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CameronL

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    Cheshire
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    Railways, photography, reading, cooking, dog walking

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  1. I seem to remember that rock singer Neil Young, part owner of Lionel Trains, had a layout in a caravan that he took on tour with him. Talk about "Tracks and Drags and Rock and Roll." By Ian Dury and the Bullheads, of course.
  2. Hi Martin. The Aire Valley Adventure series from RM explicitly states that the vehicle on the layout include two Harbutt's sets, and they're easy to spot in the pictures, including that 1889 Renault. If it didn't work for you as a roadworthy vehicle you could leave it rusting away in some quiet corner of a farmyard with weeds up to the axles and maybe a chicken perched on the bonnet. I think the '26 Bugatti is actually a Type 35 racer (number, no running boards or headlights) which was a very successful design but wouldn't be very likely to be seen on the public roads of the Forest of Dean. It would probably be painted the French Racing Blue colour. I suppose it could appear occasionally on a rail wagon, but then it would be under a tarpaulin which would hide the slight anachronism anyway. Petrol-headedly yours Cam
  3. Thanks Annie. I sit corrected. Your info puts it spot on for a pre-grouping small empire. It just needs a repaint and some weathering. Regards Cam
  4. Hi Martin. There's an SR banana van thread on rmweb - Don't know if this helps, because the thread mentions the 1930s. However, the box van looks like a repaint of a van that Hornby supplied as part of a set The set in question was Thomas, Annie, Clarabelle and a box van. Now, I'm not saying that's the only provenance of this particular piece of rolling stock, but if you Google "Hornby box van" there it is. Personally, being a bear of very little brain I'd get both, give them a repaint and a weathering and go by the "If it looks right..." rule, and not bother about swapping underframes. As for the container, it could be re-roled as a lineside tool shed, chicken coop or, with the roof cut off, and some supports, a lean-to for a rusty old tractor. Cam
  5. Hi Martin. Have you done the sums and worked out how much of that storage space is taken up by your current stock? And therefore how much is still available? Will this produce an acquisitive gleam in the eye or get you searching for the number of a good therapist? Cam
  6. Hi Martin. Please may I add my thoughts to this whole banking / are the engines up to it discussion? You've definitely got an idea of how your layout is going to operate. There will be certain trains of a standard length - coal trains and your longest passenger rake. These will be known quantities and, having seen some of the engines you'll be running, I'm sure that there will be no problem in finding the right engine to get these trains up The Hill without banking. Making sure that this will happen is just a matter of assigning the correct loco to the train. They'll stroll up The Hill without any need for banking. (On an early layout of mine I had a Hornby Pannier that would take 12 wagons up a 1:20). OK. But what about the rest of your loco stock? And do you want to do banking operations? First off, let's talk about the locos which won't pull the standard trains up The Hill. Until the trials happen you don't know which ones these will be, but what if one of them is something you've always wanted or have fallen in love with and can't be fixed with some extra lead? Do you sell it because it won't work on your railway? No. Find this lightweight something it can do. In a way you're lucky because your layout is split just about into two by The Hill. That gives you plenty of scope for operations that don't cover the whole system. Both Nether Madder and Green Soudley have extensive loco facilities. Wouldn't it be possible to find uses for the lightweight locos that don't involve a trip up The Hill? For instance, a small loco based at Nether Madder could run a short freight to Snarling for transfer to the Witts End branch, or that beautiful Witts End passenger set could have a loco change at Snarling for an onward trip to Nether Madder. Both these movements involve plenty of shunting without going near that 1:30. (I think there's a prototype for one company's engine pulling another company's coaches -I'm sure someone else will know more about it than I do). I seem to remember on an earlier page that you mentioned a colliery train taking miners to the mine. That immediately brought to mind a small, old engine with about three four-wheel coaches. Your lightweights should be able to cope with that (unless I'm totally wrong about what you plan the mine train to be). You could also run short mixed services of maybe one coach and a couple of wagons (possibly at a slack time of day). A lighter load that a lightweight might handle. You could even run an occasional passenger service from Green Soudley to Puddlebrook. Just because they can go further doesn't mean they have to. So, you can have engines that can cope with the 1:30 with your longest trains and a use for those that can't. Do you want banking? Well, operationally it's fun, but you've already said that you don't want to bank every train. With some creativity about how your locos are used you could completely do away with banking altogether. However, if you do want to do some it could be as simple as the loco assigned to a train breaks down and the only alternative will need a banker. Other options are available. In this way banking becomes an option under your control rather than a necessity, and you still have plenty for all your much-loved locos to do, whether or not they can cope with The Hill. Hope this gives you some ideas. Regards Cam
