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News & Views

Despite the recent increase in our subscription rates, several members included donations with their renewals, and some people said they still consider New Irish Lines as very good value for money. I’d like to thank all those who sent a bit extra, and some of you were very generous. As with  all donations, these sums will go to the newsletter’s general funds. Several folks also commended the quality of the articles in the issues last year, and how they have used some of the information given for their own modelling project, so I would like to pass on these complements to our authors. Please keep the articles coming. We now have about 150 paid up members, but there is always room for more!

Bill Scott has pointed out that the caption on p.31 of the May 2008 issue should of course refer to GNR loco 177.

Peter Swift has reminded me, following on from the article on ballast wagons in the November issue, that Hurst, Nelson  [sorry, my typo] and Company of Motherwell, the rolling stock manufacturers, had no connection with Neilson Reid, the locomotive builders in Glasgow, which later became part of the North British Locomotive Company.

Desmond Coakham writes: 
The article by “A Moyner” in the Nov issue is a masterpiece of  nostalgia. My family moved to Rathmines in 1930, and Ranelagh became our nearest railway station, mostly used for summer trips to Bray, where the council soon prohibited sea-bathing from the sea front and sent prospective bathers on a long walk to a place called Naylor’s Cove. You will know of course that LUAS is driving towards Bride’s Glen and on to Bray eventually*. It deviated from the old DSER line to its terminus and depot at Sandyford, which turned out to be only yards from Stillorgan station on the old line. Denis Bates’ model of poor old D1 looks splendid, but I must tell him they tried it to Ardglass when new and the gradients were too much for it. I am currently sorting out the woeful performance of the Ardglass DE number 28, which they eventually gave back to Harlands and were given a few quid back.
*See Railway Bylines, Annual no 5 for an article by Desmond on this area.

Francis Shuttleworth, who kindly allowed me to reproduce some of his photographs of the GNR drovers’ vans in the May 2008 issue, asks me to clear up any potential confusion, from the note at the end of the article in which  I attributed the collection to “Tim Shuttleworth.” as This  implies, that F.W Shuttleworth collected the photographs, rather than took them, and secondly that “FW” may now have  passed on and that someone called Tim (possibly his son) is in charge of the collection! F.W. and Tim, are, of course, one and the same, and very much alive and well!

While browsing recently, I discovered that there is even a short clip of the Cork & Muskerry Railway in the now quite celebrated  Mitchell and Kenyon collection of early films. I haven’t been able to view it yet, but the details are:
British Film Institute archive: http://www.bfi.org.uk/about/
Use the search option at: http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/searches.php and search under “Muskerry”:
Mitchell and Kenyon, 243 ride from Blarney to Cork on Cork and Muskerry Light Railway (1902): Leemount station (fenced, creepers growing up the trellis, a gaslight). To the right is a single rail track and a hill beyond. The camera is at the rear of the unseen train. The train pulls away from the station and passes heavily wooded scenery. There is snow  [sic] on the ground (00.34). A uniformed station worker walking along the track, which is now no longer single. The train passes a truck on the line and two horse-drawn carts on the road at the side of the  track (00.50). A wide road with buildings to the right with signs on the walls, which include `Sunlight Soap’ and `Sutton’s Coal’ [adverts]. Train passes a horse-drawn cart, a tram (marked W.S.10), a bridge and the backs of  gardens or allotments (1.20mins).

The following link takes you to some archival footage of B156 on one of the last regular passenger trains from Cork to Youghal, just at the time  that the green “flying snail” livery was giving way to the early “black  and tan” finish. It’s wonderfully atmospheric, with a “mixed” train, staff exchange at Cobh Junction and footage of some of the intermediate stations. Even that late, Youghal services seem to have offered first-class accommodation: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=z4U5MWhTpnM

Another interesting Youtube   link deals with the Waterford & Tramore Railway: no cine film, but a fascinating collection of still shots all the same:  http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=p8HoJnffb98&feature=related

David Chambers ( davidchambers082@eircom.net ) would be interested to hear from anyone with any further information on the four CIE 30’ six-wheel heating /luggage vans no. 3153-6, introduced in 1964. The only references to come to light on these vehicles are in the Doyle and Hirsch booklets on Locomotives & Rolling Stock of CIE and NIR, a photograph in Des Coakham’s coaching stock book and a short note in Modern CIE Coaching Stock (paper by D Kennedy, IRRS Journal no. 37, p. 159), saying that they were intended for larger winter trains. They were fitted with two Spanner boilers each capable of producing 1,000lb of steam per hour, with 500 gallon water tanks and batteries (which no doubt accounted for their weight of 28tons 5cwts), but which were mounted inside the bodies rather than underneath as on the better known four-wheelers to allow space for the centre axleguards. Each van also had two 160 gallon oil tanks, one under each headstock, Timken roller-bearing axleboxes and a width of 10’ 2”, The body profile, large windows and grab rails seem uniform with the contemporary Craven’s stock, and they had roof hatches at either end. They seem to have been withdrawn sometime between 1982 and 1987. I only came across two specimens, one at Inchicore on a visit in 1982, one on a Sunday morning  Dun Laoghaire-Heuston boat train in May 1980, when I think CIE was suffering a rolling stock shortage and such a service had to make do with whatever was available.

I am also grateful to David for the following website, which gives details of the extension of the Interconnector from Heuston to Inchicore, and includes a map of the proposed Dublin integrated transport network: 

The Irish National Inventory of Architectural Heritage: http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/ includes details of a number of railway structures. In each of the counties surveyed, use the “Advanced Search” option and look under the categories “Locomotive Sheds” and “Railway Stations.”

Following the demise of the MSN site, Irish Railway Modelling has been
re-launched at: http://irishrailwaymodelling.yuku.com/

The following link from the NI Transport Holding Co may be of interest to those who study civil engineering. Scroll down to the fourth message in the string for a spreadsheet listing bridge information on the company’s railway network:  http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bridge_numbers_on_nir_network

Neil Ramsay’s live steam CVR Atkinson Walker built around the Worsley etch features as the Model of the Month for August 2008 on the 16mm Society website: http://www.16mm.org.uk/

David Thom from Ontario in Canada has drawn my attention to the website: http://www.geograph.org.uk/ which includes many photos from Ireland including some of current railway locations.

For anyone having difficulties locating Kinder eggs to make cement bubble tanks from, I am grateful to Jim Hughes of Belfast who has identified an alternative source for the tanks: the covers of toys called Flash Pop Rings (i.e. plastic children’s finger rings with flashing lights). The two main sources appear to be:

Shelton Distributors, Unit 17 Greenogue Industrial Estate, Rathcoole, Co Dublin Tel: +353 1 4018455(1) or
JTS (International) Ltd, Candy House, Crystal Drive, Smethwick, West Midlands B66 1QG Tel: 0121 5521661. 

