Tag Archives: UTA

Some Irish Conversions

Denis Grimshaw

 

Whilst these models are not built to fine-scale standards, and certainly not to a professional level, they do reasonably represent the classes modelled. In any case, using 00-gauge track at in 4mm scale gives much larger discrepancies than slightly inaccurate driving wheel diameters or axle spacing. The WT-class 2-6-4Ts Nos. 4 and 57 are Hornby Stanier locos, modified with Comet tank and cab sides, the bunker rebuilt in plasticard, outside steam pipes and a top feed. Painting is in post-war NCC style, rather than UTA (albeit incorrect for 57: I must get round to renumbering this engine to the 1-10 series). The VS 4-4-0 is a Hornby Schools, with a new brass sheet cab and other modifications in plasticard. The GNR SG3 0-6-0 is a Mainline LMS Class 4 with a new brass sheet cab and firebox, and other alterations (particularly the tender) in plasticard. It needs a new dome with a rounder top. The GSR B1a 4-6-0 is a Mainline Royal Scot, with modifications in plasticard, and repositioning the dome. All are hand-painted – some better than others! As my main interest is in operation rather than precise modelling, they give an adequate effect at relatively minimal effort! Whilst most of my models are NCC (with a layout based on Coleraine and Portrush) some poetic license has allowed other railway’s trains to occasionally visit! Scenery will hopefully be improved once I retire and have a bit more time at home.

GSR B1a Macha

GSR B1a 'Macha'

GNR(I) VS class No. 210

GNR(I) VS class No. 210

GNR(I) SG3

GNR(I) SG3

NCC Jeep

NCC Jeep

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Modelling

The UTA’s Finest Train

Colm Flanagan

 

My story of this train goes back to late 1966, when I was a boarding pupil at Coleraine Institute. Going home for the occasional weekend pass, we boarders were gathered as usual on the down platform at Coleraine Station one Saturday morning. The train from Londonderry came into view way down the line, having curved off the Bann Bridge. By now the UTA had repainted quite a few MPDs into red and white, so as the train approached I assumed it was one of these leading the set. However, as it got closer I heard a distinctly un-MPD sound, a deep rumbling throb, then the train swept past me and I had a glimpse of a large, greenish engine behind the windows of the leading car. Clearly it was not an MPD. The seating was high backed with grey and red upholstery which definitely looked superior and a welcome change from the rather drab green upholstery of older trains. Then we had a glimpse of first class compartments, with seats trimmed in blue, as the train slowed. The restaurant car was an old friend, 550 (ex UTA diner 87, now repainted red and white to match the rest). At the back was another power car rumbling like the leading one. I thought, as did others at the time, “My, it’s a NEW train!”

The completed six-coach set

The completed six-coach set

That was my first glimpse of the trains which I consider the best diesel train that the UTA put into service and certainly a candidate for the best diesel trains in Ireland to date. We knew them as “DEs” – the term “Hampshire” was used by some others more attuned to the GB scene, because of course the power arrangements were the same as used on BR’s Southern Region.  The power unit was a chunky EE four-cylinder generator driving electric motors on the power car rear bogie.  They never reached the very high speeds an MPD on a good day could do, but they were definitely a “proper” modern train with the lighter panelling inside and very comfortable modern seating;  the ride wasn’t the best at the back of the power car and the vibration there was high –and remained so to the end of their lives. You can still experience it for a while (slightly muted) on the NIR class 450 DEMUs, which are now the last of their kind in public operation in the UK. In the un-powered “trailers (there was a first / brake, restaurant and two thirds, all compartment stock), the ambience was similar to that of an LMS or BR Mk1 express train. Later the power cars received names of “Rivers” under NIR and they lasted until the mid-eighties when the bodies were scrapped and dumped and the power units taken to Derby for re-use in the Castle / 450 class.

