More Redhill pictures

Picture day today.  First, a string of pictures ‘borrowed’ from the local community Facebook page.  The first picture is fascinating.  The background housing looks the same today, but the area to the far side of the main line has been transformed – not necessarily for the better.

And moving across to Reigate….

A few odds and ends to finish with.  A Rebuilt Pacific in Exeter station on a stone train to (or from) Meldon Quarry.  Interesting to see what was once a top-rank passenger loco on an engineering train.  Probably waiting for a banker….

Possibly one of these – a ‘Z’ class 0-8-0T.

And the Lyme Regis branch in BR days.

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Covid-19 diary #13

A burst of action has just about completed the Warwells and Warflats.  I realised that I needed to fit a coupling to join with Rapido’s at each end of the rake of wagons.  A little length of brass wire did a good job.

I was getting fed up making my own couplings, and had a bright idea – a permanent coupling between pairs of wagons.  A little fettling with some scrap brass (probably from an etched ‘O’ gauge kit of my father’s) and a coping saw, then a dip in brass black made three of this little item.  It screws into the bogie pivots instead of a retaining washer, and works fine.

And this is where I had got to last night.  Just a few odds and ends to do….

So project nearly complete!  I need to replace one home made coupling that works, but is too short.  Handwheels need to be white, and the bogies could do with a touch of dirty black.  And if I am brave, I have the transfers for the lettering on the wagons.  But for now, they’ll go into their box, together with the two Gresley coaches and an SR bogie brake van that complete the train.

Lessons learnt?  I think #1 item was how hard it is to fit Rapido/Dapol couplings, NEM or otherwise, to kits.  I am minded to have another go at making DG/B&B couplings again.  #2 is just how useful a set of magnifying glasses are.  And lastly #3, how much nicer brass is to work with than plastic.

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Covid-19 diary #12

Some real progress with the Warwells, at last.  Here are the first three, rolling and coupled, loaded with Cromwell tanks.

But it’s been a real game getting there.  I started by using the NGS diamond frame bogies with Farish wheels.  But I have been most unimpressed with the NGS product.  It needed a washer of Plasticard to get the correct ride height for the wagon.  And when I fitted the wheels, the pin-point bearings wouldn’t turn freely, even with a little work to the bearing holes.  It got close to throw it at the wall time….

Next, the fixing pin for the bogies is almost impossible to glue into place without seizing up the bogie pivot.  This was solved by cutting the top off the pivot and using it as washer, with a small screw retaining the bogie.  One solution, I guess!

And finally, the coupling boxes, NGS NEM or Farish original, clashed with the jacks at the end of the wagon, and although I knew this was a problem, they also protruded a long way past the buffers (think recent Dapol Siphon G with NEM couplers.)  I tried cutting back and resticking the NEM adaptor to the shortened bogie, but this didn’t really work, as no glue seemed to hold to the NGS bogie material.

So I abandoned the NGS bogies, and went back to the Farish spares that I had in stock.  Less well detailed, but the pin-points run perfectly.

And as for the couplings, I abandoned the standard N gauge coupler and built my own hook and loop system.  This is based on the coupler that Iain Rice uses in 4mm scale, called the ‘Imprecise’ coupler, as the dimensions aren’t critical.  I think that I could have used slightly thicker wire, and for every coupling built, one ended up lost on the floor, but they finally came together.

All this can be seen in the photos below.  One more Warwell and three Warflats to do….


And an excellent post from Chris Morris on NGF Facebook.  It really sums up the best in railway modelling, and I wish that I would learn some of these lessons!

Thought for the day.

Building a working and fully scenic model railway is a great achievement. The builder has to use many very different skills to get there. Anyone who has got there should be pleased with themselves and enjoy the achievement. There will always be things that you wish you had done better and things that you know are wrong but don’t let this spoil enjoying what you have done.

We all learn from building a layout and we can try to do better next time. Its very nice when others are enthusiastic about the work you have done; in fact one of the best feelings. If some folk point out faults then listen and either disregard the comment because it is unimportant to you or, if you think it is valid, try to improve. Don’t be too critical of your own work though. It’s amazing how you, as the builder, know where faults are but those viewing it just don’t notice.

There will always be layouts that are better than the one you have just built but don’t beat yourself up. A lot of the very best layouts are a group activity where members of the group have different skills. On some other great layouts the owner/builder may have paid for a specialist to do some of the work. I’ve heard this described as “cheque book modelling”. Whilst I do everything myself on my layouts I see nothing wrong with buying in expertise if you need it or simply don’t have the time to do it yourself.

