Could it be real?

From the Suffolk Gazette, via N Gauge Forum:

Hornby celebrates Greater Anglia franchise with Rail Replacement Bus Set

Could it be an inspired release by the ailing Hornby company?  Maybe the article’s author’s name gives a clue…..

By Casey Jones, Railways Correspondent

And the illustration of the box is pure genius.  Perhaps the spelling is a giveaway that this is not quite for real…..


However, it still has potential.

Model railway giant Hornby has celebrated Greater Anglia’s franchise win with a special Rail Replacement Bus Set.  The limited edition double-decker bus can be placed next to any Greater Anglia station – providing hours of playtime fun as you imagine frustrated travellers cramming on board for a trip to London.

Each set comes with two buses, a hate mob of passengers, harassed staff, a section of broken track – and even a tannoy so the mob can be controlled.

A Hornby insider told the Suffolk Gazette: “Ever since Frank Hornby started the company in 1901 we have sought to produce the most lifelike rail models in the world. Greater Anglia is quite a challenge, however, because it does not have many trains that actually work properly.  We tried recreating antiquated units that broke down all the time, but couldn’t do it. Then our product team came up with the idea of a Rail Replacement Bus Set, given that Greater Anglia seems to use so many of them – especially at weekends.”

Mind you, I’m not sure what they’d include in a Southern Railways themed set….

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Epic railway FAIL

From the Daily Telegraph.

Noel Gallagher snubbed Trainspotting soundtrack ‘as he thought film was about railway enthusiasts’

Noel Gallagher missed out on featuring on the soundtrack for Trainspotting because he thought the film was about railway enthusiasts, it has emerged.

Director Danny Boyle was said to be desperate for Gallagher and his band Oasis to do a song for the 1996 movie starring Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and Ewen Bremner.  The soundtrack of the film became a huge hit and featured fellow Britpop bands Blur and Pulp as well as US music stars Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.

However, the singer-songwriter turned down the chance to feature in the film about Edinburgh heroin addicts as he did not want to be associated with a film he thought was about train spotters…..

Fleming then said: “I met Noel at a thing the other week and he said to me: ‘I would have done something, but honestly I thought it was about train spotters. I didn’t know.’ That’s what he actually said.”

It’s sad when we have stars such as Rod Stuart, Neil Young and Phil Collins well established in the hobby, and Pete Waterman running a company producing superb ‘O’ gauge kits…..  But Oasis are not up to scratch….

Depress yourself and read the whole article.

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ESNG meeting – 19 October 2016

The treasurer was beside himself this evening – 14 or was it 15 members present and all that money to collect.  Good numbers made for a very pleasant evening, with plenty of trains running, and time to talk to people – including planning for Stuttgart – and just watch the trains go by.

I ran my two Dapol Class 33’s in for a while (one with a yellow warning panel and one without.)  I seem to have a couple of good ones as they both moved very smoothly and quietly out of the box.



Apart from my running we had a good variety of European and American models on the tracks.

Planning for next year’s exhibition is now going well.  I’ve put together a hopefully final layout for the halls, and have managed to link together the N-mod, N-club and Alpenbahn systems into a cohesive system.  I hope it will all fit…. show1 show2

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Another N-gauge coupler development – this time from Europe

I  came across this blog , UK based but describing a French fine scale ‘N’ layout.  And it had a very interesting post on ‘N’ gauge couplers.

N-tram are the doyen of European brass models, in N-m and N.  They are often horribly expensive, but the models are exquisite.  The most interesting part of the range is perhaps the N-gauge track and even more interesting, their tram track.  This is laser cut with all the setts between the track.  Their web-site is in German, but easy to understand or translate.

Back to the couplers…..

Essentially, they are a minimal version of the traditional hook and bar type coupling, but done so finely that they are very unobtrusive in this scale. They seem to couple and hold very well, and what’s more, compared with some of the alternatives, they are very easy to assemble.

They consist of moulded bar and an etched hook, which simply has to be engaged with a pin on the shank of the coupling and then inserted into a standard NEM coupling pocket. I did manage to break a couple before I realised that the hook does not clip-engage with the pin and is simply held in place when the coupling is inserted into its housing.

