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WAGON REPAIR DIORAMA : ALL CHANGE

 
 

   
 

The April 2006 GWR Modellers Exhibition in aid of CLIC Sargeant marked the first outing for this diorama, based on a rural outstation of Wagon Repairs Ltd and designed to display my growing collection of models of wooden private owner coal and other wagons built by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited.

 
 

   
  Although already popular at railway film nights staged by Gloucester Cine and Video Club from 2004, the April 2006 GWR Modellers Exhibition in aid of CLIC Sargeant marked the first exhibition outing for this diorama, based on a rural outstation of Wagon Repairs Ltd and designed to display my growing collection of models of wooden private owner coal and other wagons built by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited.

It had been inspired by the acquisition of a section of layout that was about to be thrown away by a member of Gloucester's Phoenix Model Railway Club. However, even before I cut the ends square to fit the kind of diorama box that I had already built for aircraft from the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection I realised that a pick-up goods train meandering along a single line following the contours of a hillside was simply not enough to display the even part of the range of Gloucester wagon models then available.

The new diorama would have to be a goods yard, but one that exploited the different levels of the landscape to show off the wagons to the best effect. In fact the finished product - measuring 1 000 x 420 x 130 mm ( the last dimension being with lid closed ) - could hold as many as 36 four wheeled wagons.

For this reason I added three new tracks with a coal office and lineside bunkers nearest the perspex front - which the front of the bunkers helped hold in place. Also helping to hold the wide but shallow length of perspex upright ( an issue addressed in later dioramas by double thickness end walls ) was a board to which was adhered my small collection of "G" and Wagon Repair plates. Also filling a space on the skyline at the back of the scenic area was the Wagon Repairs building itself, represented by the classic Airfix / Dapol engine shed. This was not only a timeless Victorian structure but also just the right height to support the wooden lid of the diorama box when not in upright display mode. Similarly, rather than clearing all the flash from the injection moulded window frames I used the excess plastic to represent broken panes that had been boarded up.

Incidentally, the Vickers Wellesley on the right in the picture above was surplus to the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection and was sold in aid of CLIC Sargeant.

 
 

   
  Unlike their steel successors, wooden private owner coal wagons could be repaired and repainted better than new at branches of Wagon Repairs Ltd around the railway network. Note the boarded up workshop window, cracked by mining subsidence, and two different Crook & Greenway wagons.  
 

   
  Unlike their steel successors, wooden private owner coal wagons could be repaired and repainted better than new at branches of Wagon Repairs Ltd around the railway network. Note the boarded up workshop window, cracked by mining subsidence, and two different Crook & Greenway wagons.  
 

   
  On the lid, the back story of the diorama was described as follows:

It is lunchtime on a working day in the autumn of 1938. Somewhere between the Severn and the Taff, Mr Black the coal merchant has locked up his invoices and crossed the road in search of fish and chips. The men of the Wagon Repair company have also laid down their chisels and paint brushes, locked the big red doors of their shed and trudged down the tracks to the colliery canteen. As they eat, the wireless brings them George Formby on the BBC Light Programme and maybe coal industry news. Times are hard and the mine struggles for profit as the ground settles and subsides. Mr Black’s old coal office collapsed and has been replaced by the latest concrete design! Perhaps there will be word of another railway speed record - or more ominously of talk between Mr Chamberlain and Herr Hitler. Can war in Europe be averted, or will the parade of bright liveries on wagons made better than new be replaced by the dull shades of austerity and state control? The end of a century long era of carrying coal in private owner wagons might be close at hand, but while everyone had gone, let us have a look at the vehicles they have left behind.

The wagons displayed at Cheltenham in April 2006 were in the markings of the following users and have since been described in GRCW Private Owner Coal Wagon Chronology:

Adler & Allan, Asquith & Tompkins, I.W. Baldwin, Blandford, Clee Hill Granite, Alexander Crane, Critchlow & Sheppard, Crook & Greenway ( two examples of the same wagon ), Easter Iron Mines, George & Matthews, Great Western Railwayman's Coal, Matthew Grist, The Harts Hill Iron Company, Hockaday & Co, W. Miles, S.J. Moreland & Sons, A.E. Moody, Morris and Griffin, Pates, Pontithel Chemical, Powell Gwinnell, Princess Royal, AJ Salter, F.H. Silvey, Somerset Trading Company, J. Taylor, E.T. Ward, Webb Hall & Webb, Richard Webster, Mark Williams, Wimberry Colliery, Winchcombe Coal Company, W.E. Wise.

 
 

   
  DIFFERENT TRAINS  
 

   
  One advantage of the Wagon Repair diorama is that although possessing enough detail to enhance the display of private owner coal wagons it is also generic enough to be used as a photographic background for such exotica as a Western Maryland 2-8-0 or as an exhibition diorama for other British rolling stock and motive power.  
 

