Hoppering Mad

So I’d like to build a layout based on the Harrogate gas works railway. Correction: I am building a layout based on the Harrogate gas works railway. The first loco is taken care of by the recent RT Models kit for the 0-6-0 Baguley-Drewry diesel which ran the line in its last years of existence, however there is also a need for the distinctive large bogie hopper wagons which carried coal to the works.

The excellent little book on the railway published by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society has drawings of all the locos and stock built for it, but even then the thought of scratchbuilding at least four of the hopper wagons (and at least two tar tanks) sounded like too much effort. The obvious next thought was; “you have drawings, you know how to draw etch artwork, 2 + 2 = 4”.

More new brass

This fret contains a degree of guesswork. I wasn’t sure how to best form the hopper structures inside the wagon and with big slab sides there wasn’t a huge amount of scope for adding tabs and slots to hold everything together. But I thought, at least I could see what does and doesn’t work before adding a load of detail.

Assembled hopper wagon

Fortunately there was more on the “does” list than the “doesn’t”. Aside from the inevitable few snags such as tabs not being long enough, all the main components fitted together like they were intended to and I ended up with a pretty decent representation of the shape of the hopper. There is still detail to add – the door opening mechanism, braking arrangements and a lot of bracing and rivets, but what you see here is basically a workable kit. I only need four (ish), but I think it’s a useful enough design that other OO9 modellers might see the appeal in it too.

Assembled hopper wagon

The next task is to work out how to couple them to other vehicles. Strictly speaking the couplings should be on the headstocks, but as you can see from this photo putting them on the bogie might be more suitable both for the mounting height of the Micro Trains coupling and the tendency to send narrow gauge models round inappropriately sharp curves. And then there are all the other OO9 coupling types to consider…

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