While Ming Ing: A Liberal Approach to Transport History described the development and realisation of my first urban 4mm scale diorama, this article looks at some of the vehicles populating the roads on its debut at Cheltenham in April 2013.
Now calling York rather than Brentwood in Essex home was the green and cream liveried City fleet, comprising Code 3 repaints of two closed double decked and one open topped 1950s vintage AEC Regent produced by Exclusive First Editions.
Both closed deck Regents carried destination blinds for Route 4 to High Street Post Office while the one with the licence plate HD6141 advertised Suffolk based Tolly Ales and Stouts and Moorhouses Marmalade rather than Brewmaster Pale Ales and Brooke Bond Tea.
Moorhouses Marmalade was more local to York, having been founded by William Moorhouse as a manufacturer of Lemon Cheese in Leeds in 1887 and continuing as an independent concern until joining Chivers and Hartley jams as part of Schweppes in 1959. Brooke Bond tea meanwhile will forever be associated in my mind at least with the collectable card series which lasted from the 1950s to 1999 and still remain a source of key facts on a range of vital subjects.
Dinky Toys meanwhile formed the basis for the City fleet’s Leyland Atlantean bus, produced with a range of bodies from 1958 to 1986 and which pioneered the modern concept of rear engined PSVs with driver only operation to cut the cost of conductors. Dulux Paint is happily still in production and was extensively used in the making of Ming Ing.
While City Coaches offered guided tours of York and booked excursions further afield from their corner travel agency, the company depot also fuelled, cleansed and repaired visiting coaches and buses, including 1964 vintage ex London Transport open top AEC Routemaster 812 belonging to East Yorkshire Motor Services. Also currently trading as Scarborough and District Motor Services in and around the Yorkshire seaside resort, EYMS were founded in 1926 with headquarters in Hull.
The AEC AV 590 engined Routemaster 5RM entered service with a closed Park Royal body as London Transport fleet number RM2065 and was one of three Routemasters acquired in the 1980s by William Gash and Sons to compete with Lincolnshire Road Car on Newark town services. Due to maintenance difficulties, Gash were eventually bought by Lincolnshire Road Car in 1989 and ALM 65B passed to East Yorkshire Motor Services as an open topper.
The 4mm scale die cast model carried the Exclusive First Editions number 38501.
J Fishwick and Sons liveried Plaxton Panorama C41F bodied Leyland Leopard – with the registration XTB 188D – and Van Hool T9 – with the licence plate YJ 06 LGA – were acquired as part of the Corgi Original Omnibus set OM49902 issued to commemorate the Leyland, Lancashire, firm’s 2007 centenary. In 1907 John Fishwick started a haulage business in Leyland with a steam lorry, later utilising a charabanc body on its flat bed for services to local markets. In 1910 John purchased his first purpose built bus from local supplier Leyland Motors and today Fishwick buses still run to Chorley, Preston and Penwortham while the coach fleet travels as far afield as Poland and The Ring of Kerry.
XTB 188D was new to J Fishwick and Sons in July 1966 and served until 1977 when it was sold to Leyland Paints before a further transfer to XRB Commercials at Randalstown, Eire in May 1983.
The design of YJ 06 LGA meanwhile dates back to the 1990s when T9s replaced the Alizee of 1978. Van Hool of Belgium manufactures approximately 1,400 buses and coaches, and as many as 4,000 commercial vehicles annually of which 80 % are exported worldwide. With a workforce of over 4,000, the company is a major bus manufacturer in Europe, offering a complete range of buses for public transport for international markets, ranging from a 9 m midi bus to a 25 m double articulated low floor PSV.
Forestdale Coaches of Addington, Croydon in Surrey is a small company with owners Mr and Mrs V. Holub taking turns to drive their one coach. On start up in September 1988 this was E95 EPF – the last LAG Galaxy to be imported into the UK and already second hand which was replaced by a brand new Duple 425 – G981 OGJ – in January 1990. In August 1995 this was in turn supplanted by a new Bova Futura N1 FOR – while in November 1999 Forestdale became the first operator of the newly restyled Bova Futura, as represented by V1 FOR in Corgi’s Original Omnibus die cast 45304. Today, Forestdale Coaches operate their own day excursion and short breaks programme as well as a growing private hire customer base which takes vehicles as far away as Europe.
