Happy(?!?) New Year 2021

A Happy New Year to you all!  I’m sure none of us could have predicted how 2020 turned out.  I hope that you all keep safe and 2021 gradually improves.  And that we’ll begin to see ESNG club nights start up again and perhaps even an exhibition or two (exhibition, what’s an exhibition) as time goes on.  Meanwhile, we’ll be back on Zoom next Wednesday.

Just one photo to start the year.  Waterloo around 1900, full of elegant LSWR coaching stock.  Something to get the modelling juices going.  It also highlights the problems with modelling any significant station.  The platforms are either full of people – as platform 1 here – or empty as on the adjacent platform.  It’s very difficult to make these changes between full and empty realistic…..

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‘Nuff said….

This just sums it all up!

Just wish human beings behaved as well as swans do…..

Swan song: German firefighters remove ‘mourning’ bird blocking railway line

Or maybe this one, as the ultimate 2020 tree decoration….

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Potpourri #1009

These pictures popped up on my Facebook feed.  They are full of fascinating detail, from the 1930’s – 1950’s, I guess.  They aren’t attributed, so apologies, as ever, if I have posted something with a copyright attached.

The first is from the UK, with an interesting load, and an interesting road vehicle towing it.

The rest are from the USA, but some building details are of universal modelling interest?

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So many trains!

As usual, Paul has put me to shame with his modelling.  Pinched unashamedly off his Facebook site…..

Having constructed a 12ft long yard to take my Bullet Trains, here they are – all 36 of them in 3 groups of 12. It took about 3 hours to set each group up, take the photos and then box them all up again! The yard isn’t finished, I am going to add another points ladder at the other end so that I can have through running and run some of the sets coupled up together.

I just bought some more bits in the TMC sale.  Some reasonable prices…..

That plywood is still calling to me up in the loft.  However, my future son-in-law’s craft brewed (in Berlin) coffee stout is also keeping me downstairs…..

At least we have some kind of trade deal with the EU, and the lorries are moving again across the Channel, so I can buy those bits and pieces I ‘need’ (and more beer.)

Maybe next time you’ll get a more serious railway post!

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Christmas modelling idea

A happy and blessed Christmas to you all.  May the coming year be far, far, better than 2020 turned out to be!

And here’s a little something to build over the holiday….

Or this?

And here you are just before Christmas…..

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Taking a few days off….

In tier 4, wondering what tier 5 would be like!  I’ll be taking a few days off from blogging over Christmas.  Short of ideas, but that pile of plywood in the loft is still calling.

Please note, in 2040, there still won’t be any trains on Christmas Day, as management will have forgotten to buy the batteries….

Plan for UK long-distance battery-powered trains

Meanwhile, Cat-zilla strikes again….

And a little something for the modelling juices – switching in Boston.

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Potpourri #1008

No, I’m not starting to model French metre gauge lines….  But these three books couldn’t be resisted €12 each.  Full of lovely pictures, including those very French railcars.  Makes the average ‘Pacer’ look like a Rolls Royce….

Modelling postponed yet again for Christmas shopping and cleaning out the church gutters.  One day…..

Elsewhere in the world, I knew Brexit was bad news…..

Brexit: Hornby stops non-UK orders due to price confusion

“Due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit & what it’ll mean for our International customers, as of the 15th Dec, we will pause all non-UK orders until 4th Jan 2021.”

“Normal for Norfolk?”

Train missed cars by half a second in Norfolk level crossing error

Turns out this isn’t the understandable death wish of a Norwich City supporter (after all, we are top of the table), but it’s shoddy work by RailTrack using cut-price technology.  RMWeb had some good pictures of the site, that showed that the cars waiting on the road wouldn’t have been able to see the train coming.   Pretty scary from any perspective!

Don’t think Northern Trains will try this out?

How sunshine can make the railways greener

But does it have potential for us modellers?  A garden shed with solar panels????

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ESNG meeting – 16 December 2020

Zoom again – the last of the year.  Just the six wise (?) monkeys, later joined by Maxine.  We did talk railways, but also marmalade and Covid-19.  We were, for once, undisturbed by cats.  Brian and Graham were unable to join us this time around……

Paul ran a few trains to amuse us.  Simon and Allan had models to show off.

