Wagon Sheets

How to do it, advice sought and offered.
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dumb buffer
Posts: 518
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Wagon Sheets

Post by dumb buffer »

I recently picked up on the Wagonsheets outfit and they look excellent, and at 50p each, good value. However as a ruggedly independent DIY type I did, long before I heard of this lot, create a wide range of CR wagon sheets for myself. My problem was finding suitable material to print them on. Would anyone have any ideas about this? (Not being entirely mean, I've ordered some sheets from Mr Petith as well!)

Allan F
Dave Lochrie
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Hi Allan,
Like yourself, I've tried to create my own and tried a variety of materials. I usually print onto coated 110gsm paper and after scrunching, the effect is worn but not overly realistic.
POSH PAPER
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But I had recently run out of the quality stuff and ran out some sheets on coarse budget paper and the results are more convincing.
CHEAP PAPER
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In between I've tried canvas textured photographic and transfer paper onto black crepe or even strips of masking paper, but like you I'm still looking, I did like the material Mr Petith uses, and I'm sure he's already bean down the same routes and more. I was looking to end this with an RCH sheet folding diagram but it's eluding me at the moment, so here are some 240lb sacks (transfer printed from originals) instead.
And for the benefit of those less masochistic, just a reminder that excellent Caledonian wagonsheets can be ordered here [color=#4040BF]http://www.wagonsheets.c ... tm[/color] in 4mm, 7mm, 2mm and 3mm so far.

Dave L
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dumb buffer
Posts: 518
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by dumb buffer »

I received my wagon sheets from Mr Petith today and very nice they are too. I tried fitting out the same wagon with (a) one of my own sheets created with a laser printer using 80gsm paper
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(b) one of my own sheets created with an inkjet printer using 80gsm paper
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and (c) one of Mr Petith's sheets
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I can't for the life of decide which is best, and I would value other opinions.
The Model Wagon Sheets are printed on very thin tissue paper, which is very fragile, and wouldn't survive much lifting on and off.
My own sheets are 77x43 mm. The Model wagon sheet Coy's are 81x55 if cut to the trim lines provided. Does any one have Knowledge of the size of wagon sheets, or did they vary? Wagons varied. Somebody (I think Tony Brenchley) showed me a picture of a train of outside framed minerals all carrying sheeted loads (and if Tony or whoever felt able to post that picture here I'd be delighted!).
lindsay_g
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by lindsay_g »

Well, Mr Petith and myself have thought along the same lines as far as tissue paper is concerned. After fitting, several coates of diluted PVA should give it a lot more strength for handling and possibly improve the appearance as well (a wee bit of grey/black added to weather it and tone everything down?). If too glossy an appropriate varnish might be needed. A coat of dilute black paint soaked on from the rear might stop any white appearing when it's crumpled but maybe the white letter needs some PVA applied beforehand. Experimentation needed - even Edison went through a few thousand items before he got one to stay alight.

As to size, I don't have any info on actual sizes. However, by co-incidence, I have been thumbing thru' old MRJ's and amongst other things have paid attention to tarpaulins and how they were secured. Looking back at a few, I'd say that the length at the sides of the Wagonsheets item looks about right, and possibly the length at the ends. The length at the ends seem to vary from photo to photo more than at the sides but that might be down to the length of different company's wagons (and their sheets). Remember that there will need to be a fair bit of overlap when the tarpaulin covers just the wagon sides - it would need to also cover higher loads protruding above the wagon sides.

Amongst the photos, I did notice some wagon sheets sagging into the wagon under the weight of rain-water. Now that would be nice to model - however would it look OK when the train moved?!?

Lindsay
lindsay_g
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by lindsay_g »

Apologies - something I meant to say in my previous post.

The wagon sheets may have started out black but how long did they stay that way? Photos seem to suggest that they're anything but jet black. Did they fade to dark grey, perhaps akin to coal sacking in appearance (different material I know) with a semi gun-metallic look?

'Fraid I've no idea as I'm far far too young to even remember coal sacks (I wish). However, I do have some distinct memory of a dark grey, heavy canvas (old bell tent-like material), sheeting that may have been similar to weathered wagon sheeting in appearance - 'fraid I can't remember in which context (so much for the distinct memory then!).

Lindsay
Jim Summers
Posts: 909
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by Jim Summers »

I had an acquaintance with wagon sheets in my big railway existence. They were like gold dust and were reported like wagons (well, less honestly) and controlled by the Sheet Superintendent. Instructions on folding and using them were in one of a series of green A5 size booklets in BR days, which unfortunately I seem not to have liberated at the time.

However, Richard Oldfield and pals have assiduously collected such stuff and made it available on http://www.barrowmoremrg.co.uk/Prototype.html

Scroll down through the riches to the series of green books spread across the page and all is revealed.