As can be seen from the resident City fleet at Ming Ing, age is no barrier to continued 21st Century PSV working and, as with the Derwent Valley Light Railway, neither is death in the real world. OTT 89 began work for Southern National in January 1954 a with 41 seat front entrance aluminium ECW body 7169 attached to Bristol LS6G chassis 101.135. Exeter Depot’s fleet number 1380 then returned to Lowestoft in January 1962 for conversion to a 39 seat body (ECW rebuild R811, as modelled by EFE 16215) before being transferred with the same fleet number to Western National at Bideford, Devon, in November 1969. By May 1970 however, OTT 89 had been sold first to dealer W. Norths (PV) Ltd at Sherburn-in-Elmet, Yorkshire, and then to the Ipswich Coach Company Limited. Guildford based Asian Greyhound became the vehicle’s fourth operator, which further modified the body to C35F format in August 1973, before disposing of OTT 89 in November 1976. It was then scrapped in May 1978.
I bought Oxford Diecast’s model of a Scania Topline breakdown truck in Crouch Recovery (76SCA02REC) markings as a joke against myself as my knees are not as powerful as they used to be when I need to stand up off the floor, but the orange livery designed for the firm by Kevin Reegan of Burton on Trent and the distinctive registration M40 TOW adds a splash of colour to any diorama as well as being a welcome sight to any stranded trucker.
Established in 1948, Crouch Recovery now operates a fleet of about 30 heavy and light recovery vehicles including mobile cranes, low loaders and heavy winch tractors and can tackle all aspects of vehicle recovery from a flat battery or wheel change on a car to the largest goods vehicle or plant in any situation.
Crouch Recovery operate from two depots, Kibworth ( Market Harborough) and Lutterworth and have acquired many commercial contracts in around Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, although in this instance I imagined that there was a truck aiming to reach York from the Midlands but failing to proceed, after which all concerned deserved one of Samuel and Eleanor’s celebrated All Day Breakfasts.
Collett Transport was set up over 40 years ago in Keighley, Yorkshire, when David’s father and grandfather started the firm of Richard Collett trading as R Collett & Sons. Original loads were a lot lighter than today’s 150-tonne STGO CAT3 traffic, as Collett carried churns on flatbed lorries for the Milk Marketing Board (MMB). The introduction of the UK to the Common Market in 1971 sounded the end of transporting milk by churns and Richard decided not to invest in tankers and Collett began to establish itself as a general haulage operator.
Today R. Collett & Sons (Transport) Ltd specialises in general haulage, heavy transport, warehousing, distribution and handling. The company owns a modern fleet of over 40 vehicles and 70 trailers which are fully maintained in-house on a purpose designed 5 acre site. The day to day running of the transport operations is fully computerized, and all vehicles are fitted with GSM phones.
Employees of R. Collett & Sons (Transport) Ltd wear uniforms and are put through the in-house training program which focuses on LGV, Hazchem, Forklift truck and associated specialist operations. BX 08 CGU, modelled here by Oxford Diecast, is another variation on the MAN TGX XXL 6×4 tractor, this time with an eight axle trailer, and makes an interesting comparison with a similar prime mover – also modelled by Oxford Diecast – in the fleet of Eric Vick of Gloucestershire.
As a firm already based in Yorkshire, R. Collett & Sons (Transport) Ltd would have been the ideal candidates to deliver any heavy objects being loaned from London’s Imperial War Museum to other museums during its refurbishment in early 2013, including (in my imagination) a journey to Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum near Malton with the M3A3 Grant tank used by Lieutenant General ( Later Field Marshall Lord ) Montgomerywhile in command of the British Eighth Army. Like its cousin the Lee – used by American forces and distinguished by a turret topping machine gun cupola – the Grant’s main 75mm gun, the first on an Allied tank to seriously challenge German armour was mounted on the hull rather than the turret.
However, in this case the 37mm turret gun was a wooden mock-up used to make “Monty’s” tank look like all the other Grants under his command. The space normally occupied by the breech mechanism and shells was taken up by command radio equipment.
Moving from swords to ploughshares, I added this Oxford Diecast combination of single axle farm trailer and Ferguson TEF20 tractor both to fill the York and Ainstry huntmaster’s field of vision from atop his white horse in Jeremythorpe and to carry on the Liberal Democrat subtext: Norman Lamb having represented Norfolk North since 2001 and having been Chief of Staff to Sir Menzies Campbell while Sarah Teather has been Member of Parliament for Brent Central since 2010 and was born in Enfield, home of Exclusive First Edition bus and coach models and actresses Michelle Ryan and Fiona Wade, both of whom were once constituents of Michael Portillo.
The sheep crate and tethers themselves were made of plastic card, the sheep from the Merit Modelscene range and the traditionally dressed farmer was converted from the Langley Models white metal set of bus drivers and conductors.
