Tag Archives: Graham Farish

Farish 2017 Announcements

Bachmann have made their 2017 announcment of  forthcoming models. You can read the full list on RMWeb.

The new models are

  • Retooled Stanier 8F 2-8-0
  • Wainwright SECR C-class 0-6-0 shrunk down from 00
  • Refurbished 31 diesel, initially available in original Railfreight and Railfreight Petroleum liveries
  • LNER Thompson coaches, range includes first, third, composite and brake third, initially in LNER teak and BR blood and custard
  • Retooled TEA tanker This is the same 1960s prototype as had previously been in their range rather than the modern tanker produced by Revolution.

Well, I guessed one right.

There are plenty of reliveries, including a couple of sector-era 47s. There are some intestesting coaching stock choices beyond the obvious Inter-City RMB, and the Stanier 50′ BG in BR blue; Mk2a FKs in maroon and SR Green (are they prototypical?), and Mk1s in the short-lived Sealink livery.

From my multi-era Western Region perspective it’s quite a thin list. Neither of the new kettles got anywhere near the south-west, and when it comes refurbished 31s it’s the 31/4s that used to turn up in the south-west on Summer Saturdays. The Inter-City buffet car goes with the previously-annouced Mk2 aircons whenever they finally appear. The long-overdue Stanier 50′ BG in BR blue is also very welcome; there were very common on the heterogenious parcels trains in the south-west.

But still no maroon Hawksworths….

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Farish Frothing for 2017?

This weekend, Bachmann will announce their 2017/18 programme for the N-gauge Graham Farish range. With so many models announced two or three years ago still to appear in the shops, or in some cases even shown as works in progress at exhibitions, we can probably expect another year of consolidation, with no lengthy list of proposed models many of which would take years to be delivered.

So here’s my predictions:

  • LNER Thompson coaches, as a follow-on from the Thompson BG commissioned by The N Gauge Society.
  • GWR Large Prairie. It’s the one “old” Farish model (going right back to the early days) that hasn’t been redone as a next-generation model.
  • LMS/BR wood-bodied “Highfit” open wagon. This is probably the most significant remaining gap in the transition era/blue diesel era wagon fleet.

After that, it’s probably just going to be reliveries. Some of the obvious ones have to be:

  • WR Hawksworth coaches in BR maroon. I was expecting these last year but suspect they’re waiting for the stocks of blood and custard ones to clear first
  • More class 47 liveries. The obvious ones yet to be done are Railfreight Distribution, InterCity Swallow, Rail Express Systems, and Virgin Trains.

On Sunday we’ll find out how much I was way off the mark…

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A Day at the Cowshed

Moulinnis

A few photos from The International N Gauge show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. The exhibition centre, a few miles outside Leamington Spa, is a former farm, which is the source of the nickname.

The show has been a fixture in the exhibition calendar for quite a few years now, as the one major British show completely dedicated to N. It’s the big meetup for N gauge modellers from all over the country, and there were plenty of familiar faces present.

The first couple of photos feature the Cornish layout “Moulinnis”, a present-day layout set in the heart of clay country.

There’s some clever thinking-out-of-the-box design elements here, with the branch line forming a continuous run while one end of the main terminates in a fiddle yard. It also captures the atmosphere of clay country even though the china clay mill (which would have dominated the layout) is offstage. And it’s very compact, with a footprint of 8′ by 3′

Not all the layouts were British outline, with German, French and American layouts on display. South Walton was a little more unusual, set in New South Wales.

As well as layouts, there are plenty of traders to damage everyone’s credit cards, and manufacturers large and small display their wares and announce new products. Here’s the first engineering sample of Graham Farish’s new class 40, equipped with DCC sound. Can you beleive that’s N?

They were also demonstrating the sound-equipped class 108 DMU, which is already in the shops. What’s remarkable is they’ve managed to program the chip so a lot of the sound functions work under DC as well as DCC!  Apply a low voltage and you’ll get the sounds of the engines starting up and idling, but the train won’t move. Increase the power and the current will flow into the motor and the train will set off as the sound chip goes through the gear changes.

Over on the Dapol stand some finished production samples of the long-awaited class 33 “Crompton”. A countainer (not a Hanjin one!) is on the high seas, eight days out of Southampton, so they should be in the shops within weeks.

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Graham Farish 2016 Programme

Class 319Photo by John Armitstead

Bachmann have announced the 2016 programme of new models for the Graham Farish range. It’s again a year of consolidation, with many models originally announced two or three years ago still to appear, though today’s announcement does give progress on these; some, like the GWR “Castle” are not fat off. I suspect the age when we three or four major new models every year may be behind us now.

