The venerable (and wonderful) Class 442’s are in trouble.  Back on their old Wessex line runs, they seem to be automatically changing signals.

The 30-year-old Class 442 trains were reintroduced by South Western Railway (SWR) in June after a £45m upgrade.  The firm said they had been taken out of service as a precaution due to an issue involving line-side signals.  SWR said it would cancel two daily services and shorten some trains until the issue was resolved.  The mothballed trains – nicknamed “plastic pigs” – have been running on routes from London to Bournemouth and Portsmouth.  They are suspected of accidentally turning signals yellow or red as they pass through Earlsfield in London, BBC Transport Correspondent Paul Clifton said.

Never knew they were called “plastic pigs”.  I’m amazed that they were refurbished, as someone told me that each unit had a unique wiring diagram.  No standard build at all.  But perhaps that was what was refurbished?

But the train service is still better than that in Ethiopia:

There would be no trains that morning.  I returned to the hotel – again covered in mud after torrential rain – left with no choice but to fly.  But the internet was down – not an unusual situation in Ethiopia these days – so I had to book my flight by phone.  And by the time I should have been arriving at Dire Dawa’s new station at 15.50 that day, I was instead in the departure lounge at Addis Ababa airport waiting for my gate to be announced.

Finally, this interesting picture appeared on RMWeb.

It’s a 1929 photo of the junction “Northeast of Llatrisant”. It shows a nice assembly of GWR 4- and 6-wheelers.  We had been discussing at the club as to what colour coach roofs were in service.  This photo shows that a good mix of white, grey and black was entirely possible – and realistic.  One comment on the forum said that:

“Shh, don’t say it too loud, some people get very agitated when they find out white roofs didn’t oxidise to black within 30 seconds of leaving the paint shop.”

Useful pre-nationalisation information for the paint shop.

Posted in Out and about, Prototype | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Another modelling challenge?

Now this would make a good animation for your station….

But please don’t try this at home, gentle readers!

Posted in Inspiration, Out and about, Prototype, Weird and wonderful | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ESNG PlayDay – 8 September 2019

It’s been a busy railway week – Hollycombe, then club night, and now a PlayDay.  As ever, we started with a curry.  As I took the underpass next to Earlswood station, this large Colas track machine was sitting in the station.  Some work was being carried out on this section of the Brighton line.

After a pleasant plate or two of curry, we got to the hall to set up the layout, and had a reasonable turn out of 8 members.  It was a lovely early autumn day – it won’t be long though before we won’t want to have the door open onto the garden!

Paul brought along his new modules, combining bullet trains with an N-mod circuit.

Bullet trains circuit at high level, whilst goods and branch line trains run below.

Derek Atfield ran some of his Longmoor Military Railway stock…

Chris had a Union Mills T9 on a short goods train.  The locomotive has been improved with added details, and BR mixed traffic lining.

Allan’s coal train was hauled by a variety of locos….

Another good afternoon, both running trains and socialising – and enjoying the cake provided by Mile’s mum.

Posted in ESNG, ESNG meetings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

ESNG meeting – 05 September 2019

I expected a quiet evening on Thursday, after we had such a busy weekend at Hollycombe.  But 5 out of the 7 exhibitors turned up keen to run trains.  (And no. 6, the Cha(I)rman, was working earlies again.)

So we had a full fiddle yard….

Plenty of new C Class 0-6-0’s in evidence!

And a more modern inhabitant of the SECR….

Modern UK rail….

Japanese multiple unit container train (these things fascinate me!)

And a long American goods train, that sometimes stayed in one piece….

Another fun evening chatting and running trains.  Next stop, PlayDay on Sunday!

Posted in ESNG, ESNG meetings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Odd modelling ideas #456 – Believe it or not?

Or what to do with an old roundhouse….

From Facebook and originally Google Earth, this car repair shop has been adapted from part of a roundhouse.  The turntable has been replaced by some rather tight curves.  This would make such a cool model – and you’d need a photo to hand to fight off the critics at any show where it was exhibited.

Perhaps a new module – or just a micro switching layout in its own right?

Posted in Inspiration, Out and about, Prototype, Weird and wonderful | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hollycombe’s annual model weekend #2

There was plenty to look at outside of the model exhibits (that include a deputation from the West Sussex N Gauge Group in a different building from us.)

