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Posts posted by Dorkingian

  1. Memories of the Metropolitan Line


    After the end of steam on BR in 1968, some of us were fortunate enough to live within reach of London Transport's ex-GWR Pannier tanks which were used on works trains on parts of the surface network.  In fact I used to hear one puffing along the Piccadilly Line towards South Harrow if I lay awake after midnight.  And I used to borrow my father's car to photograph the daytime services taking wagons of spoil to Croxley Tip near Watford.


    Earlier this week Robert brought his Metropolitan engines for a run in the fresh air to recreate those days from long ago.  First we see L.97 taking a spoil train towards the delightful countryside of the Chilterns:










    Here it is on the return leg:





    Somewhat earlier, London Transport also ran the former Metropolitan Railway's electric locos for various purposes, and in this instance we see "John Hampden" on what looks like a railway enthusiasts' brakevan excursion:





    ...which on its return passed spoil wagons being shunted:





    With a closer view here:





    And here's John Hampden again with a train of (almost!) Metropolitan Railway compartment stock heading for Baker Street with an afternoon service from the outer Chilterns:





    Finally, this is one of my photos of the real thing - L.89 at Croxley Triangle on 19 July 1968:


    • Like 2
  2. You can wait a long time for a train to come along...


    so when it does, better have the camera ready.  Earlier in October after a lot of maintenance work on clearing the track, here is the 4MT on a local train, first heading along Bamboo Curtain Straight:






    Catching the driver passing Throstlebeck Sidings:





    Rounding Sycamore Curve





    Three shots at different points on Foxdale Bank













    And finally heading into the sun across the Northern Viaduct


  3. An engine, a few coaches and a bit of sunshine


    Who could ask for anything more? 


    In this instance, it's just the Black 5 stretching her legs after too long a break.  Seen here running off the Northern Viaduct onto Foxdale Bank:






    On the Bank





    further along





    Passing Throstlebeck Sidings







    And on down Bamboo Curtain Straight


  4. Moving away from the Southern Region...



    from much further afield is this DB Class 216 diesel:






    Josh's sound fitted Class 66 looked and sounded good but his intermodal wagons were a bit of a handful to keep on my ropey track:






    Finally, in the absence of any conductor rails to clean, it was time for a bit of weedkilling:







    • Like 2
  5. Continuing with the Southern theme from Geoff and Josh's visit


    I may have got some of my Clan Line slides mixed up:










    Here's a Class 73 on what looks almost like a Gatwick Express:











    After which we move to the Uckfield branch where this Turbostar, having left Victoria far behind, cruises through the Kent countryside on the single track section near Cowden:








    • Like 1
  6. Update


    Geoff and Josh came over yesterday, as usual bringing a whole range of exciting models to run.  Here by way of a foretaste is a shot of Josh's finely detailed (and high quality sound fitted) "Clan Line" on one of the Surrey Hills excusions that are once more coming through Dorking every few weeks:




    • Like 1
  7. Locomotive failures


    Robert came to visit this week with a couple of new engines, the first (continuing with our theme of 0-4-0s) was a B4 LSWR shunter.  She was a good-looking lady as these photos of her shunting down at the docks show.  Sadly, despite being almost straight out of the box her performance was abyssmal and she will soon be wending her way back to Dapol's agents for repair or replacement.



















    Staying with the Southern, we then ran resident Hornby West Country Ottery St Mary, seen here in a traditional composition on Foxdale Bank:






    But it wasn't her day either, as the second axle on the front bogie kept derailing.  Closer inspection showed that the metal tyre had separated from the plastic wheel insert:



    so that probably needs careful application of superglue.



    Last up here is tender-drive A4 Bittern, again by Hornby.  She ran very well but also had minor problems with one front bogie axle on which the plastic inserts seemed to have difficulty remaining in true alignment, although this didn't affect the ability to stay on the track.

    First photo shows her with an express on the East Coast Main Line near Peterborough:





    After that we submitted to the inevitability of the implausible fixed headboard sticker and ran her on the Tyne-Tees Pullman, although in some photos she seems to have wandered off the ECML into the wilds of County Durham or beyond:
















    In the interests of accuracy, it's only fair to point out that the tender drive didn't actually have sufficient adhesion to haul nine sluggish coaches all the way round the layout.

