Quirky Queries


August flew past without a single entry to the journal – not sure how that happened, but it has been very busy here of late.

Time to pick the collective brain of the readership; Great Northern general merchandise vans are nicely illustrated by Peter Tatlow in Part One of his history of LNER wagons (Wild Swan), but whereas the section on the Great Eastern (which, in my opinion, is unnecessarily shorter than the Great Northern and Great Central sections) gives the reader various dates of introduction of the types, the Great Northern section is decidedly mute on the matter. All very well I suppose, if you’ve no more than a casual interest or your modelling is set during the Grouping (a census of types taken in 1922, 1940 and 1947 is given in each chapter), and I admit the book is pitched predominantly at those with an interest in the LNER period, but is less useful for those of us modelling earlier decades.

So, on with the queries.

This type isn’t mentioned or illustrated in Tatlow, so I assume was extinct by Grouping. It’s not unlike Diagram 118 (LNER code 4082) which was an express, dual fitted van, though the latter omitted the diagonal ironwork. The number of planks suggests it is also 16′ long. It retains the original single lever acting on a single wheel brake block, and despite the June 1900 date on the solebar (which may indicate the date of the photo, rather than the repaint date), shows the pre-1898 livery in quite a dilapidated condition. One wonders why (an apparently official) photograph was taken of this particular van in such a condition, unless the type was to become extinct in the near future?

So, my questions for this van are:

1. When was the type introduced?

2. When did the type become extinct?

3. (Very long shot) is there a drawing of it?

More Quirky Questions to follow

There is now a follow up post to this query here.

Ref:- The Permanent Way of the Great Western Railway for Gun Street depot (part 2)

Ref:- Quirky Answers – GWR PW Chairs

Many years ago I was asked to collect a “package” for a fellow S7 modeller…   he had won an E-bay auction and the buyer had requested collection for the “package” weighed around 90-100 lbs..  When my friend called to collect his “purchase” I was shown what I had collected –  two cast iron rail chairs.  One of the chairs was from the L&NWR and has no relevance to this journal.  The second chair was from the Great Western Railway and my friend suggested that I might like to retain the item and that is how I came to be the custodian of a (very) small part of GWR history.

I  have tripped / fallen over the GWR chair so many times in the last few years without giving any thought as to the part which it might play in the  alternative world of Basilica Fields…  and ‘Quirky Queries’ owes its inclusion in this journal to yet another encounter between my toes and that immovable object.  Some weeks after the Permanent Way of the Great Western Railway for Gun Street depot (part 1) was written I came across the chair again and this time the lettering on the base attracted my attention.  There are several collections of railway chairs at different “heritage / preservation” centres and most of those chairs have raised letters / numbers on the top surface of the base.  In general, the letters /numbers give information about the relevant railway company, where and when the chair was cast plus an indication of the chair type (for example:- plain line chair, switch chair, crossing chair… ).  However, this chair does not conform to the norm for the only markings on the chair are “GWR” and “86”, markings which appear to have been recessed into the casting.

GWR rail chair - top view

GWR chair - three quarter view

GWR rail chair - side view

Now it is possible that the chair dates from a time when the “normal” expected details were not included on the casting.   However, the general size and shape of this chair suggests that it pre-dates the style of chair shown in the drawings of the Permanent Way of the Great Western Railway for Gun Street depot (page 2).

So, do the photos show a rail chair for the 86lbs per yard rail which was instroduced in 1882?

What do you think?

regards, Graham

[further information on this type of chair has been found and the topic is now continuing as a Quirky Answer ]

reference:- Great Northern Railway 4-wheel Coaches

Adrian’s posts on Great Northern Railway coaches for services over the Extended Widened Lines have indicated that there is dearth of “official” material on the 4-wheel stock (for ‘official’ read ‘primary’).  Occasionally we find that a prototype, in which we have some interest, has been covered in the railway press, either full-size as in the GWR Engineering Society pamphlets or model press as in the series of books describing the GWR Goods Services.  In the case of these GNR coaches there are some relevant entries in “An Index to Railway Model Drawings” (S.A.Leleux, Oakwood Press, 1972), viz:-

Model Railway Constructor

1938, pg.255, pg.314

1940, pg.45

Model Railway News

1956, pg.189

Over to our readers at this point…  please contact Adrian or myself if you have access to any of those issues.

Thank you, Graham

Today is revealed another part of the Basilica Fields story; a small corner of questions, puzzles and conundrums which have arisen during our researches into the prototype whilst joining up the dots of Adrian’s alternative world.  If it helps, consider Quirky Queries as a visit to an Antiques Roadshow event just after the presenters have gone to lunch…  lots of interesting objet d’art to discuss and no explanations forthcoming.  In truth, Quirky Queries may be just a name on the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet where an unfinished thread dillies and dangles whilst we delve for the light at the end of the tunnel….

For those who have followed the Basilica Fields journal over the last fifteen months or so then you may have noted the occasional Quirky Query in some of our earlier posts… for example: Why did the GWR send examples of the ‘633’ class with condensing gear to Wales whilst at the same time requiring condensing engines for the goods service to Smithfield Market?

So make this part of the Basilica Fields journal your space, where your contributions provide the answers to our questions and you shed light on our confusion.

Thank you and please continue to add to history.

Graham Beare

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