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  1. Tony, That last one, number 6132 the Wills kit, is mine, I bought it ready built but without a motor for £10 at the Scalefour Bring and Buy stand at Leatherhead many years ago. I put it in paint stripper to remove the grotty paint finish and it promptly fell apart, it had been glued together. So I soldered it all back together again. ”Great Western” on the side tanks is of course before 1934. “GWR” was during the war and post war. The previous 41XX/61XX was ex Airfix, in fact I believe it was the very first of the better models which challenged the previous rather poor Hornby and before that Triang models. I also think it was rather boring of Hornby to model this version of the prairie tank. It would have been more interesting to models the earlier 31XX and the many derivatives of the type. Particularly those with the high cab roofs and straight frames. I don’t think the strap over the boiler should stand proud I think it’s more accurate on the Wills kit. Obviously the new Hornby loco is a much better model but I don’t think it has the character of the ancient Wills kit which with all its faults is at least unique and has its own special history. I won’t be converting it to EM gauge and it certainly won’t appear on Retford. Sandra
  2. I am a great supporter of High Level gearboxes. They are easily assembled and reliable and they don’t absorb too much of the motor’s power. I have also used Branchlines gearboxes and they do run very smoothly but I find that as the ones I’ve built are all brass with several gears they seem to absorb too much of the motor’s output. The DJH motor and gearbox is very good but expensive and not really suitable for smaller locos. Sandra
  3. I would go for Hartford, both the station and the junction to the north where the CLC crossed the main line. As a very small child we used to catch the train from Hartford to Liverpool and I was fascinated by the sheer quantity of locomotives and trains we saw on the journey. Later I watched trains at the junction where there were trains on two lines to watch. Sandra
  4. The GN where it goes off stage is not flat, trains do struggle at that point and a few times if speed is too low a heavy train will stall. A few days ago I was testing a coach I’d just converted to EM gauge and I propelled it across the flat crossing to make sure it ran freely through the crossing. It disappeared through the scenic break then rolled back towards the crossing which I think indicates it’s not level. I do note that lots of the baseboard legs have been adjusted in height and as the GC at the same point has a steep downward gradient, I wonder if the GN has been raised to lower the gradient on the GC. Sandra
  5. Tony, It’s an old Hornby body on Comet frames and motion. It has a Mashima motor and fly wheel with a High Level gearbox. Extra weight has been added but as it has a plastic body it’s haulage capacity is less than some other Retford locomotives some of which are frankly phenomenal. At present it’s hauling the down “Talisman”. I would post a photo but frankly I don’t know how to. Is it likely to have pulled the “Talisman” in 1957? If not what would be a more suitable locomotive. I must say the locomotive, like all built by Roy, runs beautifully and whilst it may not have lamp irons is nevertheless a wonderful model. Sandra
  6. Robert, I’m glad you had a good weekend and thank you for bringing the coaches you converted, they ran incredibly freely. I’ve converted the “Norseman” to EM gauge and I’ve run it successfully and tomorrow I’ll work on the “Tees Tyne Pullman” I’ll also start on converting the Nucast B1 to EM gauge. I’ll arrange to get the toolbox back to you as soon as I can, So hope to see you soon and thanks for all the work you done on the stock for Retford. Sandra
  7. Tony, Thank you for visiting yesterday and for bringing Geoff West’s stock. Can you also thank him on my behalf for loaning the stock, I’ve already converted the “Norseman” to EM gauge and tomorrow I’ll work on the “Tees Tyne Pullman”. The photographs are very good and do capture the sheer size of the layout. Also I’ve altered the incorrectly facing BR crest on the A1 60123 “H A Ivatt“, I would guess that Roy did that deliberately to see if anyone noticed, you did but I didn’t. It was very kind of you to lend me the various locomotives, you’ll have to let me know if the Hunslet diesel shunter can be painted and does Tom want to finish the Deltic, for although slightly out of period it would look great if It was completed. I will have to investigate the operation of the “Queens Boards” bracket, but as you know I’ve still an enormous amount to learn about the operation of Retford’. Robert Carroll very kindly brought some coaches which he had converted to EM gauge, these ran amazingly freely and my Bachmann D11 which I’ve converted to EM but done nothing else to managed to pull 17 coaches of these coaches round the entire layout. The locomotive ran without coupling rods but the motor drives all 4 driving wheels, I do wonder if this may be the future for steam outline locomotives, I hope you enjoyed your visit and I hope you can visit again soon, there is lots to do! Sandra
  8. I really must vote for Retford. Sandra
  9. Robert, According to the “Tornado” website she (he) retained the early crest in April 1957 and only gained the late crest in October 1958. As Retford is set on the summer of 1957 I think these means that relatively few locomotives should have the later crest. Sandra
