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    My Basement
  • Interests
    Trains, Doctor Who, Star Trek, All Things Nerd

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  1. I've seen them and they are HUGELY helpful. Thank you for sharing these and thank you James for leading me to Tony's bridge. -Jason
  2. Our pleasure! It was fun having the Fleetline in the hall, and it was a convenient place for us to have meetings. The designs are not finished yet, but we will be doing several fronts - early indicators, later indicators, and later indicators with no vents. We also intend to do other buses using the chassis and interior of the Fleetline but with new bodies. It will be a while before these come out. The buses don't actually make us much money - I am doing them because I love them. So we squeeze them in between other production runs. We want to get the Guys out before we properly announce the Fleetlines with all details and samples. -Jason
  3. Hi all, Bill, Gareth and I are all in the UK, but we're all in different cities! I think Gareth is in a swamp near Norfolk, Bill is still standing at the station at Bridgnorth wondering why no train has showed up all day, and I am in a very tiny hotel room at Heathrow. I can go from the bed to the desk to the bathroom without touching the carpet. Bill and Gareth (and Terry and some more friends) will be at the Rapido stand all weekend. I will be in the stand occasionally on Sunday, in between various meetings. We've got a really tall stand this year so you should be able to find us. I hope to see some of you there! Best regards, Jason
  4. I've been enjoying reading this topic and sorry I am late to the table with my input. A couple of thoughts. First, to Ben's comment and a couple of other posts which mentioned our Prime Movers line. We actually upset a lot of people with that. While we have brought on some new customers with our HO scale CN/BCR Dash 8 locomotive, in the end it was not worth it. We've basically poisoned the market for anyone - including ourselves - to bring out a super detailed Dash 8. Because we sold so many of them, it would seriously affect the viability of a Rapido-level Dash 8. That means that the only model on the market is the entry level one. Now don't get me wrong - a lot of people are REALLY happy with the model. But we're not. We actually tooled the Dash 8 as the start of a planned train set which was going to retail in the $300-$400 range. But then we found that the unit cost was going to be higher than we budgeted and that track was prohibitively expensive and subject to huge production delays. So we decided to abandon the idea. But by then the moulds were made and the model was stuck as an entry-level model. And the Prime Movers line is officially abandoned. We won't do it again. In fact, our N scale Dash 8, just announced, is more detailed than our HO model. Secondly, I've mentioned before that my approach to manufacturing models is that I want to recreate memories in miniature. And my primary childhood memories of passenger cars are standing at trackside as the train pulled up - thus getting a very close-up view of the underbody appliances - and of riding on board the trains. Making the underframes and interiors as detailed as possible is a way for me to recreate those memories. Honestly, if I could make the AC condenser and compressor under the car really work, I would. It would add to that recreation of memory. We're actually looking at adding moving bits to some North American passenger equipment - beyond the wheels and trucks, of course. If we can pull that off (it's giving us headaches right now), there will be people who say "what a waste of time and money - I don't need that at ALL" and there will be others who say "I have been waiting for that forever - thank you!" There is nothing wrong with either point of view as long as it is respectfully shared, as they have been in this topic. On Facebook there are clearly some people who have a personal hate-on for me. I'm not sure what I did, but they make it personal. There's nothing I can do about those guys except ignore them and engage with the people who can respectfully share differences of opinion. -Jason
  5. Speaking of burned-out cars, we passed a weird thing around Aston. There was a row of seemingly new houses surrounded by a fence and obviously unoccupied. Within the fence was a burned out caravan. Anyone know what that was about? -Jason
