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Gwiwer last won the day on July 9

Gwiwer had the most liked content!

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  • Location
    : Upon a Hill of Strawberries
  • Interests
    Photography, Hill and coastal walking, Cornish history and legend, Music of most genres, Real Ales, Railway modelling, Lisa Simpson.

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  1. I had thought it was 80mph though the difference would have been minimal. Quite recently I had a very late start from Paddington on the 23.45 to Penzance. A train I have used (or its equivalent) regularly since 1967 and Mk1 Western-hauled days. On this occasion the stock was positioned in Platform 1 as normal but the usual 22.30 boarding was not permitted. There was an engineer's possession outside the station requiring the train to be shunted out and set-back into platform 2. OK we thought, a slightly late boarding but away in time. Not so. The loco failed outside the station and required depot assistance to be coaxed back into life. We eventually departed at 01.53. With a faster than normal run and having used up almost all of the slack in the schedule which includes an hour's stand at Exeter St. Davids we were into Plymouth a few minutes early. Poor rail conditions then saw us lose over an hour slipping and creeping through Cornwall but that's another story
  2. One difference is that Barmouth Bridge is on a route which has remained open to passenger and freight traffic and which would have closed had the bridge not been repaired. In that area road alternatives are lengthy, narrow and frequently congested; there is no road crossing at Barmouth and one must divert many miles inland via Dolgellau. The same can be argued for Ribblehead Viaduct. Meldon was already closed in the 1980s other than as a freight headshunt. If it had stayed open then the viaduct may well have needed "phone numbers" spent to repair or rebuilt it. It is considered safe as a walkway these days but carries minimal weight compared with even a 2-car sprinter train. At the least it probably needs significant strengthening and some sources have suggested a complete rebuild to carry trains again. And that would be on a route with no proven traffic of any kind, serving small communities already well-connected by the local road network and providing for somewhat indirect diversions on an unplanned but infrequent basis. The sums don't stack up in my mind.
  3. But if it only ran at night who would ever notice
  4. 2833/4 were part of the IntercIty Charter Fleet. The white-roof, white-wheel-rim superbly turned-out land-cruise trains which offered some rather good (and rather expensive) opportunities to ride the more scenic parts of the network over several days. Trains were typically formed of otherwise-redundant MK1 FO vehicles with suitable restaurant cars between them and Mk3 sleepers for the passengers. As train crew over and above the sleeping car attendant were required to stay with the train overnight the two BCK coaches were converted and were a common sight in the lengthy formation (up to load 16) of the land cruise trains.
  5. I also wondered about those red intermediate buffer beams. They look wrong. Red was used on the leading and trailing end of locomotives but not on intermediate carriage or van ends. So why the change of policy or instruction for the Pressed Steel units? We may never know. But if photos exist (as per the post above) which may prove the point then red they were. And no doubt dirty very early on meaning few of us now will have ever seen them red.
  6. 3-car trains definitely ran to Looe even after the new station replaced the old and only accommodated two-and-a-half coaches. I was on board a class 120 triple travelling in the front coach from Liskeard therefore the rear from Coombe Junction. We stopped alongside nothing at all and - in those days - there was no on-board p.a. to announce our arrival. Numerous passsengers farther along the carriage could then be seen alighting so we walked forward and arrived in the platform on foot as it were. Not a 117 on that occasion but I have seen 3-car suburban-style units in the bay at Liskeard so 116/7/8 have gone down there as well.
  7. Another small step forward. Brass etched “target” signs from Shire Scenes to receive the Trackside Signs name stickers. That’s a close enough fit for my eyes.
  8. A valid point. I am reminded of the one-time proprietor of The Railfan Shop in Melbourne, Australia who may be known to others here. He could be somewhat abrasive at the best of times but woe betide he ever caught you picking up a book or magazine from the shelf to flick through - browse as we often call it - perhaps to decide if it was the one you wanted. He would be over your shoulder in seconds, seize the item and thrust it back on the shelf with the stern admonishment that "This is a shop not a library - if you want to read it you buy it". His sales were never that good. No-one wondered why
  9. That situation is only temporary. Many shops (not just model shops) were gearing up to re-open with a guidance of 2m social distancing but can now adjust - if they choose - to accommodate the recent 1m+ easing. That can allow more people into a shop if space permits. It is the physical layout of the shop which determines such things. Aisles less than 1m wide will make it difficult; aisles more than 1m wide cannot be provided in all shops. I have in mind the many "corner shop" establishments which often pack things in tightly. And some model shops are in older premises where wider aisles just cannot be provided without removing most of the display stock customers would wish to browse. There are other issues. Many retailers are limiting browsing (again as a temporary measure) to limit the potential for queuing outside while others take their time and because items handled but put back should be sanitised if possible; some shops are quarantining such goods instead. That adds to the workload for a depleted staff who also have to work within covid-secure guidelines and may not be able to operate as they normally would. One-in-one-out and a queue at the door is not ideal. It also isn't permanent. This hobby teaches many of us patience and this is just another area in which we need to show that. It's hard being in retail at the best of times. It is encouraging to hear that some of our hobby retailers have experienced an upturn in business despite the emergency and having to close their shop doors. Many will survive. The government has acted to support as many workers as it reasonably can for quite a long time. It won't catch everyone and not every shop will re-open. But we could be in a far worse position than we are.
