Monday, 15 November 2010

Bure Valley Railway

BVR No. 8

This summer we visited the Bure Valley Railway, a 15" gauge miniature railway, built on trackbed of the old standard gauge branch line from Wroxham to Aylsham. After told my two year old daughter we were going on a steam train, she announced that she they were noisy and she didn't like going in the dark. We eventually realised that she must be remembering a visit to Moors Valley the previous summer, where she was upset by other children screaming as the train went through a tunnel. Fortunately she thought the tunnel was brilliant this time and we all had an enjoyable ride.  The scenery isn't spectacular, and the intermediate stops are halts rather than stations, and it's a short walk at the Wroxham end of the line to the river. There is a path running most of the length of the line, and some connecting footpaths so it would have been possible to walk some of the return journey and have additional photo opportunities, however the weather was looking ominous and the children were a bit tired, so we got the train back.

Of course Colin Lea has visited it (I'm beginning to think he's visited every narrow gauge line in the country) and gave it 65% on his marking system.

Here's a couple more photos, there's plenty more in my Bure Valley Railway Set on Flickr.

BVR Diesel

BVR No. 8

Bure Valley Railway
Bure Valley Railway Set on Flickr

Friday, 12 November 2010

ExpoNG 2010

ExpoNG is one of bigger specialist narrow gauge shows. I've never been as it's just under 2 hours drive away and I only passed my test this summer. This year there were a few layouts I really wanted to see I decided to brave the M25 to get there.

Rhyd Ddu (009)

ExpoNG was the first exhibition of Colin Lea's Rhyd Ddu, and was one of the reasons I made the trip. It didn't disappoint, and Colin looked delighted to be there despite a few minor issues which you can read about on his blog.

Koonunga Junction (On30)

Koonunga Junction is an Australian On30 layout, built in France which made great use of sound. As well as the trains there were plenty of atmospheric sounds and bird songs including the distinctive laughter of the Kookaburra.

Punta Marina (O-16.5)

Punta Marina by Henk Wust was a worthy winner of the Reinier Hendriksen trophy. Henk was very friendly and delighted in telling visitors about his layout.

Gweek North Quay (O16.5)

Gweek North Quay was the winner of the David Lloyd Trophy. I particularly liked the village end of the layout with the terraced cottages on the slope up from the harbour and the railway disappearing between the buildings in a totally believable way.

There are plenty more ExpoNG photos and reports from Michael Campbell, Simon Cox, Tom Dauben, Steve Fulljames, and Chris Ford.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Lymington Branch

Lymington Flyer

22nd May 2010 was the last day of operation for slam door EMUs operated on the Lymington Branch. The two 3CIGs, 1497 (Freshwater) and 1498 (Farringford) have now been replaced by a 158 and Desiro. We went down the weekend before for our last chance to ride on these trains. 1497 Freshwater in Blue/Grey was operating the line that day. We caught the train down to Lymington Pier, and got off to take some photos and look around. There isn't much at Lymington Peir, so we caught the next train back to Lymington Town, then walked down to the quayside to have our lunch. As we were finishing lunch we fishing boat came in and started unloading its catch of cuttlefish. After a stop at the playground we headed back to the station when I took a few more photos and then headed home. On the way back I took a few photos at Brokenhurst, including a couple of the unusual swing bridge which would have originally been for parcel trolleys, and has been kept to provide disabled access.

Monday, 27 September 2010

009 Modules


I've been sketching out some ideas for modules for an 009 modular system which is under development. All 3 modules could represent parts of my fictional modern Welsh narrow gauge network, but hopefully wouldn't look too specific to that region.

1. Is based on this bit of the WLLR. After drawing it I realised it might be better if the river didn't go over the ends of the modules as that would be hard to make look good, so I would change that if I built it.

2. Is based on the Aberglaslyn tunnels, with the line running between two tunnels. I'm assuming modules with backscenes that wrap around the module ends for this one, but it could have a short tunnel in the middle there weren't backscenes between modules.

3. A junction station which could be used either as a straight module, a corner module or as a junction module. There is double track leaving on the left end, but the rear track wouldn't continue if the next module didn't have double track. The platforms would be low (WHR style) and the road would be on a retaining wall behind the station. There might be houses in the top left, or I might make it two boards with the left hand board being narrower that the right. It's very loosely based on the idea that the Llanberis Lake Railway have extended to Caernarfon.

Oh, and if you're wondering what the beer is, it's Wells Bombardier.

