7810 Draycott Manor enters Wychminster with a Southampton – Birmingham (Snow Hill) train.
As supplied this engine did not have the strength to pull the skin off a rice pudding (I didn’t actually test that as it would have messed up the track bed – it’s just the impression I got). It certainly couldn’t pull the four coaches it’s shown with but did make a good job of polishing the track. Thankfully the model has an opening smokebox door so I was able to cram it full with strips of roofing lead (bought from a local builders merchants – no nearby churches suffered). Pulls quite well now but prone to slippage if the power is applied too quickly, something I don’t think Great Western engines ever did in reality unlike some of their less well-engineered cousins.
When I was a lad my bedtime was dictated by the passing of the up Southampton-Cheltenham which left Cirencester at about 19.30. This was on the downtrodden ex-M&SWJR line which had had the life throttled out of it by both the GWR and British Railways. The reason this particular train was a highlight was that it was the only service I saw on the line which had named engines (I rarely saw them return south as I would have been in school). Two engines dominated this service in the late 1950s – 7808 Cookham Manor and 7810 Draycott Manor. 7808 is far too famous, and common, so when I ordered my Manor from Finescalebrass, I went for its less illustrious stablemate.
My layout is set in about 1930. I already has a City 4-4-0 running a couple of years late and a 48xx 0-4-2T a couple of years early. A Manor from the late thirties is pushing the boundaries a little too far, I imagine, but it brings back many memories of standing on the fence at the bottom of the garden.
Incidentally my mum had a clever ruse to stop us getting too near a loco. She assured us that some of them were ‘suckers’. She wouldn’t tell us which so my brother and I kept well clear for fear of disappearing down the boiler.