Throughout this series I shall try to encourage you to undertake your own research...
I won't give you exhaustive lists or images, just a selection of what's available, in terms of:-
some of the models available on the UK market, and how you might make your own appear more realistic;
images of some of what ran on British railways, and on the nationalised network of British Railways so you can compare model with reality and perhaps attempt to 'close the credibility gap';
offer book lists every now and then to help direct you to sources and encourage you to venture in your own direction.
It's what's called 'incentive'. Now read on....
British Railways Mark 1 Stock, 1948-1965 (Crimson & Cream and Maroon livery)
1955-1965 Maroon (Eastern, Midland and Scottish Regions)
Pullmans and Main Line Corridor Stock
Let's begin with the two 'F's' :First and Foremost. Study photographs of your chosen region - or company, if you're working on a pre-Nationalisation layout - and take in the market.
Photographs - or images - are available online, in books, periodicals, on sale in model shops or at exhibitions on stands. There are trade stands and special interest stands. The trade stands obviously look to profit from your interest, the special interest stands can be preservation groups, regional interest groups - such as Great Eastern or Great Western societies, the LNER Society, Gresley Society, North Eastern Railway Association and so on - or particular period interest groups specialising in Victorian railways (up to 1901), Edwardian railways (up to about 1910) and the inter-war years. These are each colourful periods in Britain's or the Empire railway history, and years when cleanliness was next to godliness as witnessed by the near-pristine condition of locomotives and passenger stock. Think of Pullman trains, Royal trains, 'inter-city' corridor expresses, Royal Mail trains. Even branch-line trains were brightly painted.
Horse-boxes often appeared on express trains, behind the engine to give the animals a smoother ride, and parcels/pigeons/milk were carried in the luggage vans, to be unloaded at main stations and loaded up into branch-line stock to finish the journey - as were the passengers. If you're lucky in finding model kits with potentially opening doors, you could have these at stations with the doors open and showing assorted 'common carrier' goods (milk churns, boxes, small crates, pigeon baskets, pet baskets, wheelchairs even... You name it. I remember there was a Triang Rovex utility van available with opening doors; if you're able to find one of these treasure it! You could furnish it with new bogies, vacuum and steam heating pipes, couplings etc).
Study station scenes from York, London, Edinburgh, Bristol and so on. There was always activity around the first few vehicles in an express train travelling 'down', as these carried the baggage, parcels, first class passengers that porters fussed around. A great diorama potential, showing passengers alighting from a Pullman train in the early years of the 20th Century, gives the onlookers something to fix their critical eyes on until the next train hoves into view. Get the wife to study period attire and paint your figures accordingly, if she's amenable and she's already helped assemble trees and things for the lineside. Those delicate fingers can be put to good use. Myself, I've got fingers like chipolatas - for our friends across the 'pond', they're small sausages - and find delicate work murder; I turn the air blue!
As I've specified Pullmans and main line corridor stock let's start with them.
There are some great off-the-shelf models available these days, at a price! If you don't want to shell out wads of notes or go bankrupt by the plastic route you can find more reasonably priced kits or bits. Say you've found some old carriages on a second-hand stall at an exhibition, and you're not fussed about the state of the sides, do not despair, buy some parts to go with it. Both Comet and MJT have bogies for any particular region or company, battery boxes, corridor connections, roof detailing and so on, likewise Roxey Mouldings. The last provide etched brass 'Fox' bogie kits that are ostensibly meant for Southern Railway (SECR, LSWR, LBSCR etc). They can also be added to LNER Gresley corridor full brakes and NER/East Coast Joint Stock (ECJS) main-line passenger stock. Gresley bogies were found only on LNER stock, as late as Thompson's and Peppercorn's time. Battery boxes are fairly individual to companies, each company on the east coast was different, but ECJS vehicles - whether owned by Great Northern, North Eastern or North British - were fairly uniform.
East Coast Joint Stock (pre-1923) and LNER
LNER Coach Association
- LNER Coach Association - Index
The LNER Coach Association is based on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, this site gives details of our vehicles and information on the restoration of LNER railway carriages.
