The manufacturer’s four-wheel Baggage Brake is appearing in numerous liveries. Andy York looks closer at a sample in Eastern Region BR Crimson.
We reviewed the first of Hornby’s generic pre-grouping period coaches in BRM March 2021, then took matters a stage further the following month with a touch of weathering to a six-wheel four-compartment first. We are now seeing the four-wheel Baggage Brake appearing in various liveries and we were sent an Eastern Region BR Crimson version to review. It’s worth noting that the number carried, E6305E, differs from the number shown on the company website title (and hence many retailers’ sites) for the model.
E6305E was, in fact, a Midland and Great Northern six-wheel Baggage Brake, which survived into British Railways' ownership until at least 1957. Comparing the model to images of that vehicle reveals that the only common thing they share is the number. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an appealing model and more appropriate to some of the other liveries, particularly the Stroudley LB&SCR version on which the generic range is most closely based. However, I haven’t seen any evidence that there was a Stroudley vehicle like this – there was a short 20ft full brake and a longer six-wheel version, but nothing that matches this model.
The Baggage Brakes in each of the company colours are not available with the Maglight option that the passenger vehicles are and hence there are no associate pick-ups and circuitry for readily fitting the Maglight bar as an additional accessory. The interior is relatively sparse with just the brake handwheel inside, but as the brake end of the coach features large end windows, a detailed and lit interior would have been appealing. The smooth-sided duckets, which are an accurate feature of such a Stroudley vehicle, give a broadened look to the tail end of the train giving a somewhat short and fat appearance.
The plastic chassis sports an acceptable amount of detail and the wooden-centred Mansell wheels are a period feature that lasted the life of the vehicles. Hornby has included suitable footstep boards, which are an easy and reasonably secure push-fit into the chassis holes. A feature that seems visually odd is the concave-shaped buffers. Mention has been made that some vehicles had buffers that appear to have such, and further comments that some had convex buffers that located into the dished surface. I think flat heads would have looked less incongruous.
The roof has two torpedo vents as the vehicle would have had electric lighting (denoted by the provision of battery boxes below the chassis). The gas and oil lamp hoods that adorn earlier versions on other liveries certainly wouldn’t have been appropriate for this 1950s guise.
Having said all that, I like the product – it’s value for money and will suit the use that mine will be adapted into, but if you want accuracy, it’s worth looking at your chosen railway’s vehicles in closer detail.