were held together by bonding off-cuts of plasticard on the ends using a sparing amount of MEK-PAK. This photo also shows the miniature bench hook I made for ease of holding when filing the bangers to their final shape.

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The other ends of the strips were cut off...

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...and the rounded tops formed with a file. A finer file was used at the final stage.

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The rounded tops.

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The bangers were then released with a razor blade.

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The bottoms of the bangers were filed to shape by hand individually – just a few strokes. I placed one next to a five pence piece to give a sense of scale.

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Finally, one of the bangers in position on a wagon.

This proved to be an interesting little exercise, especially so because of the thought-process that went with it. I enjoy problem-solving; the thinking bit can be done while doing other mundane tasks in life such as washing up, taking a shower or, dare I say, driving (the car). I should add that the jig I produced is only really suitable for very small batches as the filing would quickly wear it out.
Last edited by James Moorhouse on Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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David B
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Re: Building Wagons

Postby David B » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:54 pm

James Moorhouse wrote:The plastic strips were then filed until the file started to grate the thick brass – you can both see and hear when you need to stop. I have often thought parallel round files (i.e. not rat-tailed) would be useful for such jobs. Are small diameter files as such available, perhaps as machine files?

Very ingenious, James. Well done. This shows the value in taking the time to produce jigs for these tasks.

As for parallel round files, I used one only this morning to sharpen my chain saw. 4mm (5/32") is a common diameter though you might get something a tad less.

For small round bottomed slots, you can get slotting files that guitar makers use to make the groove for the strings to fit in to at the top of the fingerboard. These go from 10thou to 56 thou (0.25mm to 1.4mm). A set (of 8) is about £125 but you can get them individually for around £17-£20. See here. Search Google for 'slotting file'.

What would be useful would be a very narrow, square edged slotting file. Does anyone know of such a thing?

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James Moorhouse
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Re: Building Wagons

Postby James Moorhouse » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:22 pm

David B wrote:As for parallel round files, I used one only this morning to sharpen my chain saw. 4mm (5/32") is a common diameter though you might get something a tad less.

For small round bottomed slots, you can get slotting files that guitar makers use to make the groove for the strings to fit in to at the top of the fingerboard. These go from 10thou to 56 thou (0.25mm to 1.4mm). A set (of 8) is about £125 but you can get them individually for around £17-£20. See here. Search Google for 'slotting file'.

Thanks, David. I've just checked the H.S. Walsh catalogue and see that Vallorbe does a 3.2mm diameter round parallel file. In fact, upon checking Vallorbe's own catalogue, it appears such files are also available in 1.6, 2.4, 2.8, 3.0, 4.0 and 4.8mm diameters. See: http://www.vallorbe.com/Telechargement.php?p=10020&m=7&t=6&l=3

What would be useful would be a very narrow, square edged slotting file. Does anyone know of such a thing?

I'm sure I remember such a file from my time at CLAG, though the H.S. Walsh catalogue only reveals narrow screwhead slotting files with Vee-shaped edges.
Last edited by James Moorhouse on Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Will L
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Re: Building Wagons

Postby Will L » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:51 pm

David B wrote:...
What would be useful would be a very narrow, square edged slotting file. Does anyone know of such a thing?


A "seconds file" is what you want, see under the heading "Diversion about Seconds files" towards the end of this post.

Like the jig James, getting your head round how you produce these fiddly little bits reliably is quite a satisfying exercise.

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David B
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Re: Building Wagons

Postby David B » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:16 pm

Will L wrote:A "seconds file" is what you want, see under the heading "Diversion about Seconds files" towards the end of this post.

Thanks, Will. I see the round one is now £15+, on offer! I have had one for many years and bought a square one (it's about 0.8mm at its widest) from Derek a while ago. I had to sit down afterwards, but it is very, very useful, especially for coupling hook slots. These two files I keep with my cutting broaches, perhaps the most useful and valuable tools I have.

I would love to have a square edged slotting file, though, which would also be useful for some track as well as crossheads.

ted955
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Re: Building Wagons

Postby ted955 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:24 pm

On the subject of these MET [latterly LT] Ballast/Match wagons - there is one [at least] preserved and that is in the LT Museum Depot at Acton. I can confirm that the brake gear has two separate brake levers on opposite ends [and of course sides] of the wagon. A photograph is appended of a [7mm] model of the preserved specimen. There are two "V"s on each side and thus no brake rod passing from one side of the vehicle to the other.
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