Real trains, plus….

Some real trains today. Chris got to the Isle of Wight.

Hi Jon, a couple of photos from the IOW steam railway last weekend. The Ivatt tank has a cut down roof, which was the plan in the 60, s for O2 replacements. Best wishes, Chris


To my disgust, I missed the news that Braunton would be passing under my local railway bridge in Redhill, heading the Southern Belle.  Naturally, Brian got to Godstone for this excellent video of the train at speed.

Braunton 34046 at Godstone Station – a steam loco travelling at about 60mph powering through, with D1935 (Roger Hoskin MA) for support during the coastal manoeuvres between Hastings and Eastbourne. This was organised by Saphos Trains. Great to see steam back on the mainline in the south of England! The location is a popular viewpoint for photographers and film makers.


And Brian also sent this video of Cologne Eifeltor Intermodal Yard, taken in April 2018.

Here’s a challenge for anyone to model – the Eiffeltor intermodal interchange in Cologne – just mind boggling.


And Peter noted that:

Locomotive Services have acquired an HST which they plan replicated the Midland Blue Pullman. I wonder if it comes off, it will eventually appear in N Gauge.  The article is in September’s Railway Magazine.

Actually looks OK, and it would make a very nice repaint in the meantime….


And now for something completely different.  Is this heresy?  I must admit I rather like it!

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ESNG meeting – 16 September 2020

Zoom time once again.  Unfortunately missing the Cha(i)rman again, as he was unwell (not Covid-19).  We were also joined by Peter, and by Maxine to check up on us all.  Simon was showing off his 3-D printed Daleks.  Graham was still only transmitting one word in two, but held up a note saying that he is getting new internet on Friday.  So next meeting, we may get the all-singing, all-dancing version.

We discussed ESNG meetings, and like the emails I had received from a couple of people, thought that we might as well write 2020 off.  However, one bright idea was to get 3 or 4 of us to meet up to do more work on the fiddleyard.  That is worth pursuing, though we’ll watch the increase of cases of covid for the next couple of weeks before doing anything.

What would it have been like to live through the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-19?  We are fortunate in some ways, that we have all the forms of electronic communication to stop us being totally isolated.


To close, a couple of photos to inspire the creative juices.  First, Chicago in 1956.  I like the low level goods yard parallel to the main station.

And second, somewhere in Europe just after WW2.  It would make an interesting model.

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Covid-19 diary #28

I’ve got back to the Lowfits, but nothing to report at the moment.  Really, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what to model next, and then trying to understand the government conditions for us actually to hold an ESNG meeting.

But thinking about modelling has raised some interesting questions.  What do I actually enjoy about modelling?  And what should my next layout look like?  Do I build more modules for ESNG N-mod and N-Club?  Or another micro-layout like my little American switching layout?  Of do I try for something a little bigger?

What I have (probably) learnt over the past months is that I am really missing the social side of the hobby.  I miss club nights and the long term friendships there – some 20 years or so old.  Surprisingly, I realise that I also greatly miss exhibitions and exhibiting with the club.  Yes, it’s often a pain, and hard work, but there’s a real sense of achievement when we pull off another show, or spend a few days somewhere like Stuttgart playing trains.

I have also realised that I probably have too much rolling stock – it is all pushing me towards a mega-layout that I just can’t see myself building.  That’s another reason why I like club nights – sometime I can’t be bothered to run a train (or can’t get hold of a track), but it gives me a chance to run some longer trains.  And that rolling stock comes from a range of parts of the UK (and world) and different eras.

I also realise that I do enjoy building things.  I very much enjoyed putting the kits together that I built through the lockdown.  And I enjoyed putting together the switching layout.  I do run it from time to time, but the real pleasure is in creating a working diorama, rather than the operation.

