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WD 2-8-0 Fire Iron Rack

Dave Carter, 4mm Modelling Steward of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Society tells of how he took his first scratch-built models of L&YR prototypes to show his colleagues at Healey Mills. The colleagues admired the models and congratulated Dave on his modelling prowess, and then one of them set: "But it could never go out on the road like that as there are no fire irons".

And indeed, no crew would have got very far before having to rake over the fire or break up the odd lump of clinker. But modellers tend not to see the bent and buckled collection of old iron casually tossed into the coal space as being 'essential'.

And so it is that Bachmann on their otherwise very nice WD 2-8-0 omitted the fire iron rack mounted on the tender. Eric Bentley's delightful shot of 90351 56D Mirfield passing Mirfield Motive Power Depot on an eastbound freight on Saturday 30 April 1966 shows how prominent the rack actually was.

90351 56D Mirfield passing Mirfield M.P.D. on eastbound freight Sat 30/4/66

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace, all rights reserved

This close up view shows the rack and its contents. Notice how the rear pair of supporting struts are bent at 90 degrees and are welded to the side of the coal bunker. The two nearest the cab are merely a pair of uprights that would stop any 'irons' vibrating themselves over the side of the rack whilst the loco was running.

90351 56D Mirfield passing Mirfield M.P.D. on eastbound freight Sat 30/4/66

Photographer Eric Bentley, copyright JK Wallace, all rights reserved

View of the fire iron rack on a WD Austerity 2-8-0 as seen from the cab

View of the fire iron rack on a WD Austerity 2-8-0 as seen from the cab.The loco is passing Portsmouth progressing up hill to Copy Pit.

For comparison, here is the Bachmann WD 2-8-0 as supplied from the factory.

Bachmann WD 2-8-0 without fire iron rack fitted to tender

247 Developments produce a very neat etch for the fire iron rack.

247 Developments WD 2-8-0 fire iron etch and instructions

The etch can be carefully cut out and then gentle folded up.

247 Developments WD 2-8-0 fire iron fret folded up

And with a smear of Superglue on the bottom supports, the rack was affixed to the tender and cola bunker.

247 Developments fire iron rack affixed to the WD 2-8-0 tender side

For comparison, here is the DJH version for comparison.

DJH WD 2-8-0 showing fire iron rack

All they need now are the fire irons!

Sprinside offer two sets:

Fire Irons Set for Tender Locos OO Gauge DA16
Fire Irons Set for Tank Engines OO Gauge DA61

Prices range between £4.19 - £4.99.

Take care removing the irons from the tape used to secure them to the backing card. Here they are after a coat of Humbrol brown.

9 October 2016

Generally the WDs entered service on the national railway network after the war, and except for the removal of the Westinghouse air pump, the majority were unmodified. However, two groups of locos did see changes. The Western Region locomen demanded modifications before they would man the locos, whilst Doncaster carried out a series of boiler modifications which saw the washout plugs and associated handrail modified.

Bachmann has so far produced the standard WD loco, and the Western region variant. One of the latter has now arrived at Hall Royd, and the question arose as to whether any of these variants were latterly found on the Calder Valley.

The BR Database Website revealed that 90363 was such a loco, and was stationed at Wakefield when it was withdrawn in mid-1967. The photo below shows her as delivered from eBay but renumbered and with the later BR emblem. As per the Bachmann model, there is no tender fire iron rack, but the Western Region version is evident in front of the cab, as is the higher top feed cover.

Bachmann WD Austerity 2-8-0 90363 Western Region version showing Western fire iron tunnel and top feed casing 

It might be assumed that with the fitting of the Western fire iron tunnel, the War Department fitting on the tender would be removed. However, a study of photos shows that the WR examples kept their tenders racks after the tunnel was fitted.

The photos also show that the Western top feed covers were removed to reveal the clacks underneath in all their glory, the Bchmann model having the WR cover fitted. 90363 in its final six months appears to have been fitted with a small snow plough under the front buffer beam.

Bachmann WD Austerity 2-8-0 90363 Western Region version showing Western Region Swindon top feed casing

The photo below shows (left) the Bachmann WD (centre) the DJH model and (right) the Bachmann WR version. Of these, the best representation of the clacks without covers is the Bachmann model, whereas the DJH casting lacks detail.

Comparison photograph showing the Bachmann WD Austerity 2-8-0 (left); the DJH kit-built model (centre) and the Bachmann WD Austerity Western Region version featuring the tall top-feed cover and covered fire iron tunnel.