E&G DBSO (Pt2)

First announced back in 2013 these models have for a variety of reasons been a long time coming.  Personally, I think it’ll have been well worth the wait.  Whilst they are still at the pre-production stage  (these photo’s show the first “Engineering Prototypes”) it is clear that Bachmann have not only moved up a gear in terms of attention to detail but in doing so have also captured the look of these uniquely Scottish vehicles especially at the cab end.


Although these vehicles were converted from plain Mark 2f BSO’s the conversion and the additional equipment involved made them quite unique, and Bachmann have captured all of the changes that were made to the vehicles well.  That is despite the fact that none of the remaining DBSO’s are in the original 1979/1980 condition having been considerably modified twice since then.

* Before anyone goes off the deep end picking out the errors and omissions, these are the 1st engineering prototypes from the factory in China and these are being addressed by Bachmann prior to the next development stage



It’s been a long time since carriages were considered by the manufacturers as just something to tag onto the back of a locomotive and no longer will just the shape and a quick generic approximation of the bogies and underframe equipment do.  The general modelling public expects that any new release  will have just as much accuracy and attention to detail as the latest locomotive release.  This, as you would expect comes at a cost and these models won’t be particularly cheap but in return you get a wealth of detail and accuracy that has been previously unseen in RTR coaching stock, and that’s without mentioning the working tail & head lamps and individually sectioned working interior lights. (personal opinion of course – your mileage may vary)!.

MK2F 3 Car Rake Lit

Many thanks to Bachmann UK for permission to use these photographs.  For further details of these and the other Mark 2f vehicles being produced by Bachmann see here..

P.S. In the usual Web Forum rush to find faults, no one picked up two relatively unseen but unique features of the DBSO correctly modelled in the form of Disc Brake cheek discs on the wheels and the A.W.S. receiver bracket at the rear of the bogie… Now that is attention to detail.


Let the train take the strain…

Good old B.R. they thought of everything for the sleeping car passenger in the 1960s – a wee mouse shaped clip on which to hang your fob watch or a trinket tray for your wristwatch and wallet (and subsequently forget about and lose), a heating & ventilation system that either left you sweating or freezing and as it seemed at times with nothing in between, and of course somewhere to plug in your Remington shaver.

Should during the night one be so indisposed that you were unable to visit the regular on-board “facilities”, British Railways kindly supplied the proverbial piss pot and of course a way of disposing of the evidence. Clearly what none of the designers foresaw was just how they’d actually be be used and after a short time it was found that the waste pipes were not up to job (much to the annoyance of the maintenance staff who had to clear up the mess.   As a result a small notice was by the summer of 1960 affixed to the self-flushing “pot de chambre” cabinets in each berth.

Whether or not it had the desired effect is anyone’s guess.

Let the train take the strain….


Will ye no come back again?

E&G001Sold at Edinburgh Waverley in the Mid 1980s – needless to say those sold at Glasgow Queen Street were suitably re-worded “The best thing about Glasgow …the Edinburgh Train” much to the hilarity of my Edinburgh born wife of course…

47703 “Saint Mungo”

Hidden in plain sight…..?

Queen Street was always an attraction for enthusiasts and yet photo’s taken prior to the late 60s “modernisation” are not that commonly seen. Pity really since what remains of the 1878-1880 version – the overall roof designed by James Carswell – has from the outside been relatively hidden away in the name of progress. Disgraceful really but that was 1970s planning for you. Only around 1971 between demolition of the surrounding buildings and reconstruction of the new has the whole front been in plain sight. Fortunately as part of the re-development work for the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Project, over the next five years the front will appear once again… If the work done at London King’s Cross is anything to go by, it’ll be well worth the 43+ year wait!

Here’s what it looked like in 1935 – though even back then it was partially obscured by other victorian buildings….

Queen Street 1935 - photo Courtesy of Bob Docherty

Queen Street 1935 – photo Courtesy of Bob Docherty

North Queen Street (seen here in it’s entirely) must be a candidate for the shortest street in Scotland….

As for locomotives here’s a fine shot from John Turner over on Flickr of LNER D49/1 No.265 (appropriately named) Lanarkshire and taken in 1936
c.1936 - Glasgow Queen Street.

For further shots of the station during its reconstruction in the late 60s early 70s see this RCAHMS entry.

Thanks to Colin Duncan here’s a rare shot in between demolition and the 1970s monstrosities erected in front of it (circa 1971)
Glasgow Queens street station rebuild

Introducing Broomloan Yard

You can take the boy out of Glasgow……

Max Stafford's Kennel

You may have noted I’ve made mention of a project I’m thinking about lately, so finally I’m going to bring my ideas out into the open and tell you a bit about the Broomloan Yard concept.


