Monday, February 25, 2013

... And Two More Makes Three

I've now finished painting and adding transfers to all three wagons from the last 3D print run. You've already seen one of the wagons but I thought I'd include it's photo again to show you the final roundup.

I'm really happy with how all three turned out, although the General Refractories wagon was hardest to paint as it was difficult to get a good covering of the creamy white paint (I used ivory from the Model Color range). The vinegar trick seems to work well though as I had no problems with the transfers on any of the three wagons, so the white wine vinegar has definitely earned itself a permanent spot in my modelling toolbox.

Now that I've painted the wagons and have been able to photograph the finished items, I've added them to the growing list of products available through Penistone Railway Works; each wagon can be bought with any of the three different brake configurations, so in theory that's nine new models.

A Bumpy Ride

When I first saw this (and related) photo I assumed they had been photo-shopped. It turns out that they are actually very real.

Apparently (and I'm assuming that Network Rail can be relied upon to accurately report the status of the track they manage) there was some concern on the 9th of February when a driver reported a "rough ride" when passing Hatfield Colliery near Doncaster, but conditions deteriorated rapidly until Network Rail admitted that "it was no longer possible to run services through the area".

It looks like it's going to be a while before normal service is resumed with Netowrk Rail reporting eight weeks of work need to be done, after the colliery have stabilised their land.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Bullhouse Railway Accident

As you may remember the first accident to befall the railway around Penistone involved a cow, and while the accident was undoubtedly bad for the cow no one else was killed. Unfortunately many of the people involved in the first major accident weren't so lucky.

On the 16th of July 1884 the 12:30pm express train from Manchester London Road to London King's Cross, operated by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and driven by the experienced Sam Cawood (at this point he had been driving main line passenger trains for 12 years) had passed through the Woodhead tunnel and at 1:21pm was was running downhill towards Penistone passing the signal box at Bullhouse Colliery when, without warning, the locomotives crank axle snapped. The driver immediately applied the brakes bringing the locomotive to a stand 517 yards further down the line, unfortunately the driving wheels, now no longer held in place by the axle, had spread outwards causing the track to distort.

The train that day consisted of MS&LR locomotive number 443, coupled to a Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) horsebox, a Great Northern brake van, three Great Northern composite carriages, another Great Northern brake van, an MS&LR third-class brake carriage, two MS&LR composite carriages, an MS&LR third-class carriage, and finally an MS&LR brake van. The coupling between the locomotive and the horsebox held, but the coupling between the horsebox and the rest of the train failed and as the vehicles derailed on the distorted track they ran down an embankment before breaking up in the fields and road below the railway.

Just as with the previous accident a lot of this information comes courtesy of an article in The Illustrated London News published ten days after the accident:

A terrible railway accident, by which above twenty persons were killed and twice that number injured, took place on Wednesday week at Bullhouse Bridge, near Penistone, midway between Manchester and Sheffield. An express-train of the joint traffic system of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire and of the Great Northern Company, which had left Manchester at half-past twelve at noon, broke the axle of its engine, and the carriages behind were thrown from the bridge or embankment into the road below, a depth of about 16ft. They were turned upside down and broken, some were smashed to pieces, and half the passengers suffered, nineteen being taken dead out of the wreck of the train. Three others died after removal to Manchester. Among those killed were several ladies--Mrs. Coates, widow of a clergyman in Lancashire; Mrs. Stower and Mrs. Spencer, of Boston; Mrs. Edelstein, of New York; Miss Tetlow, of Bolton-by-Bolland; Mrs. Rawlings, of Redditch; and Mr and Mrs. Shorrock, of Darwen, who were on their way to a family wedding in London. Mr. Bromley, mechanical engineer, of Victoria-street, Westminster, and Mr. J. P. Woodhead, consulting engineer, of Manchester, were also killed. The Queen sent next day a message to the Mayor of Manchester, expressing her sympathy with those who are still suffering, and with the families of the dead. Our Illustration shows the scene of the disaster, with part of the remains of the train. It appears that the train was going at a speed of nearly fifty miles an hour, down an incline of one in 124, and round a curve of half a mile radius. The axle of the engine had been properly examined at Manchester, but the crack in the steel could not then be detected.
The Illustrated London News, 26th July 1884
Not only was the accident newsworthy enough for an article, but as you can gather they also included an illustration; in fact they devoted a full double page to illustrations. Firstly to really help us understand how the accident unfolded and where the carriages ended up they included a useful map:

Their main illustration was, however, this fantastic panoramic view of the accident site:

It wasn't just The Illustrated London News who thought the accident worthy of an illustration, as The Graphic, published on the same day, also included illustrations of the accident site.

