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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Evenin', All - this is for fans of the British narrow gauge line that runs from Welshpool on the borders, inland to Llanfair Caereinion - about 8.5 miles. The track gauge is 2ft 6in, or 760mm, and the line still has two of its original locomotives runing on it, apart from half a dozen others.

My BIL and I went over on Saturday to the large-scale garden railway show held there every year on the same weekend as the great Welshpool & Llanfair railway gala, and had our usual fantastic time - vids from the full-size trains will be on YouTube sometime soon.

BUT, for me, and many others, the undoubted star of the show was the appearance at 11am, of the brand-new Accucraft model of the 'Earl'/'Countess' in 20.3 scale live steam, and its pair of matching scale-length coaches. Iain Pearse snuck by the little crowd and just rolled them into the glass-fronted demo-stand...

The loco model left us amazed at the level of detail on this pre-production sample - most of us there know the full-size locos VERY well indeed, and nothing has been left off the external appearance, as far as we could determine. The complex appearance of the valve gear and all its associated wiggly bits has been captured in total detail - no stampings here, just bits machined out of the solid stainless steel, and every rivet on the orginal faithfully reproduced.

It will hopefully go on sale in early next year for around £1100 here.

Which brings me nicely to the two examples of coaches - built to the style of the Pickering coaches that were built for the line at the beginning of the last century. The finish and detail on these scale-length models is again astounding, as is the beautiful and near-faultless paint job with its fine company logos and numerous outer script markings. Sadly, one of the coaches had been badly damaged in shipping, but that side was not visible, and did not detract from the general impression. There are minor discrepancies in the internal fitments that somebody who knows them well would pick up on, but Mr Pearse has promised that they will be addressed and rectified before production commences.

These models will be available at around £185 or so here in yUK when they become available next spring. Having seen them close up, it is my opinion that these stunning models are the equal, or even better, than any large-scale coach models that I have ever seen from any maker of garden-scale rolling stock.

I can post images to anybody who wishes to see them, but I cannot, for legal reasons, post them directly to this forum. After they are received, the recipient may do with them as he wishes.

tac
 

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Hi,
I, too, was at Llanfair Caereinion last Saturday (sorry I missed you, Tac/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif) and was astounded by the Accucraft W&L models. Generally I'm not bothered too much by the British outline offerings in the model market, but the Accucraft UK Earl/Countess and Pickering coaches are absolutely wonderful. (I have to confess to being a bit biased, having lived at Welshpool for 8 years I see the W&L as 'my' railway!) Anyway, these are definitely on my list of must have items for next year. Well done to Ian Pearse! If she runs as well as she looks she'll be very hard to beat!

On a slightly different note, I was also greatly impressed by the full size items too - I have been to the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway Gala for many years, and this was one of the best - I can highly recommend it as a great weekend, you just gotta go!:D
Martin
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Martin - I was pretty easy to see - the only person there wearing an MLS badge and a 'Crazy Norwegians' hat [hiya, Pat, down in Port Orford OR. :)

I will be contacting Mr Pearse in the next few days, before we go back to Oregon, to try and arrange a photo-session of the new models, which, I agree, raise the standards of model realism in small steam to completely new heights.

It is sad, however, to realise that those lucky few who spent over £2500 on the original 'Earl' or 'Countess' in the past now have to contend with a true-scale model, albeit one without installed r/c, at considerably less than half the price.

The short movie I took of Iain placing the loco into the show cabinet, and pushing it along the piece of track clearly showed the action of the valve gear - it is EXACTLY right. The coaches were similarly 'movied' - they too are of the same exalted standard. BTW - this was my 20th Gala weekend at Welshpool - we'll definitely have to make a meet of it next year, eh? with our 'Earl'/'Countess' on a portable track?