The one big announcement is the class 319 EMU, something I don’t think anybody saw coming. It’s an interesting choice. Built as a dual-voltage train for the initial opening of Thameslink, they’re the one type of multiple unit seen on both the third-rail DC network south of the Thames and the overhead AC network north of London. They’re now being displaced from their original duties by a newer generation of trains and redeployed in other parts of the country. So far they’ve seen use in the north-west of England, and will see service in other routes as electrification spreads.

Aside from that, the rest is all reliveries and reissues. The Mk1 coaches in the red, white and blue Network South East livery are very welcome. The Mk1 BG in Royal Mail Red is useful as well to match the existing TPO stock. The major new loco livery is the class 70 in the colourful Colas livery.

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N Gauge Minories, anyone?

Blue Mk1 Suburban(Photo from Hattons)

Graham Farish’s BR Blue Mk1 suburban is now in the shops. It’s the sort of model that suggests a Minories-style inner-city terminus using the recently retooled class 31s and the forthcoming DJM Baby Deltic as motive power.

The prototype Mk1 suburban coaches were short-lived and should probably never have been built. Designed as like-for-like replacements for life-expired pre-nationalisation non-corridor stock, the short-distance services on which they were used rapidly went over to DMUs soon after they were built, and without toilets they were unsuitable for longer-distance services. Most of them had their bodies stripped off so the underframes could be used as Carflats.

There was one exception. Peak-time services on the City Widened line between Kings Cross and Moorgate had to negotiate the notorious Hotel Curve in a tunnel beneath part of the station. Clearances were two tight for 64′ coaches, which meant none of the high-density suburban DMU designs would fit, and the low-density 57′ DMUs didn’t have the capacity.  So a small fleet of 57′ Mk1 suburbans lasted until the Great Northern electrification in 1977 when the Hotel Curve closed. They were the only Mk1 suburbans to survive long enough to receive BR blue livery.

A cramped partially-underground inner-city terminus based around that theme would make a tempting model. But someone other than me can build it.

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DEMU Showcase

DEMU Showcase at Burton-on-Trent

A few photos from 21st Anniversary DEMU Showcase at Burton-on-Trent from a couple of weeks ago. DEMU stands for “Diesel and Electric Modellers United”, an organisation dedicated to modelling British prototypes after the steam age, formed at a time when steam-age modelling was considered the default. Here’s the spectacular viaduct at one end of the 2mm finescale Fencehouses, set in County Durham in the 1960s.

DEMU Showcase at Burton-on-Trent

I’m probably in a minority here, but “Diesels in the Dutchy”, based on St.Blazey in Cornwall in the late 1980s doesn’t quite do it for me. It captures the look of the place very well, including details like the stone blocks of the tramway that preceded the railway. But as someone very familar with the prototype in the era modelled, there’s an element of verisimillitude missing for me; the simplified trackplan means it doesn’t operate like the prototype, turning it into a working diorama rather than a reproduction of a real working railway.

DEMU Showcase at Burton-on-Trent

Graeme Hedges’ Stoney Lane is a perennial exhibition favourite, a N-gauge slice of south London with all the buildings scratchbult from card and based on real buildings from the area. Graeme claims to have had a pint in each of full-sized versions of the layout’s multiple pubs.

DEMU Showcase at Burton-on-Trent

The term “Modern Image” coined by the late Cyril Freezer after the end of the steam in 1968 needs to retired. Layouts like Wibdenshaw, set in early 70s West Yorkshire demonstrate why. It’s a time as far removed from the present as the end of steam was from the 1923 Grouping, and the railway of the early 70s was in many ways the steam-age railway with diesel locomotives at the head of the trains. Loose-coupled trains of short-wheelbase wagons or parcels trains made up of heterogeneous pre-nationalisation vans are a world away from the railway of 2015.

DEMU Showcase at Burton-on-Trent

DEMU doesn’t do chocolate-box branch-line scenes from the inter-war years. Instead it’s lovingly modelled representations of 1980s urban decay. Farkham even features half-sunken shopping trolleys in the canal.

DEMU Showcase at Burton-on-Trent

And finally, the show also feaures manufactures showing off their wares. Here’s some samples of the forthcoming Graham Farish Mk2a coauches in Network South East livery, looking very smart. They’re in the later version of the NSE livery as used on the Waterloo-Exeter line, which was the explanation I was giving for the absence of any first class vehicle; the Mk2a FKs painted in NSE were in the earlier version of the livery with the lighter blue, used on Thames valley services out of Paddington.

