Modifications to all three were carried out in 2008 and these included fitting 30mm diameter wheels and Accucraft chopper couplings as well as applying TBLR lettering and numbers.
I have a policy of building and running models of actual Irish narrow gauge rolling stock in order to give the railway an authentic feel. I therefore felt I needed to review the future of these freelance wagons and decide whether they could be modified and continue in service or end up on the scrap heap. Here is a breakdown of the fate of each wagon.
- Brandbright ref. GS6 4 plank open wagon - TBLR number 8. This wagon was rebuilt to resemble a Schull and Skibbereen ballast wagon in 2009. The conversion was not a success and I have now withdrawn the wagon from service. The wheels, couplings, axleguards and brake shoe have been salvaged for re-use. The dummy handbrake lever assembly made from plastic strip was thrown away and the body has found use as a lineside ballast bin.
- Brandbright ref. GS15 5 plank open wagon - TBLR number 5. This wagon was rebuilt to resemble a Schull and Skibbereen 10ft. open wagon in 2009. The wagon floor was cut down both in length and width to the correct proportions of the S&S wagon and then re-assembled, extra curved top planks were added to the wagon ends and the side drop doors (non opening) were widened by relocating the hardware to the correct position. A cast metal handbrake assembly from Garden Railway Specialists was also added. The original is a 3 plank wagon and the model has 5 planks but the overall proportions are correct and I think this wagon conveys the impression of its full size counterpart. I have decided to keep this wagon in service. I recently purchased some solebar detailing sets from IP Engineering and after spraying with grey primer I have applied a full set to this wagon. The solebar details differ from the original but a) it's not a true scale model anyway, b) the extra detail looks good and c) it's my railway so I can do what I want!
- Brandbright GS14 3 plank open wagon with removable sides - TBLR number 11. Apart from the addition of a dummy handbrake assembly in 2009, this wagon has not changed since it's original upgrade in 2008. Although it is a freelance design it is a well proportioned wagon and the removable sides are an interesting feature. I have also decided to keep this wagon in service but with the addition of extra detailing and a working handbrake, see part 2 of this post.
So two of the three open wagons will be retained in service and although they are not totally authentic examples of Irish NG rolling stock I think they convey the right impression. These will be classed as being original TBLR stock.