ESNG meeting – 19 May 2021

As the UK escape from lockdown continues, we were delighted to hold the first ESNG meeting for over a year.  Only six people allowed to attend, and we kept the windows and doors open, and were largely masked through the evening.  But it was great to get things back underway.

We did manage to run a few trains, although not everyone had brought trains along.  We just about remembered how to put it all together, and after a thorough track clean, amazingly, it all worked.  I brought along my container train and my Blue Spot fish train, and both happily ran around all evening.


Michael brought along a couple of panniers and some stock to run, as well.


And Chris tested his excellent scratch built Sandite unit – including directional lights at both ends.  A very nice model of an unusual unit.


And of course, there were the usual suspects!  It was good to meet up with Derek, Derek, Michael, Chris and Ian again, and we hope that these meetings, even with a few people each evening, can continue.


We finished fairly early, but it was so good to meet up again and play trains!

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Potpourri #1026

The great railway room tidy-up continues.  Today’s task, sort out the odds and end box of screws, nails and bolts.  All the odds and ends go in here, and sorting a little should stop me going out and buying a new box of fixings!

Out and about today.  We start in Australia.

I do like sugar cane railways, having had a glimpse of a steam line in Java, and plenty of diesel action in Queensland.  But has anyone modelled a drawbridge railway level crossing?

No real reason for this one, but I do rather like these early Australian electrics.  An excellent preservation job – and the steam trains passing are rather interesting, too.

North to Japan.

An interesting little article on driving the first bullet trains in 1964.


And this layout looks like Mr Rowlatt’s lounge on steroids!!!

Across the Pacific to the USA.

I really liked this layout.  3-rail O gauge, but the trains and scenery are so good, that you barely notice the third rail.

And we come in to land in the UK.

HS2 may be unpopular in places, but it’s going to be interesting engineering.  Here’s a report on the start of tunnelling north of London.

And at Kings Cross, they’ve reopened the third tunnel at the station throat.

Finally, this link looks very useful with today’s weather!

And you know this is true…..

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On my workbench – a little TLC

My focus this week has been to tidy up the railway room, and get a little bit more order into things – that has resulted in two black bags of junk going in the dustbin.

But I came across some interesting odds and ends, some of which I’d forgotten that I had.  Including some replacement PC boards. I realised that I’d ordered those for my Atlas Baldwin VO-1000’s, nearly ten years ago.  This was necessary after one locomotive had made a short sharp trip onto the Methodist Church floor at an ESNG show, and the following year I’d managed to blow all the boards in my DCC fitted locomotives (and I still don’t know why that happened.)  I’d also bought a replacement locomotive for the one that went flying, as I do very much like the prototype.

I took them apart, replaced the PC boards, and got them back together again.  An instant success, and they are now nicely running under DC.

Here they are ready for action.  They run a lot better than the little Life-Like SW9 switchers I was using before.  They represent two out of the five owned by the Lehigh Valley.  I may go back and have another look at the broken one that still won’t move in due course, as it looks repairable.


Emboldened by my success, I then looked at my Atlas Central Rail Road of New Jersey Fairbanks-Morse H-15-44.  This line paralleled and rivalled the Lehigh Valley in a number of places, and had some interesting locos like this one.  The model revved up like mad and only moved in one direction.  This seemed to be a mechanical problem, as current was getting to the motor, that was happily spinning in both directions.  Again, I took it apart, and carefully put it back together, making sure that the bogie drive trains were in mesh.  It now runs perfectly.


Finally, this Atlas EL Trainmaster.  One of my first N gauge locomotives – so it must be nearly 20 years old – but it still looks good.  This seemed to have blown its DCC board, but fortunately one find this week was a mysterious Atlas board, and it turned out to be the DC one removed from the Trainmaster.  A quick replacement, and this locomotive, too, is running again.

20210515_125834 1

All in all, a profitable morning’s work.  And it has given me the confidence to take N gauge models apart – and put them back together again.  However, this probably only applies to some brands……

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Covid-19 diary – Kuritu II – 11 – Finished!

