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I'm assuming that the A3 is in BR condition of some sort . In the 1950s and early 60s there were still pre Nationalisation coaches in front line service on the East Coast Mainline , and you could mix in one or two (ex LNER) Thompson coaches into the formation - these are available from Bachmann but they are older models to a lower standard than their superb Mk1s

A word of warning : in 1956 BR changed its coach livery from red and cream ("blood and custard") to maroon. This roughly corresponds with the change from the early BR "crest" , colloquially referred to as the "lion on a mangle wheel" or "unicycling lion", to the later "totem" (sometimes colloquially described as "ferret with a dart board"). The changeover wasn't instant - a few crimson/cream coaches could still be seen as late as 1960 though not on the sort of prestige trains A3s hauled . In 1965 they changed again , to blue/grey and blue diesel locos. Again the changeover wasn't instant : occasional maroon coaches were still to be seen as late as 1971-2 , to judge from photographs, and some green diesels took a very long time to be repainted into blue - green diesels were still to be seen quite frequently in 1971-2, and the last 2 in green were a cl 20 in 1980 (one of the last locos delivered new in green in 1966) and 40 106 which survived a few years longer

You need to check which crest your A3 is carrying - if it's the early crest you should probably stick to red /cream Mk1s , if the later you need maroon Mk1s . However for several years from 1956 , the train would have been a mixture of red/cream and maroon coaches

Similar issues arise with the Class 50. These were delivered in 1967, in blue - they were amongst the first locos in blue. The D prefix was supposed to be dropped after the end of steam in August 1968 , but photos show D prefixes surviving into the early 70s on many locos. In 1973-4 almost all locos were given new 5 digit TOPS numbers (D421 became 50 021 in Nov 1973). The Class 50s were originally ordered for the northern part of the West Coast Main Line , as electrification then stopped at Preston . Preston/Glasgow was electrified in 1974, and the class 50s were sent to the Western Region

Mk2s were introduced from 1965 , with the Mk2As introduced from 1967-8. The first batches of Mk2 (vacuum brakes only) carried maroon, the Mk2As and onward carried blue/grey from new. Bachmann do both the vacuum braked Mk2Z (in blue/grey or maroon) and the airbraked Mk2A (blue /grey)

So - you have a class 50 in the correct condition for the northern part of WCML between 1967 and 1973. The Mk2s were being delivered at the time and would have gone straight onto the best WCML trains - which is what 50s hauled. But there would still have been lots of Mk1s around - they were nearly all the fleet at that stage, as earlier designs had gone. A mixture of Mk1 and Mk2 coaches would have been very typical of a main line train of the time. And in 1967-70 , a couple of coaches would probably still have been in maroon

No Mk2 catering vehicles were built. So on a main line express , the restaurant car would have had to be a Mk1 until at least 1974 (when the Mk3s appeared for the Preston /Glasgow electrification) . A lesser train would make do with a buffet car (RMB).

dwb
QUOTE It has been my observation that the food vehicles provide a "buffer" between first and second class ie first class on one side, second class on the other. Is this usually the case or were there exceptions?

This is the normal rule. There will have been exceptions - there was a named ECML sleeper service of the late 50s that had a buffet as the last coach
This was because it was taken off the down (nortthbound) train at York and attached to the back of the up service

In the 50s , one of the major uses for open coaches was as dining vehicles. Notice in the "Elizabethan" formation quoted by 34C how the two catering vehicles - RMB and RU are seperated by an RFO (an open coach) and an SO (2+2 seating - differs from a TSO - 3+2 seating) . These are the only open coaches in the formation . ie in this train opens were for serving passengers with food, and the 2nd class got a buffet coach whereas 1st class got a full restaurant car. The main seating accomodation was in compartment stock, but 4 coaches are for dining

In the 60s and 70s the scale of catering facilities was steadily reduced, and the number of dining coaches in the train cut back. A late 60s WCML express might have had 2 dining coaches. Today a single Restaurant/buffet with seating would be the norm

