Meanwhile, back in the Alps


As it was hot we went up Pilatus as it is now included on Swiss Travel Pass. Sat in open air restaurant at the top for a meal in a cooling breeze. Allan went up by train and down by cable car. Ron went both rays by train as he has a phobia about cable cars

Can’t say I blame him!  Allan adds:

Ron has sent you photos of our trip to Pilatus. I have plenty as well.  Will write up a full article for you later for the blog and news letter.


Went to Zurich today and went up Uetliberg (Orange train.)  Came back to Hauptbahnhof for other two photos. Intended coming back over Mount Rigi but by time we got to Arth Goldau it was raining heavily and cloud had come down so came back round mountain by train and bus.


Views of two RhB trains at Chur, the table network map, the Landwasser viaduct from train and a train in the 20:00 meet at Filisur.

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Tinkers Park 2017 #2

The full size exhibits had plenty of interest, and there were some well preserved items.  However, it was sad to see others in a poor state of repair, rusting away.  There were interesting bits of metal all over the site – it was sometimes possible to identify them!

Real trains were represented by these little contractor’s diesels….

A little steam locomotive was waiting in the wings, but there seemed to be a bit of a problem rerailing one of the coaches – another little cameo for your layout?

There was a fine collection of traction engines, road rollers and ploughing engines in various states of repair….

A WW2 Bren Gun Carrier, officially known as the ‘Universal Carrier’, and the most produced armoured fighting vehicle in history.

A well preserved AEC tractor unit.

And a less-well preserved AEC Matador, set up as a tow truck.  I built, and converted, several Airfix kits of these vehicles as a teenager.

A fine line up of cars…

A ‘Green Goddess’ Auxiliary Fire Service fire engine….

And two buses to finish.  I used to see red RF’s like this on the route 227 on the way to secondary school – and this preserved one is also for that route.

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Tinkers Park 2017 #1

The Tinkers Park Model Railways Plus show did what it said on the can – a reasonably sized model railway show, plus full sized trains, traction engines and road vehicles.  Derek and I visited on the Saturday, so missed the bus rally on the Sunday, and it was a pleasant morning’s visit.

This post will look at the models – and the next one the full sized exhibits.  Whilst I was there I wasn’t totally convinced by the model railways, but having looked at my photos again, realised that I was being a little tough on the show – there were some very good layouts on display.

Lakeside is an attractive Southern Pacific/tourist line set in the Sierra Nevada of southern California.

The station building has a full interior, that can be removed floor by floor.  The fact that each section is removable makes it worth the effort – otherwise little could be seen.

‘O’ gauge was represented by Lower Shalford, a fictitious Southern Railway terminus near Guildford.  The semi detached backscene is certainly typical of the area!

And that perennial favourite, Happisburgh Goods, set in East Anglia and pronounced ‘Haze-burg’.  The full terminus layout was always worth a look, and it is good that this part of it lives on around the exhibition circuit.

Maxwell is ‘N’ gauge, full of little ‘cameo’ scenes, and was rapidly booked for the ESNG 2018 show!

Most of the remaining layouts were narrow gauge, in various scales, and they were a fine selection of models.  We start with Cuttinglye Wharf, O-16.5 narrow gauge, set in the 1930’s to the south of London.  In this larger scale, the well lit interiors of the buildings showed up well.

Also O-16.5 is the ‘Southeastern Tar Distillers’, a narrow gauge railway shoe-horned into some interesting industrial scenery.  The curves at the end of the layout are tight to say the least, and short wheelbase stock is the order of the day.

I had seen the Slindon Vale Railway (again O-16.5) before, and it’s a lovely model, full of scratch built buildings of local, West Sussex, prototypes.

Moving down in size to OO-9, the Glyn Valley Tramway is a compressed model of Glynceiriog station, that was the terminal for passenger trains.  I recall building a cardboard model in O-16.5 in my early teens that fitted onto a Hornby-Dublo wagon chassis.  Long departed, but I recall it was a reasonable model, with cotton beading based on a method described in the seminal Don Boreham book on narrow gauge modelling.

Finally, Sand Point is a little OO-9 cameo layout, modelling a quay for granite traffic somewhere in the south-west of England.  A simple, but attractive model.

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Latest dispatch from Switzerland

We had a bit of trouble with the Swiss internet (yes, things do go wrong in Switzerland), and Ron’s pigeon didn’t have the gas to get back to the UK, but here are a few more of Allan & Ron’s photos.  I’ll hopefully get a few more railway shots when Allan is home, but these views do brighten up the day….

Here’s another view of the new ESNG clubhouse (NOT).

Not to be confused with the model version….

And here’s the Cha(I)rman’s official chair, ready for the next ESNG AGM, available at any Swiss branch of Haykea…

A view of the green ‘shed’ that, unlike the red one, has wheels – but no pantograph.

