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About wombatofludham

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  • Location
    Fairbourne, Gwynedd, Cymru
  • Interests
    LNWR, LMS, West Coast AC Electrics, Midland Red, Crosville and Walsall/WMPTE buses, Classic British Airliners, VW and SAAB cars, The Eurovision Song Contest. Yes, really.

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  1. For those hoping Hornby will now break the sound barrier bringing Mk4 coaches to the market, dream on. Their rather nice HST power cars have been out donkey's years and apart from very niche sliding door versions for the contemporary liveries, the other releases are still having to be paired with their neither fish nor fowl 1990s Mk3s including some lightly retouched Lima tools from the 1980s, and even then sometimes turn up with missing detail. Yet they seem to be happy festooning the kettleistas with more types of Pullman than Pullman probably ever had at one time in extreme detail, and the LNER tea urn lovers with not one but two types of non corridor stock with complex faux teak finishes. Now, if the 91 boiled water it would be a different matter, but given the glacial lack of urgency to bring forward a complete range of top spec Mk3 stock for their high end power cars to haul, I think there will be snowdrifts freezing the cojones off El Diablo before you get a nice rake of detailed Mk4s from Margate.
  2. One thing to consider in this sad news, the Mk4 coaches will be getting new lives on the Gerald from Caergybi to Caerdydd, and apparently on the Euston to Blackpool Grand Central open access services from the Spring (allegedly) shoved by GC liveried Class 90s, so there may be some justification in continuing with the Mk4 coaches, especially as all the work has been done on development. The Mk4 will shortly therefore be more widespread, with 67 traction in Wales and the borders, and 90 traction up the WCML. I doubt even if Hornby are developing a super detail Mk4 (and their track record on post kettle coaching stock is best politely described as "patchy") they will be in any rush to release GC and TfW liveried examples. It might allow you to get some return on the investment made so far.
  3. Depends rather if the cost of development and tooling up has already been spent. Heljan announced their intention to produce the early AL6 last year, but Oxford rather oddly decided to illustrate their intention to produce Virgin liveried Mk3 coaches the year before with a three-quarter shot of an 86 hauling a rake rather than a mock up or even just a side picture of a real coach as Hornby and Bachmann tend to do. There is a bit of a tradition with Oxford for having a bit of fun and teasing collectors, so who knows, it would be on form for them, although we might just as likely be reading too much into things. If - and it's a big if - they have committed a quarter mil to develop a new Class 86 I would expect them to carry on regardless of Heljan's news in the hope of getting some of the money back, it's a lot to just cancel.
  4. I wonder if the mystery LNWR 2-4-0 "Hardwicke" in the Hatton's Genesis coach listings might be an NRM commission via Oxford? They did revamp their Dean Goods to better satisfy the NRM after all, and it'll no doubt be aimed at collectors which Oxford are good at. It would at least give something just about LMS in the range as well. Given Oxford have at best a scattergun approach to the development of their range who knows. I still can't fathom why the Oxford building range has migrated into the Hornby Skaledale brand though, which does rather suggest another direction for Oxford Rail.
  5. Why would there have to be no existing competition? They went toe to toe with Hornby on the Dean Goods, Mk3s and (possibly, not sure on the timescales) that freak LSWR tank engine. Now, with Lyndon in charge of Hornby and his daughter nominally running Oxford I expect toe to toe competition with Hornby would be unlikely, but there are plenty of things they could produce. LNWR 4-4-0 locos would be very welcome, the small Stanier and Fowler 2-6-2 tanks, a LNWR Precedent, even in diesels there are locos they could pick off that may compete successfully with an existing tool, that wouldn't compete with Hornby if that is a consideration. That's without following the likes of Hornby, Heljan and Bachmann who have all invested serious moolah in new AC Electrics that allegedly don't sell, a Class 81, the fourth largest class of electric locos and long lived, would at least give something correct to haul their Mk3s and Carflats. I don't think competition is an issue, but I'd be surprised if we see much being announced from the toy fair, I just don't think Oxford are that bothered about the rail range at the moment, they seem to be in a treading water situation especially on their core diecasts side of things where there haven't been the number and range of new developments of late compared to a few years back.
  6. I was wracking my brain to try and remember when they first entered service, I seem to recall they had a prolonged entry into service with quite a bit of driver training at first. By 1988-9 though virtually all the front line Mk2f and Mk3 stock would have been refurbished and in the first Inter City executive livery. I must admit apart from driver training runs I don't recall ever seeing a DVT matched with mixed Exec/blue grey stock. I wonder if the reason for fitting the DVT with loud chime horns was down to the relatively quiet approach of the DVT?
  7. They have said they will be coming round to do the 86/2 but are concentrating for the first batches on those variants never previously modelled, the AL6, 86/0, 86/4 and 86/6. Of course, an 86 body on an 87 chassis will be a good way of doing 86 101-3 which had Class 87 bogies.
  8. By the time the DVT entered regular service the rolling stock had largely been segregated into entirely Mk3 rakes and Mk2f with Mk3 restaurant rakes. The Mk2f rakes were largely concentrated on the Euston-Wolverhampton and Euston-North Wales diagrams, although the odd rake did substitute on Preston and Blackpool services. The Mk3 stock was largely concentrated on London to Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool services. initially the DVTs worked on stock that was in the Executive livery and without central door locking, but by about 1993-4 CDL was fitted to all the stock and stock was predominantly finished in the "Swallow" style. Mk3 DVTs would have been introduced long after the last front line stock (MK2f, Mk3) had received at least "Executive" livery which was rolled out in 1985-6. Obviously there are exceptions but the main stock situation by the time of the Mk3 DVT entering squadron service was thus. It looks like the new DVT is a straight re-run of the earlier, and much sought after, first release of the Mk3 DVT in Intercity livery, hopefully with a less nauseating beige flash at the rear. The buffered HST is a completely different thing, nothing to do with the West Coast DVTs other than they ran as a proof of concept idea on London to Wolverhampton services for a short while in the mid-80s and later with Class 91s on HST rakes to Leeds whilst the first 91s were tested in service.
