South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SE&CR) Diagram s2139/1 was introduced in 1918 and became the standard Maunsell-era covered goods wagon using a standardised steel underframe with SECR either-side (or lift-link) brake gear, self-contained buffers and running gear to Railway Clearing House (RCH) standards. Allocated Diagram 1426 by the Southern Railway (SR), the semi-elliptical roof profile would become a characteristic feature in future SR designs.
In later life many became British Railways (BR) stock owing to their more modern construction which also made them a popular choice for departmental service. Despite this, only a single example survived into preservation, of which the Bluebell Railway is custodian.
SE&CR Diagram s2139/4, a two-plank ballast wagon, was another to use the same underframe. Constructed between 1919 and 1923, it is believed that all 120 entered traffic in SE&CR livery (although some were not completed until mid-1923). Under SR, Diagram 1744 was allocated. Despite being one of the last pre-Grouping vehicles in use on the mainland, no examples were preserved, though the Bluebell Railway has faithfully recreated one using an underframe which was once the basis of a seven-plank open wagon.
Following their recent releases, the models themselves are again finely executed. Both have moulded bodies and of note on the covered good wagon are the intricate vertical stanchions, diagonal bracing, and ironwork. Curved and straight rain strips are represented on the appropriate examples, as are separately fitted end ventilators. On the ballast wagon, curved end planks are modelled on the SE&CR iterations.
Below the solebars, the brake gear is well represented, as are the extended brake levers on the ballast wagon. Self-contained buffers are not sprung but are evenly applied (in contrast to a handful of the seven-plank and five-plank open goods wagons purchased).
Metal split-spoke wheelsets are free-running and unpainted. Slimline tension-locks couplings are mounted in NEM pockets screwed to the underside, which is worth highlighting, as the screws also hold the body to the chassis.
Offered in a range of SECR, SR and BR liveries, the satin finish on all examples is to an extremely high standard – colours are rich and well applied, complimented by crisp lettering, running numbers and markings. As with previous releases, builder’s plates are once again intricate and clearly legible.
Both offer welcome variety to the modeller and join the ever-growing portfolio of SECR rolling stock readily available.