A foremost authority on LNER passenger train stock, Michael Harris has been associated with the history of these vehicles. He was also associated with a group of restorers, the *LNER Coach Association (see link below) based at Pickering on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Take a look through the images and diagrams. The histories of every carriage built during the time of Nigel Gresley and Edward Thompson by the LNER are included, original numbering and re-numbering, where built, when and to what specification. ECJS and Gresley stock, pre-LNER regional builds (GER, GNR, **GNSR, H&BR, NBR, NER),full brakes, restaurant, buffet and sleeping cars etc. It's all there
*See LNER Coach Association link below
** Great North of Scotland Rly
Back in time: East Coast Teak Stock corridor vehicle
Teak stock modelled in early British Railways and late LNER (post-1943 numbering)
Open Carriages and Tourist Stock
In addition to mainline corridor stock there were Tourist carriages. The LNER had a fleet of these, liveried in green and cream for special excursions or holiday trains on exclusively tourist stock formations that would have left the industrial towns or London within the GER/GNR/NER/NBR catchment areas for 'Wakes Weeks' to seaside destinations or special one-day events such as the races or days out to the seaside at, for example, Scarborough, Great Yarmouth, Whitby, Cleethorpes or any of the dozen or so race meetings within the LNER area, even to Aintree for the Grand National near Liverpool in the LMS region. There were nine racecourses within Yorkshire. You read it right, nine, these were (from west to east): Pontefract, Wetherby, Ripon, Catterick, Redcar, Thirsk, York, Doncaster and Beverley. Nice choice, eh? Lot's of opportunity for modelling excursion traffic. There were also the main line expresses that had more than restaurant cars and corridor coaches in their rakes, and opens figured highly for non-excursion holiday traffic. They could seat more, for a start, than a corridor compartment vehicle, with two bays of twelve and one of sixteen seats between vestibules. Tables were available, as in restaurant/buffet cars, for passengers to eat, read or play cards on for the duration of their journey. In the inter-war years it could take from five to eight hours to reach a holiday or business destination including changes of trains, even when the express trains could achieve speeds of up to 100 mph. From the West Riding across Yorkshire to Scarborough or Whitby could take about two to two-and-a-half hours through York behind a reasonably smooth-running passenger or mixed-traffic loco, with two or three stops between Leeds and York. There were also the trains that ran between Leeds and Newcastle on the former NER Leeds Northern route over Harrogate, Ripon, Northallerton, Stockton and Sunderland. Many of these carriages would be opens, too. Add to them the trains from Hull to Selby and Leeds, Hull to Scarborough and even Glasgow to Scarborough via Edinburgh, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Durham, Darlington and Northallerton. They left the main line between York and Darlington at Pilmoor and ran through Gilling towards Driffield over the Sarborough line east of Malton. They were piloted into Malton by a tank engine and then on to Scarborough. A bit of a convoluted journey, but there's another option for you. Then there were the trains on the NBR that left Edinburgh or Glasgow for the seaside on either east or west coast of Scotland. With so many options, how can you fail?
Opens, corridors and prestige trains
Length of carriages also varied. There were 61'-6" main line carriages, 56'-0" main line carriages, and for some sharply curved branches there were 51'-6" opens. Earlier GER, GNR and NER stock was generally shorter, but as engines grew, so did the passenger stock to haul them. Where in the late years of the 19th Century you might have seen a 4-4-0 on an express train of perhaps seven or eight main line carriages, in the early 20th an 'Atlantic' 4-4-2 on a ten coach train, by the 1960s you could have counted up to fifteen carriages behind a 'Pacific' 4-6-2 express loco such as an A1, A2, A3 or A4, the latter being Gresley's streamlined 'racehorses'!
Special passenger stock was introduced by Gresley to the 'Flying Scotsman' serices in the 1930s to attract the discerning traveller away from the rival west coast main line. There were Pathe Cinema cars, Hairdressing Salon cars, Buffet cars and Restaurant cars behind the first class cars. Additionally there was the West Riding set, of Restaurant 3rd-Kitchen-Restaurant 1st sandwiched between pairs of open thirds one end and ditto open firsts the other end to make up a seven car express formation.
When Gresley died in harness in 1941 the post of Chief Mechanical Engineer went to Edward Thompson. Thompson had his own ideas, as many LNER aficionados know, not least of which were his distinclive carriage designs with their Pullman-style oval lavatory and vestibule windows for main line stock. The carriage windows had rounded corners - the precursors to British Railways designs - and were furnished with the same type of 'pull-back' vents as Gresley's main line stock (as opposed to the Continental idea of 'pull-down' windows, which could be dangerous if anyone leaned out as two expresses crossed 'paths').
