Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

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Graeme Leary
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Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by Graeme Leary » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:44 am

Attached find shot from 'LNER Reflections' (edited by Nigel Harris) of a 'one-off' event that occurred on May 20, 1932.

As this is particularly interesting I am replicating the coach roof on one of my BG coaches and being aware that teak coach roofs were usually (always) (?) outshopped in white this photo indicates a roof colour that appears to be more than a white that has darkened/weathered merely through use. The darkish grey of the roof is more consistent in its overall appearance and the painted FLYING SCOTSMAN is very distinct against the roof background.

Would there have been exceptions to this 'White' rule and specifically could have been on May 20, 1932 when this shot and the publicity 'stunt' took place and if so, what would be a 'correct' colour to use as the base?

Graeme Leary
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Teak Coach Roof.pdf
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jwealleans
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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by jwealleans » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:05 am

I think it's unlikely they'd have repainted the roof - looking at the blurry, uneven edges of that lettering, I think they've just white leaded it onto the roof (you can see the chalk marks).

Roods were painted grey during WW 2, but apart from that were always white leaded AFAIK.

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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by 52D » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:00 pm

The painted Flying Scotsman on the roofs of some coaches were to enable passengers in the plane v train race to Edinburgh identify the scotsman one point was supposed to be the Royal Border Bridge where plane and train were photographed together.
Hi interested in the area served by 52D. also researching colliery wagonways from same area.

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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by Graeme Leary » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:17 am

Thanks Jonathon and 52D and a couple of supplementary questions for all.

Does anyone have details of the roster for the FS express that day so I can fix the correct number of the painted roof coach. (Jonathon in an earlier email gave me the 1933 roster but if known, I would like to get the correct one for May 20th, 1932 if possible).

Also, the photo posted doesn't appear to show it but for the wireless telegraph communication between the express and the aeroplane would there have been any visible exterior aerials fitted to the coach?

Graeme

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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by greenglade » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:53 am

Hi Graeme

There is a film of this event which may be of use, I've seen it yet for the life of me can't find it using Google today, perhaps someone else knows the link? I do recall that the aircraft found the wrong 'Flying Scotsman' to begin with, finding the earlier 'Junior Scotsman' before finding the correct train.

Pete

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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by greenglade » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:10 am

Found it...you get a good view of the roof lettering at 1.30 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v6h0kjrTow it looks like the lettering was on the last coach.

regards

Pete

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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by Graeme Leary » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:46 am

Brilliant detective work Greenglade - my gosh, they don't make films (or talk) like that these days! Still baffled how supposedly white roofs on teak coaches look so uniformly medium to darkish grey - maybe soot and cinders fell on the following coaches in a regular consistent pattern.
Thanks very much, really appreciated.

Graeme

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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by greenglade » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:03 am

Graeme Leary wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:46 am
Still baffled how supposedly white roofs on teak coaches look so uniformly medium to darkish grey - maybe soot and cinders fell on the following coaches in a regular consistent pattern.
Thanks very much, really appreciated.

Graeme
I think this film shows how white roofs turn grey very well...IIRC in one of the last sequences when the train is coming towards the camera, you can see that the first coach still has it's white roof down the sides with the center being dirty from the soot/cinders. Follow the train along it's length and it becomes a very uniform covering, I would suggest this is due to how the soot flows through the airstream and turbulence created pushing the soot down onto the coach roofs. The first coach gets less of a covering as the soot is still being forced along over the top but as it gets further down the length of the train, falls heavier and settles on the coach roofs with the last few getting the heaviest coating. I wonder if the words 'Flying Scotsman' are in fact just a cleaned template using the dirty soot as it's backdrop. They can't be painted as there would be signs of cleaning/smudging on that coaches particular roof, you can't paint on soot?

Well, that's how I see it at least, the roofs clearly started out as 'white', not grey...:)

Pete

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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by jwealleans » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:42 am

Part of the reason roofs turned grey was the white lead covering reacting with pollutants in the atmosphere. They weren’t white under a covering of soot, otherwise rain and water trough overflows (e.g,) would leave far more visible patterns.

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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by Seagull » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:43 pm

greenglade wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:03 am
I think this film shows how white roofs turn grey very well...
I agree with your assesment of how the roofs were fairly uniform in colour with the smoke, but Jonathon is also correct that the lead in the white lead paint would react with the atmosphere which would have been sulphurous with the burning of the coal causing the lead to go grey.
greenglade wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:03 am
I wonder if the words 'Flying Scotsman' are in fact just a cleaned template using the dirty soot as it's backdrop. They can't be painted as there would be signs of cleaning/smudging on that coaches particular roof, you can't paint on soot?
They would never have been able to clean the roof back to white so I have no doubt the letters were painted. Looking at the original picture in the book I think they may have cleaned the roof which would have been sensible before marking out and painting the letters.

White lead based paint has really good covering properties (which is why it was used so extensively) and one good coat would have been enough for the letters to last a few days as pristine (nearly) white.

You can paint over most things including soot, my crew even try to paint over puddles of water..... :?

Alan
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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by Seagull » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:29 pm

Graeme Leary wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:17 am
Does anyone have details of the roster for the FS express that day so I can fix the correct number of the painted roof coach. (Jonathon in an earlier email gave me the 1933 roster but if known, I would like to get the correct one for May 20th, 1932 if possible).
Hello Graeme

I have the following roster for 1932 (from the NERA carriage roster facsimilie and other sources)
Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to keep the table format when it's posted but I hope it's still clear.

