I’ll report on the show next week, when I’ve recovered, but in the meantime, this video is pure genius – and a modelling challenge.

Whoever designed this monorail track in Japan is a genius.

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Saturday is almost here

It’s almost here!  This evening we’ll go into battle to get the school organised for the show, and welcome the first exhibitors.  Then Saturday, it’s all hard work and hopefully a lot of fun meeting old and new friends.

And, of course, being ESNG we have already booked the curry house for the evening!

It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride getting here, but the final product looks good.  If you are in the UK and within range of south London and like N gauge, come along!

Surprisingly, there were eight people wanting to run trains at Thursday’s ESNG meeting.  So run trains we did!



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A few more odds and ends that I’ve been saving…..

Riding the tube – a photo essay.  During his commute into central London, photographer Stefan Rousseau has started taking pictures of his fellow passengers, who are often absorbed in their own sleep-deprived worlds

For over 20 years as a photographer I have commuted into central London by car, experiencing a rush hour of anonymous, expressionless drivers hidden in their mobile steel boxes with no interaction other than through beeps of horns and the flashing of headlights. More recently I’ve been leaving my car at home and have joined the bankers and the builders, the day trippers and the tourists on the London Underground for a quicker, less stressful journey into work.

Reminds me why I’m glad I never had to commute by tube!

Professional interest here.  Sewerage engineers saved far more lives than doctors – and the king of them was Sir Joseph Bazalgette.

Bazalgette, who was born in Enfield, is under the feet of Londoners, metaphorically speaking, every minute of every day. He built the three Embankments and the roads and gardens above at staggering speed. He reclaimed over 50 acres of prime riverfront, planned parks and built 80 miles of main sewers, 1,000 miles of street sewers, four pumping stations, three Thames bridges and at least five major London roads.

And a Hong Kong subway incident.  Makes all our UK rail trouble look trivial:

Network operator Mass Transit Railway (MTR) said sections of the Tsuen Wan Line had been suspended and urged commuters to avoid the route affected and to use other forms of transport if possible.

Hong Kong’s subway network is used by up to six million people on weekdays, Reuters news agency reports.

I’d like to see them all try and get on the trams….

The Brighton Belle is back….

Room for extra baggage: Iconic Brighton Belle train is restored to 1950s glory after £6m revamp (including wider aisles and seats for today’s plumper passenger)

The passengers probably would also like to be restored to their 1950’s glory….

And finally, the early days of the London Underground…

Gilded mirrors and underground bars – the Tube as it used to look

Steam hauled and open carriages – must have done wonders for one’s top hat!

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London Festival of Railway Modelling – 2019 – #3

Last visit to Ally Pally – I guess that next week I shall be blogging about N Gauge Southeast.  It’s been a busy few days working through the final details!

Another favourite from the show was Eccleston (P4).  In some ways a fairly standard urban branch line terminus, but the Lancashire and Yorkshire prototype is not a common one, and the modelling is all very well done.  It’s amazing that this layout was started 36 years ago.  I wish that I could be as focussed in my interests!

And the chimney is removeable for transport….


Burtisland 1883 (P4) is continues to expand, and the era chosen means that just about all the stock is scratch built.  The layout is a close to scale representation of Fife before the Tay bridge was completed.


Looking forward to welcoming Lightermans Yard (2mm FS) to NGSE next weekend!


New Kensal Green (OO) is a fictional ex-GWR steam shed in the London area.


Another layout coming to NGSE is Little Ashton (N), a modern locomotive depot.

Clearwater Harbour (On30)


Three stations, Llwyn Grug (N), Troutbeck Bridge (OO) and Arlingham (EM).


And that’s all for this year, folks!

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London Festival of Railway Modelling – 2019 – #2

And on with the layouts! Ballyconnell Road is unusual – 3mm/ft scale is unusual in itself, but this layout is 15.75mm gauge, representing the Irish 5′ 3″ lines.   I also really like the circular layout plan.

And another road – Dunkow in ‘N’.

The next layout, Porth Nefyn (O with narrow gauge) must have been a late substitute, as it doesn’t appear in the show guide (I have some sympathy with the writers.)  That’s a shame; set on the Cambrian, somewhere in Wales, it was one of the nicest layouts on display. And I loved that rake of old horse boxes.


A gauge ‘O’ model of Harpenden East…

And gauge ‘1’ steam at rest….

