Worsley Works
Reproduced from MRJ 210 by kind permission of the Editor and with the cooperation of Tony Gee
Model Railway Journal No 210, 2011             265

A Victorian Train For The Tilbury Line


The full set on a test run on Narrow Road, one of the layouts I am involved with. As the LT&SR tank loco had not been built when the carriages were ready, a lovely QER 2-4-0 (which is from the same layout that the carriages are to run on) was commandeered for test purposes. There is, to my eye, something utterly charming about the railways of this period.

One of the vagaries of life is that sometimes things don't always turn out just the way you plan them.
A few years ago, I was your normal, everyday, 9 to 5 office worker. Then my life took several strange directions and after a few problems, I ended up taking a bit of time out from the rat race called 'Financial services'. Then, once the need to start to earn some pennies surfaced, I was deciding what to do when one or two people said things like 'Will you build me such and such? I will pay you.'
I really liked the sound of that last bit. Now I am not the quickest of workers and I never will be but 1 have 30 years modelling experience and I can make a reasonable job of most things, so almost by accident, I have become a professional model maker. That could have been tricky as I used to have a bit of a problem with what I call 'cheque book modellers'. I used to think that if I couldn't build something myself, then I wouldn't bother at all and I would never pay somebody to make it for me.
My views have changed considerably! I have some lovely customers and they all have very valid reasons for using the services of people like me. Most involve the one thing that no amount of cash can buy us, namely time. Some are actually highly skilled themselves but realise that their project would never get finished if they did it all themselves. Others are happy to acknowledge, in the (probably slightly misquoted!) words of Clint Eastwood, that 'A man should know his limitations'. Perhaps age and eyesight


have conspired to limit what they can do them­selves but they still want certain items on their layouts and are in a position to be able to pay to have one built. Others want something for their layout but have no interest in making things. All that matters to them is having a model of something they would like to have, which isn't commercially available. Does it make them bad people? On balance I think not!
So, I have been asked to build various things. Some are things that I would never usually have anything to do with. I have broadened my knowledge of subjects as diverse as 9mm: lft scale New Zealand diesels and London Tilbury and Southend Railway 4-wheel carriages, which brings me to the subject of this article.
I know little about the LT&SR. I assume it ran between London, Tilbury and Southend but the Lancashire Derbyshire and East Coast Railway never got to Lancashire or the East Coast, so I might be wrong! So when I was asked to build a rake of 4-wheelers, to 4mm:lft (EM gauge), as running in the 1890s, I was very pleased that I was provided with some lovely drawings, photographs and some etches for most of the parts. It also helped that I work in EM myself, so I know what is needed to make them run to those standards!
The etches had been commissioned from (and provided by) Allan Doherty of Worsley Works. These are not kits in the true sense as they include pretty much most of the 'flat' bits but no castings or instructions.
Parts for six carriages arrived, two sets for all-thirds, one for an all-first, one for an all-second and two brakes, one with an end guard's compartment and one with a centre guard's and a luggage compartment.
I would say now that without people like Allan Doherty, who are willing to produce etches for such obscure vehicles, this hobby would be a much poorer place. I think it is fair to say that in order to be able to produce such etches at a sensible price, bearing in mind the very limited market, certain compromises are pretty much part of the package.
I don't think that it is fair to expect that products like these should have the full test etch, correct faults, second (and maybe more) test etch then a production run that a more main­stream kit should have. Many mainstream kits clearly don't get this treatment but that is another story! So I took on the task by treating the etch parts as a huge time-saving aid to scratch building, rather than expecting them to fall together perfectly. Having said that, Allan has a large amount of experience at these things and, generally speaking, the etches went together without too much difficulty.
Building an etched carriage has been written up many times by others and none of my methods are particularly different or unusual so I will limit my description to matters relating directly to these particular carriages. Of course, a normal carriage kit will include a number of castings and I had none, so my thoughts turned to finding suitable components.
Next page