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Dunsignalling

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  1. Not to mention BR (W) building tarted-up versions of lightweight Victorian Pannier tanks in the 1950s, basically just to replace the knackered originals because everything else was too heavy. Other examples were NER J72s built off the original 1898 plans as late as 1951. Down here on the Southern Region, the antiques (Beatties, Radials, Terriers etc.) were just kept going..... John
  2. Anecdotally, I've heard that a number of town/city centres seem to be quieter on Saturdays than during the week. Could be that many people are thinking it will be busy and going in on weekdays (if they can) to avoid crowds that turn out not to exist because loads of others have done the same. Nothing new for me. I quit the 9-to-5 in favour of working shifts in 1992, and the number of Saturday shopping trips I've made since then can be counted on the fingers of one hand. I don't see any point in fighting my way through a throng if I don't have to. Added bonus: most of the time, midweek means no screaming kids running around (or just screaming). Grumpy old git mode "off". John
  3. I have the gut feeling that exhibitions much before mid-2021 would probably be pushing things, both from a precautionary health standpoint and a practical one. The default position at present is that hiring out of school halls for non-school activities is banned u.f.n. Shows that use them (quite a big chunk of the total) are effectively done for until that gets relaxed. Those who use multiple areas of the school may find a ban will stay in force even longer. The new kicker is the possibility of localised lockdowns dictating cancellation of shows with only a few hours notice. At worst, this means an event that's ready to open on Saturday morning can get scratched on Friday night, after almost all the costs have been incurred. I can't see anybody being keen to risk that happening without suitable insurance cover. I have no idea if the insurance industry yet offers such a product, but I doubt it will be cheap. John
  4. Strange that nobody seems to have done anything about it, even allowing for the notoriously autocratic late-MR and pre-Stanier LMS locomotive managements' apparent delusions of infallibility. The consequences of appointing a CME who wasn't an engineer? The sheer waste of effectively chucking out Austin Sevens, many of which hadn't done enough work to recoup their capital cost, added to having to rebuild locos they were intended to replace in order to fill the gaps, must have exceeded the cost of using better lubricants hundreds of times over. John
  5. Weight, and how hard the locos were habitually worked, also comes into the equation. Some Austin Sevens were either clearly much better than others, or confined to duties which did not expose their weaknesses. Otherwise, why would some have lasted in traffic for two decades more than others? That said, standard Midland axleboxes on 4Fs by no means escaped criticism. Mentions of issues with 3Fs are fairly rare but, when the 4Fs came along, many of them effectively became semi-retired, with the new, larger locos taking over their more arduous duties. 4Fs were heavier, more powerful and most got worked harder, on underpinnings pretty much identical not only to the 3Fs but to even smaller, older, lighter MR 2F rebuilds. Not really surprising they gave trouble. Whilst much larger again, the Garratts probably generated lower stresses that the sevens and probably little more than the big 0-6-0s. That didn't stop Beyer Peacock effectively washing their hands of any consequences arising from the LMS insisting on incorporating their standard components. John
  6. They'd only need to put motors in about a quarter of them from what I've read. John
  7. No post I've read (apart from yours) has said "never", just "not yet", I think most of us expect some to restart in 2022 at worst and just perhaps the odd one towards the end of 2021. "Never again" requires an assumption that there won't be a vaccine, ever. OK, there's a chance there might not be but that's a big jump to make at this stage. I don't think very many of us have written off attending large indoor gatherings forever, (I certainly haven't) just until there is a vaccine, and we've received it. OK , it's outdoors, but looking at certain beaches in Dorset at weekends, there are loads of people who have either decided Covid-19 is (1) all over bar the shouting, (2) not as dangerous as the establishment have made out (3) it won't get them cos they are immortal, (4) they are happy to take their chances or (5) they haven't really thought about it and/or don't want to. Many will get away with it, others won't and it's unreasonable to assume that none of them are into model railways. Does anybody really believe that world governments would have deliberately set in train what will probably become the biggest slump since the Wall Street Crash, for no good reason? Even assuming a vaccine is developed, and can be widely administered, in the next 12-18 months I think it's pretty clear that 2020 and most of 2021 are already write-offs exhibition-wise. Quite aside from anything else, many are held in school premises which are likely to be barred from all but their core function for at least that period. Ironically, when vaccination does start, expect quite a lot of people to become even more cautious, until they've had theirs. After all, who wants to be the last to catch a bullet when the war is ending? John
  8. Much depends on the operational requirements of the layout(s) on which the stock is to run. If sets won't need to be propelled, (especially over crossovers) you can get away with smaller gaps than if they do. Curves can be deceptive. I once had to sort one out on a club layout, Tamerig Central when the "Bishport branch" flyover was repurposed to become the Somerset & Dorset line from the (then) new Bath Green Park layout. The ruling minimum was supposed to be 3' but this dog-leg measured at less than half that, roughly a r-t-r No.2 radius. It looked a bit tight even "by eye", but not that tight, probably because it was partly screened by the girders of the flyover. It hadn't become obvious earlier because it only ever carried hauled moves in one direction by nothing bigger than 4-4-0s. West Countries and 9Fs were a different proposition.... What nobody ever spotted, to the end of the layout's days (without me pointing it out) was that I'd had to spread the end of the last span of girders outward by an inch at that end to make room for the easement. John
