My favourite railway company is the GWR. Hornby hasn’t served the GWR well in coaches over the years. Their best examples are the B-Set and Autocoach, and they acquired them from the old Airfix range.
Then a few years ago Hornby upped their game and appeared to be producing a range of outstanding coaching stock, one company at a time. I couldn’t wait for the turn of the GWR. When Hornby announced the coaches designed by F W Hawksworth I was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, they are my favourite coach design, but Hawksworth became Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1941 and was stifled by the war and then post war shortages so his wonderful creations only saw the light of day in the 11th hour of the GWR and many were never painted in chocolate and cream. Hornby did make some very good models.
I would have preferred Toplights which date from the beginning of the century and appeared in great numbers in many liveries including a wonderful lined chocolate and cream during the twenties. They lasted into BR ownership and were seen all over the network.
Now Hornby have announced a new range of coaches designed by C B Collett and I am delighted. Further details on the Hornby web site. And there is an interesting twist.
Until the 1960’s an express train would consist of corridor stock (first and third) except for the dining facilities which were open with tables. It was also possible to set up a table in compartments (you may notice suitable fittings under the window next time you are travelling on a heritage railway). This meant that a coach would have compartments down one side and a corridor on the other. Passengers would have a good view on one side and a rubbish view on the other.
In the early part of the century there would be an outside door on every compartment and a corresponding one in the corridor, but later designs would have no outside doors in the compartments, with doors on that side at the ends, and a few doors on the corridor side. There may also be a short corridor half way down the coach leading to a third door on the compartment side. This may have also separated first and third class compartments in composite coaches.
The GWR tried to have the van half of brake coaches towards the end of the train, and to keep the corridor for the whole train down one side. For coaches they can just be turned around but for brake coaches that would mean the van section would change end, so the GWR would build left and right hand brake coaches. And Hornby have plans to do the same! A first as far as I know for a RTR coach. But I cannot find out which way round the GWR preferred to run it’s trains. I like to think it would give their passengers a good view of the sea as the Cornish Riviera Express passes the sea at Dawlish.
Hornby are intending to release coaches to diagrams C54, D95 and E127.
I cannot wait to see the finished result.