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"NEARLY FELTHAM"

 


The redbrick architecture of Universal Works - as originally built - allowed it to represent just about anywhere in the World that was industrialised in the 19th century while its modular construction also permitted the close comparison of trains and aircraft.




The redbrick architecture of Universal Works - as originally built - allowed it to represent just about anywhere in the World that was industrialised in the 19th century while its modular construction also permitted the close comparison of trains and aircraft.  

However, with layout depth often being at a premium at model railway exhibitions and the Universal Works 2.0 rebuild featuring a canal as a default boundary, the opportunity was taken to build an optional full length - yet shallow -  scenic module consisting of an overgrown canal bank, pavement and road - ultimately lit with Peco Model Scene gas lamps.

Just as the "engineering works with airfield" format was ideal for a celebration of English Electric,  the presence of a canal and suitable road for vehicles offered scope for new challenges.

With an eye to economy, I first made the Airfix civilians - who had been queueing up for the Open Day portrayed at Cheltenham in April 2010 - wait for a bus and the further inclusion of the scooter - as seen above - turned my mind to the 1960s.  This would also allow me to field Presflos, Cemflos and other wagons that are either too large or too late to be used on Capital Works.

For the same reasons, I decided to keep my Austerity tank engines and other small locomotives in reserve and make the most of Class 20 D8195, which had proved capable of negotiating the points inside the shed.  Indeed, despite being longer than any other locomotive with all-area access on Universal Works, using the English Electric "Chopper" would still leave enough headshunt room for pairs of wagons, as examined below.  

However, as described in Universal Works Salutes English Electric, D8195 was one of the last Class 20s to be built - only entering service with the Nottingham Division of London Midland Region in February 1967.  For it to have got as dirty as my model, the first outing of Universal Works 2.0 - set for Cheltenham in April 2011 - would therefore be placed sometime in 1968.

As had been the case in early 2010, Universal Works would also need a static exhibit for the non-electrified line just behind the headshunt.  On the English Electric presentation, Andy Peckham had turned up trumps with his prototype Deltic and visitor attention had similarly been drawn to Mark Hughes' English Electric Blackpool tram.  Happily, Andy agreed to loan me one of his die cast Feltham trams while Malcolm Bell has also loaned me with a model Feltham tram built from a kit along with a wealth of background detail.  Thank you both!



A total of 100 Feltham  trams - with their distinctive protruding cabs with half domed roofs, were built by Feltham, Middlesex, by the Union Construction Company from 1929.  From 1931,54 of these initially went to the Metropolitan Electric Tramways and 46 to London United Tramways before both companies were merged into the London Passenger Transport Board, formed in 1933.  From the combined and renumbered LPTB fleet the third prototype Feltham tram - "Cissie" - was sold by the LPTB to Sunderland in 1937 and 92 production Feltham trams were sold to Leeds between 1949 and 1951, the last London tram of the Twentieth Century running on 6 July 1952 and the last Leeds tram on 7 November 1959.


The Feltham trams were the first double deckers to make full and logical use of steel construction with thin sides and straight stairs and were the result of the most fundamental tramcar design research programme ever conducted in Britain.

A total of 100 Feltham  trams - with their distinctive protruding cabs with half domed roofs - were built at Feltham, Middlesex, by the Union Construction Company from 1929.  From 1931, 54 of these initially went to the Metropolitan Electric Tramways of north and north west London and 46 to London United Tramways - covering the south and south west of the capital - before both companies were merged into the London Passenger Transport Board, formed in 1933.  

The first Finchley based MET Feltham tram ran on route 40 - linking Cricklewood with Finchley - on 1 February 1931 with the first LUT Feltham taking to the rails from Hanwell Depot on 5 January 1931 on the busy route 7 between Shepherd's Bush and Uxbridge.  The last London Transport Feltham trams in public service ran on the night of 7/8 April 1951.





In 1929 London's Metropolitan Electric Tramways began a series of experiments beginning with car 320 nicknamed "Blossom".  It was followed by car 330 and finally in 1930 by car 331 known as Cissie.

Cissie was an experiment with "pay as you enter" using a single central entrance and exit with the conductor standing in the central well collecting fares as the passengers mounted the car.  As such car 331 was the first centre-entry tram used in London.  Cissie was used soley on service 40 ( later renumbered service 45 ) and because of its non standard high capacity was mostly used for peak hour short workings between North Finchley and Golders Green.

In 1933 Cissie became car 2186 in the combined and renumbered LPTB fleet  and continued to work route 45 until replaced by trolley buses in August 1936.  While the production Feltham trams were concentrated in the Streatham area from 1937 onwards, Cissie's central entrance well design prevented the fitting of electrical plough gear.

In 1937 London Transport thus sold Cissie to Sunderland where it became car 100 and was fitted with a pantograph in place of the twin trolley poles, allowing it to travel all round the extensive Wearside system.  The Registered Design and associated patents for centre-entrance trams had by then been transferred from the Union Construction Company to English Electric and lead to the development of their own vehicles for Blackpool, Sunderland, Darwen and Aberdeen.

Cissie was retired from service in 1951 by which time 90 production Feltham trams had been sold to Leeds between 1949 and 1951, the last London tram of the Twentieth Century running on 6 July 1952 and the last Leeds tram on 7 November 1959.  

The Leeds purchase of 90 Feltham vehicles represented the largest sale of second hand trams in British history although they proved more expensive to operate and carried fewer passengers than earlier Leeds trams.

Cissie was acquired by JW Fowler, founder of the Light Railway Transport League and moved several times before arriving at the National Tramway Museum in Crich, Derbyshire in 1961.  However, the former Sunderland car 100 was only returned to operational condition for the 1990 Gateshead Garden Festival, during which time it ran in the blue livery of its sponsor, British Steel and carried, among others, HRH The Princess Royal.  Since then however Cissie has been restored to its original Metropolitan Electric red and white livery.

As well as Cissie, two other Feltham trams have been preserved. Metropolitan Electric Tramway number 335 in the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden and Metropolitan Electric Tramway number 341 - later London Passenger Transport Board 2085 and Leeds 526 - at the Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA.




