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OCTOBER SKIES

 



October 2010 was the busiest ever month in my model exhibition career with four weekend shows and two midweek evening outings.

 


INTRODUCTION
 


October 2010 was the busiest ever month in my model exhibition career with four weekend shows and two midweek evening outings. 

Of these, the first public display of Toucan Park at the Gloucester Film Maker's  archive show at Brockworth on Monday 18 October and The Bucc Stops Here and Joint Harrier Strike Force diorama appearances the GWR Modellers Exhibition in aid of CLIC Sargeant Cancer Charities on 30 and 31 October have been written up elsewhere on this website.

As such, this article will focus on the display and development of Terminal 1 at Cirencester, Toddington and Eastcombe and also look at the relatively simple display of 1/72 scale de Havilland jet aircraft at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers lecture given on Wednesday 20 October on the work of Major Frank Halford.
 

 


CIRENCESTER 2 AND 3 OCTOBER 2010

 


The display in the Atrium of Deer Park School was my largest ever and represented the maximum that could be fitted into the Rover, comprising the Korean War diorama and Away with the Faireys on the Airfield Embankment box as well as Terminal 1 which, for the first time in public, had both airside modules attached.  However, this expanse of squared concrete apron required precision clamping together to achieve an overall smooth surface ( as airliners don't bump down steps! ) and with only two clamps available for this job the boxes used to carry aircraft and rolling stock had to be employed in holding up the back scene.  Two more blue and copper 3" clamps were purchased from B&Q before I went to Eastcombe!

 


The display in the Atrium of Deer Park School was my largest ever and represented the maximum that could be fitted into the Rover, comprising the Korean War diorama and Away with the Faireys on the Airfield Embankment box as well as Terminal 1 which, for the first time in public, had both airside modules attached.  However, this expanse of squared concrete apron required precision clamping together to achieve an overall smooth surface ( as airliners don't bump down steps! ) and with only two clamps available for this job the boxes used to carry aircraft and rolling stock had to be employed in holding up the back scene.  Two more blue and copper 3" clamps were purchased from B&Q before I went to Eastcombe!

Also, although serving their purpose in hiding the pointwork on the Jeremy Kyle fiddle yard, I now realise that the Art Deco style wooden covers looked bare in an exhibition setting and concentrated my mind on finding a suitable scenic role for them.  Similarly, although perhaps more debatably, visitor input suggested a row of shallow hangar frontages instead of a plain blue sky at the rear of the airside area.  Both projects will have to be the subject of more long term research and development.

 



More immediately, the complex all-roads-linked design and use of pre-enjoyed components discussed in Fiddling About with Terminal 1 was beginning to show signs of unreliability and was rebuilt more simply and with newer more site-specific components by the time of the Cotswold Model Railway Show three weeks later.

 

 


More immediately, the complex all-roads-linked design and use of pre-enjoyed components discussed in Fiddling About with Terminal 1 was beginning to show signs of unreliability and was rebuilt more simply and with newer more site-specific components by the time of the Cotswold Model Railway Show three weeks later.
 

 

  

Among the visitors to the Cirencester show was Paul Elliot's fellow Shropshire N Gauge Society member Mike, who very kindly returned  9F 92018 to me having repaired the Fleischmann model so that it now ran in both directions.  Keen to take advantage of Terminal 1 being set up in such splendid lighting conditions, I both ran and photographed the 2-10-0 and soon noticed both how the 30 year old design compared to the fine detail of the latest 1/148 scale offerings and also how the mechanical portion was better suited to constant forward motion than the back and forth running of a top and tailed steam special within the context of Terminal 1.  Indeed, top and tail working - although perfectly theoretically feasible - was found in practice to be best operated with locomotives that closely matched each other in  power and acceleration characteristics.

 


Among the visitors to the Cirencester show was Paul Elliot's fellow Shropshire N Gauge Society member Mike, who very kindly returned  9F 92018 to me having repaired the Fleischmann model so that it now ran in both directions.  Keen to take advantage of Terminal 1 being set up in such splendid lighting conditions, I both ran and photographed the 2-10-0 and soon noticed both how the 30 year old design compared to the fine detail of the latest 1/148 scale offerings and also how the mechanical portion was better suited to constant forward motion than a back and forth steam special within the context of Terminal 1.  Indeed, top and tail working - although perfectly theoretically feasible - was found in practice to be best operated with locomotives that closely matched each other in power and acceleration characteristics.
 



Airside meanwhile, the availability of both apron modules allowed El Al Bristol Britannia 4X-AGA to be joined by its fellow Israeli airliner Boeing 707 4X-ATA - built from a plastic kit and kindly loaned by Tony Neuls - as well as my own Corgi die cast Western Airlines Douglas DC-3 NC18101. Together these models charted the development of civil aviation from tail wheels, straight wings and piston engines to swept wing nose wheel aircraft powered by jets.

