2 - Passenger rolling stock

(Click here for part 3 - Works rolling stock)

Back in 1968 I built my first narrow gauge carriage by converting a Triang 00 gauge GWR clerestory, using Lone Star 000 bogies. Passenger stock construction in general follows the same construction method as used in goods stock, only in this case the vehicles are made predominantly of styrene sheet or commercial kit parts. All C&DR carriage interiors are fitted with seats and passengers. The ends of all carriages have been fitted with Microstrip panelling.

The older four-wheel stock is now relegated to the branch service, except for a few that may be pressed into use on the early morning train from Rae Bridge to Dunalistair. Quite recently I re-instated a few older four-wheelers to normal service that I had previously withdrawn as they are slightly over scale. In practice this doesn't seem to clash however. There also is the NWNGR-style six-wheeler which is still used on the main line, but can be pressed into service with a number of four-wheelers to provide a genuine 1880s style passenger train.

At the moment there is set of four bogie carriages regularly assigned to the Dunalistair Mail train. Third-brake coaches are used on the mixed services as much as possible, as they replace a brake van, provided the mixed only contains vacuum-braked stock. More brake-third coaches are planned to supplement this practice. In addition there are plans for a train of primrose yellow Leek & Manifold bogie saloons to be used on the Dunalistair Mail service.

Some of the over-scale models may shock the purist, but they have found their place in the stock list and have a character all of their own. In general, no specific prototypes were followed except for the odd Welsh and Irish influence, but many of the models include authentic touches and details from narrow gauge stock in Britain and Ireland. The one thing which is fairly standardised is livery, which is crimson lake for passenger stock, relieved by cream or off-white upper panels most of the models. This way at least the motley collection is tied together!

No.18 is a passenger brake van based on a Ffestiniog prototype, but it is built to a larger scale (around 5.5mm scale). This ties in with some of the other four-wheel models and results at least in similar sizes for all the stock. It also fits the scale of the Ffestiniog-inspired locomotive no. 6 Inveraray. The model was made of styrene sheet in 1978 and has hardly changed since. It is used mainly on the branch service, to brake the branch mixed.

Left: a train of early four-wheelers behind no. 1 Firth of Clyde. These carriages were all built shortly before 1980. The two opens nos. 2 and 3 have been out of use for at least a decade, but were patched up and returned to service after repeated urgings of few modeller friends who shall not be named! The Ffestiniog-type bug boxes nos. 5 and 6, like brake van 18, are well over 4mm scale. The last vehicle is a third-brake with some properties of the Ffestiniog & Blaenau coaches but otherwise very freelance. The right-hand photo shows how the NWNGR-type six-wheeler fits in with the four-wheelers, making a believable Victorian passenger train.

Left: 40-year-old no. 4 Invicta on a train of 30-year-old carriages. Right: no. 6 Inveraray on a very Victorian looking train of four-wheelers, consisting of nos. 9, 5 and 6, 2 and 3, followed by four other carriages that will be described below.

The branch saloon no. 108 runs on two 1950s Kemtron H0n3 bogies given to me by P.D.Hancock, which once ran on his Craig & Mertonford. The sides and ends are kit parts once given to me by German narrow gauge modeller Klaus Olschewski, and probably were meant for a German standard gauge coach. This carriage always runs in the branch mixed, usually in company with passenger brake van 18.

Third brake coach no. 107 is a straight conversion of two Ratio GWR sides. The ends were made up from styrene and microstrip. The fine lettering in the waist panels was made up on the computer, but the class numbers and the carriage number are by Peter Blackham. The lamp tops on the roof are press studs with a wire ring put on top. The gas lines and other detail on the roof top (like Mick Thornton puts on his coaches) should really have been added years ago.

No. 103 is a vehicle with a long history. It started as an unsuccessful six-wheeler on the first C&DR layout of 1968 and was made of a Liliput standard gauge Prussian bogie coach body. At some time this very wide carriage was completely narrowed and rebuilt, and fitted with an end platform (rather Ffestiniog-inspired) with a door opening to a cramped guard's compartment. The tiny compartment windows were opened out, two by two, to wide windows between the doors. Ventilators and lamp tops were added and gradually the vehicle took on a more British outline. But I'm afraid it still looks like no prototype! All the lettering is computer-generated, even the class numbers. At least the bogies are by Fleischmann and very free-running. This vehicle runs in the stopping passenger set together with the six-wheeler, or is kept as a spare.