Although sixteen years would have passed from 1952 to 1968 - when two students named Brian May and Farroukh Bulsara would be living under a mile apart in Feltham but would not meet until 1969 - I decided that for this presentation Universal Works could have taken over what was left of the Union Construction Company and the restoration of a Feltham tram could have been a project for the apprentices among the more mundane job of repairing wagons brought in by D8195.  Likewise, the canal in front of Universal Works could represent the fictional Feltham arm of the Grand Union Canal, there being similar arms to Paddington and Slough emanating from the main cut between locks on the Thames at Brentford and Birmingham.

The Union Construction Company was formally set up in 1901 as part of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London but only became busy after 1925 with the renovation of trains running on what is now London Underground's Central Line and the building of London Underground Standard Stock from 1927.  During the years busy with Feltham tram assembly, the organisation was renamed The Union & Finance Construction Co Ltd before 60 Class A1 and A2 trolleybuses were outshopped to replace London United trams in the Kingston area.

However, the London Passenger Transport Board, founded by Act of Parliament in 1933, was prohibited from manufacturing its own vehicles and the Union Construction Company closed in February 1932, all future orders being placed with such firms as Metropolitan Cammell and The Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited.

In fact it was the very prowess of the Union Construction Company drawing office which had been its undoing as a number of private rolling stock builders - including Gloucester RCW, Metro-Cammell, Cravens of Sheffield and Birmingham RCW - had complained to the Minister of Transport John Morrison that the Underground trains, trolley buses, and trams  built by UCC were being subsidised by London County Council ratepayers and as such represented unfair competition.


Frank was told by his old boss - now with London Transport - that he would be sent for after three years of gaining experience.  After three years the call did as promised come - but by then he had decided to stay in Gloucester as he enjoyed playing cricket for the Wagon Works too much to leave!  During World War II Frank Barber was seconded from Gloucester RCW's drawing office to work on Churchill tank production and in the 1950s invented the slogan "Your bogie troubles cast away" to promote the high speed Gloucester bogies designed by Chief Engineer Fred Sinclair.  After Gloucester RCW was taken over by Wingets of Rochester, Frank became Chief Works Inspector testing everything from concrete mixers to refrigeration plant although he did spend the final nine years of his working life up to 1975 in the drawing office.


My own connection with the Union Construction Company came nearly twenty years ago when I was fortunate enough to interview Frank Barber, the late Chief Draughtsman of the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company and sadly no longer with us.

Frank, who was born in Twickenham in 1910, joined the Union Construction Company in 1926, working from Monday to Friday as an Engineering Apprentice and Junior Draughtsman.  In the evenings he would study engineering theory at Battersea Polytechnic - although practical elements of the course would involve stripping down and rebuilding Napier Lion and Rolls Royce R aero engines of the kind that were powering the contemporary Schneider Trophy seaplanes.  Among the older students was Alec, later Sir Alec, Issigonis who would go on to design the Morris Minor and Mini and Frank - a lifelong Rover car enthusiast - remembered him as a stylish dresser given to wearing velvet waistcoats.

Saturday mornings also found Frank Barber doing unpaid work experience at Automotive of Twickenham, casting pistons for motor cars and getting the black casting sand on his clothes to the annoyance of his mother!

For two years after 1932, Frank worked for Cowles of Hounslow on the design of machines to fill tubes, bottles and jars before moving to Crittalls of Bloomsbury where he worked on the heating and vantilation systems for the RMS "Queen Mary".  After this he became a Jig and Tool Draughtsman on new types of coal fired kitchen ovens before his ex General Manager at the Union Construction Company - a former Gloucester RCW employee - suggested that a move to The Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited would give Frank a useful grounding in London Transport vehicles.  At the time London Transport "C" stock for the Hammersmith and City Line was being assembled at Bristol Road and Gloucester had just won the order for the Q trains to be introduced to the District Line in 1937.

Frank was told by his old boss - now with London Transport - that he would be sent for after three years of gaining experience.  After three years the call did as promised come - but by then he had decided to stay in Gloucester as he enjoyed playing cricket for the Wagon Works too much to leave!  During World War II Frank Barber was seconded from Gloucester RCW's drawing office to work on Churchill tank production and in the 1950s invented the slogan "Your bogie troubles cast away" to promote the high speed Gloucester bogies designed by Chief Engineer Fred Sinclair.  After Gloucester RCW was taken over by Wingets of Rochester, Frank became Chief Works Inspector testing everything from concrete mixers to refrigeration plant although he did spend the final nine years of his working life up to 1975 in the drawing office.


Given that D8195 was nominally a Nottingham based asset at the time, a locomotive strongly identified with London would be ideal to help reinforce the geography of the presentation and although a search for London Transport steam proved fruitless I was given the opportunity to acquire the Heljan model of Class 15 D8233 wearing the 34G shedplates of Finsbury Park.


Having embraced the "Nearly Feltham" concept, a session spent shaking down D8195 and the rakes of wagons found that although the English Electric Bo-Bo could push and pull wagons coupled to it, a more interesting operational cycle could consist of D8195 pushing wagons from under the water tank along the front line to the headshunt before withdrawing. Another locomotive could then approach the wagons from the rear line, pick them up and bring them back under the water tank.  

Given that D8195 was nominally a Nottingham based asset at the time, a locomotive strongly identified with London would be ideal to help reinforce the geography of the presentation and although a search for London Transport steam proved fruitless ( Bachmann only produced the last 500 of their 1929 vintage GWR 57xx 0-6-0PT as London Transport's L94)  I was given the opportunity to acquire the Heljan model of Class 15 D8233 wearing the 34G shedplates of Finsbury Park.



Both the British Thomson-Houston Class 15 and North British Class 16 "hood" Bo-Bos evolved from LMS 10800 and the Class 15s - introduced in October 1957 - continued the pairing of British Thomson-Houston electrical gear with a Paxman engine, albeit a 16YHXL powerplant developing 800 bhp at 1 250 rpm.  Styling, meanwhile, was by Allen Barnes, Bowden Limited - who modified BTH's curvier original concept - and the ten pilot batch locomotives were constructed by Yorkshire Engine at Attercliffe, Sheffield.


