Johnson Street IEMD: layout and loco update: Boxing day 2020
First of all, I want to say Merry Christmas to all those people who view my blog, it has been an unprecedented and turbulent year all across the planet - and the kind which we probably thought we would never experience in our lifetime, the history of those who lived in the times of the plague seemed like such a long long time ago and would we/could we ever be experiencing such a thing ourselves with all the advances in medical science? ... well, yes we have and still are living with this - as a result of this - the world of the railways and model railways has been put back into perspective on one hand but on the other has been a great source of comfort during times of such isolation for many, me included in on that and although my layout isn't back and completed - i have followed the life and times of the DB90 as seen in Stafford on my YouTube channel Johnson Street IEMD, by going to the footbridge and back daily to catch 4M25 - I have got to see a number of the active pool, including my favourite 90, Malcolm (90024), I have also seen several others and even nicknamed them all appropriately, so there is Bill (90028), Jack (90036), DB Blue (90034), Christine (90037) and Bumblebee1 (90026) - which also features some clips of my layout as well - should you view any of my videos, its also worth looking at the description in there, which gives you some background to the locos featured.
Rail-related Christmas presents
For those of us who are rail enthusiasts and modellers out there, Christmas represents the chance to add freshness to one's layout or their plans, for me personally, I have been able to do a little bit of this too, my ''Christmas box'' isnt expected to arrive till after Christmas, so its going to be a case of watch this space for this - but i think it will be more than worth the wait. I have also acquired a sound unit for my Bachmann ex-EWS DB 66139 so that will join 66009 with DCC Sound. Its my intention to sound-fit 66065 with sound at some point in 2021 and have one of the new DB66s from Bachmann, 66117 put aside for me by my local model shop, which will be weathered and sound fitted also.
A few weeks ago, my man with the soldering iron came back to me with the latest progress on working up my nBrass gantry masts - unfortunately, he is also very busy with other railway related projects and these have been pulled together in between other works.
It has been my intention for a while now to have some nBrass multi-track masts to portray the look of the WCML for my electric depot, to have the look of Crewe Electric Depot (IEMD) about it - so i have spent time looking at both the OHLE on the approach to Crewe along with unusual mast designs featuring on the UK electric network.
Inspiration for anyone tackling OHLE beyond the basic offerings
Its a really interesting area within railway modelling, in that UK modellers currently really only have a small part of the infrastructure needed to depict OHLE. If you are a continental modeller either here or abroad, you're reasonably well catered for, but f you are modelling for UK OHLE however, a sparse collection of gantries are available, for the single masts, you're asking yourself am I going with Dapol or PECO - and for the multi-track masts, if you are modelling the WCML, then its either nBrass or one of the other kit form masts, like scalemodelscenery and torri-laser (found on Ebay) and having to scratch build your cantilevers - or adapt from similar masts, as one or two have done - the problem with this is - of course, the detail aspect - and OHLE in its general nature is a VERY VERY VERRRYYY detailed component on a model railway layout - if you are looking to portray as accurate a layout from a detailed perspective, then you are going to want your OLE to reflect this also.
if you're looking for inspiration on this subject, there are four really useful youtube channels to have a look at when it comes to OHLE and also the scratchbuilding of it,
1 - Dave at Dean Park Station has built some very good ECML three-track masts, which are about as good as I have seen - i am pretty sure Dave has a video for how he did these
2 - Minsterley - there is also the OHLE on Minsterley's layout which is equally impressive, maybe slightly more so due to the complexity and variety of structures, this appears to be more WCML in its style.
3 - Wratting Road - Jack has adapted both the catenary wires presenting them in a more realistic blackened look - and also adapted both the PECO masts for greater accuracy and also the masts before the tunnel entrance are brilliant as is the terminating single mast which I am going to try to replicate on my layout and he has a video for this aspect - check out his youtube channel for more
4 - Davidson Parkway - also has some impressive masts, and OHLE - and appears to have gone with nBrass and Dapol.
My OHLE plan
For my forthcoming layout, i've opted to adapt nBrass multi-track gantries for the sections of several parallel tracks - I have decided to go this way as I feel they will offer the most rigidty for the multi-track sections, the basic framework of these are pictured below as well as the mockups which will take the basic shape from the Nbrass structures - having studied the knitting outside Crewe Electric depot - I'm also using PECO for the single track sections. I am also adapting a gantry from Hornby for the terminating gantries which are postitioned at the rear of the electric shed and also the two holding sidings - and adopting Wratting Road's approach to terminating single track OHLE too.
Back in August I had taken some of the early bits of OHLE I had with me at the time to mock-up how some of my masts would look on the layout, note, none of these will be on my finished knitting project. The nBrass three/ four track sections will feature similar to the below and the cantilevers will be adapted to fit these structures as per the design mockups that I have illustrated - and PECO masts will be used in conjunction with these also - the mast which sits opposite to the end of track where 90028 sits - was representative of where one of the terminating gantries will be positioned - although the trackwork here still needs to be taken a little further back so there is room to accomodate a DB66 or 92 also...
My current DB 90 pool sits at four, with 90018 joining 90024, 90028 and 90034, back in late October, the latter three being sound-fitted. As my 90 fleet grows, I am planning to depict some of the more varied liveries which are either active or in some level of stored status within the DB90 pool, I'd like to add several other liveries to this group, there's the now classic EWS maroon livery, im still pondering whether to opt for 90037 in ex-EWS instead of the newer DB Christine livery, there is also the currrent First Scotrail Barbie liveried 90021, which is expected to return to traffic in 2021, so that will be a sight for sure when paired up to the one of the newer DB Cargo liveries and of course, the other two new liveries Grand Central, which I have nicknamed Bumblebee livery, and each 90 to have gained this livery has been named in order of gaining this livery, so 90026 was the first, so I refer to this as Bumblebee1, 90029 was the second so this is Bumblebee2 and 90020 is Bumblebee3. This of course is now ex-Grand Central having been debranded, 90026 has already been used on 4M25 workings with 90036 a week or two back now - and features on my YouTube channel both at Stafford Station and a short way down the tracks at my favourite footbridge.
The most recent new livery is 90039 in ''I am the backbone of the Economy'' livery, and this is the first DB Cargo 90 livery that I am really not that struck on - its one which should i find myself being tempted to do a factional livery, that this one I might go with a spin on Malcolm Rail or the keyworkers branding as seen on 66113. I am also planning to have at least one fictional livery, which at the moment is likely to be 90027 which is still in RfD in long term store at Crewe - it had been thought that this was one such loco to have been one to be returned to traffic alongside 90030 but its understood that this has been abandoned now for the time being, this would still be a good one to have done in a really grubby state to reflect its time stood still but with a new lease of life, a nameplate ready for it in Johnson Street IEMD and some appropriate DB logos of course.