Recent writings on Irish railways include: 
Berkeley T (2008) Ireland needs a dose of competition [short article on rail freight] Modern Railways 65 (772): 14-15 (Nov) 
Anonymous (2008) New Luas routing at Red Cow [news paragraph] Tramways & Urban Transit  71 (851): 412 (Nov) 
Anonymous (2008) Galway lobbies for light rail [news paragraph] Tramways & Urban Transit 71(851): 413 (Nov) 
Anonymous (2008) Dublin co-ordinates projects [news paragraph new rail and light rail connections] Tramways & Urban Transit 71 (851): 414 (Nov) 
Ferris C (2008) Irish News [Nenagh, Dunboyne and Middleton commuter
services; rail-freight; Dublin smartcard; Interconnector; WRC; new cement  wagons and maintenance vehicles; DART fleet; Ulster funding; rail  funding] Today’s Railways UK 83: 24-6 (Nov) 
Jackson P (2008) Light Rail News [Luas Red Line reopens; weather hits  Luas; Galway light rail] Today’s Railways UK 83: 30(Nov) 
Gray A (2008) Donegal [0-16.5 scale model railway] Railway Modeller 59: 766-7 (Nov) 
Pritchard R (2008) Swansong for Irish Rail loco-hauled Today’s Railways UK 83:46-53 (Nov)
O’Rourke A (2008) Two Irish Models Historical Model Railway Society Journal  19(12):  387-9 (Oct-Dec) [WCIR four-wheel coach; MGWR loco coal hopper wagon]
Anonymous (2008) Metro North moves ahead; Dublin unveils potential 15km LUAS routes to Lucan [news paragraphs] Tramways & Urban Transit  71 (852): 455; 457 (Dec)
Anonymous (2008) Rail escapes budget cuts Railway Gazette International 164 (11): 864 (Nov)
Anonymous (2009) Dunboyne work starts; More trams for Dublin Modern Railways 66 (724): 71 (Jan) [news paragraphs and photo] 
Anonymous (2009) Details for Dublin’s new Luas line to Grangegorman unveiled Tramways & Urban Transit 72(855): 85 (March 2009) [news paragraph and photo]
Anonymous (2009) It’s ‘go’….work to start on Luas extension to Saggart village Tramways & Urban Transit 12(856): 124 (April) [news paragraph] 
Anonymous (2009) Dublin to ban cars from centre to make way for Metro? Tramways & Urban Transit 12(856): 127 (April) [news paragraph]
Anonymous (2009)Northern Ireland academy opens Railway Gazette International 165 (4): 57(April) [short report and  photograph, Translink driver and signalling simulation training facility]
Anonymous (2009) Four bids in Dublin Railway Gazette International 165 (4): 18(April) [news paragraph on tenders for Metro North]
Anonymous (2009) Luas Cherrywood line completed Tramways & Urban Transit 72(855): 87 (March 2009) [news paragraph]
Anonymous (2009) Interconnector still ‘as planned’ Tramways & Urban Transit 72(855): 88 (March 2009) [news paragraph]
Anonymous (2009)Construction work has started on Dublin’s Docklands commuter line; Cuts may affect Irish [Transport 21] schemes; Dublin [LUAS] cars to gain advertising; new Metro West route announced; late  [Christmas] LUAS Tramways & Urban Transit 72 (854): 45, 47, 48 (Feb) [news paragraphs]
Anonymous (2009) Construction work has started on Dublin’s Dockland
commuter line; Galway accesses light rail; Cuts may affect Irish scheme; Dublin cars to gain advertising; New Metro West route announced Tramways & Urban Transit 72 (854): 45; 47 [news paragraphs](Feb)

Allan Doherty has been busy adding to his range of etchings, and recent releases include:

The four GSR built Pullman coaches (see New Irish Lines May 2003): 
* Pullman coach (sides and ends only) 62’4″     £20-00 
* Pullman coach (sides, ends, floor, battery boxes, fold down trussing) 62’4″ £30-00.

Schull and Skibbereen Railway: 
* Passenger brake vans nos. 53 and 54    £15-00
* Goods brake van  no. 46     £13-50
* Vans 36-45  (body including riveted strapping, chassis with brake gear) £9-00 

Castlederg and Victoria Bridge
* No 28 three-plank wagon (later CDR 228)   £13-00
County Donegal Railway
§ Wagon no. 6 (ex-CVBT)    £13-00

Payment by sterling cheques drawn on a UK clearing bank only, payable to  “A Doherty,” to: A Doherty, 19 Douglas Road, Worsley M28 2SR. See the website for details of the full Worsley range of kits: http://www.worsleyworks.co.uk/index.htm Allen Doherty allendoherty@worsleyworks.co.uk

Studio Scale Models has gone on-line since the last edition of New Irish Lines at http://homepage.eircom.net/~studioscale/index.html The site provides full details of the kits with drawings and photos and also order codes for suitable gearboxes, motors and wheels (OO gauge only), which can also be ordered at time of purchase. Various contributors have provided photographs of SSM kits they have built: you may recognize some of them from Alan and Stephen’s Modelling Irish Railways. Thanks to Harry, Eric, Alan and Eamon! SSM are delighted to announce the availability of several new kits. Pride of place goes to the mighty V-Class Compound 4-4-0 Merlin and modellers of the CIE era will be delighted with the trio of Bredin designed first class coach,  composite and mail van (all formerly of the TMD stable). The Victorian six-wheel coaches are also now available separately, good news for those who may want the third class brake with ducket and birdcage roof! All coaches come complete with appropriate seating and transfers. New transfers include the IR/IE Arrow, 2700, 2800 and 29000 IE Commuters, Intercity Mark 4 sets and the DART. Finally, proposed items for development include a Mark 3 EGV etch and transfer pack, and the distinctive Aspinall GSWR D17 4-4-0 loco (as seen
dropping John Wayne off in The Quiet Man). Watch for updates on the new wishlist section on the website and feel free to email or write to: Des Sullivan, Radharc na hInse, Ballybeg, Ennis, Ireland to make your  suggestions for a particular loco, coach, detailing kit or transfer pack.

New release from Alphagraphix include the following 7mm card kits: 
Ballyconnell station (CLR) £12 CC73 GNR Butter van £2 
Florencecourt station (SLNCR) £10  CC74 CIE standard box van (grey) £2 
CC70 Ranks grain hopper wagon (red livery) £2 
CC71 Ranks grain hopper wagon (grey livery) £2 
CC72 GNR Guinness bogie van £4  CC75 CIE standard box van (brown) £2 
CC76 SLNCR horsebox no. 1 (ex-WLWR) £2 
Most of these kits are or will shortly be available in 4mm versions. In 7mm, Roger is also working on an etched brass kit for the MGWR Fairbairn 2-2-2WTs (Elf, Fairy, Bee), with castings to finish. Alphagraphix, 23, Darris Road Selly Park Birmingham B29 7QY E-mail: sirberkeley@tiscali.co.uk

I gather that a company called  ‘Transcale Trains’ have advertised IÉ railcar kits in 4mm scale on the internet at: http://transcaletrains.blog.co.uk/ However, it appears that this maybe a scam: I have heard from some of our members that having accepted some payments, the owner of the website has now stopped replying to messages, and it seems that the models were never actually made.

Marks Models now offer several Irish railway buildings, from the Bachman Scenecraft range: GNR(I) style signal cabin, based on Donnabate, with green woodwork, code: BA44250
Single track loco shed (based on Westport), pale stone finish, with a good deal of soot / oil weathering, code: BA44251 
Single storey stone station building, described as based on Clonmel, code: BA44252. This one  appears closer to one the smaller WLWR stations, like Carrick-on-Suir, but it may be the single-storey section of the main building at Clonmel immediately next to the road overbridge, although the stone finish is also much paler than Clonmel. See: http://eiretrains.com/Photo_Gallery/C/Clonmel/slides/DSC02248.html
Marks Models: http://www.marksmodels.com/?cid=51 or shops at: 14 Hawkins St., Dublin 2, Tel 01 6715809;  339 Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin,, Tel: 01 2845855;  136 Oliver Plunkett St., Cork,  Tel: 021 4277100 

Paul Taylor sent this picture of GSWR 12-t goods brake, built to HO scale, from plasticard and various items from the “bits box” It runs on Gibson open-spoke wheels and is standing on SMP EM gauge flexible track, which is quite a good match for 5’ 3” in 3.5mm scale (do the maths!). Paul has also built a GSR  bogie rail truck from a Rivarosi FS flat wagon and a two-plank ballast wagon using Slater’s 4mm  body sections on a Lima HO chassis.

HO scale GSWR 12t brake van by Paul Taylor

HO scale GSWR 12t brake van by Paul Taylor

Following on from the article on GNR double-decked sheep vans, it seems that in 1942 the company built ramps for loading and unloading these vehicles at Antrim, Armagh, Ballyroney, Banbridge, Crumlin, Castlewellan, Dromore, Markethill, Poyntzpass, Strabane, Derry, Newry and Maysfields.


From Railways February 1951 12 (2): 29. I havent been able to check the original reference. Could it have been some sort of April Fools?

From 'Railways' February 1951 12 (2): 29. I haven't been able to check the original reference. Could it have been some sort of April Fool's?