More ‘O’ gauge Southern Railway at North Foreland…

Arigna (OOn3) has developed a lot more vegetation since I last saw it.  It’s a delightful creation of a bucolic byway.


Lymebrook Yard (N) shows what a convincing little layout can be made on the classic baseboard – 4′ x 2’…

More Southern Region with Thornbury Hill, set somewhere in the inner suburbs on the London Victoria – Brighton main line.  And yes, the 4-DD unit never made it to this line, but orbited around the Dartford Loop.  But it’s MY railway…..


And last for today, the delightful ‘Habbaniya, Iraq, 1941.  This diorama does have moving trains and vehicles, but it is full of interesting techniques that could be applied to railway models.  Not least, the forced perspective, with 1/32 at the front and 1/700 at the back.

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London Festival of Railway Modelling – 2019 – #1

Last Saturday it was my annual pilgrimage to the London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace.  As usual, I went with my ex-work colleague Malcolm (unfortunately Peter can’t make it up the hill from the station these days.)  It’s a simple journey from Redhill to north London – train to Victoria, Victoria line underground to Finsbury Park, then three stops on the Kings Cross suburban lines to Ally Pally.  And lastly the long haul for 1/2 a mile up the hill to the Palace.

I do like Alexandra Palace as a venue, as it’s light and airy, with plenty of room between the exhibits.  Although some of the layouts on display were ‘old friends’, there is always something excellent to look at.  And I enjoyed running into a number of other friends, in front of or behind the exhibits.  This picture culled from RMWeb gives the idea.  It makes an interesting contrast to the shed of the Stuttgart halls.

I was on my best behaviour, and didn’t buy much at all.  Really, there was not much there I actually wanted, let alone needed, so I kept my money for the expensive catering.  I enjoyed my pint and pasty, despite not recognising that I had been given a chicken rather than cheese and onion pasty till I was half way through it.

So here are (most of) the layouts on display, in no particular order.

Fenchurch St Peter in (OO) captures the air of a secondary line somewhere in the Fens.  The warehouse buildings remind me of childhood holidays in East Dereham and Norwich.


Putnam (HO) is inspired by the New York Central Railroad, near New York.


The Bridge at Remagen (N) is a true scale model of the Ludenorff bridge over the Rhine.  The scenery is expansive, but it is also unusual in being set in 1944, with armoured trains and plenty of German tanks on the move by rail.  I have heard of layouts showing ‘trains in the landscape’, but this takes it to a new level – trains difficult to spot in the landscape due to the camouflage.


Kayreuth is also set in Germany, but is dated around the millennium.  Always plenty of action on this well detailed urban layout.


Changing continent, and pace, Megantic (On2) is based on the Maine 2ft narrow gauge system, an attractive prototype less well known than the Colorado 3ft lines.

Another old friend is Ian Lampkin’s Santa Barbara (N).  A near scale model of this BNSF station in California, it’s good for trainspotting!  Ian seems to be ubiquitous at shows, and is bringing his Banbury layout to our N Gauge SouthEast exhibition.


Lower Exbury (P4) might be described as small but perfectly formed.  I’ve seen this little Hampshire light railway in BR days an number of times, but the details are always worth another look.  I was amused that Alison Barker, the operator, was dressed in a 1950’s outfit that match the lady standing on the station platform.  I then forgot to get myself 3-D scanned at the Modelu stand – I was not intending to wear a polka dotted skirt, I hasten to add…..


A quiet moment at Oldshaw (EM).

And a quieter moment at Wickwar (N).  I think they were having a few electrical problems!

Finally today, Rolvendon K&ESR (P4).  A another lovely bit of light railway, thanks to Colonel Stephens.  The old ‘Ilfracombe Goods’ 0-6-0 in the third photograph has always been a favourite locomotive.


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Riding the L

I am still processing my Ally Pally photos, so I’ll be blogging those from next time.

For today, here’s 80 minutes of travel on the Chicago interurbans.  Useful for USA prototype modellers as it shows the backs of properties backing onto the railway.

And a lovely quote from the great US modeller, John Allen:

“The fact that I may half hide a full sized replica of a snake in my scenery, or pose a much oversized miniature alligator pursuing and unconcerned fisherman in a boat, is there because this amuses me, not that I don’t know better.”
John Allen, “The Wizard of Monterey”

My sort of approach to modelling!

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