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craigowen1976

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About craigowen1976

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    https://www.facebook.com/WyeValleyGardenRailway

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  • Location
    Hereford
  • Interests
    Modelling Hereford (Barr’s Court) station 1920s-60s; the Hereford & Ross / Wye Valley Railway; and a Garden Railway circuit in development (my previous layout of 15 years being “the Blackbury Line”, viewable on YouTube.

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  1. Delighted with the decor and pulling power of my D 737, which landed from Locomotion earlier in the week: looks quite a picture on the garden railway in full flight! I remember wishing for an RTR SECR ‘D’ since I was 5 years old… so to say I’m looking forward to the other liveries landing is probably an understatement. Now, whose finally gonna do the GWR Bulldog…? Dapol SECR ‘D’ class 4-4-0 with 9-car South Eastern Express: Wye Valley Garden Railway
  2. Has anyone heard of any update on Jim and the ongoing backlog saga? ive been waiting on an order I placed back 28th November last year, over £300 worth. I had 2 quite amiable follow up phone calls with Jim, in January and March, promising they were on their way. Couple of gentle emails further, then In April I tried following up by phone but unable to get through or leave a message, for reasons I fully understand from his eye operation. I tried a handwritten card in May, just asking whether it might be possible just to refund the order if it couldn’t be sent. Did receive an answerphone message couple weeks later whilst in work, saying they were on their way... aaaand... 3 weeks later, still nothing. I've tried ringing, but no answer or means of leaving a message. I fully understand he’s had an operation and very limited capacity. But at what point after 6 months of being terribly understanding and patient, do you say enough is enough? He clearly won’t get anyone in to help, and If he won’t reimburse the money or respond to very fair and good natured contact... are customers expected to just write off £300 quid? It’s not in my character to escalate things, but where does one go - trading standards, police, small claims court? I know he’s unwell, no one needs to lather that on. I have terminal cancer, and I don’t use that as a reason to ignore people or promises. But I would like to detail and enjoy my loco fleet before I snuff it, and at this rate... it’s not looking promising! Any advice / pointers / suggestions greatly appreciated.
  3. Just to join the chorus ‘for the record’ (and to (very rarely) voice my frustration publicly, in the hope it registers with both Hattons and Hornby a little more than an a poor work experience student having to front pointless apologies)... in last 2 days I’ve received order cancellations for (deep breath...) Thane of Fife, Lord President, 2 Blue Pullman power cars, 4 of the Blue Pullman coaches and the Pride Pendolino set of 4 . Most of which I ordered literally on the day they were announced, so they’re clearly not honouring pre-orders on a ‘first come first served’ basis - and it’s this that I find somewhat unforgivable, in customer service terms. I do appreciate there can be supply challenges, and I’ve always been pretty forgiving with retailers as I know it’s not necessarily their fault. But the scale of this does take the biscuit on any measure - there’s literally no point in pre-ordering with them at all if they just cancel at the point of delivery, and / or completely ignore early commitments. What’s the point in ordering 3 years / 3 months / 3 weeks beforehand, if they prioritise whoever happens to be around on the day of arrival? To rub in the salt, I did ring them yesterday (when the first email came through it didn’t mention cancellation - just that my order was being ‘reviewed’, as it turned out they were trying to charge my card to an old address, easily and immediately resolved). They cheerfully confirmed the card payment had gone through, and that ‘Thane of Fife’ was being packed and sent out. This morning I looked forward to receive a “Thane”, and instead received yet another cancellation email. AFTER they had allocated and processed it! They could at least have offered an alternative model out of the other A2 versions - some of which they still had ‘on sale’ to new customers today (bit of a cheeky little slap in the face, I’m sure intended very friendly...). So, I’ve placed my order with TMC instead (albeit for Cock o the North, since Thane of Fife now seems sold out everywhere; if only I’d ordered early...). Just to clarify, Hornby appear equally on the hook here - given recent pattern of releasing multiple duplicate models (once is a coincidence, four times is systematic), it looks strongly like they’re pursuing a strategy of ‘aggressive monopoly’ and unreliable supply, trying to put retailers out of business so people switch to ordering direct from them. I’m sure some may argue “all’s fair in love and war”, but in such a niche hobby, and with so many retailers having already gone out of business over the last decade, dishonourable aggressions seem undeserving of custom, for my money at least. So I’ll probably switch pre-orders away from Hornby too off the back of this (from the experiences in this thread, it sounds like Hornby are no more reliable at honouring direct orders themselves - which I find absolutely astonishing!). Thankyou for some of the suggestions above around more reliable retailers: about 3 years worth of pre-orders should be switching to them tomorrow, unless Hattons and Hornby have engaged the services of top level diplomats by the morning! Good luck to others in the same position.