No. 109 is another of those non-standard carriages that make up the motley passenger roster of the C&DR. It was produced of another set of coach sides of Klaus Olschewski, but transformed into something very American or Colonial looking by fitting a clerestory roof with curved ends, balconies, and even more by cutting the sides in a suitable place and inserting a panelled sliding door that is supposed to slide on the inside, not out. I think the combination with the Beira engine Shaka Zulu revokes a rather nice Colonial scene. This carriage is an ideal companion to one of the main line mixed trains.

A short train with some Ffestiniog influence made up of the four-wheelers 9, 5, 6 and the passenger brake, no. 18. Ffestiniog enthusiasts will probably cry sacrilege, but I won't budge! I like the train despite it being horribly overscale.

Another combination with Inveraray is a short train composed of first class saloon no. 1, third class coaches 4 and 7, and third-brake no. 10. The first class vehicle was made by matching two whitemetal bug box kits which I think came from Portmadoc in 1968. They were useless for anything else on the C&DR, so I made them into one carriage with double centre doors and a clerestory roof off a 1960s Liliput H0 gauge mail van kit. The ends were detailed with microstrip, representing panelling. The next vehicle, no. 4, is a conversion of a few compartments of a Liliput Prussian coach, also a very early model of about 1969. This was treated in a similar way to bogie coach 103, with the compartment windows opened out. Next to it is no. 7, a much more recent model made from (again) coach sides given to me by Klaus Olschewski. These were part of what must have been a German compartment coach. I cut off two of the five compartments and made no. 7 out of the remains. It runs on an N gauge chassis like the others. Finally there is no. 10, a third-brake with a 'birdcage' lookout which was completely scratchbuilt from styrene and more of a success than the one languishing on the platform of Glenclachan Road! All four-wheelers were fitted with brake gear detail under the floor, and run in the branch passenger set.

The four-wheel passenger brake no. 8 was made from another portion of a Liliput mail van kit, but this was narrowed as long ago as 1968 or 1969. It was extensively rebuilt around 1990 with new lookout duckets, end windows and additional detail like brake gear. Next to it is the end of six-wheel carriage 104, an interpretation of an NWNGR six-wheeler which originally ran without the low-slung wooden side frames. After careful modification I succeeded in fitting these about 10 years after the model had originally been built. The flexible chassis is shown in the right-hand photo. This is a forerunner of the chassis fitted to the West Clare six-wheeler illustrated in the goods stock page. It is rather less well engineered but it has survived 30 years of hard use!

Finally, the three-coach bogie set that up to now has formed the mainstay of the Dunalistair Mail service, in companion with a fourth separate vehicle. Nowadays this usually is one of the two Ratio tri-composite (first/second/third) coaches, part of which can be seen on the right edge in the left-hand photo. The next carriage, first of the three-coach set, is part of my first Tri-ang GWR clerestory conversion of 1967 or 1968. It is now a first/third composite brake carriage, with a spacious first class compartment, fully furnished, at the far end of the brake compartment. The next one is a Ratio third class conversion, followed by another Ffestiniog abomination, a scratchbuilt vehicle based on one of the 'curly-roofed' luggage vans, complete with the dog's compartment! This carries a battery compartment which was used for some time to light up the train, complete with interior lights and tail lamps. The lights haven't been used for years, but the effect can be seen in the night views of Dunalistair.

This is really a foreign influence on the C&DR: a South African Avontuur Railway brake/third built by Ian Turner before the advent of the Worsley Works kits. This likeness is a much valued gift from Ian. It was converted from a Lima H0 coach, and despite it's not being quite to scale, it has got character and it's a good enough likeness for me to use on the branch goods which this way acquired passenger accommodation.

PART 3 - Works rolling stock