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Old and New

Sir Edward Elgar

Edward Elgar’s birthday a few days ago was an excuse to give 50007 a spin on the layout. The prototype was painted in Great Western green to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the GWE in 1985.The repaint and renaming was somewhat controversial in some quarters, earning the locomotive the nickname of “Snotvac”. It survives in perservation, although it’s currently running in its earlier guise of “Hercules”.

The model is one of the oldest on the layout, resprayed and detailed by Chris Marchant of CJM something like 25 years ago. This one’s still running on the original Farish 5-pole chassis; one of the early ones with nylon gears that therefore still runs. The coaches are very much newer; a rake of the the recently-introduced Farish Mk2as.

Farish 31 No 5826

In contrast, the newest addiion to the fleet is one of Graham Farish’s newly retooled 31s. No 5826 was one of a handful of locomotives outshopped in the late sixties in an unusual interim livery, still wearing the original green but with full yellow ends and BR double arrow logos normally applied to locomotives repainted into BR blue.

5826 was one of the locomotives transferred to the Western Region at the beginning of the 1970s to replace the WR’s non-standard diesel-hydraulic fleet. It was running in this livery in 1973, representing an earlier era to the 1980s class 50, but ideal to run alongside the hydraulics.  Here it’s pulling a very mixed parcels train, typical of the sort of duties these medium-power locomotives found themselves working during the 70s.

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Rats!

Graham Farish class 25/2

The long-awaited Graham Farish class 25/2 is finally here. Graham Farish have had a class 25/3 in the catalogue for many years, but the model dating from the Poole years is getting very long in the tooth. Following on from the new model of the similar class 24 from a couple of years back, a new class 25 was the obvious follow-up. In contast to the older Farish 25. the new model represents the earlier body style with front-end communication doors and bodyside grilles.

Known by the spotters’ nickname of “Rats”, the prototypes were built in the early to mid 1960, and the class eventually numbered no fewer than 327, making them the second most numerous class of main-line diesel after the class 47. The majority were allocated to the Midland Region though the Western and Scottish regions also had a few. Despite their large numbers they were relatively short-lived; the reduced demand for lower-power locomotives saw them last ones withdrawn in 1987, with many of them seeing less than 20 years service.

Graham Farish class 25/2

The Farish model comes in three different bodyshell variants representing the locomotives at different stages in their lives. The one I’ve got has both the boiler vent and the nose end doors plated over, and represents the condition of the locomotives in their final years in service.

I intend to renumber it to one of those allocated t o Plymouth Laira in the mid 1970s. These locomotives were brought into the West Country at the beginning of the 1970s to replace the class 22 diesel-hydraulics on local freight and passenger work in Devon and Cornwall. They were a common sight on china clay workings and Cornish local freight up to 1980 when the more powerful class 37s replaced them.

So far I have identified 25048, 25052, 25223 and 25225 as candidates for the new number. The above photo shows 25223 at Plymouth in 1976, and comes from John Woolley’s excellent photostream.

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New Additions

Dapol 45XX and OOVs

A few additions to the rolling stock of as-yet unnamed layout. First, a rake of Farish OOV china clay wagons, made as a special commission for Kernow Models. They sell them both in post-1974 “Clayhood” form, and as illustrated here with the earlier flat tarpaulins, appropriate for steam or diesel-hydraulic haulage. It’s a shame the Dapol 45XX doesn’t run as well as it looks, and I suspect these wagons will be spending most of their time behind a class 22 diesel instead.

Farish Bullied Brake Second

Second, one of the new Farish Bulleid coaches. It’s a little-known fact during the early 1960s the Western Region’s coaching stock fleet including vehicles from all of the “Big Four” pre-nationalisation companies as surplus stock was redistributed across the regions to make the best use of their remaining useful life. I’ve seen photos of a Penzance to Paddington express with a single green-liveried Bulleid brake second in an otherwise uniform set of maroon Mk1s, which is why I bought this coach.  Although some rivet-counters have pointed out that it’s not quite the right diagram for the coaches transferred to the WR from the SR Eastern Division in 1962…

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Failed Saving Throw vs. Shiny

Graham Farish class 350

No matter how much we railway modellers try to stick to a single location and era, there’s alway the odd model that ends up breaking your own self-imposed rules on what should and shouldn’t run on a layout. This beastie is an example.

No, London Midland class 350s do not run in Cornwall, nor are they ever likely to. But I think it’s an attractive model in an eye-catching livery. I do own Cross-Country and Virgin Trains Voyagers, plus a London Midland 153 railcar, all of which do or at least did run in Cornwall, but also shared tracks with 350s in the West Midlands.

If in doubt, then Rule One (“It’s My Train Set”) applies.

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