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The Stationmaster

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The Stationmaster last won the day on June 28

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About The Stationmaster

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    A long and catholic interest in railways but especially operations and signalling and not put off by over 40 years in or associated with the industry in Britain and abroad. Also enjoy photography, some DIY, gardening and travel.

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  1. Actually I will have the last word based on very careful research The 25" OS map, as amended up to 1914 clearly shows the signal box as well within the boundaries of Ruscombe Parish (a boundary which incidentally is in the same position today according to modern maps). The original sidings and signal box were wholly within Ruscombe Parish hence no doubt the name 'Ruscombe Sidings' . And of course today's right hand running junction is well within Ruscombe Parish. Thus the GWR named the location after the parish in which it was situated and BR had no reason to change it, especially as the Up Relief Line end of the running junction is even further into Ruscombe Parish than the 1961 double junction and all of the original pointwork operated from Ruscombe Sidings Signal Box. The 1891 STT shows the miieage of Ruscombe Sidings Signal Box as 29.40, as does the 1901 STT but the 1910 and 1938 STTs show it as 29.38 as does Tony Cooke's GWR Atlas. Judging by the style of the signal box building (Classified as GWR Type 5 by the Signalling Study Group) that would correspond with the building being renewed immediately east of the earlier signal box in the very early years of the 20th century. As you will know signal box mileages are measured to the centre of the building and the new structure was probably larger than the earlier one although I can't date when the Relief Lines were realigned to create the Up Loop but I'm reasonably sure that came much later as did the Down Loop (which was altered in 1961 to re-site its connections from/to the Down Main Line. The Ruscombe name board, erected a few years after the closure of the second signal box, was roughly on the site of the signal boxes so, once again, well within Ruscombe Parish. I agree with you absolutely regarding the misleading nature of some photo captions (a common fault with this photographer judging by a book in which many of his photos appeared and of which he was the joint author) and regrettably some photographers are a long way from careful of the way they add captions to the point where they are misleading latter day researchers. However if we are to talk about the railway it seems logical to me to talk about it in railway terms and not on the basis of road signs. Many of us are more than happy to share our knowledge in order to help newcomers and those unfamiliar with the way the railway once was. If for example this photograph had been noted as 'taken from', as opposed to 'of' a particular location there would be a clear indication that it is not what it claims to be with its present caption. I doubt many people, except those engaged in fully documenting particular railway routes, would have much interest in researching Ruscombe Sidings and the history of all the various changes which have taken place since it first opened as a railway location a very long time back in broad gauge days. Equally I am well aware from photos I have been asked to check by publishers that people sometimes have problems in correctly identifying locations in that area even when mileposts are clearly visible in the photo! Surely any logical research of railway routes would inevitably start with original source railway information as was the case with a late friend of mine who was involved in setting up the route indexing system for researchers. Having now settled. by means of maps and railway information, exactly where the railway location of Ruscombe is (i.e not part of Waltham St Lawrence but in Ruscombe Parish) we can perhaps get back to the Bachmann Pressed Steel units? 6" OS map as amended to 1913
  2. It's been quite a while since this thread was last active but I do wonder if the lessons which should have been learnt out of the DJM debacle and more general comments about crowd funding or advance payment might be slipping away from people? In essence being asked to fund, in whole or in part, a manufacturer's or even more pertinently a commissioner's model project, whether by crowd funding or by pre-order deposits or staged payments, is exactly the same kind of risk as far as the purchaser's money is concerned. Legally if the product fails to live up to its description or to meet reasonable expectations based on such description we, the retail purchasers, are entitled to a full refund of our money. This doesn't include any lost interest although in present circumstances that amounts to nothing or an infinitesimally tiny amount more than nothing although the purchaser has still lost the use of that money while it was standing idly as a deposit. Equally there is the question of what happens to that (i.e. our) money while in the hands pf the business? If it is a crowd funding payment there should be stage work progress reports to see where it has gone. And before the project is launched a wholly transparent indication from the commissioner who is being funded regarding what is needed to be spent on what for each planned stage payment. After all the person asking for the money will obviously have that information so it could readily be shared especially by a new venture with no established record of both its past achievement and probably of those involved - an excellent example in this respect being Revolution Trains who are clearly identifiable and have a very good track record in this field. With deposits the situation is in many respects similar If, for example, I pay a deposit with the NRM/Locomotion for a future model where tangible progress is already visible