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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. My school had a model railway club back in the 1970s. One day the chemistry teacher looked in, gave our 00 layout a brief once-over and asked why the main line seemed to have been diverted to avoid a telegraph pole. Forty-five years later I'm still trying to think of a plausible response.
  2. Looking very good - and the grime and decay can only improve it! BTW I gather the British 1:87 Scale Society have just produced a new issue of Satellite, their newsletter - the first one in several years. Ken Clark says the PDF copy is on the Society's Io group. Edit: if anyone doesn't want to join the Society (membership is free), I can send them a PDF of the newsletter on request.
  3. There's a Google Books scan of several years of Railway Returns from the 1880s here: https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Railway_Returns_for_England_and_Wales_Sc/Fh8PAQAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Railway+Returns+Capital&pg=RA7-PA21&printsec=frontcover You can download it as a PDF file by clicking on the three dots on the right of the bar at the top of the page: The Returns are mainly interested in the financial and safety aspects of the railways, and they concentrate on mileage and receipts rather than details of the rolling stock. So for 1884, the m
  4. The British Library may help, when it's open again: I'm hoping to get up to London when we reach the next stage of the CV-19 road map, and if there's a particular company and/or years I'll be glad to have a look. BL membership is free, and I do recommend it as a great resource for historical research! It may not have the company minutes and reports of the individual companies, as the NA does, but it does have the books, articles and newspapers where they were reported and discussed.
  5. Thanks, 33C, that sounds an excellent idea. Or perhaps those little radio-controlled cars that appear just before Christmas! I'll have to experiment. I think it would be possible to use short lengths of brass tube to deal with any differences in axle thickness. Hopefully a dropper resistor and the larger wheels would get the speed down from Formula 1 speeds to shunting-friendly ones!
  6. Thanks, Richard. I've found the DeWitt Clinton barrels are separate items held in place with (rather tight) pins, not an integral part of the tender chassis. All that's needed is a pair of pliers and the brutal determination of a medieval dentist. Oh, and nerves of steel will help as well. When I did this, I was gripping the wheels so tightly that they started to come off their axles - which is how I discovered they are actually just pushed onto the axles in the first place. And that leads on rather nicely to @33C's clever suggestion ... Edit: thinking about it,
  7. Many congratulations (although very well deserved, too!). I'm so pleased for you. I must admit I thought the Centre had closed, so I'm also happy to hear I was wrong. I'd better get on that No 12 bus to Eastbourne ...
  8. Thanks, Richard, that's a really useful find! Perhaps I should add that the small wagon turntable at the end of my layout is a PECO 90 degree crossing from their US Code 83 range, glued onto a thin circle of plastic cut out using a compass cutter, with a drawing pin stuck underneath for the pivot.
  9. Thanks, Douglas! The one in the portrait photo of the goods depot and fiddle yard is a GEM white metal kit. It looks great, but as it was larger than any of the actual locos it seemed a bit out of place. (It would however look great on a set of wheels!) So I've gone with the smaller version in the other photos, made from Dapol's plastic Rocket kit.
  10. I buy most of my tools from Squires Tools of Bognor, and I've always been pleased with both the range and the quality of tools that they stock. Of course other suppliers are available; its just that Squires have the most extensive range I've seen. (Okay, I know you' said you find the variety confusing! But all of their stuff seems to be robust and well-made.)
  11. Many thanks, Mikkel! That battery is the controller: Because it's such a short run from fiddle yard to terminus (about half a metre) the locos don't really get a chance to speed up, and so there's no speed control. I've found a dropper resistor of 45 to 60 Ohms produces the slowest running speed with the Norris locos, although it took some trial-and-error to find this out and it did rather dent my faith in Ohm's Law:
  12. Many thanks, Chris. I haven't forgotten your kind offer to cast a set of Brighton seafront railings (just glimpsed on the right hand side of that last photo). If the offer still stands, I'll send you the dimensions and some photos in a few days. Hope you're well and having a good Easter.
  13. As locos grew more powerful and trains grew longer, most early railways quickly outgrew their original terminus stations. Those stations that couldn't be expanded tended to be down-graded to good depots as new stations were built nearby. So it's no surprise that the Grand Middenshire Trunk is also building itself a new branch terminus: The baseboard is a piece of 6 mm MDF, labouriously cut to size using a Stanley knife and steel rule, with thin wood bracing beneath due of the horror stories I've heard about MDF sagging under its own weight. The size is 32 inches x 6 inches, w
  14. Those are wonderful models, Mike, and the tutorials on designing the prints are very useful as well!
  15. Definitely a good idea, happy to help out! Ian
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