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GWR railcar conversion to p4 and other modifications

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  • GWR railcar conversion to p4 and other modifications

    First steps in converting to P4

    The model uses a single driven bogie which has split axles, picking up through the bearings. The other end is a more traditional coach type bogie with wipers on the backs of the wheels. You might be able to use the Branchlines class 108 conversion for the power bogie as it looks a similar arrangement but as I didn't have one I can't say for sure.

    I used standard wheels and drilled the center gear out 2mm to fit. I disconnected the wire from one side and used a little bit of copper clad and phosphor bronze wire to arrange new pick ups.

    At the 'trailing' end things don't looks so easy. The bogie is very, very narrow. No doubt a compromise to allow any sort of swing on the full skirted versions on 00 curves. You can see from the picture that a standard 26mm axle is wider that the bogie. You might be able to fit P4 wheels on the original axles as they do just about fit between the sideframes but...

    ... lets face it the super skinny bogies look more than a little bit naff. The quite low relief details really don't help either. No doubt another compromise for the skirted models.

    The powered end has plug on sideframes, like a Heljan diesel so these can be easily spaced out to something approaching the real thing. The difference is quite marked to my eye for as good as no effort.

    This is the driven side after its been re-spaced - the additional drive details go some way to mask the low relief nature of the basic sideframe.

  • #2
    I planned to use a Br*********s 7ft bogie for the none powered end of my GRW railcar.
    The Br*********s bogie is longer overall than the Dapol one - you can see the adjusted one at the top of the picture.

    Here is the bogie in position with pick ups on the far side. The near side picks up through the bogie itself. If all you want it a p4 railcar then you can stop here. I tested mine at this point and all seemed fine but its worth noting that the pickups are wired the opposite way round at each end. The red wire at this end goes to the opposite rail at the other. A bit odd!

    Naturally I didn't stop there. This is the interior without the body. That huge moulded lump has to go.

    The culprit is this huge motor. No idea why its this big, the thing only has to move itself and you can't couple it to anything anyway! The Mashima sitting on top is a 1020.

    The good news is the motor and its mounts simply unscrew from the underframe. I mounted my 1020 on a bit of 80thou plasticard and on the floor. By moving the motor back from its original position you can mount the flywheel lower too. A bit of 1.5mm ID/ 2mm OD tube meant I could use the original flywheel which contains the universal joint. The drive shaft was cut in half and lengthened with a bit of tube. There's a small lip in its channel at the motor end that needed to be ground away. While I was hacking the chassis about I cut a hole to allow me to represent the engine. Spares from the Heljan class 128 underframe sprue did the job.

    Next, the interior and finishing.


    • #3

      With the motor sorted out I cut away the molded hump (as well as the seats) and added a new floor from 20thou plasticard. The replacement seats were from DC kits (I think). The interior was then sprayed a reddish colour as that's what pictures seemed to show. I added some curtains (drawn up in photoshop and printed) along with 3 passengers - Brettell road being very sparsely used by the public.

      Although I will be keeping the railcar as no14, I removed the numbers in preparation for adding the later off white version at the other end to the way Dapol had them. The numbers came of very easily with a spot of turps substitute on a cotton bud. Be very careful around the lining as that comes off almost as soon as you look at it!


      • #4
        I can draw a line under my Dapol GWR railcar project as its now weathered and finished. The new numbers came from Steve at Railtec transfers ( Here are some pictures of the end result.


        • #5
          Excellent work Jim s-w ​​​​​​​ love the weathering job.
          Jeremiah Bunyan...


          • #6
            Click image for larger version

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ID:	7257 Railcar in the company of one it’s more angular cousins
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            • #7
              Head and tail lights and BR(WR) rules.

              A really nice conversion. Hope it runs as nicely as it looks.

              However I would point out that the cab front lights were only to display a headcode. So were in reality little brighter than an oil lamp. Class A headcode one lamp above each buffer for an express working or (under GWR/WR) ECS. The more typical for this unit would have been a Class B headcode for a stopping train. This being one lamp/light above the centre of the cab windows. There was NO headcode on the GWR/WR with the three headlamps lit as seen in your photo !!!

