You cant build a model of the South Devon mainline without a model of the Cornish Riviera Express, (well unless you set it during the war…)
For Brent I have decided to model two formations, one for the up direction and one for the down.
The first formation is a rare thing on the Great Western, a train entirely made up of the same design of coach in the same livery, Centenaries. Common before the war, at least one of the sets stayed together into the post war period. There is a published photo by Norman Lockett of a complete set excluding restaurant working a Paddington to Western Super Mare service, while I have another photo (via eBay) which shows a full set passing the sea wall at Dawlish dated 1947.
The up formation is a Bulldog (assisting), King, Break Third (LH), Third, Third, Restaurant Third, Restaurant First, Composite, Break Third (RH). Third, Brake, Brake Composite, Brake Composite (the last three coaches form the Plymouth portion). Of this I have modelled the 7 coach core section (and will possibly extend it with a break composite in the future.
The second formation modeled in the down direction is based from a description in Michael Harris’ book for November 1947. Again it will be King powered, Break Third (Hawksworth), Third (Hawksworth), Third (Collett Large Window), Composite (Large Window), Composite (Sunshine), Restaurant composite (70ft H26), First (Sunshine), Third (Hawksworth), Break Third (Hawksworth). From which I will be omitting the first Third and one of the composites.
Modelling the formations:
As ever with GWR modelling, there is no way to model either formation out of a box. Starting with the Centenary formation I have used the old Airfix model as a basis. However they only produced the RH Brake third and the Composite (and then only in original condition). So I have used etched sides from Comet to cheap second hand coaches into the unavailable versions (I also used them to update the Composite into refurbished condition with new widows). The hardest part was filling in the joints between side and plastic door, if I was doing it again I think I would use the etched doors for the brake.
Once painted and lettered, the coaches were fitted with new couplings following Tony Wright’s design (see BRM Spring 2017), along with flexible corridor connections fitted to one end of each coach from a seller on eBay called “Fair Price Models”.
The final job (still to be finished) is to add the Cornish Riviera Express roof boards (and the coach number panels) either from Sankey Scenics or Precision Labels.
The only way to get to the other formation is to do some kit building (though it does give the opportunity to use a number of the fantastic Hornby Hawksworth coaches RTR. For the moment a Mainline Sunshine Stock third has taken the place of the Large Window, (use a Mainline model rather than the later Bachmann version given Bachmann modified the tooling to make the windows the wrong height!) For the Composite, 12 Wheel restaurant car and the first the only option is an etched kit from Comet. So far I have built the first and dining car which are currently awaiting transfers, while the composite the next on the kit building hit list.
That’s enough for now, I really ought to stop worrying about rolling stock projects and get on with layout construction…
If anyone has further questions, please get in contact or leave a comment.