Well, the Kuritu rebuild is finished.  There might be a few little things to do, but the layout is definitely ‘substantially complete’, as they say in the trade.  Overall, I’m very happy with the results – one of the best things that I’ve ever done, I think.

Last time out, I left you, gentle reader, with this overhead view.


Since then, I strung the overhead, and built the frame for the lights.  Really another baseboard, but strengthened by an aluminium section along its length.  And then LED strip attached and wired up.


This is the end result.  The photos aren’t too kind on my woodwork, but hey, you’re meant to look at the layout not the baseboard….


And the next job – a massive tidy up before returning to Minories.

And to close, a string of photos of the layout.  Photographs of ‘N’ are never kind on the models, but overall, these could be a lot worse…..


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Potpourri #1025

Signs of age yesterday – forgot that Clan Line was passing through Reigate and Redhill.  But naturally, Brian got there.  What a lovely locomotive!

Steam Locomotive 35028 Clan Line at Reigate on a loaded test run on the Surrey Hills circular, with Belmond British Pullman rake of coaches, from London Victoria and back again. Taking it at a leisurely pace through Reigate station and right on time. Just avoided being bowled by a Class 165 on its way to Reading.

Two from the BBC.

There’s some debate as to whether the new Kato model will include the prototypical cracks.  They’ve captured everything else perfectly.  I keep telling myself – I don’t need one, I don’t need one!

High-speed rail services cancelled after cracks found in trains


This is a good BBC report – good to see the hobby being taken seriously – and an excellent picture of the old Great Central.

‘My model railway is my little dream world’

A man who has painstakingly recreated a lost railway line says he has been surprised by the positive reaction on social media.

Keith Pell spent 1,500 hours rebuilding a model version of part of the Leicester section of the Great Central Railway in the garage of his home.

He posted a film of his tribute to the railway, which closed as part of the 1960s Beeching cuts, on Facebook, where it has had thousands of views.

Mr Pell, who used to go trainspotting with his dad in the 1960s, said his line was about “recreat[ing] that kind of atmosphere of watching trains go by”.

Switching over to ITV, at the end of this program (go to the last advert break) is an interesting report on DJB models.  Again, taken seriously (apart from the Thomas quotes) and an excellent ‘O’ gauge model featured as well. 

Made in Britain

RMweb noted it:

The ‘Made in Britain’ series shows a selection of British manufacturers across all industries and this week they showed DJH building 0 Gauge locos.  All done quite seriously without any hint of ‘playing trains’ – even when they showed Neil Corner’s lovely 0 gauge layout. Worth a look as and when it is repeated.

And Swathling station in LSWR days.  Truly a different world!


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Stewarts Lane – sort of

Amongst all my other projects ongoing, I have two N-club boards that need some railway on them.  So how about squeezing a quart into a pint pot?  Stewarts Lane lay just south of the River Thames in Battersea and was founded by the London Chatham and Dover Railway in 1862, to serve London Victoria railway station.  It was sited in the midst of a maze of railway lines.  The main LSWR main lines to Waterloo pass just to the north-west and the yard complex is crossed by various inner-city link lines, as well as some of the main lines to Victoria.  The massive LSWR Nine Elms shed is not far away to the east.  I never saw (as far as I can remember) steam at Stewarts Lane, but on a visit to London into Victoria there was always a chance of spotting one of Bulleid’s Co-Co electric locos, numbered 20001 to 20003.

This is what the area looked like in 1950 or so (taken from National Library of Scotland mapping.)  Not much chance of modelling this, even in N scale (though RMweb has in the past reported on a very nice P4 layout of the electric shed here.)


