On board Zimbabwe’s only commuter train – a photo essay

Some lovely photography, and an interesting railway themed article.

A PS to my recent blog on India’s high speed train – or more correctly ‘semi high-speed Vande Bharat Express’.

India high speed train breaks down on first trip

India’s fastest train has broken down on its first trip, a day after it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi.  The Indian-built semi high-speed Vande Bharat Express was returning to the capital Delhi from the city of Varanasi after its first outing when brakes in a carriage reportedly jammed.

Indian media quoted a railways spokesperson as saying the train may have struck cattle on the line.  The train reached a speed of 180km/hr (110mph) during trials.

High speed train…. Struck cattle….  I’m still not convinced!

Finally, a wonderful picture culled from RMWeb.  In the ‘prototype for everything’ department.  Or perhaps this is a prototypical ‘Rule 1’?

GWR steam loco in bogus LT livery, electric loco, 1960s SR unpowered EMU in fake teak livery, 1892 vintage four-wheel coach, and diesel loco.

Great fun though!

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On my workbench – mostly for the gloat box!

I’ve not made a lot of progress with railways recently, perhaps completing more shopping than actual modelling.  But here are a few odds and ends from the gloat box.

Repainting Microtrains and Atlas coaches into Lehigh Valley colours continues.  Having found a red that satisfies me, it’ll do for my home painted stock.  I bought a few pots of red and decided which one worked for me.  Interestingly, the ‘approved’ shade is BR Coach Crimson….

These coaches are not exactly right for LV heavyweights, but they’ll do the job.  Strangely, the red looks different in these pictures than it does to the naked eye, and the acrylic brush pot of paint is a slightly different shade to the enamel spray from the same company (with the same Halfords red spray primer.)  I give up!!


This unlettered black Bachmann 70 tonner was an Ebay bargain (a good price), and was too good to ignore.

A cheap Dapol ‘dummy’ Bubblecar.  I have no use for one of these units, beside the fact that I like them.  Perhaps I can couple it to the 70 tonner?

Another Ebay purchase – an NGS Seacow kit.  These are meant to be a pig to construct, but it’ll go well with my Farish one.

A little experimentation with European NEM couplers…..

Some Microtrains couplings to fit to my LV FA locos to pull the coaches….

And some Farish bits to finish off my NGS kits of Warflats and Warwells.  I have the loads in another box somewhere….

Other activities has included the continuing planning for N Gauge Southeast, and of course jobs around the home.

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Another prospective club member?

He’s obviously been playing trains with the ESNG members……

Indian minister posts speeded-up footage of new fast train

Video of Vande Bharat Express posted by Piyush Goyal was doctored to twice real speed.

India’s railways minister has been mocked for sharing a video of the country’s first locally built fast train – using footage that had been sped up to twice its normal speed.  Piyush Goyal posted the video of the Vande Bharat Express on his official Twitter and Facebook accounts on Sunday.

View the evidence here.  Judging by the accident record of the Indian railways, I’m not sure I’d want to be on this train at real speed, let alone Minister Speed.  Anyway, how do you hang on the outside when it’s going this fast?

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Bournemouth exhibition 2019 #1

The Cha(I)rman spent the weekend in Bournemouth helping Richard ‘Ollie’ Oliver with his Bournemouth Corporation bus display.  Allan writes:

Just got back from a weekend at the Bournemouth Model Railway Exhibition. I was there helping (or I think I was) Richard with his display of Bournemouth Corporation Transport. As its 50 years since there last trolleybuses ran.

Weather was not kind on the way down on Friday lunchtime. Heavy rain and a lot of spray on the motorways. The New Forest was showering water everywhere. The weekend away from work past too quickly. The event was held at the Hanworth Club in Magna Road. BH21 3AL. Near Bear Cross. The club has a large bar area and a frantic kitchen that provides great food and a Carvery on a Sunday. Which is well supported by members on a Sunday. The exhibition takes place in a hall, a large and a small room and the two badminton courts. We were in one of them.

This show is a very enjoyable show with some different layouts and traders from the more local ones we normally see in the South East. Please note the dates of the next show which is 8th & 9th of February 2020. Well worth a visit if you can make it.

And here are a selection of his photos, starting with Ollie’s buses.


And some of the layouts.  Firstly ‘Platform 7’.  Is DRS the new GWR?  Everyone seems to be modelling it!

See also Greasy End Depot….

West to Cornwall for China Clay at Melan Goose….

And Bodmin….


Southern Railway at Exton Quay….

A Gallic contribution from the snappily named Villefranche-la-Chapelle.  Don’t mention the rugby….

Gottingen Sud (don’t mention B**x**).


Folly Lane, one of a couple of ‘OO’ tail chasers….

I liked Alan’s Way (no relation).  Not only is it showing how model railways can be wheelchair accessible, but I like the concept of the layout split in the middle -British Rail and a preserved line (or a similar combination), I assume.


And finally, model trains as they used to be – Templeford, the rather excellent vintage ‘O’ gauge display.


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Just what you need for your layout

From a forum a long, long, way away…..

Might slow down those who don’t understand ‘fingerpoken’ or ‘12,000,000 microvolts’?

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ESNG meeting – 7 February 2019

A massive 13 members turned out yesterday evening, even without the Cha(I)rman, who had gone missing.  As the treasurer commented, ‘I didn’t know we had that many members!’

As for the trains, it was ‘Hallo Kitty’ time, as Paul’s latest bullet train had arrived.  Lovely model, but not convinced about the colour?


Business as usual with this full length bullet….

Phil’s Pannier on mail train duty….

Modern image from Neil, Martin and Paul…..


Martin’s box of tricks for tuning up (literally, as it has sound fitted) Neil’s Castle….

But there’s always time for a chat!

Peter’s fine WD 2-8-0, unusually pulling a train of Pullman cars!

And I just sat and watched the trains go by….

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Down memory lane

Recently I came across the site for Blacksmith Books, who publish a lot of Hong Kong and SE Asian books.  I couldn’t resist this one:

And the ‘blurb’:

For more than a century, trams have plied their trade along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island. During that time, they have witnessed the transformation of the local economy from a colonial backwater to the massive financial centre that is the modern city. The post-war years, from the 1960s onward, have seen the radical redevelopment of much of the area along streets such as Hennessy Road and Des Voeux Road, while the reclamation of land along the seafront has seen the tramway, which once skirted the shore, pushed further and further inland.

Today, Hong Kong trams still provide a vital public service, carrying vast numbers of passengers daily to and from their work or shops, and Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world where it is still possible to ride on the top deck of a double-deck tram. This album explores the history of the tramways of Hong Kong Island through the 20th century. Drawing upon a fascinating selection of photographs, most of which have never been published before, it traces the evolution of the streetscape over that period – giving readers a vivid reminder of a city that has been radically altered over the past half-century.

Thumbing through the book, I was delighted to see that a significant number of photographs dated from October 1981, when I was visiting HK for work for the first time – and Maxine was about to join me for a holiday.  This really brought back memories – most of them good ones!

Here’s a typical page from the book:

And these photographs, from elsewhere on the internet, were also taken in autumn 1981.


The other book I bought was the “Confessions of a Hong Kong Naturalist”.  (Note: naturalist not naturist.)  This brings back memories of the HK countryside and flora and fauna….

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