Brooklands museum – 1

Last week, Maxine had to visit West Byfleet, so we looked to see what we could visit in the area, to make a day out of it.  And the Brooklands Museum was just two miles away, so we paid it a visit.  More my sort of thing, but we both had a very interesting time there, and it’s well worth a visit, as there’s all sorts of transport on display.  I’ll start with mostly cars, then they’ll be a post on planes, and finally one on buses.

The museum is in one corner of the old Brooklands race track, used in the 20’s and 30’s.  Part of the banked circuit has been preserved.  Although the road surface has subsided here and there, it would have been just as scary driving around it then, in an 8 litre engine, open topped, racing car with dubious brakes.

And when you look at the racing cars in 2019, can you imagine taking an Austin 7 to Le Mans?  DRS, what’s that??  Aerodynamics????  But this is a lovely little car!

Elsewhere there were all sorts of machines, from long gone companies like Napier Railton and still going, but rather different, ones like Bugatti.

A massive Bentley in racing green – best in a straight line – and a Lagonda.

The MG’s on display were smart little cars, though comparing the MG ‘Midget’ with its contemporaries showed what an accurate name that was!

Elsewhere, there was a display of Grand Prix cars, in the days before spoilers and downforce….

And historic motorbikes with long gone names such as Ariel and Brough Superior…

More up to date is this BOAC Commer van…

Moving onto aircraft, the museum has three generations of Harrier VTOL jump-jets.  This is an early prototype.

This production aircraft landed in Central London, as the nearby poster describes…

This late model was converted to a two-seater and used by British Aerospace as a demonstrator to try and sell the Harrier worldwide.

You were allowed to try out the cockpit for size.  The warning notice is not due to the ejector seat still being operational – more a concern that the aging switches will break!

More planes next post…

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All roads lead to Stuttgart 2019

I’m pinched DM-toy’s video of the Stuttgart setup – when you get to 2:21 you’ll see Messrs Dawes and Atfield hard at work setting up our modules.

And elsewhere in Germany, some ESNG members are trying to get to Stuttgart – but in the meantime, why not test the local beer?

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Off to Stuttgart

Off to find a tin parrot at Gatwick later this week, for ESNG’s annual pilgrimage to the Stuttgart N-Club International meet.  Maxine and I are going out for the weekend, and we’ll be joined on Saturday by son Michael.  No doubt a full report will appear next week, but here are a the usual pictures of ESNG from past years.

In 2018 ERIC was full of Terriers….

The usual suspects were there…

Beer is always important…..

In those days we had enough strength to lift the gate….

They said they were ESNG members – but I have my doubts, unless Mr Apps was trying to collect the subscriptions again….

2015 was the high visibility year – you could spot these two a mile off….

It was also the last time Michael came out to the show with me…. (Please ignore the Chairman in the background.)

Did I mention the beer……

And 2018.  Duncan and Mark had gone over to the ‘dark side’ of Nm….

We were again just a twig off a branch, we had a lot of fun….

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Model Railway Journal no. 274 – Wise words

I took the day off from visiting exhibitions last Saturday – nothing very close, and I had already posted flyers to all 5 of them.  So, a more reflective blog today.


I’ve started to get just the one model railway magazine regularly – the Model Railway Journal. I may not be able to emulate the scratch-builders described therein, but it is a regular inspiration for my modelling.

Issue 274 has the most excellent Blueball Summit layout featured – a rare N gauge layout in a very fine scale magazine.  But I was drawn to Jerry Clifford’s fine editorial, talking about the health benefits of model trains.  A few quotes follow….

When asked about the hobby, Iain [Rice] replied that it was “essentially a pointless activity, it’s not going to get anyone a meal on the table or save someone’s life, but it might save someone’s sanity.”

The links between craft hobbies and mental health and wellbeing have been the subject of numerous studies….

“…. studies which have demonstrated that craft hobbies, when done on a regular basis, can improve mood, increase feelings of relaxation and combat depression….”

“Maurice Hopper…. introduces us to the concept of slow modelling….  producing something of ones own….”

“At the end of the day we are big boys and girls making and playing with trains.  It is essentially a pointless activity.  However, as with many seemingly pointless pursuits, the benefits are far more profound than simply the material objects we create.”

Sensible words, and worth remembering!


This week the team head for Stuttgart, and there is no ESNG meeting.  A report on the show will follow…..

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Tolworth Showtrain 2019 – 2

I do enjoy catching favourite layouts for another look.  Netherwood Sidings (O) is one of those, with its DC overhead electrics and endless mineral wagons in the siding.  They were having an ESNG type problem when I passed by – poor alignment between baseboards.

The Western Front ‘Somewhere in France’ (OO9), together with realistic gunfire.

And a world war later – Bigbury (oo).

The Yard (7mm scale) is a cut above the average shunting layout – automation includes working lorries and travelling crane.

Harlyn Pier (O) is again well-travelled, but I’ll always watch that Beattie Well Tank!