1932 Scotsman (Toilet 3rd fitted with cocktail bar - Dia 147 1st replaced by Dia 156 after 18th July) Edinburgh end at top London at bottom

Code - Description - Destination - Nos. - Order No .- Year constructed
BTK Gresley 61' 6" cor bk 3rd (4 compts) (steel angle truss) Dia.114 - Aberdeen - 1160/1 - 384 1930/1
TK Gresley 61' 6"corridor third 9' 3" wide Dia.115 - Aberdeen - 1114-9 - 358 1930
CK Gresley 61' 8' cor compo (2.½f 5 th) 9' 3" wide Dia.137 - Aberdeen - 1259/60 - 364 1930
TK Gresley 61' 6"corridor third 9' 3" wide Dia.115 - Edinburgh - 1114-9 - 358 1930
TK Gresley 61' 6" third / hairdressing saloon Dia.23A - Edinburgh - 1007 & 1012 - - 1928
RTS Gresley 153' 7" Triplet Rest Set Dia.12A, 13A, 14A - Edinburgh - 16483/2/1 - 199 - 1928 White-Allom set (3rd section at N end)
FK Gresley 61' 6" cor first end vestibule (Super First) Dia.147 - Edinburgh - 1134/5 - 357 - 1932
TK Gresley 61' 6"corridor third 9' 3" wide Dia.115 - Edinburgh - 1114-9 - 358 - 1930
(I count another 2 carriages between the RTS and the BG in the film so I would guess two more thirds as strengtheners)
BG Gresley 61' 6" cor luggage van (Steel - no underframe trusses) Dia.45 - Edinburgh - 163-76 - - 1927/8 (With Flying Scotsman lettering)
Graeme Leary wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:17 am
Also, the photo posted doesn't appear to show it but for the wireless telegraph communication between the express and the aeroplane would there have been any visible exterior aerials fitted to the coach?
I would be surprised if they did not have an external aerial but I cannot see anything in the picture from the book. The film clip suggests that maybe one wire went to the guard's ducket so perhaps they ran it down the righthand side of the coach and it was clipped above or below the cornice rail.
It would have only been a 1/8" - 5/16" copper wire anyway so would not have been very visible. The aircraft had a wire which would be trailed out behind in the air and pulled in for take off and landing.

From the comment about the 5 miles away, now you are closer, etc. the range was not very good anyway so it does suggest that the train aerial was either very short, poorly sighted, poorly earthed or a combination of all three.

Incidentally the very earnest pilot with the beard is non-other than Imperial Airways Captain Oscar Philip Jones CVO, OBE. 8)

Alan
Last edited by Seagull on Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by Graeme Leary » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:14 am

Thanks again all. Think (hope) I now have my major queries sorted out ie:-

(1) My depiction of this particular express due to platform length limitations on my layout, will probably be only 7 -8 coaches long as per earlier forum member suggestions for a 'slimmed down' formation (and that was before I was even aware of this May 20th roof 'peculiarity'!). However I understood this particular 20th May 1932 express was destined for Glasgow, (so would that have therefore been the 'down') but no reference is made to Glasgow under the 'Destination' heading (but that's splitting hairs I've already split and I'm more than happy using the coach numbers you've listed Seagull).

(2) If I paint the roofs in a soft 'nearly' white and then introduce graduated soot look weathering, leaving the 1st and 2nd coaches behind the loco 'as is' and adding gradually more depth towards the end with the BG being the 'darkest' it seems I might just about be there.

Very grateful for all the suggestions and comments.

Graeme

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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by Seagull » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:40 am

Graeme Leary wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:14 am
However I understood this particular 20th May 1932 express was destined for Glasgow, (so would that have therefore been the 'down')
The aircraft was heading to "Glasgow via Edinburgh" and to reach Glasgow by "4 o'clock".

If the Scotsman did 6 hours London to Glasgow via Edinburgh, it would be a record for steam traction that we would still be talking about! :shock:

Alan


PS - Just realised if the BG was a steel Dia.45 it would have visible straps running across the roof from rain strip to rain strip. In the photo there is nothing so it must have been an Dia. 43 ie. teak not steel.

The earlier BG's built as part of the 1924 Scotsman set were numbered 140-146 and by 1932 were cascaded to other ECJS workings so likely it was one of them that was used in the film.
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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by billbedford » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:02 pm

Graeme Leary wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:46 am
Brilliant detective work Greenglade - my gosh, they don't make films (or talk) like that these days! Still baffled how supposedly white roofs on teak coaches look so uniformly medium to darkish grey - maybe soot and cinders fell on the following coaches in a regular consistent pattern.
Coach roofs were waterproofed with a thick layer of white lead paint. White lead is a basic carbonate which will oxidise in the presence of sulphur from the loco exhausts to the dark grey colour
Bill Bedford
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Graeme Leary
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Re: Flying Scotsman 'One-off' Roof detail

Post by Graeme Leary » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:14 pm

Thanks Seagull for the clarification of the (likely) BG number on the film (and the Glasgow info - yes, would be a talking point)

Thanks too Bill - that makes my job easier to do with your explanation of how white lead reacts. I've already experimented with a gloss darkish grey which I'm sure is too shiny so will probably redo using a matt grey (eg Tamiya primer) with a little black or dark grey to slightly deepen it. Could even add some 'ash' (from our last winter fire) to give the texture some achieve with talcum powder. And to finish still feel some dry brushing down each side from the centre/top of the coach should give an even more accurate effect. Watch this space.

Graeme

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