As well as Finsbury Park being the fictional home of Capital Works,  its locomotive depot opened in April 1960 as the first in England purpose built for main line diesels.  Changing identity from 34G to FP with TOPS in May 1973, Finsbury Park was most famous for its association with the 22  production Deltic Co-Cos, after whose withdrawal in 1982 the depot closed in October 1983.

However, although the English Electric Type 5s represented the successful, glamorous face of British Railway's 1955 Modernisation Plan the short lived Class 15s were the epitome of where it all went wrong.

Both the British Thomson-Houston Class 15 and North British Class 16 "hood" Bo-Bos evolved from LMS 10800 and the Class 15s - introduced in October 1957 - continued the pairing of British Thomson-Houston electrical gear with a Paxman engine, albeit a 16YHXL powerplant developing 800 bhp at 1 250 rpm.  Styling, meanwhile, was by Allen Barnes, Bowden Limited - who modified BTH's curvier original concept - and the ten pilot batch locomotives were constructed by Yorkshire Engine at Attercliffe, Sheffield.

They were initially allocated with the first Class 20s to Britain's first all-diesel depot at Devon's Road, Bow,  and were mainly used on transfer freights across London - hence the not-implausible appearance of D8233 at Feltham.

Unlike the ten Glasgow built pilot batch of Class 16s, the better-designed Class 15s were selected for a production run of 34 examples with the first leaving Clayton Equipment of Tutbury, Derbyshire in October 1958 and the last in February 1961.  Allocated to Eastern Region - Finsbury Park included - the BTH Bo-Bos  were however known to haul occasional summer seaside excursions.

By March 1971 however, Class 15 had been totally withdrawn.  Unlike LMS 10800,  D8200 - D8243 had been envisaged as freight locomotives with no train heating boiler yet were still built with a central cab.  This meant that visibility was limited in both directions, in contrast to the English Electric Class 20 design with a cab at one extremity.  These locomotives had a superb look-out one way and the problems of sighting along the bonnet length was overcome by pairing them with cabs outermost.  In addition, the English Electric 8SVT Mark II powerplant of the Class 20s was far more reliable than the V-16 Paxman on the Class 15s. Dirty, prone to piston seizure, engine fires and excessive maintenance, these pressure charged prime movers were the undoing of both the D800s and their NBL Class 16 cousins.

Despite being used on King's Cross outer suburban and Liverpool Street carriage pilot duties, the Class 15s were deemed surplus to the requirements of the 1968 National Traction Plan following the decline of wagon load freight traffic and withdrawals began in September that year.  Four Class 15 locomotives - D8203/33/37 and 43 remained after 1971 as departmental carriage heating units but only D8233 ( latterly ADB96801 ) survives into preservation while Class 20s are still hauling trains on Network Rail.

D8233 was built as BTH / Clayton works number 1131 and was introduced to traffic in August 1960 at 30A Stratford Depot in the east end of London and was withdrawn from there after 3090 days in traffic in February 1969. It is currently being restored at Bury on the East Lancashire Railway and further details can be found at www.d8233.org.uk

However, the August 2010 edition of Railways Illustrated was able to report:

"On 19 June at 1100 preservation history was made as Class 15 D8233's Paxman 16YHXL engine burst into life.  It was allowed to run for a short period then shut down to allow vital checks to various items, and was then restarted and run for an hour.  The loco is currently minus its cab and one nose end.  The start up is the first time a Class 15 has run in two decades; D8233 last ran in the early 1980s as a heating unit.  The start up is the result of four years hard restoration by a dedicated team and went successfully with only a few minor snags to address.  The successful firing also tested other areas of the loco, such as the cooler group, oil and fuel systems which have all been completely stripped for restoration.  Around 60 000 has been spent to get to this stage and it is estimated it will require at least the same again before it hauls its first passenger train, and another five years work is required.  The engine and generator will now be drained and stored until D8233 has its own control system in place to be able to start it again. 

Project leader Chris Baily said"It's been a very fulfilling event and very emotional for the restoration team.  It just shows what time, patience, passion, vision, planning and sheer hard graft can achieve.  A great morale booster and now we can't wait to get it on a train, we just need the funds to do so."

At the April 2011 Cheltenham GWR Modeller's Exhibition I was also told that, despite their Eastern Region associations, one Class 15 train heating unit was deployed at Cheltenham in the 1970s, being used on the siding north of Lansdown station to keep the carriages of locomotive hauled London trains warm between journeys.  If anyone has any further recollections of this - or better still some pictures - then please email me.




D8233 was built as BTH / Clayton works number 1131 and was introduced to traffic in August 1960 at 30A Stratford Depot in the east end of London and was withdrawn from there after 3090 days in traffic in February 1969. It is currently being restored at Bury on the East Lancashire Railway and further details can be found at www.d8233.org.uk


As can be seen from the pictures illustrating this feature, the Heljan model of D8233 is worth every penny of its asking price - not only in being short enough to use both lines of Universal Works ( unlike Clayton's own Class 17 ) but in the level of detail supplied.  The cabside worksplate is legible and a separate plastic sprue holds both open and closed train indicator discs, sub-solebar access ladders and vacuum pipes.  Optional drawgear also allows the use of tension lock or screw couplings or - in my case - one end of each, allowing the model to look highly realistic from the front while hauling a train of ready-to-run wagons at the rear.


As can be seen from the pictures illustrating this feature, the Heljan model of D8233 is worth every penny of its asking price - not only in being short enough to use both lines of Universal Works ( unlike Clayton's own Class 17 ) but in the level of detail supplied.  The cabside worksplate is legible and a separate plastic sprue holds both open and closed train indicator discs, sub-solebar access ladders and vacuum pipes.  Optional drawgear also allows the use of tension lock or screw couplings or - in my case - one end of each, allowing the model to look highly realistic from the front while hauling a train of ready-to-run wagons at the rear.


Before Nationalisation, most cement was bagged and transported in ordinary covered vans and this trend continued despite the ability of newer freight vehicles to carry cement in bulk.  In 1964, for instance, Standard Wagon of Heywood, Lancashire, built 96 long wheelbase pallet vans for Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Limited.  The same firm's short wheelbase van 177 catches the eye not only because of its yellow livery and white roof but because of its relatively short height compared to the BR Ventilated van next to it.