Graders

tac
 

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RE: Welshpool & Llanfair 'Earl'/'Countess' by Accucraft

good to see Accucraft trying to make a loco look scale because I cannot see what interest anybody has in these types of loco's like Ruby etc. to me they look like toys I have seen the 'Earl' and 'Countess' and cannot see £2500 worth of engineering into them when for an extra £300 would buy an Aster with build quility of a Rolex.
 

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Well, for a start Aster doesn't build the 'Earl'/'Countess.' If you want this prototype, you buy from Accucraft.

I don't want to see this degenerate into another endless Accucraft vs Aster debate. I own both, plus Roundhouse, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
 

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Posted By mack505 on 09/03/2008 7:40 AM
Well, for a start Aster doesn't build the 'Earl'/'Countess.' If you want this prototype, you buy from Accucraft.
I don't want to see this degenerate into another endless Accucraft vs Aster debate. I own both, plus Roundhouse, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.




I'm not talking about the who makes what best I'm talking about the type of loco Roundhouse and Accucraft make that look like toys that I have never seen before/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif
 

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RE: Welshpool & Llanfair 'Earl'/'Countess' by Accucraft

Hey guys!! Back off before you start another 4-4-0 debacle! Constructive criticism is always welcome, but opinions are better left unsaid! Alex
 

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The W&L twins are still available from Pearse Locomotives in Church Stretton, the firm that Ian and his father Donald founded back in 1992. The model comes with R/C installed. At one time, one of the channels was used for both the regulator and a whistle, a nice touch. Not sure they still offer that feature, tho.
 

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RE: Welshpool & Llanfair 'Earl'/'Countess' by Accucraft

I for one would luv to see the pics...
In particular of the coaches that may, I say may again, seem reasonable to consist with my RH Vale of Rheidhol (sp)
Which has been languishing for a suitable coach consist for some time now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Posted By aankus on 09/07/2008 10:39 PM
I for one would luv to see the pics...
In particular of the coaches that may, I say may again, seem reasonable to consist with my RH Vale of Rheidhol (sp)
Which has been languishing for a suitable coach consist for some time now.


Mr Aankus - in common with most of the Narrow Gauge shortlines in the USA, those in the UK had their own particular type and style of coaches.

The Welspool & Llanfair railway was actually built as a commuter/freight service between Llanfair Caereinion - a typically small Welsh rural township serving the outlying farms, and the far bigger town of Welshpool situated precisely on the borders between Wales and England amd also, more importantly, served not only by major roads from north and south and east, but by the Cambrian and later the Great Western Railway. For that reason the coaches on the W&LL, the only 2ft 6in track in the UK, had comparatively large and VERY expensive-to-build custom passenger coaches by the best builder of the day - Pickering.

By contrast, the VoR coaches, running on 2ft gauge track, were pretty basic both in appearance and fittings, and present an altogether more rustic ethos than the aristocratically-funded W&Ll - remember that the two original locomotives were named after the Earl and Countess of Powys, through whose land the line passed and still does.

Please run whatever you like behind your loco, but seeing Welshpool's aristocratic Pickering coaches behind the VoR loco is a bit like seeing a Pullman car behind a Davenport.

Each line has its own style.

You can buy VoR coaches as kits or RTR from GRS, BTW. See - http://www.grsuk.com/index.asp?docs/38.asp

And here are better pics of the Accucraft loco and a coach - http://www.gscalemad.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=168&st=0&#entry3262

Besp

tac
 

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Hi Tac,
W&L coaches behing a VofR loco can't look any worse than a mixture of Hungarian and Austrian coaches behind the Countess (which often happens on the W&L today)!:confused:
Martin
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Posted By topshed on 09/08/2008 3:49 PM
Hi Tac,
W&L coaches behing a VofR loco can't look any worse than a mixture of Hungarian and Austrian coaches behind the Countess (which often happens on the W&L today)!:confused:" border=0>" border=0>
Martin


Agreed - we have visited and ridden the Welspool railway about twice a year for the last thirty something years, so we are pretty well used to the sight of mixed consists there. BUT - that is what the railway looks like - mixed.

