Collett Coaches - arriving in 2016
Hello everyone and let us start by saying a big Happy Birthday to the late great Frank Hornby, an innovator, visionary and without whom you and we would maybe not be involved in this wonderful hobby.
On with the celebrations! You may have seen on our social media pages this last week a few teasers and guessing games, in addition to the birthday discount available across the Hornby website today (Friday 15th May 2015). This week's Engine Shed adds to the birthday celebrations with the reveal of a brand new 2016 item. So without further ado we are proud to announce, due to popular demand, that we are producing five different Collett 'Bow Ended' Standard 57' Corridor Stock Coaches - the C54, D95 right and left hand and E127 right and left hand. - We're pleased to say that all of these items are now available to Pre-Order.
C54 diagram 4789
When Charles Collett became Chief Mechanical Officer of the Great Western Railway in 1922, one of his priorities was to modernise the GWR’s fleet of ageing, yet distinctive ‘Toplight’ coaching stock. His resulting ‘bow-ended’ design went on to become the basic GWR design for almost 30 years and such was the build programme between 1925 and 1929, with a new carriage being produced, on average, every two and a half days, that every main line service became composed of modern carriage stock by the end of the 1920s.
Corridor Composite E127 Lot 13731
The idea behind the bow-ended stock was to reduce the length of the corridor connections between coaches, following complaints from passengers of a nervous disposition who had encountered swaying on the gangways. They were also considered to be easier to fit with the ‘Buckeye’ couplings that were then finding favour with passenger trains in the United Kingdom.
From 1925, until the late summer of 1929, the basic design of a steel panelled, oak framed bow-ended coach, with inset windows, high waist and clean exterior was applied to 57’ coach bodies on newly developed 7’ single bolster bogies. This bogie, despite being shorter than previous designs, had been subjected to extensive coach riding trials and was found to reduce wear to the wheel flanges, as well as providing a distinctive ‘clicketty-click’ as they rode over the joints in the rails.
On entering traffic in 1925, six coach sets were formed from Lot numbers 1351-53, comprising Corridor Thirds from diagram C54, left and right handed 4 compartment Corridor Brake Thirds from diagram D95 and left and right handed Corridor Composites from diagram E127. Over the following four years, further Lot numbers of these diagrams were produced, along with an additional eight different diagrams and the design became the first choice for the important Express Trains, including the Cheltenham Spa Express and Bristolian, until the late 1930s and lesser services beyond that date.
Many of these coaches survived in general service until 1961, being withdrawn completely by early 1963. Several managed to escape scrapping when converted for departmental use during the early 1960s, their internal appearance changing dramatically and they are now spread around the country, awaiting restoration.
Back in October 2014 on a day fairly typical for that time of year - exceptionally wet, windy and generally miserable, we set off along the M25 to pay the wonderful chaps at Didcot Railway Centre a visit. Armed with a flask of tea, our cameras, measuring stick and tape measure we started to gather all the information we’d need to bring these coaches to life in their OO Gauge form.
We photographed Coach 4553 from diagram C54, one of the original 1925 builds from Lot 1352. As always the kind folks at Didcot couldn’t have been more accommodating in allowing us access to this coach. In addition, due to departmental modifications and the stripped interior of the coach we were photographing, we had to draw upon the knowledge of the various carriage and wagon experts at Tyseley Locomotive Works, the Severn Valley Railway and the West Somerset Railway to fill in the gaps in our research. We really couldn’t produce the models we make in this level of detail without the valuable work and incredible help of these organisations.
A couple of weeks ago we received the first stereolithography pre-production samples for the Corridor Third from diagram C54, the Right Hand Corridor Brake Third from diagram D95 and the Left Hand Corridor Composite from E127. After some cutting, gluing, painting and tweaking they’re built up and looking great! Here they are on our test track.
C54 Collett Coach Corridor Third
Collett Coach D95 Right Hand Corridor
Collett Coach Left Hand Composite E127
We’ll have some more photos and information for you as this project moves along but we’d love to hear what you think about the progress so far.
In response to some of the questions that we've had regarding the livery of the GWR Collett Coaches, click below to see the paint and graphics scheme.
Don't forget, you can be one of the first to Pre-Order the Collett Coaches now at Hornby.com.
As always we welcome your feedback about The Engine Shed as well as your suggestions about what you’d like to see covered. Let us know on Twitter or Facebook with #HornbyEngineShed, or on The Engine Shed Forum.
Until next time, thanks for reading and happy modelling!
The Engine Shed Team
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