The museum has a short length of 2′ narrow gauge line in operation, with two locomotives from Welsh slate quarries.  I was very taken with ‘Jerry M’, as I remember it appearing as a drawing in the long lamented ‘Model Railway News’ sometimes in the 1960’s.  I was into narrow gauge then, and wondered how difficult it would be to scratch build a model in O-16.5 scale.


Also on shed was this little Plymouth shunter….

And a second steam locomotive….

The carriages are an interesting museum piece in themselves, coming from the Ramsgate Tunnel Railway.  Wikipedia tells me that….

The Tunnel Railway was a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge underground railway in Ramsgate, Kent, England.  Following the restructuring of railway lines in Ramsgate in 1926, the section of line between Broadstairs and Ramsgate Harbour including a tunnel to the seafront at Ramsgate was abandoned. The narrow-gauge Tunnel Railway was opened within the disused tunnel in 1936 to connect tourist attractions and shops near Ramsgate harbour with the new railway main line at Dumpton Park.

Except for its two stations—one at each end of the tunnel—the line ran entirely underground. The line was built in less than three months, and on its completion in 1936 was one of the shortest independent railway lines in the country. It was open for only three years before being converted to a major air-raid shelter during World War II. After the war’s end, it was not included in the 1948 nationalisation of British railways but remained in private hands.

Passenger numbers fell during the 1960s, and the line became economically unviable. Following a train crash in 1965, the owners closed the line at the end of September that year. The tunnel still exists, but no trace remains of either of the two stations.

Elsewhere there was plenty of steam, with stationary engines….

Traction engines and road rollers….

And large scale models of the traction engines….

Lots to look at and a most enjoyable weekend – if rather hard work!

Finally, here’s Allan’s video of the four trains running before I got there on Sunday – including the famous pink wagons!

And as I have (at last) worked out how to get files from Facebook to Youtube, here’s a little clip of the engines from a Swiss paddle steamer, from Allan & Ron’s holiday.

Posted in ESNG, Exhibitions, Out and about | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hollycombe’s annual model weekend #1

Well, we’re back from Hollycombe, and absolutely cream-crackered!  It was a fun weekend that lived up to it’s advertising:

It is with much excitment that we will see the model weekend return to Hollycombe in late summer. The weekend will have something for everyone, whether you are a die hard modeller or just looking for a fun day out. Across the weekend there will be all manner of models including miniature steam engines of various scales, model boats, fairground models, model tanks and there will even be a WW2 French Village battle each afternoon. There will be model railways and our historic steam powered fairground will be operating as usual. This is one of the biggest and busiest events on our calendar so make sure to come along and marvel at all of the wonderful sights.

The weather held, apart from one short shower, and the ESNG layout behaved itself.  Plenty of interest from punters, and so good to see lots of kids taking an interest rather than elderly men in anoraks.  (There were some of those as well.)

We were located in the storeroom and paint shop.  Rather dusty, but not as oily as the Bluebell Railway show!  Saturday was Japanese bullet day, as Paul brought along a selection of his trains.  I ran my Kato Penn Central set for six hours, and it wasn’t even warm at the end of the afternoon.

A 3×2 modular set up made a large layout.


Derek’s Junction and Goonhilly radomes made an interesting diversion.  We forgot two things on the day – I forgot the bridge for the fiddle yard with the track numbers on it to help operate the points.  Derek forgot the scenic inset for the junction – so we covered it with flyers for NGSE 2020.  Amazingly, some people took them (but we didn’t sell any ESNG wagons.)

Two generations of South-East travel…

Sunday and Allan’s silver (or rusty) bullets on the move.

A pink blur….  Allan claims that there is a prototype for this?????

On the Sunday, we had an ‘OO’ loco shed layout opposite us, with some fine commercial models on display, and lots of little cameo scenes around the layout.

On Saturday, these large fairground models were there.

The rest of the shed was full of fairground models, some to a very high standard.

Like this fine merry-go-round.

The real steam-powered prototype was giving rides outside.

Next post, I’ll have a few pictures of the railway and traction engines outside.

Posted in ESNG, Exhibitions, Out and about | Tagged , , | Leave a comment