ESNG meeting – 21 February 2018

We were missing both the Cha(I)rman on another anti-social milk round, and Mr Atfield dodging the rain (I think) in Cyprus.  But with a number of visitors we had 12 people there and plenty of trains running.  It was also good to see John after his recent house move to the coast.

My son Michael dropped in to run his Christmas presents and some recent purchases.  Rule 1 definitely applied, as I’m not sure how many horses were transported on the London Underground – but it made for an attractive little train.

Brian’s goods train changed era, and became older, along its length.  It also had a worrying emphasis on beer vans…..

Paul had the usual selection of technicolour Japanese bullet trains (and car carriers).

And a Japanese breakdown train with two ‘big hooks’ ready for the next derailment.

And I sold 9 ESNG anniversary wagons, so that was a result.  We’ll be meeting again next Thursday – it’s a funny month with the first Thursday being the 1st of the month – and we’ll see who braves the sub-zero temperatures forecast for the UK.

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On my workbench #7

Delivery of a 450mm wide ‘half’ hollow door has provided a home for my new N-club modules – and indeed any other small layout in the future.  After investing in a stud-wall detector, three large brackets support the door as a shelf.  A small extension on one end fills the gap there and makes a home for the inevitable extension lead.  Above are the equally inevitable blue boxes full of stock.

And also the best investment I have made for a while.  A Sonos Play 3 streaming speaker, that I bought with some expiring air miles.  It’s even easier to retreat to the loft when modelling can be accompanied by the Blues.

Here’s the layout in place…

And having connected the two boards physically and electrically, there was a Golden Spike moment when my loco travelled all 2m from one end to the other.

A few buildings in place gave the idea.  In order to operate the point switches, the layout has had to be reversed to have the viewing side against the wall.  But I think that this will OK for operation, as the buildings are all fairly low.

And my latest structure – a section house.  The photos show that this is not one of my better efforts – too many poor joints and poor painting.  But the photos are cruel, being larger than real life, and the naked eye is far more forgiving!  I have a second kit, so I may have another try – it’s a good little model.

Now I really must get on with the ballasting.

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Reigate Model Railway Exhibition 2018

I walked over to Woodhatch on Sunday afternoon for a quick look at Dakota Dibben’s Reigate exhibition.  I wasn’t going to go, but a model railway exhibition in walking distance of home was worth the effort, and Sean and Allan were exhibiting Sean’s layout.

As I expected, there were a few good exhibits, and the show (and a quick cup of tea with the Cha(I)rman) passed an idle hour.

Newchapel Junction, in ‘O’, has been around for years, but they keep adding to it, and the ‘O’ gauge models are delightful.  I’m not much of a Great Western fan, but I like the Southern, and this T9 is a handsome locomotive.

The River class suburban tanks (in the background) are one of my favourite locomotives.  Unfortunately, they turned out to be unstable at speed, and were rebuilt into 2-6-0 tender locomotives.

Hacienda Avenue Spur is, perhaps, a typical HO USA switching layout, but it’s a very good example, and I passed a few minutes watching the sound-equipped locomotive spot cars at various locations around the layout.

The Volks Electric Railway in Brighton is a very early example of a 3rd rail system, and is still running today.  This layout captures the character of this unusual little line and of the the beach at Brighton.

And lastly Sean’s layout, Forrestone.  The O8 shunter in the second photograph has been fitted with lights and sound – just!  It runs very well, but needs clean track to perform.

On the way home I had a look at the full size track laying in progress past Earlswood station.  It looks as if they have had a Peco point delivered….

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Minories #5 – More urban layouts

Urban layouts seem to be everywhere at the moment!  Here are a few more, including a couple of ‘almost Minories’.

First, Graham Bridge’s ‘Southwark Bridge’, currently under construction….

An almost exact Minories, but with an extra couple of platforms or sidings at the front, with a third relief road entering the station.  This looks an excellent design, although Graham recently mailed me, saying…

“I’ll tell you now that building a urban layout on arches is much harder than I thought it would be.”

I suppose things like point motors are difficult to fit in, and maintain access if you have built on a solid board below.

Having a free read in WH Smiths, I spotted the cover of the March Hornby Magazine that said, “Modelling central London steam and electric operations in ‘OO'”.  Well, I don’t usually buy this magazine, but this was an easy way to relieve me of £4.50.  Inside is a detailed description of Stephen Grant’s ‘Mansion House’ an imagined extension of the LSWR across the Thames into the City of London.  This excellent layout has taken bits from the other London Termini that crossed the Thames, and has through goods roads like Holborn Viaduct.  Here’s the track plan, taken from the magazine.

