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> Hornby R4642A BR Mk1 Parcels Coach 'W 81015'
billybidley
post 6 Jun 2020, 17:09
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I just purchased this and it seems exactly the same as a brake coach. What does parcels mean?
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John Webb
post 6 Jun 2020, 18:37
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There were two main types of Brake coach - firstly where the guard's compartment and a limited amount of luggage/parcels shared a chassis with passenger accommodation, normally the Mk 1 full-length of 63ft. These were aimed at passenger luggage and small quantities of parcels and mails; they were fitted with gangways (corridor connections) for main line stock. There were those with just 2nd class accommodation and those with both classes.

Then there were full brake coaches - no passenger accommodation and designed to carry only the guard, and mail/parcels/luggage in much greater quantity. Also fitted with gangways and on a shorter 58ft chassis.
Parcel vans had no accommodation for a guard and usually no corridor connections, and were on a shorter chassis, 57ft, I think. But they could be run at normal passenger train speeds.

But looking at the current Hornby catalogue, there seems to be some confusion. R4982 is correctly labelled as a 'BG' (bogie full Brake van with Gangways), but R4782 is described as 'Parcels' when it is clearly marked on the coach as having a guard's door and is fitted with gangways, as also is R4845 and R4771!

My 1961 Ian Allan ABC "British Railway Coaches" tells me that W 81015 is actually a Full Brake (BG) coach, as are the three coaches in the current Hornby catalogue listed above. So this is an error by Hornby.

Hope this helps,

John Webb
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Julian2011
post 6 Jun 2020, 18:48
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If memory serves correctly from over half a century ago some coaches had a Guard compartment and operated in the same way as a Guards Van, on a Goods train. There were also some coaches where the Guard compartment had caged spaces which could be booked to carry items from place to place, such as parcels to be delivered and collected. Despite the name Parcel, it was possible to send/place other items within the cage. I can remember going on Cadet camps by train and the rifles would be boxed and carried to one of these cages, so they would be secure for the journey. I'm sure that I remember bikes being carried there, too.

Julian


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John Webb
post 6 Jun 2020, 20:45
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QUOTE (Julian2011 @ 6 Jun 2020, 19:48) *
…. I'm sure that I remember bikes being carried there, too.

Julian

Yes, going to Glasgow around 1971 for a friend's wedding, I took the bike with the intention of cycling and youth hostelling after the wedding to Oban to join up with my parents who would be staying there after the wedding. Cycling from Charing Cross to Euston three-quarters of the way up Tottenham Court Road I got a puncture and had to push the bike to Euston. Spent the most of the first hour of the journey in one of the cages of the Full Brakevan getting the puncture repaired before I could rejoin my parents and sister to sit down and enjoy the views. Guard was amused at my efforts!

Back to the OP's question. Eventually found the correct entry in my book and can confirm the correct description of his coach is a BG or Full Brake. I've been onto the Hornby website and pointed out the misnaming of these as 'Parcels'.

Regards,
John

(PS: Gave up cycling to Oban after two days and returned to Glasgow and home - hadn't appreciated the steepness of Scottish hills nor the crowdedness of their Youth Hostels!)
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billybidley
post 6 Jun 2020, 22:23
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Thank you both for the information. Clears things up nicely. Hopefully Hornby will update it accordingly.
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Greyvoices
post 7 Jun 2020, 08:41
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I found this question from Bill and the answers from John and Julian very informative and enjoyed reading through it.

As a young boy I wished that full brakes were available and my Hornby rake of MK 1's seemed incomplete without one. The number of trains that had them was admittedly limited but I really wanted a full brake to be part of my consist.

