Ron shops for England – 1

Ron is on his travels again, off to the German Christmas markets, and to do a lot of shopping – it’s a bit early to stock up for Brexit, Ron!  As usual, he’s sent back a record of his trip.  So today it’s some railway pictures; next post will be pure tourism!

Good journey out. Train journey from Purley to Cologne took 6hr 15min allowing for time differential. Hung around station for a bit and got a 48 hour travelcard and arrived at hotel around 1.15 but could not check in until after 3. Therefore left my bag there and came back to Neumarkt Xmas market where I had to have a crepe and a gluhwein. Then walked back through shopping area to Hauptbahnhof for tram out to hotel. Sorting my bag out in room before going back into town for trip to Bonn Xmas market so look out for late emails tonight.

Cologne hbf


Tram at stop a minute away from the hotel.

Christmas decorations inside Cologne Hbf

As earlier advised I went to Bonn and on my return took a walk through 2 of the biggest Xmas markets in Cologne.  Unfortunately for some of you the majority of the pictures are non transport related.

I’ll post those next time!  Outside the hotel the tram tunnel under Cologne.

Koln hbf

A pay to use model railway at Koln Hbf.  (Don’t let Mr Apps see this – he might have ideas for club running nights….)

Cologne trams at Neumarkt

A cold but dry start to the day so did a round trip to Dusseldorf but couldn’t find any large Xmas markets. Found stalls selling gluhwein by an ice rink but their prices were €1 dearer than the Cologne prices. However found a gluhwein stall outside Hbf and had my first one of the day at €1 cheaper than in Cologne. Walked into station to find Cologne Hbf train was running 30 late but my luck was in as I managed to catch a 15 late to Cologne Meße/Deutz where I literally fell into a train over the Hollenzollenbrucke to the Hbf. Whilst there I took the opportunity to reserve a seat on 1145 ICE tomorrow to Brussels which will give me almost 3 hours so will be revisiting there. If I Can get wifi connection at station or on train you should receive photos from there. Then went to Hafen Xmas market but it was a lot down and made my way back to hotel. Currently fly texting in my room before going out to do 3 more Cologne markets and revisit the one I had a quick I look round yesterday so keep an eye on your in boxes.

Graffitied train at Cologne.

Local transport in Dusseldorf.


Dusseldorf hbf

Advertising Cologne tram at Heumarkt [Note the grass centred track – good prototype?]

Rudolphplatz tram stop. Xmas market is behind the buildings to the left.

A very wet morning in Cologne. Spending a couple of hours gricing on Koln Hbf before returning to hotel to pick up my holdall before catching my trains to Brussels. It looks like DB are having major computer problems with the ICE3s as most of them are advised as reservations are not showing. Will have to be back here in plenty of time for my train to claim my reserved seat.

If I had sat any further up platform would be very wet as rain is blowing in from across the Rhine.

More shots from Koln hbf. It is now very cold sitting on platform so off to get a hot drink to warm myself up.


And finally….

Sorry no pictures from Brussels as my tablet on which I take pictures was pickpocketed whilst getting off train in Brussels. I am ok and have a police report to enable me to claim on my travel insurance. Ron

Market and tourism photographs next time!

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ESNG meeting – 6 December 2018

Only a couple of pictures tonight, as I spent too much of the evening talking.  16 persons present and it was good to welcome visitors Steve, Ken and Martin.  Plenty of trains were on the move…..


So, a couple of links to make up for the lack of ESNG pictures (probably a whole lot more interesting, anyway.)

First, a video (in German) about the large model of Stuttgart station, and how it was moved after the owner’s death.  I liked the shots of them carrying bits of the layout out of its home in the depths of an S-Bahn station.  Parts of the layout have been shown as static exhibits in recent years at the Stuttgart show.  It will soon be a historic record, as the station is being replaced by an underground through station set at 90 degrees to this one. Some of the extensive yard have already been redeveloped.

Secondly a link to a site on Middle-Eastern railways.  Not an area we hear much about – at least about its trains – and a lot of magazine to read.