  9. No, just on hold until we have real protection from this thing. That's taking longer than the optimists want but will hopefully come along sooner than the pessimists fear. At present, our only defences are risk avoidance and risk management. Reviving physical exhibitions currently would create substantial avoidable risk. Such events will only be killed off altogether should social distancing remain essential indefinitely. Once the scientists are successful in producing one or more vaccines, and/or developing therapies that make treatment for the worst affected (much) less traumatic, things should gradually go back to how they were a year ago. The main thing to remember about this pandemic is that it won't be over until it's over. Pushing the boundaries too quickly to ease economic pressures (however understandable) can be expected to extend the overall timescale. I doubt I'll see you at Staplegrove next April, Phil, but I'm reasonably confident I will in 2022. John
  10. Lovely coaches, and very neatly coupled, but the spacing is equal to what you'd have with tension-locks and way more than is necessary unless the rake has to negotiate train-set curves. In essence, a ruddy great gap is still a ruddy great gap, even if it is bridged. If you have 3' minimum radii you should be able to close them up by at least half. Personally, I prefer CCUs with upside-down Roco heads, with the uncoupling loops removed. I fit them that way up because it tucks the link up tighter under the gangways so it's less visible. They place the buffers in contact (on straight track, where overscale spacing becomes most noticeable) and will still go round (discreetly concealed) No.2 curves if required. Note that the Bulleid ones shouldn't be touching. John Apologies for photo quality. Tripod not available.
  11. Exactly. I'll be heading for a jab as soon as possible and, whilst I won't stop taking precautions against spreading the virus, I'll be able to stop worrying about those who have (in too many cases, already). The point is that we'll be able to protect those at elevated risk of harm, allowing our/their lives to resume something resembling normality. Including exhibitions. Being brutally honest, I don't give a toss what happens to the self-darwinising anti-vaxers, the conspiracy theorists and the tin-foil-hat brigade once they cease to pose a hazard to me and mine. I've long held the view that those refusing proven immunisation for any preventable disease should not be treated at public expense if they subsequently get it. John
  12. Unfortunately, the 1 in 10,000 statistic does not, and cannot, take any account of those who have the virus, with or without symptoms, but do not seek to be tested. Some reputable statisticians have estimated the true rate to be at least five times higher. OK that's not massive in terms of adding to individual hazard, but it's still significant. If someone came up with numbers indicating the risk of getting some rare cancer had increased five-fold but that translated to ten UK cases a year instead of the usual two, you can guarantee the tabloids would plaster the first bit over the front page and tuck the important caveat well down the text. I check my temperature daily before going out, but discount my long-standing minor cough, which arises from medication I take daily. I would get tested if it got worse as it would then tally with the advice which uses the word "new". However, none of that would matter a fig if I were to contract the thing asymptomatically (which I quite feasibly might have done already). Until everybody gets tested, regularly, both for the virus and the antibodies that reveal past infection, I'm afraid I place little faith in the very limited base from which these statistics derive. Their only real value is in comparing what happened last week with earlier periods, thereby giving at least some indication of trends. John
  13. I think I've already rationalised the low odds of catching the virus under circumstances over which I have reasonable control. Familiar locations/situations won't bother me so long as they don't become crowded, and I have the ability to bail if I do become uncomfortable. The worry is not how difficult it might be to catch the thing, but the odds of its seriousness if I were to do so, which involve altogether smaller numbers. Unfortunately, successful shows have always been crowded and probably need to be so in order to be viable. My "short answer" insofar as I expect to conduct myself over the next year (or, quite possibly, two) is that a return to anything resembling "normal", by which I mean the status quo ante, will be entirely dependent on the development and widespread application of an effective vaccine. For me, that goes far wider than attending model railway exhibitions. John
  14. The answer to the two basis questions is simple, almost all coronaviruses of long standing are petty annoyances that disrupt ones life for a week or so rather than carrying a decent chance of ending it. There is also the (slightly cynical) point that a good portion of the pharmaceutical industry's revenue comes from cold remedies of one sort or another. Spending billions developing something to do away with all that would smack of turkeys voting for Christmas. John
  15. Unfortunately, a self-darwinising element is to be found in all age groups and it's unlikely that any exhibitions that did happen would be free of them, though numbers will presumably decline naturally over time. Their, problem, and nobody can say they weren't warned. My priority is to prevent such idiots taking me with them. John
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