Personally I prefer the panoramic view from The Illustrated London News; The Graphic's illustration reminds me more of the style of drawing you would find in a modern graphic novel. Regardless of style both images seem to agree in most of the details, right down to the number of air vents on the top of the carriages! Given that the images do agree to such a large extent, I'm assuming that they were both drawn from photos taken before the carriages were removed from the road; these two being prime candidates.

We are quite lucky in Penistone, in that there are actually quite a lot of old photos of the town, surrounding countryside, and memorable events that are quite easy to come by. Most of these photos were taken by Joshua Biltcliffe and sold as postcards from his shop in the centre of Penistone. Now I don't know for certain that either of these photos are by Joshua Biltcliffe but given the style of the postcard backing that would be my assumption, at least for the left hand photo; the right hand image came from the Railways Archive, but if anyone comes across an actual copy of the postcard please let me know. Regardless of who the photographer was we can see that the newspaper illustrations really are quite accurate.

On the 27th of July, just a day after the newspaper articles appeared, the official report into the accident was presented to the Board of Trade. The report, assembled by Major F. A. Marindin, runs to twenty pages and provides a huge amount of extra detail.

The first thing to note from the report is that the death toll had risen to 24 with J. W. Poole having died on the 30th of July and Miss Totlow on the 6th of August -- these dates are after the report was written and so I assume were added before it was collated into the accident return book which deals with all accidents in the nine months ending on the 30th of September 1884.

Locomotive number 443 was a 4-4-0 designed by Charles Sacré (referred to now as a Class D12 locomotive). Unfortunately I can't find a useable photo of number 443, but I've included a photo of number 440 which is of the same class; also note how this photo compares well with the locomotives depicted in another of The Illustrated London News' drawings. At the time of the accident the crank axle, which had been fitted in May 1883 and been checked thoroughly at overhaul in October of 1883, had successfully completed 50,776 miles without incident. The report seems to have been very thorough, including testing of the composition of the metal crank axle and expert testimony which suggests that the breaking of the crank axle alone wouldn't normally have resulted in such a large accident; 247 crank axles had broken during 1883 without any serious accidents occurring. In this incident the major problem was the broken coupling in combination with the curve the train was negotiating. Once the carriages became disconnected from the locomotive and left the damaged rails they naturally moved in a more or less straight line, down the embankment, rather than following the curve of the railway.

The reports main criticism was, however, reserved for the braking system in use on the train. The problem was that Sacré had fitted the D12 locomotives with a simple Smith vacuum brake. In a Smith vacuum brake, an ejector on the locomotive creates a vacuum in a continuous pipe along the train, allowing the external air pressure to operate brake cylinders on each vehicle. This is a cheap system to build and maintain, but has a major weakness; if the locomotive becomes detached from the rest of the train, or if the vacuum pipe is ruptured in anyway, then the brakes stop working. In the conclusion to his report Major Marindin summarises this aspect of the disaster as follows (note that the report uses break instead of brake throughout as was apparently customary):

Now, while I do not believe that any break which exists could have actually stopped the train on the falling gradient in the distance available, and could thus have averted the disaster, yet it is beyond question that a quickly-acting and powerful continuous-break ought in this distance to have so reduced the speed that the consequences of the accident would probably have been far less fatal ... if the train had been fitted with an automatic-break, which would have remained on when the parting took place, it is probable that four or five vehicles would, by its continued action and the consequent reduction of speed, have escaped with comparatively little damage.
Unfortunately for the MS&LR this wasn't the first time that the brakes fitted to their trains had been called into question:

The value of a break having rapid action, and above all, automatic action, in such a case as this, can hardly be contested; and although the Board of Trade has, as yet, no power to insist upon the adoption of a continuous-break possessing these qualities, yet I would remind the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company that this is the second emphatic warning which has been given to them within the last six months as the need for automatic action in the breaks used upon their line; the previous instance being on the 6th February 1884, when after a carriage had left the rails when running at high speed near Dinting station, the vacuum-break pipe was severed, the break became useless, and the carriage was dragged along off the rails for over 350 yards further than it would have been if the breaks had remained on, at the imminent risk of falling, and taking with it the carriages behind it, over a viaduct 100 feet in height.
Amazingly, after such a rebuke, it took another three years and a stern reminder from the Board of Trade, before the MS&LR started to update their locomotives to automatic vacuum brake systems.