 

 

  
 

 

Airside meanwhile, the availability of both apron modules allowed El Al Bristol Britannia 4X-AGA to be joined by its fellow Israeli airliner Boeing 707 4X-ATA - built from a plastic kit and kindly loaned by Tony Neuls - as well as my own Corgi die cast Western Airlines Douglas DC-3 NC18101. Together these models charted the development of civil aviation from tail wheels, straight wings and piston engines to swept wing nose wheel aircraft powered by jets. 

Also augmenting the scene was the Oxford Diecast Jaguar Mark 8 ( NJAG8001 ), seen below ready to escort the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II in the VIP convoy. 

 
 

 

  
 

The Jaguar Mk 8 replaced the Jaguar 7M in 1956 and could be distinguished from its predecessor by a new front grille, one piece curved windscreen, cutaway rear wheel spats and larger bumpers.  As well as white wall tyres, a popular optional extra was two tone paintwork, in this case black and Cornish Grey either side of a chrome strip below the waistline.

 
 

 

  
 

The Jaguar Mk 8 replaced the Jaguar 7M in 1956 and could be distinguished from its predecessor by a new front grille, one piece curved windscreen, cutaway rear wheel spats and larger bumpers.  As well as white wall tyres, a popular optional extra was two tone paintwork, in this case black and Cornish Grey either side of a chrome strip below the waistline.

Many Mark 8 Jaguars were also delivered with Borg Warner automatic transmission incorporating a novel "speed hold" device for overtaking and fast hill climbing while the 3442 cc engine was fitted with the racing C-type cylinder head, helping the four seat saloon to reach 105 mph.

After 6247 examples had left Coventry the Mark 8 itself yielded to the "big" Jaguar Mark 9 in 1958.

 

   

                                     


Boeing 707-458 4X-ATA ( constructor's number 18070/205 ) was the first jet to be operated by El Al and when introduced on 15 June 1961 set a record for the longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight, between Tel Aviv and Idlewild ( now known as John F. Kennedy ) airport, of  5 760 miles.

 

 


Boeing 707-458 4X-ATA ( constructor's number 18070/205 ) was the first jet to be operated by El Al and when introduced on 15 June 1961 set a record for the longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight, between Tel Aviv and Idlewild ( now known as John F. Kennedy ) airport, of  5 760 miles. 

This journey was also completed in a record time between the two locations of 9 hours 33 minutes under the power of four Rolls Royce Conway engines.  The Conway was the World's first turbofan engine and had previously fitted to the Handley Page Victor B Mk 2 and Vickers VC-10.

4X-ATA then served for another 23 years, carrying more than 2 million passengers over 36 million miles - equal to 1450 circumnavigations of the globe - without incident until retirement in 1984. 

The forward section of this pioneering aircraft is now preserved in the Cradle of Aviation Museum at Long Island, New York.

 

 


Although America's first jet powered military transport was an experimental version of the Fairchild C-123 Provider, its first civilian jetliner was the Boeing 707: a private venture developed from the Seattle company's experience with US Air Force swept wing bombers and beginning life as the prototype Model 367-80.

 


Although America's first jet powered military transport was an experimental version of the Fairchild C-123 Provider, its first civilian jetliner was the Boeing 707: a private venture developed from the Seattle company's experience with US Air Force swept wing bombers and beginning life as the prototype Model 367-80. 

More popularly known as the Dash 80, work was announced on 30 August 1952 with rollout on 14 May 1954 and the maiden flight from Renton Field on 15 July that year.  The Dash 80, with its four podded engines under 35 degree swept back wings and swept tailplane and fin, set the template not only for more than 14 000 production Boeing airliners but for large jet airliners all over the World: including the latest Airbus A380.  In contrast its rival de Havilland Comet 4 had a straight tailplane and fin and its four engines embedded in the wing roots.

Powered by Pratt & Whitney JT3 turbojets and registered as N70700, the Model 367-80 flew a record breaking press demonstration flight from Seattle to Baltimore in just 3 hours 48 minutes on 11 March 1957 at an average speed of 612 mph.  By this time however, the larger production Boeing 707 had been ordered first of all by the US Air Force as a flying tanker and then, in October 1955, by Pan American World Airways. 

The first 29 Strategic Air Command flight refuelling aircraft were ordered to replace Boeing's KC-97, based on the piston engined Stratocruiser which in turn had been the basis of the company's first design explorations of jet flight in 1946.  The four-jet Boeing Model 717-100 became known as the KC-135A to the USAF and helped keep America's nuclear deterrent airborne  with later KC-135 variants can still being seen from time to time flying from RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.  The Boeing 707 also became the basis for the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System.

