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26 January 2010

Great Western Railway Diagram V5 4-Wheel Passenger Brake


The Prototype


The GWR built a large array of designs of four and six wheel coaches in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In common with the other railway companies, later construction in this period, especially for mainline stock, was of six wheeled, eight wheeled and finally eight and twelve wheeled bogie vehicles.


The V5 passenger brakes were 28 feet nought and three quarter inches long, seven feet six inches high and eight feet nought and three quarters wide over the body with an eighteen feet exactly, four-wheeled wheelbase. They were initially used on both mainline and branchline workings. The coaches were built on lots 599 and 649, completed on 16th April 1892 and 27th August 1892 respectively and lot 947, completed 30th June 1900. Numbers were 1401-10, 1411-20 and numbers 7, 12, 15-18 and 20 respectively. The first two lots were oil lit originally and the last was gas lit from the start, with the earlier batches converted to gas later on. This final batch of seven was built with eleven diagram U4 composite first / seconds (3 later all thirds), eleven S9 all thirds and seven T47 brake thirds to form Ruabon & Dolgelley local sets. The V5s had a luggage compartment at each end with double doors each side and a central guard's compartment with one door and lookout ducket per side.


The similar V4 passenger brakes were identical except for having two flat panels in place of each of the duckets. Some V5s were later converted to V4s by the removal of these duckets, including 1411, 1414-17 and 1420 in the 1920s. The last of the V4s was withdrawn in the 1930s.


Many of the V5s were sold to the War Office in World War I for overseas service, but were soon returned and put back to work for the GWR. In common with many other GWR passenger brakes of various wheel arrangements, they were relegated to service on milk and parcels trains in their final days.

The Model




I have been interested in GWR 'brown vehicles' for many years and have accumulated a collection of fish, fruit, milk and scenery vans and coaches. One thing that was always missing was a brake vehicle for my 'brown trains', although sometimes ordinary brake third or similar coaches seem to have been used. In 1985 I started building a diagram O13 milk train brake van from scratch in Plastikard. It did not get much further than loose sides and ends for many years, until 2008 when I put it together for our club's exhibition. This was a start, but many GWR 'brown trains' were lengthy and split into multiple sections, each with a brake coach. Also, in the last few years, I have become more interested in the GWR in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. As a result of this, I bought four Hornby clerestory compartment-only brake third coach bodies on the 1st December 2002 from East Kent Models at two pounds 50 pence each at the NEC swapmeet. This coach was originally produced for Tri-ang at least 40 years ago, along with a compartment-only full second and while it does not exactly match any GWR coach, it is similar to some brake thirds, but short of a compartment or two and with the wrong bogies.



A few weeks before our November 2009 exhibition, I started to research GWR panelled coaches and I began to realise that I could make a V5 passenger brake from two Tri-ang brake-ends and further that the two remaining sets of five compartments could make a 1904 diagram C23, 10 compartment, 58 feet full third bogie clerestory, leaving a spare guard's compartment. It should be noted at this stage, before the gloves, mask and gown are put on, that Shirescenes produce an etched brass kit of a V5 for a Ratio plastic kit chassis and Alan Gibson also produce an etched brass V5 kit.


Jober as a Sudge


After an evening at The Mason's Arms, Solihull, on the 24th of October 2009, I plucked up some Dutch courage and I unclipped and set aside the roofs, then dismembered two of the clerestory bodies with a scalpel and razor saw. I removed the chassis sideframes under the severed brake compartments and joined the two brake ends together. One solid tip to come out of this flawed idea is that modelling while sober is usually more successful. I also discovered that the coaches were surprisingly fragile and one of the guard's compartments cracked at the bottom of the body, so I should have taken more care. Another tip is to cut mainly from the inside, with just a gentle scalpel cut to the outside, to reduce visible damage. Keeping cuts straight also makes them easier to cover up later. One cut was along the side of the ducket and easy to hide, but the other was along the edge of the guard's door and more problematic. The two ends were glued together with EMA Plastic Weld solvent, with the gap bridged with sections of 60 thou Plastikard on the inside, which on reflection was heavier than necessary. I fitted a loose 60 thou Plastikard spacer between the sides to stop their tendancy to bend inwards after the glueing.


Burly Chassis


During the following few days, I cut the floor out to allow interior access once the roof was on, packed it with 10 thou Plastikard sheet to level out the underside and fitted a spare Ratio four wheel coach kit underframe under the floor. The floor and chassis unit is screwed to the body through 40 thou Plastikard cross-members. The chassis was from a diagram U4, 26 feet 10 inch composite kit which should have its short ends extended with Plastikard at some stage. All three of the Ratio GWR four wheel coach kits have 19 feet wheelbases, although the diagram T47 brake third was 31 feet long. This means that my model has a wheelbase that is 4mm too long, but I can live with that for now. Past experience has shown that altering wheelbases causes serious weaknesses in a chassis and makes it harder to keep it 'square'. The chassis sideframes were increased in thickness by a strip of 30 thou Plastikard at the top and re-inforced on the joints on the inside with blocks of 60 thou Plastikard. I fitted a cast whitemetal Dean brake cylinder with etched brass V-hangers and some turned brass buffers. Wheels are Jackson / Romford 14mm 'Mansell' coach disc wheels, which had wooden centres on the prototype as an attempt at shock absorption, discontinued in the early twentieth century as all wheels became solid steel.