(Photo courtesy of Urban Glasgow Forum)

Based to some degree on the erstwhile yard at Govan (a quaint fishing village on the Clyde), Broomloan occupies the approximate location that Govan did in the real world, with a few adjustments to suit my own needs. Essentially, Govan yard existed to serve the adjoining shipyards and associated industries and was originally built by the Glasgow and South Western Railway. There was also a passenger station at Govan but this was an early victim of Glasgow Corporations electric tramways. I’m still mulling over my intentions here.

Nearby was the extensive Princes Dock complex which was served off the Govan Branch but a line operated jointly by the…

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An early start from Glasgow

One advantage in modelling the West Highland line, particularly in the 1970s is the relatively compact size of the loco-hauled sets.  To simplify the stock requirements whilst retaining accurate full-sized formations, I’ve chosen to model it as it would have been in July 1971 (Thanks to Robert Carroll’s BR Coaching Stock Group, the original carriage workings covering this period were available)

1S60 on Rannoch Moor 12 May 1970 – Copyright Keith Long

The first departure from Glasgow to Fort William and Mallaig was the largest of the day, the set being made up of 9 vehicles, marshalled as follows;

06:00 hrs Glasgow Queen Street to Fort WilliamSet3-1Whilst the first five vehicles were used on Scottish Region internal services, the last four came from foreign shores.  The two sleeping cars and adjacent BCK left London King’s Cross at 19:55 hrs the previous evening attached to the overnight Aberdeen sleeper and after being detached at Edinburgh Waverley were attached to the 04:35hrs to Glasgow along with a second brake, a BSK for Mallaig.  The origin of the CCT is still a mystery at the moment however it was attached at Glasgow Queen Street for the forward working.

Modelling this formation isn’t particularly difficult these days as almost all of the vehicles are available Ready-to-Run however as this blog is about modelling and not lining up my purchases they will require some modification to bring them a bit closer to the 12″ to the foot version.  The coaching stock ‘Blog’ posts for the next while will concentrate on improving the RTR Bachmann Mark 1s starting with the Restaurant / Buffet Cars required for the fleet in particular creating the missing Diagram 24 RB.

1S60 at Monessie Gorge 12 May 1970 – Copyright Keith Long

Close your eyes and you’re almost there….

Often the simplest changes are the best.  Here’s perhaps two of the easiest that can be applied to the Bachmann Mk1 Sleeper…..

Commonwealth Bogies

As supplied, the sleeper comes with B4 bogies (okay they should technically be B5’s but that’s for another day).  The use of B5 bogies covers the first 79 Mk1 second class sleepers (SLSTP) numbered 2500 – 2578 however the remaining 113 of the 192 built were equipped from new with ESC Commonwealth bogies which they retained until the vehicles were withdrawn or scrapped.

The Commonwealth bogied vehicles were numbered 2579 – 2691 and if you want to add a  bit of prototype variety (for both the BR Maroon and BR Blue & Grey versions) these are quick hit.   Fortunately (for it makes the swap somewhat easier) Bachmann sell them as spares  (Part 36-008A) and replacing them is a simple matter of unscrewing those supplied and swapping them over with the Commomwealth type.

Compartment Blinds

Finally for this round, another relatively simple change.  If you want to model the sleeping cars as they were seen in service (certainly late at night and into early morning) the vehicle wouldn’t be complete without the blinds or shutters drawn.  the SLSTP, SLC (including the first class compartments) & SLE conversions were equipped with light grey roller blinds, and the SLF, first class vehicles were equipped with light grey sliding shutters on the berth side only – and on the berth bodylights only.    After having removed the body from the underframe unit, the “blinds” in this case are represented using plasticard inserts, spray painted light grey (and measuring 10.5mm x 7mm) which are pressed into the recess at the rear of the glazing moulding, and simply taped down  Of course it might be easier to remove the glazing and just spray the appropriate sections however at least by using inserts, they are easily removed if you change your mind!


You could of course model some berths without blinds, some half drawn and some still fully drawn – all on the same vehicle – typical of how the sleeping cars looked when sitting at the destination or on there way out to the carriage sidings!


“Regrettable as an Accident is…


“Regrettable as an Accident is, I maintain that we have provided the strongest type of stock which we can”. “I have built bodies of steel throughout, but they are not as strong as those of wooden construction”

Sir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer L.N.E.R. (13 December 1937)

Statement made to the Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways on the opening day of the Ministry of Transport Inquiry in Edinburgh into the Disaster that occurred at Castlecary exactly one week earlier in which 35 persons were killed and 109 injured.