The first jet service between New York and Paris was inaugurated by Pan Am on 26 October 1958 just three weeks after the first BOAC Comet 4 flew from London to New York via Gander in Newfoundland.  However, these first Boeing 707-120 series machines were only just able to cross the Atlantic and were soon superseded by the larger 707-320 Intercontinental series with longer fuselage, bigger wings, more powerful engines and a 4 000 mile range carrying 141 passengers in mixed class seating.

Early in the 1960s, the Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofan engines were fitted to provide lower fuel consumption, reduce noise and further increase range to about 6,000 miles. 

However, by this time BOAC realised that their Comet 4s were no match for the Boeing 707-320 and Douglas DC-8 which were also being flown by Air France, Sabena and South African Airways as well as American carriers Pan Am and TWA.  The Boeing 707-420 was thus ordered by British Overseas Airways Corporation - and known to them as the 707-436 - with the specification of Rolls Royce Conway engines to save national pride - much as would be the case with the specifically British McDonnell Douglas Phantom IIs a decade later.

Air India then bought six similar machines with the designation Boeing 707-437 and a further 37 examples were built for Lufthansa, El Al and Varig.
 

 


It was in fact NC18101 was built as a 16 berth Douglas Sleeper Transport in June 1937 with Douglas constructor number 1959 but in March 1958 was one of a number acquired by the US Air Force as a flying ambulance.  As such it was given the serial number 42-56609 and was designated C-48, the nomenclature of a DC-3 powered by Pratt & Whitney rather than Wright radial engines.

 


  While the overall and more specifically military history of the Douglas DC-3 has been recounted on other pages of this website, this Los Angeles based Western Airlines machine in the livery of 1950 was too delightful not to be acquired at a very reasonable price. 

It was in fact NC18101 was built as a 16 berth Douglas Sleeper Transport in June 1937 with Douglas constructor number 1959 but in March 1958 was one of a number acquired by the US Air Force as a flying ambulance.  As such it was given the serial number 42-56609 and was designated C-48, the nomenclature of a DC-3 powered by Pratt & Whitney rather than Wright radial engines.

Western Airlines had begun as a postal carrier in 1925, taking mail to Los Angeles from Salt Lake City, Utah in a Douglas M-2 biplane and would further expand as a passenger operation from 1941 to serve Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis before ultimately becoming part of Delta Airlines in 1987.

 
 



TODDINGTON 9 AND 10 OCTOBER 2010

 

 

If taking Terminal 1 to the Model Steam Road Vehicle Society  at Tewkesbury had broadened the minds of visitors to the possibilities of N gauge then its appearance - again with two airside modules - at Toddington yielded an even greater novelty, placed as it was next to a couple with a woollen stocking making machine.

 

 


If taking Terminal 1 to the Model Steam Road Vehicle Society  at Tewkesbury had broadened the minds of visitors to the possibilities of N gauge then its appearance - again with two airside modules - at Toddington yielded an even greater novelty, placed as it was next to a couple with a woollen stocking making machine.

Although being surrounded by canvas walls meant that direct sunlight overheating the trains was not an issue, the model tent's position on a sloping farmer's field rather than the edge of a relatively flat rugby pitch required the tables to have pieces of wood inserted under some of the legs to make them level.  In turn, this meant that the airside modules were placed lower down relative to the station module and coupling the fiddle yard was problematic.

The spare railway magazines that were not being used to level the modules on the tables were used to combat the effects of both the draught from the tent entry flap and toddlers in pulling the flags on to the floor.  In future, such tent shows will require map pins or something more substantial for this task.

 

 

 

As the outside valve gear of N gauge models of steam locomotives has to be very delicate to both look realistic and work realistically I personally think that N gauge is a modelling genre better suited to modern diesel and electric trains that the era of steam - certainly within the context of an inherently push-pull layout such as Terminal 1.

 
 



Airside, the El Al Bristol and Boeing and Western DC-3 were joined by Vickers 744 Viscount XR801 and on the rails the Graham Farish model of the Hughes "Crab" 2-6-0 proved far superior in looks and running ability to both the earlier Graham Farish 6960 "Raveningham Hall" and Lima's now very old Class 55 Deltic, the latter bumping its way along the track during testing due to the coarse scale wheel flanges.  However, even 42806 in its early BR lined black livery could have gone the way of the Stanier Black 5 5041 discussed in Flying Down to Tewkesbury which during October 2010 suffered a failure of its outside valve gear and is now awaiting repair. 

As the outside valve gear of N gauge models of steam locomotives has to be very delicate to both look realistic and work realistically I personally think that N gauge is a modelling genre better suited to modern diesel and electric trains that the era of steam - certainly within the context of an inherently push-pull layout such as Terminal 1. 

Due to this, 42806 will only be run as a last resort in future although the need for suitable replacement modern rolling stock became apparent when 220 002 "Forth Voyager" began to make little progress despite the large noise coming from it. 

