ESNG meeting – 14 August 2022

Despite the very hot afternoon, five intrepid ESNG members gathered to play trains.

We’ll start with Brian’s video of the afternoon, as it includes the set up.  We don’t really move that fast….

But where were the Hill’s Angels????  (Probably a good thing they were missing – it would have put too much stress on our heart meds!)

After all that running around, I need a sit down!


Allan was setting up a long coal train…

That remained in one piece most of the time.

Mr Apps reckons he ran more trains than he had in the previous five years….


Mr Atfield tested his new Class 319’s.


Brian went European.


My T9 ran as well as ever.


At the end of afternoon, we realised that no-one will be using the hall till after Wednesday’s meeting.  So we left the railway set up, and retired for a swift curry.

Finally, a couple of real railway pictures to finish.  The North London Line in Shoreditch, Friday night and Saturday morning.  No trains on the Saturday, as the drivers were on strike.

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A little side trip

I’ve still got to post pictures from the Dawes Brothers’ trip to the Isle of Man, with lots of steam, electric and horse power.  But for now, here are a few shots from Allan of a trip to Winchester.

Class 159’s at Basingstoke.

Woking yard.


I picked up some rail tickets yesterday, and this smart Class 66 was held at signals in Earlswood station.

And lastly, two videos that might have featured Allan, if taken at the right moment?

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Small Layout Design Handbook

As regular readers will know, I do like small model railways.  And until recently (with lockdown and retirement) I seemed to design far more layouts than I ever built.  So seeing this book advertised, and spotting the key words ‘small’ and ‘design’ it was an instant purchase.


It was an extremely good buy.  Most of the layouts described are only a few feet long, and most have between 0 and 3 points in the design.  But nearly all are designs either with a definite concept, or based on a real location.  They mostly also have plenty of operating potential, even in a small space.  

Why do I like small model railways?  Although I really do enjoy taking a long goods train down to an ESNG club night and watching it trundle around the layout, I am always drawn back to small designs.  Here are some advantages that I can think of:

  1. For those with a magpie mind and multiple interests, a series of small layouts allows one to model a number of different prototypes (or even scales and gauges.)
  2. Small layouts are much more likely to be finished than the ‘plywood prairie.’  Perhaps this can be offset a bit by making modules for N-mod or N-club, as I have been doing recently, but modules can rarely also be operated at home.
  3. Small layouts allow operation for a short time – half an hours shunting, say – that fits in with our hectic 21st century lifestyles.
  4. Small layouts allow one to experiment during the construction (staged, window viewed layouts, different baseboard materials, scenic experiments, DC or DCC) without too much cost if things go wrong (as they most probably will.)
  5. They don’t take up much room to store at home, and…..
  6. Are very easy to transport to exhibitions (although you may go a little mad operating a one point layout for a weekend show.) 

One concept that came back to me reading the book is what Iain Rice calls the ‘bitsa’ layout.  Here you model (say) half the station, hiding the rest behind the ‘wings’ of the baseboard.  A large prototype can be compressed into a small space by modelling just the key location.  As I mulled this over, a small brain wave hit me.  I think that I have discovered my next layout (after Minories) in concept, and maybe I’ll need to put together a scale drawing to see if it really does work.  It’s a location that I’ve wanted to model for years, but have never been able to make a viable design out of it.  Another post may follow next week….. 

Strongly recommended, and I’ll let the author describe his book himself….

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Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway 2022 #2

The great thing about the B&WLR is that the railway is a ‘real’ narrow gauge locomotive, not a miniature railway.  The locomotives have all had previous lives in Welsh quarries, or German railways.  Our spot in the engine shed (cleaned up for the model railways, fortunately) was close to a door, and we could see, hear, and smell, the trains passing by…


Getting up steam for the day….

Awaiting the first passengers of the day.  These little diesels have so few controls that I think I could have stepped into the cab and run one successfully.


And the service in full swing.  An almost continuous string of trains ran along the short line all day, but all properly signalled, and with the appropriate single line token.

The last of my pictures are a coach bogie under construction, and an interesting line of vehicles…

But Michael kindly passed on his photos to me, so here are a few more.

Trains – including running round at the end of the line….

Some other vehicles….

A fine traction engine….


And the regular visit from an American fire truck.  You could climb to the top of the ladder – but we didn’t.

All in all, a fun weekend.

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Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway 2022 #1

A busy but very satisfying weekend was spent at the Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway – a fine mixture of model railways and 2′ gauge narrow gauge.  A good number of ESNG members helped through the weekend, but Allan, Derek and I went down Friday afternoon for a more leisurely set up of the layout – it saved an early start and panic on the Saturday.

Just about set up and being tested.  We added the curtain on the Saturday morning.


We had a photo taken of the ESNG team plus show organiser Kerry from Invicta behind Saggers Sidings – Kerry being yet another ‘Friend of Miles.’


A few heavily weathered wagons are mouldering on the disused sidings…..


The usual eclectic selection of trains from ESNG, including Chris’ Underground set….

A number of small ‘lockdown’ layouts were on display.  The OO GWR layout just folded in half to store in the wardrobe.  Very much like a slightly smaller ‘N’ layout we had at our show a few years ago.

Two ‘OO’ layouts…

An American short line.  I like the interlaced dual gauged trackwork.

No, it’s not an ESNG club night – just World War 1!


A very nice ‘009’ layout.  It avoids the ‘twee’ look of some narrow gauge layouts and looks like a real railway doing a real job of work.

I liked Wantage in fine scale 3mm, 14.2mm gauge.  The true-scale track is very obvious.