A wee biscuit… Bachmann Mk1 Sleeping Car

This latest Mark 1 from Bachmann has been a long time coming – but at face value it certainly looks worth it.
First from the range of sleeping cars to reach the shelves, this model of a Mark 1 second class sleeper continues the company’s push to add further and more accurate detail onto there rolling stock.
By far the biggest change recently to the new Mk1’s and continued here has been the moulding of the bodysides integral with the ends – it may sound like no big deal but with the previously separate sides and ends it was difficult to hide the join between the two.  In addition this change also allowed the removal of two moulded extensions, which don’t appear on the real thing but which partly held the models roof on.
Continued (though not everyones choice) is a roof without any visible joins – far better to add them if you choose to, than have the previous representations that what would scale up to be rather large ribs running across the roof.

So what exactly has been modelled and how accurately?

Historical Setting
The Mk1 Sleeper Seconds (SLSTP) to Diagram 10 were constructed between 1957 and 1963 in 10 Lots, 4 Lots comprising 74 vehicles by Doncaster Works, 1 Lot of 5 vehicles by the private builder Metropolitan-Cammell and 5 Lots comprising 113 vehicles by Wolverton Works.  All in a total of 192 vehicles numbered 2500-2691.  As built, the Doncaster and Met-Camm vehicles (2500-2578) were equipped with BR Bogies and all of the Wolverton builds with Commonwealth bogies.

Vehicle Numbering and Livery
Bachmann have used the vehicle number E 2575 fixing it as an SLSTP from within Lot No. 30491 – a batch of 5 (2574-2578) built by Met-Camm with BR Bogies in 1959 and first allocated to the Western Region. (Although still allocated to the Western in 1969, 2575 was subsequently re-allocated to the Eastern before the end of 1975).  Finished in blue & grey all of the livery elements appear to be correctly placed – certainly the lettering and lining are to Bachmann’s usual high standard and represent a vehicle from around 1970 onwards when the Inter-City Sleeper branding appeared.  Judicious use of magnifying glass on the vehicle end shows minute and readable details such as the vehicle classified repair history

Whilst the Commonwealth bogies remained under the vehicles from when they were built until they were withdrawn, all (perhaps with the odd exception through withdrawl) originally equipped with BR bogies had them replaced with B5’s between approximately 1965 and 1969.
As supplied the Bachmann model comes with the similar B4 bogie – maybe quite incorrect to the coaching stock connoisseurs (the B5’s having a different spring plank and square section traction rods) but could be easily replaced with replacement  B5 sides from the likes of Southern Pride Models should it be necessary

How much attention has been given to producing these accurately can be seen with the bodylights.  The clearlight height of the bodylights (the maximum height in clear or obscure glass) differs from one side to the other, whilst the clearlight width remains the same on both sides) Scaled down these should measure 7.3mm (w) x 11.5mm (h) on the berth side and 13.3mm (h) on the corridor side which is exactly how they are on the model.  A point lost in the past on the previous Hornby Mk1 Sleeping Cars.  If there’s one small criticism, it’s around the berth droplights.  Each berth was equipped with droplights rather than the plain glass lower bodylights as modelled. The obvious effect is the loss of any representation of the droplight release bar (as modelled on the door droplights).

Thermotank pressure ventilation and heating system
Bachmann appear to have succeeded in getting the size and look of the roof ducting correct with some daylight visible between the roof and the ducting.  What is also good to see though is the inclusion of the modification made to the Thermotank heating system air intake on the vehicle end.
As built the air intake was just above the gangway faceplate on the vehicle end however by late 62′ the problem of exhaust fumes entering the system grew to the extent that the BTC aproved a trial of a re-positioned air intake as suggested by the Scottish Region.  One of the vehicles from Lot 30735 (M2682-2691) was fitted for the trial, and s
ometime between April and June 1963 the modification was authorised for fitment to both New Build and existing sleeping cars.
The modification consisted of re-routing the ducting down the body end as modelled. (The maroon version I believe will not have the ducting modification)

Interior Detail
Not a lot to see on a Sleeping Car – having of a course a solid partition without glazing on the corridor side which prevented seeing through from one side to the other so interior details without lighting was hard to see anyway.  What can be seen though is the basic outline of the bottom bunk and the quarter round vanity/sink unit

A large number of the Mk1 sleeping cars appear to have been built with compensated and equalised brakgear. On the real thing the key way of identifying this was the asymmetrical  shape of the Brake Shaft vee hangers and the position of the brake cylinder which would be found between the vee hanger and the bogie.
Bachmann have not missed this point, correctly positioning both. Note this applied whether the bogies fitted were BR, Commonwealth, or B5.  They have however addressed an earlier problem where the brake shaft was shorter than the prototype arrangement.  This has been corrected, with the shaft passing across to a bracket on the far side bottom longitudinal.