This DEMU was quickly retired from use as the noise seemed very reminiscent of that produced by GWR diesel railcar W32W when its Bachmann nylon gearing  stripped.  I was aware of this tendency of early Dapol N gauge Voyager models but hoped that just being gently run up and down over a short distance might not bring on a failure.  Hopefully however stripped gears will be found to be the nature of the problem and rectified.

In the meantime, pre-Nationalisation trains had to be substituted with the three car Class 158 set becoming the main DMU running turn-about with the Wrexham & Shropshire push-pull set.  There were also some unexplained issues with Alphaline liveried 158 746 on Saturday but a run on the test track at home on Saturday night  seemed to solve the problem.

 

 

The "Crab" 2-6-0s were built at Horwich in 1926 and designed by George Hughes, formerly of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and by then the first Locomotive Superintendent of the London Midland and Scottish Railway.  Their nickname came from the two large outside inclined cylinders and the mixed traffic locomotives in turn featured a very high running plate - later to be used by Robert Riddles on British Standard locomotives for ease of maintenance on their own two outside cylinders.  As such 42086 makes an interesting comparison with 92018 pictured above.

 

 

The "Crab" 2-6-0s were built at Horwich in 1926 and designed by George Hughes, formerly of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and by then the first Locomotive Superintendent of the London Midland and Scottish Railway.  Their nickname came from the two large outside inclined cylinders and the mixed traffic locomotives in turn featured a very high running plate - later to be used by Robert Riddles on British Standard locomotives for ease of maintenance on their own two outside cylinders.  As such 42086 makes an interesting comparison with 92018 pictured above.

245 Horwich Crabs were built up to 1931 with the original numbers 13000 to 13244.  The 6P5F class was then renumbered by the LMS to the 2700-2944 series which changed to 42700 -42944 under British Railways. 

Although originally designed with Walschaerts valve gear and piston valves, locomotives 42818, 42822, 42824, 42825 and 42829 h been rebuilt in 1931 with Lentz rotary cam poppet valve gear and again in 1953 with similar Reidinger equipment

The original locomotive with 5'6" driving wheels, 21" x  26" cylinders and 180 psi boiler pressure is now part of the National Railway Museum collection.

 



EASTCOMBE 23 AND 24 OCTOBER 2010

 

 


After spending the weekend before last in a tent, Mr Dunn's maths classroom at Thomas Keble School was much more snug and also offered some spectacular lighting to herald another classic airliner from the Corgi Aviation Archive - Trans-Canada Air Lines Lockheed Super Constellation CF-TGC.

 

 


After spending the weekend before last in a tent, Mr Dunn's maths classroom at Thomas Keble School was much more snug and also offered some spectacular lighting to herald another classic airliner from the Corgi Aviation Archive - Trans-Canada Air Lines Lockheed Super Constellation CF-TGC (AA35106 of 2007 ).

 

 


When talking about airliners at exhibitions, most people conclude that America made the most practical airliners while Britain made the most beautiful - but that the one piston engined passenger transport that was both practical and beautiful was the Lockheed Constellation.  For that reason alone I had always wanted one and when the chance came I took it!




When talking about airliners at exhibitions, most people conclude that America made the most practical airliners while Britain made the most beautiful - but that the one piston engined passenger transport that was both practical and beautiful was the Lockheed Constellation.  For that reason alone I had always wanted one and when the chance came I took it!

The Lockheed Constellation began life in 1939 with a requirement from Howard Hughes' Trans World Airlines for a 40 seat airliner with a range of 3 500 miles.  Designed by a team including Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, the Type L-049 was powered by four 18 cylinder Wright R-3350 engines and featured a wing based on that of the company's P-38 Lightning twin engined fighter, novel hydraulically enhanced controls and a thermal de-icing system on the leading edges of the wings and tailplane - which was fitted with triple low fins to fit under the lintels of existing airline hangars. 

The Constellation was also the World's first pressurised airliner in widespread use, although its dolphin-like fuselage would eventually be more costly to build and less resistant to pressure changes than the tubular jets that would replace it..

The first "Connie", with a service ceiling of 24 000', first flew on 9 January 1943.  856 were built until 1958 and the 340 mph aircraft served with the USAAF and USAF from 1943 to 1978 and with airlines from 1945 to 1967.

The first US military Constellations were twenty two C-69 troop carriers but later variants served in the Berlin Airlift and as the personal transports of US President Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur.  Indeed, in 1944 the second prototype L-049 was to give what was to be his last flight to Orville Wright, who commented that the Constellation's wingspan was longer than the first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903.  The final US Navy role for the Constellation was as the EC-121 Warning Star flying radar station.

The first TWA Transatlantic proving flight of the Lockheed Constellation left Washington DC on 3 December 1945 via Gander in Canada and Shannon in Eire, arriving in Paris the next day.  This became a commercial route on 6 February 1946 with Pan American World Airways starting its round the World flight - numbered Pan Am 1 - on 17 June 1947 with L-749 Constellation "Clipper America".