Views from Grimsel Passhohe and from the bus, plus two photos from Oberwald…

And pictures taken at Vitznau and on DS Uri….

And on Sunday:

In an effort to find better weather headed South to Lugano via Gotthard Base Tunnel. Spent nearly an hour sitting in the sun by the lake. These pictures were all taken in Lugano – on station and in funicular down to town and by the lake.


Very misleading. Half an hour up the line it was pouring down and the same when we went back. Back on the north side of the Alps it had started to rain and was heavy when we got back to our hotel. Yet 2 hours later we were having dinner on the terrace in the sun

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DC or DCC?

In the latest edition of Model Railway Journal, Jerry Clifford’s editorial has some helpful thoughts on model railway electrics.  Edited highlights below….

The old and the new….

A good friend and very fine modeller recently said to me that, in his opinion, DCC was the ‘spawn of Satan.  He went on to argue that operators seemed to spend more time staring at a screen or handset that looked capable of powering the Starship Enterprise than they did driving a train…

…. Buried in this deliberately provocative statement, I think he may have a point.

I was sold on DCC while operating John Greenwood’s Wadebridge layout.  I pulled into the platform with my T9 and pair of Maunsell coaches bound for Padstow.  No sooner had I come to a halt when out of the yard popped a Beattie to deal with the tail traffic…  It was, and remains, this simple point – the idea that you drive the loco and not the track – that is the biggest selling point of DCC for me.

…. I would argue that there’s a lot to be said for combining the old and the new.  Iain Rice, in his recent book on Cameo Layouts advocates grouping point and signal controls according to how they were operated on the prototype.  A lever frame for those operated from a signal box, with a more dispersed, geographical, arrangement for hand-operated points.  If you throw DCC into the mix and use it exclusively for driving the trains, you are starting to get close to replicating some of the key roles on the traditional railway – signalman, driver and shunter…..

I would suggest that just because it’s possible to run an entire railway from a single handset or tablet, it doesn’t necessarily make it desirable.  It may well be time to chuck out the bathwater, but it’s probably worth hanging on to the baby!

Perhaps the message is ‘horses for courses’?  There are some layouts totally suited to DCC, whilst others are better off without??  I recall that American layouts often have their yards with no point controls except ‘finger operation.’  OK, the great hand appears from the sky makes an appearance, but only to go what the man walking the track would do whilst shunting the prototype.  It also occurs to me, that if you accept that point operation is localised, but electrically operated, it would be possible to use both the benefits of a simple DCC power bus, and localised point controls.  Food for thought?

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ESNG meeting – 3 August 2017

I had lost track of our members’ holidays, and was pleasantly surprised by a positive sighting of Mr Atfield, who brought along his Royal Train for a test run.

The fiddle yard looked a little bare – at least it would have done without Paul’s Japanese container train – must have been about 20′ long.

I enjoyed running this pick-up goods with an ‘N’ class mogul and a few open wagons.

And Graham had a steam hauled heavyweight passenger train on display.

Allan is, of course, still in Switzerland, and more photos will no doubt follow!

This caught my eye in the Grauniad Guardian newspaper…

Trainy McTrainface: Swedish railway keeps Boaty’s legacy alive

Winner of public vote to name new engine on Stockholm-Gothenburg line echoes UK poll choice for polar research ship

It’s happened again….. Trainy McTrainface received 49% of the votes in a poll, jointly run by Swedish rail company MTR Express and Swedish newspaper Metro.

The other trains have already been named by the public…. Another is named Glenn, after a long-running joke that everyone in Gothenburg is called Glenn.

MTR Express said the McBoatface decision had led to disappointment worldwide and it hoped the name Trainy McTrainface would “be received with joy by many, not only in Sweden”.

Could make a good model!  And good to see that the Swedish sense of humour is of as low a quality as us here in the UK…

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Allan & Ron head for the hills

It’s August, so it’s holiday time for Allan and Ron.  Creatures of habit, like the Bartlett’s, they head for Switzerland.  As a friend mailed…

Got where? OK let me guess. Where do you two go every year around this time? Ah yes, Toblerone Land. Will you be travelling on a triangular train to visit the triangular factory where triangular people make triangular chocolate from triangular honey and triangular nuts?

Allan reports….

Finally got here after one and half hour delay at Gatport Airwick.  This is the view from our room.

We had two good thunderstorm over night and still raining from the second.

Looks like the weather was the same as our holiday!  But the weather obviously improved the following day….

SWISS NATIONAL DAY GREETINGS FROM LAUTERBRUNNEN.  Waterfall at Stechelberg, others taken on top of Schynige Platte

Is this the Swiss version of a ‘legal high’?

This is the sort of view I’d like if I went to Switzerland, but I bet it would rain all the time!

And the waterfall…

And finally a train (sort of).

What do you do with old locomotives?  The green one has running gear and motor.(behind the board).  The red one is just a body.  Would make a nice shed.

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