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MikeOxon's Pre-Grouping Blog


North Leigh Creamery

Posted by MikeOxon , 15 April 2018 - * * * * * · 531 views

It's been a cold, wet, dull, Spring and I have been finding it difficult to gain much inspiration for modelling. I got somewhat bogged down in the intricacies of what Amy Wilcote calls those 'old broad gauge things'. I have, however, been enjoying viewing the splendid work shown by other modellers, in various threads on this site. So, in an attempt to...


A Tender for No.184 - part 2

Posted by MikeOxon , 09 July 2017 - * * * * * · 556 views

A Tender for No.184 - part 2 I realise that I left matters hanging with the tender for No.184 , in my post of almost two years ago! 
The awful truth is that I rather lost interest, when I found that I had made the frames of the locomotive too wide, so that the outside cranks tended to bind. I simply couldn’t face starting again from scratch until, quite recently, I hit on the id...


Red Wagons - Experimental Archaeology - update

Posted by MikeOxon , 16 January 2017 - - - - - - · 465 views

EDIT - before getting excited about this 'new evidence', please see the reply from K14 at Didcot GWS, below. The 'red wagon' mystery continues....  
This is just a brief addition, to draw attention to new evidence regarding 'red' GWR wagons. I am grateful to Miss Prism, who referred to it in Mikkel's Pre-Grouping thread . 
This new information a...


Red Wagons - Experimental Archaeology

Posted by MikeOxon , 06 September 2016 - * * * * * · 1,457 views

Red Wagons - Experimental Archaeology Some time has elapsed since I first decided to paint the wagons red on my GWR 'North Leigh' railway but I still look out for any further information that may shed further light on when and where this colour was used. 
My 1st edition copy of 'Great Western Way'(GWW) stated: "it would seem to be about the end of the 1870s that wagons and vans...


Still Here

Posted by MikeOxon , 04 July 2016 - - - - - - · 671 views

It's quite a while since I've posted anything here - too many (pleasant) distractions have got in the way of modelling, of late. I keep getting 'flash-forwards' to a strange 21st century world, full of confusions - so different from the settled era we enjoy under our gracious Queen Empress Victoria. 
I've been playing with a new ultra-wide-angle len...


A Different Type of Railway

Posted by MikeOxon , 12 April 2016 - * * * * * · 1,159 views
GWR, Broad Gauge, Pre-Grouping
A Different Type of Railway In my previous entry , I mentioned some of the research that I have been doing into Brunel's 'Broad Gauge' railway. There are several old books that provide a detailed survey of the early days of the GWR. One that I found particularly useful is the 'History of the GWR ' by G A Nokes (2nd edtion, 1895) . The preface begins: "I would remind the reader that...


Visit to Abingdon Show

Posted by MikeOxon , 21 March 2016 - * * * * * · 978 views

Visit to Abingdon Show As I have been delving into 19th century history, I have inevitably become interested in the broad gauge period of the GWR. Throughout the Winter I have been doing a lot of reading but very little modelling. Almost everything about the broad gauge was 'different' and I have been 'stalled' over how to make a start. Last year, I joined the Broad Gauge...


Truncated Posts

Posted by MikeOxon , 19 February 2016 - - - - - - · 290 views

As others have already noted, recent 'updates' to this website played havoc with many entries. 
EDIT 21st Feb -I am very pleased to see that the problems have now been sorted, This blog appears to be readable again :)
I am sure that this has given sleepless nights to the administrators, so appreciate their efforts. I hope, too, that their s...


A Year in Retrospect

Posted by MikeOxon , 31 December 2015 - * * * * * · 897 views

Whereas 2014 was a time of heady excitement for me, as I started to realise the possibilities of my new Silhouette cutter, 2015 has been more a period of consolidation.

The potential to build my own timber-framed carriages meant that my aim of re-creating a small glimpse of the Victorian railway scene became a reality through 2014 and, inspired by these...


GWR 19th Century Carriage Development

Posted by MikeOxon , 20 November 2015 - * * * * * · 1,508 views

Whereas there are 'umpteen books about the development of the steam locomotive, relatively little has been written about early railway carriages. One of my aims in making models of some earlier carriages was to hep me visualise the changes that took place in the mid-19th century.

As railways moved from purely industrial uses to the carriage of people, th...


Early GWR Passenger Brake (Break) Van

Posted by MikeOxon , 15 November 2015 - * * * * * · 1,043 views

Early GWR Passenger Brake (Break) Van It's been a longer interval than usual since my last entry in this blog. Readers of the forums may know that this is because I recently spent a month in SE Asia and, in passing, took a few photos of the Sabah Railway

Before I left, I had decided to build a brake van to accompany the early 4-wheel coaches that I described in a previous post . Like the c...