But tucked away at the western edge of this very large engine shed and yard is this relatively small area.  There’s a 60′ (scaling off the map) turntable that served the whole complex, and an odd little shed attached.  The sidings adjacent probably were mainly used for coal stacks.  Running above on arches, the line above is the old LCDR Ludgate Hill branch, forming a natural backdrop and scenic break to the area.  Just to the east of this line is the LBSCR South London line, that you can see in the first map crossing both the engine yard and the main Waterloo line on a high viaduct.


In 1900, it was a lot simpler, but a less interesting track layout.


Although both of these yards could be modelled to scale, a little redesign to keep the character, but store locomotives rather than coal could give an interesting little layout.

And just to the north there’s the old Battersea loco shed.  It lies under one of the lines into Victoria.  Battersea Wharf and the Thames are just off the map to the north.  The water works became Battersea Power Station.  And you’ll note the famous Battersea Dogs Home bottom right – already there in 1900, and probably one of the few bits of this scene still in place (apart from Battersea Park, and the main rail lines.)  Stewarts Lane took over from Battersea in 1934, but I remember the buildings still in place in the 1960’s.  Maps from that era show the left hand roundhouse as a vehicle maintenance shed, and the right hand one as a roundhouse.

Both loco sheds were totally enclosed, including a small – perhaps 50′ – turntable, so they wouldn’t make a good model.  But this area is another interesting bit of railway history.


And this is the sort of scene one might be aiming for – a Schools 4-4-0 somewhere in the Stewarts Lane complex.  Perhaps I’ll sketch this up at some point as a future project.  But for now, it had better be back to Minories!


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Links for the weekend

Nick Falconer posted this on NGF, but it bears repetition – especially for the amazing vertical fiddle yard.  Ladies and gentlemen, please don’t try this at home…..

American based, but a good primer on freight yards….

British Railways, 1959 style….

BBC says that Titanic-linked train carriages discovered in yard.  They appear to be old LSWR boat train coaches, that pre-dated the ‘Ironclads’.

And and interesting site, looking at making mainly plastic aircraft and armour kits. Modelling Weekly – YouTube.  Not quite our thing, but what I found interesting is the painting methods, airbrushing the models with black and light grey primer to give shadow and wear and tear effects.  Easier watched than explained.  Try this one.  Does it have any railway applications for weathering models?

Have a good weekend!!

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ESNG meeting – 5 May 2021

Well, it might have been a Zoom meeting, but we were practising for escaping lockdown and the dreaded ‘Rule of Six’ this evening.  The Cha(i)rman was missing, presumably already asleep ready for work in the morning.  Paul was running the latest iteration of his layout, with up to 10 trains passing by on screen.  We had to turn the sound off once or twice, as the sound generated by all those N gauge bullet trains was deafening.  Only matched by Phil sneezing, that also took out a few ear-drums!!


Simon signed off, to watch Chelsea try and get to the Champions League final, but we were joined by Chris to keep the Rule of Six intact.


Conversation was of the usual low standard.  Paul must have been listening, as his account of the evening sounds pretty accurate to me!

ESNG Zoom meeting again this evening, possibly the penultimate one given that real live meetings are likely to return after 17th May. Not many participants, but interesting nevertheless. Topics under discussion included The Isle of Wight (again), the restored Brighton Belle Set, football including Chelsea, Norwich and Hereford FC, and a trip down memory lane to grounds and games that were visited or watched in the days of our youth. School sport was also on the menu, even more distant days of our youth. The shortage of British outline models was discussed and blamed on the container ship which ran aground in Egypt. No wildlife or pets appeared this week, but my trains made an appearance, running well although keeping a eye 10 trains running at once is a real handful.

What is exciting is that ESNG will start meeting again on 19 May.  Just the six of us at a time, but we should be able to set up a small modular circuit and run a few trains.

Kuritu II is nearly complete.  I’m stringing the overhead at the moment.  This aerial shot shows all the real estate.  More pictures to come soon.


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Potpourri #1024 – Southern style

Mainly Southern Railway today…..

Very modellable spots.  Merton Park….

merton park

Portsmouth Harbour…..

portsmouth harbour

And on the Isle of Wight, Newport…..