While the early years of the railways saw many accidents, few resulted in such a large loss of life. In fact, only four previous accidents (assuming I can trust this Wikipedia page) had resulted in more deaths:
In all these accidents, however, there was either human error, or the deaths were the result of something other than the accident itself (a resulting fire or the train falling into water leading passengers to drown) and as such there was someone or something to blame. In this accident though there was no clear fault -- it was simply a random accident (an alternative braking system would have helped but wouldn't have prevented the accident).

If you consider the random nature of the accident along with the exposure it was given in the newspapers you can maybe imagine why, three years later, it was used as a way of introducing the randomness of death into a religious tract, with the title Suddenly! An Incident of the Penistone Railway Accident being a good way of attracting a readers attention.

  • Frederick William Naylor Bayley, editor. The Illustrated London News. 26 July 1884.
  • The Graphic. 26 July 1884
  • George Dow. Great Central, Volume Two: Dominion of Watkin, 1864-1899. Ian Allan, 1962.
  • Gerald Nabarro. Steam Nostalgia: Locomotive and Railway Preservation in Great Britain. Routledge & Kegan Paul Books, 1972.
  • Railway accidents. Returns of accidents and casualties as reported to the Board of Trade by the several railway companies in the United Kingdom, during the nine months ending 30th September 1884, in pursuance of the Regulation of Railways Act (1871), 34 & 35 vict. cap. 78; together with reports of the inspecting officers of the Railway Department to the Board of Trade upon certain accidents which were inquired into.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Modelling Supplies: White Wine Vinegar

When I blogged about not being able to count on Sunday I didn't envisage being able to fully complete the wagon until next weekend at the earliest, as I would have to wait for the transfers to arrive and then find time to apply them and finally varnish the completed model. So it's with some surprise that I present the completed wagon for you today; the transfers arrived in the post this morning, were applied in about 20 minutes during my lunch break, and then the varnish applied while waiting for the kettle to boil mid afternoon. After a couple of panicky moments the final model looks pretty good, although for some reason there isn't room to evenly space the main logo (and my wagon is slightly larger than the one the transfers were designed to fit).

If you remember from my past attempts to use waterslide transfers (here and here) they weren't exactly an unqualified success. There are a number of solutions you can buy that you either apply to the model before the transfer, or in which you soak the transfer to remove the backing paper, and which are supposed to help but I thought I'd try a cheap trick that I saw mentioned in a forum (I can't now remember which one); vinegar. The suggestion was that you can soften the transfer slightly by adding a few drops of vinegar to the warm water you soak the transfers in. I decided that I wouldn't go this route but would try something slightly different.

I applied the transfers as normal (soak in warm water, position with a paintbrush and then remove excess water with a cotton wool bud) and then used a cotton wool bud soaked in vinegar (white wine vinegar to be precise) first to get vinegar under the transfer (if you simply put vinegar along the edge of the transfer it gets sucked under the transfer nicely) and then to rub the transfer to mould it to the details of the model. This seemed to work really well leaving me with transfers that had folded nicely into the creases between planks etc. and it has the advantage of not making the transfer any more delicate than necessary when you try to position it on the model which is when it is most likely to rip.

The other tip I picked up is to ensure that the aerosol of varnish is both warmed (I stand it in hot water for about five minutes) and then well shaken. This apparently stops the white dots that plagued my previous models from occurring. This worked really well, although I did have a worrisome ten minutes after I'd sprayed the model as initially the transfers (especially the large logo) crinkled up badly, but as the varnish dried they flattened out again.

It's taken less than two months from my first attempt at printing a wagon to a fully painted and detailed wagon that I'm really happy with. I call that a successful experiment with more complex 3D printing than the small accessories I'd designed in the past, and if I can do it then so can you!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I Can't Count

Having blogged this morning about priming the first of this batch of 3D printed items, I thought I'd set to work on paining in the details. First job was to paint the underframe black; a simple job. A harder job is paining the metal work. There is quite a lot of metal work, but depending on the wagon I'm trying to model different amounts need to be painted. So I dug out the two sets of transfers I've been keeping ready for these models only to find I can't count/read.

I was absolutely certain that both sets of transfers I had were for 8 plank wagons in red oxide. It turns out that actually both are for 7 plank wagons in red oxide. Damn!

