Searching for a Strudel #6

So…. You have a reputation as a troublemaker, but you will not escape from Colditz, Herr Dawes!!!

Meanwhile, back on the Elbe paddle steamers….

Next post, some trains again.

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Searching for a Strudel #5

Day 5 will come in two instalments….

Chilly becoming very hot. [Ed: Sounds like a vindaloo warning?]

Left hotel at 9am to catch paddle steamer to Meissen. Following a lunch break tour of Meissen Pottery, which was boring. In shop cheapest item €100 dearest €9,000. [Ed. No new tea mug for Allan, then?] We then continued to Colditz Castle for a very interesting tour. Back to hotel at 7pm. Now sitting in an alpine restaurant by the Frauenkirche

.Dresden from river and Elbe cruise….


And off to Colditz for the next post.  Will Ron escape!!!!!!

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Searching for a Strudel #4

So to Day 4….

Started off cool but once again it is now a scorcher.

Group one way trip on Weisseritztal bahn from Freital before returning in our minibus to Dresden. Decided to try what they call their mountain railways. First a short funicular ride and ended up on what appeared to be a housing estate. So I tried the short monorail and ended up looking out over Dresden with fantastic views. Hope to go down to the river for an hour or so before dinner to try and get a breeze.

Weisseritztal railway views…..

Kurirtkipsdorf station

Freital station

Dresden from top of monorail

Dresden mountain (?) railways – funicular and monorail

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Searching for a Strudel #3

Day 3 of Ron’s latest exploits.

Muggy turned into steady drizzle.

This morning we had an interesting guided walk round Dresden. A free afternoon so I did a recce to find things to do on the remaining free day and a half that we have left. Glad I was travelling on trams, trains and buses in the steady drizzle. Currently on top floor of a department store with a large coffee and a large piece of strawberry gateau which cost me €6 which is probably a lot cheaper than at home. All pictures today are of Dresden

We seem to be getting the full menu this time around.  But where’s the strudel?  I remember my better half commenting that my letters home (letters, remember them?) were more like a daily menu than an account of what I was doing!

More eating!

As we had to feed ourselves tonight we made a group outing to a restaurant recommended by our tour manager, who joined us on way back he took us to a bar where Vladimir Putin drank when he was KGB boss in Dresden.

Lucky to come out alive…..


And the Dresden hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.  The name on the side suggests what happens when you visit all those restaurants and bars…..


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Searching for a Strudel #2

Dresden trams….


Dresden Hbf, inside and out….

The River Elbe….


And Dresden itself.  Old Town….

Frauenkirche and Martin Luther statue…..

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Searching for a Strudel #1

This is the time of year I try to take a bit of a blogging break.  However, Ron is on his travels again, visiting Dresden, so I’ll have an easy time posting his reports and pictures of trains and places.  We’ll start with a before and during (not after) picture of some Trappist Ale.  Why?  I don’t know…..


Early start to check in and join Eurostar to Brussels. Currently on 3 hour layover in Brussels so have had lunch at a restaurant outside station then catching 2.24 to Frankfurt Airport for onward connection to our overnight stop in Nuremburg.

Some pictures at Brussels Midi, including an ICE3.

After this sunny start, it all went pear shaped….

Our ICE was slow due to a technical problem and was being turned round at Cologne instead of Frankfurt. We ground to a halt outside Aachen and they had problems there and no trains could pass through station. We were returned to Liege for a replacement bus. Nobody knew anything. We were then told to return to a small village station for the bus but that train was running 40 late. Joined a large crowd and had an hours wait for a bus to appear. We then fought to get our cases on. Victory for the Brits against the Germans. Now on 2118 Aachen to Cologne where we will be overnighting instead of Nuremburg.