Underframe Equipment
Well detailed as usual – one small oddity though. The additional box required for Electric Train Heating equipped vehicles is correctly positioned below the solebar however as far as I can determine this particular vehicle was not fitted with Dual Heating, but remained steam heat only, and no ETH cables or sockets or fixed end boxes are modelled (despite the Dual Heated legend on the vehicle…   One to watch or at least address if you are looking to model a specific vehicle.

What was good to see was not only the inclusion of the usual Bachmann semi permanent coupling bars and dummy buckeye couplers but also vacuum and steam pipes for fitting to both ends, and also two small plastic fittings to represent the toilet flush pipes that are quite obvious on the prototype.  I’ve not attempted to fit any of these fittings yet so no photo’s.  One rather strange error – good to see the addition of the End steps hanging from the headstocks – pity something seems to have been lost in translation and have ended up looking rather odd!

Overall verdict 
I think they’ll speak for themselves.  These are really good models – is everything 100% accurate – no, but that’s maybe an impossible goal and they are at least 75% of the way there.  Good to see that Bachmann are not drawing up the detail vs cost shutters even in these tight times, and these will make a good basis for further improvement (more on that later)!  That’s enough to be getting on with. I’ll need to spend some more time looking at these vehicles and how they can be further improved.

A Wee Biscuit?
Well, in the early 1970s a BR PR&PO advert for the then (Mk1) sleeping car services included an interview with the typical family – Maw, Paw & the Bairn.  Recently arrived off an Anglo-Scot Sleeper the reporter asked what the highlight of the journey was. True to form the wee girl replied in turn and on cue in her best Glaswegian accent – “An ah got a wee biscuit”   I presume the parents chose not to mention perhaps being put in berth over the top of the bogies or the grumpy Steward.  Oh for the days of green BTH crockery!

Read all about it…

C1301 2 DT 95210 Norwich 300587_1The carriage of newspapers had long been a great source of revenue on the railways.  By the 1970s British Rail was providing dedicated vehicles for this traffic.  The vehicles provided, at best consisted of simple re-branding of existing Mark 1 Gangwayed Brake and General Utility Vans as ‘Newspaper’ vehicles.  By the mid 80s however specially converted vehicles equipped with vacuum (NCV) or dual brakes (NCX) and electric heating were being utilised as newspaper packing vans these were also equipped with commonwealth bogies.  Sadly only shortly after these comprehensive conversions were carried out BR lost the Newspaper traffic when in July 1988 the last distributor went over to road transport, and the vehicles returned to general service use.
ncx_1This conversion into a dual-braked (NCX) Newspaper Packing Van uses Bachmann’s Mk1 BG as the base model and whilst it is an excellent starting point –  the basic shape and dimensions are correct – it does however need some alteration…ncx_2The most obvious changes are the removal (by sealing up and flushing over) of the former guards doors, and the the first set of double doors to the right of it on both sides.  Also the removal of the rather oversize Bachmann ribs intended to represent the roof panel welds, and removal of the roof ventilators in line with the prototype.ncx_3

In addition to these changes, the associated stepboards, guards steps for the blanked-off doors have also been removed and (the No.2) vehicle end has been replaced with another already fitted with a passenger communication valve and pipework (from another Bachmann Mk1).  Both ends have had the end steps and stepboards above the gangway faceplate removed along with the incorrectly placed lamp brackets.  The buffers have been removed to be replaced with better representations of those fitted to the prototype.  Other equipment to be “improved” from the underside has also been removed – namely the brake cylinders and vee hangers and the too short brake shafts.  Though they need further work, the BR bogies have been substituted for Bachmann Commonwealth bogies.ncx_4

As with every conversion I’ve done, it’s topped off at this stage with a very light dusting of primer to highlight any further work needed from the removal of any of the original components, and to highlight where any additional filling might be needed.

The next stage in the conversion is to create the masters for those etched components that are to be added or replaced including the surrounds for the bodylights and bodyside ventilators.

Prototype Photograph courtesy of Dennis Taylor and 80s Rail

Read all about it….Courtesy of Bruce Foxton & News of the World (1978)