Before Nationalisation, most cement was bagged and transported in ordinary covered vans and this trend continued despite the ability of newer freight vehicles to carry cement in bulk.  In 1964, for instance, Standard Wagon of Heywood, Lancashire, built 96 long wheelbase pallet vans for Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Limited.  As late as 2000, bagged cement was being carried in bogie Cargowaggons from Moorswater in Cornwall to Hope between Manchester and Sheffield.

The same firm's short wheelbase van 177 catches the eye not only because of its yellow livery and white roof but because of its relatively short height compared to the BR Ventilated van next to it.  It is in fact based on the GWR Iron Mink covered wagon and could also be used to carry explosives to quarries.  Such wagons lasted into the 1950s.

The express passenger speed rated bauxite painted van has four shoe vacuum brake gear under its plywood body with plywood cupboard doors and corrugated ends with one high central vent each.  Although this van conforms closely to BR Diagram 1/213- built by British Rail Faverdale, Darlington and  Ashford Works and Pressed Steel from 1952 to 1961 - other Ventilated van variants included those with planked bodies, LNER pattern eight shoe brake gear, planked cupboard or sliding doors and Oleo hydraulic buffers.  Corrugated van ends had been pioneered by the LMS to minimise damage caused by sliding loads and were widely adopted by British Railways during its first twenty years of existence.


In the 1950s British Railways made the first major attempt at the bulk transit of cement with its L-type container. Loaded at the top and discharged from the bottom the cube-like L-types had a tare (or unladen) weight of around 12 cwt each and could carry 4 tons of cement within a 90 cubic foot capacity. They were painted grey with white lettering on black panels and travelled three at a time on dedicated four wheeled vacuum braked wagons known as Conflat Ls. These wagons – many built to Diagram 1/066 – had holes in their floors to allow the L-type containers to be gravity discharged without unloading.


In the 1950s British Railways made the first major attempt at the bulk transit of cement with its L-type container. Loaded at the top and discharged from the bottom the cube-like L-types had a tare (or unladen) weight of around 12 cwt each and could carry 4 tons of cement within a 90 cubic foot capacity. They were painted grey with white lettering on black panels and travelled three at a time on dedicated four wheeled vacuum braked wagons known as Conflat Ls. These wagons – many built to Diagram 1/066 – had holes in their floors to allow the L-type containers to be gravity discharged without unloading.

Coupled next to the Conflat L is the Ministry of Transport slope-sided variant of the classic all-steel 16 ton mineral wagon.  During the Second World War the Ministry of Transport had taken over Britain's huge fleets of private owner coal and mineral wagons and many slope sided "16 ton mins" were built for it as part of the war effort by Charles Roberts of Wakefield, although Metropolitan Cammell also built examples.

Many of these wagons also had bottom discharge doors, indicated by the presence of two sloping white lines on a black panel on the lower part of the side doors.   However, by 1968 the slope-sided 16 ton mineral wagon would have been something of a rarity compared to the more numerous straight sided versions, some of which were built with bottom discharge doors but, similarly, no drop flaps above the side doors by the Royal Ordnance Factory at Woolwich as part of the run-down of ammunition manufacturing after the Second World War.  

In the early 1950s
The Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company also produced a steel 16 ton mineral wagon for the Ministry of Supply as well as a rivetted take on the basic format for British Railways Western Region and a corresponding all welded design for London Midland Region where the type had originated in the 1930s.

The arguably definitive variant of the 16 ton Mineral wagon, built by Derby Works under both LMS and BR ownership, lacked bottom discharge doors but did feature drop flaps above the side doors, the two ends of the wagon thus being held together by a steel bar in between.  Enshrined as BR Diagram 1/108, these vehicles also lacked continuous vacuum brakes but were fitted with hand operated Morton brake gear applying one shoe to each wheel on one side only.  In fact between 1950 and 1958 over 200 000 wagons were built to Diagram 1/108 by BR workshops and private builders in the biggest wagon building spree in British railway history.  The 16 ton mineral wagon was also the basis for later doorless iron ore tippler wagons.

The 16 ton mineral wagons that were fitted with vacuum brakes actuating first four and then eight brake shoes - and were painted Bauxite rather than grey - were used for industry rather than individual small coal merchants, where the all-steel wagons had finally supplanted wooden bodied ex-Private Owner types by 1964. Indeed, as much wagon load traffic was lost to road transport at the end of the 1960s, many unfitted but welded 16 ton mineral wagons were rebuilt with vacuum brakes and continued to carry large amounts of coal until replaced by even larger hopper wagons in the 1970s.  

By this time, too, although early pressed steel variants had come and gone, there were still a range of detail differences to be found on 16 ton mineral wagons including disc and spoked wheels, plain or ribbed brake levers, axleboxes, three link and Instanter couplings ( screw couplings being reserved for vacuum fitted vehicles ).

As well as wagon load traffic falling from two thirds of BR freight tonnage in 1968 to one fifth in 1976, the 1984 Miner's Strike caused many 16 ton mineral wagons to be damaged by being stored loaded for long periods of time.  After this time, too, the closure of many coalfields made large fleets of 16 ton mineral wagons redundant, most coal now being carried in merry-go-round trains of hopper wagons straight from ports to power stations.

The final use of the 16 ton mineral wagon was thus as a departmental ballast carrier, notably with rectangular holes burned into the sides half way up the bodies to prevent over-filling with spent ballast which is considerably more dense than coal.

As might be expected, the numerous and widely distributed 16 ton mineral wagon was soon represented in the 00 gauge railway boom of the 1950s with the Airfix kit being the best way to create an accurate model with the correct 9' wheelbase.  Early ready to run Wrenn, Graham Farish and Palitoy versions however had a body stretched to fit their standard 10' wheelbase wagon chassis but recent releases seem to have rectified these issues.


The development of the Presflo wagons illustrated above and below is discussed in depth in Gloucester RCW and Cement Wagons with the brown liveried Bulk Cement wagon 52 most closely resembling B887812 of Gloucester's Order 4559 and Lot 3177 of 1958. Barrel-shaped orange and black Readymix Concrete (RMC) PCA wagons of the 1980s would feature Gloucester Floating Axle Suspension while the Chester based trade name of Pozzolanic harks back to the first principles of modern cement composition.


