The Burford Branch

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martin goodall
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:20 pm

Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:31 am

Up to now I have paid very little attention in this thread to the rolling stock for this layout, mainly because most of the items worked on so far are either unfinished, or have been subject to a lengthy process of refurbishment, after they were first built many years ago. Two of the latter will form the branch passenger train in the 1930s – an autotrailer (Diagram A31) and a short bogie brake third (Diagram D15), which will serve as the spare coach for this train. Like all my models, these vehicles were only ever intended to be ‘an artist’s impression’ of the prototypes, to be seen in context on the layout rather than under the close and merciless scrutiny of the camera lens.

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The autotrailer has occasionally been seen here before, but has now at last had its buffers replaced at the luggage end, which was the final item in an upgrade that has involved nearly every aspect of this vehicle’s underframe, starting with replacement of the bogies, replacement of the brake cylinders and brake rigging, the addition of autogear, alarm gear and numerous other small details.

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This model was built from a K’s whitemetal kit, bought about 45 years ago, which was not a very promising starting point. Even with a plastic roof, rather than the cast whitemetal roof which earlier kits had, it is extremely heavy, and could hardly move on its original bogies. The original construction of the model was described in the old Model Railway Constructor in January 1979.

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The most significant improvement I made to the kit when I originally constructed the model was to file the bolection mouldings to a shape that was a bit closer to the profile of the mouldings on the prototype, and to cut out the end windows at the blanked off luggage end. I chamfered them with a flat needle file, rounding off the corners with a rat-tail file.

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The K’s kit was supplied with 9-foot American bogies, a type not used on any of the A31 trailers. Long after my model was built, a photo appeared on page 146 of John Lewis' superb book on Great Western Autotrailers (Part 1, WSP 1991) clearly showing that this vehicle had 8-foot 'fish-belly' bogies. MJT torsion bar suspension units (List No.2224 for the 8-foot version) provide a smooth ride for the vehicle. The side frames now fitted are castings from Mallard originally made for their Q Railmotor kit.

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The D15 Brake Third is a rather crude conversion from an old Tri-ang clerestory. I can’t claim any originality for this; I pinched the idea from Tony East, who described his model in the Railway Modeller early in the 1970s.

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This was a cut-and-shut job, simply removing one compartment, and fudging the panelling at the luggage end. This frankly doesn’t bear close examination, as the panels are noticeably wider than they should be, and the beading is distinctly sub-standard.

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The resulting body is a few millimetres over-length, but this has the advantage that a K’s 40-foot roof moulding could be used.

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The coach is mounted on Dean 6ft 4in bogies (Fourmil etchings in this case, but various alternatives are now available). Underframe details are relatively simple, and I have attempted to give the model a bit of character by judicious weathering and the addition of a destination board, among other details.

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The branch passenger engine for this period will be an auto-fitted Metro Tank, No.615, which has been ‘awaiting shops’ for a good few years, and may have to wait a while longer, as it’s still in Oxfordshire, whereas I am not. In the meantime, I have various other passenger stock to work on, plus several buildings for the layout.


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