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  1. Didn't it also have a system, mentioned in one of the David Tennant episodes, that worked in tandem to make it go relatively unnoticed or ignored by anyone passing by and that was functioning. That can actually work quite well. I remember that one of the sports centres we used when I was at school adjoined a location where a quite enormous excavation, several storeys deep had been dug. Many years later, when it was "stood down" after the end of the cold war, I discovered from my father, who had been in the Royal Observer Corps, that this had been the bunker housing its regional HQ (and possibly other cold war functions) . Very few people knew it even existed and everyone in that part of town had quite simply forgotten that there once been an enormous and umissable hole in the ground there. It's amazing what you can hide in plain sight.
  2. I agree, and at exhibtions (and at home) I also always power my layouts via an RCD fitted plug.
  3. If true (a rather big if!) it was probably a special working with the train stopping at the few overbridges so that the attendants could bring its head down. I doubt though if being in the locomotives exhaust would have done the animal's health much good. I have found a couple of images showing how it was actually done in Europe . https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/giraffes-five-giraffes-arriving-by-train-at-berlin-anhalter-news-photo/542943503 https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/87ahzl/giraffe_transport_from_train_station_to_zoo_dvůr/
  4. I remember something similar about comics and other ephemera as "collectables" to the effect that their value peaks at the time when those who enjoyed them as children reach the age of maximum disposable income- generally lateish middle age. Far rarer pre-war or even Edwardian or Victorian examples, while still having an antique rarity value, go for far lower prices. I'm not sure if that theory was confirmed by the $1.5M that a Super Mario 64 cartridge from 1996 went for a couple of weeks ago. Twenty five years seems a short time for kids to become that wealthy but perhaps not when we're talking about tech. millionaires. Buying somethnig because it gives you pleasure is fine and, if it happens to increase in value, that may provide extra pleasure. Buying something whose value depends on sentiment purely as an investment really requires access to a paradox-free time machine. In fifty years time a restored BofB Spitfire may not be anyhing like as valuable as it is now. A few years ago I bought a nicely finished DJH Etat 231D (A French Pacific) that had been built for its owner by a professional model maker and then sat in a display cabinet. It cost me what seemed rather a lot at the time but now realise was probably no more (allowing for inflation) than Hornby-Jouef now charge for RTR Chinese plastic. It's a lovely model of a favourite and for me regionally appropriate prototype that nobody produces or is ever likely to as RTR and I'm glad to have it. (Though not the "American" pick up method of loco one polarity, tender the other that I learnt to loathe when modelling a steam era N. American "short line") When I finally shuffle off I can't actually see this model nor the "colllectable" France Trains OCEM coaches it sometimes pulls fetching anything like what they cost (even though I certainly didn't pay "collectable" prices for any of them) especially as "Continental" modelling seems to have declined in popularity here, I don't actually care though as I'll have enjoyed having them.
  5. Hi John I'm just not sure about this, though it may be a matter of degree. Clearly you don't want a backscene that the eyes just jumps past but I thunk that's true for any width. This does affect me as all my layouts have been and will certainly continue to be relatively narrow shelf type schemes. I think you need enough height that the eye isn't immediately drawn to alien objects above the layout but, for a home layout, I think that can just be a sky cyc. (a pale blue painted wall for example) For exhibition layouts with operators behind (though I prefer end or front operation) it may be different. My current H0 layout is a tapered design that goes from a width of about 8 inches at the left hand (throat) end of its roughly five foot length to about 15 inches at the right hand (buffer end. The backscene is about eight inches high from track level but most of that is just sky. Building and tree heights peak are are about four to four and a half inches high. I've never felt that the backscene would be better if it too was tapered in height. I did try some taller trees at the narrow end but they just seemed to make it look too narrow. What really made me think about this was the EM gauge Minories layout that Tom Cunnington and several colleagues built. This is a layout that I very much like and am drawn to like a moth at any show where it appears. However, the one thing that does jar on me is the very high retaining wall at the back of the fairly narrow layout. Whether a lower retaining wall with low relief buildings or even trees above it would have been better I'm not sure, but other versions of the same layout with fairly low backscenes actually seem to work better, at least to my eyes. Whether that's just the rather stark retaining wall making the bacskcene over dominant and a bit opressive I'm not sure. Can you remember which magazine you saw that article in ? I have a fairly good collection of those (including all RMs) from the 1950s and would be interested to read it.