I know I am dealing not only with an established concern but one which is subject to considerable official, and publicly available, scrutiny in respect of how it spends money. The same with many established model railway retailers where it can sometimes be very easy to get a pretty good idea of their financial state of health from information readily, and freely, available to the public. There might still be risk but it is generally not too difficult to value and assess that risk before you spend your money. On the other hand when a newcomer comes along, particularly one without any publicly visible financial information, or one which is not prepared to disclose how its finances work, or even disclose what any deposit money might or might not be used for the risk becomes greater. You might not even know not only how your deposit money will be used but perhaps more importantly you might not know or be able to find out what it would be repaid from if the final model does not meet your expectations or should it not deliver what was promised or reasonably expected. If your deposit has, in effect, become the equivalent of crowd funding finance how will you get it back should things go pear shaped? Similarly a prospective purchaser, through paying a deposit, should I would think at least be able to see or get. pretty good idea of what he will get for his or her money. CADs or even engineering drawings, while not cheap, are a relatively inexpensive stage to reach in the development of a model and if nothing else show a lot more commitment on the part of the person who gets your money than a picture of the real thing or an outine sketch. If we are talking about deposits - not crowd funding - clearly the promoter of the project should be able to progress to the CAD stage fairly easily once they have sufficient expressions of interest because their research would surely have been fairly complete before the model is announced? Far better to see where your money will be going than not although maybe I'm old -fashioned when it comes to thinking in that way. I'm not suggesting or implying dishonesty but trust is an important element when laying out money and surely anybody who believes in their project will have already done sufficient work to know what is involved and to have got a quotation from a factory or factoties in order to price the model before they are able to ask for money, If they can go that far a properly developed CAD is going to do more to convince everybody there is a viable project. For lots of folk it is a risk they are happy to take because it might help them get something nobody else was ever likely to offer and they are just as happy to lose their money if things don't work out. But as the DJM collapse showed there were a lot of people who put money into its various ventures who definitely wanted their money back when the company, and its projects collapsed. Maybe it is easier to say you don't mind losing your money than it is to actually lose it? and in my book it is essential that I know what will be done with my money while I wait for the fruits of spending/lending it?
  3. The rodding from the ground frame shows exactly that - one lever for the two fpls and another lever for each of the connections.
  4. Yes. Oh what an evening that was. It was during the late afternoon and right at the end of the loop there was what many called a 'relay room' because it was a standard relay room building although in fact it was basically for cable terminations and junctions handling all the signalling circuits between the area to the east of the building and the area to the west of it. The loco (not sure what it was but might well have been. Brush Type 4 - as they still were in those days) demolished the rather aged stop blocks and then proceeded to wreck the building and its contents, which also included all the power circuits. It destroyed the comms between Twyford and Slough panels and all the signals on the Down Lines east of Ruscombe went black as did all of Twyford panel for that end and a whole raft of trains came to a stand as the evening peak got underway with nothing moving, and of course all the SPTs were out as well. And although every signal but the ones immediately in rear of the overbridge at Ruscombe was an auto not a single Driver moved. An Assistant DI who lived in Twyford was called out and he drove up to Ruscombe expecting to get there and get trains past the first controlled signal. But the trains hadn't queued at that signal and Charlie had to walk all the way to Waltham Sidings, over 3 miles, instructing each Driver as he got to their train to work in accordance with the Rule Book and get moving - Handsignalmen were by then in position at Ruscombe. Even then it was another couple of hours before the back log had cleared the section and temporary block working could be introduced. The delays were, to put it mildly, horrendous and would have been considerably less if the Drivers had followed the Rules and passed the 'black' auto signals with extreme caution until they joined a queue at the controlled signal at Ruscombe. it was a clear evening with good visibility and the collision occurred in daylight and it was still light for some hours afterwards so no problem in carefully going past teh signals until they got to Ruscombe and wither found the Handsignalman or a lineside 'phone which worked.. The building was never rebuilt and was replaced by a row of location cupboards set back on the bank well clear of anything running through the trap point. Actually the train is almost exactly opposite the sign, a few feet long, just out of shot to the left, which says 'Ruscombe' in clear black letters on a white background. Therefore the train is at Ruscombe - I doubt if anybody driving a train past there has ever heard of Waltham St Lawrence (unless they happen to live in the area). So whatever the road sign might say the train, which happens to be on a railway, is passing the railway location Ruscombe. Back, at last, from Ruscombe to Bachmann's excellent effort.
