A little (more) retail therapy

This week seems to have been very busy!  Not much time for modelling, but a little shopping.


This was a must to buy – a book of Somerset and Dorset track plans, with lots of interesting photographs and informative captions.  Plenty of modelling projects (that will never get constructed) lie within, and I have really enjoyed reading it this week. 

What stands out is the complete mixture of locos and rolling stock on the line.  It’s almost the ultimate Rule 1 railway.

Perhaps this is why I didn’t get much done this week (apart from rereading ‘Lord of the Rings’, perhaps for the 10th time.)

Completely recommended!

I’ve wanted a set of rolling roads for some time, for testing and running in locomotives.  So I treated myself to a set from DCC Concepts.  On the luxury end of things and a bit pricey, but very well made and presented. 

A nice touch from the NGF, received this week. I can put an exhibition plaque on the layout without it even leaving home….


Lovely bit of video, of the modern South Shore Electric.  A true interurban that has survived…

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Some smallish layout designs….

I haven’t posted any track plans for a while. So here are a few that have captured my imagination recently. 

Alan Whitehouse’s ‘Mini-MSW’ model of the trans-Pennine Woodhead line, a delightful 5′ diameter 2mm fine-scale layout has a successor.  Same size, and concept, but I’m looking forward to seeing Sovereign Colliery Junction.


Two ‘old-school’ layouts.  The first is ‘Gutter Lane’ in coarse-scale ‘O’.  Continuous run, tight curves, but a rather satisfying design.  A lot of fun to run, I suspect.


Then there’s the Potwell Mineral Light Railway.  Again in ‘O’ and loosely based on the KESR and similar light railways, this dates from way back, and if I remember correctly, was clockwork powered!  But a fun little line.


This is an old Iain Rice plan that I rediscovered.  A UK themed switching layout – originally designed to use a 3-way point and an outside single slip and no other pointwork.  But a neat little layout, representing a yard at the end of a yard, with the main station under the road bridge.


Two US switching layouts, one in HO and one in O.  Both offering a lot of switching fun in a small area.


Finally, from Japan a minimum space scenic loop.  A chance to develop your modelling skills at low cost in a small space?


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Potpourri #1030

I continue to be amazed at the amount of quality content on YouTube.  Railway, that is, but I keep getting diverted by some brilliant music videos, especially from the 1960’s and 70’s, and build videos for plastic kits.  I’m very impressed by the shading and weathering techniques used on aircraft and armour.  I wonder how much could be applied to trains?  And perhaps this is why I’m not getting much modelling done at present, apart from a lot of time spent rereading ‘Lord of the Rings.’

But I digress.  The Golden Arrow was very much part of my childhood, as we lived close to it’s route to the coast….

More overseas trains – on the Isle of Wight….

Adams Radials on the Lyme Regis branch.  Beautiful little locos!

Under the Embankment

And the story behind a famous photograph. (Or the usual ESNG club night running.)  Why put brakes on trains – too much expense all round!

And finally, with no apologies, it is, after all, the Olympics….

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ESNG meeting – 25 July 2021

Back to the hall on Sunday for our afternoon meeting.  Great to have nine members attending – enough to be busy and sociable, but not too crowded in the hall.  Door and windows were open for ventilation, though we had to close the doors when the heavens opened!  The chairman also had to leave early as he was starting work at 11pm.  If he starts any earlier, he’ll meet himself coming home from work.  Paul commented on Facebook….

Back from an enjoyable afternoon with the East Surrey N Gauge Group. My module worked OK and my trains ran well. Also sold a few of my European wagons to help finance the purchase of some more Shinkansen sets later this year.

The usual suspects…..

Historic UK steam…..


Modern UK trains…..


The latest in multiple units, both prototype and model…..


And some European intruders…..


And Brian recorded it all on film….