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Book & DVD Reviews

Hendry R (1999): ‘British Railway Goods Wagons in Colour: For the Modeller and Historian’
Midland / Ian Allan: Hersham ISBN (10) 1-85780-094-X ISBN (13) 978-1-85780-094-4
96 pages, 217 colour photos, glossary, facsimile wagon diagrams (21),lamp head-codes

I have only just acquired a copy of this book, but as it was reprinted in 2003 and 2007, copies should still be available It is a detailed history of the British goods wagon from the days of the small, wooden-framed vehicles up to the 1970’s. I gather that a second volume covers the period 1970-2000, but I have not come across this yet. There are separate sections for general merchandise opens; vans; cattle wagons; tanks; bulk traffic; conflats; bolsters; brake vans; service stock and “special vehicles.” The book is very good on the transitional BR period from steam to diesel and the introduction of block and liner trains. It is in fact a history of freight handling as well as the wagons themselves, with a few bits of social history on labour and union relations included. The Irish content is quite small, and since the author seems rather strict on the geographical term “British” limited to Northern Ireland, but as published photographs of Irish wagons are rather rare, the five shots are still interesting:

p. 5: an ex-BNCR 3-plank open, presented as a late survivor, with many primeaval design features.
p. 6: a more modern NCC van
p. 6: another NCC van but one that quite foxed the experts, being an obsolete Midland (of Derby) design, turned out by LNER shops as a stop gap for service in Northern Ireland in World War Two.
p. 54: Shell Mex & BP tank wagon 271, Adelaide Yard
p. 55: Irish Shell & BP tank wagon 2617 at Grosvenor Road Depot [AO’R]


RJA Pue: ‘Steam Locomotives of Irish Railways’
Published by: the BCDR Museum Trust, 9 Kilbright Rd, Carrowdore, Newtownards. Co. Down BT22 2HQ Tel: 0870 740 9311 E-mail: countydownrailway@yahoo.co.uk

No. 7 The PP Class 4-4-0s of the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) ISBN 978-0-905196-13-8 56 pages £8-95 softback

No. 8 The Locomotives of the Ulster Railway ISBN 978-0-905196-15-2 60 pages, £10-95 softback

The seventh book in this series has now reached one of the more numerous groups of GNR 4-4-0s,the PP class of seventeen engines built between 1896 and 1911, the last scrapped in 1963. As with the earlier books in this series, each of these begins with a brief survey of the class, and then tables of key dates, dimensions and rebuilding. There follows a portrait and “bibliography” for each engine in the class, although much of this information is repeated in summary tables. About half of the book is a photographic album of the class, with a good mix of in-action, on shed and makers’ photographs, spanning the whole history of the class, the various metamorphoses these engines passed through, and with several shots of some of them running in the pre-World War I livery of lined green with name plates. Despite the use of un-glazed paper, reproduction of the photographs is generally good. There is a very diagrammatic outline drawing, which shows dimensions, but which is neither detailed nor accurate enough on its own to support building a model of one of these engines.

The eighth and most recent addition takes a step back in time from it usual format of describing one specific class of relatively modern engines, to review the entire motive power of the Ulster Railway, which lost its independence in 1876. As with such remote periods of railway history, there is little to add to what has already been published, allowing for the gaps in the extant records, and most of this topic has already been covered in Norman Johnston’s detailed history of GNR locomotives. There is a short history of the Ulster Railway itself, followed by a description of its engines, in the form of tables of dates, rebuilding and renumbering of each machine. The author has classified the stock his own way into twenty types. This nomenclature includes two classes delivered during or shortly after the formation of the GNR, and one which did not emerge until 1881 being three rebuilds of older engines into a small class of 0-4-2s.There are some 68 photos in the book, again finding unpublished ones for this period is rather hard, and slightly over a third have already appeared in Mr Johnston’s book, in some cases several enlargements from one of the shed scenes providing illustrations of different classes. The author, however, does find some shots from the FitzGerald Collection which I have not seen before, but as with earlier books in the series, reproduction on un-glazed paper, while keeping costs down, impairs reproduction of some photos.

These booklets are produced as limited print runs, on a subscription basis, with future plans to cover the U2 and W classes of the NCC; the Q, and S classes of the GNR; the DNGR 0-6-0STs; and the Queens. [AO’R]


Jeremy Clements & Michael McMahon: ‘Locomotives of the GSR’
384 pages, 346 photographs, colour dust jacket pictures, 2 line drawings, maps, tables etc
ISBN 978-1-906578-26-8 £35-00 From: Colourpoint Books, Jubilee Business Park, 21 Jubilee Road, Newtownards, Co Down BT23 4YH

Wow! For some time, Southern locomotive fans have cast envious eyes at the Colourpoint histories of the GNR and more recently NCC engines. Well, their own volume has proved well worth the wait At first sight it sounds expensive, but taking account of size and photographic content, it is actually very good value for money. Of course, a book limited to the machines built for or by the GSR would be rather slim, and this covers all the stock inherited in 1925, even if some never carried a GSR number plate. As much pre-group stock had long lives, it is a really a history of locomotives built from about 1880 onwards for the constituent companies. The authors have done their homework very well, and although there may be room for a bit more scholarship on the mechanical dark ages at Inchicore and Broadstone, as regards the post 1925 era, this really is the definitive account. Some material has appeared before, but is well integrated, such as the 1948 summary of each surviving class, a pithy, unsentimental few lines saying what the operating department thought of its antiques on day-to-day basis, and often far removed from dewy-eyed enthusiasts, coming across some ancient engine, or logging a spectacular one off run.

This is of course an era now slipping from living memory, and some decisions may not have been “minuted,” so there has to be a bit of reading between the lines. Here the authors are very perceptive. One problem was that in the newly formed GSR, MGWR men took many of the administrative positions, and to even up the power balance, the chief mechanical post went to Bazin, whereas Morton, your man from the Midland who had already proved himself an astute fellow in spotting bargains off the shelf, had a much more enlightened view on superheating the better older classes. In fact, Broadstone seems to have thumbed its nose at Inchicore on this issue, and quietly finished superheating the 650 class: in 1948 they were about the only Midland engines to get an unqualified thumbs up, the larger 4-4-0s being damned as poor timekeepers on the DSER section.

However, for a company that prided it self on thrift, GSR locomotive practice was decidedly wasteful at times, with each CME determined to produce “something new,” although this lead more to technological vanity than genuine progress. 850, always an engine to provoke partisan views, but the one genuinely innovative design was doomed to be a one off; the 670s were a retrospective step. In fact, Inchicore should have adopted a Darwinian “survival of the fittest” approach to selecting the best of the later pre-group designs: a dozen more 257 class would have been more welcome to the operating department than “improved J15s.” A few more DSER moguls and B4 Bandon tanks would also have been useful additions to the fleet. Maybe nothing illustrates this principle more than the 4-6-0s: the 500s did everything required of them, and more, for thirty yeas, with only minor modifications, whereas the mechanically more sophisticated 400s needed radical and expensive rebuilding to make them efficient engines. The cost of reconstructing them might have been better spent on a few more 500 and Woolwich class engines. The authors even take on the legend of the 800s, suggesting that their main value was boosting morale and for publicity, whereas from mechanical point of view, they were a luxury the GSR could ill afford and minor changes to working practices would have made them un-necessary. But, as the authors comment for much or their period, passenger traffic was actually in decline on the GSR system, whereas goods receipts held up much better, and so, while the company fiddled around trying to produce “fixes” for the Cork mails and the Bray suburban services, it was just as well that it had inherited a fleet of hardy 0-6-0s, which could handle the bread-and-butter traffic.

The photographs are generally well reproduced, just a few for obscure engines are a little soft, and for “spotters” there are good shots of some rather camera shy specimens, like 211, 250, 441, 618 and 621. Sadly, the only scale plans are of two patterns of WLWR tenders, from the Stephenson Locomotive Society book on Robinson’s work: there may be a book of drawings later if there is enough demand (hint, hint!). There are chapters on tenders; the fuel crisis (a detailed account of a difficult time, which bridged the GSR/CIE transition); and a brief account of steam loco policy under CIE (for more details of this period see the Decade of Steam book). Wisely, the turf-burner is left to its own specialised books, but the authors take “locomotive” as a broad term for any self propelled vehicle, so the Claytons, Sentinels (both shunting engines and railcars), Drewry vehicles (broad and narrow gauge) and Drumm trains are all covered. All narrow gauge engines extant in 1925 also feature, but these are well documented elsewhere, and I think the real strength of the book is the detailed accounts of the pre-1925 engines, their rebuilding and modification, and the critical discussion of GSR locomotive policy down to 1940. For the not so technically minded, there is also a very clear and illustrated account of the working of locomotive valve gears and superheating. Finally, the book also includes detailed tables of GSR and GNR returns, which suggest that the GSR was not quite so economically backward as followers of the “enterprising” cross-border line would have us believe! In fact, allowing for the fact that GSR engines and rolling stock were older (and in many cases fully depreciated), the return on capital may have looked even better for the GSR. [AO’R]


DVD: ‘The West Cork Railway  1958, 1959 & 1961 Cameo Memories’ by Brian Baker
Produced and distributed by: Signcraft, Bretby, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire DE14 0PS UK Tel. 0044(0) 1283 551581 E-mail: signcraftbretby@aol.com
Running time approx 60 mins Price: £18 including p&p 

Included with this DVD is a section of the 1897 Railway Clearing House Map of southern Ireland showing the west Cork railways, in order to help the viewer visualize the lines depicted.  The reverse side carries additional notes which give mileages for the different sections, a very brief history and a list of books on the  west Cork lines. From the turning of the first sod of the Cork & Bandon Railway on the 16th September 1845, up till the complete closure on the 31st March 1961, the west Cork railways served a large area on the southern coast of Ireland.  The story is recorded in full colour on the DVD with both cine film and still photographs taken in 1958, 1959 and 1961,  and including the final four days of operation, and brings to light some very interesting footage and photographs of the west Cork system.  It also covers the Shannon Vale Mill, showing the working of the line by horse power.  It will be of interest to people who knew the system and people with a general interest in Irish railways, but above all will  be of immense value to modellers of Irish railways as it shows the  many different operations that were typical of the period, including shunting, running, and some beautiful landscape that will inspire modellers of any of the Irish railway systems.