I've now ordered some more transfers designed for 8 plank wagons painted in red oxide, so there will be a bit of a delay until I can fully finish this wagon, although as you can tell the transfers I've ordered required painting all the metal strapping. At the end of the day the mix up isn't a problem as part of the reason for designing the 3D model was to allow me to easily print a large(ish) number of varied wagons, so next time I do a 3D print run I'll add a couple of 7 plank wagons to the order to match the transfers I already have.

Rusty Details

I took advantage of the relatively warm dry day we had yesterday to spray primer onto one of the 3D prints from the recent print run (I'm only painting one at the moment as I've promised a few people a look at an unpainted print). In a change from previous models, I'm using a coloured primer, specifically red oxide. This change was motivated by two things, 1) my can of grey primer had run out, and 2) the transfers I'm intending to apply to this wagon are for a red oxide livery. It seems a strange livery to choose, as it is essentially rust coloured (red oxide being another name for Iron Oxide or Fe2O3), but hopefully this will mean that I won't have to apply any paint on top of the primer, which means I should retain more of the detail in the final model.

The main problem I actually had was finding red oxide primer. I checked my local model shop (Antics in Sheffield) but they didn't have any -- although they do stock almost every colour imaginable in both acrylic and enamel. I'd almost given up and resigned myself to using the crimson red I used last time, when Rob Waller blogged about painting his Welsh Highland Railway freight wagons in red oxide. His suggestion (I asked in the comments) was to have a look in a car spares shop or a DIY store rather than a model shop. This was good advise as I managed to pick up a can of red oxide primer in the car spares shop in Penistone. Of course I still don't understand why anyone would want to use a rust coloured primer, surely you would want something where any signs of rust would show up differently and not be hidden by the primer?

As with the grey primer I'd used in the past, the red oxide primer went on easily and helps to bring out the details. Most of the bolts are now visible, and some other fine detail that I couldn't see on the unprimed model stands out nicely (the brake handle is actually thinner than the vertical bar it passes through, but that wasn't visible until I'd sprayed the primer on).

For a change I thought I'd show you the underside of the wagon in some detail, as this gives a better view of the brake system as well as the NEM pockets for attaching couplings. It also allows you to see where I've added liquid gravity to make the model heavier so that it won't bounce of the rails when crossing points etc. I specifically added some cross beams to the underframe, not to strengthen the model but to give me a contained space in which I could glue the extra weight. The next step will be to paint the underframe and metal work black to match the description supplied with the transfers.

Friday, February 15, 2013

If Heinz Made Railway Wagons

So my latest set of 3D prints arrived on Monday, shortly after I'd left the country headed for Hannover, and so I've only just got around to unpacking them and seeing how they turned out.

This print run consisted of three 18 foot wagons (looking from left to right in the rendering they are): a 5 plank mineral wagon with fixed ends, an 8 plank open coal wagon with an open end, and an 8 plank open coal wagon with fixed ends. I also decided to give each wagon a different brake system; the 5 plank coal wagon has a single brake, the 8 plank open end wagon has a combined brake system, and the 8 plank with fixed ends has two independent brake systems, one on each side. What's interesting is that I generated all three combinations from a single model by simply selecting the required parts. This means that I could actually produce a much larger number of variations than I printed this time.

I'm not sure I could rival Heinz and make 57 varieties but each wagon can have
  • one of three types of braking system
  • side doors or not
  • an opening end or a fixed end
  • if it has side doors then the catches can be on the plank above (assuming it has any) or at the side of the door
Assuming my maths is right then this gives us three side door combinations, three brake systems, and two end combinations, which means 18 versions in total. Couple this with the ability to alter the number of side planks and we can generate a large number of wagons. In reality most wagons have either 5, 7 or 8 side planks leaving us with 54 different versions, only just short of the number of Heinz varieties!

So on to the actual 3D prints.

The one thing I was worried about was how the brake gear would turn out, and if it would survive the printing process. I'm happy to report that it looks like the structure is actually quite strong and there are no problems at all. What is slightly annoying is that the bolts on all three models are almost invisible. This is really weird as I didn't change their size from the previous test print where they came out perfectly. I'm hopping that a layer of paint will make them stand out more. Even given this issue I'm more than happy with all three wagons, and they will all now be properly weighted and painted before joining the other wagons (here and here) I've built.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Scales And Gauges

So far all the 3D modelling I've been doing has been at the same scale as the models I already own which are OO gauge. It should, of course, be fairly easy to scale the computer model up or down to match other common scales. The image on the left shows my not so successful first attempt at this. In this case I scaled down to N scale, only to find that at this smaller scale the axle is wider than in OO gauge, which would result in the wheels (Graham Farish Wagon Wheels) not fitting into a printed version. The problem is that there is a difference between scale and gauge yet, just like in the first sentence of this post, they are often used interchangeably.