  6. Here are the photos I took in a back garden in Betchworth...
  7. I wouldn't shut up about VIA Rail Canada so they kicked me off the plane...
  8. Air Canada knows how much I love the UK, so they have decided to keep me here. Here's the view out the door just to my left. I am stuck on the tarmac at Heathrow. The one cool thing is that this is what is outside my window, on the right: My wife flies from Toronto to Winnipeg tomorrow at noon. I hope I land before she takes off..... -Jason
  9. When I got off the M25 at junction 9 to get to some place called Betchworth, the roads soon became very narrow and country-lane-ish. So I got a feeling for what it must have been like before. -Jason
  10. I asked a lady about my flight and she said it was "boarding soon." So I headed to the loo. And then I hear "last call for Air Canada flight to Toronto." So I ran like mad and was the last person on the plane. And now we've been delayed so we're still sitting here. Hurry up and wait. The story of a railroader's life. -Jason
  11. Hi all! I am at Heathrow, recovering from my five-mile walk from the near part of Terminal 2 to the far part of Terminal 2. I think I've just walked to Hounslow. Where was I? Oh yes - I had just survived Noah's Flood (Birmingham Edition) in a Nissan Qui Quae Quod. Or Cash Cow. Or whatever you call it. I noticed two things about this car: 1. 0 to 60. Yes, in a while. Whatever engine was in the car they rented me would be better suited to a skateboard. I would get on the motorway and floor it (yes I was changing gears at the appropriate times), reaching 70 MPH after about a minute. No exaggeration. 2. It doesn't have a handbrake. Instead it has a stall button. When I am trying to back up a hill, I can press the stall button and - TA DA! - I stall. There is a little P in a circle on the button. It must mean PREVARICATE, which is sort of a synonym for stall. Seriously, how anyone thought these electronic parking brakes were a good idea astounds me. You can't ease off the brake. It just goes off - BOOM - and if you are trying to back up a hill you either stall or get the lovely smell of melting clutch or... BOTH! Back to Brum. I stayed at a beautiful place in Alvechurch called Alcott Farm. Really gorgeous, comfortable and highly recommended. On bank holiday Monday, the Transport Museum Wythall hosted a big open day and included a Model Bus Federation show. There were vendors everywhere, models on display, cottage manufacturers - the whole lot. And I can say that I did not hear a single negative comment on our first Brummie bus sample. Here's our booth. Phil Parker stopped in to say hi, joining me and Rapido's UK office, otherwise known as Terry Wynne. The guy on the left is Mark Ellis. Beside him is Robin Neil, who used to work for Guy Motors. He taught us that our bus is not a Guy Arab IV but a Guy Birmingham, which is far cooler. So the sample that was sent from China two weeks ago got lost in Coventry. Thanks, FedEx. Luckily we foresaw this and Josh prepared a couple of samples, even though they were missing the decorated moquette and all the metal bits. The better sample did show up on Tuesday. The guy drove up while I was standing in the forecourt at Wythall. He says "Package for Dave Taylor. Who are you?" "Dave Taylor," I reply. Photos of the new sample at the bottom of this message.... There were loads of colourful buses on display, and don't for a moment think that Wythall only has Brummie buses.... The miniature railway was in operation, and once again I missed my chance to ride it. I also missed my chance to ride on any buses that day. Grumble. But just look at those happy people! Tuesday was without a doubt the highlight of my entire trip. A few months ago I sent an email to Dave Taylor and Malcolm Keeley at Wythall suggesting we ride the #11 Outer Circle route using 2976, the 1953-built Guy Arab that is the basis of our new model. They were immediately on board and the trip sold out within a couple of days. The #11 follows (broadly) the A4040, which is Birmingham's outer ring road. The thing is, there is no outer ring road. For those of you familiar with London, it's less of a North Circular and more of a South Circular. It's a collection of random bits of road all joined together to make a coherent route, sort of. Our driver was Kevin Hill, owner of MOF9 (sister bus to 2976) and Wolverhampton 4413, a 1974 Bristol VR. The conductress was his wife, Renate. Here I'm ready to depart Wythall. As is this bus crank, trainspotting nerd. But really, this was - erm - work. We had a meeting on the bus. That's Peter Crichton from Omnibus and Chris Tipping from TTC Diecast. We're "working." Check out this wonderfully atmospheric photo - passing a 2018 #11 in a 1953 #11... We pulled up to a rather picturesque bus stop... And everyone got off to take a photo. This is what they were photographing: Here's the upper saloon passengers having a blast. At one point we were driving through a neighbourhood that Dave thought might not be that safe. He came out to stand on the platform with Renate. I came out too. It was really unsafe. People were waving, smiling, cheering and taking our photo. Grownups and kids. It was lovely to see the smiles on everyone's faces - people would turn, catch sight of us, smile, and instinctively start waving. Mums, dads, teenagers - everyone. We stopped by the King's Head on Hagley Road. Many BCT services terminated here back in the day. Here's a photo of a 2018 #11 overtaking us, kindly emailed to me by Tony Summerton. Throughout the trip some suspicious weirdo was following us with a camera on his car. Freaky. That night I headed to the metropolis of Surrey. Unfortunately to get there I had to get around the real metropolis of London. I was stuck on the M25 between the M40 and Junction 9 for ALMOST TWO HOURS. How do you Londoners handle the M25 on a regular basis without going completely insane? I went completely insane. I was ready to climb up one of those $%#^#@ speed camera bridge thingies and do the watusi. The next day I headed further south to the Kent & East Sussex Railway for a meeting I can't tell you about yet. I don't know why the guy wanted to meet there. I would have been perfectly happy to stay in the West Midlands and avoid the M25, which will give me nightmares for weeks. Andy Harding was nice enough to toss me onto the footplate... This was what I was riding: After I asked "Can we drive an HST now?" for the seventh time, I was thrown from the train. Here's a neat shot of a meet with the DMU: I stayed at a gorgeous B&B called Alkham Court. Really wonderful service, comfort and views. This was the view from my room. My plane is boarding now, and I haven't proofread this post. So I apologize for any typos. Here are photos of the sample that finally arrived from China. Gotta go! Talk to you soon, Jason
  12. Hi Keith, So it looks like it will be rubbish weather tomorrow in Dungeness. I think I will give it a pass this time. I've been going nonstop for over a week. I'll post an update on this thread tomorrow. All the best, Jason
  13. Andy York just gave me the heads up about the heart attack, Kit. I wish you lots of strength and an easy recovery! -Jason
  14. Oh definitely! I can imagine the conversation with the BCLM retail manager. "We really like that new bus you are making. Now can you make it so we can retail it for £9.95 please?" Well we can if we make it a Walsall bus stress toy... -Jason
  15. We were originally going to go to Bury until we found out Peter's bus would be at Sandtoft. Bury has buses AND trains so is very high on my to-do list! -Jason
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