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It was 40 Years Ago ...

MikeOxon

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Construction(sm).jpg.3379d9339ac1b2416a41023c187d0b05.jpgThe new format for RMWeb sent me into reminiscing about ‘the old days’.  I realised it is just forty years, since my young son provided me with the excuse to move from thinking about a model railway to putting those thoughts into practice!  

 

It started, of course, with a lot of avid reading of magazines, followed by sketching out various plans.  The railway had to be small, to fit the available space and, initially, 009 was an attractive format but my wife had some old Hornby-Dublo track and various kits of buildings, including many Faller kits, with pump-driven water wheel, a working saw-mill, and a motorised windmill, all of great appeal to a small child.

 

And so, work started in earnest, early in 1979, with enthusiastic assistance with baseboard construction provided by my 3-year old son.  I have described the concept of my railway before but here are some photographs from those early days – starting from a bare frame, to which was added an ‘upper deck’ to carry the 009 section.  

 

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I was keen to put contours into the landscape, so the base was constructed on several levels, with a stream flowing down from a Faller water mill to a Faller saw mill – both working models, although the use of real water in the first of these models had to be undertaken with some trepidation and was soon discontinued!  (many years later, this was where I found Amy Wilcote at her easel)

 

The buildings were an assortment of plastic kits, some of which are still available, like the ubiquitous Airfix Church (now from Dapol).  These were assembled into a somewhat cramped village in the central area and a single platform was placed along the front of the baseboard.

 

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Photographed in 1980

 

At first, the rolling stock was a strange mixture of Hornby-Dublo wagons, some Kitmaster coaches in Southern-region green, a Southern R1 engine and an A4 ‘Golden Fleece’, which could hurtle around the main loop at improbable speeds, to the delight of a 3-year old! (Amazing how they could make a ‘Pacific’ locomotive negotiate 15” radius curves!)

 

My first ‘purpose built’ train comprised a K’s 14xx locomotive and an Airfix auto-trailer and, thus, the GWR orientation began!  As an introduction to kit-building, the K’s was not a great success and I never managed to make it run smoothly, so it was soon replaced with the newly-introduced (1980) Hornby 2721 Pannier, which seemed a very sophisticated model at that time!

 

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Autotrain from the 1930s

 

40 years ago, my sense of nostalgia only stretched back to the 1930s but this little railway provided plenty of ‘kiddie’ pleasure, for several years, until other interests took over and it fell into many years of neglect.

 

It was much, much later, after I had retired, that a new interest in looking further back into the 19th century grew in my mind:
 

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Back to the 19th Century

 

But that is another story, which the rest of this blog has followed in some detail.

 

Mike

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A wonderful retrospective view, Mike. And now we know the origins of Amy Wilmcote!

 

I like the look of the "James" loco. Do you still have that?

 

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Mike,

My coming back to railways was when my son was four in 1987.  I did not make such a permanent layout then although I eventually built him a 009 one which although only had the track is still up against the wal i my railway room.

 

Nice to see your layout in its early days.

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10 hours ago, Mikkel said:

A wonderful retrospective view, Mike. And now we know the origins of Amy Wilmcote!

 

I like the look of the "James" loco. Do you still have that?

 

It was while I was pondering the changes to this website that I suddenly realised it was exactly 40 years since i started constructing my railway, so it seemed an appropriate anniversary to mention. 

 

I think it was after some prompting from yourself that I started to think up a 'back story' for the line, which led to the creation of the Wilcote family and the paintings by Amy, which have illustrated several posts.

 

James and his sister, Jeanette, are still hard at work around the quarries and sawmill, where they can be seen on Lines around North Leigh  .   40 years ago, there weren't many alternatives available and they are both still on their original Arnold chassis.  It is said that they were originally designed to 3.5mm scale, which is why their cabs are rather cramped.  I have often thought of opening them up, like many Welsh quarry engines, but I have grown used to their appearance now.

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5 hours ago, ChrisN said:

Mike,

My coming back to railways was when my son was four in 1987. ...................

I'm about to enter  new phase, since my 1st grandson is coming up to three and has recently had his first introduction to 'North Leigh'.  I was surprised by how quickly he got the hang of the controller and liked to back a train into the tunnel and then bring it out again! 

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Grandchildren, that is why Traeth Mawr was built rather than a 009 layout.  I do not regret the move although I will build the 009 one sometime, although it would be nice to get Traeth Mawr back up and running.

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6 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

It was while I was pondering the changes to this website that I suddenly realised it was exactly 40 years since i started constructing my railway, so it seemed an appropriate anniversary to mention. 

 

I think it was after some prompting from yourself that I started to think up a 'back story' for the line, which led to the creation of the Wilcote family and the paintings by Amy, which have illustrated several posts.

 

James and his sister, Jeanette, are still hard at work around the quarries and sawmill, where they can be seen on Lines around North Leigh  .   40 years ago, there weren't many alternatives available and they are both still on their original Arnold chassis.  It is said that they were originally designed to 3.5mm scale, which is why their cabs are rather cramped.  I have often thought of opening them up, like many Welsh quarry engines, but I have grown used to their appearance now.

 

Ah yes, it's the same engines. Says something about the Arnold chassis that they are still running 40 years later!

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Incidentally Mike, just saw this blog entry on my mobile and realized that there is a lot more of the header photo in that format than when seen on my laptop. It seems the software focuses on the middle section when resizing.

 

 

Edited by Mikkel

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Yes, I'm still trying to fathom how header pictures work.  I'd intended to insert a small photo at the start of my text, as in the 'old days'.  I re-did my Broad Gauge header photo to try and force it to display in a more sensible way, without the text obscuring the engine.

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Certainly more noticeable now. Have we seen that photo before by the way? Looks fantastic.

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