Stuttgart – 2022 #4

I’ve often seen criticism of the Stuttgart layout and modular systems in general that (a) it’s unrealistic and visually poor to have different scenery from different locations on adjacent modules, and (b) that the total mix of trains is not right.  These are, of course, valid points, but I think you have to look at modular railways as just one facet of the hobby where (a) there can be a wide range of railway features modelled and each section can be looked at alone and appreciated in its own right (although NCI do specify scenery colours in their module standards), and (b) it’s Rule 1, so any train can run – half the fun is not knowing what is coming next.  And of course, it does allow very large modular layouts to be set up, far larger than we at ESNG could ever imagine.

So here are a few more of Allan’s pictures, of modules including…..



Main lines…..


Single track branches….


And sometimes the downright peculiar, with this French glowing snow shed!


We’ll have some other layouts next time.

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Stuttgart – 2022 #3

One of the pleasures of the Stuttgart meet is operating a section of track – without any complex junctions and other pointwork.  You need to be alert enough to spot trains coming, and whether there is room down the line to take your train, but few mental gymnastics are needed.  And you enjoy a procession of different trains; mainly European, but with others thrown in for good measure.  On Saturday, that’s exactly what Allan did…..

Spend most day behind Richard Oliver’s layout, watching the trains going over the bridge.

And if you are very lucky, the Christmas train goes by…..


Moving rapidly on to a few module pictures.  There are always some good bridges on show.

And how people deal with their end loops is also interesting – from the simple to the intricate!

The waterwings!


More modules and other bits and pieces next time!

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Stuttgart – 2022 #2

For the rest of the week, I’ll post some of Allan’s photos from the N-Club International meet at the Stuttgart Messe.  It will be a bit of a photo dump, as I wasn’t there, and I may confuse a few items.

Today we’ll first take an overview of the hall, showing just how large the N gauge display is. In the past there has been mainly one large modular layout, but with the increasing use of DCC, and with single track and narrow gauge layouts, the tendency now is for a number of modular setups and some stand-alone layouts.  But either way, it’s BIG.


Fortunately most module layouts are set out to allow one to establish a ‘base camp’ in the middle for operation, relaxation (though the chairs are hard) and tea, coffee, or something a little stronger.

The next few shots could be described as ‘men at work.’  Operating a junction like this does my head in!!  After a couple of hours I’ve no idea which train is going where….


These next few also show some of the excellent modular modelling on show.

Sometimes they look happy…..  And sometimes they look a little concerned….

Not forgetting the ladies, of course (watching her module to check it worked – of course it did.)

More next time!

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ESNG meeting – 27 November 2022

A busy Sunday afternoon, with nine members present.  Good to see both Chairman and Treasurer back in circulation.  And also a cake to celebrate Lucas’ birthday.

The members were stocking the fiddle yard ready to run.  After said birthday, Stuttgart and Warley, a lot of new trains made an appearance.  Brian appears to be changing the points with a real flourish….

Derek’s 44 tonner takes on Simons box cars….


Some long trains, including a Pendolino and three Kato 800 class units running at the same time!

Alan’s haul from Stuttgart….


Old and new.


Lucas’ British goods….


And ancient German passenger…..


A German single unit DMU….


The INGANET 2022 wagons from Stuttgart….


And Brian took his usual video (though I think that he ran out of recording time.)

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A little live steam

Before returning to Germany, a little live steam.  Thanks to Brian’s tip-off, I was on the local railway bridge to see Tangmere climb out of Redhill and head for Tonbridge.  A wonderful Bulleid exhaust beat as it came up the hill and round the corner before hitting the race-track straight to Tonbridge.  Great to see the Golden Arrow headboards.


Brian caught the train at Godstone.

A well known steam locomotive Tangmere (34067) sped by Godstone on The Medway Valley Pullman today on the way to Tonbridge, before returning to London Victoria routed through Kent. Although my camera was over the yellow line, I was well behind it holding on to the tripod as this loco flew past! At the rear diesel (47813) I think! Nice to bump into ‘Ben’ who was watching too.

And further east at Penshurst…

Earlier in the week, I missed the Black 5 on the Brighton main line.  Good job I was busy, as I think it slipped around the Quarry Line, bypassed Redhill and was running very early,  Brian caught it (so to speak.)

Here’s steam locomotive Black 5 (44871) on the Sussex Belle from London Victoria to Eastbourne and Hasting, running an unbelievable 18 minutes early on the fast down line towards the coast, catching all those watching off guard! Supporting at the rear, Class 47 diesel 47813 (I think).

And here’s another brief video of the train at Coulsdon.

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Stuttgart – 2022 #1

Whilst Maxine and I were in Berlin, Allan travelled to the NCI meet at Stuttgart.  I’d originally considered doing a triangular trip including both Stuttgart and Berlin, but this was just too difficult for my tired old brain!  Maybe another year?

I’ll be picking up all Allan’s camera shots over the weekend, but here are a few of the set-up day, and of Thursday.  I think that I’ve been here before…..


Allan comments….

Been a good day just helping out here and there. Been great not having to set up our own modules.  Richard Oliver’s modules were standing around for quite a few hours waiting for modules to turn up. Last to arrive was Pauline with Mirfield.

My experience has been that either (i) the Swiss get held up at customs, or (ii) the nearest clubs arrive last, and (iii) they are always linked to, and upstream of, your modules.  I agree that it’s great not to have to put your own layout up – and make it work.

