In January 2020, that's not a typo it really was way back then - BC (Before Covid) - Rivarossi's new model announcements included 3 sets of ex CIWL coaches in VSOE livery. These are re-introductions, long standing members may recall Doug's review of some of them back in the early days of MRF.
The interest for me is that the train's route from Venice to London takes it over the Brenner Pass which means it adds interest to my collection of trains from that line.
I forget where I found information on the train's formation but from that I determined that HR2319 (Bar car), HR2321 (a pair of sleeping cars) and HR2322 (A restaurant car and Pullman car) model five of the 15 or so coaches which make up the train.
Accordingly I reserved one of each pack with MSL, thinking that they would arrive sometime that year. As we all know, that's not quite how it worked out...
And so the week before last I received emails from MSL telling me the stock for my reservations was now available. I went ahead and placed the order and this morning the parcel arrived. MSL use DHL and DHL use Parcel Force for UK deliveries. The Parcel Force VAT collection system has got a lot slicker since the last time I used it about four or five months ago. The detailed online tracking system told me that the VAT due had been calculated on Tuesday and on Thursday morning the invoice dropped through the letter box which gave me time to pay online in time for delivery today. The handling charge from Parcel Force was a flat £12.
I unpacked the coaches before sunset and took these photos on my Continental Shelf layout before they will travel to the loft layout where there is enough space to run them.
The bar car and one of the sleeping cars.
The restaurant car
The Pullman car and second sleeper
I didn't realise it when I was buying them but they have interior lighting
The lighting is in the ceiling. The very nice looking table lamps are non-functional.
The couplings are the traditional hoop and hook in NEM pockets mounted on cams under the coach body which allow very tight radii to be negotiated. They do go round the 360mm radius curves on this layout.
Unlike many continental model coaches, these do not close couple out of the box but I am sure I can find some other couplings which will.
The VSOE livery is distinctive in having the white roofs and white flashes on the bogies.
The rest of the VSOE train consists of one other restaurant car which has a YTb body, a couple of service cars with YTB bodies. None of these is available in model form so far as I am aware. There are a further eight sleeping cars which are also LX bodies. The train is topped and tailed by a couple of S1 bodied sleeping cars. The S1 is available but at present it is in a pale cream as used in trains in the Middle East. I do not fancy the respray...
You can find more details on the VSOE here - Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Vintage Train | London to Venice
. This set of coaches is as close as I am ever going to get to the experience, although to be honest, having read the brochure, it seems to be more of a travelling gourmet experience than anything else.
To see the train arriving at Brennero from the south, watch from 26:30 into this youtube video -
. Note the double heading, and a couple of locos being towed dead for the ride. All of these 3kv DC locos will be uncoupled in Brennero and replaced with 15kV AC locos for the descent to Innsbruck. It remains to be seen if this route will still be used once the Brenner 'basis tunnel' opens - https://www.bbt-se.com/en/tunnel/pr...t,,km tunnel links to the Brenner Base Tunnel