"Of course in the old days, my dear, there were none of these newfangled
diesels - you used to have your teeth rattled loose in a 4-wheeler instead!"

      At about 5 inches each you 
 can fit a train of 6 x 4-wheelers 
 plus loco in a 36 inch siding!

indentThe lighting isn't ideal in this photo but it is included to illustrate a point.  If you want more coaches in a train (which equals more shunting possibilities) you can go back to the days of shorter ones like these here.  There were many branches which re-arranged their stock of small coaches for different services, so giving you more to do on the layout.  (The ex-Brecon & Merthyr Rhymney branch was even known for a guard who used to insist on his engine crew rearranging his coaches during the turn round at the Rhymney [Pwll Uchaf] terminus to present the most uniform rake possible!   True, that line closed in 1926 but it proves there's nowt stranger than real railways if you do enough research!)
indentThe standard Ratio 4-wheelers represented the last series of four-wheelers which were built by the GWR for branch services in the first years of the 20th century.  Earlier coaches were similar but had smaller windows, larger panels between the compartments and, until the late 1880s, single arc instead of tri-arc roofs.   There were also an amazing number of different 6-wheeled coaches of similar dimensions, a very few of which also had clerestories but normally only those with first class compartments.  These were originally for main-line use but became typical stock for the ex-Cambrian Railways in the 20s, although a few were cascaded down to branch lines all over the Great Western system before being scrapped.  A supposedly typical "B-Set" on the other hand (the normal 30s replacement) is a complete, permanently-coupled train with zero shunting possibilities.  They do however have the advantage that you can buy them straight off the shelf, unlike a good range of 4/6-wheelers which the trade has so far omitted to provide. 

indentFor the really keen, this train consists of a 4-wheeled centre-brake 3rd, (an adaptation of the Ratio kit), a standard 5 compartment all-3rd, a standard 1st/3rd composite, (both detailed Ratios), a six-wheeled 5 compartment composite (consisting of a 3rd, 3rd[ex-2nd], 1st, 3rd[ex-2nd] and 3rd compartments (another complex adaptation of two ratio kits), a plain parcels van and a bogie 40' brake; (the former being a simple "cut and shut" Ratio conversion, the latter the old K's kit with new bogies), the sprung bogies of which gave the guard the best ride of anyone!  (All these models are of specific Diagram numbers but that's more than enough info for one page!)  If you are really interested and also want details of some of the wagon stock seen in the previous photos, click here!

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