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Letchworth show 2018

From the Cha(I)rman…..

Spent the day with Sean and his layout Leonard at the Letchworth show. Nice one day show in a school with 3 classrooms and two hall. Plus a couple of items in passageways.

And here are a selection of the photos that he sent to me…

Leonard looks as good as ever…


Barental, SBB….


Brownsville, USA….

Passage Lane TMD….

Silkstone Shed….

Tigley Yard….



Signa Dale….

Spilsby (with a fine turntable fiddle yard)…..


Whitecross Street….

And the rest…..



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Great Eastern Railway 1  Posh German car 0…..

Steam locomotive hits car at Sheringham level crossing

A steam locomotive hit a car in a crash at a level crossing.  The 1912 Y14 locomotive ploughed into the silver Mercedes near Sheringham railway station, Norfolk, at about 11:30 GMT.  It is thought the motorist was heading to a nearby golf club at the time of the crash, which badly damaged the car.

The engine – built in 1912 – had been travelling at 8mph to Weybourne to hook up with a dining car, a North Norfolk Railway spokesman said. ‘Train emerged victor’.

A possible, if rather morbid, idea for a layout?

London’s forgotten railway: The 19th-century train that transported 2,000 corpses a year

For anyone who likes their history, London’s transport network has plenty of curious, lesser-known quirks in its back catalogue. Lately, we’ve delved into the Tube – the world’s oldest underground railway network – and the unique tiling that varies between stations, as well as the famous stop that commuters can no longer use.

Next up we have the now-defunct train route that for nearly 90 years had one purpose – to transport dead bodies out of the city centre. And at up to 2,000 a year at its peak, there were a lot of them.

The Necropolis Railway was in operation from 1854 to 1941, and ferried corpses almost daily from London’s Waterloo station along a 23-mile direct route to the newly-built Brookwood Cemetery near Woking in Surrey. It was a solution to the grim reality that London’s graveyards had run out of space. While the capital’s population was exploding, so was its death toll.

“It was pioneering; it was revolutionary,” writes historian John Clark, who authored The Brookwood Necropolis. “As far as I know, it was the first use of the railway for a dedicated service from one private station, directly into a cemetery at the other end.”

It’s club night on the LNER?

LNER train ‘was 100mph above’ speed limit

A train travelled at 120mph (193km/h) on a section of track with an emergency 20mph (32km/h) speed restriction, investigators have said.  The Aberdeen to London King’s Cross service went through the section at Sandy South Junction, Bedfordshire, on 19 October.

The speed restriction was imposed on 18 October because maintenance staff had found a crack in a set of points. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is investigating.

Finally an excellent source of early BR diesel locomotive photographs…


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Stuttgart 2018 #3

My last set of photographs from Stuttgart (unless anyone else sends me some.)

We’ll start with the visiting Japanese module, accompanied by the students who built it, plus Mr Kato himself.  A well observed little model – I especially liked the river with its weir and bank protection (professional interest again….)


Ian Redman was exhibiting a lot of his “Small’N’Working’ micro layouts, together with three of his West Sussex conspirators.

We wondered how he got this one – in a full sized gun case – through customs.

A local modeller also had some dioramas and small layouts on show.  This is a bit smaller than Ian’s case, but is a very nice German version of the classic ‘Gum Stump and Snowshoe’ switchback layout.

But the beauty of this design is that the case itself slips into a continuous run fiddleyard board, allowing a minimum space shunting layout or a larger continuous run.


The T-track boards were there, as usual.  Here we are under Big Ben….

And the usual suspects could be found on the N-m layout.

Mark’s ‘Magic Roundabout’ must be the penultimate in fiddleyards (only penultimate, as their must be something stranger out there.)  Trains can arrive from any one of eight layouts and depart on any of the eight.  But no through running is possible onto another layout.  Automatic control means that (most of the time) you just press a button to change tracks.


The interchange between standard and narrow gauge was just behind the ESNG area.

Duncan’s 3D printed narrow gauge diesel is to scale, despite being dwarfed by the transporter waggons in the background.