East Surrey N Gauge Running Day 25th July 2021. Nice to meet more than six members indoors, with the windows and doors open, and another opportunity to film some N gauge train action. All eras, all regions of the world, had trains represented on the tracks – an interesting collection.

But not Antarctica, Brian?

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N-Club update

Allan has exchanged emails with Stefan, in Stuttgart.  The news from Germany…..

I’m looking forward to my second vaccination -> tomorrow !!  We all hope that the people returning from their holiday (August/ September) won’t bring a 4th Covid wave over the country.

I heard that England skipped all measures against Covid now – though the numbers are high ?!  Hope we all find a way out of this !!!

We had a module-test- weekend !!!!  Usually we test new modules, locos, controllers etc. early in the year to make them clear for the exhibitions to come. This year it is “only” ENSC and July was ideal for such an event   ->  wanna see pictures?  https://n-club-international.de/index.php/veranstaltungen/veranstaltungen/veranstaltungen/2021/07-2021-modultreffen-s-vaihingen.html?page=6#category

There are 285 (!!) photos of the meet on that link.  Here are a few good ones (in my not so humble opinion.)

And a great article from the Guardian….. “All the trains in my son’s train podcast ranked by how much I hate them.”  I did rather like…..

Screenshot 2021-07-23 103358

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ESNG meeting – 21 July 2021

First ‘open’ ESNG meeting, though the number of COVID cases locally has meant that we kept the hall well ventilated, and masks were welcomed, if optional.  So of course we got exactly six members attending.  And had a very pleasant evening running trains.  We had the usual selection of prototypes and continents, but there was a definite Southern bias, with a ‘C’ class and a ‘700’ class running…..


Modelling idea for the evening.  This picture of a Taiwan forest narrow gauge line looks uncannily like a pizza layout!  (From ‘Steam Railway’ magazine.)


And another video from Brian.  His path in N gauge is as varied as mine!

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been on my N Gauge adventure for over six years and counting. My layouts have been varied in that time, from 1950’s-1960’s BR days, to British modern outline, to German, Spanish, Netherlands and European cross-border. Most recently using a single simple layout and adapting it according to whatever is on the rails. Never a dull moment and learning all the time. Thank you for watching and looking back on my journey.

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Potpourri #1029

Haven’t done one of these for a while…..

This video of Peter Denny’s ‘Buckingham’ shows just how good a model it was.  Way ahead of its time….

I’ve no idea where this is, but great film of rail and trams….

EDIT!  Thank you, Duncan, for the answer!

just seen your blog update. Your mystery video with the train and trams is in Liberec, NE Czech Republic.

The train is a special, but there used to be plenty of loco-hauled expresses around, at least a couple of years ago. It’s quite a beautiful mountainous area, and you can stay in that incredible TV tower shown in the film. It’s very 1960s James Bond, with a cablecar up to it. https://www.jested.cz/en 

There’s a large urban tram network, and also (the line in the video) one of the longest interurban tram lines in the world, running to Jablonec nad Nisou. It’s line 11, and you can run all the way (12km) for a few Koruny. There’s plenty of videos on youtube, like this: https://youtu.be/ncTXX-7lerI

Before Covid, we used to go there at least a couple of times a year, as Jablonec is one of the world centres of glassmaking. No idea what’s going to happen now, as we can’t buy glass there and drive it home anymore, due to Brexit. Can’t wait to get over there again though!

If you take the line west from Liberec through the mountains towards Dresden, you eventually pass this station: https://goo.gl/maps/xJFSfpucqJPqnx7K9

If you go north, you get to the border, and the line runs through Poland for a mile before entering Germany at Zittau. From Zittau is a fabulous Y-shaped network of 750mm steam railway into the mountains.

It’s a really nice area for a cheap long-weekend of interesting railways. great beer too 😉

Russian trams – indestructible!

Modelling challenges for the week.  Would anyone believe you for a moment if you put these on your layout?

A testament to human stupidity?