  4. Hi there Roger, it's been really interesting to look and read through your posts and pics from your Hereford layout project! I stumbled across them as I'm just in process of moving back to Herefordshire, and for the new house am planning a 00 gauge model of the 'south end' of Hereford station (along with a garden railway outside*). I'm particularly impressed with how well you've captured Barr's Court building, and the footbridge (with some fantastic help, by the sounds of it). It would be really great at some point to compare notes, and share your experience of having built Hereford in N scale - I'm sure you must have picked up lots of observations / things you wished you'd known beforehand along the way! And if there's any way I can reciprocate any help / advice / research, or indeed assistance with your own layout, very happy to do so (recognising the COVID situation this year might restrict things a little more than normal). * (after 15 years of running the 'Blackbury Line' in South Wales --> https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLN2CaysNHs5Bs_tymOi8JGO_NwIfoWvvG). But looking forward to relocating the garden railway setup to a bank alongside the original Hereford to Ross Railway, for a new lease of life :-) Look forward to hopefully being in touch further - all best :-)
  5. Cheers Mick, yes 'Stepney' has been nicely weathered (though the credit for that goes to TMC in this particular case!). But after your fantastic weathering course in Pendon (big plug, to anybody who's happens to be listening in...), I had a good go on several of my BR Western Region models - this running session features several post-Pendon weatherings, 'Oakley Hall', 42xx, 43xx, 45xx. I'm not quite brave enough just yet to let my paintbrush loose on an elaborate pre-grouping livery... but nearly. A big thankyou for your tutoring! ;-) For others just popping heads out into the 'garden railway' display area - we've moved on from the earlier LBSCR pre-grouping stock, now showing BR 1950s:
  6. Excuse the very late entry... we've been avidly not setting up outside the exhibition hall, in the hope of being able to offer the exclusive first of a garden railway in action (not) live and (not) onsite. Now let's see if it stays working as the folks come in... Despite a 'hand of God' in the 1st few seconds, and some juddery running from kitbuilds, glad to report alot less derailments than usual... (tho saying that should a jinxed it). Open to requests for running sessions featuring other eras / rolling stock...! Tho gonna have a quick look around and leave you guys to play. No pileups, ok?
  7. Quick Q - does anyone know of a supplier who offers ready made (or bespoke?) decals for renaming (and renumbering) the Hornby J36 - in any of its livery guises? I’m hoping to resurrect “Arras” and potentially “Allenby” - but drawn a blank so far from a quick search of the usual suspects (Modelmaster Jackson Evans, Fox, google!). There are sheets for a selection of the Scottish D11 Directors, etc and the J36 would seem a prime candidate for similar, with some v distinctive names topical following WW100. Any suggestions much appreciated :-)
  8. The LBSC Umber Atlantic is an absolute stunner, and a logical move - will definitely be queueing for that one! Also Quarry Hunslets are quite a coup, bet they will be mightily popular - I've always thought they are one of the prettiest / most handsome engines in any gauge, and with industrial use they lend themselves well to an explosion in 009 modelling (even moreso than Baldwins / L&B). I can see many layouts ending up with an industry corner / exchange sidings! Useful reference page at https://www.quarryhunslet.mste.co.uk/public/intro.php. Good to see the Bulleid coaches retooling. Otherwise, as others have said, looks like Bachmann are focused on clearing the backlog before announcing brand new 00 locos, which is a good thing (even if it leaves us to froth for another day ... I can't pretend I wasn't looking forward to a bit more, but think its a sensible approach). We should probably keep an eye out for their Collectors Club members day in the summer, or towards Locomotion Models for any sneaky new announcements prior to 2019... But I wouldn't mind betting, after lots of catching up on production, that next year's announcement could be quite a blinder. So, Hornby, over to you...!
