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Standard gauge (gauge 3/G 64) from Bachmann Thomas stock

by Mel

Since introducing a standard gauge interchange siding to Gooey station, I've managed to accumulate quite a train to populate it. In fact, at 8 foot long, it's pretty much full to over-flowing already - not that that will necessarily stop me making more of course. All of the rolling stock has been built on re-gauged chassis from the Bachmann Thomas The Tank Engine range.

I suppose it makes sense to start at the front with my standard gauge loco. This is an ex GWR 8750 class pannier tank built from a GRS kit. It has a resin body on a stainless steel chassis. The chassis features full compensation (please take note other manufacturers) and a hefty gearbox to transfer drive from a similarly hefty motor. I bought the loco ready built from ebay thanks to a tip off from site contributor Philip (for which I'll be eternally grateful). It was originally painted in GWR green, but I have re-painted it in BR black to suit the normal running period of the WGLR. It has also been weathered. It has been fitted with Narrow Planet number plates as 3782 with an 84G shed plate as this loco spent many years based at Shrewsbury (making it available for the Cambrian line that links to the WGLR), although it was often sub-shedded at Ludlow from where it operated down the Tenbury branch to Bewdley - my home town.


The first wagon I re-gauged was the green coal wagon from the Thomas range. These wagons represent excellent value for money, their superb metal wheels being easy to re-gauge. Judging by the amount of detail in the bodywork moulding, they are up-scaled versions of the Bachmann oo range. The green version comes with a typical plastic coal load which has been covered with real coal. Other than re-gauging, the wagon has been re-painted in BR colours and weathered.

Next came a pair of the grey troublesome trucks which had been split from a starter set. These are the ones that come with Thomas style faces, which are easily removed. The first was painted in a similar fashion to the green version, but this time with it's former private owner livery starting to show through the BR colour scheme ( Highley Mining Co. as seen at the SVR's Engine House museum). As this wagon was modelled without a load (other than a folded tarpaulin), internal strapping was also added.

The remaining grey wagon became the basis of an ex GWR ventilated van. The van body was scratch built in plasticard and simply slips over the coal truck. A more in-depth description of this model will appear in a future issue of Garden Rail. Notice the destinations chalked onto the doors.

By way of a change, the next vehicle was mounted on one of Thomas's coach chassis (Clarabel to be precise). This chassis is very basic and the bodywork was unsuitable for my requirements, so this was the most involved build so far. The parcels van is based on an ex Southern Railway PMV, although it's more of a "bitsa" in reality. Apart from the actual chassis, everything had to be scratch built including all the underframe detail. This was no real chore though as I must admit to having a bit of a "thing" about parcels and other passenger type vans.

The latest addition to the standard gauge stock goes back to the truck chassis for it's base, although the open body isn't used. The idea for a CARFIT wagon came from a recent Railway Modeller article. The bodywork (such as it is) is made from ply and plasticard. An ebay bid is ongoing to provide a suitable agricultural load.

Another coach chassis (this time Annie of course) is currently waiting in the workshop, so watch this space (and Garden Rail) for future additions.

Looks like an update on progress is required. The afor mentioned ebay bid resulted in a tin plate tractor model arriving to act as a load for the CARFIT wagon. This is very much a toy, so I decided that covering it with a tarpaulin would be required to make the finished project more of a model.


The tarp is made from an old handkerchief soaked in PVA and moulded over the tractor (which was covered in cling-film). After a couple of hours in the sunshine the tarp maintained it's shape, but could be removed for play sessions with the tractor (as if !!).

As I had a loco for the front of my standard gauge stock, it seemed to make sense that I needed a brake van for the rear. An ex GWR TOAD would appear to be the obvious choice for the WGLR's location, but the Annie coach chassis was totally unsuitable as it's wheels were too close together, so I decided to make a representation of a BR standard brake. The chassis' layout also meant that many compromises had to be taken for this model and it is very much a representation rather than a scale model.  For me it has "the look" which is the main thing that I'm after.

My 8' long standard gauge siding is now full to bursting and no more projects are in the workshop, but work is under way on some garden modifications which will free-up room for a little more 64mm track. News will follow in the new year.

Scale issues
I am aware that many garden railfairers (especially those who's railways are based on live steam locos) work to the scale of 1/19th as opposed to the 1/22.5 that I and others work to. Some of the contributors may remember that, some time ago, Graham looked at the possibilty of having a standard gauge RCH 7 plank wagon made to 1/19th.

I thought that it might be useful to pose one of the Bachmann wagons next to Graham's scale drawing to show the difference of such stock in our respective scales.

Waste not, want not
As mentioned above, I found the two coach bodies to be unsuitable for standard gauge models, but I'm much too much of a cheapskate not to use them. After all they may be toys, but they're cracking mouldings.

So Clarabel became the new offices and store for the Wetton Valley Farmer's Co-Operative (with a new clerestory roof salvaged from an LGB coach)

and Annie has been mounted on a Hartland bogie flat wagon. Not exactly a fine scale model, but more something slightly quirky in the best Titfield Thunderbolt traditions for the tram loco's.