Friday, 27 August 2010

A rainy Sunday afternoon

It was raining on Sunday afternoon, and rather than go swimming in a river with friends, I spent a while working on the pizza layout.  My two year old was fascinated and sat watching me, asking questions, and telling me what she thought I should add next.  Her ideas were surprisingly similar to some of my plans.  I spent a while cutting the polystyrene to get the shape of the cutting right.  It obviously made a difference as my wife looked at it and observed that "it looks like a landscape now".  Since last time I blogged about the pizza I've also added some card edging and started painting the bridge.  I think I've got the effect of mortar which has gone black with age, but I need dry brush the bricks, and possibly add some newer mortar.  Looking at some pictures of bridges shows that the bricks end up a variety of colours, browns, greens, dark greys and off white all featuring as well as some newer bricks which are still brick colour.  I was going to add a photo, but I've not managed to take one this week.  Hopefully I'll spend some more time building stuff next week and I'll post some pictures then.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Isle of Wight Railways

Last summer we spent a week on the Isle of Wight and visited the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. We got a day rover which also allowed us to take a trip on the Island Line too. This was well worth doing as travelling on an old tube train through sunny green countryside was a memorable experience. We caught the Island Line from Smallbrook Junction to Brading, then back to Ryde Pier Head. After having a snack and watching the hovercraft coming in from Portsmouth we headed back to Smallbrook Junction for what was suppose to be a 10 minute wait for the steam train. Unfortunately the locomotive had problems and we had a 45 minute wait. This gave me the opportunity to take some more photos of the Island Line trains, and to chat to one of the volunteers who told us that they would like to extend the line to Ryde St John's Road by running over the Island Line's tracks. Apparently South West Trains are sympathetic to this plan as it would simplify their timetables by eliminating the need to stop at Smallbrook Junction, but I don't think there are any official plans in place yet. Once we were back at Havenstreet we had our lunch and looked round the station and museum, and workshops where there was a carriage being painted and a stripped down O2 class. I liked this retro-style poster for the L&B railway.

Here's a couple more photos, the rest are on Flickr in sets for the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and the Island Line.


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

OO Module Mockup

A common suggestion when planning a layout is to build a small scale model as an aid to visualising what the completed model is going to look like.  Since I wanted to be able to visualise how a much space my theoretical continuous run set up would take in the lounge I decided that some full size module templates would be needed.  If I just wanted to see how much space they would take up I could have cut templates of of paper, but I wanted to see how sturdy a lightweight baseboard was likely to be, and see where it could be stored.  A few hours over a couple of afternoons with a knife, some corrugated cardboard and a glue gun gave me this.


It's stronger than I thought it would be, and the real thing would have more bracing, so I don't think strength will be an issue.  Modules of this size would also be fairly light if made out of foamcore, and if they were made so that they could be stacked then it would be fairly easy to store a few on top of a wardrobe. 

Of course if I want a continuous run then I'll need some curved modules too, so I got out the lining paper and made a couple of templates.  A length of Flexitrack and an intermodal twin set proved that the curves will be tighter than I'd like, but I don't think they'll be so tight that I can't live with them.


So in theory I think it could work. However I have a couple of reservations, the first is that I've only got a couple of scenic ideas for the curved modules, and I can't work out how I'd match these ideas up with the ideas I have for the straight modules. The second is the number of modules I'd need for a continuous run. If I make each curved module 60°, then that's 6 modules just to make a circle. If I add in two 3' long straight modules, I'll just have a big train set, with no sidings, so I think I need two 3' modules on each side of the oval. This puts me up to 10 modules, and I think the set-up and take down time, problems with board joins, and amount of room the set-up would take would mean I'd not play trains very often.

I've not got a great deal of modelling time at the moment, so I've a while to mull the options over. One option would be to build a single straight module to get my hand in, and then it could either be used as a photo diorama or be connected to some future project.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Narrow Gauge South 2010


It's now just over a month since Narrow Gauge South, and I've finally got round to uploading the photos I took to Flickr!  We had a good day out, and had our first picnic of the year.  I didn't take many photos, since I spent most of the day carrying my 2 year old daughter around so that she could see the layouts.  Her favourite was Torreton (pictured above), and she spent a few minutes looking in the mine excitedly waiting for the train to pop out.  She had definite ideas about which layouts she wanted to see, and on one occasion pointed out a layout that I'd missed!

Particular highlights for me were the Clydach Valley Railway, an impressive fictional preserved railway which managed to pull of the 009 cliché of having stock from well known Welsh lines; Khan, an 009 portrayal of German military railways in Namibia, and finally seeing Dunbracken.  I also bought a couple of things, but more about that later.