  7. Hi Martin. Here's a philosophical question. What is the prototype for a fictional or fantasy railway? If you aren't modelling a specific company and location your main question over the layout is "Does it look right?", not "Does it match the prototype?" As long as your engines, rolling stock and buildings tell the same story you have modeller's licence to do what you please. Your current loco roster and vehicles seem firmly rooted in the pre-grouping era and work together incredibly well. Stick with it. As far as the Madder Valley goes, it wasn't just the wagons of the Madder Valley that went a bit out of the ordinary. I'm sure I've seen pictures (posted on this thread as well as in other places) of a standard-gauge version of a Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway tank loco. Now, I know that John Ahern was a bit vague about where the Madder Valley actually was, but I'm sure it was closer to the Forest of Dean than West Bengal. Regards Cam
  8. Not just a fun bit of modelling. I had huge fun just researching this topic. My love of trains is only matched by my love of the sea / boats etc. Thank you all who brought the idea to mind. OK, so I want something a bit more seagoing than a paddle steamer with a few wagons or a single coach on it. I'm sure it will fit in somehow. As far as "car float" goes, I think the very word "car" screams Trans-Atlantic. On this side of the pond a "car" has four rubber tyres and runs on a road. I want something that will carry wagons. Still evolvingly yours. Watch this space for the next evolution. Cam
  9. A few little thoughts on train ferries - Yes, as I'm still at the pixel-pushing stage I'm thinking about it. Moorhaven might still have one. But I'm a bit stuck on the detail. It seems to me that train ferries split into two types; the "car float" which is basically just a barge with tracks on it, pulled by a tugboat, and proper train ferries with their own engines. The car float type was (and sometimes still is) used to shortcut across major harbours and enclosed waterways because, being flat-bottomed and with little freeboard, they weren't seaworthy enough for open sea. You wouldn't want to be on that in a Force 8. The train ferry which (briefly) served the Isle of Wight was really a car float with paddle wheels - two tracks that carried about fourteen wagons and paddle wheels either side. It was built for ferrying rail wagons across the Firths of Forth and Tay, and as such wasn't (not surprisingly) really suited to the choppy waters of the Solent. It only lasted three years. Train ferries proper were higher in the bow and usually only had stern access to rail. The GER had some after World War I running from Harwich to Zeebrugge. They were proper seagoing vessels which could carry 54 wagons on four tracks - That's a floating fiddle yard on a layout. Problem is, at 403' long it would be about 5'4" in OO scale. Big feature on a layout. It was also a pure train ferry with no passenger facilities. That came later with the Southern Railway on its Dover-Dunkirk route - Only 359' long, it could still take 40 wagons but would still be a lot of space on a model at 4'10" ish. Would it be possible to model a smaller version that would only take maybe 12 wagons at a time (probably the maximum length of train on the layout)? I reckon I could get that down to about 2'6" overall. And then there's the link span - the means of getting wagons on and off the boat. This has to work irrespective of the state of the tide. It turns any train ferry installation into a sizeable bit of layout. The Isle of Wight ferries had a novel solution - the link span was on a railed incline which partially submerged with the tide and the span itself was pulled up and down this incline by a steam winch so as to always be level with the ferry - But as you can see this still makes for a big investment in space. The SR did it better - at Dover they built a dock with seagates into which the ferries were backed, and then water pumped in until the ships were at the right height for a short link span. It greatly reduced the space needed. So, here's the question. I want to model a proper seagoing train ferry in a limited space. Is it OK to model a small version at about 2'6" that carries both wagons and passengers (so I can lose the passenger ferry and save a bit of room), unloaded via a dock and gate system which with gates and link span would add about another 1' to the model? Please bear in mind that the SR introduced these ferries in 1934 and I'm planning a pre-grouping layout. Am I being a bit of a Rule 1 Radical here or can I get away with it? Comments please. Cam