As with most airliners, the basic Constellation model grew - with the L-1049 Super Constellation offering a longer fuselages and the L-1649 Starliner combining a stretched fuselage with a redesigned thin straight-taper wing.

Indeed an L-1649A holds the record for the longest-duration non-stop passenger flight  when TWA's inaugural London to San Francisco service on 1-2 October 1957 stayed aloft for 23 hours and 19 minutes and covered approximately 5,350 miles at 229.4 mph.

CF-TGC ( constructor's number 4542)  was one of ninety nine L-1049G variant Super Constellations characterised by 600 US gallon wingtip fuel tanks, round as opposed to square windows and powered by R-3350-972ТС18DA-3 engines of 3 400 bhp.

Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA) changed its name to Air Canada in 1964 but began as a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway on 10 April 1937, starting operations with a Lockheed 10A on 1 September that year carrying two passengers and mail from Vancouver to Seattle. In April 1939 TCA inaugurated transcontinental service between Montreal and Vancouver, then grew rapidly during World War II.

TCA continued to grow after the war, and by 1951 overseas traffic exceeded all expectations and new aircraft had to be acquired. The Lockheed 1049 Super Constellation was the best airliner available until the arrival of the DC-8 jet and TCA's first L-1049C was delivered in February 1954.

Trans Atlantic service began in May with 5 aircraft - including CF-TGC in an overall metallic finish without a white top - replacing Canadair North Stars. 14 Super Connies of various marques flew with TCA until retirement in 1963 with Montreal, Quebec based CF-TGC being upgraded to ‘Super G’ specification and fleet number 403 as depicted in the 1959 era model before retirement in March 1962

Although no Constellations were assembled anywhere other than the Lockheed factory at Burbank, California, Bristol Aircraft did suggest licence building a stretched L-749 version with Bristol Centaurus piston engines at Filton to meet the Brabazon Committee's requirement for a 32 seat 300 mph aircraft with a range of 2 500 miles.  However, as such an activity would have placed too large a demand on Britain's immediate post-War Dollar reserves Bristol eventually went away and produced the turbo-prop Britannia.

 

 

In another discovery while looking for something completely different I came across these beautifully detailed 40' shipping containers produced by Dapol in a range of markings for their spine wagons.  These are also available in 20' format in N gauge  - and in 40' high cube in 4mm scale where they have made a very useful contribution to Toucan Park.  My own N gauge Dapol containers include this red Genstar item on the back of my Graham Avis articulated lorry heading under the runway for the freight side of Terminal 1.
 

 

  
  In another discovery while looking for something completely different I came across these beautifully detailed 40' shipping containers produced by Dapol in a range of markings for their spine wagons.  These are also available in 20' format in N gauge  - and in 40' high cube in 4mm scale where they have made a very useful contribution to Toucan Park.  My own N gauge Dapol containers include this red Genstar item on the back of my Graham Avis articulated lorry heading under the runway for the freight side of Terminal 1.

Genstar are based in Singapore but are a part of GE SeaCo which leases one million Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in 80 countries ranging from standard dry cargo containers to refrigerated and tank assets.  This company was formed in 1998 by Sea Containers Ltd and General Electric Capital Corporation as a stand alone organisation headquartered in Barbados.

 
 

 


Genstar are based in Singapore but are a part of GE SeaCo which leases one million Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in 80 countries ranging from standard dry cargo containers to refrigerated and tank assets.  This company was formed in 1998 by Sea Containers Ltd and General Electric Capital Corporation as a stand alone organisation headquartered in Barbados.


As mentioned above, the Jeremy Kyle fiddle yard was not surviving the rigours of so many weekend exhibitions and the track work was largely replaced between appearances at Toddington and Eastcombe.

 

 

  
  As mentioned above, the Jeremy Kyle fiddle yard was not surviving the rigours of so many weekend exhibitions and the track work was largely replaced between appearances at Toddington and Eastcombe. 

As experience had shown that trains worked best arriving and departing in pairs on any given platform, new lengths of track - reaching all the way to the end of the wooden tray and obviating the need for a foam barrier to hide unevenness  - were attached to Peco large radius right hand points.  This arrangement reduced the number of track junctions and so improved electrical connectivity as well as allowing the storage sidings to be more parallel and orderly.  On the station module side of the new points - which were pinned down in line with each other - shorter lengths of track were kept firmly connected but with enough play at each end to allow for variations in vertical and horizontal track alignment.  In fact, a small amount of tension in the tracks between the two modules actually improved the electrical connection.