  6. It might well be. I think the one I saw had a fairly small diameter so it would be interesting to plot the minimum diameter that would enable it to be done with sensible track radii and no crossings at all. Obviously, since the objective would be to save length, you wouldn't want the turntable to be too large. It should be possible to have a five way with one straight track (for the centre road) and just two to one side of it with different radii. Turning it through 180 degrees + or - would allow the two curved tracks to connect the two upper and lower roads in turn. The other thing this would allow, if it was at least the length of a loco, would be to add a loco to the front of a train leaving the fiddle yard and you could have stabling siding for that that did not connect with the running line so using the turntable as a turntable. It would of course requre very precise alignment and workmanship to make such a device work reliably (so I won't be building anything like this!)
  7. Although I have driven my car through central Paris a few times (usually to get to Expometrique) I have always drawn the line at l'Etoile. A friend of mine go stuck on it and it needed the police to get her off after several revolutions. It's a bit Hotel California- you can indicate but you can never leave! I've seen somethinh a bit like this used to save length in a fiddle yard. Instead of fan of points to connect I think four sidings to the running track, a turntable with rails cunningly arranged on it could be turned to line up any siding with the main. It did involve a number of crossings on the turntable and getting the electrics right must have required some thought but with a suitable radius of turntable you could keep at least three tracks through it separated .
  8. Yes. I read that in the Museum's guide book. I knew there was a freight elevator, but not whether it was fitted with rails. though I suspect it probably was. They would have replaced it with a modern one, possibly in a different location, as they still have to move exhibits around but the renovation of the museum involved quite a lot of rearrangement of internal walls and rooms. I've tried without success to find any contemporary references but though I found an early article about the museum, including a plan of the original layout, it didn't show the railway. The railway clearly did more than to take exhibits from galleries to lecture theatres as it also ran to the museum's courtyard. OT but the Museum is well worth a visit if you want a change from paintings and sculptures in Paris. I was though amused to see that a number of the railway models on display were out of the box Jouef. These were perfectly fine for their purpose except that the original hinged loop couplings had been left on! My favourite exhibit was the one thar demonstrated very graphically the virtues of railways in terms of energy use. Essentally, a heavy axle was set up mounted in some kind of travelling frame and fitted, workin inwards, with a a pair of cart wheels, rubber tyred wheels and railway wheels. These were arranged to run in turn on a representation of a rough track, a metalled road and a railway line (probably about quarter scale) a hand crank at one end of the display case allowed you to run it back and forth and the difference in the effort involved was striking. They also had a model demonstrating power distribution with a a hand cranked three phase generator connected by three wires to a synchronous motor, this struck me as something you could use to manually operate a turntable from a distance on a layout without the usual Meccano brackets gears and rods. Unfortunately, I could find neither exhibit the last time I visited the museum which was when I took my photos of the railway.
  9. It would certainly solve that well known problem Ian. I couldn't figure out the why of it either until I looked in more detail at the Decauville catalogue. I had wondered if it was simply that when not using the railway they had to fill in the groove (possibly with strips of wood such as cork) to avoid a trip hazard for visitors and only having one grooved rail halved that task. The grooved rail is now infilled with a flexible "rubber" strip but that may only be a modern thing as the architect responsible for the museum's refurbishment kept much of the railway as a "feature". It's not used now and in places ends at new walls. That could have been the reason for this odd hybrid track but I think the price list in their 1890 catalogue gave a better clue. For Decauville's lightest 500mm gauge portable track the price with normal rail was Fr3.70/metre but with tramway rails it was Fr6.10/metre. By using one of each they would have made significant savings for the several hundred metres of track required for all the museum's galleries on two floors. I've always assumed that this hybrid railway using wheelsets with one flangeless wheel and two sorts of rail flush with the flooring were a special order. It is though entirely possible that Decauville offered this for similar situations such as libraries. They were very good at suggesting novel uses for their products. The only rolling stock on display is the bogie (see above) and this appears to be one of Decauville's standard timber carrying bolsters without the rotatable forks. How much stock the Museum actually had I can't say and I don't know if there were rails in one of the lifts to get exhibits to the first floor or just a separate loop of track on each but it probably wasn't more than a couple of pairs of these with whatever arrangement they used, possibly jsut a simple wooden platform, to carry heavy exhibits or display cabinets. The track does though run to what was clearly the museum's main loading door. Looking more closely at my original photos Jim is right about the moveable tongue. There's no obvious way of changing it apart from just setting it by hand (or boot!) We are though just looking at a single occasional load being pushed fairly slowly through the museum by two or three staff. I'd like to be able to find out more about this possibly unique railway but so far have drawn a blank.
  10. They're not Stephen (I looked! ) and the curves, though tight, are no more so than Decauville's "SetTrack" curved pieces in their catalogue. The load on each side would have been equal but the grooved rail did provide the guidance. Looking at it again I think there probably wasn't any sort of tongue to guide the wheels one way or another through the points and, as it was a manually propelled system, they'd just have relied on a bit of side push to get it to to take the diverging route. I've seen similar (though with flanges on both sides) Decauville railways in wine cellars near Saumur.