There is just so much work setting up a large show….

And three festive pictures.  It’s so tricky to model snow well, but these night time scenes look great.  I like the details such as the ruts along the road, and the man fishing through a hole in the ice!

And of course the first day of the show….

Is followed by the booth party (including some very long speeches and perhaps a few hangovers?)

More photos to follow….

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A rather cold Berlin

After a three years hiatus due to covid, we got back to Berlin last weekend, to see Ruth, Cory, and the dogs.  This week will feature a lot of Germany (and without Ron, too) as this weekend was also the Stuttgart N-Club meet.  I have some pictures from Allan, who went, to follow.

We realised that this was the first time that we’d stayed in the same hotel in Berlin, as it was close to Ruth’s apartment (and she’d been moving around before.)  This hotel has the added bonus of excellent views of the U1 U-bahn line from the breakfast area.  The trainspotter in me noted three types of unit running – the old ones with handles to open the powered doors, and two types of more modern unit.  I love the elevated lines here.  Note the sprinkle of snow.  It didn’t get above 1C all weekend.

Friday, it was off to the Natural History Museum, by the overground U1….

And the underground U6….

There were some rather long bendy trams to spot….


Before visiting a good display of our ancestors!

Sunday included a trip to the Pergamon Museum with Ruth & Cory; some brilliant ancient history, including this restored gatehouse from Babylon.  (And more trains to spot, as one Berlin main line passes almost through Museum Island.)

After the museum, a Chinese lunch, close to the railway and the tram terminus….

The afternoon was spent making one of Ruth’s new jigsaws (yes, she’s now entered the puzzle business – EU readers, you can buy them at Give Me Sundays, but unfortunately not in the UK, yet) and eating Cory’s cookies…

And back home on Monday (after a shopping visit for Maxine to the Turkish run Woolworth store) to a marginally warmer UK.

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A dangerous hobby?

Who said that model railways are a safe sedate hobby.  Well, this is Australia after all.  I’m surprised that he didn’t show the gigantic spider hiding in the goods shed!

This does of course raise the question as to the safest scale to model in down-under.  Would ‘N’ be safer, as only a small snake could get in the tunnel (and no spiders.)  I don’t think ‘G’ would be recommended, as you could lose a python down a tunnel there.  And garden railways would be really dangerous – who knows what might be lurking down the line.

With, of course, apologies to my Australian readers – I’m just relieved we don’t have this problem!  But I did see this on Facebook the other day (click the watch on YouTube link.)

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Potpourri #1060

A couple of micro layouts for starters.

A Rob Chant 8’x4′ plan, that could be 4’x2′ in N.  Nothing special in this design in one sense, but interestingly designed for operation.  Note that reverse track (1E to 6B) that allows exchange of cars at both ends of the line.  A sort of ’empties in – full out’ idea.  Rob Chant describes operations thus:

All crews start their day in Mann Lake, and head north (clockwise) towards Paradise. While each station is assumed to have a passing track, only the trackage/industries designated for the station (they are numbered and colour coded on the track plan) can be used when switching the town. Between each stop at a station, the crew must make a complete lap around the layout.

When the northbound train reaches the last stop of Paradise, the crew works the CP interchange and the local industries, then heads back (counter-clockwise) to Mann Lake, completing any work that may have been skipped on the northbound trip. Once the crew reaches the home base of Mann Lake, the CN interchange is switched again, then the train crew ties-up for the night.

Since a train crew would need 1½ laps to get to the next town, it would take nine laps to get from Mann Lake to Paradise, and another nine to get home, which is quite a bit of train running in such a small space. And since the interchange track is feed from both ends of the layout, there will be an endless supply of incoming traffic to shuffle between the interchanges and the online customers.

As you can see, this layout packs a lot of prototypical operation in a space that is only 4’x8′, just by using your imagination and “seeing” only what you’re suppose to see at each station. I think it is a great way to get the most out of small layouts with continuous run designs.


In contrast, this is a tiny O gauge micro.  But looks fun to shunt.


Also for the modeller, these pictures of track on the IOW Steam Railway and at Ventnor give some good material for ballasting.

Was there anything more elegant than an LBSCR H2 Atlantic?  And they do look good in British Railways lined black livery.


Except maybe a K class 2-6-0??

I’ll finish with something less elegant, but one of my all time favourites.  An ex-LSWR ‘0330’ saddletank.  I think this one ended up on the Kent & East Sussex Railway.  I think that I have an O gauge kit for one of these hidden away somewhere.  One day….


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ESNG meeting – 16 November 2022

I’m back in circulation after testing negative on Tuesday.  And feeling much better, but still rather washed out.


So it was off to the ESNG meeting, where six members braved a rather wet evening.  Not a bad turnout, as the Chairman is in Stuttgart, and the Treasurer is avoiding us in case he catches something. But some of the usual suspects were present and sort of correct.  We were rather slow setting things up, but got there in the end.

20221116_20020820221116_200214 Ian’s son had been testing his new printer with this rather impressive building and 46′ canal narrow boat. A very good standard of print from a filament machine.


We did run a few trains.  Ian had a replacement Class 108 DMU to test, and this one seems fine.


And Derek was defending the realm!


I retired early – enough excitement for one day!

An obscure prototype to finish – Blackwall Station on the GER and LNER.  All gone by BR days, but an interesting and simple terminus, with a backdrop of enormous ships.

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