This Irish narrow gauge line is a lovely model, and a regular on the exhibition circuit.  But it is usually behind barriers, and it was good to be able to examine it close up.


On Sunday, we didn’t have to run many trains (just put them back on the track) as Lucas had taken over all four controllers!


Next time, some of the real railway exhibits…..

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North Norfolk Railway – 2

Some more pictures from the NNR.  First, BR Mogul 76084.  Not sure whether this loco ventured this far into Norfolk, but it’s typical of the medium-sized locos seen on the MGNJR.

Some of the other stock in the year.  That London Underground Class 20 is a great livery.  And what would heritage railways do without second hand Mark 1 coaches.

Some general views of the line.

And the prototype for everything – torpedo truck anyone?


That’s all from this trip.  Coming up in the next couple of weeks is ESNG exhibiting at the Bredgar and Wormshill Model Railway weekend, and ANOTHER holiday for Ron and Allen – this time to the Isle of Man.

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North Norfolk Railway – 1

Following the weekend in Lowestoft, Allan travelled north to Sheringham and the North Norfolk Railway.  Although the line has a distinctly Great Eastern flavour to it, it was in fact part of the rival Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway.  Both of these lines have most attractive liveries.  The GER painted its locomotives in a rich royal blue colour.  The MGNJR used a shade often known as ‘gorse’, a bright orange brown.  Perhaps a bit like the Brighton line, but without the slightly odd green tinge!

Today has a GER flavour.  Here are some pictures of their little Y14 (better known as J15 in LNER and BR days) 0-6-0.  A pretty little locomotive in its blue livery.  Holden developed a most efficient boiler with the dome set well forward, reducing the distance the steam had to travel to get to the cylinders.  Just under 300 of these locos were built.  Some went to Europe in WW1, and many of the class survived into later BR days – they were, as Thomas said – very useful engines.  Just this one is preserved.

The line has a number of GER coaches and vans, including a coach from the Wisbech & Upwell tramway (home, of course, of Toby.)

There was also a MGNJR intruder to be seen.


More from the NNR in a day or so.

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ESNG meeting – 3 August 2022

Back again for the Wednesday meet.  A respectable seven members turned up to play trains.  And good to see Allan and Derek back from their respective holidays.  Some trains were tested ready for our visit to the Bredgar & Wormshill show this weekend.  Others just ran….


We ran out of steam, so to speak, and packed up quite early.  Back on Friday afternoon to pack up the cars and go and set the layout up down in Kent.

A few more station pictures for amusement/inspiration.

Andover with a venerable Adams outside cylinder 4-4-0.


Ashford in 1930.  Wonderful signal gantry!


Bexhill West.  Looks a bit quiet to me….


Caterham in the early years of the 20th century.


Coulsdon North.  I’m always amazed how such an extensive station can just disappear….


Dungerness.  Now this would make an interesting model?


And Woodmansterne.  Nice new 1930’s Southern Railway station awaiting development of the commuter belt around it. 


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ESNG meeting – 31 July 2022

I wasn’t sure how many would turn up for the Sunday meeting – we’d moved it back a week to avoid a hall booking, and several regulars were away or sent apologies.  But 6 members rolled in, and we managed a good running session.  Even though the Secretary said that we were going to pack up promptly so that he could get home and watch the football!

Roll call.  They are enjoying themselves – really….

Neil was testing a Revolution 320 EMU in the rather nice Scotrail livery.  Some people seem to have had trouble with these units, but after a little gentle fettling, Neil’s one ran very well all afternoon.


Brian ran another railtour….


Michael and I ran goods trains.  There seems to have been a bit of a problem coaling my ‘N’ class…..


Derek also ran Panniers, and Dave had some American stock on show.  And Brian’s video captures the best moments….

And next weekend, we’re off exhibiting……


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Saggers Sidings completed

Some real modelling today, rather than ESNG members holiday snaps (that will, of course, soon return.)

I wanted to complete my modules, now named ‘Saggers Sidings’ in memory of Miles, before the Bredgar and Wormshill Railway model show.  First step was to get a nameplate made up for the layout.  It’s come out very smart, and was worth the investment.


A disguise was needed to hide the hinges between the two halves of the layout.  I wondered about a bridge or short tunnel and opted for the bridge, as the Peco mouldings had straight sides that enabled a strong structure to be built up.  The bridge arches were cut back to slide into place, and joined together with plastic card.  Although the Peco plastic is very soft (and hence easy to cut) it welds to the pastic card very well.


A return to my old modelling skills.  The curved roof sections were made by taping 40 thou plastic card to a bottle and then filling it with boiling water.  After 10 minutes or so, replace with cold water, remove the tape, and a nice curved section results.  This isn’t quite the right radius, but bends easily to fit into the locators provided on the arches.


I then built up a box section to form the bridge deck, and used offcuts from the arches to bodge in the missing wall sections.  It’s beginning to look the part.


I added plastic stone facing to the walls under the bridge.  I was lazy and didn’t do the roof – it will be invisible from all normal viewing angles.

Next decision – what to put on the bridge – road or rail.  I opted for rail, though strictly the bridge isn’t strong enough or appropriate for a 4-track main line.  Perhaps there are some hidden steel girders hidden under all that stone!

I had some Woodland Scenics trackbed lying around and lots of odd bits of Peco track.  A little ‘No More Nails’ and the track was in place.


Ballasting followed.  I decided to have two running lines and two rather disused sidings – though we could park some stock on them at a show.  A couple of Peco buffer stops from the Atfield Scenic Stores and plenty of greenery fixed that.  I made a fitting for the nameplate, and job done.


I really can start a new project now!  It won’t be this (from a Traction Facebook site) in HO….

No photo description available.

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