   
  April 2007, for instance, found the blue box back at St Margaret's Hall with a Class 47 themed display called Sulzer Gold Cup featuring 47 583 "COUNTY OF HERTFORDSHIRE", 47 628 "SIR DANIEL GOOCH, 47 709 "THE LORD PROVOST", 47 475, 47 522 "DONCASTER ENTERPRISE" and 47 363 "BILLINGHAM ENTERPRISE". All of these locomotives were subsequently described in The Class 47 Connection and the back story to the display was as follows:  
 

   
  One advantage of the Wagon Repair diorama is that although possessing enough detail to enhance the display of private owner coal wagons it is also generic enough to be used as a photographic background for such exotica as a Western Maryland 2-8-0 or as an exhibition diorama for other British rolling stock and motive power.

April 2007, for instance, found the blue box back at St Margaret's Hall with a Class 47 themed display called Sulzer Gold Cup featuring 47 583 "COUNTY OF HERTFORDSHIRE", 47 628 "SIR DANIEL GOOCH, 47 709 "THE LORD PROVOST", 47 475, 47 522 "DONCASTER ENTERPRISE" and 47 363 "BILLINGHAM ENTERPRISE". All of these locomotives were subsequently described in The Class 47 Connection and the back story to the display was as follows:

 
 

   
  Just imagine. It is a March morning in 1990 and all tracks lead to Cheltenham. Heavy double headed trains from the North have little time to unload their eager passengers at Lansdown Station.

To release the main line for other services, the charter stock heads south to the still–extensive sidings at Sharpness. Here the locomotives will run round their Mark I stock, ready to take the punters home after the last of the horses have galloped to a photo finish.

While they are uncoupled and waiting for signal clearance, let us examine the markings on the range of Sulzer powered Class 47 diesel electrics – now so rarely seen in on a privatised Twenty First Century network dominated by foreign built freight locomotives and multiple unit trains.

 
 

   
  PERMANENT EXHIBITION  
 

   
  Happily though, the re-organisation of the Dean Forest Railway Museum at Norchard under the curation of John Metherall in late 2008 offered a chance for the Wagon Repair diorama to be permanently exhibited as a meeting point for nearby exhibits of both model railway and Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company interest. From the Dean Forest Railway history perspective too, the diorama scenery would need little tweaking to capture the flavour of the Lydney Junction's sidings as they would have been a century ago.  
 

   
  While it would have been possible to continue displaying other permutations of rolling stock and motive power at model railway exhibitions and other related events, it was becoming obvious from Autumn 2007 onwards that many exhibition organisers preferred to see wagons in motion on my Capital Works layout which, from my point of view, was easier to store and handle. In addition, storage space at home was now scarce for new projects based on experienced gained from an increasing presence on the Gloucestershire model engineering exhibition circuit.

Happily though, the re-organisation of the Dean Forest Railway Museum at Norchard under the curation of John Metherall in late 2008 offered a chance for the Wagon Repair diorama to be permanently exhibited as a meeting point for nearby exhibits of both model railway and Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company interest. From the Dean Forest Railway history perspective too, the diorama scenery would need little tweaking to capture the flavour of the Lydney Junction's sidings as they would have been a century ago.

 


  Naturally, John was keen to acquire a fleet of wagons that would have been either based in or regularly visited the Forest of Dean to fill the box and I was happy to nominally sign these over to the Museum, there still being plenty of candidates for operational use on Capital Works.  
 

   
  Naturally, John was keen to acquire a fleet of wagons that would have been either based in or regularly visited the Forest of Dean to fill the box and I was happy to nominally sign these over to the Museum, there still being plenty of candidates for operational use on Capital Works.

On a more practical level, the diorama box designed for supervised use in a controlled environment would need modification for an often unsupervised museum. This was achieved by replacing the wooden lid with a sheet of 8mm perspex, supplied by Haden-Browne Plastics of 278 Barton Street Gloucester ( 01452 525314 ) The new stiff but transparent lid was once again supported by the brick building and united with the front perspex wall by angled aluminium screwed into the wooden side walls. The whole assembly - further strengthened at the back by more angled aluminium - was then screwed to the wall behind the glass cabinet it rested on.

 
 

   
   
 

   
  Among the Forest of Dean based wagons now on display at the Dean Forest Railway Museum at Norchard are those once operated by I.W. Baldwin & Co of Ruardean, Wimberry Colliery, Charles P. Teague of Barber's Bridge and Easter Iron Mines of Coleford. Visiting Lydney Junction though might well have been wagons belonging to Crook and Greenway of Cheltenham and R.A. Lister of Dursley. This is particularly apt as a Lister Auto-Truck is on display in the Museum just a few feet from this cabinet.  
 

   
  he Dean Forest Railway Museum has much to offer the model railway rolling stock enthusiast. Just across from this cabinet is an early N gauge layout while immediately below the representation of Lydney Junction goods yard is a Great Western 2-6-2T hauling one of the company's B sets. Each Great Western B set comprised a pair of carriages with brake - or guards - accommodation at the outermost ends. This meant that the guard of a branch line train could easily switch vehicles as the locomotive ran round the B set at a terminus, allowing him to be at the rear of the train again on departure. From this practice sprang the auto coach and steam and diesel railcar, culminating in the multiple unit trains seen everywhere in Britain today.  
 