Paul summed it all up on Facebook….

Another ESNG meeting on Zoom tonight, last one of the year. Numerous topics discussed, everything from extensions to the London tube network to ‘Crossroads’, if you can remember that bastion of early soap operas. I had trains running, 12 trains out and over 200 wagons.

More progress from Brian…

My activity these past weeks – starting to come together ….

Meanwhile, Allan posted on Facebook:

MiWuLa style jingle bells

That’s all of the ESNG meetings for 2020.  Hopefully, next year there will be less Zoom and more real meetings!

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Potpourri #1007

Picking up on some odds and ends from the club…..

I finished the last post with a shout-out for the Magic Roundabout.  Phil promptly emailed me…..

The Magic Roundabout!

Oh, my goodness, me!
I was in love with Florence!


Could have been worse…..  Anyone with a soft spot for Ermintrude?

In the UK we had the story of the vandals at an exhibition.  Allan sent me this heart-warming tale from Australia…..

Model railway group’s labour of love on track with permanent home

A group of model train enthusiasts will soon have a permanent home after the region’s only scale model railway group received $128,000 in funding it needed to rise from the ashes after their former temporary location was destroyed by vandals during a suspicious fire in 2019.

The Canberra Monaro N Scale Group has had somewhat of a nomadic existence since it formed more than 20 years ago, moving its trains, tracks and displays between scout halls and locations in Canberra and Queanbeyan.

Some of them look horribly familiar.  Do all model railway fans look alike?  Mind you, I’d like a donation of $128,000 (even Australian ones) for ESNG.  We could rent storage for all those modules cluttering up people’s houses!

From Ron – Blackpool Tramways celebrates 135 years.

Balloon 715 heads back to depot having run its three heritage tours on 26th September

And two pictures on the LSWR, when train travel was special….

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A Minories of my own – 4 – all contributions gratefully received

I have a sheet of plywood sitting on the lounge floor, to mark out the layout trackwork.  But it won’t get done tonight!  However, some helpful advice has been received!

Phil wrote…..

Hi, Jon!

Have you seen Jago Hazzard’s channel on YouTube?
Some interesting clips and stories including some about London Railways.  It was the view of the London & Greenwich line arches that made think of you, since you had blogged that you were trying to re-create some railway arches.
See them at 3:50 into this clip:

Take care, stay well!


I’ve also received some thoughts from Duncan.  This may be a bit of a challenge, an interurban Grand Union on steroids!

Once you get the hang of making track, are you going to tackle something like this?

In a word, no.

Next email was interesting.  I see that FineTrax are going to make 4mm scale track (in any gauge) like this, with integral rail chairs, and ‘N’ gauge track may be upgraded and follow.

I don’t know if you remember the Wye point I made for the magic roundabout? Basically, it’s a 3-D Printed base, including chairs, and then I threaded Peco code 60 rail in. I was surprised how easy it was, and how well it worked:

The ‘magic roundabout’ was nothing to do with Zebedee, but is an interesting multi-directional train turntable Duncan helped build for the Stuttgart Nm setup.  He continues…..

Anyway, I’d be wary of tackling slips, but turnouts and crossings could be done fairly easily this way I think. Even something huge, like Newcastle junction, is just more 3-D printed pieces, and thread the track in. The track planning software always uses set pieces, like individual points, but it wouldn’t be hard to make a really flowing junction, like in the photos, and then make individual pieces from that:

Newcastle Central. Photo: Ben Brooksbank. Wikipedia Commons

Sorry, Duncan, haven’t got the room, even in ‘N’!!!!!

Just to calm me down, here’s another picture of West Croydon, with the carriage sidings and the old loco shed site to the left.  The retaining wall was indented for a small turntable to take the small LBSCR tank locos used for suburban services prior to electrification.

Anyhow, many thanks to Phil and Duncan – all very interesting and it keeps me on my toes.  I think I shall return to that sheet of ply in the morning, when I have some natural light to work with.

And I must finish with a picture of the REAL Magic Roundabout.  Formative viewing for my A-level and university years.  Probably explains a lot…..

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