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Ian Simpson

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About Ian Simpson

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    1840s railways; British H0 / HO; the railways of SE England 1801-present; microlayouts; industrial, dockside and light railways; social and economic impact of the railways; admiring other people's work and nicking their ideas!

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  1. A common problem with Google Books, I'm afraid. If you know which drawing / plans you want and you're not in too much a hurry, I can try to copy key pages at the British Library.
  2. It's available as a free PDF download on Google Books at https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dxFfAAAAcAAJ&pg=PR1&dq=Francis+Whishaw&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Francis Whishaw&f=false His Railways of Great Britain is an amazing resource for early modellers and researchers! Francis Whishaw basically just pulled together all the info he could find from all available sources at the time including prospectuses, the early railway press and writing to just about every company secretary in the British Isles. I'm not sure he ever visited any of the railways himself, but there aren't many obvious errors in such an encyclopedic work. I use it frequently, I love reading it and I'm always sad that he ended up dying in impoverished circumstances. Use the drop down menu next to the cog wheel at top right of the screen to save. There's no need to sign in or to have a Google account, although you will be asked to confirm a capture word before the download starts.
  3. Now that is a very interesting suggestion! The Wickham costs a bit more than the Bachmann US models I canabalise for motor drives, but the profile is so low that it seems very versatile. I'd expect a modern motor would run better at slow speed too. Does anyone have any experience of it? And if so, what are the wheel diameters / wheelbase?
  4. Well, for signalling: initially there's nothing except perhaps hand signals and, in desperation, screaming at the driver. Once you move beyond the colliery stage of one-loco-in-steam-if-it's-working, then it's the "time interval" method of operation: a train has to wait at principal stations until its predecessor has a 5 or 10 minute lead, then it can follow with a careful lookout by the driver. It's really only when main lines start to get junctions that we see the first semaphores and other fixed signals. The Liverpool and Manchester began using flag poles instead of just signalmen for its signal flags around 1833, and fixed signalling posts the next year. The Great Western Railway was using its own fixed signals (a US-style ball signal lowered to show danger) around 1837, and the LSWR was using a rotating disc signal around 1840. Sam Fay in A Royal Road (1883, p 45) described the introduction of fixed signals on the LSWR: “Up to 1840 the only signals provided were flags by day, and common horn lanthorns by night. Standard signals were then erected, and a revolving light at Nine Elms; but distant signals did not come into use until eight or ten years after.” Edit: sorry, cross-posted with Hroth. Hope my repetition reinforces his truth!
  5. I'm enjoying the discussion very much, and I'm learning a lot from it. I'm not sure where one sets the balance between physical modelling and discussion of the prototype in a thread like this, but I do think understanding the social and economic context in which the early railways existed can help us model them more sympathetically. So is any modelling is going on? Not from me at the moment, I'm afraid, due to pressure of work. Unless you count armchair modelling, my current armchair usually being a seat on a Thameslink train. I'm planning a rebuild of my A4-sized terminus as a portable exhibition layout (that's portable as "can be carried on the bus"): and also getting together secondhand points for a fly-shunting micro layout: If we're not modelling, is anyone else toying with layout ideas or plans for models?
  6. That if an online debate is allowed to go on long enough, the probability that someone will make a comparison with the Nazis approaches certainty. If it's a heated political debate, this tends to happen fairly quickly. Usually with the comparison being made to one's opponent. In discussions on railway history it can take a bit longer.
  7. I can't help on the track geometry, but would a quick fix be to let the trains pass each other only on the straight sections? If you need a rationale for a train sitting on the straight section waiting to be passed on the opposite line, perhaps put a signal there and assume that an imaginary train is blocking the section ahead. P.S. Otherwise the layout is looking good, look forward to following progress!
  8. Tewkesbury's 1840 station has a lot of potential as a micro-layout. The station layout was just a short run-around loop with a goods spur down to the docks. Plans of the station building are in the public domain, and suitable locos and rolling stock are available: the Bachmann Norris loco, Killian's 0-4-2 Sharp goods loco, Chris Cox's Birmingham and Gloucester / Midland wagons. The station was both imposing and tiny - dimensions from the Bristol Mercury of 14/12/1839: Platform: 133 feet long by 12 feet 6 inches wide H0: 18.3 x 1.75 ins Roof with glazing: 166 feet long by 32 feet wide H0: 23 x 4.4 inches Station frontage along the High Street: 38 feet H0: 4.7 inches An 1884 Ordinance Survey map shows just how small (and urban) the station was, although most of the track plan is hidden under the roof canopy: My own plan for a scale-length 3.5 mm micro-layout of the station (horse-drawn spur to the wharf on the left, steam-powered branch to the main line on the right): I might build it one day, although that's not a Do-or-Die-in-a-Ditch promise. I'll be happy to help in any way I can if someone else wants to have a go at it.
  9. Well, I'm usually Unlawful, Void and Without Effect myself.

    1. Mallard60022


      Ian for PM. (Or P4 if Andy is reading this)


    2. SVRlad


      Let’s hope the site doesn’t get prorogued.

  10. Many thanks, John! Funnily enough one of the things that sparked my interest in the period was seeing a wonderful museum model of a very early Swiss station (Lucerne, I think, but it may have been Zurich) back in the 1970s. I think I will build this layout, even if it's just to find out why fly shunting went out of fashion so quickly! I'm thinking of using two boards, one for the slope and one for the station, so that the station can also be used as a normal loco-worked terminus. The only question is whether I can get the coaches to roll far enough to get into the platform without building a ridiculously steep main line, and I'll report back on my experiments. Writing that has reminded me I'll also have an excuse for a banking engine to help trains leaving the station . Your turntable release sounds a wonderful idea. I think we even had one or two British stations using end-of-the-line turntables into the 20th century, e.g. Bembridge on the Isle of Wight and Seaford in Sussex.
  11. "... an immensely time consuming and exhausting procedure"? That sounds just the thing for a plank layout:
  12. I like it! (But then I am a fan of tuning fork layouts - and yes, a double tuning fork describes it perfectly). Is the bridge a scenic break to allow two different scenes, one at each end of the board?
  13. Does anyone else judge a townscape by whether they'd want to live there?

    1. sem34090


      Sometimes, but not always - If it's a model of a grim corner of some city or other then I probably wouldn't want to live there, but it might be beautifully modelled and very evocative of the locality it seeks to represent.

      I offer here Harford Street, by a friend of mine:


      A beautiful, in my opinion, recreation of Post-War North London - Full of rot and decay. I wouldn't really want to live there but it's nicely modelled!


      It's suddenly occurred to me that you might mean 'in real life', in which case I agree with you!!!


    2. Ian Simpson

      Ian Simpson

      Thanks, Sem, I appreciate such a full answer. Yes, that is lovely modelling!

      I guess I usually ask myself something like "Are there the appropriate facilities in this townscape that I would be happy living there?", e.g. is there a corner shop at the end of an Edwardian  terrace? You're right, it's not the quality of the modellling that matters, simply whether it looks as if the area would work as a neighbourhood, especially given the layout's period and location.

  14. Agree the second option looks better. A third option would be to rotate the building through 45 degrees, so that the front of the pub is facing the station entrance but it is at right angles to it. That way you would be able to see both the attractive frontage of the pub and also some of that interesting yard as well. Whichever you choose, that corner of the layout looks very good!
  15. I have now adopted mindless optimism as my perferred approach to modelling over the next few months.

    1. Harlequin


      If it's good enough for Boris...

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