 
 


As experience had shown that trains worked best arriving and departing in pairs on any given platform, new lengths of track - reaching all the way to the end of the wooden tray and obviating the need for a foam barrier to hide unevenness  - were attached to Peco large radius right hand points.  This arrangement reduced the number of track junctions and so improved electrical connectivity as well as allowing the storage sidings to be more parallel and orderly.  On the station module side of the new points - which were pinned down in line with each other - shorter lengths of track were kept firmly connected but with enough play at each end to allow for variations in vertical and horizontal track alignment.  In fact, a small amount of tension in the tracks between the two modules actually improved the electrical connection.

 


  Although I was indebted to fellow N gauge modeller Chris Sheppard of The Pitkin and Grimsdale Line in getting my three car set 158 811 moving again after a motor issue, I am pleased to say that the diesel multiple unit dominated train roster illustrated above seemed to like the new fiddle yard and worked much more smoothly than before. 

To help fill the gap left by the sidelined Voyager unit and to add flexibility to the locomotive stud respectively, new acquisitions for Eastcombe were Graham Farish by Bachmann models of Arriva Trains Wales 150 256 and also blue 37 254 and Transrail liveried and 37 672.

 

 



A total of 137 Class 150 Sprinter diesel hydraulic multiple units were built by British Rail Engineering Limited between 1984 and 1987, the 1986 vintage 150/2 subclass - numbered 150 201 - 285 - being distinguished from the prototype 150/0 and early production 150/1 examples by the provision of end gangway connections, allowing passengers and railway staff to move between all vehicles of trains coupled in multiple.

 

 

  
  A total of 137 Class 150 Sprinter diesel hydraulic multiple units were built by British Rail Engineering Limited between 1984 and 1987, the 1986 vintage 150/2 subclass - numbered 150 201 - 285 - being distinguished from the prototype 150/0 and early production 150/1 examples by the provision of end gangway connections, allowing passengers and railway staff to move between all vehicles of trains coupled in multiple. 

The two car production Sprinters were based on the body shell of the locomotive hauled Mark III carriage and were ordered to replace non-standard and unreliable diesel mechanical multiple units designed in the 1950s.  These second generation multiple units - riding on bogies - were designed for medium and long distance journeys while cheaper but less popular Class 142 Pacers - essentially Leyland National bus bodies on freight wagon chassis - were introduced for short journeys.

As well as returning to the Voith torque converters last seen on the Western and Warship locomotives in the 1970s, each Sprinter vehicle had both innermost axles powered by an onboard Cummins NT855R5 285 bhp prime mover, yielding better acceleration performance than the power-trailer combinations that they often replaced. 

However, new three car Class 150/0 trains formed by adding a Class 150/2 vehicle to the centre of an existing Centro Class 150/1 set were banned from the Lickey Incline as they lacked the power to climb the 1 in 37 gradient.  Cheltenham to Birmingham New Street services were then taken over by Class 170 dhmus while the three car Class 150/0s were concentrated on less arduous routes from Birmingham Snow Hill station to Great Malvern and Stratford Upon Avon.  In 2010 these trains are operated by London Midland.

 

 

 


The Class 150/2s were built from steel by BREL York with powered BP38 and pure load carrying BT38 bogies cleared for 75 mph working.  Their BSI couplers also allowed them to work in multiple with most Second Generation dhmus including Classes 170 and 172.

 

 


The Class 150/2s were built from steel by BREL York with powered BP38 and pure load carrying BT38 bogies cleared for 75 mph working.  Their BSI couplers also allowed them to work in multiple with most Second Generation dhmus including Classes 170 and 172.

Following Privatization in 1994, many Class 150/2s transferred to Wales and West which then split into Wessex Trains and Wales and Borders ( later Arriva Trains Wales ) from 2001.  The 25 Wessex trains Class 150/2s worked on a number of local lines in South West England including services between Cheltenham and Swindon. 

Refurbishment by Wessex Trains of its Class 150/2 fleet during 2006 featured the addition of DPTAC 'easy to see, easy to press' tactile passenger door control buttons, non slip vinyl flooring, high backed Primarius seats in a 2+2 arrangement and upgraded toilet areas.  Ex Scotrail and Regional Railways Class 150/2 sets including former Edinburgh Haymarket based 150 256 were also re-liveried into Arriva Trains Wales turquoise and cream livery: a common sight on trains working from Cheltenham to Maesteg and Cardiff.

During subsequent First Great Western ownership CCTV was also fitted and in November 2007 Arriva Trains Wales acquired ten more Class 150/2s when the Central Trains franchise ended.

At the start of 2010 set 150 256 - comprising Driving Motor Second Lavatory 52256 and Driving Motor Second 57256 - was one of 72 Class 150/2 two car units leased to Arriva Trains Wales by Porterbrook and was based at Cardiff Canton depot.

 

 

At the start of 2010 set 150 256 - comprising Driving Motor Second Lavatory 52256 and Driving Motor Second 57256 - was one of 72 Class 150/2 two car units leased to Arriva Trains Wales by Porterbrook and was based at Cardiff Canton depot.