It also includes cab rides for the sections Clonakilty Junction-Ballinascarthy- Courtmacsherry-Clonakilty, Skibbereen-Baltimore and Cork-Bantry. Starting at Albert Quay with steam locomotive No.90 shunting the diesel railcar set, the film takes us through the rural and beautiful countryside that is west Cork, and over some of the best kept track on any railway of the period, as well as over some extremely neglected rails.  The line had the distinction of serving the most southerly railway station in Ireland, and also boasted the first tunnel in Ireland to have steam working through it. The line was worked at this period by diesel railcar sets and C-class Metro-Vick locomotives, with short mixed trains made up of as few as two coaches plus a wagon of pigs, and strengthened on Thursdays by an ancient six-wheeler.  The line also saw excursion traffic as well as loose coupled freight trains which since the 1930’s include beet trains for Mallow sugar factory.  Running through one of the most tranquil scenes in Ireland, this is surely a modeller’s dream railway, with the variation of changing landscape as well as delightful stations along the line and at the termini. There is also an extract of an interview by Brian Baker with 96-year-old Mr. Champion who was a former employee of the railway, man and boy, who recalls some of his railway memories.

The material is professionally produced and narrated by Brian Baker who grew up in west Cork, his father having spent his working life on the west Cork lines apart from a short time at Charleville, and being station master at Clonakilty in the 1930’s. His final appointment was stationmaster at Bandon.  The programme deliberately does not set out to be a source of reference but simply a shared record of a once proud system.

After production and distribution costs, all profit is being donated to the Railway Children charity. [POS]

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Scale Drawings – Ballymena & Larne 2-6-0ST

Ballymena & Larne Railway Beyer Peacock 2-6-0ST (originally published in Railways, no. 44, Dec. 1943, page 190

Ballymena & Larne Railway Beyer Peacock 2-6-0ST (originally published in Railways, no. 44, Dec. 1943, page 190

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Christmas Quiz

Today, we have naming of engines… the following are all clues to names carried by Irish engines, although some may not quite line up with the reasoning of those who bestowed the names. See how many you can get before you reach for your Irish Steam Loco Register. Answers can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

  1. Nocturnal flying mammal.
  2. A class of battleship, which produced the political slogan”we want eight and we won’t wait!”
  3. One of the archangels.
  4. Possibly a musical percussion instrument.
  5. King of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  6. Arthurian Wizard.
  7. …the Whig view of history.
  8. Large, aggressive freshwater fish.
  9. Roman (not Greek) name for the goddess of war, poetry, medicine and wisdom.
  10. Greek hero, who fell in love with his own reflection.
  11. Patron saint of the diocese of Ossory.
  12. Singer in Greek mythology, who descended into the underworld to try and bring his wife back after she had been bitten by venomous snakes.
  13. Jacobite military leader in the Williamite wars.
  14. Saint whose martyrdom included being barbecued to death.
  15. Greek hero, whose most well known exploit  was slaying the minotaur and escaping from the labryinth.
  16. The… Ascending, musical piece by Vaughan Williams.
  17. Planet discovered by William Herschel in 1781.
  18. Volcano, which last errupted in 1944.
  19. Princess, and grandmother of the current King of Spain, who spent over 30 years in exile.
  20. In Greek mythology, the archtypal woman, whose dowry contained many terrible plagues.



























  1. Bat (MGWR 0-6-0T No. 110)
  2. Dreadnaught (WLWR 0-6-0 No.49)
  3. Gabriel (SSR 4-4-0T No. 1)
  4. Lambeg [drum] (GNR 0-6-0 No. 154)
  5. Oberon (DWWR un-numbered 2-2-2WT of 1865)
  6. Merlin (GNR 4-4-0 No. 85)
  7. Progress (WLWR 0-6-0 No. 7)
  8. Pike (Cork & Youghal Railway 2-4-0ST No. 5)
  9. Minerva (GNR 4-4-0 No. 136)
  10. Narcissus (GNR 4-4-0 No. 83)
  11. St. Kiernan (DWWR 2-4-0T No. 45)
  12. Orpheus (GNR 4-4-0 No. 157)
  13. Sarsfield (WLWR 0-6-0 No. 24)
  14. St. Lawrence (DWWR 2-4-0T No. 28)
  15. Theseus (GNR 4-4-0 No. 114)
  16. Lark (MGWR 0-6-0T No. 106)
  17. Uranus (GNR 4-4-0 No. 131)
  18. Vesuvius (GNR 0-6-0 No. 14)
  19. Princess Ena (GSWR 4-4-0 No. 304)
  20. Pandora (GNR 4-4-0 No. 156)

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News and Views

Peter Swift writes from Derby, with more information following last time’s editorial:

You suggest that Bonds had moved out of London during the war. They were certainly still in Euston Road when I was at University in London in the early 1960s, on the south side of Euston Road near the top of Tottenham Court Road. They may have started the Midhurst premises during the war and then retreated to it again in the 1970’s when London prices drove them out. Re the “oldest model making company” title, I think Bassett Lowke win the British title but there were certainly earlier ones in Germany. As Historical Model Railway Society (HMRS) Archivist, I have access to a wide collection of material including model company catalogues* in the HMRS collection, and also working and public timetables, as well as many other working instructions etc for the railways, which are listed in the open access part of the HMRS website hmrs.org.uk. Unfortunately, there are not many Irish items.

*Peter has kindly provided me with a list of these, some undated, but going back to 1912, and including other pioneers such as the Leeds Model Co and Mills Brothers. If anyone wants more details, they can contact Peter at: archivist@hmrs.org


Amsies Models have recently added vinyl overlays for Irish mark 2 coaches to their N and 00 ranges. More designs will follow if sales show there is a demand for these products. Amsies Models, 1 Burgundy Gardens, Burnt Mills, Basildon, Essex SS13 1NP Tel: 01268 470712 Mobile: 07534 211694 E-mail: paul.amestoy@blueyonder.co.uk Website: http://www.amsiesmodels.co.uk/index.htm


Patrick O’Sullivan sends the following notes on these overlays:  
These are a new venture into the world of model railway for Paul and Victoria Amsie, and cover coaches in 4mm, 3.5mm and N-Gauge/2mm. with various liveries to suit ready-to-run vehicles.   The overlays can be produced in any livery regardles of how complicated it is, and made to suit the customer’s donor coach.  The finished colours are in good, strong colours and look superb.  Any Irish coach livery can be provided to suit the customer’s requirements, in any of the standard scales, i.e. 4mm, 3.5mm, 2mm, and N-Gauge, and with the required livery, and running numbers etc. The vinyl overlays are best suited to modern flat sided vehicles, having said that there is no reason that they could not be adopted for raised sided coaches, if one is prepared to file off the raised detail, stick on the self-adhesive vinyl overlay and then glue on pre-painted strips. This seems to be a big break through in the world of model railways, especially for those of us who model Irish rolling stock.  I have no doubt  that, while this is a new product, it will transform railway modelling.  Having seen this product first hand, I have no doubt that with a bit of forward thinking that overlays for  Irish private owner wagons could be produced. Paul is going to forward me some samples to review, and once I have done this I will post my findings and include a copy for the next editon of New Irish Lines. A full demonstration of the technique of vinyl overlays with photographs is available on Paul’s website at  http://www.amsiesmodels.co.uk 

Patrick has also come across a new photographic collection, and is at present sifting through the Irish section: Transport Treasury,  Logie Shannoch, Drumrossie, Insch, Aberdeenshire AB52 6LJ Tel: 01464-820717 Mobile: 07867 645410 E-mail: info@transporttreasury.co.uk Website: http://www.transporttreasury.co.uk/ 


David White (Whiteeno@aol.com)  writes from Scotland:
Perth Model Railway Club to go Irish: The members of Perth Model Railway Club (Scotland) have decided to commission two new model railway layouts. One of the two new layouts to be built by the members of Club will be an Irish model railway. The Club made their decision to have something different after they viewed a range of Irish rolling stock owned by David White who lives in nearby Newburgh, Fife. David owns a variety of Irish rolling stock allowing him to run trains from 1945 through to today. The building of this new layout will commence in July 2008, its first showing is expected to be at the Perth 2009 Exhibition. Would any Irish Club be interested in exhibiting at Perth in 2009?


