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Highland Railway – Cradle Bolster

A long time ago, I showed that I had conceived a design for a pretty unusual vehicle in the Highland’s fleet, a cradle bolster.   They gave this diagram no 25 and it has a square cradle that sits on the top of a fairly simple body.  The cradle had four bolsters protruding from its corners and I anticipate it was used in conjunction with another bolster with the cradle rotating to allow the load to twist on curves.  I presume it was conceived to support long but more flexible loads such as thin sheet steel/iron than a traditional bolster wagons could cater for.

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As this was my first attempt at designing vehicles, it is fair to say it went through a fair few iterations (or was that irritations!) which does largely explain why it has taken so long to complete from the first build – but it is now done and it looks pretty smart I reckon!  It is really small in reality – being dwarfed by other even relative moderate wagons!

The second main complication has been as a result of the need to source castings for the axlebox/springs.  I have used the Highland Railway Society’s but these do not come with attached springs (by design, so that they can be combined with differing springs to suit different situations).  They are also not conceived to accommodate bearings sliding up and down within them and need to be ground out from the rear to make a slot for this.  This makes them a bu**er to attach and therefore I am in the process of sorting out my own masters to overcome this problem.  Once these are complete and I have got some castings done, I will produce a run of these for sale.  So watch this space!  I am also taking a look at the realities of scaling this up to 7mm, so also watch this space (but probably for longer before you will see anything!).

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The error that I have had pointed out to me is that the bolsters ought to be tapered and now that I know this they do jar somewhat, so the next one will need to have this sorted out.  As they lasted into well into the LMS days, there will be a second one and the one shown here will appear from time to time on Benfieldside jostling amongst the NER stuff!

When I first embarked on this build, I thought that this was such an unusual subject that I was going to be building the first model example ever.  A rather foolish notion that was upset by a visit to visit Buckingham a couple of years back where I see Peter Denny had modelled one (it is believed he was friends with Hutchinson, who had measured one up in the 1930/40s) – as you can see below.  I have subsequently found out at least two others who have scratch built their own, so clearly I will need to search harder for originality!

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