LNER Open Tourist stock - Third class carriages to take the masses on holiday
A history of British railway carriage stock that takes you through the last hundred and fifty years, with gas-lit clerestory carriages, matchboard North Eastern and Great Central, early Pullmans, the Big Four, British Railways. Well illustrated, informative not-to-be-missed source of research material you'd be a fool to miss out on. At Grouping (1923) there were eighteen railway companies operating passenger services on the British Mainland, the largest being the North Eastern, Great Northern, London & North Western, Midland and Great Western railways. Out of them came four disparate organisations that became one in 1948. Variety is the spice of life - it can be a headache!
Suburban, Non-corridor stock
Suburban or non-corridor stock was used on commuter trains as much as local stopping traffic anywhere on the system between towns and villages the length of the British Isles between Cornwall and Inverness, and Northern Ireland.
For the sake of this article I will restrict myself to the LNER system, although the LMS, Southern and Great Western routes were based on roughly the same infrastructure.
In the London area King's Cross and Liverpool Street were both served by the LNER system. In some areas of north London both the former GNR and GER overlapped, using similar stock.
Gresley had devised a number of different types of articulated stock for suburban traffic, and various combinations were utilised, articulated twins, 'quads' and 'quints'. Quads and quints used shorter-bodied stock, and the seating arrangements were 'sociable', i.e., close. They were known as 'sit-up-and-beg' carriages for obvious reasons, and unless you wanted a woman's handbag across your head you kept your knees strictly to yourself (must have been murder for long-legged men)! Along the 'spine' of London, between Liverpool Street and the Lea Valley, there were also the 'jazz' trains. They were not of the musical variety - unless you think of the different combinations of 'clack-clack' hrough the points as jazz - but the stock was not of a uniform appearance, being composed of vehicles of different origin. Standard issue were the quads in the GN catchment area and quints on the GE, out past Stratford to West Essex or along the Lea Valley, alternating with 'jazz' stock.
Further out, or on the Stratford to Ongar routes via Woodford twins were used. Aside from the rush hour or weekends these routes were lightly used. There are images available - mostly black and white - to illustrate the type. There were different combinations of twins: lavatory composite-all third, all third-brake third, twin firsts, twin thirds. There were also driving trailers used on 'auto-coach' services, where the engine propelled its carriage(s) in one direction and the driver only saw his fireman for half the shift. He communicated with the fireman from the auto-coach cab through 'telegraphic' signals, operational controls. The guard's windows at the back of the carriage were enlarged for this purpose, and behind one of them sat the driver, a windscreen wiper keeping his view clear in bad weather much like a bus driver - they were in direct competition with the bus companies on many routes - and as he came up to signals or stations the driver would let his fireman know when to ease off shovelling coal! The routes were taken over by London Underground in the late 1940s.
On the 'misery line' into Fenchurch Street the LT&S Railway operated by the LMS - later BR Midland Region - commuter traffic was and still is the mainstay of the line's existence. Their stock was originally loco-hauled and went over to electric multiple unit stock in the 1950s.
Elsewhere on the LNER, by and large the pattern was the same as in and around London with the exception of quads and quints that stayed in London. On local trains suburban non-corridor stock was also used, and combined at times with cattle wagons, pigeon or parcels vans and horse boxes as and when needed. Rakes of three of four carriages were combined for rush hour services, for instance:brake third-lavatory composite-all third-brake third and in reverse order. On Leeds-Harrogate-York services there might be extra firsts added to the rakes - many Leeds and Harrogate businessmen preferred to travel first class and complete work taken home on the way in to the office. No mobile phones, lap-tops and stereo i-phones back then, just briefcases and copies of The Times (and they weren't tabloid format, either, but full-sized broadsheet - they really knew how to handle a newspaper, these lads)!
Often, on branch lines two separate carriages were drafted into service, sometimes even only one! In the North Yorkshire area, for instance, there might be an old NER brake third, a more modern Gresley all third or lavatory composite and a Gresley brake third. On the Wensleydale line a brake third and all third might run behind a pigeon van laden with milk churns or six-wheeled milk tanker, or behind a cattle wagon or two (keep the window shut, be a good boy)! I have seen a black & white picture of an L1 2-6-4 tank engine with a solitary brake third running into Ormesby Station (just south of Middlesbrough, now re-named Marton due to the proximity of the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Stewart's Park).