  10. Tony, I have read the debate about the operation of Retford with great interest. My feeling on the matter is that operation should be enjoyable and I think that for operation to be enjoyable there should be some variety and even some challenges. When I operated Retford it did tend to be a parade of trains both on the GN and the GC. I longed to see more trains going from the GN to the GC or using the line from Whisker Hill. I felt that goods trains could have been turned onto the goods avoiding line or perhaps reverse into the lay-by siding at the south end of the station. Or goods trains could be turned onto the up slow so that an expresses could pass by. But this rarely happened. I think the problem is that Retford is quite a demanding layout to operate and few of the operators were experienced enough to cope with the more difficult manoeuvres. Quite a few people I spoke to expressed the view that it should be DCC as that would greatly simplify operation. I can assure everyone that it will not be converted to DCC. I did suggest to Roy that the operators get together to have at least one practice session before a running day but he was not keen. I think the solution is to have a hardcore of operators who do know exactly how the railway works. I have only owned it for just over two weeks and I am still trying to fully understand how it operates. Physically I want the station to be as close as possible to how it looked in the summer of 1957. Similarly I would like the timetable to be based as closely as possible on the summer 1957 timetable. It would be impossible to represent the full timetable, the fiddle yards would have to be enormous and a vast amount of new stock would have to be built. So the timetable will have to be a compromise both on the GC and the GN. I do not want to be too restrictive in the stock that operates on the railway, I am prepared to tolerate some stock which is out of period but not too much and of course visitors can run what they wish. I do wish trains to be in period within the set. No Gresley W1 pulling blue and grey coaches. I think the GC fiddle yard may have to be expanded and I would be interested to hear Tony G’s suggestions on this also Andrew has said that some of the roads could be split in two and again I certainly agree that this would help. Quite a few photographs seem to show freight trains going south on the GN and then turning left at Retford to go onto the GC. I wonder if it’s worth considering putting in a crossover so that such trains could return to the GN fiddle yard. Again I’m trying to add variety. These are my thoughts on the problems of operating Retford but I’d welcome any comments anyone has to make on the subject. Sandra
  11. Tony, I would love you to give regular updates on progress with Retford. As I said you are always welcome to take photographs or write about the layout. Whilst it is my “train set” I do want other people to be involved and have the opportunity to enjoy it. It would be great to have the Tees Tyne Pullman back as there are some large gaps in the GN fiddle yard. However one of the most challenging tasks is the GC fiddle yard for it is not possible to operate the GC side realistically without more GC passenger stock. Robert Carroll has done marvellous work, for which I thank him, in regard to both the GN and the GC timetables. The GC workings are much more complicated than I realised and require far more passenger sets than the railway presently possesses if they are to accurately represent those workings. In fact more GC trains seemed to have stopped at the station than trains on the GN. I appreciate that it is great fun watching the expresses on the main line pass through at speed but I am interested in operation and on occasions I do want to operate the station as realistically as possible. I think it is possible to expand both the GN and GC fiddle yards but I accept that expanding the GC fiddle yard might be particularly difficult. However it’s very early days, I’ve only owned the railway for just over two weeks and I do not want to make radical changes immediately. Sandra
  12. Tony, The footbridge is truly magnificent. I visited Roy about two weeks before he died but in spite of him being very poorly he insisted in taking me across to the railway shed to show me the new footbridge. He was immensely pleased with it and we chatted about it and the rest of the railway but before long he became too tired and he had to return to the house to lie down. The locomotive is actually mine, she is 60125 Scottish Union. It’s a very old DJH kit actually from their Banbury days. I bought it in a very distressed condition at the EM gauge society bring and buy stall at Bracknell a few years ago. It looked like it had been dropped and it was painted very badly in BR blue. I completely rebuilt it fitted a Mashima motor and High Level gearbox and sprayed it in BR green. My fear is that it is not really up to the standard required on Retford. Sandra
  13. Dave, That would be great, there’s a tremendous shortage of tank locomotives. I do remember Roy referring to the “Scots Gits” in his inimitable way but he had so many nicknames for various different people I was never entirely sure who was who. I hope he didn’t have a nickname for me! Hope to see you soon. Sandra
  14. Pete, That’s really kind, I would love to see the Anglo Scottish car carrier back on Retford where I think it belongs. Unfortunately we may have to wait for things to improve but it would be great to have it back. Sandra
  15. Tony, It was lovely to see you and Mo yesterday when you came to see Retford. Thank you for kindly lending me some stock and converting it to EM. As I said to you, now I am the owner of Retford, my aim is to complete it. A large amount to work has been done on the layout but a lot still needs to be done, particularly in completing the buildings many of which are just mockups. I admired the layout from the moment I first read about it in MRJ. I was lucky enough to talk to Roy Jackson at an Expo EM exhibition and to my surprise he invited me to visit Retford. On entering the railway shed I was completely captivated by the “train-set” as he called it. It took enormous imagination to visualise a project such as this. He started it not even having anywhere to erect it in full. It even went out on exhibition two or three times which must have been an enormous undertaking. In the marvellous photographs taken by Tony two of the locomotives are mine. The V2 is from a Nucast kit I built and painted during lockdown. It still needs weathering as well as crew and lamps. The A1 “Madge Wildfire” is actually a Hornby “Tornado” converted to EM gauge by changing the bogie and tender wheels but moving the Hornby driving wheels out on their axles to the EM back to back. Other changes have been made including extensive alterations to the tender and new smoke deflectors. Although Roy Jackson was the driving force behind Retford many other people made enormous contributions to the project. I would love them to continue to work on the railway if they feel they can . I appreciate that without Roy it will not be the same but I would like the railway to be finished as a tribute to Roy. Sandra
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