“Goods” news for the GWR

There’s something to be said for the wicked cold winters we get here on the Canadian Prairies: It’s been a productive couple of months in the shelter of my warm basement workshop.

As noted elsewhere on this website, over the past 15 months I’ve acquired two more 7mm GWR locomotives in their late 19th / very early 20th century liveries. When the Dean Goods arrived in November, 2021, I was in danger of having more locomotives than equipment for them to pull.

So I hauled out some 7mm scale (1:43.5) photo-etched brass kits from Walsall Model Industries for early examples of GWR goods wagons and got to work riveting, clipping, filing, folding and – above all – soldering.

Here’s what that got me:

A four-plank and single-plank open – so named based on the number of boards that make up the sides. These are painted in the early goods wagon scheme of red-brown and black, and were the first two kits I assembled. They were an excellent place to start.
I have built three “Iron Minks” – all-metal goods vans. Here are two of them, finished in different paint schemes.
Some more “Minks” – my third Iron Mink at the right, and a wood-sided Mink V5 at left. The wood van is actually the newer of the two designs.
A “Macaw” – a wagon commonly used on company service, to carrying items such as rail and ties.
A twin-tank “Cordon” – a wagon designed to carry lighting gas to supply the stations in rural areas where a local supply did not exist. These cars ride on larger, passenger-style wheels. This early example has a hand brake on a stand at right. It does not have vacuum brakes, but does feature a vacuum through-pipe plus screw-type couplings so it can operate in passenger trains.
Another look at the “Cordon”, from the other end. The gas piping was a real challenge to fabricate – as were the very complex brakes!

Building these wagons has been a delightful experience. I’ve spent many days alternating between writing for clients and beavering away in the shop. The clients seem happy. (Pro tip: Having something that exercises different skill sets is a great way to reset the brain and get past writer’s block.) And I definitely am. I’m going to build more – in fact, I have two more four-plank opens half-finished on the bench as I type this, plus 3-4 more kits in the queue.

The examples in this post are most, but not all, of my output since November. I still have glass to put into a couple of wagons with windows (including a brake van). And, I need to finish a livestock wagon with some bedding material and possibly a ruminant or two. So, more to come: stay tuned!

Also, I need to spend some time designing a layout to run these on…

Published by Trevor

Lifelong model railway enthusiast and retired amateur shepherd who trained a border collie to work sheep. Professional writer and editor, with some podcasting and Internet TV presenting work thrown in for good measure.

10 thoughts on ““Goods” news for the GWR

  1. I am totally and completely in awe at your productivity and skill. I thought I was familiar with most GWR equipment but I’d never run across a “Cordon”. But I pulled out my copy of “A History of GWR Goods Wagons” by Atkins, et al, (I love British books!) and sure enough in Chapter 32 thar she be. Frankly, though, I’d be scared to death traveling on a passenger train with one of those!

    By the way, “CORDON” was the telegraphic code the GWR used to identify that type of equipment in messages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Bill! And you’re right about the source of the name “Cordon”. “Macaw” and “Mink” were also telegraph codes for those pieces of equipment. The GWR used many animal names for its telegraph codes.


  2. These are all kinds of awesome, and I love your output!

    You said something though that really strikes close to home and is one of the few good things of C***d enforced Work From Home, “ Having something that exercises different skill sets is a great way to reset the brain and get past writer’s block.”, I don’t know about writers block, but in my line of work turning 90 degrees to the left and assembling some parts or brushing some paint is a great way to mentally reset after a harsh phone call from a member of the public or an applicant in lieu of talking to a colleague or going for a walk about the office in the before times. Definitely a good way to reset during the work day to do something model making related.

    Keep up churning out the GWR wagons!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Stephen. Yeah – being able to take a break really does help. Overall it makes my professional output better and faster. And I’m in a much better headspace, generally, when I can scratch my model-building itch.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah! People who know keep telling me the GWR had its own way of doing things. I must admit I don’t know enough about the subject to fully appreciate that.


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