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Time-slip (with continuity errors)




This blog hasn't been too active recently. Not a lot has happened on the layout in the last 18 months , though it's been up and run a few time. I had some time for modelling in the early part of last year , but that was almost completely absorbed by a bout of stock building. Only some of that was written up in my workbench blog , and I must add the other items.


Basically the idea was to try to sort out the outstanding/stalled projects , plus the easy bits and pieces then get stuck into some of the major projects I've been meaning to do for so long. Needless to say, what actually happened was that I made limited progress with a couple of stalled projects, finished off a few bits and pieces , started several new wagon kits and didn't finish them , weathered a couple of items and only really managed one modest new project....


Somewhere well down the blog , I mentioned the very long list of started or possible layout projects I have : http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/343/entry-5665-the-donkey-and-the-bales-of-straw/


Since then there has been a development - a simplification in one sense, a complication in another. The GE branch terminus project which was mooted by a group I'm involved with seems to have drifted into limbo. We haven't seen one key player , who was to build the boards, for about a year because of domestic circumstances , and there's no imminent prospect of anything happening.


Having acquired a discount Hornby L1 during the year because it might be suitable for the GE BLT , as well as to "support the cause" in terms of manufacturers producing LNER locos, I find myself with a modest amount of steam era stuff that has no obvious use. The thought occured to me that I might be able to muster enough to run a steam era period on Blacklade. This would not be very authentic - the station will have corporate image nameplates and so forth - but at least the steam stuff would get used occasionally rather than spending the rest of its existance in its boxes.


What I actually have is a Bachmann 4MT 2-6-0, and O4, a Hornby L1 , a secondhand whitemetal N5 (all in BR black) and a detailed Hornby Dublo 20 in green. I'm likely to get a Bachmann J11: in the mid 1950s 40C (Louth) had C12s, J11s, and N5s , so I need to have one , and the recent future of kitbuilding thread seemed to suggest that the Craftsman C12 was an excellent easy to build kit . Perhaps I should try it... Diesels could be added, and DMUs - and at this point a problem became apparent.


Coaches - Blacklade being a passenger layout.


At the moment I don't actually have any serviceable and complete steam era coaches for any of these locos to pull.


What I do have is a very motley assortment of basically unbuilt kits:


- 2 Ratio ex LNWR corridor kits. These were to provide the branch set on the GE terminus . If this seems bizarre, the LMS off-loaded some of these vehicles on the M&GNJR in 1936, shortly before walking away from the joint venture leaving the LNER holding the baby . These coaches might well have been found eking out their final days in LNER brown on some minor branch in the late 1940s /early 1950s . If you consider what kits might be available for other pregrouping coaches more typical of the early 50s GE Section , how difficult they would be to source and build for a novice, and what they might cost, you will see the thinking here.


- a second hand BSL kit for a Gresley steel composite


- a battered Ratio MR suburban first, built in my early teens and not well finished


- a Ratio GW 4 wheeler ditto, whose chassis isn't square, and which can be discounted


- a secondhand BSL kit for a Gresley Buffet. This can also be discounted


- Various Mk1 and Mk2 project coaches, some in blue/grey and none really suitable for local services to a minor urban terminus in the 1950s


- An unbuilt Dapol/Branchlines railbus kit, meant for the GE BLT


- DC Kits' Test Car Iris, which isn't really fundamental to Blacklade, and is therefore nowhere on the work list. I was already inclining towards doing it in late 90s overall green , as this would be much easier than the blue/salmon RTC livery , even if the latter might look more attractive and be appropriate for Blacklade's "early" period (1985-90). Of course this,was originally built in 1956 for minor branchline service on the LMR, and wore green . So it wouldn't look immediately out of place in a mid /late 1950s LMR local service


- a Triang Maunsell Passenger Luggage Van , passed to me third -hand after someone had gone most of the way upgrading it with the Roxey kit


The problem is obvious - not only is nothing actually built, only one kit is a brake coach so forming sets is very difficult.


I had been hoping to pair the Gresley composite with one of Hornby's Gresley or Thompson non-gangwayed brakes. But they were very pricy , it wasn't urgent, I was waiting for them to be discounted - and when I looked around late last year I found the brakes had all disappeared from the shelves. No matter - what about a Kirk kit? Much cheaper. I phoned the model shop near where I was then working , only to learn he had none left and wasn't expecting any more until some time in 2013. Chivers Pigeon van and another short coach? (we're getting desperate). Chivers kits are out of stock...


This left me searching for ideas, especially as money is relatively tight at present , and I'm not prepared to spend large sums on a sideline like this.


The most suitable, cheapest and easiest to build brake coaches I could come up with were a kit-form Dapol LMS ungangwayed brake third, and a Ratio MR suburban brake . I duly went to St Albans last weekend ,and acquired a Dapol Crimson ungangwayed brake third for under a tenner.


I also spotted a Silver Fox Baby Deltic body kit for £15 - which after a moment's thought, I went for. I have toyed with the idea of doing a Baby Deltic in the past, and I even sourced some mechanical bits: with a bit of modeller's licence D5901 in her RTC days might just be faintly credible in one of the proper periods (Perhaps she was preserved......)


It had also dawned on me that I don't actually have any useable green diesels at the moment either. The Hornby Dublo 20 is one of those models which are nearly impossible to DCC: one brush holder is integral with the chassis block, which is electrically live. Certainly it's far beyond my capacity to convert. I have a detailed blue 29 , with one slightly damaged grill, which is not DCC . I have a spare Hornby 29 body, acquired with faint ideas of producing an early NBL Type 2 for someone else's London area layout , but they went EM.. And I have a second spare Airfix 31 body, and a spare Athearn PA1 chassis and some very faint aspirations towards a green 31 for the GE BLT. Maybe something can be done with an old Lima 20.


I've now driven over to a model shop about 15 miles away and acquired a Ratio MR suburban brake, and a few relevant bits , and for about £50 total outlay , we look to be in business . Three 2 car rakes and a green Type 2 should now be possible with modest effort. I need to fit decoders to the L1 and 4MT . The N5 is parked in the "too hard" basket for the moment, since the chassis is live to the rail on one side. Most of the stock can come from the pile of unbuilt projects, which should be suitably reduced. I even have very wild ideas about a possible project involving two Dapol non-gangwayed brakes, a Black Beetle and a 1956 Derby experiment with a DMU conversion


All a bit of a diversion from my main interests, and it's definitely not going to be a strictly prototypical mix of stock - but if it gets stuff out of the cupboard, built and into use, so much the better



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