7mm Empire building

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Overseer, 11 February 2020.

  1. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    The Altrincham gasworks tramway is a slow burning project which has been mentioned previously. I build wagons (and locos) for it as the mood and available time coincide. One of the wagons I have wanted to make for some time is this Empire colliery wagon photographed by JIC Boyd and published in his Saga By Rail : Great Briatain and the Isle of Man. This is a cropped scan from the book for research purposes only. The book is well worth a read. I think the photo was taken in 1946 as the loco is still clean, so pre BR and P numbers, but I am not certain.
    Empire boyd 1.jpg

    I bought the Slaters kit of the Charles Roberts 1907 RCH 7 plank wagon as the closest match to what I could see in the photo several years ago but didn't think I had enough information to complete the model. Then recently I found this photograph on the web, it looks like it has been copied from a book but not sure where, which shows a similar wagon and provides enough detail of the sign writing to copy.
    Empire 743.jpg

    Wagons with grease axle boxes were rare after about 1952 as BR put a ban on replacing any of the main structural timbers if they rotted or were damaged, in order to only have stock with oil axle boxes running. But the earlier RCH wagons make a nice change from the larger 1923 RCH wagons.

    A straight forward build of the Slaters kit with the plastic W irons replaced with some original brass Exactoscale sprung W irons, interior planks scribed and grain added using coarse sand paper, inside knees added, the crown plates changes (the ones moulded on the solebars are too wide to match the W irons), the ears on the axleboxes filed to match the prototype, Ambis brake guard (remainder of Ambis brake gear still to be added), and commode handles added to the ends as it was a Welsh wagon.
    Empire IMG_8732.jpg
    Empire IMG_8736.jpg
    Empire IMG_8737.jpg

    Before assembling the wagon I drew the lettering on the computer to match the kit and the photos. Printed black on paper as a trial and in white on transfer film to apply tot he wagon. PO wagon lettering always looks odd when drawn as the signwriters adjusted each letter to suit the wagon ironwork etc, although maybe not too successfully in this case.
    Empire IMG_8745.jpg

    The wagon body has been sprayed gloss black ready for applying the waterslide transfers.
    Empire IMG_8742.jpg

    Now waiting for the paint to dry.

    Edited to correct the kit used - Slaters 7041 Charles Roberts 7 plank PO side and end door.
    Last edited: 13 February 2020
  2. Rob R

    Rob R Western Thunderer


    I'm sure you have already looked, but just incase you haven't, the "Britain from Above" site has a few views of Altrincham Gas Works in 1951.
    Not much rolling stock to be seen though.
    Search > Grid | Britain From Above

  3. Michael Osborne

    Michael Osborne Western Thunderer

    image.jpeg I found this amongst my large collection of photographs which maybe of interest.
    I do not know where I acquired this from and there isn't any information on the back to indicate its source.
    The plate reads :-
    Altringham Gas Co
    Owners No 10
    Empty to Altringham

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  4. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Thanks, I have spent quite a bit of time searching the site for interesting things. I am not planning to build the gasworks, gas holders are huge, but the sidings next to the depository at the start of the tramway. A couple of the photos show the area in the 20s. The archaelogical report for the redevelopment of the Altrincham station yard conveniently includes all the OS maps showing the changes over the years.
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  5. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Thanks, I hadn't seen this image but thought there must be some around. Mike Smith has a diagram of a similar but different tank here - British Railway Tank Wagon Design. I am always interested in seeing more photos of the rolling stock used on the tramway.
  6. john lewsey

    john lewsey Western Thunderer

    The wagon looks really nice Fraser
  7. Rob R

    Rob R Western Thunderer

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  8. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    The photos in the Bylines article are what first got me interested in this little bit of Altrincham as a prototype to model. Part of it was the up close 1950s photos of the wagons showing lots of detail and interesting weathering, including the contrast between a shiny new 16T steel wagon and decrepit PO wagons.
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  9. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Lettering in place on one side, Micro Sol still drying when the photo was taken.
    Empire IMG_8747.jpg

    Comparing it with the prototype photo I think the M should be a bit to the right with the edge over the iron strap. The I is a bit wobbly because it is on the strap and hard to manoeuvre but a lot of the I will disappear when it is weathered. The letters were cut out and applied separately.

    I will take some photos of it outside so the detail is more visible, probably after varnish.
  10. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Some more progress, transfers on both sides and brake gear assembled apart from the safety loops, using Ambis bits and Exactoscale brake levers.
    Emp IMG_8817.jpg
    IEmp MG_8821.jpg
    Emp IMG_8826.jpg
    Emp IMG_8824.jpg
  11. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Empire in decline. A work in progress.
    EMP IMG_0587.jpg
    EMP IMG_0591.jpg

    And with the NB 16 ton wagon.
    NB EMP IMG_0584.jpg
  12. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Very nice so far, Fraser. Have you given any thought to the small pool lettering that would have appeared on the Empire wagon after '39 and before BR renumbering?

  13. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    I have thought about it but not finally decided what to do. The photo is not clear enough to be conclusive. There would have to be tare and rated capacity markings at least, both were on the curb rail in the earlier photo so not sure how they would have looked on the replacement curb rail, if they were still on it. The "Return to Glyn Neath" and "Contact Owner for Repairs" script would have been painted out. Small replacement owners names were only required if the sign writing was no longer legible so this wouldn't have had them.
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  14. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Perhaps I should have written 'would [probably] have appeared...'; it's apparent that the definition of sign writing being no longer legible seems to have been stretched, somewhat based on some of Roye England's pictures, for example. It's not something that's often modelled but it's difficult to say how often it's missed out because the scale of photographic evidence seems relatively limited (for obvious reasons). You're right, of course, that it isn't visible in the image you're working from, though it's asking a fair bit of a rather low res picture and black(?) on black.

    Lovely work on the pair of minerals, however. I've half a mind to have a go at another tatty post-Nationalisation mineral. This one perhaps?

    Private Owner Wagons | NB00947 - 13 ton 7 plank wagon No. P313393 'Hull Corporation Electricity' c mid-late 1950s

    I can only imagine the thoughts of the coal merchant presented with one of these...

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  15. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    Last edited: 22 February 2020
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  16. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    This is very nice. I do like the homemade transfers.
  17. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Ba boom tish.

  18. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Lots of shovelling over the side if they didn't want to dump a load of coal on the track. But why two end doors when the rest of the country worked with one?

    I think the small lettering was always white on black so should be visible in the photo, a bit like this one. The presence of the lettering would have an impact on the size of the black patch when the P number was applied, this one would have had 3 planks blacked out instead of the more common two.

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  19. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    You’d have to ask the corporation engineer. I guess they just had a one way tipper for unloading at their pier station - something I could find out, thinking about it. Slightly unlucky to have been pooled, I think. Which leads on to:

    There’s a large black patch behind the P number on the Hull Corporation wagon which I guess obscures the ownership wording from pooling. Hull Corporation would take up a fair amount of plank space.

  20. Tappa

    Tappa Western Thunderer

    Although the pier in Hull was known as Hull Corporation Pier, it was never rail served (although bizarrely you could buy a rail ticket from the ticket office, reputedly the only station in the country that you could do this??)
    Any way, Hull Electricity wagons worked to the power station at Sculcoates in Hull. There a few piccies on Britain from Above which shows the power station in the 1920's and a number of the wagons a clearly visable.

    For a very restricted use wagon, there are a few pictures of them on BR days with P fleet numbers.
    Last edited: 23 February 2020
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