Tag Archives: Minitrix

Some rolling stock additions

There is little progress to report on the layout, so to fill the game, some of the rolling stock I’ve acculumlated over the past year ir so.

Dapol Class 33

The most recent purchase, the new and long-awaited Dapol class 33, a locomotive always associated with the Southern Region. In the days of the 1955 Modernisation Plan, the SR management concluded their motive power needs were quite different to other regions. With all their main lines scheduled for electrification and relatively little heavy industry they had no need for an express passenger or a heavy-haul freight locomotive. What they wanted was a one-size-fits-all locomotive suitable for passenger work on non-electrified secondary routes and for general freight work across the network, able to operate in pairs on what little heavy traffic their was. They rejected the Modernisation Plan type 2 designs as underpowered, came up with their own specification for a medium-power machine, and Birmingham Carriage and Wagon were the successful bidders.

In later years these versatile machines spread their wings as declining freight traffic made more of them available for other work. They worked on the Western Region in Devon and in West Wales, on the cross-country route from Cardiff to Manchester, and even into North Wales. None were allocated outside the Western Region, instead working complicated cyclic diagrams that took them back to their home region for maintenance. The majority were withdrawn in the 1990s, but even today a handful remain in traffic. Several more survive in preservation.

Minitrix Cisalpino

Something completely different, an addition to the Swiss-outline fleet. It’s the Minitrix Re484 in Cisalpino livery with matching EC coaches. Cisalpino was a joint venture between the Swiss Federal Railways and the Italian State Railway operating through trains between the two countries, using dual-voltage trains to avoid needing to change locomotives on the border. The rolling stock was a mixture of Italian Pendolino multiple units and Swiss locomotive-hauled trains. As ought to be obvious from the picture, this train is one of the latter. They were a common sight on the Lötchberg main line during the mid-noughties.

Dapol Grange and Farish Hawksworth

And next, a couple of kettles for when the layout is running in transition-era mode. This one’s the recently-introduced Dapol Grange class. The GWR had several classes of mixed-traffic 4-6-0s, and the Granges combined the smaller driving wheels of the Manors with the larger boiler of the Halls. The result was a locomotive with the same overall power as the Hall class but with a greater tractive effort at the expense of reduced maximum speed. This made them especially useful for fitted freight work in the west of England, the sort of versatile machine that would work freight during the week and heavy holiday trains at weekends. The coaches are Farish Hawksworths in the older blood and custard livery, since Farish have yet to released them in 1960s BR maroon.

Dapol 2884

And finally, another Dapol model, this time the Collett 2884 class. These locomotives were were the Great Western’s equivalent to the LMS Stanier 8F. The GWR didn’t build eight-coupled freight locomotives on the scale of the LMS or LNER, preferring to use mixed-traffic 4-6-0s on much of their freight traffic, but despite this the 2884s were found all over the system, including a couple based at St.Blazey in Cornwall for china clay traffic. The china clay wagons are made by Farish as an exclusive model for Kernow Models.

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Minitrix announce Cisalpino Re484 and coaches

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It’s the time of year when continental manufacturers announce their new models, and there are some interesting things in the Minitrix New Items brochure (pdf).

The Cisalpino Re484 with matching coaches has been on my wishlist for a while, since they were regular performers on the Lötchberg route in the mid-noughties. Cisalpino was a joint Swiss-Italian venture for through trains between Switzerland and Italy over the Lötchberg and Gotthard routes. The coaches on the Lötchberg were the standard Swiss EC stock, initially hauled by pairs of Re4/4s, later by dual-voltage Re484s that eliminated the need to change locomotives on the Swiss/Italian border.

They’re selling as a set with the locomotive and three coaches (two first class and one second), with additional second class coaches sold individually. This will enable modellers to assemble the correct prototypical six-coach formation of two first class and four second class coaches.

The EC coaches have been in the Minitrix range for several years, as has the 4-pantograph Bombardier TRAXX locomotive. Since a similar train has also appeared in the Arnold catalogue this year, using Eurofima coaches, I’m assuming the simultaneous appearance is to do with past licencing issues with the livery.

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Here’s the prototype at a rather wet Spiez in 2007. The six-car Cisalpino sets were frequently strengthened with older Swiss coaches during their run through Switzerland, in this case the three leading vehicles are rebuilt RIC stock, available in model form from Kato, which means the whole train can be modelled.

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