Despite initial resistance by Harry Ferguson to what he saw as noisy and crude diesel engines, the four cylinder 20c variant of the German doctor’s prime mover was installed in Banner Lane, Coventry, built tractors from 1951 with the 500 000th TEF20 rolling off the production line in March 1956. By then however, the product was ready to be replaced with more complex and powerful tractors better suited to the changing needs of farmers.
Finally, just before the show in April 2013, new gates for the side entrance to City Coaches depot were fabricated from parts of the Ratio Security Fencing set although as a “belt and braces” option to stop unwanted ingress I also acquired the Cararama model of a Volvo EC240BLC excavator. Although this was built to Ho (1/87) rather than 00 (1/76) scale it still looked right alongside some “builders” – made from Dapol railway workmen. Even the one trying to start its 168 bhp 6 cylinder Cummins engine with a pickaxe.
A Volvo earthmover also chimed in with the theme of the nearby Viking Vehicles garage and the EC240BLC excavator – LC standing for long crawler in reference to its stable track base – was launched in 1999 after Volvo had acquired AB Åkermans Gjuteri & Mekaniska Verkstad – who had built crawling excavators since 1939 – in 1997. In 1998 Samsung Heavy Industries Construction Equipment Division in Korea was also acquired and both EC210 and EC240 excavators were built in the modern Changwon factory in South Korea. They were productive and reliable machines with even better operator comfort, servo-assisted hydraulics and new attachment bracket amongst other improvements.
Volvo cars have an enviable reputation for safety with innovations such as laminated windscreens and padded dashboards following the invention of the three point seatbelt by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin in 1949. In an article published in The Sunday Telegraph of 23 November 2014 Nick Connor, managing director of Volvo Car UK was quoted as saying ” Volvo’s Vision 2020 states that by 20202 nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo. This puts safety at the heart of everything we design and engineer. The V40, for example, has the World’s first pedestrian airbag, which was fitted to ensure the sleek sporty design of the bonnet did not reduce the high safety leveles we seek to achieve in this area. And we’re continuously developing existing technology, such as pedestrain detection with full auto brake, which can recognise cyclists and is effective in darkness.”
New vehicles acquired for Ming Ing’s 2014 appearance at the Gloucester Model Railway Exhibition included a gold Volvo C70 and silver Volvo V70 from the Cararama range. The C70 is one of the original coupes from the model years 1997 to 2002 although the C70 later evolved into both a soft and hard top convertible. The exterior was designed by the legendary Alnwick-born Peter D. Horbury while the interior design team was led by Mexican Jose Diaz de la Vega. The C70 broke Volvo’s decades-long boxy styling tradition, with Peter Horbury – Volvo’s design chief from 1991 to 2002 – commenting that the company threw away the box but “kept the toy inside!”
Developed in only 30 months, the C70 evolved from the Volvo 850 / S70 sedan and station wagon platform and initially had design and suspension input from Britain’s Tom Walkinshaw Racing – the late Tom Walkinshaw also being the one time owner of Gloucester Rugby Club. The C70 also featured in the 1997 Val Kilmer film “The Saint”, paying homage to the 1960s TV series of the same name in which Simon Templar – played by Roger Moore – drove a Volvo P1800.
The silver front wheel drive V70 was also introduced in 1997 and evolved from the 850 / S70 platform, the V standing for versatility and the 70 placing it between the smaller Volvo S60 and the larger Volvo S80. The four wheel drive variant was initially marketed as the Cross Country XC and later the XC70. From 1999, the second generation V70 was styled by Peter Horbury and was described by him as “the front end of a Jaguar E-Type married to the back end of a Ford Transit van”. The Volvo V70 is also the car of choice of United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage. “If you can’t get a hotel room like William Hague, UKIP in the back” I expect the dealer at the Farage garage said!
Meanwhile, Oxford Die Cast yielded their Daimler DS420 hearse (76DS002) Introduced in 1968, the DS420 was Daimler’s response to the Rolls Royce Phantom V, being exactly the same length and width and sharing similar internal dimensions and features. Unlike the DR450 and VandenPlas 4 litre Princess Limousine it replaced however, the DS420 was a Daimler in name only, powered by a 4.2 litre version of the Jaguar XK’s straight-six engine and built at the VandenPlas works at Kingsbury, North London, which had been founded in 1870.
Costing more than ten brand new BMC Minis, each DS420 featured twin carburettors and automatic transmission, with optional extras including electrically powered glass divider between the rear and chauffeur’s compartment, TV set and cocktail cabinet, air conditioning and personal flag mount.
Since then, the DS420 has been widely used as a wedding car and in the funeral trade, both as a hearse and as a limousine for relatives of the deceased. However, since 1985, almost a quarter of redundant DS420 hearses have been destroyed in banger racing.