A very tired Ron

Further explanations…

Having got up at 0330 BST and finally falling into bed at midnight CET I was just knackered. The Germans dumped us on the Belgians, who had no one at the stations who knew what was going on. and then the train was late. When the double decker Rail Replacement bus arrived we managed to beat the Germans by pushing our cases into the luggage compartment and then a Belgian railway employee turned up and tried turning us away from the bus until we told him our cases were on board. We had waited in a large crowd for an hour and if we had not got on bus we could have still been there. As they say everything can only get better.

So much for Teutonic efficiency!  On to Day 2….

Very hot.

Following yesterday’s debacle a good day. We were put on 9.13 direct train from Cologne to Dresden where we arrived at 4.45. Hotel excellent and I have a very large room. Just going out for a walk to take photos and will probably do same after dinner so watch out for emails!

Cologne Hbf this morning before boarding the direct IC train to Dresden leaving 0913 arriving 1648.


Our IC train from Cologne to Dresden during an 18 minute layover at Hannover.

And at Halle Hbf.


And so to Dresden Hbf….

More of Dresden next post!

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Retail therapy time

I managed to escape the 2mm show without buying anything (unlike Simon), but I came close to buying a set of baseboards.  And I would have if they’d been at the show, and not needing a long journey to collect.  However, once back home, one or two goodies have arrived at the Bartlett household.

I always appreciate Lance Mindheim’s modelling.  He has an ability to capture a run-down Miami industrial area in a totally realistic manner.  He’s not a rivet-counter, but an artist. 

20220622_091154 And this book ‘Model Railroading as Art’ puts a lot of his ideas in one place.  He writes, ‘We can enjoy our work as a standalone piece of art, the same way we would a painting, photo or sculpture – something we enjoy looking at, whether it’s in motion or not.’  Not everyone’s cup of tea, especially those who want to see a train passing every five seconds on an exhibition layout.  But there’s a lot to think about here, with chapters including sections on Color, Space, Lines and Shapes and Forms, and on Scene Composition and Organizing.  Other sections take in backdrops, selective compression of scenes, and focal points – how to direct the eye into and through a scene.

I liked the section on ‘Scene Busters’ – not an ESNG member who drops one of the club corners. 

I see it frequently; an exceptionally well-executed model, a work of art in every way, except for what I call a “scene buster.”  The proverbial case where a person is unaware of the broccoli chunk between their teeth.  A tacked-on eye-sore that is so distracting that it ruins and otherwise perfect model…..

Lots of interesting reading and even if your modelling is in a different direction, there will always be a few points that one can learn from.

Mathieson Models are back – at a price.  A while back, Rails of Sheffield commissioned ten new private owner wagons from Mathieson Models.  They hail from points as varied as Exeter and Glasgow.  An expensive treat, but I believe that these lovely little models are worth the extra cost over Peco and Dapol.  They are a similar price to a Farish wagon, and model an earlier, slightly smaller PO wagon. 


Finally, a guilty habit of mine is watching plastic kit constructional videos on YouTube.  Again, I pick up some good modelling hints, especially for painting and weathering.  But recommended on one was this tiny bench vacuum cleaner (shown upside down here.)  Running off two AA batteries, it is just the thing for cleaning the dust off the bench, and perhaps even the layout.  At £8 off Amazon, it was definitely worth a go!


I wasn’t at Sunday’s ESNG meeting, but the newly-retired Allan was….

And Brian caught it on film….

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2mm Scale Association Diamond Jubilee Expo – 3

And finally, the micro layouts.  These were mostly entrants to the Diamond Jubilee Challenge layouts.  The 2mm Scale Association ran a layout challenge to celebrate their Diamond Jubilee in 2020. Entrants were required to build a small 2mm scale layout where the footprint of the scenic area must fit within a rectangle 60 centimetres x 9.42 inches. The dimensions chosen reflect the peculiar mix of imperial and metric that is so typical of the British railway modelling scene and represent the 60 years since the 2mm Scale Association was founded and the 9.42mm track gauge used to represent British standard gauge track in 2mm finescale modelling.