Ciarán Cooney (e-mail: harcourtstation@gmail.com) writes:
I was photographing some West Clare Railway stations a few weeks ago, and I photographed one at Blackweir, which strangely featured some pre-1950s style road signs. I recall in the newsletter you sent me a while ago an article written by a modeller, Doncha Cronin, regarding these type of road signs, and whether any were in existence today. I just thought I should inform you as he and possibly others may find the photos of use  which I took. You can view them on this link on the website: http://eiretrains.com/Photo_Gallery/B/Blackweir/A&Bindex.html


These two pictures from Tony Hewitt (hewittht@tiscali.co.uk) show a model of Schull & Skibereen Railway no. 4 which he has built from various woods, ranging from 1mm plywood upwards. The wheels are made from ash, two varieties of mahogany and cocktail sticks Smaller components are turned on a lathe, and there are some brass parts for the cow-catcher and smoke-box fittings. The builder tells me he became a grandfather while building the model, and the latest addition to his family also rejoices in the name Erin!


Recent writings on Irish railways include:Anonymous (2008) Red Line: longer trams, shorter line Tramways & Urban Transit 71(848): 294, 295 [news paragraph and photograph]

Anonymous (2008) TRAM Power proposes trams for Galway Tramways & Urban Transit 71(848): 296 [news paragraph]

Pulling N (2008) LUAS gets to The Point Tramways & Urban Transit 71(846); 216-7 (June) [includes photos of work at Sandyford]

Pulling N (2008) Dublin Expansion Tramways & Urban Transit 71(850): 376 [LUAS extension]Heritage Rail May-June 2008 CDR goes for Barnesmore

Jones B, Fearn D (2008) Ireland on the move. Rail no. 596: 46-52 (July 16-29

Flanagan C (2008) The Green Pullman Railway Modeller 59: 489 (July) [00 gauge model]For any one trying to find items listed in the IRRS bibliographies from  Linkline magazine, try the following website: http://www.businessandfinance.ie/client-publishing/ClientPublishingNewsletter.htm

For any N-gauge Irish modellers, there are now alternative and complementary group on MSN and Yahoo, so you can join in the debate whatever your preference for on-line groups:


Other potentially useful websites are:Ernie’s Irish Railway Photos: http://erniesirishrailwayphotos.fotopic.net/Irish station photographs: http://eiretrains.com/Stations_index.htmIrish  Model Railways: http://www.irishrailwaymodels.com/


Following Doncha Cronin’s picture of an Italian version of the CIE G-class (May issue, p.26 ), it seems that there may have been an Iberian branch of the family as well. I took the above photo at the railway museum at Gijon, in Northern Spain earlier this year: the museum has a fascinating collection of broad and narrow gauge and industrial equipment and is well worth a visit. This machine is Deutz no. 57706, built 1964, type B, DH, 140HP 20tons weight, eight cylinders, and it shunted private sidings in the nearby Trubia armaments factories. It runs on the Spanish broad gauge of 5’ 6” (1670mm).


Following Doncha Cronin’s picture of an Italian version of the CIE G-class (May issue, p.26 ), it seems that there may have been an Iberian branch of the family as well. I took the above photo at the railway museum at Gijon, in Northern Spain earlier this year: the museum has a fascinating collection of broad and narrow gauge and industrial equipment and is well worth a visit. This machine is Deutz no. 57706, built 1964, type B, DH, 140HP 20tons weight, eight cylinders, and it shunted private sidings in the nearby Trubia armaments factories. It runs on the Spanish broad gauge of 5’ 6” (1670mm). Foxrock Models first two kits for the Cork, Blackrock & Passage Railway brake van and open goods wagon are both now available (see may issue, p. 29). Both kits are also suitable for use in CIE days on the CLR section. The resin bodies and etched underframes are very well produced, and there is an excellent detailed instruction sheet including prototype information, and these should prove ideal modelling projects for the lengthening winter evenings for Irish narrow gauge modellers. The brake van kit costs £17 and the open wagon £15, both inclusive of postage there is a 10% discount on multiples of five kits.  Orders should be sent to Simon de Souza at: Foxrock Models, 7 Ennerdale Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 7HH (e-mail: simon.desouza@btinternet.com), cheques payable to “Simon de  Souza.” Simon has plans for future kits for  the Cavan and Leitrim open wagon and  milk-van/brake van, but clearly investing the time in producing these will depend on sales for the first two kits showing that this is a viable market.


A group has formed with the objective of opening a preserved 5′ 3″ gauge line in the Republic of Ireland. Some of you may recall that in a previous editorial, I posed the question of which former lines might support such a scheme. For further details see:  http://www.heritagerailway.ie/index.html


Alistair Rolfe of No Nonsense Kits has re-introduced the cast ends for the GNR(I) AEC railcars (at £7-50 per pair) and cosmetic bogie sides (at £4-00 for four bogie sides i.e. enough for one vehicle, but will need an etched frame to produce a running bogie) from the old MTK moulds. The ends seem closer to the later CIE push-pull versions of these vehicles, but can be cleaned up to the original GNR form. It appears that these components complement the Worsley etches for these vehicles, and the cast ends may be easier to use than shaping the ends from the etched parts, although the inner end was (we think!) flat  and may be easier to make from brass than to clean up the MTK casting, which was copied from the GW Collett suburban Bow-end (without steps). However, Alistair can supply these at £5 per pair if bought with the cab fronts. Most of the MTK Irish locos are currently being re-tooled, as a mixture of etchings and castings. They should be re-released over the next few years and NNK is developing a six-wheel mechanism which will provide the correct wheelbase for the larger locos. For four-wheel bogies they suggest Black Beetles. All kits will be suitable for 21mmgauge. The MTK Irish coach kits were usually aluminium body shells with cast ends, though the Park Royals, and Mk.II air-conditioned stock were etched. The Dart was also etched, with cast ends, though much of the tooling is a bit too rough to re-use. Unfortunately it is not practical (or viable) to produce short runs of aluminium-bodied kits, while the tooling for the etched body shells is very scruffy. It is not expensive to replace the artwork for the etchings, but if re-drawing it would make sense to get everything right. So, at present Alistair trying to gather information on the rolling stock, with a view to releasing complete kits, but there are some technical limitations to what can be done for the moment. He hopes to expand his machine-tool range  to produce pre-formed body shells to the correct dimension, but this depends on a number of things, including finance and any specific demands from modellers may push specific items up the  priority  “to do”  list!

P&P to the UK is £2 for orders up to £20, 10% thereafter. P&P to Eire is a little more, and will be advised on ordering. No Nonsense Kits now has a PayPal account, and can accept on-line payments: this should save the cost of Sterling bank drafts etc. for customers in the Republic. Otherwise, payment is by cheques or Postal Orders,  crossed, payable to “No Nonsense Kits.” Contact details: No Nonsense  Kits, PO Box 1009, Cardiff CF23 7YB Tel. 029 2031 7212 E-mail:  nnk.website@ntlworld.com Website: http://www.nnkits.co.uk/


Worsley’s latest etchings are for the Schull & Skibereen Railway: http://www.worsleyworks.com. Etched sides for the GSR Pullman cars are expected shortly.


Denis Bates writes from Aberystwyth with further information on two items in the last issue: 

GNR (I) Drovers’ vans: I’ve actually made a model of No.3, using the photo of 1957, and the line drawings, which I got from Tony Miles. Interesting that the doors say “drovers” although there are no side windows, nor the pot lamps on the roof. Does the inscription mean that they were still being used for drovers at that date? The differences between the two are interesting also. No.3 has wooden frames, and the outside vertical pillars extend down over the solebars. Nos.97 and 98 have steel frames, and the bodies are wider. Tare weight is greater at 15T. 

