19 May 2012
A couple of weeks ago I was at a show with the usual trade stands. On my travels I came across Bachmann’s latest Royal Mail TPO. Now I had seen this when it first came out several months ago and was tempted then. It would certainly be nice to have a mail train. However, my researches and questions turned up that main line mail trains tended to be quite long and included several TPO (sorting) and TSO (stowage) coaches. The best source I have found is the Wikipedia entry on the Great Train Robbery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Train_Robbery_(1963).
The entry says that the loco was a class 40 and that the train was 12 coaches long. Interestingly, it says that the second coach was a High Value Package vehicle containing money and registered mail. Unfortunately we are not told what type of vehicle this is. There was Mk 1 Bullion van developed but this entered service around 1968. My suspicion is that the Bullion van came about as a result of lessons learned from the robbery.
So, I can’t do a main line mail train. Oher sources indicate that mail trains included GUV and BGs. The last coach in the train was a brake second (BSK).
My compromise therefore is to do a feeder mail train if you will and mine will be made up as follows:
Only the one coach but I had to show both sides – beautifully done!
BG (Bachmann Mk 1)
BSK (Hornby ex LMS Period III)
1) Install working gangways.
2) Install hook and loop couplings along with vacuum/steam pipe
3) Weather the TPO.
4) The maroon BG is an ex LMS vehicle and is quite an old model. This will need considerable work. The underframe will have to brought up to standard and the windows flush glazed.
Ex LMS BG
I decided to begin with this coach since it requires the most work. Now, the purist would say that the underframe should be redone completely, similar to what I did with the Mk 1 Suburbans. I thought I’d try a bit of a shortcut approach here.
Here’s the underframe and the bits I plan to use:
Comet Models to the rescue again for vacuum cylinders and V hangers. Voltage regulators as well. I have a set of Finecast flush glazing. The dynamo is from a batch of old PC coaches that I stripped down for parts.
As for where everything goes…Comet is a useful resource here as well since their site has downloads of photos of completed models and instruction sheets.
First I removed the underframe and trimmed the unwanted mouldings. I got rid of the old vacuum cylinders and voltage regulators. I marked out where everything should go. The original U/F didn’t even have a dynamo.
Next, I added struts to the transverse trusses using 0.040×0.040″ plastic strip.
This does look way too heavy and should really be in brass strip.
I folded up the V hangers and threaded a wire onto which I put the brake actuator and crank. (The crank is from a Mainly Trains goods wagon brake gear fret).
You will see I put a scallop in the base of V hanger – this is so the cylinder will sit in the right place. A soldering tip: cut the wire too long and solder from the outside. That way excess solder will be on the waste.