Sorting out credible/authentic catering provision is a little difficult . A 5-6 coach train has an RMB , and nothing else. Mk1 catering vehicles were almost all built quite late (1957-61): if your A3 is in early livery then you might want to look at Hornby's Gresley buffet in crimson/cream for a short train

If you can run to 9 coaches, then you want either RU+RFO or RU+SO for your catering: this applies both to the ECML train for the A3 and to the WCML train for the 50 : in both cases the vehicles would be Mk1s . You could even save some money by using the same 2 coaches for both trains , in which case they must be maroon. A 9 coach WCML train composed of BFK, FK, FK, RU, RFO or SO, TSO, TSO, TSO, BSO with the 2 catering vehicles maroon Mk1s and the rest blue/greywould be a pretty convincing late 60s express behind D421

A BG might be found at one end of a longer train instead of a "normal "brake. No Mk3 brakes were built so after 1974 all principal WCML trains had BGs as brake vansd at each end . That's into the electric era and past D421's stint on the route , but similar things would have happened earlier. Night trains were often de facto parcels trains with passenger accomodation and might have several BGs at the front
 

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Green/cream is the former LNER "tourist" (excursion set)livery , applied to 2 sets for West Highland steam specials. I'd imagine Commonwealth bogied stock would be strongly preferred for mainline running.

If a modern charter set is needed for 4472, then the formation looks a bit different. Most charter sets are FOs and TSOs - with a few FK and SK s plus brakes. Catering vehicles are RBR and RMB - dwb's photo gallery seems to show an RBR in maroon. Maroon seems to be the favoured charter livery at present. Though the set pictured above is carmine/cream , mainly. Unfortunately Bachmann force your hand because most vehicles aren't availble in maroon. Therefore a pair of TSOs in carmine/cream are needed. You'll need a support coach and 2 other brakes - the NRM support coach would be ideal - if this has sold out either a BSK or BCK in any colour - green, chocolate/cream, maroon, carmine/cream , even regional railways.

I'd suggest : support coach(BSKor BCK) /BCK/FK(maroon)/RMB/TSO/TSO/BSK

The last 3 definitely carmine/cream. Bachmann do a preserved carmine/cream RMB which is ideal - but then you need to buy a second restaurant car for D421 . The alternative would be a single maroon RMB , used for both trains.

The clever bit is that by removing one of the 2 leading brakes and adding a maroon SK , you get a credible second string late 1950s express for your next steam engine . By replacing one of the Mk1 TSOs with a prenationalisation SK (either Hornby's Gresley SK or Stanier SK, depending on region) you get an even more plausible late 50s train

The maroon Mk1 FK can be used behind D421 to save you the cost of a coach and give:

BFK/FK (maroon Mk1) /RU/TSO/TSO/TSO/BSO. Alternatively, given a maroon RMB and blue/grey BCK in the train for 4472 (both actually exist for railtour work) , you could use these behind D421 as well:

BCK (mk1 blue/grey)/FK (maroon Mk1) RMB (maroon Mk1)/TSO/TSO/TSO/BSO
 

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There were Mk1s and Mk2A-Cs mixed together pretty well throughout the Mk2s service life - the buffets/restaurants pretty well had to be Mk21

Take an example from the mid/late 80s - the Transpennine sets (Liverpool/Manchester- Hull/Cleethorpes were coach with a Mk1 CK (the only first accommodation), a brake (generally BSO) and a Mk2 TSO at each end
 

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I'd have to check the standard reference (Parkin, Mk1 Coaches) as to whether there were MK1 BFKs - my guess is that having done BCK and BSK , as well as BG (full brake) Bachmann decided they couldn't justify yet another brake coach in the Mk1 range.

There were FKs in both Mk1 and Mk2 (non-aircon) and think Bachmann have produced both
 
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