Allan & Ron go west #1

It’s holiday time for the Dawes brothers.  As Switzerland is off limits, they headed westward on a tour of heritage railways.  They’ve sent me the usual snaps, so my blogging holiday will sort of stop, with these easy to write posts!  Day 1, not much to report….

Having delivered the cats to the cattery we set out for the South West to our first stop at Ilminster. We suffered heavy traffic and delays on M25 and M3 and finally on A303 passing Stonehenge. Currently enjoying meal and a pint in a pub just outside Ilminster. Sorry no photos today.

Day 2, a visit to the Seaton tramway….

A hot sunny day. Took a 45 minutes drive to Seaton, where using our pre-paid tickets we took 3 round trips on the Seaton Tramway to Colyton, where on our 3rd round trip we enjoyed pre paid Devon Cream Teas.

Devon Cream Tea. Should I have put the cream or jam on first?

Obvious.  You’re in Devon, so jam first.  Cornwall, cream first.

Some trams….



Colyton Station


The excellent webcam of the line.  Worth a look!



And the lovely Axe estuary.  They’ve got the right weather for it!


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ESNG meeting – 17 June 2021

Another club night – and the expected rain arrived half way through the evening, but without the forecast thunderstorms.  Five of us met, ran trains, and finally settled down for a long chat, leaving my Warship and parcels train doing laps of the layout.

Earlier, Simon ran a long passenger train, that kept uncoupling, Michael ran his British stock, and Derek tested a couple of locomotives.  It was good to see Ian for the first time for a while.

Looking back a meeting, here’s Brian’s video of the occasion….

And new on my bookshelf…..

  • Graham Hedges’ new ‘N’ gauge magazine.  Very nicely produced, and if you liked the N Gauge Society when he edited it, it’s more of the same.  Glossy, nice, but slightly predictable and I’m not sure that I’ll buy another one.
  • Model Railroader – 25 years of Model Railroad Planning on DVD.  This annual planning magazine is the one essential US purchase of my year, and although it has a good number of basement empires included, there are a lot of good small layout ideas.  I’m pleased to be able to get all these issues in digital form!
  • And best of the lot, Locomotives of the IOW Railways.  I’ve got the ancient, smaller and thinner version of this, dating from the 1970’s, but this is expanded with much more information.  It is also up to date, with all locomotion included up to the latest ex-tube stock.  A recommended read!


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A little humour….

Today’s modelling projects?


Well, Thomas is a tank….

1 - thomas

Or maybe this?

1 - melon

Or this very modellable location….

1 - waiter

Must start posting Allan & Ron’s holiday snaps.  No Switzerland again this year, but a tour of some heritage railways.

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ESNG meeting – 13 June 2021

A boiling hot Sunday afternoon, and England playing their first game in the Euros.  Five of us had a rather more sedate afternoon running trains, and very pleasant it was too.

It didn’t take long to set up the layout.  Dare I say, that it’s easier with less people…..


Chris and I both ran a ‘real’ UK goods train…..


Paul had his usual Japanese contribution…..


Brian was in deepest Europe….


And also filming my IOW Terrier, as Graham’s USA express passed in the background…..


Paul had his usual sage summing up on Facebook…..

An afternoon playing trains. Very enjoyable, nice to have regular club meetings again. Sunday’s only for me until September owing to my early starts at work through the summer.

And we’re back on Wednesday for another meeting.

No Chairman today, as he’s on holiday.  Ron has sent some snaps of a cream tea to me, and I shall have to post them over the next few days.

And to finish, another modelling video from Brian.  No doubt one of this afternoon will follow soon….

Doetinchem – Bijna Maar Niet is a model railway layout in N Gauge.

In real life, Doetinchem is served by rail services from Arnhem to Winterswijk with two stations, one in the city centre – Doetinchem and Doetinchem De Huet lying to the west between the suburbs of De Huet and Dichteren. In 2012, Arriva, took over the rail services.

Most of what you see is from my imagination rather than an accurate film of the location, but I’ve tried to replicate some of the area in my designs.

I tried to obtain a Class E186 in Dutch livery, but they have sold out around the world, so I had one last option – a Lineas branded E186 from Scograil – an excellent model rail shop based in Ipswich, England.

Lineas is a large European freight operation in Benelux countries including The Netherlands.

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Potpourri #1028

A couple of things that caught my eye this week – between ESNG meetings…..

Brian caught Mayflower as well…..

I wish that I’d been there.  One day I’ll get across to the IOW and its wonderful railway….

Network Rail at its best?

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Mayflower passes through Redhill

Last week the light just held long enough to take a few pictures of B1 class 4-6-0 ‘Mayflower’.  There were, of course, the usual warmup act of EMUs whilst waiting for the main attraction.