Uncoupling is either by magnet above or ramp beneath.

n-tram-9091-c_72 n-tram-9091-schema_72quer

They do look much better than the traditional Rapido coupler, and almost as unobtrusive as the DG / B&B coupler, with less work to install them.  Perhaps the only issue may be that they look as if they will work best on larger radius curves.

I may just get a set to see what they are like…..

Read more in the blog, and on the N-Tram site.

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A couple of quotes

A couple of quotes from the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum that caught my eye…..

“Watch out for rabbit holes”:

One of the reasons model railroading is the World’s Greatest Hobby is that it’s actually a number of different hobbies, all working together toward one grand goal. The only problem is that’s it’s All Too Easy to go too far down the path of one particular aspect of the hobby. Before you know it – you’re down a Rabbit Hole.

The latest rabbit hole pleasant diversion I’ve found myself pursuing is “superdetailing my sound” using ESU’s LokProgrammer. You can read more about it here if you like.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying my time down with the rabbits (though the ones with sharp, pointy teeth are a little annoying…)

It seems important to differentiate between ‘Rabbit Holes’ and ‘Pleasant Diversions’.  Sometimes a little modelling in another scale or of another railway company can built up ones enthusiasm for the main project.  On the other hand, one must avoid the positive diversion….  Or there again, maybe not?  Sometimes a completely new challenge is needed!

Then there are “The Perils of Progress”:

Sometimes rapid progress can be a bad (ish) thing.

Over the last two days, I’ve run out of wood glue, spackle, wire for feeders, and rail joiners!  Oh well looks like a couple of shopping trips are in order.

I’m suffering from the same perils this week, as I get back into modelling.  A couple of parcels have arrived with bits and pieces for a new project (yet to be revealed, but it involves all those containers from TINGS and the SCNF cinema car.)  I’ve also had a couple of emergency visits to the do-it-yourself and hobby shops to buy things that I thought I had in stock (but no doubt will find later.)

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An interesting N-gauge coupler development

A very interesting development from MicroTrains – the ‘True-Scale’ N-gauge coupler.  The pictures below shows how good these look (photos MTL.)  They also have the advantage over using ‘Z’ gauge couplers in ‘N’ that they have no springs and ‘slinky’ effect.  Information here.




Perhaps the only catch to them is that they will couple automatically, but need to be uncoupled manually with a ‘pick’ of some kind.  I like to do this anyway, as it allows one to spot wagons wherever one wants, without another visit over the uncoupling magnet.  The dummy air pipes are for show only, and look pretty realistic.  They also have a lot of potential for fitting to UK EMUs, DMUs and coaching sets for fixed rakes.

Supplies seem to be limited at the moment, but I’m sure they’ll be generally available before long.

Long discussion thread for the dedicated here and here.

And see how to fit them with this video….

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A small shunting layout

Model Railroad Hobbyist has a very nice ‘shunting plank’ in its October edition.  It’s in ‘O’ gauge, but the dimensions are a very reasonable 11’- 6” x 17’–19” with a 6’ removable extension for operation.  Note that this converts to an even more reasonable size in 2mm based scales. It’s also based on a real location:

Though I am not a prototype modeler, I like my layouts to be based on real locations, especially the track design. The track plan of my Cleveland Flats layout is closely based on the real location. To draw the plan, I took an aerial shot from Google Maps and scaled it down to 1:48 to take measurements.

The track plan is simple, but satisfying in that there is plenty of interest in its layout, and is scenically interesting with the two road crossings – and that will also make things interesting operationally, to avoid leaving waggons on the crossing when switching.



Detailing is neat and lightly weathered – perhaps it could use a little more grime, but that comes back to personal preference – do we model is as it was, or as we’d like to remember it.  All the stock has added detail, or has been scratch-built.  These two photos, culled from the MRH give the impression.

f2 fq

The author, Kurt Matthey, comments…..

To be honest, I would not mind having a little more space available to build a layout, but I also see the merits of such a small layout. To build and even finish it doesn’t take ages, it can easily be moved and stored, and the costs are manageable. The best thing, though, is that you can have a lot of fun on a small shelf, even with big O scale trains.

It’s an inspirational piece of work, and another small layout plan to consider for the future (along with all the others!)

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