The development of the Presflo wagons illustrated above and below is discussed in depth in Gloucester RCW and Cement Wagons with the brown liveried Bulk Cement wagon 52 most closely resembling B887812 of Gloucester's Order 4559 and Lot 3177 of 1958. Barrel-shaped orange and black Readymix Concrete (RMC) PCA wagons of the 1980s would feature Gloucester Floating Axle Suspension while the Chester based trade name of Pozzolanic harks back to the first principles of modern cement composition.  

Perhaps the most unusual member of the Dapol quartet then is the representation of the Cerebos Presflo carrying salt, a prototype that was also modelled back in the 1970s by Triang Wrenn (Catalogue W4627), albeit with a grey body behind the yellow-on-blue logo.    Cerebos were also associated with the image of a boy chasing a chicken with a salt cellar above the catchphrase "See How It Runs" and the Middlewich, Cheshire, based company also invented Bisto gravy before being absorbed into the Rank Hovis McDougall conglomerate in 1968.  In the 21st century however the name Cerebos has once again been used by an independent company, this time in South Africa.  However, Cerebos traces its name to 1892 when a French chemical engineer decided to mix calcium phosphate with salt and invented dry-pouring salt and combines 'Ceres' - the roman goddess of wheat harvest - and 'os' from the French word for 'bone' that the phosphates in salt strengthen.


Perhaps the most unusual member of the Dapol quartet then is the representation of the Cerebos Presflo carrying salt, a prototype that was also modelled back in the 1970s by Triang Wrenn (Catalogue W4627), albeit with a grey body behind the yellow-on-blue logo.    Cerebos were also associated with the image of a boy chasing a chicken with a salt cellar above the catchphrase "See How It Runs" and the Middlewich, Cheshire, based company also invented Bisto gravy before being absorbed into the Rank Hovis McDougall conglomerate in 1968.  In the 21st century however the name Cerebos has once again been used by an independent company, this time in South Africa.  However, Cerebos traces its name to 1892 when a French chemical engineer decided to mix calcium phosphate with salt and invented dry-pouring salt and combines 'Ceres' - the roman goddess of wheat harvest - and 'os' from the French word for 'bone' that the phosphates in salt strengthen.


Similarly, Gloucester RCW's design and building of the first Cemflo wagons are more fully described in Gloucester RCW and Cement Wagons on this website.


Similarly, Gloucester RCW's design and building of the first Cemflo wagons are more fully described in Gloucester RCW and Cement Wagons on this website.  

However, writing in the October issue of Model Rail, Richard Yeomans of Lutterworth offers these suggesions for improvement.

"First remove the body, cut off very carefully the embossed / moulded solebars to retain the detail, particularly the holes.  Trim the cut sides to the tank / body moulding square and true and glue the solebars back under the tank overhang.  Make up buffer beams and set aside to dry.

Attack the chassis next, by cutting off the incorrect brake gear and filing flat the axleboxes and springs.  Cement in place roller bearing axlebox castings complete with springs - mine were from Modern Traction Kits.  New brake wheels and an air tank must be added.  New buffers, three link coupling and wheelsets were added and the whole painted in a light grey livery.

Decals from the Airfix / Dapol cement Presflo and Langley Models complete the vehicle with the ususaltare and fleet numbers coming from the spares box.  It is possible to save the self-adhesive labels from a good tanker by putting them on greaseproof paper and re-applying them after painting.  It is easy with the short round type but not so easy with the long ones.  Reducing the width really makes a huge difference and proper brake gear and axleboxes give a convincing model."


Both Millom and Dorman Long hopper wagons are very similar to a Charles Roberts of Wakefield design of the early 1930s which was also built by the firm for British Railways after 1948 to Diagram 162.  These wagons - relatively small for their maximum permitted payload - could also carry sand  and limestone ( like iron ore, another mineral necessary for blast furnace iron smelting and twice as dense as coal ) and some examples were fitted with roller bearing axle boxes. Between 1949 and 1959 British Railways acquired  5 270 ironstone hopper wagons built to eight separate diagrams and ranging in capacity from  22 to 33.5 tons.


Just as Cerebos Salt ceased to be an independent company in 1968, so Millom Ironworks closed - 24 ton hopper wagon 261 perhaps having come  south to Feltham for refurbishment and resale with a bonus load of iron ore!

The most southerly town in the old county of Cumberland, Millom began life as the small hamlet of Holborn Hill and the 1841 census gave the population of 356.  By 1855 however, Millom had a population of over 10 000 due to the expansion of iron, shipping,brick, tile and rail industries in the area.  A licence to search for minerals was then granted by the Earl of Lonsdale and iron ore was discovered in 1856.    By 1864 local mines had produced one million tons or ore, the first Millom iron smelting furnace opened in 1866 and the town boomed until the second half of the Twentieth Century.

Thousands of tons of coke arrived by rail at Barrow in Furness and Millom ironworks each day, travelling from West Auckland via Barnard Castle, Stainmoor summit, Kirkby Stephen East, Tebay, Oxenholme, Hindcaster Junction and Arnside.  During the 1950s too, a train full of Durham miners woul follow the same route for convalescence near Ulverston.

The additional wagon legend "Cleator Traffic" refers to another source of iron ore further north in Cumberland which sparked some local controversy in 1878.

The Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway had built an extension in 1869 from Egremont to join the existing Furness Railway line at Sellafield in order to obtain an outlet to the south for the Cleator district iron traffic.  The W. C. & E., although a small company, had prospered and its shareholders had come to regard dividends of 10% as commonplace. 

However, in 1878, the W. C. & E. found their considerable north-bound mineral traffic threatened by the Cleator and Workington Railway, authorised on 27 June 1876.  Furthermore the local traders were pressing for a reduction in the carrying rates.  Just about the same time the London & North Western Railway made overtures to the W.C. & E Company.  The L. N. W. had their stake in West Cumberland in shape of the line from Whitehaven to Workington, Cockermouth and Maryport, as well as their working of the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway, and it is possible that Euston was concerned about the damage which the Cleator & Workington line might do to their traffic.