It was quite noticeable how small this locomotive looked compared to the Flying Scotsman a couple of weeks earlier, and it was working a lot harder to get through the station.


Providing heat, light and emergency back-up was a Class 33.  Good to see in itself.


The train paused at Redhill, and I nipped back to the car to drive a little way towards London to see if I could catch the train passing me.  I got there just in time to see it, but unfortunately not in time to set up a picture.

But I missed Clan Line again.  Brian was there…..

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ESNG meeting – 2 June 2021

A quiet evening, as a couple of members had to drop out, and I couldn’t find a replacement.  I wondered whether to cancel the meeting, but everyone seemed keen, so we went ahead and had a very pleasant evening chatting and running trains.

We soon had a small circuit set up….


Chris ran his Sandite unit again, having close-coupled the units.


I ran my Class 31, with its new lighting board, on a suburban service.


Graham had his usual selection of USA stock.  A rather more up to date version of my suburban service!


Superpower from Simon…..


I also give my second-hand Union Mills T9 a run – and it runs perfectly as expected.


No leaves on the track were noted (anyway, Chris’ Sandite unit would have fixed them.)


Till the next time – I’ve a few photos that I’ll post soon, despite my blogging holiday.

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ESNG meeting – 30 May 2021 – part 2

A quick PS from Paul…..

My first model railway club meeting in the flesh since March 2020. Very enjoyable, most of my trains ran well apart from my GENBI set which does not appear to like Peco track and a Class 110 DMU which has a loose driveshaft.

I’m surprised anything likes our track!

And Brian….

East Surrey N Gauge – 30th May 2021, met up with just 6 Members today. Although not the first meeting indoors, with the windows and doors open, and all wearing masks, today gave me an opportunity to film some of the N gauge train action. All eras, all countries (even Europe!), had trains represented on the tracks – an interesting collection. Enjoy the film ….

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ESNG meeting – 30 May 2021

And it time for another ESNG meeting – two in a row, without a lockdown!

Time to reminisce?


Certainly good to see old friends again.  Paul, as usual, contributed some interesting Japanese trains.  A year away has no doubt created a backlog of new trains to run:



Mr Atfield has spent a year inventing.  These orange scrap wagons started life as bits off printer cartridges.  I think they ought to be done up as Iron-Bru PO wagons – and the colour does rather clash with the loco…..


And here we have the Redhill Trials.  I’m waiting for Derek to model the man with the red flag in front of the Rocket.


And Allan was testing his ICE4 unit.  And ignoring it as far as I can see!


Another good afternoon’s fun.

I’m going to take my annual break from blogging next month, though the odd post will appear, especially reporting the club meetings.  I found these graphs that sum up a year’s isolation rather well.

model railway


I just hope that it won’t be too long before we can put this in the back of a car on the way to an exhibition.

exhibit on board

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Potpourri #1027

A modelling success this week.  A few years ago, my Farish green Class 31 – one of my favourite locos – had a bit of an accident with the PCB board, and only worked in one direction.  I tried to get a replacement at the time, but Bachmann didn’t have any in stock.  I tried again last week, and a couple of days later a new board arrived, for a very reasonable £22.  An hour’s work replaced the board, and the loco is working again.  And I have a spare blanking chip for Bachmann boards.  A good result.

Put this on your layout and get some interesting comments!  My only criticism of the video is that they have obviously been nowhere near Baku – if they had they’d have realised that this is typical of a rather strange city!  I visited briefly on a site visit to the Baku-Georgia-Turkey gas and oil pipeline.  We drove up-country, to inspect some river crossings, but often BP employees were made to go by train, as the roads were a bit dodgy.  What I saw of the trains, it must have been a difficult choice….

Jago Hazzard is always good value.  Surbiton, next door to Cheam and a haunt of Tony Handcock.  And owner of a rather fine railway station.

Meanwhile, in the east, a Japan bullet train driver has been disciplined for leaving the controls to go to toilet.  A conductor, who was not qualified to drive the train, sat in the driver’s seat during his three-minute absence, in breach of the rules.  Well, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do, even at 150km/hr.

Back in February, the Guardian reports a more down-to-earth mode of travel.  Due to covid restrictions, Russian diplomats leave North Korea on hand-powered rail trolley.  Probably better than the usual train!

Finally, not railway connected, but few railway enthusiasts can resist (a) a fry-up, or (b) a cake.  Or you can do both at the same time.  Colin the Caterpillar gets Scottish chippy treatment.

Not good for the system, but a cut above the average fried Mars Bar!


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