The reason is simple, as I'm sure more erudite posters will tell you, but here in UK the Welshpool's 760mm gauge [2ft 6inches] is unique, whereas in former Austro-Hungary it was THE NG track gauge - hence the plethora of readily-available [and relatively cheap] ex-Zillertal and MAV coaching stock used on the line with little alteration.

My point is that WHEN there are dedicated made-for-the-line coaches, they look better - especially since the VoR coaches have VoR on them, and the Welshpool ones Welshpool & Llanfair on them.
Put a train of Daylight coaches behind a K4 and see what sort of response you get from the rivet-counters....

tac
 

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RE: Welshpool & Llanfair 'Earl'/'Countess' by Accucraft

Hi,
'Topshed' complains about the Continental coaches that the W&L have and use.

They are a 'means to an end' - without them the railway could not be running, coaches were needed, for that as the line is now passenger orientated - before it was really for freight, and passengers were a poor second, economically the line was acgricultural, and that means low wages in the area, thus not much passenger traffic at all.

The original coaches had been scrapped, when passenger service stopped in 1931, the line closed in 1956. The line was resurrected from 1963 by enthusiasts, so in effect there was nothing left, wagons were found from dockyards, and amazingly the 2 origianl locos could be rebuilt.

Replicas could not have been built as no-one had the means to to that, due to first cost of them, and second expertise to build them - all the coach-builders used modern methods not 'traditional' style coach-building which dates right back to the building of stagecoaches! Yes the replicas look like the Pickering origianls, but with modern additions. New coaches are also being bought from Romania

Therefore the 'continental' coaches are are very necessary to the running of the line, and still are - there are only two replica coaches - built by the Boston Lodge workshops of the Festioniog Railway who have quite rightly carved themselves a very good reputation in coach building, starting with the restoration of their own stock, and the building of stock for the 'soon to be' fully opened Welsh Highland Railway.

The W&L website has a more information on it - that site is at

http://www.wllr.org.uk/index.htm

and well worth a look; the new W&L is much larger than the original, and tah means that much more rolling stock is in use!

i
 

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RE: Welshpool & Llanfair 'Earl'/'Countess' by Accucraft

This is one of those "it depends" situations, where you have to answer for yourself just how closely to prototype you want to model. The coaches were scrapped when the W&L lost its passenger service in the 1930's, the W&L became a GWR property in the 1920's and was part of BR from 1948 until preservation in 1956. Each period (and there's clearly some overlap) featured its own mix of rolling stock, liveries and color schemes. Can you mix and match? Certainly. Will somebody flinch? Yup. Is it worth losing sleep over? It depends; everyone has their own threshold of acceptance for what's "right" when representing history in model form.

And lest we not forget that the Earl/Countess models are a compromise from the get-go, as they're built to run on either scale 2' gauge (32mm) or scale 2'9" gauge (45mm), neither of which is prototypically correct.

My two cents' worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
...And lest we not forget that the Earl/Countess models are a compromise from the get-go, as they're built to run on either scale 2' gauge (32mm) or scale 2'9" gauge (45mm), neither of which is prototypically correct.
My two cents' worth.




45mm is closer....;)

tac
 

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Hi All,

Just for the record, in response to Peter Bunce I did not 'complain' about the continental carriages on the W&L and would not dream of doing so. I have ridden in most of them and fully understand the railway's policy (anyway, where else in Britain can you ride in real Zillertal four wheeler, or one of the splendid Sierra Leone offerings?). I was responding to a comment about running Accucraft W&L Pickering coaches behind a Roundhouse VofR loco, simply pointing out that this is probably nearer to prototype (both railways having been owned by the GWR for some time)than continental coaches behind Earl or Countess. I had not in any way intended to hurt anyone's feelings and I hope never to do so - especially as of all the Welsh narrow gauge lines, the W&L is my favourite (but I am very fond of the others too!).

all the best,
Martin
 
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