Thursday, 25 August 2011

Midland Elegance but with the Dexterity of a Hobbit

Part bull: 40564 was one of the very last of the elegant ex-Midland Class 2P 4-4-0 locomotives to run on the 'The Dorset', it being finally withdrawn in 1962. In latter years, it would be frequently used on the 11.30 'Beer Express' from the Marriott, Dent and Foster Brewery in Bath down to Bournemouth West. On a bright morning in 1960, the train is captured departing Brewhouse Quay for its holiday resort destination freshly loaded with bottled 'Bright Bath Bitter Ale' for thirsty holiday makers. The train would initially trip the mile or so into Bath Green Park goods, where it would be run around in preparation for its journey south over the Mendips.

Truth: I've had this Hornby loco for around 10 years, it being a nice Christmas pressie from the trouble and strife. The only work on it has been a blast with Halfords matt black, a renumber and light weathering. It sadly has a tender drive unit, which is fine on a roundy-roundy layout, but quite inadequate for any operation that requires slow controlled smooth running. It doesn't help that the tender drive wobbles and that more often than not, the loco wheels stop going around or rotate at a slower speed than the engine!

I gather this ex-Mainline model from the 1980's is to be re-released in due course from Hornby with LOCO-DRIVE - if that does come to fruition buying a new one for the chassis and tender could be a cheaper option than fitting a Comet chassis.

 So, for the meantime the loco only sees use in front of the camera for static shots like this that require nothing to actually move! Oh yes, and it's raining outside again!

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