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Everything posted by Pacific231G

  1. Thanks for that. I suspect the tiny wheels will make it a nono for motorising - though I did wonder about cheating by using a four wheel chassis with the little wheels as dummies outside the actual ones. Anathema to the fine scale fans but it might work visually. I assume SNCF did it that way to keep the CofG low so they could whizz round tight sécondaire curves at twice the speed of a loco hauled train.
  2. I suspect we're more obsessed with "correct" colour than ever was the prototype until modern pantone etc. colours came in and branding came to be seen as of vital performance. You also simply can't rely on the pigments in colour photos, expecially older ones, to give you an exact colour reference and I actually suspect that the work of a good painter may be a better guide. Colours also change with the light falling on them. I had a good, though frustrating. illustration of this in the version of Tati's Jour de Fête restored from the original colour negatives*. For my layout I wanted to know the exact colour of green of French posting boxes from that era and there is a scene in the film that takes place around a post box. No chance! From each different angle (there were about four or five) the colour of the same postbox shot probably within a couple of hours under a clear sky looked completely different. * Tati's first feature film was shot in and around the small French town of St. Sévère -sur-Indre where he'd spent the occupation and released in 1949. He used the new and untested Thomsoncolor proces but for safety shot the scenes simultaneously in B&W with a second camera. In the event the colour process (that I think used two negatives) didn't work properly for printing so Tati cut and released the film in B&W- More recently, in the 1990s, new digital techniques made it at last possilbe to work from the original colour negs. that had been kept in storage so his daughter, the film editor Sophie Tatischeff (Tati's real surname) and the cinematographer François Ede set about restoring and cutting a colour version. It wasn't just a matter of cut matching the B&W version as colour favours a different cutting rhythm so Tatischeff cut it as she felt her father would have done (she'd worked as an editor on a couple of his films) The film does by the way includes two rather good railway sequences one involving a bike race at a level crossing, a visual gag he'd used in an earlier short film, and the other some bucolic shunting at a metre gauge station (Marçais, Cher. a junction on the SE Centre) that closed a couple of years later.
  3. Neither I believe did the actual FNC. They even had to build special lightweight trailers for them as their performance couls be described by reference to the skin of a rice pudding. How did Rail 87 handle the two sets of tiny wheels on the Mobylette (that I think were fixed rather than bogies) ? I have one of the Atlas models and it would be fun to motorise it.
  4. In the Netherlands the Guild of Musicians was particularly powerful. The driver, not being a member of the Guild, would of course be forbidden to play the whistle, which counted as a musical instrument, professionally. The answer to this tricky question of demarcation was a requirement for all trains to carry a brass band to warn of their approach. The Guild of Bandmasters was far less powerful so the driver was authorised to conduct the brass band, who sat in an open wagon coupled in front of the locomotive, so long as they only played simple tunes. In the end, the tragic loss of brass players in railway accidents and from pneumonia led to the guild dropping its objections and Dutch locomotive drivers were then instead allowed to use the whistles with which their British built locomotives had always been equipped. The answer is quite obvious. It was a requirement for the recruitment of Dutch level crossing keepers that they had perfect pitch. They could therefore, upon hearing the brass band in the distance, estimate the speed of the train and so close the gates at the appropriate moment. I really don't know why, given the importance of the Doppler effect, none of this seems to appear in popular railway histories. I think I found it in the writings of Dr Strabismus (Whom God Preserve) of Utrecht- for which university the railway was of course built.
  5. Ahh but if the brass band played a particular note, any musically literate physicist with a good ear for pitch would be able to measure the doppler effect by identifying how far up and then down the scale was the sound from the advancing and then retreating brass band. Of course you'd also have to know the speed of the train and I'm pretty sure that Flaman type recorders or even speedometers had not yet been developed.
  6. I was watching Paris Blues (1961) on London Live with a young Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll last night. Not a great film though the Jazz is good and just enjoying the Paris of that era. There are a couple of very nice atmospheric scenes at Paris St. Lazare as the various protagonists arrive from and, at the end of the film depart to le Havre including a good shot of the terminus throat from the Pont d'Europ. The lovers parting scene isn't though a patch on the heart rending one near the start of Le Parapluies de Cherbourg as the young Catherine Deneuve's lover, who has been called up, departs for the war in Algeria.
  7. It was a real eye opener for me when the BBC required H&S training for all production staff (following the Michael Lush tragedy on Noel Edmonds' show in 1986) It wasn't about not doing things but about identifying risks and then looking at mitigations. News crews working in war zones do risk assesments (they also have specialist training), and the outcomes don't mean never going into war zones, but even having to consider the risks to a reporter standing on the side of a pavement in the High Street for a perfectly normal piece to camera was revealing. To stop production departments from backsliding (which they certainly would have done "Oh our directors are far too busy to do any training until we finish the current series") Bill Cotton jnr. the then head of BBC TV, simply gave a deadline date after which producers and directors who hadn't done the training weren't allowed to do their jobs in the studio or on location. We all got the training well before the deadline! I still have my copy of the BBC H&S manual and it's very good and, though some of it is out of date, it is still very relevant.