  9. Some sort of progress on the Mk3 range would be welcome, especially if they made them more robust and added proper window frames, oh, and made the couplings less fragile so when you dismantle them the springs don't vanish into the ether. If they were to crack on with their HST trailers I could be tempted to buy a pair of Hornby top notch power cars, they would at least have a comparable level of detail. Perhaps Lyndon, with his Hornby CEO hat on, might have a word in his daughter's shell like over Sunday lunch with a view to helping boost sales... In the die-casts, I personally would like to see an expansion in the range of 1980s cars (Metros, Maestros etc) and more controversially a Ford Transit NBC 16 seat minibus, I know "breadvans" are anathema to bus enthusiasts but they were everywhere, came in lots of bright colours and could be a whole new collecting market, as well as being useful for modellers of that era.
  10. Not wishlisting but I do wonder if the next recipient of the Class 158-170 low floor mechanism and retool budget might be the Voyager family, possibly including a Meridian? Lots of livery options, seen everywhere and a nice compact "inter city" train. It'll cost but people seem to be buying the grey Pullman which costs a lot more. Also given the 117 is on final approach, the same 64ft mechanism could easily pick off that low hanging Class 120 fruit. I do also wonder about "Hardwicke"...
  11. The Ffestiniog Railway Society were also famous for their specials which often ran via Ruabon and Dolgellau when the line was open. Those from London tended to be loco hauled but the Midlands branch sometimes turned up in one of the GWR Railcars based on photographs I've seen, although I've never been able to confirm if they ran via Dolgellau or up the coast. I've seen film footage of the loco hauled trains double headed by Manors and Standard 4s on the Dolgellau route, but if the railcars ran the same way it would be nice to get one for the Dolgellau layout just for something different.
  12. I remember seeing a photo of the "North Wales Land Cruise" circular excursion that ran from Rhyl via Corwen, Dolgellau, Barmouth, Afon Wen, Caernarfon and back along the coast during the 1950s which had not only examples of the 1937 Corrie Scot stock but also an articulated pair of the US Expo 1939 coaches which had been returned post war, along with a Midland Railway diner, all in blood and custard livery. Now that would give the visitors to the Dolgellau layout something to puzzle over. Given their use on trains like the "Land Cruise" which would use ex-GWR kettles from Corwen (although not always, Standard 4s were common, and on one rare occasion, an LMS 4-4-0 carried on along the Cambrian metals after a loco failure) I wonder if that might be the origin of the Western transfer suggestion?
  13. Scenery, with appropriate stock as moving scenery. I'm not interested in the intricacies of shunting which frankly I don't understand, but trains moving through prototypical scenery, in correct formations (as far as RTR availability allows) and, to borrow Hatton's phrase "prototypically literate" for the area in which my fictional location is set are my driving force. Within that, I will be making sure the track is well laid and fit for purpose but no doubt others will see the layout as operationally "boring" because it most definitely won't include some twiddly little kettle faffing around in a yard shuffling wagons from one place to another and back again. I construct a back-story regarding the place, the location and timetable scenarios to enable me to plan the layout, but I suppose that's the retired Town Planner in me, setting a strategic guidance before embarking on the development plan!
  14. I suspect they are playing catch up given they announced the Swallow liveried 87 in their first release, and the Mk2fs last year. It's a good announcement nonetheless. I was slightly surprised they didn't milk the 87 a bit longer with some of the one-off freak liveries the class carried in the 2005-6 period. There again, perhaps there will be a mid-year announcement or they may appear as dealer commissions. Being celebrity liveries, they must be the lowest of low hanging fruit for future release.
  15. Interesting set of announcements which as usual has generated more heat than the impending thermonuclear spat in Iran. The APT is interesting. I could be tempted, but the timing makes me wonder if it was intended not just to celebrate their previous headline model of the 1970s, but also as a marker to the erstwhile DJM project that was announced I suspect about the time a decision to go on this model would have been made by Hornby, that Hornby saw this as "their territory"? In the end, of course things turned out very differently and no doubt Hornby will make a success of this model, and it is a natural contender for a 100 year anniversary model as the original version was ground breaking at it's launch. The IC DVT: About time. I've got one of the originals and am terrified of damaging or losing it as the cost of a replacement from the Bay of Thief is ridiculous. Even at 75 Sovs RRP it's a fraction of the price they fetched (up until 9am this morning...) on that website. I will be investing in one for a second rake. Coronation Scot. Didn't see that coming, but excellent. Even better, out of season the Corrie used to run on Saturdays up to North Wales according to something I once read so it won't be entirely a Rule 1 to have it turn up at my planned North Wales seaside terminus. It will also make a guest appearance on the Dolgellau layout hauled by a GWR kettle as a posh excursion to Barmouth. I'm not proud. Talking Dolgellau, the 78xxx will be very welcome, some of the first batch were allocated to this area and were regulars through the town. I also quite like the Dutch 31, but agree we could do with a Banger Blue 31/4 with headcode boxes. "Floriat Salopia" is also a Bescot loco, so perhaps we might see "Sister Dora" at some point? The Mk1 RB is very welcome and at a keen price. Rocket? I suppose it was a no-brainer and will sell. Being DCC compatible it might be tempting for a fun addition to the Dolgellau roster. Onwards to the blue box announcements. I wonder if the mystery Precedent on the Hatton's "Genesis" coach webpage might be coming from Barwell then?
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