The scale of the model is simply the ratio between the size of the model and the real life item. In my case I've been modelling at 4mm to 1 foot or as a ratio 1/76 scale. The gauge, on the other hand, is the distance between the inside surface of the rails, and in the case of OO gauge this is set to 16.5mm. Unfortunately as the real railways use a gauge of 4 foot 8 1/2 inches, a scale width of 16.5mm is at a scale of 1/87 or 3.5mm to the foot, i.e. the rails aren't at the same scale as the locomotives and rolling stock. Apparently (or at least according to Wikipedia) this combination came about as early clockwork mechanisms and electric motors were difficult to fit within HO scale models of British prototypes which are smaller than equivalent European and US locomotives. A quick and cheap solution was to enlarge the scale of the model to 4mm to the foot but keep the 3.5mm to the foot gauge track. What this means is that 16.5mm track at 4mm to the foot scale represents a gauge of 4 feet 1.5 inches which is 7 inches too small, and so the track should be approximately 2.33mm wider. What this means is that if you accurately model the width of a wagon at 1/76 scale then you have to narrow the underframe slightly so that the wheels will fit. Having to alter the underframe in this way means that you can't simply scale the model to fit a different scale unless the gauge is similarly modelled wrongly.

N scale (at least in the UK) is 1/148 scale with a 9mm track gauge. While the track gauge isn't completely accurate it's a lot closer than in OO gauge which explains why the wheels wouldn't fit on my naively scaled down wagon model. I think it should be easy to adjust the model so I might give it a whirl at some point.

Interestingly some people do model at 4mm to 1 foot scale with a more correct track gauge (these are EM and P4 scales). The problem with these scales is that they aren't supported by the main manufacturers and so nearly everything has to be built from scratch, and while I'm happy building wagons I don't (yet) have the skills to build a locomotive or track.

Of course there is another good reason to change the gauge of the track yet keep the same scale; to model narrow gauge lines. If you don't know what I mean by narrow gauge, or just want a laugh, then I'd recommend letting Thomas and Friends explain things to you.

In the UK at least most narrow gauge lines have a gauge between 2 foot and 2 foot 6 inches, and the common way of modelling these is called OO9. That is OO scale (i.e. 4mm to 1 foot) running on 9mm gauge track. At 4mm to 1 foot scale 9mm actually represents a gauge of 2 foot 3 inches, but the difference is small enough that 9mm gauge is used for most narrow gauge 4mm scale modelling. This of course means that N scale parts (track, wheels etc.) can often be re-used or at least used as a starting point for scratch building as there are very few ready-to-run OO9 items available.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bringing Out The Details

One thing I wanted to find out, before going much further with the 3D printed wagon model, was how it looked after painting. While I've painted 3D printed items before they have all been printed from a high detail acrylic polymer, whereas the wagon is made using an entirely different process (it involves lasers). Fortunately, the answer is that the cheaper materials paint fairly well as the photo shows.

In the past I've painted entire wagons using aerosol cans of primer and paint. While this does work, the problem I've found is that while the primer goes on well the paint tends to go on quite thick and you run the risk of obscuring some of the finer detail. So on this occasion I used an aerosol of primer, but then applied the paint (Tamiya Color XF-1, Flat Black) by hand using a brush. This seemed to work really well, although it did need a couple of coats to get a good covering of paint. I then did a little dry-brushing (with Tamiya Color X-10, Gun Metal) to pick out the metal work and bolts. This wasn't a complete success, but wasn't disastrous either, and has helped to show off some of the finer detail in the model.