Jim
Dave Lochrie
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by Dave Lochrie »

**** just lost a posting. Will count to 10 and try to remember what I said, and not get sidetracked by the amount of info on Jim's link, which won't be relevant, just fascinating.

Dave L
Dave Lochrie
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by Dave Lochrie »

In answer to Allan's question I would pick Option B for a one-off model, but on a layout a feel the correct answer is probably "D all of the above"
What format is your artwork in Allan? I have several similar DIY items which could be made available to members, but they would only be of use if they had the same software (ie CR wagon numberplates, trader registration plates and carriage destination boards, in 4mm you really don't need to etch everything) On closer study the font you have used seems closer to the prototype than the commercial sheets.
Unlike Lindsay I have clear memories of wagon tarpaulins, but these were supstantially different from the wagonsheet of the early 20th Century.

MATERIALS- wagonsheets were manufactured in canvas which was for railway useage composed of weave in flax and the weft in hemp. But from the CR minutes many CR sheets were ordered from jute manufacturers in Dundee (whether this meant 100% jute or a combination of materials I don't know).

SIZES- these will have changed to match increased wagon size, but from the late 1880's onwards this would have been the standard 8 ton, 4-plank open goods.The sheets were manufactured from strips of between 36" and 42" depending on seam/ overlap and were usually 4 or 5 strips wide.
Larger loads required several sheets and the 1919 General Directions, Management of Stations and Conveyance of Merchandise Traffic (available from CRA Sales Officer as a reprint) provides guidance to staff on how this should be arranged to maximise protection.

FINISH- the sheets were coated with a waterproofing of "98% carbon vegetable black" (don't ask about the other 2% or which black vegetables were used) which doesn't sound particularily colourfast. Earlier entries in the company minutes (ie 25/04/1871) show purchase approval for 50,000 yards of canvas which is, I presume, simply for the untreated 36" wide raw material the rest being done by the Caledonian. In the chapter relating to the activities of the Stores Department in his 1883 work The British Railway System, A description of the work performed in the principal departments, J L Maclean of the Caledonian Railway Company, offers this description of the process-
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I attach the RCH diagram on the correct way to fold a wagonsheet, as empty wagons, pre common user arrangements, would often have contained one or more , especially foreigners, as these were also subject to demurage charges. And a wagon label attached to CR No 36546 going off-sytem in 1919 with 2 sheets and 1 rope.
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CR 45-158 31-10-1919.jpg
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David L
Dave John
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:42 am

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by Dave John »

Interesting descriptions there, I too wonder about "black vegetables" . I guess boiling down veg which had gone off would give a starchy adhesive.

I had a go with the exactoscale sheets, they ned to be soaked in water/pva to get them to conform.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_john/ ... otostream/
dumb buffer
Posts: 518
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by dumb buffer »

I'm also old enough to remember sheeted wagons, and the colour of them was like carriage / wagon roofs -- it varied, not just with age, but with weather, weathering, and context. They certainly weren't pure black, indeed they weren't pure anything. Some had patches, and sometimes an entire length of material appeared to have been renewed. All of mine are too clean. The rules said they should be held up, by the goods themselves or by a sheet rail, but in practice there were often quite large pools of water. Getting these sheets off must have been interesting. Where the goods were higher than the wagon sides the sheet assumed the contour of the goods. Sometimes the sheets were secured inside the wagon; I had the impression that this related to cases where the sheet wasn't big enough to stretch over the goods and down the wagon sides, but I often wondered what happened to the rain which fell inside the wagon.

To make my sheets I used my photo processing software -- MGI Photoshop. Not ideal, but it's what I had to hand.

Interestingly I note the RCH diagram for folding sheets shows 5 widths. Assuming 36" width and allowing 6" for seams that gives an overall width of 12'6", 50mm in 4mm scale.

I too have made wagon numberplates on self adhesive paper with some success, but the methods I used bewilder even me!

Allan F
Angus McIntosh
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:44 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by Angus McIntosh »

In this part of the Caley world,wagon sheets were referred to as "Haps" by ex-Caley and LMS men. The term sheet was used for the canvas sheet stored rolled on cab roofs and used in foul weather when running tender first.

I can still recall garden shed roofs and stacked firewood sleepers of Carstairs railwaymen weatherproofed with part "Caley Haps", some still with lettering showing.
dumb buffer
Posts: 518
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Re: Wagon Sheets

Post by dumb buffer »

This picture, a very small part of an SRO original, shows a wagon sheet which appears to match the images above. But..... can anyone explain the diamond shaped mark on the near corner? The wagon might be interesting too ;)

Allan F
Wagon Sheet.jpg
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