I’d built a number of 4mm model MPDs and a three-car MED train previously, and these have been covered in New Irish Lines. But I’d always liked the idea of doing a DE set. The question was how? During research for my book on UTA diesels I came across some articles, photographs and a few drawings (of the power car and 87/550) and from these I decided to build a six car set as two of these sets operated the principal services on the ex NCC main line.  The power cars were something of a challenge. They were 63 feet long, with side ventilation grilles in the power compartment. With these, sundry doors and a unique front cab; there was no chance of a simple bodge here. The SR trains, although mechanically similar, looked very different. I had, however an old three-car Lima Class 117 DMU and realised that the under frames of these, suitably hacked by getting rid of most of the engine bits underneath, would do. In the case of the DE trains, the rather large Lima pancake motor isn’t a problem; it’s no bigger than the real engine was! Indeed, in the dummy car I built a plastic card “engine”; I have since acquired a 4mm model of the EE power unit from a firm called Southern Pride, but haven’t got round to fitting it yet. From memory these engines were a greeny/grey shade when new.

72 and 711

72 and 711

548 and 701

548 and 701

The sides of the two power cars were made from the same source as my MPD/MED models, panels cut from Hornby LMS Stanier coaches and then glued together – “cut and shut”.  SE Flushglaze windows improve them no end. Charlie Petty at DC kits provided underfloor etches, roof exhaust panels, and sundry grilles from his SR DEMU kits: beware if fitting the grilles, make sure you use butanone glue as the normal plastic weld glues won’t hold them.  In fact, I had a problem too with the Lima bogies when I tried fitting a plastic card yaw damper/shock absorber (or whatever it was) that is prominent in photos of the EE bogies. I couldn’t get them stuck as the Lima plastic is slightly flexible. In the end I got a useful tip which was to use a combination of MekPak and Evostik. This worked well. The bogies were not a BR design and I have not seen anything like them on any other model to date.  I lowered the bodies on the under frame as they seemed to sit too high:  this is an awkward job on the power bogie and quite easy to make a mess of. A better, though more expensive way of doing the under frames might be to take a Mk1 coach under frame and fit a Black Beetle power bogie.

Under construction

Under construction

Under construction

Under construction

Then I had to build those cab fronts. I used sheet plasticard and cut the windows out, then glued them to the sides and made the rounded edges with filler. The headlamp housing was made from part of a plastic tube filled and sanded down to shape, quite a fiddly job. But once painted the whole thing looks rather well. The train is a little narrower than scale, I think, judging by end on photos, but I can live with that, as it runs on 16.5mm track anyway! Painting the fronts was also quite tricky, I cut curves into masking tape (I prefer the Tamiya product) to reproduce the swooping lines of the livery.  Arguments rage about what colour was used precisely: I just used BR “blood” and white. The crest that adorned the front of these trains for the first year or so of their lives, I’d love to have, but can’t figure out a way of doing it – yet. Anyway, some of them ran briefly without any insignia on the front before the NIR one came into regular use.

After all that the trailers were relatively easy. I’d originally thought I would simply respray two Hornby brake ends and two composites, but when I started looking at the trailer coaches in a bit more depth (there’s an excellent photo of one of these in Des Coakham’s book on Irish broad gauge coaches) I realized, that, not for the first time, the UTA ones were quite different in some respects. The first/brake (701) had only four compartments and  being first class they were of course considerably wider than second class. I modelled mine by cutting panels out of the Hornby composite and the brake end to get close to the correct layout. The all second class ones had both lavatories at one end, similar to the slightly earlier Cravens coaches on CIE, rather than one each end, as BR and the LMS had arranged them. So I had to do some switching of a few “panels” around to get them near correct also. The good news is that they are correct length – viz. 57’.  For that reason I modelled the rebuilt restaurant car 548; this had been a 1924 built NCC coach and worked with the MPDs in original form. The first six car set got 550 (ex-87), a 60’ coach, when the second DE set entered traffic there was need for a second restaurant car. The North Atlantic diner had worked with the MPDs, but was not fitted or refurbished for use with DEs, presumably because with its totally different window pattern, a complete rebuild would have been needed and it was just deemed not worth it.  So 548 was re-skinned and given a look that matched the other coaches quite closely.

The finished product

The finished product

So that is it, for now.  I still have to apply numbers and someday will get round to it. This train, like its prototype, has been quite a favourite with the public when it has been shown on our UTA era layout “Killagan”. Someday I may re-engine it with a smoother newer power unit, and I would quite like to fit sound modules when someone does one with that wonderful distinctive throbbing beat I remember so well. Which might mean looking at DCC…but that will be another story.  I am building a new layout partly based on Coleraine in the 1960’s, so I’ll be able to re-create the moment I referred to at the start of this article, in my own home, one of the great delights of this hobby of ours.

