Thursday, 27 April 2017


Trio of Class 47s Mark Railfreight's 30th Anniversary

We’re marking a number of anniversaries in the latest issue of Model Rail this month, including 30 years since the introduction of Railfreight sectorisation. Marking a radical departure from previous British Rail practice and livery schemes, the new corporate identity was formulated by a leading design consultancy – Roundel – who had built up an impressive portfolio of projects for many leading household names and brands.

While the base livery of triple-grey was not the most ground-breaking, the various sub-sector logos, rendered in primary colours and using simple symbols and no wording, was a brave choice. Instantly recognisable and distinctive, it gave the state-owned railway's freight sector a modern, corporate look. Not surprising really, considering that privatisation was not far off.

To celebrate the scheme’s 30th birthday, a trio of Class 47s has been employed to demonstrate how to apply the livery from scratch or to amend an existing factory finish. There’s plenty of choice amongst paint and decal suppliers, such is the enduring popularity of this livery and I’ve used a mix of transfers from Fox, Replica and Railtec. Incidentally, all etched nameplates, depot plaques and BR logos are from Fox.

My particular favourite is 47311 Warrington Yard. Using a Bachmann model, already sporting the triple-grey scheme, I removed the Metals sector logos in favour of pre-faded Railfreight Distribution symbols, courtesy of Fox Transfers. Warrington Yard was one of my main youthful spotting haunts and I remember seeing this loco regularly around the turn of the 1990s. Incidentally, the name was transferred to another '47' soon afterwards, 47311 having suffered an accident and withdrawal.

47079 is also a noteworthy prototype, being one of the locomotives used during the livery’s launch in October 1987, at Ripple Lane depot. Having previously been turned out in lined green as part of the recent GWR 150 event, its sudden repaint caused not a little controversy. My model depicts ‘079 a few years later, since re-allocated to Cardiff Canton depot.

See a full demo in the next issue of Model Rail (MR235), out on 4 May.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


Bright Red ‘Sheds’ Finished in Latest Liveries.

Observers of the contemporary railway will have noticed the shift towards a more austere form of corporate identity for Deutsche Bahn locomotives in the UK. Having re-branded itself from DB Schenker to DB Cargo, locomotives and wagons have been emerging with simple DB branding, in common with stock operating on the European mainland.

The bright red and grey livery is certainly eye-catching, especially when a freshly painted locomotive is seen hauling a complete rake of matching red wagons. Having looked into the subject of banking locomotives recently (issue 234 of Model Rail magazine), the idea of recreating one of the DB Class 66s equipped for Tebay banking duties appealed. Having approached John at Precision Labels for a set of suitable decals, he suggested also modelling 66136, with its special scheme commemorating the Yiwu (China) to London overland freight service, which seemed like a great idea.

Using both a Bachmann and a Hornby 66, the re-branding didn’t take long and Precision Labels also supplied sets of 3D-printed side mirrors and swing-knuckle couplers, making the job complete. The spotlights fitted to Tebay banker 66055 were scratchbuilt from plastic rod and brass wire – fitting working LEDs seemed like a step too far!

See a full demo in the next issue of Model Rail (MR235), out on 4 May.

Friday, 21 April 2017


BR 4MT 4-6-0 Recreates Last Days at Northern Shed.

The current issue of Model Rail magazine features an article on various forms of banking locomotives employed in the UK over the years. To tie-in with the theme and mark 50 years since the closure of Tebay shed, on the uppermost reaches of the West Coast Main Line, I decided to upgrade a Hornby BR 4MT 4-6-0.

Working from colour images of Tebay’s 75039 during its last weeks in service, the already-excellent Hornby model was made even better with a few extra details and modifications. Most notable is the removal of the smokebox number and shedplates, with the numerals being reinstated with an ink pen, mimicking the hand-painting of the prototype. I assume the original cast plates had been sold or ‘liberated’ by that point.

I was very pleased with the outcome of the weathering job and, after a run of more modern subjects, it was nice to work on something ‘steamy’ for a change!