Saturday 20 April 2024

Cobo Boco Loco Part B

1955 - The Dawn Of A New Age

It seemed a good idea at the time. After the damage and decay of the wartime years, it was obvious that omething had to be done with Britain's railway network. The Modernisation Plan was published in 1954 ...
... re-appraised in 1959 then reviewed in 1961 ...
... and reviewed again in 1962. finally came ...
... and its controversial but apparently necessary results.

Part of the 1954 plan was to equip the network with diesels; and, to achieve this, fourteen different types were ordered "for evaluation". Then panic set in and more and more diesels were ordered even before the test batch had turned a wheel!

Many of the types were execrably bad and were soon consigned to the scrap heap.

Most commentators would place the MetroVick  "CoBo" into this category.

Built by Metropolitan Vickers, they had a six wheeled bogie at one end and a four wheeled bogie at the other, hence CoBo. In the TOPS renuberings scheme they became Class 28.

They did appear on passenger trains ...

... but they were notably famous for hauling fast freights between London and Glasgow. 
To this end, the class was eventually all stabled at Carlisle.

But problems soon surfaced with the class. The two-stroke Crossley diesel engines were unreliable and the mainframes started cracking. (What goes around comes around!!).

And the windows fell out!

As built the side panes of the front windows curved seductively round the side (a bit) ostensibly to improve visibility (a bit) ...
... but they kept falling out; so they had to be replaced and the bodywork re-engineered to accommodate flat panes; which were plain but not a pain and did not fall out!
At one point the whole class was withdrawn for modification! Again, what goes around, comes around!!

For reasons that are less than clear, the locos attracted some significant publicity ...
... using a painting by Terence Cuneo.
The poster also appeared on the front cover of a Triang Hornby catalogue ...
... although Triang Hornby never produced a CoBo! That privilege rested with predecessor Hornby Dublo in both three rail ...
... and two rail versions.
fbb remembers that there was "talk" in the model railway press that such a model was highly unattractive and that poor sales were a dead cert. Then Hornby went bust anyway.

Heljan have previously produced today's CoBo in OO and have recently announced another batch.
Rapido offer an N gauge version.
The real Class 28 was often linked (physically and anecdotally) with the Condor branded goods service: Con was for Container and Dor for "Dor to Door"?. 
Containers were available in two sizes ...
... with road collection and delivery at each end included in the price.

Models of the wagon plus containers are available, again from Rapido, in N ...
... but not in OO.

Despite trendy publicity ...
... the service struggled to attain profitability. Even the logo change did not bring in the customers. The red and blue version (Midland and Scottish Region colours) is shown below on an OO model class 26 as manufactured by Suttons Locomotive Works. 
In the loss making days, these locos hauled a half-length train.

In the end, the Condor train died in readiness for Beeching's expanded Liner Train; a plan to replace loss-making wagon load freight with full containerisation.

And BoCo?

The most famous Class 28 has to be Boco, an occasional character from the Thomas the Tank Engine series of books and TV programmes. Originally he had a yellow face cum warning panel ...
... but this was later changed to grey for the books ...
... and films.
And, if you thought some of fbb's interests were a bit on the weird side, try this one!

But do the kiddies understand why he is called BoCo? Unlikely, unless daddy knows explains it!

And a real one was also numbered D5702, just like Boco!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 21st April 

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