So there you have it. The scope is enormous, twelve car rush hour trains to single coach rural services. You can combine passenger vehicles with parcels or luggage vehicles, pigeon vans, cattle wagons (in the country, not suburbia!), horse boxes, twins, triplets (restaurant car-kitchen car-restaurant car on seven car fast trains from Kings Cross to Leeds), quads, quints - you name it. There was also a series of steel-panelled open stock from Gresley before WWII, in articulated twin formations for fast workings along the East Coast Main Line. Later these were downgraded to semi-fast when British Railways introduced new stock from the 1950s.
As already mentioned above, Thompson followed Gresley as CME, and introduced new main line stock. He also introduced new suburban stock, roughly based on Gresley's ideas, but the new design featured round-corners on windows and doors, and the lavatory composite design incorporated the oval windows on the toilets. The lavatory composite, for the benefit of non-UK members of the audience, was a design covered by all the companies in mainland Britain where between third and first classes was a toilet, one facing onto a short corridor for third class compartments and the other, side-by-side, for the first. There was no way through if you were a third class 'pleb' who fancied lounging in first and annoying fellow passengers. Still, those lucky enough to sit in the lavatory composite had no worries on long journeys, not like their fellows who had to make a mad dash to the toilets when getting off!
Ian Kirk Gresley 51' 4mm scale (OO Gauge) plastic non-corridor kit-built carriages
Thompson post WWII suburban stock
Some time ago at a small local model railway exhibition I bought a couple of assembled Thompson carriages, one an eight compartment all 3rd in British Railways livery. In BR days this would be 'Standard Class'. I re-detailed the underside and ends with MJT white metal and brass parts. Currently the interior is in progress, one side having had grab rails added and re-numbered (the numbers it bore were for an Eastern-allocated vehicle).
The second carriage was a Lavatory Composite (1st and Standard Class, toilets in the middle accessed by side corridors - no access from Std to 1st) that I completed the detailing on a while ago.
Re-work in progress, Thompson non-corridor 51' Brake 3rd in BR Crimson - to completion
Two companies owned electric stock at the turn of the 20th Century outside Central London, the North Eastern Railway (NER) and the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR). This was in response to tram (street-car) traffic in the cities such as Liverpool and Manchester (LYR) and Newcastle-upon-Tyne (NER).
The NER dived in at the deep end under the auspices of Wilson Worsdell in the guise of the Tyneside Electrics, and kept the civic-operated tram services on their toes. The LYR followed soon after, with a network that covered the metropolitan areas between Merseyside, Manchester and Fylde coast to Blackpool (I've seen a photo of a handsome electric unit at Blackpool Station with the tower soaring skyward behind)! It was not long before a network opened up around Kent, Surrey, Sussex and London, and after WWII a further network opened from Liverpool Street to North London, East London and western Essex. The Southern Railway, Tyneside, Merseyside networks all operated on the third rail system. The former Great Eastern lines were overhead pickup trains furnished with Gresley and Thompson stock converted as non-driving trailers, and the driving cabs were similar to those overhead-pickup locos that ran in the South-east Lancashire/South Yorkshire/North Derbyshire area around Sheffield/Manchester. This network, starved of cash, was wrapped up by the 1960s. Around that time another overhead pickup network developed out of Euston along the London & North Western (LNWR) but 'withered on the vine' for lack of government finance that went on diesel haulage. (In general government finance with Ernie Marples 'in the driving seat' at the Ministry of Transport was diverted at the expense of the railways to the new motorways. Electric traction was given a boost in the later years of Mrs Thatcher's time at No.10, and we had a new fleet of Inter-City 225's up the East Coast Main Line - but they have to keep to about 125mph because the rails themselves aren't up to 225 standard!
Departures from steam-hauled stock
What do we understand by 'Ancillary Stock' in respect of passenger traffic? Briefly these are full brakes, covered carriage trucks (CCT's), utility vans (GUV's), parcels vans, mail vans (when not running in travelling post offices orTPO's), horseboxes (when not running in designated trains), cattle wagons (ditto) and six-wheeled milk tanks (ditto). There were also designated parcels workings that ran from mail order centres and newspaper trains that left London or Manchester stations before they went over to road traffic. Parcels trains might be composed of a mixed bag of vehicles including four-wheeled goods vans (check pictures in railway publications) and might qualify for a section of their own if I could think up enough to write on them. It's enough to say I'll stick to what I've already written about the subject.
