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Jim Martin

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  1. I wouldn't dispute that there was more variety on the railway in the past, for all the reasons you mention; but I'd question whether someone whose stance is "a box is a box is a box" is ideally equipped to judge exactly how much variety there is now. As I discussed in my earlier post, maybe there's more variety than you realise but you can't see it. Jim
  2. With respect, though, isn't that because you don't know what you're looking at, or where the differences are? I don't know how many different diagrams were issued for 16-ton mineral wagons, but I know that it was more than a couple (and I have read the Modeller's Backtrack article cited by someone recently). To most observers, they all look the same: that's just a fact, with the possible exception of the SNCF type and the ones with the sloping sides. The variety resides in features which are either superficial - livery and weathering - or in details not readily apparent to a casual observer: axleboxes, brakes, buffers, welded or riveted body and so on. You might know where to look to see that variety on a 16-tonner or an early BR-era van, but most people - probably even most enthusiasts - don't. Exactly the same is true of containers. I'm guessing that you neither know nor care what the range of options for fork pockets are, how to tell whether a container is ventilated or not, or even if it's ribbed or corrugated side (roughly the equivalent of whether a van has planked or plywood sides in terms of its obviousness as a starting point, for people who do know the difference). That's absolutely fine: none of this is a measure of anyone's worth, after all; and in any case, you're definitely on the side of the majority. I'd just ask that you (not just you: people generally) keep in mind that "these things are all the same" and "these things look the same to me, because I don't know how to tell them apart" aren't necessarily the same thing. Little Bytham's a lovely layout, by the way. I particularly like the goods trains. I like most freight stock. Jim
  3. I'm frequently surprised at the way people who will practically fight you if you suggest, for example, that all GWR 4-6-0s look pretty much the same can airily dismiss container trains as having no variety. What's even more startling to me is goods wagon enthusiasts (of which I am one) who'll point out that their collection of BR vans are all different by dint of various underframe details - 4-shoe, 8-shoe, Morton clutch, axlebox design, buffer type etc. - but can't see that container trains have widely differing underframes, because the things that the boxes are riding on are actually totally different wagon types. My mother lived in Berkhamsted until recently and I agree that the WCML would be a good subject for a "watching the trains go by" layout. You'd need an awful lot of 350s, mind: at least five or six units so that you could have an 8-car in the slow platforms while a 12-car blasts through on the fast lines. Also, don't forget that in recent years there have always been a few units of other classes that live in the sidings until the peak periods: these were class 321s until 2015, when they were replaced by 319s. Cross Street, while not a faithful representation of Oxford Road (it was very small, for a start) was inspired by the line between Deansgate and Piccadilly: This is a fair point. I aim for 2006, give or take a year or so, so the freight services are almost all EWS or Freightliner. In another instance of finding interest if you look for it, this was very much a transitional period on Northern Rail, so there were all sorts of liveries to be seen. I remember a layout which used to appear quite regularly in Model Railroader several years ago: the owner had a policy of reflecting prototype changes as they happened, even to the extent of selling off his locomotives as they were replaced by the real railroad (and at one point repainting all the signal posts from black to silver). I don't think I'd have either the heart or the money to do that... Jim
  4. It's interesting that the pictures you've posted show fairly complete frames with little, if any, other structure in place. Most buildings of this sort of size nowadays seem to be built by erecting the lift shaft / stairwell to the full height of the building and then sort of building out from there. Jim
  5. That's an amazing layout! I don't want to hijack Grahame's topic, but anyone who likes urban modelling who hasn't clicked on Warb's link should do so right now. Jim
  6. I think it's a good choice. So much of your layout is going to be about the juxtaposition of old and new buildings, and this will show that dynamic change in progress. It could be a very interesting model. There's scope for going below street level (I know you already have several levels) and showing concrete footings, or floors with the reinforcing mesh in place but the concrete still to be poured. Jim
  7. Ah. All that I knew about them was that there were a hell of a lot of them at big stations by the time I started travelling around to look at trains (the very end of the 70s)! Jim
  8. I think a construction site would work well as a kind of "bookend" to the building under demolition you built a while back. Alternatively, the "ruins" in use as a car park would be an interesting bit of inner-city land use. Jim
  9. I managed to get hold of a copy from https://www.newsstand.co.uk. I was very happy with their service, although there was a bit of a delay in the post which I don't think was their fault. If you're thinking of using them, be aware that they treat every order as a "subscription", even if it's a one-issue subscription. That can look a bit odd in your emails if you're not expecting it. Jim
  10. That's really helpful. I'd been thinking that both the BG and the GUV would have been designed around a standard opening - perhaps one that also took in other factors, like the dimensions of the BRUTE trolley. I hadn't considered the different body profiles, but even if I had I'd probably still have bet on a standard opening, even if the doors themselves were physically different. Your reference above seems to confirm that the GUV doors should be wider than those on the BG. This is a great relief, given that I'd hacked great holes in the body of an expensive model before discovering the discrepancy and having a crisis of confidence! Many thanks Jim
  11. Can someone tell me how wide the double doors on BR GUVs and BGs were, please? The reason I'm asking is that the roller shutter on the Farish super BG is just over 8mm wide and the entire door unit, including the runners on each side, is 9mm wide, while the doors on the same manufacturer's GUV are 10.5mm wide. I thought that the roller shutters were the same width as the original doors, so is one of the models wrong, or did the vehicles really have differently-sized doors? Thanks Jim
  12. Concrete has a long history of use in rolling stock. At least some Great Central fish vans had concrete floors, presumably to facilitate washing out. I imagine that other companies did the same for the same reason. In White's The American Railroad Passenger Car there's a photo of men laying a concrete floor in what's clearly, from the number and position of the windows, a passenger coach early in the twentieth century. It looks very much like men laying a driveway, with planks propped up above the work and a couple of men advancing along them with a wooden beam to level-off the surface. Jim
  13. Arran Thanks for that. My modelling interests have recently shifted a bit, in a way that makes container flats rather more important than they were before (I sent you a message via your website yesterday, because I'll be in for some pocket wagons, if they're still available). FSAs might not have been at the forefront of my thinking before, but I'd be up for a few now. Jim
  14. What's the current status of this project, please? Is there a period for pre-orders? Has it been and gone? Is the whole thing on hold until The Plague subsides? Jim
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