  8. Hi Bill Gordon is right about the relative lack of branch line termini in France (though even in Britain there were probably more junction-junction branch lines than junction-terminus). This was largely because the entire national network was planned by the government and then let out to private companies through concessions rather than being the result of local initiatives. Termini tended to appear when a line ran into an impenetrable barrier such as the Alps, the Pyrenees, or the sea (around the coast there were quite a few, some of them quite small. Where termini were more common, and often more compact, was on "Départemental" railways. These were not part of the national network but came under the aegis of the local authority (though Paris still had to approve them) and were largely designed to end the isolation and poverty of much of rural France. They were roughly equivalent to our light railways and run, at least at first, by private companies as concessions. Though most of them were metre gauge (a very few were 60cm) there were enough standard gauge examples to provide plenty of prototypes and these tended to survive longer than their metre gauge equivalents. Some of them such as the late lamented Chinon-Richelieu line (preserved until the local mayor took against it) were fairly indistinguishable from national network branches though they tended to use lighter rail section. Unfortunately, they also tended to follow contours so had even fewer road overbridges and didn't offer workings like the daily (and sometimes nightly) through coaches to and from Paris that were such a feature of branches serving resorts or spas. You mentioned quite rightly not wanting to simply build a typical British BLT with French buildings and stock and that probably applies to the service level as well. Apart from the often summer only through coaches on those lines that had them, for most French branch lines both "National" and "Local" two or three passenger trains and one or two goods trains (one of the passenger services was also often an interminably slow mixed train) was the usual daily ration. In both cases the service level tended to be written into the concession with no incentive to develop it further.
  9. Hi Bill I've got a few examples of REE rolling stock and there's a lot of detailing on all of them that looks frighteningly fragile for an operating layout. So far as I know, the Mistral and REE models are separate productions as were the Mistral and LSModel Picassos.
  10. Coming late to this Ian so you've probably already built it but the old Tri-ang TT-3 type B track came with radii of 12" (30.5cms) and 10 3/16 (25.9 cms): the point radius was 12". I know someone who's built a French metre gauge layout using Tri-ang TT-3 material (once a popular option for 00n3) but Tri-ang stock had wider tyres than more modern metre gauge and the standard 0-6-0 chassis had a flangeless centre driver. You'd probably get typically short wheelbase metre gauge stock around an evenly laid 12" curve but Bemo's 330mm would be more comfortable if yuo can still get it. Tillig do offer a 12mm gauge setrack with a radius of 310mm but it has an integral plastic (ballasted) base and is TT rather than H0m. As an aside, I know that with H0e on 9mm gauge track I found anything less than 9 inches to be problematic for my Lilliput 0-6-2s (though Eggerbahn/Jouef used about a 6 inch radius for their Decauville inspired models but with 0-4-0 chassis) It therefore depends a bit on what you intend to run on it. As a rule I reckon that the radius in inches probably shouldn't be less than the gauge in mm. or , more mathematically, not less than 25-26 times the gauge. Curiously, that's about the same as Decauville's own minimum radius for loco haulage for all but their very smallest loco though for their six coupled locos that ratio went up to 4`1.
  11. Going back to the OT's oriignal question. Had 7ft become the standard gauge I suspect that the increased construction costs would have left us with a basic intercity network and not much else. It's likely that feeder and branch lines would have made far more use of narrower gauges, as happened in countries such as India in territories where the cost of even standard gauge (in India's case 1676mm) was not financially viable. Had that happened, the resulting extra costs and delays of transhipment would probably have led to them not surviving against road transport for very long. Going back to my 1940 military railway manuals, the authors are very clear that, though a narrow gauge line can be pushed forward more quickly and with fewer resources, the far greater capacity of a standard gauge line still made that the normally preferred option. If a line would make a direct connection with an existing railways then a different gauge might be called for but otherwise a SG line would be the preferred option with an optimum balance between construction "costs" (in times of war, manpower and the shipping needed for material rather than cash costs) and the carrying capacity to serve a campaign.
  12. Thanks for alerting us all to this Welly. It's almost a lesson in French signalling practice and particularly interesting to see that on a line signalled for bi-directional working (indicated I think by the REV signs) . His expanation of VISA was also particularly interesting (I think by fixed yellows he means non -flashing ones which are a less restrictive aspect) The first part of the video is in the Acheres yard and slips do nowadays seem to be far more common in yard trackage (voies de service) than on running lines (voies principales) but I did notice a number of scissors crossovers on the main line. There are slips on the approaches to Paris St.Lazare that appear in one of Railtrotter's earlier videos that I'm watching now but they may be confined to relatively low speeds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak64IaL1CtE Is that also the case with Network Rail? By the way. that second video includes a section running on the extreme left hand track leaving St. Lazare so giving an excellent view of the Batignolles Tranche (cutting) which has definite potential for a Minories approach.