The finished product

The finished product

1 Comment

Filed under Modelling

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:
8098
8100
8102
8104
8106
8108
8110
8112
8114
8140

7-14-0
7-10-3
7-12-2
7-17-1

7-13-1
8-2-3
7-14-3
1962
1962
1962
1961
1962
1962
1961
1962
1962
1960

 

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:
6015
6016
6017
6018
6019
6020
Oct. 1944
Oct. 1944
Oct. 1944
Nov. 1944
Nov. 1944
Nov. 1944
8-1-1
8-1-3
8-2-0
8-2-0
8-1-3
8-1-3
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.

1 Comment

Filed under Prototype, Scale Drawings

UTA MED Three-Car Diesel Train

Jeremy Fletcher

 

It is not intended as a direct insult to the steam junkies, but my own personal preference is for old railcars etc. which have been neglected or ignored in the past by the mainstream as a lower form of life compared to  steam locos, which they are not! Only now are they receiving more attention and appreciation, but still individual prototypes only attract modellers’ attention after all have been scrapped and proper measurements are hard to get! I previously made a model of the long gone GNR railcar ‘A’ on which I wrote up an article for New Irish Lines, May 2005. I have since made a model of the UTA MED diesel train. I made my model of a three-car MED set using brass etchings which I got made by Allen Doherty (Worsley Works). The etching sets are a basis for scratch building rather than what are normally sold as a kit: they just include body sides, ends and floors. Other parts such as roof and bogies, have to be obtained elsewhere or made by the modeller. I made the coaches by building them up directly from the etchings rather than doing “overlays” on existing available coach bodies.   Suitable ‘donor’ coaches would be extremely difficult to get where I live!.   Building directly from etchings is certainly a much more laborious way of doing it as I found out! There is much more soldering and it  requires care to avoid excessive warping and distortion.

Worsley Works three-car MED set

Worsley Works three-car MED set

Worsley Works three-car MED set

Worsley Works three-car MED set

Worsley Works three-car MED set

Worsley Works three-car MED set

The Worsley Works MED coach sides came in individual between-doors sections, aligned in their correct relative positions only by the fret sheets and separated by the spaces for the sliding doors.  It was therefore necessary to attach these together by soldering in the separate sliding door etches to produce complete one-piece body sides before they are separated from the frets to maintain the alignments.  It is also easiest to curve the body sides to the correct profile using the coach ends as templates before removing them from the frets.  This is made easier by first bending the sides and the sliding doors separately before soldering the doors in place.  I added narrow brass strips between the sides and the door edges to give more “depth” to the openings.   The coach sides were very flexible and prone to buckling, so I made interior partitions from shim brass and added brass cant rail strips along inside the top edges to add rigidity. I made the coach roofs from thin styrene sheet (Evergreen) which I bent to match the profile of the coach end etches.  Working with styrene sheet has its own fun aspects as it tends to warp when joined with liquid cement! I made the cab ends by filing from styrene.   Much filing and fiddling were required! I used the etched brass floor sheets provided.  As they are very thin and flexible I reinforced them by soldering on pieces of discarded brass code 100 rail. 

I powered the MED set by means of small flat can motors with flywheels, one under each power car, hidden by the under floor/engine details, driving by flexible shafts to small homemade final drive gearboxes which ride on the inner axles of the bogies.  This gives four driven axles out of a total of twelve, with the problems of traction tyres!. I used Comet LMS bogies which I modified to give insulated sides, with insulated half stub axles (Athearn style) to give current pick up on axles.   All axles pick up.  I used Northwest Short Line nickel silver wheels, which stay clean and give good pick up, and the MED set runs smoothly.   I used Markits coach buffers and Ratio corridor connections. I made basic interior seats from styrene as the coach interiors are very visible through the many windows. The MED train runs fairly well on ordinary DC, but  I do not know how well it would run on DCC.

2 Comments

Filed under Modelling