No doubt a 2 year delay to the jubilee enabled a few more layouts to come close to finishing!

End of the Road is a remnant of the Milwaukee Road, a couple of sidings at the end of an old branch line.  This layout featured real US finescale, as the track was built to the correct (for them) 9mm gauge.  And the sound included a large bass speaker under the layout, that massively improved the quality of the loco sounds.


I liked The Coal Hole, though still a work in progress, cleverly modelling part of a loco shed.


British Oak models a real location in West Yorkshire, but is heavily compressed.  The NCB industrial lines deliver coal to the canal barges below.


Ale Dock models a corner of the Burton-on-Trent beer railways, and came all the way from Australia for this exhibition.


Callington is based on the real Southern branch terminus in the Tamar Valley.


Clyde is set in the shipyards of Glasgow.  Altogether a rather clever concept!


Line No 16 Ripple is a standard/narrow gauge line in the Kent hopfields.


I liked the conservatory on the back of the house on Merchant Bridge.


Port Jubilee was still in its box, but I pinched this from the 2mm website.  This is a classic Inglenook shunting puzzle track plan, with three sidings capable of holding 5, 3, and 3 wagons. The setting is rail served pier somewhere on the Scottish coast. It has an oval baseboard.

Port Jubilee

Last of the layouts are two narrow gauge models.  This little Irish pizza (is that one with potato rather than pineapple?) came to the ESNG show a few years ago.  It’s Z gauge, but using 2mm finescale standards.


And the last layout was definitely my favourite from the show – even better than Freshwater.  I’d read about it on RMweb, and followed its construction, so it was a treat to see it in the flesh – and it was even better then the pictures threatened.  Gakunan is a Japanese industrial railway near Mount Fuji.  The builder hangs this little layout above his desk in the office, and as at the show, a railcar shuffles to and fro automatically.  He’s wondering whether to program it to run according to the real timetable!  This shows the full layout, with a small ‘keyhole’ to concentrate the view of the layout.


The model is built to the correct Japanese gauge of 3′ 6″ – about 7mm in 2mm scale.  This is quite easy to do if you build your own track, and use the Association wheels that can be regauged.  There’s still some overhead power lines to add, but the detail is already delightful.


All these little layouts gave a lot of inspiration as to what can be done in a small space.  Maybe I’ll try a little something myself……

Also on display was this lockdown project…


We’ll end with a picture of 2mm finescale at its best.  A scratch built SDJR 2-8-0 on Evercreech Junction.  I’ll never achieve this sort of modelling, but I came away from my visit to the show suitably inspired to do more, and, if possible, do it better.


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2mm Scale Association Diamond Jubilee Expo – 2

Today, we’ll look at the ‘medium’ sized layouts, that takes in anything that isn’t tiny and isn’t enormous.  These are the sort of layouts that the average punter could build – not ‘lifetime’ layouts like those in the my last post.

St Ruth is familiar from the exhibition circuit, but is always worth another look.  I love the semi-relief buildings of the town in the background, and the way the features of the beach have been captured.


The layout makes good use of ‘N’ rolling stock, rewheeled, but these lovely early GWR steam locos can be seen lurking in a remote siding, along with some early carriages.


We come to one of my show favourites – Freshwater.  Isle of Wight, Terriers, small branch line terminus – what isn’t there to like?  I’ve seen this layout many times, but there’s always something new to see (though Ian Morgan says that it’s nearly finished now.)  This time there are a lot more flowers and vegetation to be seen.  On the platform (third from left in a white shirt) is the slightly rotund layout builder.  He claims that extra plastic was needed to 3D print him!  Mind you, we had much the same conversation at ESNG a few days earlier.  This ended with, “I’d never have a model of you on my layout.”  Charming!


Another thing to note is how the rolling stock has progressively become more authentic.  Originally, the goods vehicles were typical Southern Railway stock, but Ian has slowly replaced them with models of the wagons that actually ran on the Isle of Wight.