  10. Hi Martin. I love the idea of having your own miniature version of the Lickey Incline, with Big Bertha's little sister sitting in steam at the bottom to push trains up it (maybe with a big electric headlight on the front). Am I stating the obvious in saying that you'll need to include a water tower at either Puddlebrook or Snarling to replenish the engine and save it a run back to the sheds for more water? Especially if you can find an A55 - that huge boiler meant a well tank which cut down on its water capacity. On the "only the Dapol" matter, they look great and to see that little string of wagons chugging round the layout will be a real treat. Someone once gave me a Hornby Transfesa ferry van as a present. As my layout at the time was set in the 1930s, and they were only introduced into Britain in the 1960s it didn't really fit in, but with a repaint in grey with a white roof and "SR" lettering it just looked enough like a long wheelbase box van for my uncritical eye and fitted in a treat. Not being the kind of modeller who would look at and engine and say things like "But the lamp brackets were 6" lower before 1932" I'm a great follower of the "If it looks right run it" approach. Judging by the amount of stock you've shown us in the previous pages, when you get some track down you'll have plenty to put on it. Looking forward to seeing some. Regards Cam
  11. Hi Martin I think the top two pictures of bare rock topped by uneven and occasional retaining wall are exactly what you need. The plant life on the second picture hadn't occurred to me - recreated on a layout it would help to break up the large expanses of wall, be they raw rock or bricks. It would really make that bit of the layout a part of the scenery. Best wishes. Cam
  12. Hi Martin. Grassy embankment above and below the track is a feature of exotic lines like the UP in the Rockies, the Conwy Valley and the Vale of Rheidol. You don't have to cross the pond to find a prototypical example of such. If you have earthen bank below and raw rock above it will look like the railway has been cut into a hillside - something railway engineers have done all over the country in hilly places (ie not my native North Cheshire) since steam engines first went "Chuff". Any railway running along a hillside will have stretches of exactly this feature. Just file this in the "Prototype for Everything" file. Cam
  13. Hi Martin. Retaining walls can be a problem. If you make them too tall it looks like your train is running in front of a reservoir dam. May I suggest an option that doesn't require increasingly-deep retaining walls? Split the wall so the top part is brick but the bottom part is bedrock. The brick walls sit on top of rock walls so it looks like the railway line has been carved out of the earth - You can even make the bottom line of the retaining wall wavy so as to make it look like it's been built on top of the natural contours of the land. As the wall gets higher there's less brick and more stone. Sorry about the bog-standard illustration but I just knocked it together to give you the idea. There is a prototypical example of exactly this. The cutting into Liverpool Lime Street is bare rock topped by retaining walls, and they do vary in depth with the contours of the land. It was built in 1836 so it's stood the test of time. It might not be for you, but I hope it's given you some food for thought. Personally I think it will make the railway look a bit more part of the landscape. PS - Are the LLC giving you a discount for all the advertising? All this high-class work must be generating so much (well deserved) work for them. I'd be itching to get some track laid and trains running (and I once powered a small layout with the 9V battery out of a smoke alarm). Regards Cam
  14. Thanks for that, Nick. It seems that whatever you want to do there's a prototypical example of it. Would people please stop talking about islands? As a huge fan of the Isle of Man the idea of an island-based railway is more and more appealing. There would still be plenty of operational interest - after all the whole island's every need would be supplied by ship and therefore transferred by rail for distribution round the island, you could have quirky industries like an Edison-type power station (mostly long gone on the mainland by the early 20th century but hanging on in some places), forestry, a mineral branch a la Foxdale, fisheries industries such as a kipper factory and shipyard (already got them), the list goes on. As previously mentioned, the Isle of Man railways seemed to have their own way of doing things - for instance, on an island network totally run using tank engines they had one turntable, at St Johns. This was deemed necessary because the trains on the west coast route to Ramsey always ran with the sea to the west, and therefore received a battering from the prevailing south-westerly weather which caused one side of the coaches to weather much faster than the other. They were turned periodically at St John to even things up. Capturing the beauty and "Traa dy Liooar" (time enough) atmosphere of the island would be the real challenge. It'd probably need a bit of a cut down to the current plan in terms of complexity, with fewer stations and maybe a wayside halt or two. Aargh! Somebody stop me before I'm back to the drawing board.
  15. I get the point. I think the difference between my names and yours is that mine sound like something out of a Carry On film whereas yours sound like even if they aren't places they ought to be.
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