The main difference between this wagon and the others I've painted in the past is that the surface of the plastic isn't smooth -- I've seen it referred to as "sandpaper like". Now if I was trying to model a smooth surface (like metal) then this might be an issue, but the wagon is predominately made from wood, and even newly painted wood isn't entirely smooth. Personally I think the rough surface shouldn't be a problem, it definitely looks different but I don't think this is really a bad thing. The only issue will be how well waterslide transfers will stick to the surface. As the prototype wagon isn't really the right size (it should be taller) and is missing a lot of details I'm not going to waste a set of transfers on it, so that test will have to wait until I do another print run of the more detailed model.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Who would have thought as they bade her "Good-bye," that on earth they would never meet again?
Loved ones gathered round her at the railway station. "You are not nervous?" they asked anxiously, "it is a long way to go alone."
"No," she had answered cheerfully, "why should I be? I am in good hands, in safe keeping," and with fond farewells they parted.
The train moved on, and mile after mile of fair verdant country was safely passed, until, with an awful crash, a sudden railway accident brought death and suffering in many a ghastly form among the passengers.
That quote is the opening page and a half from an odd little old book I picked up on eBay entitled "An Incident of the Penistone Railway Accident". Given it's title I had assumed that it would probably be an account of one of the many accidents that occurred on the railway around Penistone; either a personal account or something pulled together from newspapers clippings etc. What it actually turned out to be was a religious tract! The above quote is the only mention of railways within it, and Penistone is only ever mentioned in the title.

The title page gives the full title as "Suddenly! An Incident of the Penistone Railway Accident" and describes the book as "Being No. I, Fourth Series, of Pleasant Stories for the Young". While it lists the publisher as "G. Morrish, 20, Paternoster Square, E.C." it doesn't give a publication date, although a web search led to a Google Books page which lists it as published in 1887. Interestingly my copy seems to have been to the states and back if the sticker in the front, which reads "Loizeaux Brothers, Importers, 1 E. 13th St., New York", is to be believed.

The frontispiece is actually a nice engraving, unfortunately I think the publishers didn't pick the illustration for any reason other than aesthetics. To my eye the proportions of the locomotive look wrong -- the engine looks too wide for it's height. In fact I think the image depicts a broad gauge locomotive (the rails being 7ft 1/4in apart rather than the standard gauge of 4ft 8 1/2 in) which explains why it looks much wider than I would expect. From a bit of digging around the nearest match I can find is to the Great Western Railway (GWR) Star Class locomotives -- Northern Star being a good example as the photo to the left (taken by Tony Hisgett) shows. Northern Star isn't a perfect match to the drawing but it's pretty darn close. Strangely though all members of the class had been withdrawn by 1871, 17 years before I think the book was published, so it wouldn't have been a particularly up to date illustration. Which ever class of locomotive it was meant to represent, if we assume that it is a broad gauge locomotive then it certainly doesn't depict any engine that ever passed through Penistone as the GWR never ran a line into Penistone, and none of the companies that did laid broad gauge track.

All in all, it's an odd little book that has nothing whatsoever to do with Penistone or any of the railway accidents that did occur in the area, so why use Penistone in the title? I think I know the answer but that will have to wait until a future blog post.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Joint Operations

If you've only recently started reading this blog then it may seem as if all I talk about is 3D printing. This certainly isn't the case but I do seem to have had quite a run of posts on the topic. So for a break from 3D printing, I'm going to do a history related post.

In one of the early posts on this blog I discussed the railway companies that, at one time or another, had run steam engines along the railway at the bottom of our garden. If you look at the diagram you will see that from 1874 until 1922 the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR) would have been running trains along the line before it was taken over by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), which lasted for just a year before the grouping of 1923 (when all the existing companies were merged into the big four of LMS, LNER, GWR, and SR). Now try as I might I can't find any evidence that, at any point, any of the engines or rolling stock had a joint L&YR - LNWR livery.

So what is this dual coat of arms all about? I picked up this image (as a 35mm negative) on eBay, and apparently it originates from the National Railway Museum. A number of years ago they digitized a lot of their photographic collection and then sold off the negatives that they no longer needed. This collection is now being sold off piecemeal. Of course this doesn't actually help me work out what the coat of arms would have been used for, especially as the original museum descriptions seem to have come detached from the images.

I've had a hunt around the web, and strangely I can't seem to find this image anywhere else which suggests that it wasn't in common use. As far as I can work out there are two possible reasons for its existence. I suppose it could have been used on documents relating to the take over of the L&YR by the LNWR, but from looking at the image I think the photo is of paintwork rather than a printed image. My best guess (and if you know differently please do leave a comment) is that it in fact relates to shipping and not railways.

Apparently the L&YR actually had a large shipping fleet (the largest of any of the pre-grouping railway companies) operating from ports on both the west and east cost of the UK. The interesting detail is that they ran a joint operation with the LNWR out of Fleetwood. My assumption is that the dual coat of arms was painted onto one or more of the jointly owned ships. Unfortunately I can't find any proof of this, but it seems to be the solution that best fits the information I can find.