  10. 1. Terms of Trade. Take 'em or leave 'em. 2. They must feel there are sufficient alternative retail outlets available.
  11. "Culm" to a geologist such as myself means something a little different - but not so far removed. The Culm Supergroup (which was known as the Culm Measures when I studied) is found largely in Devon and north Cornwall and is of similar Carboniferous Period age to coal. Typified by shales and sandstones it also includes a small area of lenticular sooty coal in the Bideford region. Culm according to Wikipedia may derive from the Welsh word cwlwm meaning knot and refers to the intensely-folded nature of the rocks when seen today. As "Culm" is a river and occurs in Devon place names such as Culmstock I prefer the thought that the word - if it were Welsh at all - may have come from cwm meaning a valley. A slightly different understanding of the word "culm" is known from Northern England where it approximates to the American usage. This refers to waste material from screening coal or fine pieces of anthracite. The origin here is uncertain but may be from a Middle English word "culme" which in turn may have derived from Old English "col" which is known to refer to coal. What ever the origin it is not a word I have heard associated with poor quality coal in the commercial or industrial sense but I come from South of Watford Gap and know my way around British geology. I know mining waste or poor quality coal as "slack" and sometimes a variety called "nutty slack" depending on the proportion of lumps to dust. "Culm" in the sense of poor coal may have originated with the Bideford deposit a little of which may have been commercially shipped out from that port or could have been a term exported from the north of England with the product. The present rendering of both as Culm might in fact be coincidental.
  12. It could be. Four lines currently operate in a nearly-automated manner and four more are about to join them. But. It's a big but. There is still a "driver" at the front of every train. They don't drive on the automated lines under normal circumstances but can do in emergency. They have oversight of door-closing which is a huge safety-critical area and which cannot be left to platform staff because they have no way to control the doors. Despite the advent of automated announcements - of which "we are being held at a red signal and should be moving shortly" is perhaps the most often heard - the driver can still make manual ones. This can be to reinforce the "stand clear of the doors" message prior to departure. Many Londoners would probably not accept tube trains without a staff member on board willingly. Knowing they could be tightly packed into a small space with many others and no staff to respond in the event of an emergency would not inspire confidence. Having to fend for themselves in - for example - a power failure when all but emergency lighting goes off and so do the fans meaning it gets very hot very quickly inside will not prove popular. Just having one person at the front able to take charge, speak with line control and then (if necessary) assist passengers is reassuring and if it comes down to cost then what price safety? The railway industry claims it does not compromise on safety.
  13. Plenty of informed comment here already. Top-link locos got - or should have got - the best coal. Large clean lumps for the most part though smaller and dustier to fill the tender as required. A fireman finding his trusty main-line steed filled with nuggets or dust would very probably have offered his opinion on that to the yard staff in language which would get me a holiday from this site. Quality and, to some extent, size reduced the lower down the ranks you came. The humble yard shunter often had to cope with "slack" which was lumpy dust for want of a better description. Coal was delivered "as mined" but could still be sorted and graded in many locations. Not everywhere had a coaling tower and not all locos would be coaled beneath one where it existed. In addition to which coal from different mines could arrive at the same depot meaning they had stocks of differing sizes, quality and thermal efficiency. There are verified accounts of fires going out because of poor or dusty coal and of trains becoming in need of assistance. Blaming the coal - however bad - wouldn't do when you were invited for tea with the gaffer and asked to explain. I have a handful of 16t coal wagons which are loaded with various grades. They are not specifically locomotive coal but on the in-build layout they will be used for that purpose.
  14. One that works!!! Slightly tongue-in-cheek there but being the world's least-savvy person at wiring and electrics in general I have had a few issues. In all honesty I can't record a vote because it's not the format of the layout (end-to-end or oval) that makes it but the workmanship, skill and dedication. Layouts are built to fit in a particular space often as not and we don't always get the option. I have gone from one extreme to another having had a 35-metre "oval" (circuit would be a better description) and a tiny N-gauge portable built on a cork notice-board. The current layout is shoe-horned around two walls of a room which multi-tasks as bedroom, office, library, workshop and railway room. A little limiting but she's coming along steadily and not looking too shabby. I have even managed yards at both ends by hiding one behind the back-scene and the other under the bed.
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