And Smallbrook Junction….


Two from Tenterden Town.  Before closure and preservation, two goods trains on the same day, both one van long, but with different Terriers.  Completely modellable!!!

Tenterden Towntenterden

Uckfield, 1921.


Too big to model, but a great picture.  Waterloo, around 1900……


But to finish with something completely different, and seemingly also too big to model, this 1/32 Shinkansen 500 is enormous and amazing!  It’s got it’s own Facebook page.

James Sauter writes in one post:

1:32 Shinkansen 500 Bullet Train Project

I thought I’d make a post about a project I’ve been working on for about 10 years now. This has been a total joy for me, and I am in no big hurry to finish.  I edit, modify, improve all my parts all the time, to try to get the best, most realistic looking and functioning parts possible. The bodies of all the cars are aluminium, but the hyper-complex nose cone and all small details including working motorized bogies are all being 3D printed.

The best parts about this project, are all the crazy side-shoots that have come from it. I had to teach myself Solidworks, which I LOVE !!!! I have designed my own “G-Shorty” scale/gauge train system. Based off the Japanese B-Shorty idea, but scaled up to G-Scale models. It’s basically taking a G-Scale train, and making it about 1/3 the length.

I have a long way to go, but again, I’m in no hurry at all


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Covid-19 diary – Kuritu II – 10 – Lessons learnt

Perhaps it’s a little early for a ‘lessons learnt’ for Kuritu, but this seems a good time to reflect, as I haven’t got all that much done this week.  We took the opportunity to go bluebell hunting, finding a fine display in Hatchlands Park on a sunny afternoon.


But back to trains!  I am still cleaning and fettling the track after ballasting to get smooth running (almost there), then I can add catenary and the lighting rig.  I’ve a busy, almost pre-covid, week ahead, but hope to get something done.  As for fettling the track, I was most impressed that my Union Mills T9 4-4-0 would happily go around the 6″ curves on Kuritu.  Well, I had to use something to test it all with……

So what have I learnt?

  1. Don’t be afraid to take a break from another project.  Actually, I’ve got too many unfinished projects lying about, but Kuritu has been a breath of fresh air, that I have really enjoyed.  I’m looking forward to getting back to Minories in a week or two, and the break has done me good.
  2. Small is most definitely beautiful.  On several levels!  A small layout can show rapid progress and encourages more to get done.  It’s interesting that both my lockdown layouts have been cut down versions of larger models.  And I’m getting older – small, light, baseboards are definitely the best for solo working.
  3. It’s been fun renovating another layout.  I really liked the original Kuritu, and though the new version doesn’t really resemble it (although the track layout is very similar, but smaller), salvaging the buildings and figures and vehicles has enabled me to keep some of the character of the original line.
  4. I do enjoy having a continuous run, to sit and watch the trains go by.
  5. Sometimes, Rule 1 is fun.  It’s been very freeing not to have to worry about the detail of what I am building.  No rivet counting, as long as it is vaguely Japanese.  This isn’t a criticism of accurate and detailed modelling, but sometimes it’s good just not to worry!
  6. On a practical note, I think that I’ve improved some of my scenic techniques, but have decided that I need to try static grass next time around.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post some final pictures of the layout before long.  Then back to Minories, although I have to prepare a presentation on my switching layout for the NGF virtual exhibition by the end of the month.

Perhaps the really exciting news for the week is that we have positively started to plan restarting ESNG club nights.  We can meet indoors in sixes from 17 May, so club nights will kick off again – in a covid-safe manner – from 19 May.  I can’t guarantee that we won’t have to shut down again, but it will be great to meet up again face to face.

And finally, an interesting modelling point.  I think that my N-gauge ballast looks awful, bitty and bumpy, but the ballast in this pre-Southern view of Ventor, IOW, is a complete mess.  Lumps everywhere, and bits lying on the sleepers.  Even I can do better than this.


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