ETS SNCF Coaches
ETS produce a number of traditional tinplate style mainline Continental coaches covering the mid Epoch (eras) of the 20th Century. In Britain railway eras were determined by specific railway events like 1923 grouping and railway nationalisation later in 1948 but in Europe Epoch dates are a somewhat looser affair as each country had their own major domestic railway developments. Epoch I generally covers the early period of European railway development from the mid-19th Century to the early years of the 20th century together with the period surrounding WW1 up until 1921; Epoch II represents the golden era of European steam railways from 1921 to 1945; Epoch III covers the years from 1945 to 1968 when trains across Europe would invariably be hauled by an increasing mix of diesel and electric traction. This corresponding period saw the demise of steam haulage in most European countries although in some places such as Poland pockets of steam were to survive until the turn of the 21st Century. Epoch IV covers the integration years from 1968 to 1990 when Western European networks merged with the railway systems of Eastern European whilst the latest period Epoch V straddles the modern, liberalised and integrated European railway market.
In the 1930s France with one of the densest and well developed railway systems in Europe began a process of bringing together under a new and unified structure the five major regional companies of Chemin de Fer de l’Est (Est), Chemin de Fer du Nord (NORD), Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (PLM), Chemin de Fer Paris-Orléans (PO) and Chemin de Fer du Midi which had merged with PO in 1934. By 1939 SNCF the new nationalised railway company was in operation with a new green livery. Whilst there was a degree of independence each company had its own distinctive locomotives, carriages and rolling stock. Coaches with side door compartments were popular for much of the 19th and 20th century as they offered a degree of privacy. Towards the end of the 1920s railway carriage designers in both Britain and Europe began to adopt a non-compartmentalised and open style carriage format as coaches began to be built with lighter steel (and in some cases aluminium) panels as former heavyweight wooden constructed stock progressively became redundant with newly adopted railway regulations: In France, for instance, these regulations were established as long ago as 1918 but the trend towards modern coach construction really gathered pace in the inter-war years with the introduction of many luxury trains from companies such CIWL, NORD and PLM delivering enhanced comfort and catering services that found so much favour with the travelling public.
ETS produces a number of freelance Continental coaches with a design of German origin that first appeared in the 1920s. These splendid carriages would run throughout the French regional railway system appearing on many company routes including those of the south east of the country. First and second-class coaches and baggage cars would be later seen in SNCF livery when the regional railways were nationalised. ETS Continental coaches therefore cover the Epoch II and III period. They’re constructed in tinplate measuring approximately 42cm in length. The first-class coach comes with compartments with dark red coloured seating and brown interiors whilst the open second-class coach is produced with dark green seating.
Shamrock Trains offers a standardised approach to ETS Continental coaches and come with interior fixtures, lighting and drop link couplings. Optional additional specifications such as the baggage car or coaches with tail lights or alternative couplings are also available on request. Coaches come in either two or three rail formats. In three rail format and where a number of coaches are ordered together a double spoon pickup is supplied with separate lighting wiring connections to each carriage thus reducing drag on larger train coach formations. Single coaches may be ordered without spoon pickups.
If you’re looking for suitable motive power to create a 20th Century French railway then ETS’s O gauge SNCF liveried coaches are the perfect accompaniment to run with MTH’s increasing range of 1:43 European ready to run locomotives but also with ETS and Merkur’s slightly smaller 1:45 scale European locomotives.