   
  The Dean Forest Railway Museum has much to offer the model railway rolling stock enthusiast. Just across from this cabinet is an early N gauge layout while immediately below the representation of Lydney Junction goods yard is a Great Western 2-6-2T hauling one of the company's B sets. Each Great Western B set comprised a pair of carriages with brake - or guards - accommodation at the outermost ends. This meant that the guard of a branch line train could easily switch vehicles as the locomotive ran round the B set at a terminus, allowing him to be at the rear of the train again on departure. From this practice sprang the auto coach and steam and diesel railcar, culminating in the multiple unit trains seen everywhere in Britain today.  
 

   
   


 
 The following 4mm scale Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited models - arranged below in user and date order - are currently displayed at Norchard:


COLLIERIES

MERCHANTS AND FACTORS

INDUSTRIAL USERS

1883? Bernard Edwards & Brown 10
1890 Princess Royal 56
1892    W.Miles 5
1893    Samuel Jeffries 7 1893 Harris & Co 21
1895    Harry Howell Beak 2
1896 Wimberry 2
1897 Princess Royal 250 1897    Terrett Taylor & Sons 3

c 1900  Charles P. Teague 4

1901 Matthew Grist 2

1902?  H. Blandford 7 

1902    Palmer & Sawdye 16

1904    Critchlow & Sheppard 15

1905    E.T. Ward 4
1905    Winchcombe 7

1906    I.W. Baldwin 15 

1906    Pates & Co 22

1906 Evans Adlard 1
1907    A.E. Moody 1
1909    Henry Heaven 1


1910 R.A. Lister 1

1911   Crook & Greenway 2


1911 Easter Iron Mines 4
1924   Dudley & Gibson 101

 


Now though, Evans Adlard wagon number one - of which another Dapol example is on display at Norchard - can be added to Gloucester RCW's hall of fame with a back story that is even more fascinating than that of the coal merchant's vehicles on either side of it.


Thanks to the continuing efforts of such pioneering historians as Ian Pope and Keith Turton, the frontiers of our knowledge of the private owner coal wagons built by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited are constantly being pushed back.

As a result, more ready to run 4mm scale models are being positively identified as having been built in Bristol Road, Gloucester.  For example, the picture above of David Boot and Joshua Hall's Packwood Bridge layout - as displayed at the Cheltenham GWR Modeller's Exhibition in aid of CLIC Sargeant in October 2007 - shows Ex LMS Royal Scot 4-6-0 46140 "The King's Royal Rifle Corps" behind seven plank wagons from the Winchcombe Coal Company and Powell Gwinnell that have been discussed elsewhere on this website.

Now though, Evans Adlard wagon number one - of which another Dapol example is on display at Norchard - can be added to Gloucester RCW's hall of fame with a back story that is even more fascinating than that of the coal merchant's vehicles on either side of it.

In 1789 Postlip Mill, Winchcombe, was one of the largest paper mills in England and in 1824 the estate of Postlip Hall  - including Postlip MIl - was sold to William Searle Evans.  Evans, Adlard and Company rented Postlip Mill from 1849 until 1876 when they purchased it outright.

When James Evans, the senior partner in the firm, died the company comprised William Gates Adlard and his sons William and Edward.  William Gates Adlard retired in 1881 leaving Edward in charge.  Frank Bird, Edward Adlard's brother in law, was taken on as a partner until he retired in 1919.  By that time Evans and Adlard had offices at 36 Moor Street, Birmingham and were manufacturing account books as well dealing in other paper products. In all, around 400 tons of paper were leaving Postlip Mill each week in this period.

Edward Adlard retired in 1929 and his son Frank joined Postlip Mill after the Second World War when the business passed to hi son Robert and Edward Milvain, another grandson of Edward Adlard.

Originally powered by water, Postlip Mill turned to steam in 184 but the coal had to be hauled over the Cotswold hills from the nearest station.  With the opening of the Cheltenham to Honeybourne line throughout in 1906 the decision was taken to purchase railway wagons to bring coal to Winchcombe station on what in 2010 is the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway.

Three 12 ton six-plank wagons were thus ordered from the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited in October 1906 at a cost of 67.00 each.  GRCW official photograph 3280 of October 1906 shows black painted white-lettered wagon 1 as having a tare weight of 6-4-2 and internal dimensions of 15' 6" x 7' 4" x 4'.  Both side doors had a hinged top plank above them, door gap-fillers and a wooden door stop on the non-brake side only.  Evans, Adlard & co. number 1 was registered with the Great Western Railway and had two G-plates on the wooden solebar. A repair contract was also taken out with the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited in November 1913 for a seven year term.

One possible source of coal for Evans, Adlard  was Lydbrook Colliery with the wagons travelling either by way of Lydney and Gloucester or Ross, Hereford and Honeybourne.