  5. One minor point - the signal box at the 'upper' station should be immediately adjacent to the level crossing. And not set back from either railway and level crossing.
  6. A quick count from the 1961 Combined Volume, without going into visually noticeable variants (such as those among the B16s) it comes to around 3 dozen tender engine classes. I didn't bother to count all the tank engines but for the Southern alone there are half a dozen quite a few of which would count as 'niche'.
  7. Sorry but it is Ruscombe with Ruscombe church very clearly visible in the background. And yes it's my patch - both inside and outside the railway fence - over many years. In that view you can not only see Ruscombe loop but the site of Ruscombe signal box and it has been shown, correctly, as Ruscombe in every edition of the Quail atlas going back for nearly 30 years and there is (still I presume) a nameboard alongside the railway identifying the location). There is no such location as Waltham St Lawrence on the GWML and never has been although there was Waltham Siding, now identified as Waltham, over 3 miles east of Ruscombe; between the two there was Shottesbrook although that ceased to be a formally identified railway location in the early 1960s. There are plenty of decent sources available to check stuff like this, particularly locations such as Ruscombe, where there is more infrastructure than plain running lines so there isn't really any excuse for getting location details wrong. Back to Pressed Steel DMU land.
  8. One point with station houses is that they could sometimes be on a different painting schedule from the rest of the station building. Our local station (WR branch terminus) was repainted in 1956 - I know that because the date of painting was actually painted on part of the building so it was visible to anyone who cared to look. It was never repainted prior to the demolition of the front of the building and the creation of a new side entrance and booking hall in the early 1970s. The only bit of the original structure which stoill survives is part of teh platform canopy erected in the early 20th century - some parts of it have been repainted twice in the past 10 years. Anyway the station house, which was a completely separate structure some way from the station building, and which still survives, was repainted in the early 1960s and I think was probably not touched in 1956. Equally the station house at our branch junction also seem to have bene painted on a separate timescale from the station buildings.
  9. From a purely personal viewpoint I think the big failing (if you can even call it a failing) of the EWS livery was the base colour they use because it was a tone which very quickly looked dowdy and grubby without a lot of cleaning attention. When it was new and shiny it looked good, but that impression didn't last well. As far as individual loco types are concerned it definitely didn't suit Class 37s and was even worse looking on them than banger blue had been.
  10. They could go rather well where they had the right piece of railway to allow them to go. I had some quite nice runs behind them when they were at Barrow and no delays due to failures (which was more than could be a said for an EE Type 4 I was travelling behind on my way back to Carnforth from Carlisle one afternoon which decide to sit down at Low Gill Jcn and led to me almost missing my evening meal in the hotel where we were staying at Grange-Over -Sands (where my parents were somewhat worried by my late return from a day out).
  11. While the Western Region always seemed to be quick repainting coaching stock into the latest liveries I'm far from sure that the same could have been said about the painting of stations, partly because a limited number of painting gangs had an awful lot of stations to paint. Thus depending where they stood in the painting programme, and any special jobs apart which took a gang off their normal pattern, some places would be repainted some years after the first to go into new colours. In that picture there is a fairly strong contrast between the frame and panel colours on the doors of the station building which suggests that they might be in 'chocolate & cream' rather than light & dark stone which would have inevitably faded in any case. Equally the running in board appears with a fair contrast between light and dark and the bench is very definitely in an overall dark tone although possibly letters are picked out in a paler colour. But the canopy bargeboard looks a bit too dark to be in cream although comparison with various other photos shows that to be the case when the paint on doors is very definitely in in strongly contrasting colours while one of those views also shows the signal box repainted in WR colours but with teh canopy bargeboard looking no different. The condition of various wagons very clearly indicates the 1950s. The presence of a freshly painted (and probably new) 16 Ton Min indicates no later than 1959 although repaints continued after that but the presence of several fully painted wooden bodied wagons looks like the date is no earlier than the mid 1950s. The signal box looks fairly definitely to be in light and dark stone and the colours look very different from later views when it was very clearly painted in WR 'chocolate & cream'. However not only were signal boxes repainted on a programmed basis but there were far fewer painting gangs in the S&T Dept than in the Civil Engineers so the state of its paintwork isn't really any guide at all to the date other than to place it before the S&T painters fgot there (which we don't know the date of). The car most readily visible in the background looks to be either a Wolseley 4-50 (manufactured 1949-52) or a 6-80 (1949-54). The pale coloured one has the look of a Rover 10, they ceased production in 1947 although the windscreen is not quite right for the late model 10. Overall I'm inclined to go for mid to late 1950s