  13. Ahhh. Perhaps not everyone is aware that films made for the cinema have quite often been reshown on the new fangled television service. The film had its premier in London in October 1959 so probably reached the Odeon Erith in late 1959/early 1960. I never did see it on the big screen. Some of the railway scenes were filmed near Jaipur in India on a metre gauge line but others, including the viaduct scene, were shot in Spain on broad gauge track. I must say that I'd never noticed the disparity of gauge.
  14. Well discovered. I knew it was shot in Romania close to Transylvania but I couldn't find an extant Romanian loco that fitted and even wondered if they'd brought one in from Hungary. It is definitely 1493/1497 with its external Allan valve gear. It appear in an RMWeb posting about the Sibiu "museum" from 2015 https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2015/post-9472-0-49891700-1444860905.jpg and also in this blog from 2009 http://bda-train-blog.blogspot.com/2009/09/cfr-1493-at-sibiu-steam-locomotive.html The loco was in a fairly sorry state in 2015 and I've no idea whether it has since been fully restored or, perhaps more likely, was simply cosmetically restored for the filming with just the addition of a few prop signs to hide its CFR identity. It looks real enough in the episode though and far more so than the prop locos used in Hell on Wheels. The viaduct crossing is clearly fantastical (and with rail bolted to the sleepers with fang bolts why would the rails have lost their sleepers in such a collapse) but no more so than the same scene in North West Frontier in the days before CGI, and no more unikely than a balloon with sails to steer it (think about it!) nor the idea of the main line from Rome to Brindisi being a single track with no major towns (with a hospital) between them. One accepts these anomalies is an adventure film like this and I am though thoroughly enjoying the series so far with far more rounded characterisations- particularly of Passepartout than the earlier film and TV versions (thogh I think the 1956 film was actually closer to the book's plot. I found it interesting that, though Jules Verne set his story in 1872, the year before iit was published, two years earlier in 1870 Geoge Francis Train actually had circumnavigated the globe in 80 days of actual travelling (though two months in Paris during the Commune made the overall time longer).
  15. A small French branch line terminus would quite possibly have had just two goods sidings - one serving the goods shed and adjoining loading dock and the other usually a voie de debordement - what we would call a mileage siding and the Americans a team track- where shippers would load and unload complete wagon loads. British goods yards usually also had a coal siding (which might be part of the mileage siding) and coal pens for the local coal merchants but these were fairly rare in France where rural domestic heating was more often based on local timber. There would probably also be a weighbridge to work out how much to charge the shipper. The goods yard would generally have a single set of points connecting it to the running line with usually a key locked derailer rather than trap points to protect the running line and more use of key locked individual point levers than ground frames. The practice at some British termini (e.g. Ashburton) of having separately accessed sidings for a good yard, end loading dock and cattle dock seems to have been far less common in France. There might very well also be a private siding for a local grain solo, sawmill or other agribusiness (I chose a winery for mine) that might be accessed from the running line separately from the goods yard. Permanent cattle docks, as found on many if not most British BLTs seem to have been less common in France- I suspect because agriculture was more local there- but temporary pens could, if necessary, easily be erected on the loading dock*. At a terminus there might be another siding between the running line and the goods yard to enable wagons to be sorted but with 9.25" of width available you probably won't have room for it and I wouldn't let that worry you. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you view them, almost all French BLTs seem to have had a small annexe traction probably with room for just one loco (as of course did most British examples). This was because the first train of the day would likely leave at some ungodly hour in the morning to connect with the morning train to Paris. I was going to include one on my layout but the winery offered far more operational value. I did though have to invent a suitable fiction to explain its lack. A set up that was quite common on local Départemental raiways, both standard and metre gauge, was a terminus consisting of just three loops formed by the running line, a run round loop behind it (looking from the station building) with the loco shed on a short spur at one or other end of th run round, and a single goods loop running between the station building and the running line with room for a platform between them. This served a goods shed that was connected to the station building, a loading dock (on which the goods shed effectively sat) and a loading/unloading area. There are good examples of this arrangement on the metre gauge CF du Baie de la Somme, on the standard gauge Mamers-St. Calais (though Bonnetable wasn't a terminus though it is now https://gertrude.paysdelaloire.fr/img/caecfddb-2ad1-4b45-af2c-8d67af1b14ff and on the still intact SG terminus of the Voies Ferrées des Landes at Sabres (now providing the rail only access to the Ecomusée at Marqueze three kilonetres up the line) Some stations on single track lines of the PO also used this arrangement but, on "national network" branches it was far more common for the goods yard to consist of blind sidings either to one side of the station buildings or opposite