For much the same reason, the W. C. & E. accepted Euston's offer and was leased to the L. N. W. R. in 1878.  However, the Furness Company  protested vigourously to the L. &. N. W. and also threatened to build their own line into the Cleator District by way of Seascale and Gosforth to Egremont.  As a result the W. C. & E. R. became the joint property of the Furness and L. &. N. W. companies in 1879 and the shareholders were guaranteed 10% perpetuity.

Coupled next to Millom Iron Works wagon 261 is a similar design of hopper carrying coal for Dorman Long, another famous name in iron and steel.   Founded in 1975 when Arthur Dorman and Albert de Laude Long acquired the West Marsh Iron Works in Middlesborough, the company took over the concerns of Bell Brothers and Bolckow and Vaughan in 1929 and diversified into the construction of bridges, most notably the bowstring girder structures over the Tyne at Newcastle and Sydney Harbour.  Other projects included the 1966 Severn Bridge and the Earth Receiving Station at Goonhilly Down, Cornwall.

In 1967 Dorman Long became part of British Steel and in 1982 the engineering part of the business, Redpath Dorman Long, was acquired by Trafalgar House who in 1990 merged it with the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company of Darlington.

Both Millom and Dorman Long hopper wagons are very similar to a Charles Roberts of Wakefield design of the early 1930s which was also built by the firm for British Railways after 1948 to Diagram 162.  These wagons - relatively small for their maximum permitted payload - could also carry sand  and limestone ( like iron ore, another mineral necessary for blast furnace iron smelting and twice as dense as coal ) and some examples were fitted with roller bearing axle boxes. Between 1949 and 1959 British Railways acquired  5 270 ironstone hopper wagons built to eight separate diagrams and ranging in capacity from  22 to 33.5 tons.




While rectangular tanks sufficed for the bulk transport of coal tar, the more volatile products of coal tar - and crude oil - including required petroleum, creosote, ammoniacal liquor, acids and dyes, required cylindrical tank wagons of more advanced design that were introduced from the start of the 20th Century. However, these did not become commonplace until the arrival of specialised rail-connected reception facilities during the 1920s


While rectangular tanks sufficed for the bulk transport of coal tar, the more volatile products of coal tar - and crude oil - including required petroleum, creosote, ammoniacal liquor, acids and dyes, required cylindrical tank wagons of more advanced design that were introduced from the start of the 20th Century. However, these did not become commonplace until the arrival of specialised rail-connected reception facilities during the 1920s.

The main challenge of cylindrical tank wagon design was securing the tank to the frame. The Railway Clearing House produced various drawings to illustrate its recommended methods of fixing, but while these were broadly adopted they were not compulsory and any method could be used which was acceptable to HM Inspector of Railways.

For many years timber was widely used, both for the underframe and the tank mounting by either the saddle or cradle method. In the saddle method, the tank was carried on four transverse bolsters ( or saddles ) while in the cradle method the cylindrical tank was carried on two longitudinal members. Angle iron end stanchions and wooden - or steel and wooden - horizontal beams held the tank longitudinally and the beams were stayed to the underframe by steel rods. The tank was finally secured by holding-down bands and crossed wire ropes.

From the mid 1920s the wire ropes on cylindrical tank wagons were discontinued and a horizontal tie rod was introduced between the stanchion beams. Later on, various bracket mounting techniques and welding were adopted which ultimately led to the monocoque bogie-mounted 100 ton oil wagons that run on Britain's railways in the 21st Century.

Wagon 202, above, is in the red-brown of Olympia Oil and Cake Mills, founded before the First World War by Joseph Watson (10 February 1873–13 March 1922), later the First Baron Manton.  

Joseph Watson was the son of George Watson who had in turn succeeded from his father - also named Joseph - as head of soap manufacturer Joseph Watson & Sons which had grown in 1820 from a hide tanning business based near Leeds.  However, it was the Repton-educated third generation Joseph - also a director of the London and North Western Railway - who expanded the medium sized concern into a rival for William Lever of Port Sunlight fame.

Despite a failed pre-War attempt by Watson and William Lever to monopolise the soap market both "Soapy Joe" and his Wirral-based rival founded the Planter's Margarine Company Limited in Godley, Chesire, in November 1914 in response to Government anxiety at the wartime loss of Dutch supplies.

Joseph Watson supplied Planter's from his own Olympia Oil & Cake Co. Ltd. at Selby, Yorkshire, which operated the largest linseed oil crushing and refining plant in Europe and also hardened whale oil.  Indeed, a 'village estate' of worker's housing was built by the Olympia Oil and Cake Co. in Barlby, East Yorkshire, soon after 1910 which had grown to 350 houses by 1938 while the only surviving village pub is the Olympia Hotel, opened in 1921 and depicting seed-crushing machinery on its sign.

Although Joseph Watson's organisational skills helped alleviate the British shell supply crisis of the conflict against the Kaiser, it was The Olympia Oil and Cake Company's cake by-product used to fatten livestock that almost played a very sinister role in the struggle against Hitler's Germany.

The aim of Operation Vegetarian in the summer of 1944 was to wipe out the German beef and dairy herds and then spread the bacterium to the human population. With people then having no access to antibiotics, this would have caused many thousands of German men, women and children to suffer awful deaths.  

Having said that,  a recently declassified memorandum dated August 1939 revealed MI6 feared a similar anthrax attack on Britain's livestock and water supply by Germany and that the outbreak of war might also see Nazi agents spreading lethal germs on the London Underground system and even trying to poison Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's milk on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street.

Dr Paul Fildes, director of the biology department at Porton Down near Salisbury in Wiltshire, had spent early 1942 searching Britain for suppliers and manufacturers of linseed-oil cattle cake to make five million small cakes.

The raw material for the cake was provided by the Olympia Oil and Cake Company in Blackburn while the contract to cut the cattle cake into small pieces went to J & E Atkinson of Bond Street, perfumers and toilet-soap manufacturers and suppliers to the Royal Family. Atkinsons calculated that they could produce 180,000 to 250,000 cakes, each 2.5cm in diameter and 10 grammes in weight, in a 44-hour week. The price was to be between 12 and 15 shillings per thousand. The London firm pledged to deliver 5,273,400 cakes by April 1943 and by the middle of July 1942 were producing 40 000 per day.