A Tender for No.184 - part 1

Posted by MikeOxon , 12 September 2015 - * * * * * · 580 views

A Tender for No.184 - part 1 It's been a while since my last entry in this blog - lots of summertime activities getting in the way of modelling! I've also had that common modeller's problem of having so many things to do that it's been hard to decide where to start.

I'm afraid that I have, once again, ignored Blanche's petulant pleas for new dresses and got down to the more mundane...


Comparing Armstrong 2-2-2s

Posted by MikeOxon , 20 July 2015 - * * * * * · 1,492 views

It's now over two years since I built my first locomotive from scratch, using brass sheet. It's still looking quite good and helped to inspire me to continue with building lots more scratch-built stock. For more information about my model, see 'Railway Modeller ', July 2014, "Simply Victorian ". 
My model of the GWR 'Queen' class  It really wa...


Making Curved Coach Roofs

Posted by MikeOxon , 06 July 2015 - * * * * * · 1,523 views

Making Curved Coach Roofs I meant to mention, in my previous entry, how I made the curved plasticard roofs for my early GWR coaches. I have read about wrapping plasticard sheet around an empty wine bottle, filled with boiling water, in order to 'set' the curve. Somehow, I'm always uneasy about pouring boiling water into glass bottles, so looked for an alternative - beer cans cam...


Two More Early Coaches

Posted by MikeOxon , 29 June 2015 - * * * * * · 1,052 views

Two More Early Coaches As an excuse for not having added all the finishing touches to my early GWR composite coach, I wrote that I was planning to build its companion coaches that appear in the 1873 New Milford photo.

Whereas I found a good side-on photo of the composite coach, I have not found anything similar to help me determine the dimensions of these other coaches. Bec...


Early GWR Coaches - Building the Body

Posted by MikeOxon , 15 June 2015 - * * * * * · 839 views

Early GWR Coaches - Building the Body Having shown my printed coach sides in the previous post , 'all' I had to do to complete the coach was to assemble the 'box' structure and add wheels. These small tasks have taken some time, as a result of other distractions but, apart from final detailing, I can now show the coach on the track and alongside some later (1870s) GWR designs. 
In order...


Early GWR Coaches - Printing Sides

Posted by MikeOxon , 29 May 2015 - * * * * * · 1,298 views

Early GWR Coaches - Printing Sides My previous post in this series about modelling early GWR coaches ended with the comment: " All that remains is to try and establish some dimensions and start cutting ." 
Since there are several good side-on photographs of these early coaches, it is only necessary to establish one firm measurement and then scale all the other dimensions to this know...


Early GWR Coaches - 'Armchair' Research

Posted by MikeOxon , 27 May 2015 - * * * * * · 1,335 views

Early GWR Coaches - 'Armchair' Research Since my previous entry , I've been spending some time thinking about possible coaches to model for my North Leigh branch. I have found that information rapidly becomes much more sparse, as one delves earlier into the Victorian period 
There's an additional twist, in the case of GWR coaches, in that the early GWR was a broad gauge railway and the ear...


Back-dating 'Ratio' GWR Coaches

Posted by MikeOxon , 16 May 2015 - * * * * * · 1,579 views

Back-dating 'Ratio' GWR Coaches The 4mm 'Ratio' kits of GWR 4-wheel coaches have long been popular and probably provided an introduction to kit-building for a great many modellers. The moulds have been re-furbished and they continue to be available at an attractively low price. There's also a lot of useful prototype and construction information in an article by Mikkel at http://www.gwr....


North Leigh Blanket Traffic

Posted by MikeOxon , 07 May 2015 - * * * * * · 801 views

For the last couple of weeks, I have been dealing with various track issues and tidying up bits of scenery, none of which makes for very interesting blog writing! I noticed, however, in Mikkel's workshop thread some comments about Witney blanket trains , which reminded me of a photo that I had seen of a GWR 'Queen' class 2-2-2 heading such a train. This s...

Welcome to my blog!

This blog aims to follow the conversion of my existing layout to an earlier time-frame. I hope that others will find it of interest and helpful, especially if they are also considering the Pre-Grouping era.


To help readers to find their way around, I have provided a brief description of the plan of my railway and the structure of this blog in this link : "Read Me First"


I also have another blog about Broad-Gauge modelling


1. Construction Articles:



GWR 'Absorbed' Engine No.184Wagons


Silhouette-cut Coach Sides



Horse-drawn VehiclesLining & Lettering2. Scenery and Background Articles


Layout design / Scenery

009 Narrow GaugePhotography & VideoMiscellaneous

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