|Replica released the first of its 63' non gangwayed Mark I suburban coaches as a 3 Coach set number 154 comprising of Brake Second S43378, Composite S41062 and Brake Second S43379 in time for the Warley Model Railway Show in December 2004. These were almost totally sold out at the show and they have produced a second batch which appear to be only available via mail order from Replica/Railwayania direct (Tel: 01793 642594). The cost of the 3 Coach set at the time of writing was £52.95.|
|A nicely packaged boxed set, although the bogies need to be
turned inwards once the coupling are fitted in order to return the coaches to
the box. It should also be noted in this and all subsequent pictures that I
have lightly weathered the coaches and that they are in fact supplied in
Set 154 was one of the sets mainly used on the Exmouth Branch services and introduced in 1956, see below. I believe this to be one of the first models to actually be a set in so far as its formation and coach numbering including the end set numbers are correct. Replica should be congratulated for this set. It is understood that they intend to release set 152, also in green, in due course. Crimson liveried sets are also rumoured to follow along with loose Seconds.
The models are dimensionally accurate and near flush glazed windows which include "No Smoking" and "First" decals where appropriate, also the "Ladies" compartment decal correctly located next to the Guard's compartment on the Brake Seconds. The end handrails are separately applied. Overall in terms of comparison I would position these models between the latest Hornby corridor Mark Is and the excellent offerings from Bachmann. Although the ribs on the roof representing the welded seams are somewhat too pronounced, as are those on the Bachmann MkIs, these could be lightly filed down if required.
The coaches pull apart fairly easily, although the unpainted seating units are firmly glued to the solebar. With the coach apart the seats could be painted and populated although this is hardly noticeable through the windows.
Note that the fitting of kadee couplings, rear lamp/bracket and weathering have been carried out by the author.
One of the disappointing features of these coaches is the coupling spacing, which even when using the alternatively supplied solid permanent coupling bar is too far apart. Closer coupling could either be achieved by fabricating a replacement shorter coupling bar, or as can be seen from the pictures fitting Kadee couplings screwed to the underside of the coach body (this required a small section of the buffer beam to be cut way along with the cross bar at the end of the bogie). I have left the outer tension lock coupling for the moment although this also extends further from the bogie that some people might wish.
The improvement of the gap between the coaches with the fitting of Kadees can be clearly seen. The Nº5 Kadees are fitted to give as close a gap as possible, as any closer is prevented due the shape of the underside of the floor of the coach.
The standard Replica fabricated bogies are fitted along with Jackson metal wheels, resulting in a free running coach although I have been made aware that sometimes excess moulding material on the inside of the bogie frames can cause rubbing on the wheels, although this can be easily rectified using a sharp modelling knife.
Prototype Notes (Courtesy of Glen Woods)
The BR non-corridor 63' Mk1 sets 152-155 were mainly used on the Exeter to Exmouth branch.
There should have been a fifth set (156) but it was diverted and was formed up, with additional vehicles as set 904 for Tunbridge Wells to London Bridge commuter services. In addition to the sets there were also supplied, in 1956, some loose "Seconds" S46280-S46296 which were used as strengthening vehicles on the Exeter - Exmouth services. For example the summer 1959 services shows that the 3-sets were made up to 5-sets "E" with two additional Seconds outside the set but were unbranded. In general the sets were confined to Exeter Central to Exmouth services but a run on the "Main Line" was given to one set on Saturday mornings, the 6.50a.m. from Exeter Central to Axminster and the 8.00a.m. return.
Two other Seconds, again supplied in 1956, S46297 and S46298 were also formed into set 904.
Following the transfer of the lines west of Salisbury, on 1st January 1963, sets 152-155 were transferred to the WR along with 46280-3 and 46285-8. Those retained by the SR were used variously on Hayling Island branch trains and in set 156 on the Clapham Junction to Kensington Olympia services (finally formed of almost all BR non-corridors).
From 1964 a number of additional Seconds were transferred onto the SR (ex-WR) and used in semi-fast trains from Waterloo to Basingstoke. None of these vehicles was from the original SR allocation; those that were transferred to the WR had all been condemned following dieselisation of the East Devon branches.
From this it can be seen that these sets were very short lived lasting only 8 years in service. Half this time was in crimson livery before all sets including the loose Seconds were repainted in green by 1960.
All the BR non-corridor stock, which was allocated to the SR, was of the Swindon built 63' 6" underframe variety. The Brake Seconds were to BR diagram 372, the Composites to diagram 312 and the Seconds to diagram 327.
This page was created 5 April 2005
all photographs are copyright Graham R 'Muz' Muspratt.
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