 

 

  
 

As well as an up to date Class 150/2 I also decided to invest in a pair of Class 37s as these could not only provide an alternative to the two Class 73s ( also designed around English Electric engines ) in hauling the three Mark 1 carriages of the "enthusiast's special" but could also replace the Class 08 on the permanent way train.  Both were Graham Farish by Bachmann models with BR blue liveried 37 254, seen below, having the bonus feature of working marker and tail lights.  In both cases a central headcode display panel was plated over.

 
 

 

  
 

Rather like 73 114 "Stewart's Lane Traction Maintenance Depot", 37 254 is currently preserved on the Spa Valley Railway near Tunbridge Wells in Kent but could be returned both to BR blue and Network Rail operating standards in the future if the need arose and finance permitted.

 
 

 

  
 Rather like 73 114 "Stewart's Lane Traction Maintenance Depot", 37 254 is currently preserved on the Spa Valley Railway near Tunbridge Wells in Kent but could be returned both to BR blue and Network Rail operating standards in the future if the need arose and finance permitted. 

Originally numbered D6954, the 61'6" long Co-Co was given the English Electric / Vulcan Foundry number 3511/D942 before being outshopped from Newton Le Willows in January 1965 and first allocated to 86A Ebbw Vale.  Much of the subsequent working life of 37 254 was spent in Wales and the West Country although its duties also took it on to London Midland Region, sometimes as a Lickey Banker, and on 19 August 1972 the English Electric Type 3 was noted at the head of the 1L21 07.47 Kings Lynn to Liverpool Street commuter service

Renumbered under TOPS in April 1974 and later to carry Civil Engineer's "Dutch" livery, 37254 rescued a failed HST in August 1991 and its own passenger workings included those to Weymouth and enthusiasts railtours.  Together with fellow Cardiff based 37 230 on 1 September 1994, 37 254 delivered a new Eurostar train from Washwood Heath to North Pole Junction near Acton in London.

37254 was stored unserviceable on 12 November 1998, and was officially withdrawn with a defective crankshaft on 31 January 1999. Subsequently placed in store pending possible sale, 37254 was sold to the Harry Needle Railroad Company in 2001 and was moved to Barrow Hill (Chesterfield)  where it was fitted with the power unit from 37153 and some other work was undertaken with a view to possible main line certification.

HNRC later put up a number of Class 37s, including 37 254, for sale and following a detailed inspection the locomotive was purchased in March 2003 for preservation at a farm in Sellinge in Kent.  On 5 February 2006, 37 254 moved under its own power for the first time in private hands and joined the Spa Valley Railway on 27 March 2008.  In the summer of 2009 37 254 was named "Driver Robin Prince M.B.E." after one of its long standing supporters.

 
 

 

  
 

37 672 meanwhile began life as D6889 in January 1964 having been built in Darlington with the English Electric / Robert Stephenson Hawthorn works number 3367/ 8410 and was allocated to 86A Ebbw Junction.  It was first given the TOPS number 37 189 in April 1974 and modified to 37/5 specification - with alternator instead of dc generator -  in July 1987, receiving the name "Freight Transport Association" in September of that year.

 
 

 

  
  37 672 meanwhile began life as D6889 in January 1964 having been built in Darlington with the English Electric / Robert Stephenson Hawthorn works number 3367/ 8410 and was allocated to 86A Ebbw Junction.  It was first given the TOPS number 37 189 in April 1974 and modified to 37/5 specification - with alternator instead of dc generator -  in July 1987, receiving the name "Freight Transport Association" in September of that year.

By 1988 the dual braked non-steam heat but slow-speed fitted 37 672 with extra tank capacity was painted in Railfreight "Redstripe" livery and allocated to Plymouth Laira depot.  In 1995 the locomotive was re-allocated to Cardiff Canton and listed as being in Railfreight Distribution livery with a logo of red diamonds on a yellow background.  In 1999 however 37 672 - now leased to private freight operator English, Welsh and Scottish Railways and carrying the Transrail logo - was reallocated to Toton depot.  The next year also saw a move for the Type 3 - now fitted solely with air brakes - to France on loan to SNCF before it was stored serviceable at Thornaby in 2001, ultimately with Transrail branding removed.  2006 saw 37 672 become a Harry Needle Railroad Company asset and move to Barrow Hill, Chesterfield in 2007 and in 2010 it was based at Long Marston, Warwickshire, the home of Motorail Logistics.

 
 

 

  
 

I took the photograph above to show the difference between the Vampire and the Venom, the later and more powerful aircraft having wings with a straight trailing and tapered leading edge as opposed to the Vampire's wings which taper out from the fuselage on both sides.  Another identifying feature of the Venom is the horizontal tail surface which extends on either side of the booms.

