The Tralee & Dingle Coach Saga
Most of the T&D passenger stock was transferred to
the West Clare after closure of T&D passenger service in 1939, so
when I got the hankering to build some bogie coaching stock I
had many prototypes from which to choose. (The West Clare's
coaches were all six-wheelers). 7T, which became 45C,
was one of a batch of "standard" Bristol all-thirds built in
1890. I use the word "standard" somewhat lightly because some of
the details (beading, roof vents, and such) differed from one coach to
the next. 11T was built in the T&D shops in Tralee in 1896 to
the same dimensions and general design as the Bristol coaches.
Drawings for the standard all-third coach and many photos to help the
aspiring modeler can be found in "The Dingle Train" by Dave Rowlands,
Walter McGrath, and Tom Francis, ISBN 1 871980 275 published 1996 by
The Plateway Press. Photos of these vehicles on the West Clare
can also be seen on the County Clare Web site. Click here
for a link to their West Clare Railway images.
This is a first for me--going public with a description of my slow and
not-always steady progress on a building project. This was (still
my first attempt to build coaches, and I approached it
with some trepidation. As I contemplated everything that would go
into it, the process seemed
much more involved and finicky than building goods wagons--not really
my sort of project, really. I get easily dismayed and distracted,
and the longer and more involved a project is, the more likely I am to
put it down, walk away from it, and never get back to it again.
I've managed to avoid this, but at the same time, I started working on
these in January 2005 and they're not done yet! A couple of
general notes before getting to the nuts and bolts of the building
process (worth every penny of what you've paid for them... :-) ):
I freely admit that I'm lazy by nature and I spend a lot of time trying
to devise clever ways to do things the easy way. If I can
see a way to use a power tool instead of manual effort, I'm all over
it. That being said, I'm learning that it's often the case that
doing things the slow, tedious way can end up being quicker and easier
trying to take a shortcut and having to spend lots of effort tyring to
make it come out right. Coach
building takes time (at least in my world) and surrendering to this
simple truth has been a major victory for me and allowed me to enjoy
the process more.
By and large it's worth taking the effort to make a piece correctly and
glue it down accurately. Errors compound; corners that aren't
square don't magically fix themselves over the course of time; your eye
immediately notices if bits that should be parallel aren't.
Cut pieces to the actual size needed to fit on your vehicle rather than
the size it should be
according to the drawing. The two are rarely the same.
Another note: practically none of what you read in the following pages
is the fruit of my own cleverness. I'd have gotten nowhere
without the generous guidance and advice from others more skilled than
I. Thanks to Neil, Ken, Simon, and to everyone else from the
group, the oneto20point3IrishNG
group, and the Irish Three Foot
group for their contributions, without which my "Irish" railway roster
would still consist of LGB stock.
I'm going to describe the sequence of steps taken and techniques used
but not refer specifically to the actual dimensions of the Tralee &
Dingle coaches. The techniques are universally applicable and
therefore likely to be of more general interest.
Enough of my carrying on. It's time to cut some plywood!
I've divided this saga into several pages to minimze the download time
for each page for those of you on dialup. Each page will probably
have roughly 300Kb to 500Kb of images.
Part 1: The beginning--construction and assembly
of the sides and ends
Part 2: The interior and roof