Crowning Glory


One major missing component was the roof. I knew I had some spare Ratio ones, but when I checked, I discovered that I only had a diagram U4 composite one that was 4mm too short and a similarly short K's Kits roof. This meant scratchbuilding, so following my experience with the O13 milk brake, which has a high, elliptical roof, I decided that the flat, three arc roof of the V5 could be made in the same way, although writing this now, it does not seem so sensible. I wrapped a slightly oversize 20 thou sheet of Plastikard over an oval hammer handle and, in an attempt to avoid the slightly uneven result on the O13, I Sellotaped the Plastikard on with no gaps in the Sellotape along the 'roof'. This duly had a whole kettle of boiling water slowly poured over it, followed by a rinse from the cold tap. The result was not very tidy, but looked like it might eventually produce what was wanted. I packed out the tops of the ends of the coach with two layers of 10 thou Plastikard strips filed to the required curved shape and glued on the new roof, slightly trimmed, with Humbrol Liquid Poly solvent glue.

The Battle of the Bulge


All was not well, as I discovered that the ends of the roof were the correct profile, but the rest of it had ballooned outwards to totally the wrong shape. I decided to persevere with this roof and carefully fitted a flat, 60 thou Plastikard 'plank' under the central section, ran in lots of Liquid Poly and weighted down the chassis-less body heavily with some books, upside down with locomotive ballast weights bearing directly on the underside of the 'plank'. After a second attempt with one end of the roof that had not glued properly, the result was much better. The down-side was that the solvent glue had slightly distorted small areas of the roof.


Topping Out


To rectify this distortion, I decide to cover the central section of the roof with a thin layer of silver-grey Milliput filler. This turned out to be quite tricky as the Milliput was very hard and was difficult to mix, being several years old, and didn't want to stick to the roof, but did want to stick to my fingers and scalpel. Following much more filling with Squadron Green Putty filler and filing, a reasonable result was achieved. A better result could probably have been obtained by fitting the partitions for the guard’s compartment with the correct profile tops and glueing onto these as well as the ends. Another alternative would be using longitudinally scored or ready-planked Plastikard sheet for the roof, with the grooves on the inside, as I have previously done on a scratchbuilt GWR Siphon J van which has the same flat, three arc roof profile. More smoothing was required, but with the exhibition less than a week away, I decided to fit the gutter strips to the roof, made from Plastikard strip and the tops of the three gas lights, made from drilled discs of 10 thou Plastikard with thick Plastikard rod pieces inserted through the holes and corresponding holes in the roof.


The End


The ends of the body also required some changes. On many GWR coaches, including the V5, there are steps and two curving handrails at one end only, except on mainly corridor and open or saloon stock, where roof water tanks for the toilets needed filling. The Tri-ang designed coaches correctly only have these fittings at just one end as they are compartment only, but I had two ends the same, so the steps were cut off from one end. The handrails were removed from both ends, to be replaced with wire on one end only. Note that the body sides are identical to each other, but that the gas tank is on one side only, on the opposite side to the vacuum cylinder, so as the body ends are different, the body cannot be correctly turned round the other way. The tops of the lamp irons were cut off to be replaced with brass strip and coupling pockets were added from drilled 10 thou Plastikard sheet. The holes for the Tri-ang roof clips in the ends were filled with Green Putty. Modern Hornby couplings were fitted onto the Ratio mounts with a small wood screw and small 60 thou Plastikard left and right stops.


Finishing Touches


The model was painted with a Howes Railmatch GWR coach chocolate body, Humbrol number 85 'coal black' body ends and chassis and Howes early BR wagon grey roof. Transfers are to be by PC Pressfix or the Historical Model Railway Society.


Photographs and Drawings













Diagram of V4


GWR Brown




In a milk train, branded 'Milk Train to and from London'


GWR Panelled




Ex-works, new, branded for the '1.50pm Corwen to Bala'


GWR Panelled



c.1892 - 1900

In the GWR Royal Train (one of the 1892 vehicles with original oil lamps)

WD 31550

War Dept. Green




Text says ex-No. 2 (but GWCI P.104 says that was a V11)




Great Western Coaches from 1890 by Michael Harris - Thomas & Lochar (1993)


Great Western Railway Journal number 16 by John Copsey - Wild Swan (1995)


G W Siphons by Jack N. Slinn and Bernard K. Clarke - HMRS & Atlantic (1986)


A Pictorial Record of Great Western Coaches Part One 1838 - 1913 by J. H. Russell - OPC (1972)


A Pictorial Record of Great Western Coaches (1903 - 1948) by J. H. Russell - OPC (1990)


A Pictorial Record of Great Western Coaches Appendix Volume 2 - Specific Duty Coaches and the Brown Vehicles by J. H. Russell - OPC (1984)



Website - various useful information about available kits and prototype GWR 4 and 6 wheeled coaches.





Some of the information gathered here is contradictory. For example, P.61 of GWCI has a diagram of a V4 and states that the numbers were 1401 to 20, 20 being built, but this is at odds with P.716 of GWRJ16 and the lot lists in GWRC90, which describe these vehicles as V5. Also WD 31550 is described as ex-number 2, but this was described as a V11 elsewhere. I can only apologise for this and assure readers that I have done my best to provide and interpret information accurately. It is a slightly confusing subject as the GWR diagrams were applied after these particular vehicles were built and some of the V5s were converted to V4s, but seem to have kept their original numbers. The GWR renumbered many of their coaches in 1907, but as far as I can tell, this did not affect the V4s and V5s. Further information and photographs with reference to the source material would be greatly appreciated. All I can suggest is that if you want a totally accurate model, you follow a photograph of a known vehicle on a known date.


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