- A Photo Review -
Written by Tony Richards.
The extraordinary recent growth in the production of more unusual model railway rolling-stock owes much to traditional retailers commissioning models directly from manufacturers: Hattons for example, with their Heljan-produced Beyer-Garratt. And the Kernow Model Rail Centre is just another one of those, having produced to date a number of well-received exclusive models including the Beattie Well Tank and the Adams 02 tank. Their latest and possibly most ambitious release is the ex-LSWR ‘Gate Stock’ push-pull pair of coaches, first announced in 2011 and now released towards the end of 2017.
These coaches will be available [as pairs only] in SR lined Maunsell green, SR unlined Malachite, BR Crimson and BR [SR] Green liveries. For those who have not pre-ordered they will cost £129.99 a pair: expensive certainly, but when compared with the price of, say, new Hornby Gresley coaches [nearly £50 a piece] and considering their fine detail, possibly not extravagantly so.
The coaches in model history
In 'OO', these coaches have never been available in r-t-r format and only marketed as etched brass kits of some complexity by Jidenco.
This set features Driving Brake Composite 6457 and Open Trailer Third 739, running as set 734. Both were 56ft coaches, built in 1914 [and rebuilt in 1927], with gangways at one end only which, as originals, ran until withdrawn in 1956.
None of these interesting pre-grouping coaches survived into preservation alas, for in spite of a British Railways’ promise to hand over the last set  to the Bluebell Railway, in 1960, either by design or default, they were scrapped by burning and so this chapter in coaching history was lost for ever.
The photos below show the very fine components incorporated into these models. The etched gates allowing entry to the open panelled vestibules are particularly neat and a multitude of hand rails and grab irons, all neatly shaped and applied, add extra detail. The scissors gangways are well provided for and the coach undersides are fully planked with major brake gear, dynamos and battery boxes nicely modelled. There has been some criticism however of the actual positioning of these under-floor items and although this will probably not greatly worry most modellers, their locations are are not wholly accurate. Whether this matters however will be down to personal choice.
The livery and body-side lining are neatly applied and all lettering is legible. The representation of Maunsell olive-green is a shade lighter than the Hornby Maunsell Corridor stock but a closer match to Hornby's recently-issued ex-LSWR rebuilt Southern Suburban coaches. However, who is to say which is the more prototypical? In any case, in use, these paint schemes would have faded and on these models it is not at all unconvincing [note though that these photographs were taken in very strong sunlight and show the models a little lighter than they actually are].
The interiors are modelled in some detail, with benches and seats in brown and the interior walls in cream and pale red. The large windows provide good visibility into the interior and would display passengers to good effect.
Coupled to one of Kernow’s Adams 02 tanks, the coaches create a complete, compact Southern Railway branch train and are a welcome addition to the increasing array of Southern Railway coaching stock that has now become available.
Until recently, it would have been unimaginable for a manufacturer to have produced these exquisite coaches but this is how far we have come, and Kernow is to be congratulated for taking this bold initiative.