              Further taillamps. I think these GWR units were initially provided with one or two red tail lights. However like certain early diesels and some SR multiple units, red tail lights were quickly deemed unacceptable. Unless the loco or unit could provide a guaranteed red light for at least 24 hours on its battery. As a result a oil tail lamp was needed. The red lights fitted being simply disconnected. The first stock actually allowed to use some sort of electric red light at the rear were the Post 1951 Southern EMU's as they were altered to provide the guraranteed 24hours from battery power. So could then display (from around 1962) red "tailshades" (Red roll round blinds). But only for journeys wholly within the SR. Up until the end of BR (1995) even Class 33 and TC units arriving at Exeter were not allowed to use their red tailshades, as the WR still insisted on a red tail lamp !!!

              Having been both a WR and an SR driver at various times, I became fairly familiar with these "Border wars" !!!
              The Duke 71000


              • #8

                Tail lamps are a problem on end to end layouts. Is it better to have them wrong half the time or not at all? It’s a quandary.

                I remember reading that the main concern about tail lamps was, as you say, the lights were dim so in anything other than very dark conditions it was harder for a signaller to know if the train had split. Thus tail lamps. However earlier railcars and blue Pullman’s were exempt on the grounds that they couldn’t tow anything anyway. Having said that they do tend to feature tail lamps in a lot of pictures.

                edit. I’ve struggled to find images with the lights on (From the period) which is odd as if it’s a headcode thing they should probably always be on. I know this is a later build but here’s one running with 3 lights and a tail lamp on the front


                rest assured, none of my green era stuff has onboard tail lamps 😉

                Last edited by Jim s-w; 2 July 2018, 12:17. Reason: edited to add image.


                • The Duke 71000
                  The Duke 71000 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Jim s-w.
                  The photo link you provide to the old GWR three car "DMU" is in fact a PUBLICITY shot and POSED. I think on the Brentford branch which was close to the AEC works. The picture obviously taken to show the GWR 2-car sets could now run with a converted Collett coach added to make a 3-car set.

                  The give-away is the fact that all headlights are on, AND a tail lamp is present. Any signalman spotting a train as seen, would be obliged to "put back" on such a movement and stop the train immediately. So this unfortunately is NOT a photo of a train in normal working action....

                  Such photos are of course misleading if you are not aware of what was actually happening.
                  The Duke 71000

              • #9

                At the recent Derby Show (where we were showing Moor Street) my friend and fellow layout operator Paul pointed out that railcar 14 had lamp irons on the nose. I dunno how I missed this. So given that I hadn't sorted the horns either (should be 4 not 2) I have set to work. I also found that there were cab end handrails and Dapol had missed the double door handrails as well.


                • #10
                  I understand your dilemna regarding tail lamps on an end to end layout.....

                  So as Japanese models with their illuminated rotating destination blind (and tail blind) accessories (both N and OO scales), have not yet transferred to British outline !! (Come on Dapol I know you have fairly close contact with a Japanese Major. So how about an SR EMU using the Japanese rotating blind methods ?)

                  The options are you physically turn the vehicles around at each end of the layout. Okay if its a Fiddle Yard to Fiddle Yard. If Not then a tail lamp with an LED inside, which will only work in one direction, is a sort of halfway house solution.

                  Failing that you can have detachable tail lamps, which means brass lamp brackets need to replace plastic ones to make them stronger. While the tail lamps themselves must be modified to have a hoop on their rear (or side on GWR/WR stock) to go over the brass lamp brackets. And the lamps are then changed as in real life when the train reaches the end of the layout. Very fiddly unfortunately and the lamps tend to fall on the floor when you remove stock having forgotten to remove the lamp first. i.e not a very practical solution.So no easy solution therefore !

                  Having faced this very dilemna years ago with an N gauge end to end layout, I have always since opted for circular layouts, with a Fiddle yard somewhere on the circuit to avoid the tail lamp issue, even though I have had N gauge Japanese outline exhibition layouts in the past.......

                  The Duke 71000
                  Last edited by The Duke 71000; 7 July 2018, 23:42.