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  • Location
    N Ireland
  • Interests
    Modelling the UTA in the 50s and 60s, as well as the GSWR line to Stranraer.

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  1. Just a memory of travelling on one of the AECs which still had the luxurious seating in first class, in this case at the back of the train. Coming into the city from Blackrock in the evening and passing through the closed stations at Booterstown, Merrion, Sandymount and Sydney Parade and watching the crossing gates close immediately after we passed through, the red lamps glowing in the semi darkness. Most trains ran from Blackrock to Lansdowne Road non stop. Apart from Merrion, all these re-opened later. Lovely.... Colm Flanagan
  2. Indeed, my wife sometimes refers to it as the "summer house"..! Pure escapism ... A short video of a UTA "neverwazz" formation - Railcar No4 with a luggage/generator van in tow, on a test run from Stranraer to Coleraine. The GV (Hornby respray) is for another modelling friend.
  3. i've been doing some scenic work on the last significant bit of bare board on the layout, the lifting section beyond Coleraine The main lines run behind my ferry at one end of the room), as below. After a good bit of humming and hawing I decided to re-use the "Eden Cottage" Mk1 which had been displaced from our "Bleach Green" layout as it was basically a tweaked Metcalfe farm house. I decided to give it some nice grounds around, with a terrace, gardens and lawn at the front, garage etc behind, and a drive curving up from the road. A very enjoyable project- he's got a bit of money this guy, hence the golden Jaguar Mk2 at the front door! His wife has the blue mini. (the sky behind is thanks to photoshop, in reality the harbour area and ship can be seen!) The semi toppled flower point to left of front door has been sorted, it got hit by a visitor!! The lawn mower is scratch built and based one one my dad had in the late 1950's. It took about an hour and a half to build. The washing is on the line to the right, the greenhouse by Bachmann. The Ratio spear fencing adds a bit of class with it's golden tips....(just like a large house I saw recently!) I find most scatters too coarse from things like driveways so have used some genuine Ballywalter silver sand sprinkled on thinly. The back garden, the hedgerow disguises the gap between the lifting section and main board behind. The potting shed came as a free kit with a magazine, the corrugated iron garage is built from plastic card. There's some more work to do, I'll post some more details when it happens!.
  4. “THE GANZ” ULSTER TRANSPORT AUTHORITY No5 The story of an experiment. The subtitle above could refer to either the real thing or my model. Nearly twenty years ago, when I was researching “Diesel Dawn” I was fortunate to acquire some drawings of UTA railcars.. My interest at the time was in the MPD cars, and I generally paid little heed to the rest. Sadly all these drawings got lost in my recent house move. However, I recalled a railcar drawing with the intriguing name of “ Ganz”, UTA No 5. It was a single unit with double cab anda definitely unusual look. When I started to look into it, I discovered that it had been bought by the UTA in 1951.The railcar was a prototype based on a Hungarian design known as “Arpad”, and had been used for trials on the LMS, then stored in England since 1938. The name “Ganz” is explained by the fact that the diesel engine which powered it, was made under licence from Ganz, the manufacturers. The UTA regauged the railcar and gave it the number 5 following on from the NCC cars. No 5 ran on and off until about 1961. It then lay out of service and decaying in a shed at Adelaide, being scrapped about 1965. Mostly, it has been forgotten. Now, my approach to these projects is based on a simple question. Can I chop something out of plastic which will be a reasonable representation? I can cope with tiny bits of plasticard, but I don’t like doing chassis, and metal work isn’t on my agenda, apart from using etched sides if there are any available. To the best of my knowledge, no-one has as yet done a model of the Ganz” railcar in any scale. I was fortunate in getting another copy of the drawing I’d had, from Ian Sinclair, though it was a pretty poor reproduction; still it confirmed what I’d originally thought – the Ganz wasn’t really like anything else that ran in Ireland (or even the UK!) – it even had a very long power bogie of 13’ (52mm in 00). A one off indeed. PLAN PICTURE Forget it, I thought. Then, I was browsing one of my railcar books and had an idea. One of the batches of GWR railcars looked interesting - about the a same length as the Ganz, and Lima made a model W22, on a chassis which was a bit noisy but reliable. Maybe…..just maybe it might be possible if one allowed a good bit of leeway..at least it would look “different”. I decided the only thing to do was to buy a Lima one and inspect it to see what could and could not be done. I duly acquired a W22 at a reasonable price. And Spent quite a while looking at it. Yes, the bogies were (both) wrong – being 9’ ish. But who peers closely at bogies? I’d try and make them look different someway. It was cla ear that the windows were too big and set too high for the Ganz, but I could rearrange them to be roughly the correct number with doors at the appropriate places. I’d need to chop two cars up to get the number I’d need. The cabs would need to be built from strip and filler, and the roof had an odd profile. But I reckoned some coarse sandpaper and elbow work might deal with the latter. Should I go ahead? LIMA MODEL I went for it, bought another Lima railcar, and set to work. I decided to accept that the inaccuracies above would have to be lived with, otherwise the project was a dead duck for me. Anyway, I thought, even if it’s not 100% right , how many other people alive even remember the thing, or know of it’s existence? In the end, it was my time and should it be a disaster then I had a couple of spare Lima motors and bogie which might come in useful. So I began by counting windows and cutting up sides – straight away compromise was the order of the day. I ended up with the toilet nearer the engine than it actually was, and the opaque windows help disguise the big motor behind! One cab was a half cab, and there were little triangular windows at each end. I had to build the thing and still be