Reflections on a wedding

I’d better give a report on the auspicious day, before I get back to trains again…..

No. 1 son was duly married off, and all went well.  The whole day was a lot of fun, and all went smoothly.  The civil ceremony was delightfully relaxed, helped by a sympathetic registrar.  I guess it doesn’t matter whether it’s a church or civil wedding – the whole atmosphere is helped by those officiating.  We got to the key wedding contract, and he said, “Michael, you say your lines first, then Vickie has the last words.”  Voice from somewhere on her side of the family, “And not for the last time.”

Here’s the bride and groom, bridesmaids, best men (can’t trust them on their own) and ushers….


It was also the wedding of the selfie and photobomb.  This one seems to contain both my daughters (eldest taking the photo) and a lot of my nephews and nieces.  They had a lot of fun all afternoon – how to be silly without too much alcohol!


I decided that the father of the groom is a strange role.  You don’t even become a mother-in-law, like my better half.  It felt like exhibiting at another model railway club’s exhibition – there are a few things to do, but you’re not really responsible for anything!

So I mainly sat around the place and talked.  And laughed.  One of Michael’s old friends had come from Russia (he’s of Russian descent) for the wedding.  He’s now happily married and settled down in a ‘Stan somewhere between Moscow and Siberia.  When we last met he was just a little out of order.  I’d never heard how he had a pet cabbage at home, that he kept in a cage.  I was told how he was seen walking around Redhill in his boxer shorts, taking said cabbage for a walk on a dog lead.  Wonderful what a selection of dodgy chemicals can do for you….  But ‘cabbage’, ‘pet’, lead.  I cracked up.

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Spar Valley Railway diesel weekend

The event was held from Thursday 4th August to Sunday 7th August.  These photos were taken on the Sunday by Allan.  Plenty of Class 33’s in evidence.  Despite my Southern bias, I have always thought them one of the neatest designs of that era.  And I gather that the long awaited Dapol model is due within the month.  More money leaving my bank account….







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Congratulations Mr & Mrs Bartlett

Please excuse the personal post today.  My Michael is getting married to Vickie, so trains take a back seat for once.  I shall be on taxi duty for the morning at least….


Congratulations Mr & Mrs Bartlett!!!

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ESNG meeting – 17 August 2016

A quiet evening, with just the eight of us attending.  Even the treasurer was on holiday!

No Japanese trains today, as Paul also seemed to be away.  Simon was running this lovely Santa Fe Alco PA-PB-PA set.  It must have been straight out of the shops, as the fabled Alco exhaust soon turned the roof, and side grills, black.  No concern about diesel particulates in the 1950’s and 60’s.


Otherwise, it was Southern night.  Derek’s M& performed well, pulling as many as three Maunsell coaches.


And it was also School’s class running in night, with the new Dapol models in BR green and BR black represented.  Both seemed to run very well out of the box – especially after Derek removed the small piece of packing between loco and tender that stopped it going around corners.  Not mentioned in the instructions, but N Gauge Forum brought our attention to it!




There were also conversations about forthcoming shows – Gaugemaster at the beginning of September, Stuttgart in November, and our own show in April 2017.  I sent a few emails out over the weekend, and it seems to be coming together!

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Gallic inspiration

You may have come across Emmanuel Nouaillier’s brilliant structure modelling in the Continental Modeller, with step by articles on how to build dilapidated structures.  I came across his website, that doesn’t have all the detail of his articles, but nonetheless contains some inspiring modelling.  It’s also a good chance to practice your modelling French!

… Je continue comme prévu avec une première partie de séquence assez longue visant à imiter le placard Polaroil avec son ours et pour lequel je vais pas mal jouer avec le ruban de masquage. Cette réclame va vraiment donner tout son cachet ou du moins une grosse dose “d’authenticité” au fronton, tout en ajoutant un contraste vraiment très marqué, ce qui est fort appreciable.

… I continue as initially planned with the first of this rather long stage to imitate the Polaroil advert. with its white bear. I will have to use masking tape many times to succeed at making it the most perfect possible. This wall-ad will give the façade its ” authentic ” aspect and in the same time a rather strong welcome contrast.

This is how it came out…..

GAR 04

And this is the sort of building featured on the site….


Pure inspiration, but it sometimes makes me want to give up!  Perhaps there are too many distractions in my life?


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Shunting on a cable car…

From Allan’s Swiss adventures this year…

How do you get a pallet of goods from under a cable car and load it on to a waggon?  This is what the BLM does.

Not the clearest photos, but perhaps offering a modelling challenge?

IMAG0617 IMAG0618 IMAG0619

It looks very clever Swiss, and for the life of me I can’t work out how it works!!

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The switchback – a long run in a little space

Reading the Freeonrail blog – a European site looking at “How to squeeze big trains into tiny spaces”, I was reminded how good the “Gum Stump & Snowshoe Railroad, conceived by the recently deceased Chuck Yungkurth (also an expert on NE USA anthracite railroads) was…..

Early in the 60th Chuck Yungkurth created the “Gum Stump & Snowshoe Railroad“. I copied this ingenious micro layout using some stock of “Märklin-M-Tracks” and renamed it as “Sanspareil” Ok, please connive the old-fashioned trackwork…just have a look on the trackplan. And yes…that´s a switchback. The train – starting front right – has to change direction twice before reaching it´s destination one level higher on the left hand side. In this way we are able to add a distance of approximately five (!) meters. Not bad for a plank with a total length of 2, 10 m!


The author goes on to say….

The problem of gumstumping are steep grades. Nearly 10 % are challenging even for short trains. If you forget about the railroad flyover in the foreground you will come to a plan like below. My “Darjeeling & Himalaya RR” (0n30) zigzags through an indian landscape using Peco 0n30 trackwork.

And presents a nice version of the original without the bridge causing the steep grades…


Then another example of the switchback – but all on one level – comes in another post.  This layout is similar to one I have seen in an Iain Rice plan book, and also in two exhibition layouts in recent years…..

Compact bookshelf layouts have one problem in common. If you are not satisfied with a naked switching puzzle, you will need a track leading your trains into the big, wide world. Hmm…not an easy desire to fullfill, espacially on less than one squaremeter. Anyway…let´s try it. Our first approach is “Mainlände” (speak: Minelanda) in H0. The shelf measures 165 x 35 cm (meanwhile you are familiar with that, probably), the trackwork ist PECO Code 175. “Mainlände” is a small terminus near by a small river port in Bavaria. The line disappears under an elevated street. To protect you from switching in the dark tunnel (what may be really uncomfortable) I added a track from which you can reach every other track. Ok…if a train disappears under the bridge there is no possibilty to form a new one in the backstage area…sometime you have to restore it


A very practical layout, and with some interesting pointwork.  And it’s about the size of an N-club standard module…..

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