Moretonhampstead was a small GWR terminus on the edge of Dartmoor.  A bucolic scene with few trains, but plenty of very well observed scenery, and rolling stock, to enjoy.


Llangerisech is a familiar layout on the southern exhibition circuit.  Somewhere in North Wales, it features a mixture of GWR and LMS, converted ‘N’ and scratch built locos and rolling stock.


Ivybridge is a simple continuous layout, built to showcase the owners scratch built coaches.  But it is a model of a real south Devon station, and features the lovely viaduct at Ivybridge.


Evercreech Junction is not really a medium size layout, as a near-scale model of the site is rather large.  But this is a club layout in progress, and gave a chance to look at baseboards, point control and all the other parts of railway foundations.


Last post on the show next time will feature the micro layouts.

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2mm Scale Association Diamond Jubilee Expo – 1

Plenty of blogging to get on with.  I’ve got another set of photos from Germany, as Ron once again goes in hunt of the elusive strudel – and no doubt immediately eats it.  But first, an account of a most excellent exhibition – it must have looked good for me to drive 310 miles in a day to see it.

Postponed for a couple of years due to covid, the 2mm Scale Association finally got around to it’s Diamond Jubilee exhibition.  And it was very good.  I’d seen a lot of the larger layouts on the exhibition circuit, but it was fantastic to see them all in one place.  And, as you will see, there were plenty of new ones, especially the little ones, that were well worth a look.

A feature of the day was the chance to talk to the builders and exhibitors.  Unlike many shows, I found everyone very open to talk and share ideas and skills.  And the venue in Derby was interesting too, with its railway heritage as a college built by the LMS.  One of the most elegant venues I’ve visited.

Last and not least, I drove up to the show with Simon, and enjoyed the company for the three hour drive each way (and around the show.)  We talked so much that I came home with a sore throat and promptly tested myself for covid (fortunately negative.)  So onto the layouts.  We’ll start with the ‘biggies.’

No Diamond Jubilee would be complete without Copenhagen Fields.  I’ve seen it many times, but there’s always something new to see, or just to revisit.  It’s been over 30 years in the making, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (including the famous C.J. Freezer, I understand), but it’s a wonderful model of a slice of north London.


Newly build is a slice through the facilities behind the station.  Some period closets here!  None of those tacky German Sexy-Scenes here; just a gentleman having a quiet think whilst reading the Daily Sketch.


Less easy to spot at most exhibitions is the fiddle yard.  Almost as complicated as the maze of tracks seen at front of house.  Note the ‘track’ here.  It’s all made of brass strip.  Simon informed me that it was difficult to form the curves in the brass without vertical distortion.  So a member of the MRC invented a machine, a bit like a pipe bender, to form the curves.  That’s 2mm for you….


Next in line we have the ‘Northern Copenhagen Fields.’  Fencehouses has been in the making for almost as long as ‘the fields.’  It’s a model of a real station on the original main line to the north, in the depths of the Durham coal fields.  Rather than an urban scene, with many trains approaching Kings Cross, we have a rural setting.  A long section of straight track includes the small Fencehouses station, colliery exchange sidings, and part of the colliery itself.


At one end of the layout, the Victoria viaduct is a great spot for trainspotting.

Last of the larger layouts is set at the other end of the country – part of John Greenwood’s model of the Southern Railway’s withered arm in North Cornwall.  Wadebridge shed is full of delightful scratch built Southern locomotives.


The town shows an eye for scenic modelling, too.


Padstow terminus is work in progress, and is cleverly built so the distinctive bridge over the estuary takes the model track in a U-shape to prototypically join up with Wadebridge.


One feature of the show was a chance to see projects in progress, and inspect things like the baseboard construction.  Next time, we’ll take the medium sized layouts, then after that the small and micros!

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