 
 

 

  
  On 20 October 2010 I took three twin-boom single-engined de Havilland jet aircraft to a talk given for the Institute of Mechanical Engineers at Messier-Dowty, Staverton, on the work of Major Frank Halford. 

These 1/72 scale models were the Rhodesian liveried Vampire more fully described in Flightline and metalskin finished Vampire FB Mk 5 WG833 seen above with one of the Hatfield built single seat Venoms, also in Royal Air Force markings. 

I took the photograph above to show the difference between the Vampire and the Venom, the later and more powerful aircraft having wings with a straight trailing and tapered leading edge as opposed to the Vampire's wings which taper out from the fuselage on both sides.  Another identifying feature of the Venom is the horizontal tail surface which extends on either side of the booms.

Indeed, just like the common confusion between the Vampire and Venom and their respective Ghost and Goblin engines, the career of Major Frank Bernard Halford CBE FRAeS is often at the edge of popular aviation knowledge. However, as the talk revealed, he played a major part in shaping Britain's aero engine industry.

Born in Nottingham on 7 March 1894, Frank Halford attended Felsted School and the University of Nottingham before learning to fly at Brooklands in 1913 and becoming a flight instructor there on Bristol Boxkites.  He served in the Royal Flying Corps during the 1914-1918 conflict and also in the Aeronautical Inspection Department of the Air Ministry as an engine examiner.

Recalled to engineering duties, Halford improved and enlarged the existing water cooled six cylinder Austro-Daimler aero engine to produce the 230 bhp Beardmore Halford Pullinger.

 This later evolved into the Siddeley-Deasey Puma although during the 1920s Halford turned his attention to road transport, finishing 13th in the Isle of Man Senior TT of 1922 on a four valve Triumph Ricardo motorcycle, racing his AM Halford racing special car in the 1926 British Grand Prix at Brooklands and producing a luxury car design for Vauxhall with a four cylinder inline engine driving the rear wheels. 

 
 

 

  
 

n 1923 Frank Halford and fellow engine designer Harry Ricardo set up their own consultancy in London and there developed the de Havilland Gipsy series of air cooled engines - including the Gipsy Major used on the Miles Magister pictured above.  During the 1930s both Halford and Ricardo both became interested in sleeve valves as a method of increasing the rpm of piston engines and thereby increasing the power available.  While Ricardo worked with Bristol Engines, Halford worked with Napier and Sons of Acton on their Sabre design - used on early marks of Hawker Tempest - pictured below - and ultimately producing 3 500 bhp from just 36 litres of cylinder capacity..

 
 

 

  
  In 1923 Frank Halford and fellow engine designer Harry Ricardo set up their own consultancy in London and there developed the de Havilland Gipsy series of air cooled engines - including the Gipsy Major used on the Miles Magister pictured above.  During the 1930s both Halford and Ricardo both became interested in sleeve valves as a method of increasing the rpm of piston engines and thereby increasing the power available.  While Ricardo worked with Bristol Engines, Halford worked with Napier and Sons of Acton on their Sabre design - used on early marks of Hawker Tempest - pictured below - and ultimately producing 3 500 bhp from just 36 litres of cylinder capacity.. 
 

 

  
 

n 1923 Frank Halford and fellow engine designer Harry Ricardo set up their own consultancy in London and there developed the de Havilland Gipsy series of air cooled engines - including the Gipsy Major used on the Miles Magister pictured above.  During the 1930s both Halford and Ricardo both became interested in sleeve valves as a method of increasing the rpm of piston engines and thereby increasing the power available.  While Ricardo worked with Bristol Engines, Halford worked with Napier and Sons of Acton on their Sabre design - used on early marks of Hawker Tempest - pictured below - and ultimately producing 3 500 bhp from just 36 litres of cylinder capacity..

 
 

 

  
  During the Second World War Frank Halford also produced a simplified version of Frank Whittle's centrifugal flow jet engine with air intake at the front and "straight through" combustion chambers.  Initially known as the Halford H1, this developed into the Goblin after Halford's company was bought outright by de Havilland in 1944 and also formed the basis for the powerplant used in the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, America's first jet fighter.

Frank Halford's last design before his death aged 61 in April 1955 was the de Havilland Gyron, his first axial flow gas turbine and the most powerful in the World at 20 000 lb dry thrust or 27 000 lb with reheat.  The Gyron first ran in 1953 and was flight tested aboard a Short Sperrin bomber in 1955 where it was finally rated at 25 000 lb with reheat.  However, the Gyron was too large for most aircraft and the Hawker P1121 fighter aircraft ( which would have looked a lot like the General Dynamics F-16 ) that it was considered for was cancelled by the 1957 Duncan Sandys White Paper.

However, a 45% scale version of the Gyron - the Bristol Siddeley Gyron Junior - was to power both the Blackburn Buccaneer S Mark 1 and the Bristol 188 research aircraft.