UTA rail tractor: I have vague memories of one of these. I think it was actually built on a coach bogie, and didn’t have a “cab”. I think it was also used for a “goods train” – pulling a single wagon of coal from Queen’s Quay to Hollywood for a coal merchant based in the goods yard. I was in Sullivan Upper School there at the time. 

[from Bill Scott’s new book on NCC locos, p. 165, it seems that when NCC railcar no. 2, built 1934, was withdrawn in 1954, the chassis and engines were used to make two of these tractors. Ed]


Another supplier of card kits for Irish narrow gauge wagon bodies is Hamlin Industries, 79 Harlington Road, Hillingdon, Middlesex UB8 3HY 

Web-site:  http://www.hamlinindustries.com/


I am grateful to our member Jim Fogarty for the following more direct link to the An Post die-cast models, and specifically the Morris LD150: 


In addition to his gazetteer mentioned on p. 32 of the May issue, Ralph Rawlinson now also has produced A ‘Register of Closed Railways’ which is on line at: http://www.closedlines.free-online.co.uk/index.htm


As many will know, the very useful SSM range of kits and components has been in limbo for some time, but we now have good news from our member Des Sullivan:

SSM under New Ownership
I am delighted to formally announce that I have taken over Studio Scale Models from Paul Green as of last July.  A big thank you is owed to Paul as he has been most supportive and understanding in helping to get a handle on the various elements of the business.  The entire range will be re-released, with all instructions revised and updated (over time), fully sprung buffers on the larger engine kits and transfer packs comprising of numbering, lining and crests or icons as appropriate. Some of the models will not be available right away (T2, SG and brake van) as I need to get moulds remade for some of the castings, but I will be accepting pre-orders for these.  Prices will be finalised in the weeks to come. The full range is as follows:

GSWR/GSR/CIE J15 0-6-0 tender engine
GNR(I) S class 4-4-0 tender engine
GNR(I) SG class 0-6-0 tender engine
GNR(I) T2 4-4-2T
MGWR E class/CIE J26 0-6-0T

GSWR six-wheeled five coach set
GNR(I)/CIE K15 open third bogie coach
GNR(I)/CIE L12 bogie brake third coach

GNR(I)/CIE 20-ton brake van
GSWR/GSR/CIE convertible wagon
MGWR/CIE convertible wagon

GNR(I)/CIE 57′ or 60′ coach underframe
GNR(I)/CIE elliptical coach roof
GNR(I)/CIE coach castings pack
GNR(I) fishbelly bogie sides
Etched W-irons and brake gear

Contact me on dezsullivan@eircom.net or write to me at: 5 Radharc na hInse, Ballybeg, Ennis, Co. Clare.


Filed under News and Views

Locomotive Portrait: Cork, Bandon & South Coast Railway B4 Locomotive

Graham Bridle


I have liked the look of this loco ever since I took a greater interest in Irish railways. I know of no kits but Alan kindly sent me some 4mm and 7mm drawings. At the time I was modelled in 4mm.  I built a chassis for a B4 in 4mm but before I got any further I was at a small local show that was run by Gauge 0 Guild members. Although many scales were there, I was taken with gauge 0, which suited my eyes and ten thumbs better.  So I changed scales. I made a loco from an etched kit and bought a brass pannier, yes I know not Irish but GWR is next best! I also decided to go with the flow and stick to 32mm gauge using C&L products.  I decided to scratch build a B4. I made many mistakes as I went along for I am not good at working out all the pitfalls first. The chassis I built first and I will at some time make another.  I tried full spring suspension but found making sure all was level difficult. I had made the frames from too thick nickel silver and found the gearbox too wide. I fixed the axle bushes and after some filing it fitted. But I forgot to reassemble on the jig so the running was poor. I think I stripped and reassembled four  times, but it does run. The other main problem was with the bogie. Getting the right tension was difficult and I wonder if I should have used a swivel on a pivot set back.

The footplate and body were easier. The tank sides and cab were cut and soldered together to make sure they were symmetrical. There are flanges on the bottoms with captive screws so that the cab and tanks plus the boiler can be dismantled from the footplate separately although I now think this is not necessary. I invested in a riveter and roller.  Rolling the boiler was not too difficult, the riveting monotonous and not easy to maintain a line if a reversal in the riveter had to be done.  I do not have a lathe so I spoke to Laurie Griffin (Miniatures ). I sent the drawings to him and he did a good match with the boiler fittings. The chimney is not quite right but as all are screwed on I could change it if I find a better match. The boiler door also came from him and the darts.  Other proprietary fittings such as the buffers, jack, and couplings were picked up at trade shows. The sand boxes I made and are also screwed on. The coupling rods I think were universal ones from Slaters laminated at the right length.

My painting expertise is not brilliant but it will pass my inspection and as it is intended for my attic this is okay. The detail is not totally accurate because I noticed things after I had soldered up (e.g. the buffer mountings should be round and the bunker is not quite right) but overall I am pleased.  This has taken me several years to complete and I have enjoyed doing it. My better half said it was wonderful (honest!) but then it keeps me out of her way for many an hour. I bought a MGWR J26 kit on e-bay which will be my next engine. I do like the lines of the Neilson and Dubs engines supplied to the CB&SCR but I have no drawings. Anybody out there have any?

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Scratch Building a CIE Cement Bubble

Des Sullivan


Prior to its gradual demise, the freight section of  Irish Rail produced some very distinctive and unique rolling stock that just begs to be scratch built.   We have also been blessed that MIR has provided several quality kits in the past few years to recreate them.   The cement bubble has been one of these. However, when I decided to build an eleven to twelve  unit rake of them over twelve months ago, the euro-exchange rate at the time proved to be something of a disincentive.  I also wanted to capture some of the finer detailing that the existing kit as seen from the photo on Steve Johnson’s site didn’t seem to cover.  Since having built them, the euro has strengthened significantly and the kit has been superbly revised (what with a very solid new resin casting of the bubble and gangway and ladder brass etchings).  Oh well, c’est la vie.  I was fortunate in having the opportunity to photograph several of them at the old container sidings in Limerick station which revealed the finer detailing and colouring that would add to building a suitable model.

The basis for most 20’ four wheel CIE freight stock is the Dapol C043 cement wagon.  The distinctive springs, spring hangers and brake levers are all well captured on this model.  Also, because it is a plastic kit, there is much more “depth” to the brake mechanism than one would get with a single piece RTR moulding.  The dimensions are a little out, given that the model is a OO/HO hybrid, but this is really of minor importance compared to the abundance of chassis detailing.  Finally, there are several parts in the C043 kit that with minor alteration can be used to provide the extra detailing needed for the rest of the model.

Parts Needed
To build one you will need the following:
  • CO43 kit
  • Two Kinder Eggs – not the hinged type (yes, there are more than one) but the one with the two shells.
  • Guitar string (a light gauge “A” string).
  • A paper lollypop stick (c. 3.6mm diameter).
  • Transfer set (details later).
  • 0.35mm styrene sheeting 30mm x 80mm.
  • Scrap of net curtain material or K & S etched mesh 3/64 diamond.
  • Flexible 0.6mm wire.
  • Milliput.
  • Ratio signal ladder pack (#451).
  • Paint (beige, black, grey, white).

Chassis Construction
First, completely pare back and remove the raised rim on the wagon floor plate (part 6) using a sharp knife or blade.

Scribe and then remove the central part between the two holes.  I drill out several 6mm holes to make this easier.

Chamfer the straight sides of the hole at 45° to make for maximum surface and gluing contact between the bubble/egg and the base.

Construct the chassis as detailed in the Dapol instructions, make sure any flash or mould lines are pared and sanded back.  The main focus of these is at the buffer sides.

Remove the moulded chain from the end hooks prior to fitting as it will impede the coupling bars otherwise.

Widen out the wheels on the axles ever so slightly (0.2-0.3mm). Drill two holes on either side of the frames for the levers.

Base Detailing
The hole left after removing the central section of the plate is too long and will leave a gap at either side when the egg is put in place.  You will need to construct a new wagon floor sheet from styrene sheet that the bubble can sit into, see the adjacent diagram for the appropriate dimensions. 

Remember, fit-check-pare and repeat until a precise fit is got prior to gluing.  Then glue down the sheet onto the original chassis top.  It will take a bit of time, but once done properly, constructing another ten or fourteen can be done with assembly-line ease.   I made a stencil from styrene and used it to draw out and cut the other eleven chassis sheet covers once I was happy with the final dimensions.