CCT's, GUV's and parcels vans on passenger workings would run behind baggage vans or full brakes on non-corridor trains. Non-corridor GUV stock would run at the rear of corridor stock on cross-country traffic. Only corridor vehicles would run within rakes on main line express trains unless on parcels expresses, and in those bogie stock would lead, ahead of four or six-wheeled vehicles at reduced speeds because non-bogie stock could not - or were not supposed to - run at high speeds.on main lines.
CCT's were introduced originally as four-wheeled open trucks to carry his lordship's/her ladyship's carriage and a horsebox would run in the same formation ahead of the passenger stock; later the CCT was given walls and a roof and extended to take more than one carriage, and then cars, or automobiles in those days. Latterly they might be down-graded to general parcels or mixed goods traffic. GUV's were built for a mixed bag of duties and there were bogie-corridor vehicles in this class that ran on newspaper trains in the early morning, along with the milk churns on cross-country or even main line traffic. And then there were four- and six-wheeled pigeon/parcels vans that ran on local trains. Bogie GUV's were roped-in on pigeon specials for big races when the birds were taken far and wide to be released for the flight home!
Race specials ran across country and on main lines, usually four- and six-wheeled stock from other companies/regions to places like Newmarket, Ascot, Sandown Park or Doncaster with accommodation for grooms in the horse-boxes themselves. Trainers' stables at Middleham near Leyburn, Norton near Malton, Newmarket etc would have the vehicles delivered to the nearest station and the animals would be taken on in the evening for not-so-rapid transit to the meeting they were booked into. They would be fresh and fed in the morning and run-ready for the races that normally started from around noon onward, depending on the season.
Milk tankers were privately owned by the bigger dairies, glass-lined and fitted for avb or steam brake - depending on era, and might run in rakes when not individually or in pairs on branch lines. The biggest fleets - in the UK - would be United Dairies (eventually Unigate) and the Co-operative Wholesale Society, for example. There were several others whose profits ran to owning fleets of these expensive specialist tankers.
*See also ROPFAMR - 12: 'Non-passenger Vehicles In Passenger Trains'
The ultimate in basics: Stockton & Darlington 3rd Class Open
LNER CARRIAGES by Michael Harris, publ. Noodle (this ed. 2011) ISBN 978-1-9064-1952-3 :-
I first bought this book almost a decade ago when it was first published. Lending it to someone was a mistake - that's how good the book is! Diagrams, drawings, specifications, numbers, b&w photographs ...the lot! [25th April, 2013 I have since bought a paperback copy of the book from Amazon for the princely sum of £12 inc P&P, worthwhile investment for anyone interested in modelling these vehicles, pre-LNER, Gresley, Thompson]. Immediately after this book in quality I put -
HISTORIC CARRIAGE DRAWINGS Vol 1 LNER AND CONSTITUENTS by Nick Campling, publ. Pendragon Partnership 1997 ISBN 1-8998-1604-6:-
Another first-rate volume, drawings, b&w photographs, the list of entries takes you through Gresley's designs for the LNER and GNR, Howlden's GNR designs, and on through the Great Central, Great Eastern, North Eastern and Hull & Barnsley passenger and associated vehicles that would run in passenger rakes besides full brakes;
LNER HANDBOOK - The London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1947 by David Wragg, publ J H Haynes ISBN 1-8442-5827-7 :-
I haven't as yet had the opportunity to read this volume. If anyone has looked through it maybe they can leave a review of it in the comments box below for me and the rest of the LNER book-buying public. I look forward to reading about it!;
THE ART OF WEATHERING by Martyn Welch, publ. Wild Swan Publications 1993 ISBN 1-874103-11-9:-
I've covered this one under No5 of this series (Locomotives), but this one is for anyone who might not be following the other write-ups. First-rate close-ups and 'how to' instructions with a list of materials and tools, b&w images with a colour section from p115, including a beautifully modelled Gresley side corridor 3 compartment brake 3rd on the front cover and excellent colour close-ups of 7mm stock showing the results of Martyn's work. There is also a section on buildings, with brickwork picked out, 'distressed' painted wood graining etc. There are some first-rate b&w images of the real thing are included, by the way!
© 2011 Alan R Lancaster