Three smallish Isle of Wight layouts (OO) linked together was one of my highlights.  Ventnor West, St. Lawrence under construction, and Merstone made a rather fine display.

2mm finescale excellence at St Ruth.  Another well modelled beach.  When I was watching, one of the operators challenged some youngsters to spot the 6 bicycles on display – somewhere.  I managed a good, round, zero (and there again, I’m no youngster.)

It’s goodbye from Ferrocarril San Maria (HO).  Ian Milroy has been exhibiting this lovely layout for 5 years or so, and it’s now retiring.

And finally, this is what it looks like from the other side of the layouts – a little bit of trouble with the 3-link couplings on Clayton West!

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Tolworth Showtrain 2019 – 1

Another exhibition visit last Saturday, this time to the Tolworth Showtrain exhibition, arranged by the Hampton Court MRS.  I took both Derek’s – Atfield and Apps – with me and we had a pleasant morning looking at a good show.  After all the rain of the previous week, there was thick freezing fog in Redhill, but that cleared to a cold by sunny morning once we got to the top of Reigate Hill.

I don’t think that I have been to this show for the last couple of years.  It’s always of good quality and this year there were loads of excellent layouts, though I had seen many of them exhibited elsewhere.  Perhaps the main complaint was that the recreation centre café was closed and being rented out for things, so there was no coffee or bacon roll available.  But I guess that we didn’t really go for the bacon, did we?

Itchen End Goods Depot (O) shows how a micro layout can be built in ‘O’ gauge, and largely using ready to run stock.  Small, but plenty of shunting is possible within the confines of the depot.

Daconby Town (3mm fine scale) seems to be everywhere at the moment!

Tansey Bank and Hobbs Row (OO9) is a good example of the genre, modelling a preserved ex-industrial narrow gauge railway.  The works building is very well done, and contains the fiddle yard.

First ‘special’ layout of the day was Lee-on-the-Solent (P4).  A renovated early P4 layout, this models a speculative LSWR branch, that closed in 1935.  A simple design, but full of interesting detail.  The shingle beach was especially realistic – though I suppose modelling this is only like ballasting the track on a larger scale!

I’d seen Tarring Neville (OO) before, and it’s a very interesting little layout.  Again, shunting only, but the layout is viewable from 2 or 3 sides, and the lighting is cantilevered on an upper facia from the far end of the layout.  And, of course, the modelling is of a verey high standard, with an interesting variety of goods stock and little industrial locomotives.

Scratchy Bottom Halt (1:22.5 scale, 15mm gauge) defies description, being based on the cartoons of Rowland Emett.  It all goes to show that railway modelling is meant to be fun!

Palmerston Road (O) offered a large continuous run to allow the trains to stretch their legs a bit.  The ‘Golden Arrow’ took me back to my childhood – I used to see the down train pass some days going back from lunch to primary school.

Sidmouth (P4) is another well-travelled layout that is always worth another look, as it perfectly captures a Devon seaside terminus in 1959.

Rolvenden (P4) is also a regular on the exhibition circuit at the moment, but it’s always worth a second (or third) look.  This time I enjoyed the hops and oast house….

More next time….

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ESNG PlayDay – 10 November 2019

It’s one of those strange months when the 2nd Sunday immediately follows the 1st Thursday, so our ESNG meeting was immediately followed by a PlayDay.  So we have another ESNG post, to be followed this week by some pictures from the Tolworth (Hampton Court club) exhibition.

Following the traditional curry, where Miles reduces the profit margins of the Ruchita, we headed for the hall and set up a good sized circuit, including Paul’s Kato layout, as seen at the Scout’s show.

And the members poured in.  I counted 14 members, plus the offspring of two members, plus my better half who dropped in for a chat and to sample Miles’ most excellent fruit cake.  However, strangely, there seemed to be plenty of room to run trains, as people seemed happy to chat for a lot of the afternoon.  Paul had, of course, diverted all his Japanese stock onto his layout…..

And Sean was demonstrating the wonders of DCC on a little layout on a table…..

So I actually ran some of my trains.  A couple of second hand Farish diesels headed a new (second hand) rake of Gresley coaches….

I then swapped locomotives for a ‘Peak’ class.  I have always liked this diesel – far more than the similarly 1-Co-Co-1 Class 40 – and took a punt at one on Ebay.  It runs fine, and has been renumbered and named as D1, Scafell Pike.

Brian carried out running repairs on the admittedly dodgy trackwork…

There was plenty of modern image stock on show….

Simon and Graham provided American superpower….


And of course Brian videoed the afternoon…..

An excellent afternoon!  There’ll be no Wednesday meeting this month, due to Stuttgart that week, so our thoughts now turn to preparations for Germany.  At least the latest Brexit delay means that we can get into Europe freely – I’ve been joking with the Cha(I)rman that he should have been queueing on the M2 since September, just to make sure that he got to Europe with the railway.

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