And after the ‘Magic Roundabout’, we have the ‘Bermuda Triangle’.

It wouldn’t be Stuttgart without a train stuck in the helix….

And last of all, the nicest stock boxes that I have ever seen.  They are based on a commercial wooden box, but this mortice and tenon construction is rather fine.  The boxes stack and have trays inside for the stock.

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Stuttgart 2018 #2

Wandering around the exhibition, I found a lot of new modules that I hadn’t seen before, and a good number of old friends.  I tried to take photographs mostly of modules new to me, and also of those with interesting scenery.  There was an discussion on modular layouts on N-Gauge Forum that expressed the view that modular layouts were usually made up of flat sheets of plywood.  I hope that these photographs show that this is far from the case!

One criticism I do have of the modules below is that the addition of a backscene would make them even better.  However, it’s even more difficult to obtain a visual continuity between modules with a backscene in place, and when you are operating a 40′ length of railway, backscenes can make it very hard to see what is happening down the line.

The first few shots have a civil engineering flavour, appealing to my professional interests.  I especially liked the run-of-river hydropower station, that even had a fish pass modelled (to the left of the gates.)


This is a wonderful model of the currently disused station of Canfranc, on the France-Spain border.  The prototype is fascinating, located in the middle of nowhere, and never receiving the amount of traffic that it was

There was some excellent modelling in this run of single track modules.  You realise how big a lighthouse really is.  They also included some animation such as rotating rotors on the helicopter, and submarine that emerged from the swamp….


And some of the well presented buildings from around the layouts….


Some more extreme contours….

And a couple of trains to complete the day.  I find that train photos are often difficult to get right at Stuttgart, partly due to the expanse of the modules, and I’m afraid too that there is a tendency to drive too fast (no names mentioned except the Italians…..)


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Stuttgart 2018 #1

Home from Stuttgart, and the lounge is again full of railways.  They will go upstairs to the loft tomorrow, when I have a little more energy.  We had another excellent week at the Stuttgart N-Club International meet.  On the whole, the layout behaved very well, though there were a few electrical issues needing rewiring as we went along.

Today, we have a some pictures of the ESNG modules.  Wednesday was spent setting up.  Or rather, most of the day was spent freezing in the hall with all the doors open, and waiting for the French junction to arrive, so that the Austrians and ourselves could add our twig off the branch.  If we could get here through the French fuel protests, surely they could?  We left the hall at 8pm with a few problems unsolved, but a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast meant that we had soon got things moving, and were carrying out some final running tests.

It was Terrier week for ERIC.  I brought along my collection of Dapol tank engines, in a range of liveries.


Pride of place went to ‘Earlswood’ on the turntable.  We even sold three ESNG wagons at the show – though I’m not sure whether the Hon. Treasurer can handle Euros….

A long American goods train crosses Derek’s Channel ‘Tunnel’ from Europe, changing from right hand to left hand running.  I’ve nicknamed this board the ‘Eddie Waring’ board, after the great rugby league commentator who was a great fan of the ‘Up and Under.’

The same train passes my airfield.

The layout crossed my new bridge module and turned through Derek’s corner board.  My bridge needed a little fettling at first, but settled down to run reliably.

We also took my clubhouse board.

A few vehicles brought the bridge to life.  I have to decide whether to glue down these American vehicles, or change them between shows.  The bridge could be in almost any country, but the lack of fences by the track does suggest the USA.

Allan explains the joys of modular modelling, whilst that long goods train passes itself on the end loop of our section.

Ian looks as if he has been operating for too long and is getting confused.

Past our modules, Ollie had a run of his boards.  He managed to get a little modelling done through the show.

We were joined by Richard from the West Sussex group, who added his N-mod ‘Crosswater Village’ to our modules.  Packed full of detail, this little layout always had a train on the move.


We were linked to the outside world by a junction under a mountain.  I know that this is Austria, but putting a double junction underground didn’t seem the best idea!

Beyond the junction came the Victoria Falls bridge.  (‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.’)  You can just see the bungee jumper…..

Next post, we’ll look at some other modules.

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