So, after all this ramble, what is my conclusion?  I should probably build small layouts, with a variety of themes.  Perhaps on modules sometimes.  Perhaps I should also build a smallish test track to watch the trains go by.  This tiny looped-8 appeared on RMWeb a while back and is strangely satisfying.  It would give place to run locomotives in, and to watch a couple of trains go by.

And this 5 ft circle is also visually satisfying – now I’ve lost weight, I’d even fit in the middle of the operating well!  At least this would allow me to run 6-coach trains, or a Brighton Belle?

So lots of ideas – all good ones.  Next, I need to decide…..


And as for meetings, it’s a roller coaster ride for clubs all over the UK (from RMWeb)…..

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ESNG meeting – probably no?

Well, having read and reread the government guidance, I’ve reluctantly concluded that we can only entertain 6 members at a meeting at present.  If we have more than 6, we have to have 2 groups and they are not allowed to socialise.  Unfortunately, I like all the club members, so we can’t split into warring groups!

And I quote (my bold text)…..  “In practice, however, this will make it difficult for some activities to take place without breaking the law. Activities where there is a significant likelihood of groups of more than six mingling – and therefore breaking the law – should not take place until further COVID-19 Secure guidance has been developed and approved to enable the activity to happen safely. This may include extended tour groups, large banquet dinners, society or club meetings, or amateur music or drama rehearsals.”

However, I note that an exception to the ‘rule of six’ is support groups – “formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support.”  This includes recovering addicts.  The way we all buy trains, I’m not sure about the recovering bit……

Still little modelling, but a lovely autumn day’s weather, so we visited Winchelsea and Hastings.  Mrs Bartlett had a paddle and I watch a procession of gulls and terns along the beach, before lunch with one of her old friends.

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Peco don’t do this….

Going the rounds on RMWeb and Facebook is this rather strange piece of pointwork, that is at the bottom of an incline leading to Mapperley Brickworks in Nottingham.

On the left there is a catch pit to protect the bottom of the incline.  However, there seems to be two different and separate routes to it.  In a word, why????

Best suggestion is that it gives double protection to the incline – you have to get two sets of points set correctly to prevent stock running into the dead end.  Model this and wait for the admiring comments!!!!


And a contribution from Phil….

I was Googling for early film actors ( for reasons entirely unconnected to what I am going on about, here! )

Google saw fit to show me an article: The 1895 “First Movie Ever Made” Gets Visually Stunning 4K Restoration.  Within it, it showed a restored movie of the Lumiere Brothers short ‘Arrivée d’un train à la Ciota’ (‘Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat’).

This grabbed me because the restoration techniques used was of interest to me, AND because it was about an early Railway Train!

Well! *I* thought it was interesting!  Take care, stay safe!  Phil.

This is indeed a stunning restoration.  You could almost believe that it was Northern Trains Pacer replacements!  Of course, culture vulture that I am, the only early film actors I know are Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble…..

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ESNG meeting – yes, no yes?

Plans were underway for the reopening of ESNG later this month.  We’d welcome a limited number of people to play trains, but make things as Covid-safe as possible.

Then came yesterday’s government announcement limiting social gatherings again.  So, perhaps it’s all off again?

But maybe yes……  The government guidance says that from Monday:

“If partaking in permitted activities users of COVID-19 secure community facilities should limit their social interactions with anyone they do not live with. Whilst activities may have 6 or more people participating (where it is safe to do so and capacity permits) it is important for all parties to maintain socially distant, 2 metres or 1 metre with actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission (where 2 metres is not viable) between households. For example, use of face coverings and encouraging good hand hygiene on entering premises and throughout visit.”

So I’ll look again at the full list of permitted activities on Monday. Clubs in Covid-safe communal areas might be exempt.  We still may be OK to carefully meet up together.

I can’t keep up!  These changes are definitely needed, but they happen to quickly for a bear of little brain.

UPDATE: At the moment, the published guidance looks like a yes – community organisations can go ahead with Covid-safe precautions.