able to access the chassis in case of motor problems. This meant I had to retain parts of the Lima one untouched and I know from bitter experience that a flimsy cab end construction is a very bad idea…so I accepted that the Lima underframe, cab interiors, and buffers would need to stay. And it’s hard to see into the cabs anyway. The drawing is my "working" one, with the windows as they will be, rather than the original; it was cut off at one end, and i inked in the left hand cab. Gradually No 5 took shape. I fixed the sides to the Lima underframe to give them some strength – there were five “panels” on each side and they are a bit flimsy when hacked into smallish panels. This meant I had to keep the roof removable, it’s held by two screws which come up from beneath. I had a lot of trouble with the little windows at the ends but finally got somewhere near – by the way the two cabs have different numbers of glass panes in them and they were more curved than mine. That just would have been a step too far! Using my two interiors, I did the seating, I have 16 first and 20 second as opposed to 18 first and 22 second in the real thing which isn’t bad! The roof was usable after some heavy sanding. I have no information about what type of ventilators were used, so went with a type used on a number of early BR and UTA trains. The Ganz was powered by a single diesel situated behind a full width driver’s cab; it was apparently quite big and stood tall inside a wooden “box” with narrow access corridor down one side. Naturally this was the end to keep the Lima pancake motor in. I disguised it as best I could by blacking up inside windows, which looks perfectly fine from a couple of feet way. As for the bogies, I happened to stumble on a set of Bulleid pattern “Commonwealth” bogie sides- they look quite chunky and different so I filed down the Lima bogie sides and glued these on! Information on what went underneath is sketchy so I did “improvise” a bit.The Lima model has deep “skirts” but these had to be removed, and replaced by the items any diesel railcar needs - a fuel tank, radiators, battery, and at least one electrical panel. The Ganz had air brakes so I added a compressor and cylinders (which show in the drawing and photos.) i omitted the fuel tank at first! It replaced the battery at top right corner. Nearly there! I used the livery the Ganz carried from about 1960, with yellow ends and black stripes. The railcar never carried the UTA “crest” but retained its “red hand” until the end. The railcar runs well – the Ganz did on occasions pull a trailer which the UTA built for it, but for now my model has no working couplings. I obviously removed the huge Lima hook and bar ones to get the ends looking something like the real thing. – the piping was added for the trailer but of course No 5 had to “run round” when it was in use as the trailer had no cab. Finally, “Before” and “After” pictures. If nothing else, my Ganz looks very different from the original model. And it was fun building it –most of the time I am hoping soon to make a model of Nos 6 & 7 (using Allen doherty's etches which will give me 1, 4, 5, 6 &7, MED 12, and a number of MPDs - samples of the way railcars developed in N. Ireland between 1930 and 1961. Colm
  5. Another "fun" video witha beyer garratt and Flying Scotsman pulling really long trains. Try counting the wagons and coaches if you suffer from insomnia. There's a few Irish wagons in the freight train. My next post (coming soon) will return to the UTA theme., with UTA railcar No 5.
  6. The bridges are mostly Wills - the nearer narrow gauge one is the occupation bridge with stonework,(heightened), two of the others are the "Varigirder" with stone/brick abutments, and the far right one (on the standard gauge line) is a Peco "N" gauge girder with Slaters brick plasticard. I just wanted them to be all a bit different!! I expect a real engineer would be very worried about the lack of supporting depth on the underside of some of these bridges but clearances are very tight in this area and I "gauged" them to the minimum clearance possible. (Some of you will know I have one or two "non Irish" large locomotives and I was determined to be able to run them with reasonable freedom. None will fall down anyway! Colm
  7. Some of you may subscribe to "New Irish Lines", a bi-annual magazine produced by Alan O Rourke. It is a "must" for anyone interested in Irish railway modelling no matter what era or scale, or even semi freelance! With the latter in mind I am reproducing here a picture which appeared in the most recent edition. In colour, with some more explanation about the stock depicted. The engine with the number plate (it's no 6) is essentially the closest i can get to the attractive little NCC narrow gauge compound 2-4-2 tanks with using an r-t-r chassis, and plasticard top. I rather liked the S1 class with slightly extended bunker, i think this made them more "balanced" looking. Now, of course it's got lots of compromises; because it runs on 9mm track I have narrowed it and slightly shortened it so it doesn't appear to be too "big". The actual motion etc came from the Graham Farish 2-6-4 BR 4MT tank, so it runs well.- I studied quite a few N gauge locos for a donor and it was the best i could find. Actually in this picture the front set of wheels are obscured by the cylinder so it almost appears like a 2-4-2! the livery is fictional, a school friend of mine devised it many years ago for his 009 railway which i inherited many years later, and I like it. It's actually BR southern region green which is a very attractive shade; lining is yellow. The two coaches were both made from Mainline LMS panelled stock suitably cut down - I wanted originally to get as close to the size of the ones built by the LMS for the Ballymena-Larne boat trains but at 50' scale length they were too long and wide for my tracks, so they also were "shrunk"! Even as it is they run on small 009 Peco bogies and are a bit fussy on some of the points - slow and smooth driving is necessary and they are pigs to re-rail. The MPD lurking in the background is No 46, one of the non corridor UTA MPDs which i found myself on on Sunday evenings returning to boarding school ,from Belfast to Coleraine. Dimly lit, without corridors and with sad green upholstery, they did not improve my mood in those days, but i let bygones be bygones and built a two car set. Anyway, that's the story behind the picture!