The anthrax was manufactured by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries at its veterinary laboratory in Surrey. Oxford academic Dr E Schuster was set to work devising the pump to inject the bacilli into the cattle cakes and thirteen women were then recruited from various soap-making firms, sworn to secrecy and given the job of injecting the cattle cakes with anthrax spores.

The infected cattle cakes were then packed four hundred at a time in cardboard containers ready to be launched from wooden trays fitted on to the flare chutes of RAF Bomber Command's four engined heavy bombers.  Operation Vegetarian was specifically timed to begin when the lush spring grass was on the wane in Germany's cattle country of the northern half of Oldenburg and northwest Hanover.

It was further calculated that aircraft flying to and from Berlin would cover over 60 miles of grazing land in 18 minutes at a speed of 300 mph with one box of tablets dispersed every two minutes so that a dozen aircraft would have been enough to contaminate most of Northern Germany's countryside.

In the event, the successful Allied invasion of Normandy caused Operation Vegetarian to be abandoned and at the end of 1945, five million anthrax-infected cattle cakes were incinerated in one of Porton Down's furnaces although the testing ground for this experiement in biological warfare -Gruinard Island, off Wester Ross - was only fully decontaminated in 1990.

The Olympia Oil and Cake Company - whose 14 ton tank wagons also sometimes carried molasses - finally merged with British Oil and Cake Mills in the early 1950s.  As such wagon 202 would be something of an anachronism in 1968 but once again it could have been a training exercise for the apprentices - and perhaps heading for the then-new railway preservation movement.  Certain British oil companies were at the time in the habit of giving old wagons to heritage lines to store water in return for the free advertising potential of their retained logos.

Rothervale fleet number 48 - modelled by Bachmann - meanwhile is of a slightly more modern design and represents what was effectively the colliery division of the United Steel Companies Limited from 1918.  The Rothervale Colliery Company sprang from Fence Colliery, sunk in 1862, while United Steel's antecedents included Steel Peech and Tozer of Rotherham, the Workington Iron and Steel Company and United Coke and Chemicals Company, which operated coke ovens at Orgreave and Brookhouse and distilled tar transported from Workington as well as supplying coke to Appleby Frodingham steelworks in Scunthorpe.  Rothervale open wagons delivered gas coal to, among other places, Gloucester and despite much of its fleet being built in or near Yorkshire two orders - each for 100 vehicles - went to The Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited in 1923 and 1925.


Arguably the most famous tank wagon ever to appear as a 4mm scale kit was of Esso Class B 3300, first injection moulded by Rosebud Kitmaster, then Airfix, and now sold under the Dapol banner. In comparison with the other designs discussed above, this wagon has a simple yet elegant twin-saddle attachment between cylinder and chassis although the 22' 6" cylinder noticeably stops short of the full length of the chassis ( 27' 9 3/4" over buffers ) and is far enough inside the loading gauge to permit sub-solebar length ladders to be attached amidships. Other visible refinements include roller bearing axle boxes and two brake blocks acting on each wheel. The latter were applied either by manual lever during shunting or by twin vacuum cylinders as part of a vacuum brake fitted train. Like later airbraked monocoque tank wagons, the buffers were either hydraulic or pneumatic.


Arguably the most famous tank wagon ever to appear as a 4mm scale kit was of Esso Class B 3300, first injection moulded by Rosebud Kitmaster, then Airfix, and now sold under the Dapol banner. In comparison with the other designs discussed above, this wagon has a simple yet elegant twin-saddle attachment between cylinder and chassis although the 22' 6" cylinder noticeably stops short of the full length of the chassis ( 27' 9 3/4" over buffers ) and is far enough inside the loading gauge to permit sub-solebar length ladders to be attached amidships. Other visible refinements include roller bearing axle boxes and two brake blocks acting on each wheel. The latter were applied either by manual lever during shunting or by twin vacuum cylinders as part of a vacuum brake fitted train. Like later airbraked monocoque tank wagons, the buffers were either hydraulic or pneumatic.

The two stars are also a clue that this 15' wheelbase Class B wagon was designed with the post 1955 Modernised British Railways in mind and intended to be run at over 45 mph without frequent inspection stops during transit. Such special treatment was made necessary by the general age and obsolescent design of Britain's tank wagon fleets, which had not been Nationalised along with the rest of British Railway in 1948.

In 1956 the Esso Petroleum Company Limited approached British Railways to design a maximum capacity four wheeled tank wagon within the existing 35 ton gross laden weight limit and more than 800 examples of this pattern were constructed by various builders to carry both Class A and B liquids. Load discharges were to be controlled by an internal rod and plug operated by a handwheel on top of the tank barrel, some 12' 6" above rail level. The same wagon design was also built for operators such as TSL in the early 1950s by Powell Duffryn of Cardiff, later to absorb the remains of the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company.

In the case of Esso's Class B variants the loads would have included diesel fuel and kerosenes with steam coils fitted to assist the offloading of heavy fuel oils. An alternative way of heating tar ( also known as bitumen ashphalt ) from its room temperature solid state to fluid aboard post Second World War wagons was by means of flame tubes. These would be set low on the wagon ends and end in a chimney at the top, the heat being provided at the discharge location by means of a gas lance.

Indeed, one of my earliest memories of visiting the East Somerset Railway at Cranmore was walking toward the steam locomotives saved by David Shepherd past lines of what looked like petrol tankers that had been set on fire! Luckily the "SUKO" ( short for Shell UK Oil ) wagons did not explode but just wafted warm tar as they prepared for bottom discharge of their loads - possibly sourced from Californian crude oil or the tar sands of Trinidad.
Unlike petrol carrying Class A tank wagons, Class B vehicles were permitted to be coupled next to guards vans and locomotives without any intervening barrier vehicle.