Mick Thornton
Michael Campbell: Blog Post, Pictures.
Fairlight Works: Blog Part 1, Blog Part 2, Pictures
Jamie Warne

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Sleeper stacks at Eastleigh


I took this photo last summer at Eastleigh Station. I'd seen these piles of sleepers as I passed through the station and noticed that they were high enough that the trains on the tracks behind them were completely hidden. I though it could be a good scene to recreate on a model railway so the next time I changed trains at Eastleigh I took some photos with my cameraphone. It could be used as a different way to disguise an exit to a fiddleyard, or the area behind the sleepers could be used as on-scene staging, i.e. an area that is partly hidden, where wagons can be replaced. Most of the sleepers have now been cleared away, but there are still a few, along with some piles of old ballast and plenty of Buddleja.

So am I going to build this scene? Well I'm not planning on designing a layout around it, but if I find myself building a layout where it would fit in then I might, though building the sleeper piles would take a lot of time and patience.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Linkdump: Spring 2010

I currently have just under 40 draft posts.  Part of the reason for this is that I kept dumping links of things I find interesting or useful into draft posts.  To tidy things up a bit I've decided to collect all the things I've found recently in one post, with short comments.

Dales Peak: Going, going, gone! - A neat stacking module designs (and some destruction).
Micro 009 layout plans by Ian Holmes, one of which is now under construction.
Cool chipped paint via @Scalescenes - using salt, hairspray and paint.
Phil's Workbench: Tea leaves as ballast - I think this would also work as leaf litter in the larger scales.
Strange Worlds: Flickr Stream and article via Model Railroaders Anonymous - realistic dioramas made out of unconventional materials.
Traeth Mawr Railway: Assembling the backboard - Huw's Ffestiniog inspired layout begins to take shape.
Mick's Projects: Dartmoor Farm - a farm building built from card & and manilla envelope.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Intermodal wagons

For my own reference I've been compiling a list of intermodal wagons which are used by Freightliner and EWS/DBS on their intermodal services. The wagon codes link to galleries of that wagon on UK Rolling Stock. I've not included wagons that are use only on specific services, or those not yet in revenue service.

EWS/DB Schenker
FIA/IFA 'multifret' - Bachmann make an FIA Intermodal twin set in EWS and Railfrieght distribution liveries.
FAA are the most distinctive wagons used by EWS as they are single wagons with a low central deck. A kit for the FAA is produced by Genesis Kits.
FCA - twin wagons which look similar to the FEAs.  Inter-City Models have a kit listed.
FKA low-deck twin wagons used by EWS. Similar to the IKA 'Megafrets' used by Freighliner.  A kit is produced by Genesis Kits

FEA-B (Spine Wagons) twin sets which are operated by Freightliner, GBRf, and Fastline. A model is produced by Dapol.
FEA-E (Spine Wagons)  a single wagon version.  It might be possible to build one from a Dapol FEA-B set.
IKA "Megafret" - A model is produced by Dapol in OO and N.
KTA/KQA pocket wagons are used by Freightliner, and most Freightliner Intermodal trains in the Southampton area some of these wagons. Dapol produce a model in OO and N.
FFA/FGA - used by Freightliner - There is an old Hornby based on this wagon or a stunning looking kit by Colin Craig
FLA Lowliners - an OO model is made by Real Track Models (a collaboration between C-Rail and DC Kits)
KFA - Hornby produce this single wagon complete with containers.
FSA & FTA - Nick Gurney has constructed these for his Holland Park by butchering Bachmann 'multifrets', though this requires one twin set to produce a single wagon. A picture of completed wagon can be seen here

Freightliner on their Wagon Fleet

KAA - Single wagons which can be used to carry trailers as well as containers.  A kit is produced by Genesis Kits
FEA-B (Spine Wagons) - model produced by Dapol

Thursday, 22 April 2010



Last night made a card footplate to go around the Life Like GP38 chassis that I'm planning on using for my Drewrybash diesel.  I'm was concerned that my design was going to be too long for the chassis, as it is around 13cm long, the chassis is just under 10cm to the end of the bogies, or about 12cm to the ends of the rapido couplers (which I don't plan on using). Building the footplate confirmed that is was too long, so I've now got to decide how to make the loco shorter. I posted this on my workbench thread on ngrm-online and the consensus seems to be that I need to remove one body panel. Other ways of saving length would be changing to a single bonnet design, reducing the length of the footplate at the ends of the loco, however both of these would make it look more like the loco the kit is supposed to build. I'll have to re-read the advice I received on how the mechanics of this loco would affect the bonnet designs, and then do a bit of experimentation to see if I can come up with something I'm happy with.