Sunday, 12 July 2015

Hornby, Trix, Triang and Bricks

with the help of the Great Northern Railway.
We can easily forget (did fbb ever remember) that that railways were once a "Common Carrier".

The law was brought in during the 19th century. It obliged railway companies to carry any cargo offered to it at a nationally agreed charge, which was usually well below a rate necessary to make the operation profitable for the railways. The intention had been to stop railway companies "cherry picking" the most profitable freight whilst refusing to carry less profitable freight. This had been a necessary measure when railways had had an effective monopoly over land transport. But with road competition encroaching, it put the railways at a disadvantage, because they had to subsidise unprofitable freight operations with profitable ones, which drove up charges.

The Common Carrier requirement was not lifted until 1962!

Carrying heavy bulk loads was one of the railway companies' big earners, whereas transporting the odd bag of fertiliser to a rural station never was. The companies invested in specialised wagons, like the GNR 50 tonner above. Bricks were carried in such bogie monsters.

Likewise, big bogie wagons were popular with toy train owners. They looked impressive whizzing at ludicrously high scale speed round the traditional oval of track; and were great fun when they inevitably derailed on the tight curves or wonky points.

Oddly, for such a specialist vehicle, bogie brick wagons were produced by all three manufacturers in the 1950s.

The Trix version was the most crude ...
... with basic printed tinplate body and no underframe detail whatsoever.

Hornby Dublo's version was a bit better.
The printing was neater and there was an attempt to represent the underframe. If you wanted to buy this particular truck today, new and in its original box (dating from 1950) it would cost you £149. Wowsers!

So the young bloods of railway modelling were excited beyond measure when, in 1959, Triang advertised their brick wagon. 
The advert first appeared in the April 1959 Railway modeller ...

... an edition which fbb (then aged 14) remembers buying!

The truck sold at five shilling and nine pence (29p) empty and six shillings and eleven pence (35p) with brick load added. That would be about £5 and £7 now. fbb never bought one because it was a bit pricey and, being a bit of a model railway snob, he couldn't think why a huge brick wagon would appear on his small country branch line layout.
But it was a step-change in realism with moulded plastic body and a better representation of its undergear in cast metal. The model was produced in slightly different forms until 1973

And if you wanted one of these today, fbb's local model shop has a pre-owned couple at £8.50 each.
fbb might have considered buying one for old times sake, but the wheel flanges are too coarse for modern track and replacing the wheels would cost far more than the truck!

If you were still desperate for a brick wagon you could, however, buy a kit from Parkside Dundas ...
... at £11.30. But wheels and couplings are extra.

Around Peterborough, the Great Northern Railway served extensive brick works which supplied the London market. To give extra brake power to the heavy brick and coal trains from Peterborough, the GNR built in 1921, some 50 ton fully braked fitted wagons to carry bricks. A gross laden weight of over 60 tons would be a very effective brake. In 1930 the LNER built a further 25, it is this variation which is depicted in our kit.

No company produces a ready-to-run brick wagon today, but fbb guesses that, if they did, it would cost about £30.

In the 1970s, the expanding Freightliner business developed specialist crane-loaded wagons for the London Brick trade. Called "Fletliners" they operated between Stewartby ...

... and London or Manchester where loads were transferred to "self-stack" equipped lorries.
Like many similar traffic flows, most (if not all) bricks now go by road. Fletliner trains are a happy memory of the 70s.
Still, its back to his bricks for fbb ...

... a lot easier than writing blogs or building a model railway.

Must keep trying with all three!

 Next bus blog : Monday 13th July 

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