The "Toad" brake van first appeared on the Great Western Railway in the days of George Jackson Churchward and the final batch were built at Swindon under British Railways in 1949 as Lot 2099.  Despite offering a more comfortable ride and twice the braking power of equivalent shorter wheelbase ten ton brake vans used on other railways, the brake wheel of the Toad was located on the open verandah rather than inside the cabin.  This led the design being banned from main line use by the 1970s due to trade union pressure.


In addition to the London bus and scooter, period road traffic variety for Nearly Feltham was also sourced from the collection of Ron Brooks which has very kindly now been placed at my disposal.  However, looking through Ron's extensive list, only a few of his military vehicles would have been out and about on British roads in 1968 although there was enough from the Alvis FV 600 range to make this small convoy.



In addition to the London bus and scooter, period road traffic variety for Nearly Feltham was also sourced from the collection of Ron Brooks which has very kindly now been placed at my disposal.  However, looking through Ron's extensive list, only a few of his military vehicles would have been out and about on British roads in 1968 although there was enough from the Alvis FV 600 range to make this small convoy.


Although ordered after the Saladin armoured car that it was based on, the Saracen FV603 armoured personnel carrier was rushed into British army service for the Malayan Emergency of 1948-1960.


Although ordered after the 6x6 FV 601 Saladin armoured car that it was based on, the Saracen FV 603 armoured personnel carrier was rushed into British army service for the Malayan Emergency of 1948-1960.  

As well as a commander, driver and radio operator, the Saracen - powered by an160 bhp 8 cylinder Rolls Royce B80 Mk6A petrol engine - could also carry a nine man rifle section which normally dismounted to fight but could also use firing ports in the sides and rear doors of the 10 170 Kg vehicle.  

The Mark 1 Saracen had a small turret mounting a.30" L3A3 machine gun although from the Mark 2 this was replaced by the same turret as found on the Fox armoured car.  A.303" Bren gun was also carried for anti-aircraft defence, being fitted to a ring mount on the rear hull which was manned through a liding hatch on the roof. Two sets of three smoke grenade launchers were also fitted to the front wings.

The Mark 3 Saracen was designed for use in hot climates and featured a reverse flow cooling system which drew air through raised louvres on the engine deck and discharged it through the front radiator grille.  A cowl was fitted over the front and exhaust outlet ducts at the rear were removed.

Ron's model is in fact a hybrid of all three marks, and the basic shape of the Saracen was unfortunately to become associated with the Northern Ireland Troublesin the decades from 1969.



As well as a commander, driver and radio operator, the Saracen - powered by an160 bhp 8 cylinder Rolls Royce B80 Mk6A petrol engine - could also carry a nine man rifle section which normally dismounted to fight but could also use firing ports in the sides and rear doors of the 10 170 Kg vehicle.



Development of the FV601 Saladin armoured car began in 1947 but due to specification changes, including the main armament, the first two prototypes were not delivered until 1953.  Production finally began at the Alvis works in Coventry in 1958 and when it ceased in 1972 1 177 Saladins had been built and sold to twenty different countries.  Manned by a driver, gunner and commander/gun loader, the Saladin is  - in this instance - fitted with a 6mm L5A1 gun firing squash head high explosive rounds and two six-barelled smoke grenade launchers.  Other Saladin formats also include one or more 7.62mm machine guns.




Development of the FV601 Saladin armoured car began in 1947 but due to specification changes, including the main armament, the first two prototypes were not delivered until 1953.  Production finally began at the Alvis works in Coventry in 1958 and when it ceased in 1972 1 177 Saladins had been built and sold to twenty different countries.  Manned by a driver, gunner and commander/gun loader, the Saladin is  - in this instance - fitted with a 6mm L5A1 gun firing squash head high explosive rounds and two six-barelled smoke grenade launchers.  Other Saladin formats also include one or more 7.62mm machine guns.




While the Saladin and Saracen were built from JB ( now Airfix ) kits, the Alvis FV620 Stalwart amphibious lorry was a scratch built project started by Ron which I finished off with glazing, hatch and other small details and Humbrol 75 Matt Bronze Green paint.




While the Saladin and Saracen were built from JB ( now Airfix ) kits, the Alvis FV620 Stalwart amphibious lorry was a scratch built project started by Ron which I finished off with glazing, hatch and other small details and Humbrol 75 Matt Bronze Green paint.

Perhaps best remembered from the Airfix 1/32 scale ready-assembled model and the white BP Exploration liveried Matchbox die cast, the "Stolly" - looking like a cross between a boat, a truck and a sci-fi moon rover - first appeared in 1959 but did not enter British army service until 1966.  In fact only the prototype of the "Stalwart C" commercial variant was ever built.

Based on the Alvis Salamander fire truck, the role of the Stalwart was that of general amphibious transport truck, many units being fitted with a hydraulic crane and raised central canvas tilt support. Unfortunately, rapid technical advancement in helicopter design rendered its usefulness in all-terrain load carrying prematurely obsolete.

Access to the Stalwart is by climbing on to the cab roof  ahead of the frameless steel hull and then down into one of the submarine type hatches.  Once inside, the driving position is both central and ahead of the front axle while the two passenger windows can be slid up and down.  

This particular model represents the Alvis FV622 Mark 2 variant with the lower edges of the cab windows angled downwards rather than horizontal. This was to improve visibility at close-range, particularly when being marshalled by a banksman standing nearby.  

Maximum speed on land is claimed to be 40mph - at about 4.5 mpg - and trenches up to five feet wide can be tackled with impunity.  Indeed, the all-independent torsion bar suspension is so specifically configured for rough terrain that if driven on hard surfaces, the amount of transmission wind-up generated is self destructive.

The Stolly is also designed to be driven loaded - with five tons of stores on the loading deck over the engine or ten tons being towed. Driving it 'unloaded' caused increased wear on the drivelines to the wheels as a result of the increased angle of mesh of the joints. As an alternative, the Alvis Stalwart could also carry 38 fully equipped troops or the Gloster Saro Bulk Refuelling Pack.

Before taking to the water the driver must switch on the bilge pumps and go through a checklist of other items.  Manoeuvrability in water is good, with steering being achieved by a combination of vectored thrust from the PTO driven twin Dowty water-jet propulsion units, and the road wheels. Speed through water is said to be about 6 knots.