The Lazybeach Special.
At the end of the Lazybeach Special is, of course, a guard's van.
Third-class carriage drawn in 1859.
'… a third-class carriage is a community,
while a first-class carriage is a place of wild hermits.'
G.K. Chesterton 'Smart novelists and the smart set' in Heretics (1905).
These vehicles were inspired by a brace-and-a-half of Rowland Emett illustrations (see below). Though the management, as usual, got carried away.
The passengers have wandered off – apart from the chap who fell asleep in his deckchair while looking after the child making a sandcastle. The rest plan to come back after they've had afternoon tea in the cafe. Meanwhile Brando is perched on the roof.
The beach huts are marked as first-class while the open wagon is marked as third-class, evoking the curious legislation in force in Britain between 1844 and 1956. However the Lazybeach Special's third-class accomodation would contravene the 1844 Railway Regulation Act, as this required railway companies to provide third-class carriages, where passengers must be sheltered from the elements and be provided with seats (a luxury for modern day 'standard class' commuters…).
Second-class carriages were phased out in the 1870s. The Midland Railway was the first to break ranks with its rivals by providing three compartments, glazed windows and an oil lamp in the roof, causing resentment from competitors. Finally in 1875 the standard of third-class was upgraded and second-class was abolished by relabelling the coaches 'third-class'. It caused scandal now difficult to imagine. In the nineteenth century there was rigid distinction between social classes and the belief was that the railway would bring "the 'lower orders' nearer to equality with their 'betters'." The management suspect the intention was to get as many as possible of those formerly travelling on a second-class to upgrade to first-class (which in turn would be resented by the upper echelons of the 'social orders' who had always travelled first-class, to avoid mingling with the middle classes.
Other railways followed, and because they were legally obliged to provide third-class accomodation, the oddity of first- and third-, but no second-class (except on boat trains) persisted until 1956, when third-class was rebranded as 'second-class', and then further rebranded in 1987 as 'standard' to remove negative associations.
The management have clear recollections of British Rail coaches still labelled 'first class' and 'third class' well into the 1960s. These were still being pulled by steam locomotives. In 1960, at the age of six, the management even stood on the footplate of one of them, while seeing his maternal grandmother off from Wolverhampton station (accompanied by his parents).
construction and re-construction
Initially the Lazybeach Special was based on four wagons adapted from Binnie Engineering kits of 32 mm gauge Gyn Valley Tramway four ton granite wagons, regauged to 45mm using different GVT axleboxes (also from Binnie Engineering), with LGB couplings.
These were the first attempts at building rolling stock for Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway and no suprise that they weren't really up to the mark – mostly because they were much smaller than the Railway's other rolling stock (especially the Alnwick to Bamburgh Express and Nukiller Waste Transporter which are also based on low-sided wagons). Furthermore, the Management has plans for the four Gyn Valley Tramway four ton granite wagons – they will revert to 32 mm gauge (as originally intended) and form part of the Sandy Cove Sand Co museum.
So two new wagons were scratchbuilt around Binnie Engineering GVT axleboxes, wheels, axles and centre couplings. A combination of 3 mm ply, 11 x 6 mm and 6 x 6 mm stripwood, plus lollipop sticks and coffee stirers was held together with UHU glue and a few M2 self-tappers knocked into pilot holes. Dummy brakegear was supplied as 3D-printed parts by Dean Goods.
The beach huts were scratch-built from lollipop sticks. The deckchairs were once coffee stirrers and cocktail sticks. And, just in case you were wondering, yes the 'black swan' weathervane does turn around to face into the breeze.
The Rowland Emett illustrations which inspired the Lazybeach Special
Just don't ask where the rest of the inspiration came from.
That said, the management have a long-standing memory of someone with a row of miniature beach huts on their mantlepiece…
update Halloween 2019
An LGB DR Niederbordwagon (model 40055 to aficionados) was snaffled on eBay for a good price as, after repainting Regulation Grey, this would make an ideal wagon for the deckchair- and parasol-carrying component of the Lazybeach Special. Indeed, it is much closer to the original concept sketch than previous incarnations.
The beach huts were moved to an existing LGB stake wagon (model 45002 if you really need to know) which had long been painted Regulation Grey – and looks all the better for it.
The caravan-cum-guard's van was fitted with an LGB coupling and runs all the better for it.
Yes, this is the third 'incarnation' of rolling stock for the Lazybeach Special… The scratchbuilt wagons, which still lack properly-working couplings, have been 'parked' for possible scenic use. The management are open to suggestions.
Nellie hauling the third incarnation of the Lazybeach Special.
links to Rowland Emett videos
Much of the Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway's rolling stock is inspired by Rowland Emett's illustrations. The bottom of this web page seems a suitably obscure place to include links to more information about Emett. Not that there is any intention to add much as he has his own Wikipedia page.
And this web page is also informative too.
Emett's set of kinetic sculptures incorporating a whimsical railway, 'A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley', was completed in 1984 but rarely seen by the public. It was restored before being auctioned in 2019. There are at least five web sites with videos and photographs of it while at the auctioneers:
The entire set of sculptures was acquired by the National Railway Museum at York who plan to exhibit around the UK.
Although few people knew about it until the BBC Repair Shop broadcast of 25th of April 2019, Emett constructed a model of the 'Long Suffering to Smuggler's Reach Railway'. A short film showing it in action is online.
Rowland Emett's Nellie at the Ontario Science Centre
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Images and text copyright Bob Trubshaw 2018–2021