The 11foo8 bridge is a railroad trestle over Gregson St in Durham, North Carolina and it has earned a reputation for for its rigorous enforcement of the laws of physics. No truck taller than 11 feet and 8 inches will pass under this stubborn piece of infrastructure. Period. On this channel we document the various attempts of hapless drivers trying to get past this bridge. Some try to be sneaky, some try to be quick, some try to argue, but the bridge always wins. There is a reason why the locals call it the “canopener!” So if you’re driving a truck, please let these videos be a warning not to argue with low bridges. They have the law (of physics) on their side. Just heed the warnings and drive a different route. Be safe, y’all.

yovo68 – YouTube  – For example…..

Two pictures of Earlswood at Earlswood.  I lived a couple of houses along from those in the picture for 7 years.  That was pre-N gauge, with an O gauge layout in the loft that (almost) worked!

e1e2 Also on the LBSCR, Lancing Carriage and Wagon Works – looks far tidier than my workbench!


And a final modelling challenge – different?


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Better than Mayflower?

On my morning constitutional, I stopped for what turned out to be a long chat with a friend.  Continuing over the Redhill-Tonbridge line, I spotted a train approaching – and it looked like a real train with a locomotive.  Turned out to be two GBRF Class 73’s topping and tailing an engineers train – not sure what type of train this was, though.

Made my day to see a real train rather than an EMU, and powered by two of my favourite locomotives.  I’d confess to remembering the originals, Class 73_0, in green, around Hither Green marshalling yard.  These are the largely rebuilt 73_9’s but they have the same business-like character that I’ve always liked.  Pity they don’t run on the Gatwick Express any more – those push-pull duties must have been their finest hour.


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Now up and running!

Now up and running, and open until Monday evening.  Lots of good N gauge modelling to explore, and some interesting interviews and demos.


Find it on the website, or directly on the YouTube channel, N Gauge Forum July Show – YouTube

And I can finally post my own contribution, a quick look at my Lehigh Valley switching layout.  Or, as they say on Blue Peter, “Here’s one I prepared earlier!”

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Mayflower again

After a suitable tip-off, I headed for Earlswood station (on the Brighton main line) to see a steam special pass through.  And then went home again, as it was heavily delayed, just short of Clapham Junction, waiting to take on water.

An hour later, I returned to the station, to find that they had made up several minutes since East Croydon, and the train was rapidly approaching.  I was ‘Virgin-ed’ by a passing DMU, but caught this shot in retreat as the train, headed by the B1 4-6-0, Mayflower, hammered through Earlswood.  Great to see a steam train in my local station, and it left behind that very evocative steam and smoke smell.


Brian caught it just down the line (next station) at Salfords.

Mayflower 61306 at Salfords station hurtling south towards Eastbourne on 1Z43 0726 from Southend East to Eastbourne, having been held up for 115 minutes near Clapham Junction. Rumour has it that the loco needed more water?

I heard that the water supply at Clapham had failed, and that they had to get some help from the local fire brigade.  And hurtling is just the right word for this clip.  Mayflower is working really hard, and it’s interesting to hear how much more ‘busy’ this loco sounds than the larger Pacifics at speed.

In the evening, the train seemed to be coming through on time, so I wandered along to my favourite bridge over the Redhill-Tonbridge line.  After the compulsory EMU, I caught a plume of steam up the line at Nutfield, where the loco was taking on water, I think, during a short pause.  No problem with the water supply, this time!  Mayflower was then working quite hard getting the train going again, and was soon approaching my vantage point.


I was then able to catch the train as it drifted around the curve into Redhill station.  Not in a hurry, as this morning, as it was more or less on time.

Brian caught the train a little earlier at Godstone.

Mayflower 61306 at Godstone heading back from Hastings towards London and Southend East on 1Z47 1711, after an eventful day for the staff. I bet the crew are looking forward to putting their feet up tonight!

Great to see, but I hope that I catch a different locomotive next time.

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