So in conclusion, enjoy your modelling, be pleased with what you have achieved and think about what you might do better next time.

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My local line

Living here in deepest Earlswood, we are situated in the triangle between the Brighton main line (at the bottom of the garden of our last house, on the opposite side of our road), and the Redhill-Tonbridge line.  One reason for a lack of modelling time recently (apart from gardening) has been my daily perambulation, on a 1.5 mile circular route.  Having passed under the Tonbridge line, I cross it again on the way home.

Here the line curves into Redhill.  It’s a pretty stretch of railway, though I suspect that those trees weren’t there in steam days due to embankment fires!

And in the other direction, the dead straight line to Tonbridge.  There is barely any deviation of direction from here to Ashford, and it must be one of the longer lengths of straight line in the UK.  Google can only recommend somewhere in Yorkshire, but of course nothing rivals the 478 km of the Ghat across the Australian interior!  A prototype for modular model railways?

It would have been nice to have seen a train – they do occur, now the landslip on the line has been repaired.  But the sun was shining and the birds were singing and it’s a lovely spot to spend a few minutes most days.

I came across this great postcard of an ex-Southern 6-PUL unit.  These would have been on the main Brighton line.  A really classy train, full of character!

This coach would have been more likely – an SECR 1st saloon (Photo from ‘Transport in Old Photographs’ Facebook page.

And another random EMU picture to close for the day.

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Another random picture day

I’d hoped to report on some more modelling, but it’s been mainly gardening to try and clear most of the jungle before the weather breaks.  We’re winning, and got rid of a load of pruned branches to friends and neighbours today for winter fires – all at 2m distance, unlike all those silly people sunbathing on UK beaches.

But I hope to have a picture of some Warwells next time around, as I’m making steady progress with them.

For today, a few more that I’ve culled from the internet.  First, two pictures of the ex-LBSCR shed at Three Bridges.

Next another ‘bridge’ – Lille Bridge on the London Underground network.  The Underground continued to use steam locos for service trains for some years after they had disappeared from British Railways.  An ex-GWR Pannier is to be seen here.

Last of my postcard collection – A Great Eastern ‘E4’ 2-4-0, as restored for the National Collection.  These little locos hung on very late on the Cambridge to Mildenhall branch, and hence this one went into preservation.   I think that I first saw it in the old tram depot in Clapham High Street, when there was part of the National Museum there.

And a lovely shot of the Folkstone Harbour branch in 1954.  This would make a great cameo in a larger scale.  The loco is, I think, an ex-SECR ‘R’ class 0-6-0T.

And it wouldn’t be Friday without a couple of modelling challenges.  Trackwork, anyone?  Looks as if it’s the entry to a tram or trolley depot.

And finally, I saw the pictures of this 2mm Finescale layout on a blog.  The real thing and the model.  Unfinished, but spectacular, modelling of the quayside lines through a shipyard.

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Random picture day

Modelling challenge of the day?  A train of very small cars pulled by a very small locomotive.  This would make a great model.

Another more modern modelling cameo – lengths of rail balanced on some platform trolleys.  Maybe just before rampant H&S, but if you put this on your station platform, keep the photo handy at the next exhibition to prove it really happened.

A Southern Q 0-6-0 at the very modellable Norwood Junction shed.

Push-pull train at Shoreham in 1952…

Chichester in BR days….

And some Edwardian elegance on the LBSCR…

Our namesake and club mascot – Terrier class ‘Earlswood’.

And finally, we discovered what seems to be a wild, and extremely large, Corona virus in the Bartlett back garden.  We beat it into submission….

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Some old postcards

Tidying up yesterday I discovered (or more accurately rediscovered) some old postcards.  Most of these were my fathers, and c.1930 postcards of Southern Railway locomotives.  Some of my favourite engines here!

Lord Nelson, the largest Southern steam locomotive before the West Country/Battle of Britain classes.

King Arthur…

S15 mixed-traffic locomotive.  Often seen on a long goods train – perhaps unusually for a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement.

H16, built by Urie for the LSWR for cross-London goods transfer traffic.

The Urie G16, built for the then-new Feltham hump marshalling yard.  Such a good locomotive that the Q class 0-8-0 failed to displace them.

The classic N class

And its more elegant little brother, a Billington K class mogul.

And the lovely Marsh H2 Atlantic.

Also discovered was this postcard, showing the extent of preservation in the 1970’s.

Lots of inspiration for modelling from beginning to end.

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