Identify the plate (part 44).  This has raised diagonal detailing that matches the prototype closely.   Cut to size by removing paler material as shown in the attached diagram and remove the nodge on the top.  Fit at one end of the  wagon floor sheet, opposite of where the ladders will be.

Construct the cement pipes from chopped up parts 55 and 56.  Mark and drill 0.8mm holes in the floor sheet at the other end (opposite to where plate is on)  and fit.  Bend and then glue some 0.6mm wire to the back. Cut a 5mm length of lollypop stick at a 45° angle using a sharp knife, and mount near the pipes as shown.

Making the Bubble
One of the delights of scratch building this model is that the bog standard Kinder Egg is an almost exact scale replica of the bubble in terms of the hemispherical ends.    It does require lengthening and this is done as follows.Take a male section of one egg and carefully cut off the outer 4mm of the rim.  This is easy enough to do as the egg wall has a thin channel or groove here to act as a cutting guide.

Take the other egg and roughen the ends with sandpaper and then shape a small piece of Milliput so as to round the ends.  I recommend dampening the Milliput , applying to the egg end and then shaping it in the palm of your hand.  Leave to dry overnight. 

Fit the second egg ends together as shown and use the cut off piece from the donor egg (!!) to fill out the gap.  If the rim piece is cut carefully, it should be a perfect fit.  Glue the three pieces together.  Note that the plastic used does not take glue very well (even Superglue) so handle carefully.  It may be worth trying a more full-bodied epoxy glue though I haven’t done this to date. Glue the egg to the chassis base.  Glue some lead window strip underneath to add weight and ballast.

Other Detailing

Fit the manhole cover (part 51) as the Bubble cap.

Bend and glue the guitar wire as vacuum pipe.

The gangway can be made from net-curtain mesh (or K&S etched mesh) with a thin rim of styrene sheet .  Use double thickness styrene triangles as gangway supports and glue to the side of the bubble.

The ladder included in the kit is perfect, but there is only one in each kit!  I suggest Ratio signal ladder as an alternative.  It is also a little finer in scale. 

Fit the manhole cover (part 51) as the Bubble cap.

Bend and glue the guitar wire as vacuum pipe.

The gangway can be made from net-curtain mesh (or K&S etched mesh) with a thin rim of styrene sheet .  Use double thickness styrene triangles as gangway supports and glue to the side of the bubble.

The ladder included in the kit is perfect, but there is only one in each kit!  I suggest Ratio signal ladder as an alternative.  It is also a little finer in scale.

Given that a rake of fifteen  will probably remain permanently connected, for added realism I suggest using the coupling provided for the end wagons, and very light gauge wire loop glued to the hooks to connect each of the interim wagons.

Note: I will be producing a brass etch of the gangway and supports as an all-in-one bendable unit as an alternative to the above.  It will also include the ladders.  This should be available in January 2009.*

Painting and Transfers
Painting offers a few challenges as the model has had several liveries, including orange and beige.  However for the last decade and more, most of them are an interesting mottled shade of greyish white with algae green streaks.  The chassis originally was black but is now usually a non-descript grey-brown. If you are going to be building or repainting any volume of models,  I strongly recommend purchasing a good quality air brush, such as an Iwata HP-CS and a mini-compressor.  These can be got for quite good value off eBay.  The simple reason is you can paint a brace of kits in a matter of minutes using diluted acrylic paint with a smooth, uniform coat that covers even the most inaccessible parts, dries quickly and allows repainting almost immediately.

Paint the model in the following order:

  • Paint the entire kit in white primer.
  • Spray-paint the chassis and wheels in a lightish grey brown.
  • Spray the bubble beige (mask as necessary).
  • Fit the “Broken Circle” and cement decals. I made up my own stencil type transfers of the CIE circle, “Cement,” model numbers and wheel inspection dates. Contact me if you are interested in sets of these.*
  • From overhead, use a criss-cross alternating mixture of white and primer grey to get a non-uniform finish approximating to ten years of cement coating. Another option is to spray a thin mist of water and then sprinkle minute amounts of fresh dry Polyfilla powder through a very fine sieve to get the layered cement look.
  • Bend and attach the side levers using 0.6mm wire into the pre-drilled holes, paint white and then yellow.
  • Paint the cement pipes a darker shade of grey/brown.
  • Paint the ends of the brake lever white then red.
  • Paint the sole-bars at appropriate points as indicated in the picture and fit the chassis numbering and inspection stencils.

To Conclude…
Oh the hours of blood, sweat and tears that can be summarised in little over three pages!   However, taking the approach as laid out above and tackling them in an assembly line fashion, you can build a fifteen-unit rake for little over €100 in a matter of days.  The main points to re-iterate are: get plenty of pictures to be in that comfort zone about the detail locations and take your time to get the chassis cut out and chassis sheet dimensions and angles correct.  You’ll be well rewarded.  In a future issue, I’ll tackle how to build the 20’ beet wagon using Corrugated sheeting.  Nice!

[Ed: I once weathered a OO lime wagon with toothpaste, which looked like a thick coat of chalky minerals, but I would advises a test-patch, as some paint finishes may not tolerate tooth-paste.]


* dezsullivan@eircom.net

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Station Survey: Abbeyfeale

Alan O’Rourke


We have already represented the North Kerry line in this series, but another station  will not come amiss, especially as elevations of the main building are to hand. Abbeyfeale station opened with the rest of the Newcastlewest-Tralee section on Dec. 20th, 1880. The original plan was for a single platform, but by July 1881,  the station was re-modelled with a passing loop and  second platform to make it suitable for crossing passenger trains. The station had a 293’ long down platform  (with a 3,530 gallon water  tank), 224’ up platform, carriage dock, a long shunting road and a crossover from the goods store to the platform road. In 1881, it acquired a Gloucester Carriage & Wagon Company signal cabin. In GSR days, staffing consisted of a station-master, clerk, two signalman, checker, porter and a guard. As with many smaller Irish stations, it really came to life for livestock traffic. Typically, for  Abbeyfeale fairs,  ten wagons were supplied in advance, with a special of another ten to twenty from Limerick about 7am, and a loaded train back to Limerick about 2pm. For bigger fairs, Limerick sent down a special of twenty-five wagons the day before, with the engine stabled at Listowel overnight, and  in the morning, there was a special from Tralee of fifteen  wagons and a buyers’ coach, and for the main Autumn fairs, which might generate three specials, there was an empty train of twenty wagons train from Limerick about 7am in the morning. If anyone wants a narrow gauge feeder, they can employ a little modeller’s licence, and conjecture that one of the numerous still born plans spawned by the 1883 Tramways Act had proved more successful. In 1884, the Abbeyfeale  & Brosna Tramway was promoted to run south from Abbeyfeale, with baronial guarantees from Glenquin in Limerick and Trughenacmy in Kerry, and in 1885 the Limerick & Kerry Light Railways and Tramway Company, prepared Bills for both Abbeyfeale-Brosna and Listowel-Ballybunion schemes. None of these ideas seems to have progressed beyond the planning stage.

The broad gauge line lost its passenger services in 1963, and Abbeyfeale closed to all traffic in November 1975, but the building is well maintained as a private residence with the water tower and platforms intact. The goods store still stands but when I walked through in 2002 was  labelled “dangerous” and the roof was beginning to decay. The town lies to the south. At the west (Tralee) end of the station, the line crossed the road north to Athea by a girder bridge, and then ran along an embankment, to cross the Oolagh River by a steel girder bridge with 40’ span,  which could provide some scope for scenic modelling, and where open-plan baseboards might help.

Details of North Kerry line locomotives, rolling stock and timetables were given in New Irish Lines, Nov, 2000. There are photographs in the O’Dea Collection in the National Photographic Archive of Ireland and Adrian Vaughan’s collection.

Abbeyfeale station above as opened, below as modified to be suitable for passing passenger trains, 1881: later additional trackwork shewn in broken lines. Line to Limerick and Newcastlewest to left of both drawings; line to Tralee to right.

Abbeyfeale station above as opened, below as modified to be suitable for passing passenger trains, 1881: later additional trackwork shewn in broken lines. Line to Limerick and Newcastlewest to left of both drawings; line to Tralee to right.

Platform Elevation

Platform Elevation

Floor Plan

Floor Plan

Section A-B

Section A-B

Bedroom Level

Bedroom Level

The elevation, plan and section are from GSWR 8″:1′ scale architectural drawings, courtesy of the IRRS. 


