The 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.
This 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…The 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.
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.
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.