Potpourri #1017

No modelling progress – I’ve been enjoying the early spring sunshine, and reading one or two books.  I must get back to some modelling again!

The trouble is that there are so many great videos to watch on line.  I’m quite old enough, but I wouldn’t mind a visit to Kings Cross in this era!

This is how I remember it.  Still a lot of interest….

And some ‘real’ trains….

I know that we have a few ESNG members who are bus fans, too.  These all make good viewing.  I just about remember seeing London trolleybuses in East London on family trips up to Norfolk.  And then seeing them on my first visits to Tbilisi at the start of this century.  Once again, they had soon disappeared…..

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ESNG at work

Well, we might just be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it may not be a train!  Club meetings could happen in a month or two, all being well, though there may be a longer wait for curry.  And there are rumours that TINGS is planning to go ahead.

As usual, club members have been busy.  From ESNG Facebook…..

Brian continues to revamp his layout.  It’s easier now the garage is above freezing!

Dear All,

I’ve been running in my new locos and rolling stock – here’s an update.  I think I’ve bought virtually all the Dutch items that Scograil had on offer !!

Cheers, Brian

Martin has continued to lay track….

Mr Rowlatt has been rude to Mr Atfield.

‘I see Mr Atfield has been busy again……’

Trouble is, I could almost see it happening….

And I got fed up with filing point blades, and did something else….

A check to see what radii my trams will go around.  140mm, easy, 120mm, OK too.  I may get a little distracted from Minories….

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A Minories of my own – 14 – slow

Not much to report.  I’m back to fighting fit after my vaccination – little in the way of side effects – but haven’t been able to get much enthusiasm for track laying.

I’ve added some more rails….

Added the bases for the rest of the points – together with frogs and some rails….

And tried out the plain track jig.  Easy to use and effective.  My patent chair picker is in the foreground.

I guess that I’ve paused now as I have 14 point blades to file and fit.  Not my favourite job,  but having made one, and rejected it, I think that with the Finetrax jig it’s not too bad a job.  I just need to get on with it.

Still, I’ve made some money selling surplus model railway stuff this week, and come up with yet another layout idea!

Train spotting isn’t the same nowadays.  Not only have the Merchant Navy’s gone, but also school caps!  And you could almost eat your lunch off that platform….

Back another 20 years, and the electric train was something new, and special….

Perhaps I’m just suffering lockdown cabin fever?  I’m beginning to drool at the thought of a full English breakfast and a nice cup of coffee.  And the ESNG faithful are getting desperate for curry…..


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Potpourri #1016

Not much to report on the railway front.  I was delighted to get my first covid-19 vaccination on Wednesday, but have felt a bit laid back for a couple of days after.  Nothing untoward – well within the normal day-to-day ups and downs, so a definite result.

So here are the usual mix of photographs that caught my eye.

I came across these pictures of a little ‘O’ gauge plank layout.  Interesting modelling…..

Nothing more elegant than a Drummond T9.  Lined black really suited them.

Now this is a ‘Minories’ on steroids.  I think that it’s Cannon Street again….

Dunbridge station in 1962, with an SR DEMU in attendance….

Love this photo from Peter Skellon on Facebook:

Here’s the CLC letter box for Trafford Park shed, which was located to the side of the entrance steps of the footbridge over the Manchester-Liverpool line. The photo was taken on 23 May 1969. I understand the letterbox has survived and is in a postal museum somewhere.

(It’s on the Isle of Wight.)  The rivalry between the LMS and LNER was such, that even when ‘cooperating’ on the Cheshire Lines Committee, they had separate post boxes!

And this is dedicated to our local bus drivers…..

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Rule 1…. and then some

We’ve all heard of Rule 1 – “It’s my railway…..”  But thank you RMweb for these additional rules, that we all know are very true!

Rule 2:  “If it looks right, it is right”

Rule 2a: “If it looks finished, it is. Leave it alone and don’t fiddle with it.”

Rule 2b: “No matter how accurate you think have made something, there will always be someone who can point out the bit you got wrong.”

Rule 3: “There IS a prototype for everything – you just have to look hard enough.”