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More ESNG modelling

Some more projects underway by ESNG (to cover up the lack of progress on my part.)

Simon is getting the hang of 3D printing…..

One I did earlier. Chair car interior.

But this project looks far more useful.  I rather like the idea of a line of these heading up the road on a layout…..

Working on N Scale Daleks.

It’s going to be quite hard to print all the protuberances!

Problem is that most of the designs are in parts – usually top and bottom with separate sticking out bits. I find it hard to scale to N. Apparently, according to designs had from Google, Daleks are about 5’ 4” = 10.16mm in N Scale, but I can’t easily get a full height measurement of a completed design, as they are not scaled any way I can work out, given I can’t get into the main .stl files, but only what goes in to the slicer software.

Ta da!  Found the right file. It’s come out really well.


Meanwhile, Phil sent me another photo of his layout.

A good Zoom meeting, last night.  I found it to be tricky getting a good shot of my layout, using my mobile ‘phone, as I could not easily see what you all were seeing on your screens. Maybe I’ll try the other way round, next time, and use the Notebook computer to show the layout, with commentary from the ‘phone, and see how that goes.

Here is a still of my current home layout. I make no excuses: it is as much track as I could fit on the ready-made 3 ft x 4 ft bare Sundeala baseboard bench. No scenery, apart from the purchased trackside buildings, etc. since I frequently dismantle and redesign it, so nothing is pinned down, either!

Basically, four concentric tracks, all interconnected, allowing four trains to be run, anywhere on the layout, under DCC ( of course! ).

Rule 1.  It’s my model railway.  The strength of our hobby is that there is room for everyone, whatever your interest, and however you want to play trains (even with Daleks.)


Brian missed out on Zoom, but sent us a video of the old Chatham Dockyard.  Some modelling potential here?

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An interesting prototype

Here’s an interesting American modern prototype.

At Holidaysburg Pennsylvania, Curry Rail Service builds little shifter (PRR’s term for switchers) locomotives.  They are built upon a truck bogie from an old EMD SD40-2.

These ‘Mighty Mo’s ‘ would make an excellent little model – if one has a broken SD-40 and can work out how to motorise it.


Closer to home, an excursion to the south coast passes through my childhood haunt of Bromley South.  It’s 1956, and the Black 5 is hauling several generations of ex-LMS coaching stock.


And how about this in T (yes, T) scale….

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ESNG meeting – 3 September 2020

Another good Zoom tonight.  Just the five of us, with apologies from a few members (especially the Chairman, who had been cornered for an early milkround.)  Good to see Martin this time around, too.  And Phil managed to master both phone and computer and showed us his railway.


I’ve spent a day or two recently updating and rewriting the ESNG website, and moving it across to WordPress.  Here’s the end result.

esngclub.com

I’ve enjoyed improving the site and adding some more photos – especially some from the early days of the club, and a rogues gallery.  There’s some serious pre-history here!


And here we see a club member working on his layout wiring.  Not only the ultimate in Health and Safety, but also a great advert for DCC!

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Covid-19 diary #27

A little progress with the wagons.  I’ve 10 Peco Lowfits well on the way to completion.  The bodies have had their bolster bases scraped off with a knife blade and fine sandpaper.  They’ve been primed and a first coat of bauxite applied.  I’ve transfers ordered from Cambridge Custom Transfers to finish them off.

Meanwhile, Duncan has kindly printed me off 32 more bubble cars.  The next test will be starting to paint them all.  A little experimentation is needed – do I try and paint around the windows with a steady hand, or do I try and apply Maskol liquid with an equally steady hand?  Or do I just spray the whole bubble car, and then paint the windows with yet another steady hand.  I’ll tell you sometime soon!


Now, here’s an idea for a small railway layout – in the back of an American RV.  Of course, the average USA camper van has more room inside than the average UK house for a layout…..

And if you want an interesting prototype, head for the Florida Everglades….

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