Thank you ............ Greyvoices (alias John)


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SRman
post 8 Jun 2020, 03:06
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Hornby's R4642A is a BG. "Parcels Van" is a generic name. These vehicles belong in the group Non-Passenger Carrying Coaching Stock (NPCCS). Continuing with the term Parcels Van or Coach, they may have two, three or four axles (i.e 4, 6, or 8 wheels - there may have been other arrangements in the past), they may or may not have through gangways (corridor connections), and they may or may not have guard's accommodation. The one thing they have in common is that they don't have passenger accommodation.

Note, though, that in some "parcels" or "newspaper" trains, ordinary coaching stock could also be included in the formation but only in the capacity of carrying parcels or papers - brake 2nds were fairly commonly used in this way.

BGs come in various shapes from different railway origins but the BR Mk 1 is a common type and has four axles, gangways and guard's accommodation. These were sometimes used in passenger train formations to provide a larger luggage carrying capacity, often replacing the use of Brake 2nds. Many Scottish train formations for the Kyle and Far North lines included a BG. The Bournemouth Belle in the 1960s usually had two BGs in the formation, one at each end of the Pullman car set, replacing the worn out Pullman Brake cars.

Some common "parcels" types without guard's accommodation include CCTs, PMVs, and GUVs, all of which have some models available from Bachmann or Hornby in OO (and older models from the likes of Lima).

On the other hand, Hornby's Southern vans of Van B or Van C both have guard's compartments, but no gangways.

The beauty of modelling a "parcels" train is that you can mix many different types of vehicle in the one train, as these vans were treated as common user and could find their way all over the country, in spite of the nominal allocations to a particular region. This may have assisted the Southern Region to purloin a couple of the Western Region's special chocolate and cream Mk 1 BGs for use in the Bournemouth Belle, until someone on the WR asked for them back. biggrin.gif
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Greyvoices
post 8 Jun 2020, 07:31
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QUOTE (SRman @ 8 Jun 2020, 04:06) *
Note, though, that in some "parcels" or "newspaper" trains, ordinary coaching stock could also be included in the formation but only in the capacity of carrying parcels or papers - brake 2nds were fairly commonly used in this way.
. biggrin.gif


There were exceptions to this and I can remember two such trains.

In 1969/70/71 I regularly traveled home from Brighton to Bury St.Edmunds for the weekend. My return journey would be late on Sunday evening and I regularly caught the parcels/newspaper train leaving Victoria at around 01:30. This train had one brake 2nd in the formation which was packed with late night workers and one student. It took nigh on 3 hours to complete the 55 mile journey as it took a long time at each major station to deal with the vast quantities of mail and newspapers.

The other train that comes to mind is the 00:33 departure from Manchester Piccadilly for Cardiff. I remember this as being even slower than the Brighton train but the compensation was a much less crowded half brake and I think a derated 1st.

As ever it is probably the exception that proves the rule so in general I think SRman's comment is correct. Both these trains were in the public timetable so passengers were definitely allowed.

Best regards ................... Greyvoices (alias John)


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SRman
post 8 Jun 2020, 09:20
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Thanks John. I did have an inkling there was the odd train like that, but had no details to go on.

Knowing that, it gives even greater scope for modelling such trains. smile.gif
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34C
post 8 Jun 2020, 10:59
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QUOTE (SRman @ 8 Jun 2020, 10:20) *
Thanks John. I did have an inkling there was the odd train like that, but had no details to go on...

Always had the feeling that these were a hangover from 'the old railway' when the primary idea of service to passengers took
precedence over the fine detail of money grubbing. Provided you had a valid ticket from the previous day, these after midnight
departures were available. It was slow, and maybe you had to sit on the bundles of newspapers, but it got you home. I built any
number of the Ian Kirk Gresley full brakes for my model railways, both BG and B, as these were the usual thing out of KX. (I was
told long ago that the reason that BR built relatively few of their mk1 BG, was that an MP spotted that they had inherited a very
large number of LNER BG's which were fully compatible with the mk1s as they had the knuckle coupler and Pullman gangway, so
no need to build more, the 'customers' for these vehicles wouldn't mind.)
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