06 October 2020
In 2018, Bachmann Branchline launched its BR Mk. 2F coaching stock for OO gauge. Now it’s the N gauge brand's turn – Andy York inspects...
British Rail introduced the 2F variant of its air-conditioned stock with its 1970s plastic-framed seating from 1973 for service on express routes. There's a healthy selection of locomotives awaiting such stock to form representative trains of the era.
The range consists of four distinct coaches, plus the Driving Motor Brake Standard Open for push-pull workings on the Scottish Region, the most distinctive adaptation of the stock. The four principal coaches, Tourist Second Open (TSO), First Open (FO), Brake Second Open (BSO), and Restaurant First Buffet (RFB) are launched in original Blue/Grey livery with Eastern Region prefixed numbering, InterCity executive (as seen from 1983 with the relaunch of that sector) and Scotrail livery from a similar date.
Five distinct toolings make up the Mk. 2F range with the BSO and FO not featuring in the image above.
The DBSO story starts in 1979, with the conversion of ten BSO coaches originally built at Derby’s Litchurch Lane plant in 1974 to create a half driving cab (leaving the original gangway intact) and a further four in 1985/6 principally for Glasgow-Edinburgh services with push-pull capabilities and improvement in timetabling without the need for the reversal of locomotives at each end.
With Class 158 units taking over some of these services from the mid-1980s the DBSOs saw use elsewhere on the system, particularly in East Anglia after electrification there. Later conversions widened this to a full-width cab and removal of the gangway ends. Cheekily prising away the corridor connector cover on the model it would appear that the gangway concertina is a separate fit part and there’s a fully-finished central window in there indicating that future more recent variations of the DBSO may be possible in the range or at least the potential for the modeller to carry out easy conversions for themselves.
The models are much smaller versions of their 4mm scale siblings with similarly accurate dimensions and shape and accurate depiction of details. Some of the moulding detail for underframe equipment might be simplified but there are still numerous separate fit parts. The livery colours are typically good, with exceptionally-fine print detail, the steel handle at the top of the door droplights being an example along with the coach-end data, all sharply defined. Sitting all three coaches together, it’s evident that attention has been paid to nuances with the blue/grey coaches exhibiting a dark grey with a hint of blue and a near-black roof for the Intercity-branded livery and a slightly lighter shade of grey upon the Scotrail-liveried roof. The glazing to passenger areas in nicely tinted while the glazing to doors windows and the BSO/DBSO guard/driver areas are correctly clear.
The DBSO is surely the eye-catcher of the range even though its usage in these early liveries would be limited to Glasgow-Edinburgh routes.
Returning to the DBSO, there is a detail pack with dummy coupling hook, ETH and brake cables and snowplough blades to further detail the 'business end' of the coach. The DBSO features directional lighting with head and marker lights and tail lamps in reverse. Unclipping the body and coach seating reveals a Next18 socket beneath the guard’s compartment to allow full control over the lighting on DCC systems if a decoder is fitted. While removing the body and seating, the modeller will find a finely printed mesh panel for the luggage area; something which will be rarely seen by the viewer, but commendable all the same.
The range is much-needed filler for a hole and could be considered in conjunction with this month’s trackplan article for King’s Cross in the 1970s for N gauge while showing future potential for later life and liveries.