The layout is 30ft x 8ft, that would actually be a very manageable 15 x 4 in ‘N’.  The layout is also written up in detail on the Helston & Falmouth MRC website, including a number of photographs.  I’ve taken the liberty of including two below, one being the lovely model of the Thames crossing.  Stephen Grant describes the layout as…

Back in the 1960s I was inspired by CJ Freezer’s classic layout plans ‘Minories’ and ‘A Thoroughgoing Terminus’ As he pointed out, it is easier to justify a cramped layout in a city environment where space is at a premium; furthermore I find it easier to model brick and concrete than to create a convincing rural scene of fields, trees and hedges.

I have always been fascinated by railways in a city landscape, by glimpses of London’s railways emerging in canyons between tall buildings or diving under other lines to lead…who knows where? With his particular fondness for the smaller, less well known corners of the capital’s rail network John Betjeman evoked these atmospheres better than anybody; the old Liverpool Street station on a foggy evening, snow falling on the abandoned Aldersgate station, Cannon Street (before its ghastly 1960s rebuilding) “so echoing, so lofty and so sad”…..

Retirement and a move to Cornwall yielded, among other things, a block-built shed that had previously housed a goat. Eviction of the goat, a new roof, internal dry-lining and installation of a power supply has given me a 9.6m x 2.4m internal space in which to realise my long term vision. As I do not intend to exhibit the layout I have been able to plan it as a fixed installation without the constraints of portability.

A twin track route links the five-platform terminus to a return loop and a set of storage sidings, with the ‘Aldgate Lines’ bypassing the terminus to complete a circular route as an alternative to ‘out and back’ operation. Steam locomotives are turned and watered at a servicing point on the Southwark side of the river, based on the GWR’s Ranelagh Bridge and the LNER’s Kings Cross Yard, so as to minimise light engine movements to Nine Elms shed.

I wonder what happened to the goat?  Curry????

Finally today, two more Minories variations from RMweb, the second being CJ Freezer’s own update of the design.


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Kung Hei Fat Choi!!

Not only Valentine’s Day (and the start of Lent) this week – it’s also Chinese New Year.  Like Easter, the exact date of this festival moves around a bit with the lunar calendar.

Within China itself, millions will be on the move to return to their family and family homes.  This places a considerable strain on the transportation systems throughout the nation – and you can’t just show up and catch a train.

How about the following scenes for your station?  I can’t really see this working for a GWR branch terminal, though.  And imagine the cost of all those figures….

The Chinese rail system has been transformed by the introduction of bullet trains (as well as reliable internal airlines.)  The photos below show high-speed trains preparing for the festival.

So Kung Hei Fat Choi!

And welcome to the Year of the Dog!

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Training for Valentine’s Day

I hope you remembered Valentine’s Day for your significant other.  If only to cover up the true love of your life….

Love of trains is not restricted to us anoraks….

Although some people may not love trains for quite the same reason….

However, there is always someone trying to make something out of our affection for the railways….

Covering up the real state of their train service….

So the real message is….

And just to confirm that I’m really a romantic at heart, this evening I’m taking Mrs B. to Reigate to see a live feed of Twelfth Night, transmitted from the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford.   Sort of going to the theatre at the movies.  It’s a surprise, but I told my younger daughter, who merely commented, “Bet she goes to sleep….”

P.S. It was excellent, and she didn’t.

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On my workbench #6

Some more progress with buildings for the first module.

These two half-relief row houses are Walther’s kits.  The left hand one was salvaged from Earl’s Wood.  The right hand one is new, but the kit has been ‘in stock’ since I built the first one 10 years ago.  These models go together very easily, and I built the new one in a couple of evenings – one to pre-paint most of the parts and one to put them together.  A little weathering is, again, needed, but they then will be turned through 180 degrees to form a background to the modules.

Walther’s kits are excellent, but perhaps predictable, as they are so widely used.  The Rix bridge is even commoner, I guess, but every self respecting USA layout should have one!  Again, an easy build, with the piers spaced to suit the tracks already laid.  I was pleased that the three bridge kits used come to about 390mm in width, whilst the baseboard is 400mm wide.  This allows a small gap to be left on each side.  Perhaps not ideal scenically, but it will allow the module to be boxed without wrecking the scenery.

The road traffic on the bridge was again salvaged from Earl’s Wood.  The picture below shows the bridge around its final position on the module.

And an unusual modelling idea – no trains due to balloons!  The BBC reported , with absolutely appropriate alliteration….

Bunch of balloons in Billericay halts trains in their tracks

Rush-hour trains were disrupted for more than two hours by a bunch of balloons tangled on overhead lines.  Commuters using Greater Anglia services were delayed in the Billericay area of Essex when about 50 yellow and black balloons got stuck.

One commuter said his driver announced a “party balloon” was to blame.  Asked why a train could not plough through balloons, Greater Anglia said they could damage the train. Network Rail engineers removed them.

Disruption to trains started just after 08:00 GMT on Friday and lasted until 10:35.

Photo: Greater Anglia

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