  8. Just a bit of fun - I do like to see a fast heavy passenger train with that "rail joint" noise, which now we miss on today's railways. The signal box is for the "Fenaghy Junction" layout which has it's own page in this group. For anyone who's interested the "Flyng Scotsman" is a DJH kit beautifully built by some unknown person, it's heavy which helps the sound! the "Clayton" Class 17 was made by a firm called Techcad years ago, I did the painting myself, it has never gained an actual number. In the background a Lima repaint in National Express / Scotrail livery. i know, just "playing trains" and why not? Enjoy
  9. That's a unusual one, with no green in it. Prototype for everything department again! I think the red window frame one may actually have used the very faint green/white as used on the buses for the paned ls under the windows but it looked white in some lights and may well have looked grey in others! Certainly there were ncc cabins such as Kells water which had an overall grey paint job. As I say there's no definitive right or wrong in this one! Colm
  10. The signal Box completed; it will live here on my home layout until it is possible to take it to be placed on Fenaghy Junction platform, whenever that may be! The colour scheme is based on that I saw in a photo of Ballyclare junction in 1963.
  11. A few more pics, it's now completed except for one or two details, like downpipes and roof brackets (if I can work up the enthusiasm to make eight of them, (not all NCC boxes had them anyway). Painting still to be done; there'll not be name board on it as it will be sitting right next to a "Fenaghy Junction" station name board. The interior can be seen by anyone prepared to stoop and is roughly what I think the layout might have been; made from bits & scraps! There is a light inside too, it's in the ceiling as part of the roof structure and the wires go down the chimney! Still worth doing as you can see something through the "glass". I don't like seeing empty signal boxes at shows! And they are enjoyable things to make - even if they are also very time consuming and fiddly at times! A couple of firms i think do interior kits and they would certainly save a lot of time. The tablet machines are maybe a bit tall but it's all pretty small scale stuff and no-one is likely to get this close in real life as their head would be resting on the track! The roof closer up; I use Slaters Plasticard embossed slates but I don't overlap them as they intend; I used to, but over more recent years felt they looked too "thick": I am sure they used to be thinner! Anyway, I like the look -the offcut pieces do well for roof ridge tiles!
  12. Some progress on the signal box; it has windows all around to give as good an outlook as possible, with four diverging lines under it's control. I am painting it in UTA colours with red window frames (which have to be painted before glazing went on, obviously!), and dark green trim otherwise; Ballyclare Junction cabin was done in this style, it wasn't that common. This is the only face with brick insert, for behind the stove/fireplace (haven;t decided which yet). The door is to the left. I always feel it is a shame when you can't see the box interior (which i enjoy making)- but given the overhand of the roof, lighting is needed. I used a very small filament bulb recessed above the ceiling in a small cardboard "box" and it will probably run at about 9 volts. This arrangement means that light doesn't beam out like a lighthouse! Also, plasticard is not that dense and can sometimes "glow" in the dark, though few exhibitions are in darkness! And finally, for now, the roof goes on., temporarily of course, I still have the interior to fit out, roof slates, steps up...etc
  13. Just to prove that Ken isn't doing ALL the work, the signal box has been started, and here are the bits & pieces for walls and windows. I use the ratio MR windows but they do need quite a lot of delicate chopping to get closer to the BNCR/NCC look - chiefly that the Midland window comes as two panes across , whereas the BNCR/NCC has three. So some very delicate cutting is needed. There's also one more row of panes (the BNCR windows are deeper) - just to add to the fun. Don't try this if you are impatient or have very shaky hands! And you need a nice sharp craft knife. Anyway, they're done now, and further construction will happen soon. A wee bit of final trimming to do but you need to peer closely at them to spot the joins. If you're really up for punishment you can try and cut out tiny triangular corner pieces. But remember,they're only about 20mm high! And, along with typical NCC things like the roof overhanging eaves, the box should look the part when completed.
  14. Too late to do anything about it now, the layout has morphed.... But I appreciate the compliment1
  15. A few more pictures; how much more ken is going to be able to do before we get to meet up to do the electrics, i don't know! I MUST get started on the signalbox for this layout, but I got kinda sidetracked by my "other" layout (see Ballycrochan Line topic on this forum if you're interested.) Work underway, Ken uses brown paper and cardboard a lot! A general view of the goods shed area The siding boasts a store; this is, i think, a Wills provender store. Some detailing at the engine shed and two locos (out of steam for now...)
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