    • Like 3
  8. A glimpse of Dorking limeworks


    Operating pictures of the standard gauge vertical boilered "Coffee Pot" engine that arrived at Betchworth near Dorking in 1871 are few and far between, so we are fortunate to have these which have just come to light, courtesy of Julian.






    The engine was built on Teesside by Head Wrightson and spent the first 80 years earning its keep with the Dorking Greystone Lime Company Ltd.  It later found its way back to the North East where it has been lovingly restored at Beamish, the venue for celebrating its 150th birthday this year.  See: http://beamishtransportonline.co.uk/2009/01/1871-coffee-pot-no-1-rebuild/


    The second photo suggests that the Greystone company was probably very particular about buying its coal from a reputable source, and on this occasion the fuel seems to have been delivered along the North Downs line from Reading by a suitably gleaming GW Pannier tank engine.

    The Coffee Pot driver has probably gone off for a quick ciggy while the Pannier pops the coal wagon into the exchange siding.  Both crews would be hoping the foreman is having lunch so they can then chat in the sun for a bit.





    Happy Birthday dear Coffee Pot!




    • Like 1
  9. Yesterday's activity


    Better to take the photos in historical order, although there's a story about the C21st images below.  So, we begin in the 1950s with the Jubilee taking its train through some idyllic parts of northern England in high summer.  Listen to the birdsong!


    First, passing Throstlebeck Sidings






    Crossing Foxdale Bank






    Coasting across the girder bridge






    and romping down Bamboo Curtain Straight






    Moving on, the twentyfirst century proved to be most frustrating as the Bachmann intermodal wagons are particularly demanding in terms of track quality.  The aged and warped timber which constitutes the DGR trackbed really is not to their liking.  It proved impossible to get the rake to do anything like a complete circuit of the line without derailments left, right and centre.  There seems to be very little play on the bogies, so any vertical twisting of the track just sees several bogies bouncing along on the sleepers. 

    Having tried things in both directions, eventually I gave up trying to run the intermodal train and just took photos of it.  At least they don't indicate the extent of the aggrevation.  Then, for consolation, out came the Jubilee and nine coaches - which somehow seem to ride much more successfully than those container flats - so the day provided some enjoyment after all.


    We start with the Class 66 making an adjustment to the rake at Throstlebeck international container depot:






    Then heading away down Bamboo Curtain Straight towards the coast






    Powering across Foxdale Bank






    and rattling the furniture in Foxdale Carr Hall






    before crossing the Northern Viaduct



    (really must add those fiddly hoses onto the front)



    Having reached the port, the loco duly retraces its steps with another train of containers for Throstlebeck






    and was last seen returning across Foxdale Bank, soon to be home:









    • Like 1
  10. A New Zealand garden railway in 1933


    I was recently perusing some long-forgotten copies of the Armstrong Whitworth Record, which was a promotional magazine produced by the engineering group.


    The following photos, with not much supporting text, show the Roberts Stewart Roberts Railway which was in Auckland.  This was built "not as a plaything but as a historical record of the New Zealand Railways, Locomotives and Rolling Stock from the earliest days".

    "The completeness of the data collected in the work of building this line is astonishing, every locomotive, every vehicle, is a true to scale model of a prototype whose history is known in amazing detail as the result of the tireless searching out and writing to scores of descendants of old railway employees."


    There was no mention of scale or gauge, and of course I was wondering if the models have survived to today.  They were built by Frank Roberts, with the research done by Mr W. Stewart, and Frank's brother George helped build the line.






    A very helpful reply from Alan at the New Zealand Model Railway Guild explains that the locomotives and rolling stock models have survived and were sold to the NZ Government Railways by Frank Roberts in the 1950s. The models are now in the possession of Te Papa Tongarewa/Museum of New Zealand and appear on exhibition from time to time.


    He confirms that the models are G gauge (which in the 1930s would presumably have been called gauge 1).  Given NZ's 3'6" track, the scale is 1:24.


    The Wikipedia page I've found on Frank Roberts 


    has a link to the NZ museum where there are photographs of the models which show their superb detail:



    Frank lived from 1882 to 1963.  A book called Vintage steam: stories by Frank Roberts, edited by Gordon Troup was published in 1967.  Then a book by Frank Roberts' daughter was published in 1976, covering his life, his workmanship and love of steam power and the making of the garden railway with the aid of his brother, George and friend, Bill Stewart.


    It's good that this pioneer of garden railways has a place in history.

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