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It's no secret that the mainstay of traffic movements on my railway relates to freight operations (eg see Managing freight on the railway). Over the years, I have steadily increased the number of goods wagons and from time to time described how I have made removable loads for them (eg see How I made some open wagons). However, I have never gathered together all these disparate chunks of information into one place. This post aims to rectify this.
Open wagonsI have constructed open wagons in three different ways; making them from scratch using plasticard, making them from my own resin castings and modifying cheap commercial models. Apart from a couple of my very first plasticard models, I have made all the loads on my open wagons removable so I can run them loaded in one direction and empty when they return.
The majority of my open wagons have coal loads, to reflect the preponderance of this traffic during the period when my railway is set (ie the early 1930s).
Real chunks of coal are used (therapeutically created by bashing normal house coal with a hammer), glued to rectangles of plywood mounted on strip wood as strengthening battens and to allow the loads to be more readily removed.
I have also created various other loads for open wagons based on the sort of other general merchandise which might have been carried at the time on a light railway serving a rural community. For example, a load of barrels travelling to or from the brewery at Beeston Castle.
The barrels were bought from a trader at the Llanfair Garden Railway Fair, painted and glued to a piece of plywood scribed to represent planking.
Another wagon has been loaded with sawn timber, representing a load which might travel from the sawmill at Peckforton to any other station, but most likely to the main terminus at Beeston Market.
The timber planks are a mix of coffee stirrers, lollypop sticks and offcuts of stripwood. They are tied down with book-binding twine which doesn't tend to fray like other string. This load isn't removable at present, but eventually I will modify it so it can be removed.
Based on an old photo of a wagon on the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway and another taken on the Southwold Railway, one open wagon has a mixed load of packing cases, a gear wheel and a couple of milk churns. The gear wheel could be delivered to the water mill or maybe to the brewery.
The packing cases were made by cladding wooden blocks with coffee stirrer planking, the milk churns were bought at a fair and the gear wheel is plastic bought on eBay and mounted on a cradle made from cut down lolly sticks. This load is removable in its entirety, everything being glued to a plywood base.
One wagon has a load destined for a builders' merchant with a stack of bricks, a pile of cement bags and a heap of sand in one corner. It's assumed that this could travel to or from any station on the line as a building project could happen anywhere and the builders' merchant similarly might be anywhere.
The bricks were bought on eBay though several dolls house suppliers also stock them, the cement bags were moulded in Fimo then painted and covered with tissue paper coated in PVA and painted to represent a tarpaulin. A piece of balsa wood was shaped with a knife and file before being covered in PVA and sprinkled with sand to represent the pile of sand. Everything was then stuck to a piece of plywood so the load could be easily removed.
Two open wagons have tarpaulin covers.
One cover was made from a piece of cotton fabric dyed green and attached with button thread to the wagon. This is not removable which isn't important as anything could be carried by the wagon in either direction. The other was made by draping a couple of layers of paper towel over a wagon protected with cling film, then soaking the towel in diluted PVA. When the PVA had dried, the cover was removed and painted with acrylic paint. As it has hardened to form the shape of the wagon it is removable.
Flat wagonsI have a range of flat wagons derived from various sources. Their loads are designed to reflect the needs of the rural locality served by the railway.
One wagon carries farm machinery.
The machinery is actually a couple of Brittains model ploughs bought on eBay and painted with red oxide primer. Although they are under scale, when clumped together they look suitably workmanlike and agricultural.
One wagon is loaded with milk churns. This wagon tends to be attached to the first mixed train of the day and also to the afternoon mixed.
Because I needed quite a few and the cost of resin cast 1920s conical milk churns was prohibitive, I made my own using the ends of some cheap plastic party toys (see How I made some milk churns).
The match truck for the mobile crane is loaded with a mixture of appropriate paraphernalia.
The jacks are white metal castings bought online from Garden Railway Specialists, the timber baulks are pieces of stripwood, the chain was bought from Cornwall Model Boats, the rope is a piece of garden twine and the toolbox was made from a piece of balsa with paperclip wire handles.
Timber wagonsThe sawmill at Peckforton (see How I constructed the sawmill) requires some quite specific traffic. As can be seen above, one of the open wagons carries sawn timber but the sawmill also requires the raw material, transported by various timber wagons.
Half a dozen stake wagons are loaded with plastic logs, glued together with Evostick and draped with chains. The logs can be removed as a unit.
Pit props of various lengths cut from twigs pruned from trees in the nearby wood were loaded on to some of the other timber wagons.
It seems that there was no standard length for a pit prop. Mines required a range of lengths to suit the needs of the tunnels below ground.
A large tree trunk was formed from a card tube, covered in paper towel soaked in PVA scrunched to represent bark. This was wedged into the stakes on the bolster wagons.
Tipplers and hoppersI have two rakes of tippler wagons used to transport ore and spoil from the copper mine to the exchange siding at Beeston Market. One rake is permanently full and the other is permanently empty. The full rake runs up the line and is then swapped for the empty rake to run back down the line. There is a hidden link between the exchange siding and the copper mine to make the swap.
The tipplers have false floors made from plywood covered with PVA and then sprinkled with crushed sandstone.
There is also a rake of hopper wagons similar to those which ran on the Snailbeach and District Railways. These serve the sand quarry and so have removable loads of sand made in a similar way to the tippler loads.
ConclusionTo my mind, the wagon loads add to the interest of trains running up and down the line. I really enjoy watching a mixed goods slowly meandering through the undergrowth and the logistical puzzles involved in shunting wagons at each station en route.
I need to make a few more loads of sawn timber for the stake wagons and probably need a few more varied loads for open wagons but, otherwise, I am reaching the stage where goods traffic on the line has reached its optimum level.
This article first appeared on riksrailway.blogspot.com
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