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Editorial: November 2008

Alan O’Rourke


I used to buy secondhand model railway magazines for specific articles, particularly drawings or construction products.  However, when browsing them now, I find myself drawn at least as much to the editorial sections.  I have to admit that the older volumes of Model Railway News are my favourites.  It is quite fascinating to look at the very first issue for January 1925.  Until 1939 the cover used a line drawing, rather than a photographic illustration, the design passing through three versions, the last being a non-descript, but vaguely “Baby Scot” 4-6-0, partly obscuring the name board at a station that could thus only be identified as “…North Junciton” and pulling past a lower-quadrant starter.  Until 1939 the cover also included the slogan “steam – electric – clockwork,” reminding us that for most modellers, there were still several means of propulsion to consider.  That first issue included an interview with the legendary GP Keen, an article on the “possibilities” of OO gauge by Mr Stewart-Reidpath and letters of support from a baronet and a colonel reminding us that railway modelling was not quite yet a mass hobby.  Pre-war contributors also often used pseudonyms such as engine numbers or the names or initials of railway companies, especially the pre-group concerns, which had just lost their independence and which still enjoyed fierce partisan loyalty.  Thus correspondents signed themselves Churchwardian, LSWR, Vulcan, Terrier or 9903.

It is also interesting to read some of the social commentary.  So, for instance, the June 1926 editorial decries the General Strike.  June 1929, on the eve of a general election, produced some speculations on politicians’ plans for the railways, such as the abolition of private owner wagons in the interest of greater efficiency, and the introduction of new American style 40-ton high capacity wagons.  The adverts are of course also period pieces now and some of the items in that year’s commercial sector, such as huge lead-acid accumulators, seem more appropriate to heavy industry than an indoor hobby, although an earlier editorial (January 1927) had warned of the very real risk of electric shocks to children from model railways.

October 1939 brought a gloomy editorial, apologising for the reduced size of the magazine and the small number of illustrations, and even wondering if the ensuing war publication could continue at all.  In fact, although reduced to 20 pages and a 5″ by 8″ format, the Model Railway News managed monthly publication throughout the War, despite being bombed out of its office in October 1940, the first of three such direct hits on its premises.  Even the Railway Magazine went down to six modest sized issues each year from 1942 to 1949.  Paradoxically, the enforced blackouts of the “Phoney War” may have increased the amount of modelling activity in the early part of the conflict.  March 1942 brought appeals for the wartime scrap metal drive, and later for other material like waste paper, but with the caveat of saving useful modelling material and historical documents.  In July 1945, the editorial could mark the end of the Second World War, although shortages continued, and in 1947 John Ahern reminded readers that everyone actually had a right to buy £1 worth of new wood each month, and that this could be augmented with salvaged timber.  Prices were then of course more stable.  Having sold initially at 6d per month, the MRN had risen to 9d in 1944, but kept the price for another seven years.

As the 1950s wore on, there was news of the modernisation plan for British Railways; “standard” designs of steam locomotives; and the Atomic Age, with reports of plans to build 12 new nuclear power stations.  These items lead to debate about large-scale railway electrification and the preservation of more traditional equipment.  By December 1955, some enthusiasts were already bemoaning the end of the Steam Age, but even on BR that took another 13 years. Beeching cast a shadow in 1963, the same year that saw the arrival of Minic Motorways, for a while regarded as a serious threat to the popularity of model railways, and with obituaries like the one for William Stanier in 1965, one could only feel that an era was passing.  However, the end of revenue-earning BR steam in 1968, although acknowledged, was not specifically mourned.  By then, however, I feel that the days of the old Model Railway News iteself were numbered.  It published its last issue in August 1971, went into a chrysalis and emerged the following month as the big glossy, brightly coloured Model Railways.


Colm Flanagan's model of Newcastle station building, which will be finding a new home at the Downpatrick Railway Museum later this year, when Colm commences work on a new layout (Photo: Colm Flanagan)

Colm Flanagan's model of Newcastle station building, which will be finding a new home at the Downpatrick Railway Museum later this year, when Colm commences work on a new layout. (Photo: Colm Flanagan)

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GNR Hopper Wagons and Plough Vans

Alan O’Rourke


Until the end of the 19th century, the typical ballast wagon was a primitive short wheelbase vehicle, with low drop sides, leather flaps to try and keep the stone dust out of the grease-axle boxes and, possibly still, dumb-buffers. To go with these, there might be a “ballast brake van,” often derived from an even older four-wheel coach, and sometimes a sort of combined tool shed and mess hut on wheels. But, from the 1890’s, a number of companies, including in Ireland, the GSWR, MGWR and GNR(I), started to modernise their permanent way stock, introducing higher capacity steel hoppers, where instead of shovelling the ballast out of low-side wagons, it could be deposited directly onto the track through bottom doors, and also “plough vans” with steel shears underneath, which at least started the process of distributing the gravel. These drawings show the GNR designs of the period, and a very similar, but later, design for gypsum traffic. The plough vans and eighteen hoppers came from Hurst Neilson & Co. of Motherwell, and were of all-steel construction. The ballast wagons had self-discharging hoppers, which could be operated by screw mechanisms from either side.  The van had double plough-shears between the wheels, so it could operate running in either direction, a large veranda and a covered portion with stove and lockers. All this stock had vacuum and hand brakes, and oil axle-boxes. An unusual, and it seems only experimental change was the use of “GNR(I)” lettering, instead of the more usual “GNR” and later “GN,” although since this only appears on the Neilson maker’s photos, it may have been their whim, and rapidly replaced by the orthodox legend on arrival at Dundalk. Similarly, although the posed official shot shows the van running as number 120, the GNR drawing lists them as 8166 and 8167, both built in 1910, and costing £242 each. Similarly, the Neilson hoppers, all built in 1910 at £138 each, had running numbers  8097-8114. Another nine hoppers came from Pickering in 1912, at £149 each, running as 8139-8147.

GNR ballast hopper 149, a Pickering makers photo (Photo: Historical Model Railway Society Collection, no. W1007)

GNR ballast hopper 149, a Pickering maker's photo (Photo: Historical Model Railway Society Collection, no. W1007)

GNR(I) Ballast Plough & Brake Van

GNR(I) Ballast Plough & Brake Van.

At the dissolution of the GNR, UTA got fourteen of the hopper vehicles, and the remaining thirteen went to CIE, for which the following details are recorded:

GNR No: Tare (Tons-CWT-Quarters): Date brake gear altered to take standard CIE KD block:




GNR(I) 20 Ton Hopper Ballast Wagon

GNR(I) 20 Ton Hopper Ballast Wagon


GNR ballast plough van no. 120, a Neilson makers photo (Photo: The Locomotive Magazine & Railway Carraige & Wagon Review, January 14th 1911)

GNR ballast plough van no. 120, a Neilson maker's photo (Photo: The Locomotive Magazine & Railway Carraige & Wagon Review, January 14th 1911)


GNR ballast hopper no. 107, a Nielson makers photo, showing GNR(I) lettering (Photo: The Locomotive Magazine & Railway Carraige & Wagon Review, January 14th 1911)

GNR ballast hopper no. 107, a Nielson maker's photo, showing "GNR(I)" lettering (Photo: The Locomotive Magazine & Railway Carraige & Wagon Review, January 14th 1911)

The gypsum hopper drawing does not have any notes about outside builders so I assume they represent Dundalk’s adaptation of the earlier ballast hoppers. Six of these were turned out in the Second World War (or did the GNR call it the Emergency, or like the Church of Ireland prayer book for “our leaders” have different rubric for each side of the Border?).  I am assuming that these worked from Kingscourt on the MGWR, being handed over at Navan and forwarded on GNR trains to Drogheda cement factory. These vehicles were built with hand brakes only but cost had risen to £477 each (£205 wages, £235 material, £37 other charges), and the following details apply:

No: Date: Tare: Brakes Altered: Brake Screw Protection Plates Fitted:
Oct. 1944
Oct. 1944
Oct. 1944
Nov. 1944
Nov. 1944
Nov. 1944
Nov. 1945
Oct. 1945
Oct. 1945
Oct. 1945
Oct. 1945
Nov. 1945
Apr. 1946
Apr. 1946
May 1946


GNR(I) 20 Ton Hopper Wagon (Gypsum Traffic)

GNR(I) 20 Ton Hopper Wagon (Gypsum Traffic)



Reference: Anonymous (1911) New Rolling stock. Great Northern Ry. (Ireland) The Locomotive Magazine & Railway Carriage & Wagon Review 17: 22 (January 14, 1911).

I am grateful to the IRRS archives and Mr Brendan Pender for access to the GNR drawings and permission to reproduce them.

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