  11. Yes it is in the Arts et Métiers (though their excellent exhibit demonstrating why railways are better than roads didn't appear to be the last time I was there) and it was in this thread about five years ago. I'd forgotten I'd posted it here as I also wrote it up for the NGRS. So, without going back to 2016, where I gave my explanation, would anyone care to exercise the little grey cells to guess why the railway was built in this peculiar way with one flanged and one unflanged wheel on each axle? It appears to be Decauville as there's a wagon turntable with their name on it and the bogie is similar to one in their catalogue but it's certainly not a standard item and it both track and bogies must have been a special order.
  12. Here is a very peculiar railway that served a very useful purpose but needed very little rolling stock. From looking at a certain company's catalogue and particularly the price list I'm pretty sure I know why it was build this way. Any guesses?
  13. Mike may well know the answer to this but I thought it was the other way round. Shunting took place at certain published times of day (obviously based on the WTT) when the yard (or at least the mileage sidings) was closed to traders You certainly could not have had traders loading and unloading wagons if there was any chance of them being moved. However, I can't find any reference to this in the GWR's General Appendix to the Rule Book and this may have come from something written by CJF. It would in any case not have included traders such as coal merchants who had their own premises in the yard. Other sources just say that the goods yard was open to customers during normal business hours (typicall 08.00 to 18.00) It doesn't quite answer this question but I've just found a very useful book available as a free pdf from Historic England that goes into the development and operation of goods sheds and warehouses in some depth. https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/railway-goods-shed-and-warehouse-in-england It's rather sobering to think how few people are now around who can actually emember when local yards handled individual wagon loads of goods.
  14. It could be worse. Try coming up with a working (or convincing dummy) model of one of these. I've yet to see such a Taquet d'Arret on any layout but they are very common and I know that mine should have at least two of them, one for the goods yard and one for a private siding. I have copies of pages of a 1961 SNCF track catalogue and a 1950 pw text book and both include diagrams of trap points (dérailleurs) but I've never actually seen one , only ever devices like the one above or ocasionally trap sidings. The design of this trap point looks odd compared with a typical British example because it includes a check rail (contre rail) This is to prevent a derailed vehicle from departing from the track completely but instead to come to rest on the sleepers. Either these were only used when they could be a long way back from the principal line being protected or any stray vehicle was assumed to be travelling very slowly so that it would come to rest almost immediately. I'm wondering though whether such an arrangement was ever used in Britain. So far as I am aware, there was no use of catch points to prevent wrong line runaways on main lines as nothing that would derail a vehicle was permitted on passenger carrying tracks. I have though seen a Taquet d'Arret where a goods only line (actually to a port instrallation) continued beyond the end of passenger operation.
  15. Indeed I suggested Borchester Market on Monday in the specific context of a kickback goods yard but it's worth looking at from several aspects. "A Borchester Market layout appreciation topic" does indeed include far more about the layout. but perhaps a few more photos of this iconic and I think relevant layout might be of use here. I think I took all three of these in 2010 when the layout was at Ally Pally. and they should show the goods yard fairly clearly. Borchester Market's goods facilities seem to have had more provision (three roads) for shunting wagons than the two sidings for actually handling goods. With just a mileage and shed road the goods yard was rather small for a town requiring a four road main line terminus. In terms of layout operation that was probably worthwhile with the goods yard representing what in reality would have been a larger facility. Borchester Market looks to have been set up to handle passenger trains of up to five coaches and seeing it operating that did seem to be enough to accept as a complete express. I had the good fortune to see Borchester Market at three exhibtions when the Newhaven MRC group had it and it was one of those layouts (Bradfield Gloucester Road was another) that I found myself standing and watching operations on for ages ISTR that one of the magazines came up with a Borchester Market tribute article with a plan reversioned for RTL track (probably Streamline) but I can't lay hands on it just now. Stangely, throughout this topic, I've always assumed that Phil's plan is for a three platform terminus. The goods line behind the "branch" platform three gives the visual impression of a larger station but operationally I'd suggest that three platform faces are probably enough. If you've ever seen Bradfield Gloucester Road in action you'll know just how much operation that provides. On separate branch platforms, I knew that at Brighton the "Coastway East" platforms didn't have access to the "Coastway West" line but, even though I once used them every day to get to University, hadn't realised that they didn't have access to the main line either. I wondered about Inverness but took the lines from it to both be mainlines rather than a main and a branch (I rather saw the coastal lines from Brighton that way too given that they are both double track) .I hadn't know that about Aberystwyth, though obviously the VofR had its own platform, so a useful prototype.
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