Rule 4: “If the small bit you have is really vital, it WILL suddenly exit your control with a ping sort of a noise, be heard to ricochet off one or two things close by and then disappear, claimed by the infernal carpet monster. The level of importance of said component is in direct proportion to both the speed it exits your tweezers and the ingenuity and/or illogicality of its final hiding place.”

Rule 5: “The carpet monster is building a quite respectable collection of your favourite scale model railway components.”

Rule 6: “There must be a bus crossing a bridge over the railway.”

Rule 6a: “And/or an Eddie Stobart lorry…..”

Rule 7: “There’s nothing wrong with box opening (see Rule 1)”

Rule 8: “Always expect the worst. At the most critical point in your modelling session, three things may happen: (i) you’ll run out of glue, (ii) a family member will burst open the door and ask where the vacuum cleaner is, or (iii) you’ll suddenly remember you left the dog tied to a tree in the park. On the rare occasion where none of this happens, there will instead be an earthquake.”

Rule 9: “If you really – really – want a model of some unusual prototype, then you’ll have to build it yourself.”

Rule 10: “If you are forced down the road of building your own loco / rolling stock / multiple unit, you’ll find that decent drawings – and most of the parts you need – are next to impossible to find (and prohibitively expensive if you do manage to find them) – and none of the parts fit together properly.”

Rule 11: “If/when you almost finish your build, you’ll find a well known RTR manufacturer offering a more accurate version of the same model at about a tenth of what it cost you to build your version.”

Rule 11a: “However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that said RTR model will actually have been supplied to any shops and it will probably have a five year lead time.”

Rule 11b: “If/when you’ve decided to bite the bullet and you’ve scrapped your scratchbuilt and kit built models you discover that said RTR model has already sold out.”

Rule 12: “Who said there only had to be 10 of these rules?”

Rule 13: “If you’re modifying RTR models or kits, you can almost guarantee that some parts (or bit of them) will get damaged – enough to make them unusable in the build.”

Rule 14: “A number of the pieces you discard as a result of such damage might turn out to have other uses (possibly even unexpected uses). ”

Rule 15: “When you decide to embark on a modelling/detailling project you discover that a key supplier has recently stopped making the parts you need, through lack of interest, retirement, or worse.”

Rule 16: “You will never have any useful leftover bits in stock to complete a model, unless you work for a magazine where the correct leftover bit you need is always available!”

Rule 17: “After hours and hours of research, then building (then leaving the model for awhile to see if the illusive photo of the type and era of the vehicle to be modelled had a left or right-hand ‘spridget’ fitted) and then taking the plunge (after a three month cooling off period) painting, applying transfers, weathering etc (to the best standard you have ever done it to date) etc. The illusive critical photo (of the specific detail that you were after) appears, as if by magic, a week after completion of the model, and yes as sure as eggs is eggs, you have applied the wrong type of spridget, the wrong way around and on the wrong side!”

Rule 18: “A recognisable model is a model of the prototype running in a credible background”

Rule 101: “If it annoys you, Get Rid of It and Start Again.”

Rule 101 has been applied to a lot of my modelling efforts…..

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ESNG meeting – 17 February 2021

A busy evening, with plenty online.  Phil seems to be multiplying, with three of him in the meeting at one point.

Graham came, went, and returned.  Phil and Paul ran trains….

Simon showed off his new Bachmann Percy.  We were remarkably coherent, considering that three of us had been vaccinated against Covid-19 this afternoon.  Or perhaps it made little difference?  But it does mean that ESNG club nights are becoming more possible, when the government lets us out to play.

And Maxine joined us for the end of the evening, making 10 of us online.

And another large parcel arrived chez Bartlett….

Typical box shifter, as it contained a very small box….

Yet another one for my Terrier collection….

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A Minories of my own – 13 – a big decision?

And can you guess what it is, from the picture below?

I’ve decided to go DCC for this layout.  I’ve already got the point operation bits to operate them on DCC, but I’ll also go for digital train operation.  Why, on a small layout:

  • Easier wiring for a terminus that will need one or more isolating section on each platform and siding.
  • Easier wiring for the traverser/sector plate.
  • Easier wiring between baseboards.
  • Can keep more than one loco/EMU parked closely on a track.

It will be easy enough (if a little expensive) to convert the stock to DCC, as most are DCC ready, anyhow.

