The 74XX is finally finished. This has been a truly rewarding project, one I wasn’t convinced I’d be capable enough to complete to a satisfactory finish. Without going over too much old ground, the principle difference in the 74XX (other than no autogear) was the cab join between the bunker at a right angle, not curved as bachmann have produced on the 64XX, plus there was no cab overhang.
The Bala-Blaenau Branch was (as far as I’m aware) never worked by autotrains so a 64XX would be on no use, but 74s were used heavily through the 50s. A model of a 74XX would be very useful.
Scalpel and file work followed and the results are good enough for what I require as a ‘layout loco’.
I chose to depict her as 7414, a regular Croes Newydd loco with several reference photos of her in the mid/late 1950s. The most interesting photo was one taken in 1956 at Trawsfynydd, showing her on a typical weekday passenger working. She was filthy….which appears common on the majority of 74XXs, more so than on the local 57s! However the most interesting aspect here is that someone had smeared in the grime, GWR on the tank side. Couldn’t miss the chance to try and recreate the engine in this condition. Due to copyright, I can not post the photography here, but for those interested, you can find it on Page 46 of ‘The Pannier Papers, No.7’.
As I mentioned earlier, the 74XX class in my period seem to have avoided the cleaners hand. I’ve not found a single clean photo of one on the branch. Amusingly the author Ian Sixmith of ‘The Pannier Papers’ even comments ‘where have the crests gone’ because the locos are so dirty, there is no sign of anything other than unlined grime!
This has been such an enjoyable project and I’m so pleased I bit the bullet and actually had a go. I will certainly be making another 74XX using this method.