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Entries in this blog

The Great Unrest: Modelling the 1911 railway strike

Here’s an attempt to reenact the 1911 railway strike in OO. The strike was an important but sometimes overlooked event in the social history of Britain's railways, and involved some very unusual scenes. The cameos are based on contemporary photos, but transposed to my own Farthing layouts.     1. The strike begins     “The Great Unrest” was a period of labour unrest during the years 1911-1914.        The period saw more industrial dispu

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Regrettable incident at 3 PM

Over the years I’ve gathered a small collection of anecdotes and photos that document quirky situations and customs on the real-life railway. The idea is to re-enact them in model form while the glue dries on other projects. The Slipper Boy story was one attempt at this, although admittedly that one got a bit out of hand!   Here’s another, simpler one.  First, the props:                        

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Mikkel in Stories

One morning long ago

One morning long ago, an 1854 class shunted the Old Yard at Farthing.         The crew were slightly bored. Nothing much ever happened in the Old Yard. Just a handful of sidings.     A carman (sic) watched them roll by, perched on his trolley (Birmingham pattern). The carmen at Farthing were famous for not using reins.          William Simmons was particularly skilled. Known as The Horse Whisperer, he worked with

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Mikkel in Stories

Secrets of the Drawing Office (2)

This is the second part of an account by Pickle S. Finkerbury - railway historian and time traveller - describing certain key events in the evolution of GWR wagon brakes at the turn of the last century. Part one is here.        Just as the bewildered L.R. Thomas was about to regain composure, an elegantly dressed man approached them. It was none other than...   …George Jackson Churchward, at this time the Chief Assistant to William Dean at Swindon Work

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Mikkel in Stories

Secrets of the Drawing Office (1)

Greetings everyone – Pickle S. Finkerbury here, railway historian and time traveller. As previously explained, I have a knack for being in the right place at the right time, which has provided me with unique insights into certain unknown aspects of GWR matters. Here is another extract from my files:      Farthing, early 1900s. It is well known that the GWR treated the workers at Swindon to an annual excursion by rail. What is less known is that the top management at Swindo

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Mikkel in Stories

The Finkerbury files: Secrets of the footplate

Yesterday I went to get some things in the attic of the old apartment block where we now live. Each flat has a tiny storage room, and as I entered the attic I noticed that one door was ajar.     Feeling curious, I had a look inside. The room was empty,  but someone had left an old filing cabinet in the corner.     Imagine my surprise when, inside the cabinet, I found a number of files marked “Farthing”. With trembling hands I opened the first file, and…

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Mikkel in Stories

The honourable slipper boy - Part 2

This is the second part of a story based on a real incident on the Great Western at the turn of the century. It draws on the transcripts of a court case at Old Bailey. The story is narrated by Dennis Watts, a slipper boy in the employment of the GWR. Part one is here.       As I stood there, surrounded by thieves in a dark corner of the goods yard, I thought my last hour had come. Luckily the moon came out, which seemed to unsettle them, and so they let me go.  

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Mikkel in Stories

Fitted fish and piles (1947)

More "forward-dating" of Farthing here, this time to 1947, with some of my ageing RTR stock brought into play.     No. 9319 of the 93xx Class serving as station pilot at Farthing. At this point in time Hawksworth is in office at Paddington, but the loco carries the hallmarks of his predecessors Churchward and Collett. This is the Bachmann model with just a bit of light weathering. Not too sure about the chimney and other details, but I do like the GWR 2-6-0s.    

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Bunker first (1927)

Farthing is normally set in 1907, but a while ago I decided to give my "out of period" stock a bit more attention by doing dedicated operating sessions for alternative time periods. Yesterday was a "1927" day, and here are a few shots. Above, Small Metro No. 1492 runs bunker first during shunting operations in the bay area. The loco features the enclosed cab and Collett style bunker with which many of the older tank locos were fitted in the 1920s.       Driver Henry Pull

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Mikkel in Stories

The Remains of the Day

While researching a book on the real Farthing station, I recently acquired a set of photos from the 1900-1910 period that I thought I would share here. My sources in Farthing have been able to provide a bit of background on some of the staff featured in the photos. Above, we see the bay platform at Farthing, with station staff in attendance. The stationmaster Mr A. Woodcourt is seen second from the left. The stock presents something of a mystery. While it has been known for some time that loco N

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Mikkel in Stories

Blue skies and horse traffic

It is afternoon in the Overbourne bay at Farthing station. The all third "strengthener" rests in one of the sidings, while a worker from a local cartage company is lost in thought. The coach reveals that I'm still in the process of fitting couplings to some of the stock.       The regular branch engine No. 1961 of the "850" Class shunts a horsebox to diagram N5 into the horse dock. The horse seems nervous at the prospect of travelling inside a box on wheels. Perhaps in re

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A parcel for Mr Ahern

Our story begins inside a parcels van on the Westbury to Farthing stopping train. The parcel in the middle is of particular interest to us. It is addressed to a Mr Ahern at No. 7, Memory Lane, Farthing.         Safely arrived in the bay at Farthing, the parcels are handled by Porter P.W. Saunders. The one for Mr Ahern is under his hand. The flat package in front contains a scientific manuscript, in which a certain A. Einstein proposes that space and time are not con

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A most implausible arrival

One of the reasons I chose to model Farthing was the rather unusual combination of stock sometimes seen in that area. In this case, East meets West as the thoroughly Cornish 0-4-4T No. 34 heads a train of Holden 4-wheelers from the Metropolitan area. A highly implausible combination, especially during this period and in this location! Above, Driver T. F. Oberon eases the branch train into the bay, while Fireman R.S. Peaseblossom is looking desperately for his lunch bag.      

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The trials of Mr Bull

Here are some progress shots from "The bay", the first of the Farthing layouts. They mainly show the platform as I still need to detail the yard behind it.     Mr Bull waits impatiently for his train on platform 2 at Farthing station. Behind him, 517 class No. 835 rests quietly in the bay with a newly arrived stopping train. The loco is an Alan Gibson kit that I bought secondhand in a rather unusual condition, sporting NER fittings and numbering! I returned it to running orde

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Mikkel in Stories


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