So the picture above shows the two power buses, one for track, one for points.  I prefer to keep them separate, so that any electrical problems are easier to locate.

I decided to build the trackwork in-situ, but the board for the station throat on viaduct is not fixed, and I can work on it on the workbench.  Here, I’ve trimmed the Finetrax bases to fit the track layout, and glued them down.

A little fiddle was needed to wire up one frog.  It lies on a road bridge, so I used solid wire and chased it into the bridge soffit.  Not very neat, but will be hidden.

The frogs have a wire for power soldered underneath and fed through the baseboard.  I’ve also added the check rails.

First length of track in place!  The end of the board uses some pre-cut copper-clad sleeper sections that I bought from the states a while back.  The sleepers are too close, but this track will be hidden by the trackside buildings, and will form a strong end to the board.   One reason to lay out the point bases early in construction is to use as much ‘continuous’ rail as possible, and avoid joints and extra droppers being needed.  Here, the rail runs from one point up to the frog of the crossover.

A close up of the frog.

Getting the individual chairs into place is a fiddly job, and I’ve lost a few as they ping across the room.  However, like many other jobs, it’s a matter of working out a technique, and using the right tools.  I have found it easiest to place one chair at a time, but to thread each one onto a short length of rail and then locate it into the sleeper base.  The rail threads through the chairs easily enough, providing one files the rail end slightly to allow it to slip into the chair.  After getting the rail in place, a wash of solvent fixes chairs, and actually the rail as well.

Next adventure will be to try and file up a set of point blades.

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Thought for the day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thought for the day from Jeff Conover on Facebook:

“I would just like to say, that in the midst of everything going on in this world, how incredibly fortunate I feel to be able to indulge in my hobby. I am a lucky human being. I just want to acknowledge that.”

There’s a lot of truth in that!

Of course, it can also be intensely frustrating – for example, choosing which coupler type to use……

Not forgetting Lin-cups of course (bet you’d never heard of them….)

Till next time…..

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A Minories of my own – 12 – first track

First, a contrast in packaging…..

Believe it or not, these two packages, each from a well known box-shifter, have the same contents.  Namely, two of these aquatic creatures….

They’re lovely models, but I wish that I had remembered that I’d already ordered two.

Meanwhile, back at the railway, I’ve made my first lengths of Finetrax.  Two very short lengths, that was a helpful exercise to get the idea of threading the rail through the sleepers, and also getting the rail the right way up.

The reason for the short lengths?  It’s to take these two ex-LSWR buffer stops, a very nice etch from the 2mm Association.

One buffer stop complete.  I’ve replace the metal buffer cross-piece with plastic card, as it’s neater than layering up the metal one provided.  This picture is, of course, cruel, but it is probably larger than real-life size when you look at it.

And two buffers.  The whole etch is very neat.  The side rails are six layers of metal thick, but the etch is designed to fold over on itself to get everything lined up.  Held together with solder paint, it works very well.

I’ve also discovered a new toy – some of this UV-activated glue that you can get.  It’s much as the stuff they fill your teeth with these days, and my tube came with a little UV light to cure the glue.  It seems better than superglue, as it is adjustable until you apply the light.

The other job that I’ve done is to mark out the track again, using the proper Finetrax track spacing of 23mm, that tidies up the geometry a bit – and gives half-an-inch extra on the platform length.  Next task will be to try and build my first point.

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Potpourri #1015

It must be the snow and cold weather, as it is also the time for central heating failures.  So the last few days have been occupied by getting the church heating fixed, before the building freezes solid.  I suppose that I have had time for modelling, but heating issues have rather monopolised my thinking.

But I did come across this video from the usually excellent Jago Hazzard.  Another one with a bit of a Minories theme, really.

The stupidity of human beings has no end…..

Tidemills level crossing: Woman lies on tracks for photo

This caught my eye, as I did a flood assessment for the Tidemills nature reserve next to the railway.  I hasten to add that I didn’t lie on the railway when crossing the line….

The Southern double-deck EMUs were an interesting oddity.  They were very clever, but just didn’t work in the rather limited British loading gauge.  Here are a couple of good videos of these fun units – they are trying to preserve one coach…..

On the Minories theme again, a fine picture of Cannon Street, post-WW2…..

In contrast, a bucolic rural scene at Horsmunden….

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