  12. But it depended on who was buying what when - the Ais Gill collision Report has some interesting comments about coal which had been alleged as responsible for the first train having to stop in order for a blow. if nothing else it indicates that pre 1914 there was a lot more to coal purchase (on some railways?) than simply buying whatever was cheapest. Some railways - for example the GWR - at one time bought different grades of coal for different uses and in BR years lots of purchases seem to have been based on price with some totally unsuitable stuff being purchased (e.g the dreaded ovoids) probably because it was cheap or simply because it happened to be available. Another interesting oddity. is that the LSWR/South Western section of the SR (both Railway and BR Region), like the GWR, used South Wales coal and in later years had mechanical coaling towers at several depots but was still using South Wales coal. As the Southern stuff seems to have come from the Rhondda/Taff Valleys area it was not quite the same as the earlier GWR preference for coal from the Western Valley. But equally plenty of GWR/WR sheds were using locally mined coal which did not come from the Western Valley with no apparent problems. Depending on which seams were being worked the nature of the coal could have varied but equally all South Wales shipment coal, a lot of which went for overseas railway use, was mechanically loaded to ships holds with far higher drops than those in mechanical coaling. I long tended to be suspicious of the claim that the GWR avoided mechanical coaling plants because of its use of soft coal and suspected that an equally valid reason for not using them was avoiding capita expenditure when the money had plenty of other uses and labour was very cheap. https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/BoT_AisGill1913.pdf
  13. Interestingly both Broadway Limited and Bachmann seem to have managed large circular head crankpin nuts (not domed) in HO scale on models for the US market.
  14. One minor problem - it has sevral passing loops which are too short for 40" long (passenger) trains to pass each other. The loops at the top of the plan will require one trains to be a bit less than 36" long in order to fit in a signal clear of the fouling point of the additional sidings you have added and be clear of the fouling point at the other end. At the lower passing loops the loop at the bottom will just about take a train 36" long if all goes well, the upper of the two loops won't have enough room clear of fouling points and signal position for a train 36" long - but fortunately(?) that loop happens to be the one which aligns with the shorter loop at the top of the plant
  15. As ever it will come down to the numbers game. Provided KR get sufficient interest and those EOIs hold and they can sell enough to make the project viable (and profitable) then it's runner. If the numbers don't match up then it's not a runner - so very much in the same sort of way as Rapido where they float a project but only proceed if they know it will wash its face financially. I'm not at all sure, especially in the emerging UK economic situation, if the disposable income will be there - even if the demand theoretically exists - to buy 1,000+ models of things which had a very limited lifespan and even more limited fields of occasional operation. The guide inevitably is the extent to which these 'rarity' locos have not only sold in the past but how they will sell in the future especially when you consider research and promotional money has to be spent before the viability of the project is really known. Don't forget that, once it reopens, research into drawings at the NRM is not only a time consuming business but can be quite pricey for anyone who needs to buy copies of drawings at the prices the NRM charge. Equally many of us have already withdrawn, or largely withdrawn, from the 'I'll have one of those because it's different market' and that withdrawal started in the wake of an economic decline which was a mere breeze compared with what is zooming up over the near horizon. But provided a concern can make money on selling that 1,000+ models they can probably still hang in there while others have fallen by the wayside. In addition the availability of 'niche subjects' is a shrinking area with not much now left from the non-steam post-war era apart from one early mainline diesel, a gas turbine loco. various diesel shunters, and some overhead electric locos. That apart there are of course any number of as yet 'untouched' EMUs and DMUs which obviously involve a lot of research and far greater development and tooling costs which means higher prices and those in turn reduce marketability although some score high marks in wishlists. Additionally there are already manufacturers, and several well established commissioners, in this market area so it isn't exactly devoid of competition and some of them might already be well ahead developing models which KR might one day have turned their attention towards. Maybe KR can pull it off, and for their sakes I hope they do. But I do still wonder about the 'oddities' market and how viable it will be in the coming financial situation when disposable income will start to be squeezed and people might wish to concentrate on more mainstream models they need for their layouts - time will tell.
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