  9. Returning to the new year speculation and froth originally intended... here’s my sweepstake and bonus balls, counting down to outright “wish on a stars”...! Hornby SR Lord Nelson - seems pretty much a given on the circumstantial evidence. NBR J36 0-6-0 - Good tie in with end of WW1, names, wide range / longevity, dip a toe into Scotland, lovely pregroup livery option Aventra EMU (Elizabeth Line) - keeping up with the latest and all that Hudswell Clark 0-6-0T industrial - side tank ‘gap’ in the surging industrial market. Some ‘end of steam 1968’ packs involving black 5s, Britannia’s and / or 8Fs Bachmann (accepting likely long production times / priority on clearing backlog) SECR ‘D’ 4-4-0 - stunningly beautiful, NRM tie-in, obvious big SECR gap / opportunity, “if you announce one totally new tooling make it a blinder” BR 78xxx 2MT 2-6-0 - v practical, wish list gap for years running, transferable tooling from ivatt 2MT, ‘easy win’ Retooled GWR Manor (or possibly 43xx / one followed by the other, as they share so many tooling parts?). Scotrail Hitachi 385 (or 380 Desiro) EMU (latter if they’re mainly catching up on production; former if they’re catching the zeitgeist) Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST - attractive and safe hop on the industrial bandwagon. Also rans / bonus balls - perhaps one from among this lot? GWR ‘The Great Bear’ 4-6-2 - could be Hornbys next Cock o the North / “didn’t see that one coming” number, building on Castle tooling GWR Saint (reckon head to head in 2019 as both Hornby & Bachmann try to capitalise on Lady of Legend steaming) Caledonian 812 0-6-0 (in blue please please please...!) L&YR Aspinall 27 0-6-0 (seems Bachmann-esque?) BR (WR) 15xx 0-6-0PT (next Model Rail / Rapido commission?) Southern Q 0-6-0 (more Hornby’s scene... tho v ‘4F’ish too?) NER G5 0-4-4T (Reckon Hornby might follow Q6 with this, but year or 2 away?) NER J27 or J21 0-6-0 (if Bachmann don’t get there first, DJ Models / Heljan?) Caledonian 439 0-4-4T (Hornby development of M7?) GER J69 0-6-0T (Hornby?) BR (WR) gas turbine ‘kerosene castle’ (more likely a commission - Heljan?) Maybes... Rapido, Commissions, or left field head turners NBR Glen 4-4-0 LNWR Precedent 2-4-0 Hardwicke S160 or WD 2-10-0 - seems a logical Rapido ‘UK meets US’ development? GWR Bulldog 4-4-0 (logical Bachmann development from dukedog, requiring only boiler tooling) LNWR Claughton, or George V (I’m wishing now) NER 4-4-0 Highland Jones Goods (come on Rapido!) Quite a wide field, but will be pretty chuffed with any Interesting developments... looking forward to what new year may bring :-)
  10. Returning to the new year speculation and froth originally intended... here’s my sweepstake and bonus balls, counting down to outright “wish on a stars”...! Hornby SR Lord Nelson - seems pretty much a given on the circumstantial evidence. NBR J36 0-6-0 - Good tie in with end of WW1, names, wide range / longevity, dip a toe into Scotland, lovely pregroup livery option Aventra EMU (Elizabeth Line) - keeping up with the latest and all that Hudswell Clark 0-6-0T industrial - side tank ‘gap’ in the surging industrial market. Some ‘end of steam 1968’ packs involving black 5s, Britannia’s and / or 8Fs Bachmann (accepting likely long production times / priority on clearing backlog) SECR ‘D’ 4-4-0 - stunningly beautiful, NRM tie-in, obvious big SECR gap / opportunity, “if you announce one totally new tooling make it a blinder” BR 78xxx 2MT 2-6-0 - v practical, wish list gap for years running, transferable tooling from ivatt 2MT, ‘easy win’ Retooled GWR Manor (or possibly 43xx / one followed by the other, as they share so many tooling parts?). Scotrail Hitachi 385 (or 380 Desiro) EMU (latter if they’re mainly catching up on production; former if they’re catching the zeitgeist) Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST - attractive and safe hop on the industrial bandwagon. Also rans / bonus balls - perhaps one from among this lot? GWR ‘The Great Bear’ 4-6-2 - could be Hornbys next Cock o the North / “didn’t see that one coming” number, building on Castle tooling GWR Saint (reckon head to head in 2019 as both Hornby & Bachmann try to capitalise on Lady of Legend steaming) Caledonian 812 0-6-0 (in blue please please please...!) L&YR Aspinall 27 0-6-0 (seems Bachmann-esque?) BR (WR) 15xx 0-6-0PT (next Model Rail / Rapido commission?) Southern Q 0-6-0 (more Hornby’s scene... tho v ‘4F’ish too?) NER G5 0-4-4T (Reckon Hornby might follow Q6 with this, but year or 2 away?) NER J27 or J21 0-6-0 (if Bachmann don’t get there first, DJ Models / Heljan?) Caledonian 439 0-4-4T (Hornby development of M7?) GER J69 0-6-0T (Hornby?) BR (WR) gas turbine ‘kerosene castle’ (more likely a commission - Heljan?) Maybes... Rapido, Commissions, or left field head turners NBR Glen 4-4-0 LNWR Precedent 2-4-0 Hardwicke S160 or WD 2-10-0 - seems a logical Rapido ‘UK meets US’ development? GWR Bulldog 4-4-0 (logical Bachmann development from dukedog, requiring only boiler tooling) LNWR Claughton, or George V (I’m wishing now) NER 4-4-0 Highland Jones Goods (come on Rapido!) Quite a wide field, but will be pretty chuffed with any of these as developments... looking forward to what new year may bring :-)
  11. Very impressed with the Garratt, looking forward to trying it out on the garden railway if the sun holds... I couldn't get beyond 65 wagons as it's strength pulled them off the curved track sections! Anyway, thought viewers might enjoy this short video of Garratts first freight on indoor section of Blackbury Line...
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