them (which does allow for longer sidings on a shortish layout) The Jouef and MKD station buildings, though generally underscale (1:100 rather than 1:87) are good examples of the type of generic station buildings found all over France. Though the major companies might have somewhat charateristic designs, a lot of lines were built by contractors who simply drew on their own pattern books (Very similar stations can also be found in Spain and Portugal often built by the same contractors) though regional variations would include the roof pitch and roofing material (usually slates or roman tiles and sometimes shingles) Station designs would be fairly common along a line with their importance revealed by the number of doorways on the platform side from two for the very smallest stations to perhaps seven or more for an important terminus or junction. I'd expect a terminus to have at least three to five doors with typically three or four for the main two story building ( the chef de gare and family nornally lived over the shop in a first floor apartment) with single story wings on one of both sides. *In some parts of France there were large scale bi-annual movements over surpisingly long distances of sheep between summer and winter pastures mainly in Provence and the Pyrennean regions known as "transhumance". Between the 1920s and the early 1950s a good proportion of this traditional activity was carried out by rail rather than by driving the flocks along the roads (something you really didn't want to get stuck behind!) though from the 1950s trucks took over this traffic. Looking at contemporary images of this activity, the sheep seem to have been herded across open loading docks with little sign of temporary pens. https://journals.openedition.org/rhcf/1162?lang=en
  16. I'd suggest trees or even bushes and/or a building. France is generally far more wooded than Britain so trees make a good option. It was also quite common to find a level crossing at the throat of station so a foreground maison de garde barriere is possible, though possibly a bit, as is a small agricultural buisness or a café de la gare (which were often next to a level crossing) Because my own layout is tapered (it folds horizontally to form a rectangular box for storage) the throat end was too narrow to give room for foreground trees as a view blocker. However, I'd seen a lot of French modules that use the light box/proscenium arch approach so I simplified this to just have a black painted return to frame the layout. This works well for me as, though it's obvious from the other end of the layout, I don't see it from my normal operating position so the illusion works. Obviously you could us a wider return to limit the view of the hole from a greater range of angles. You can see both buildings and trees used to hide the fiddle yard exits in this photo of Giles Banabe's very effective portrait of French "Départemental" railways St. Emilie (the standard gauge terminus of which largely inspired my own layout) The metre gauge "hole" in the foreground being much smaller required less masking than the standard gauge one hidden behind the "Engrais Hurel" buildings and silo (which also provided a kick back goods siding to make shunting far more interesting)
  17. Quayside tracks were of course once commonplace and tend to hang round rather longer than tracks in other sorts of roads but this one has long intrigued me. I took this picture in about 2000 and the quay is at Pointe de Grave on the southern side of the mouth of the Gironde where the car/passenger ferries from Royan arrive. What is really odd is the arrangement of track on the left hand side where the points lead to a siding that shares a rail with the siding it branched off from and there is no normal frog. Looking more closely it's not quite the same rail. The other inset track on the quayside uses rail with a lighter check rail (possibly "Broca" tramway type grooved rail) but the common rail is actually a double rail with each siding using the other's running rail as its checkrail. This quay seems to have been part of an extensive system of lightly laid railways owned by the Port of Bordeaux that transported stone etc. to its various coastal defence on the duney peninsula between Pointe de Grave and Soulac-sur-Mer. Movement of that peninsula would have compromised the entrance to the Gironde which provides Bordeaux and other ports on the estuary with access to the Atlantic. The railway did though serve other purposes including the transport of buoys to and from from the port authority's workshops not far from this quay to the vessels that maintained them. I don't know whether the extra displaced siding was just to bring wagons closer to the quayside for loading stones discharged from ships or barges or were something to do with moving buoys around. In either case though why would they have needed both lines. They couldn't have shunted wagons on both sidings simultaneously so I can't see why this arrangement was adopted. The port authority railway crossed the electrified SNCF line from Bordeaux to Pointe de Grave a few hundred metres from its terminus and, just before the crossing, there were the remains of a small interchange yard. From there it took a sinuous route between the SNCF line and the coast as far as Soulac with various sidings leading to coastal defence workings. That is now a tourist railway using draisines (mororised gangers trolleys) but the once extensive trackage on the Gironde side of the SNCF line had all been lifted apart from this quayside section.
  18. It's a thread well worth revisiting Kevin and I'm still fascinated by the once very real prospect of a GCR/Met terminus at no 8 St. Clements High Street Oxford, even though it would have destroyed the Mesopotamian peace of Parson's Pleasure and Dame's Delight (But it was more close to having really existed than Peter Denny's direct trains from Oxford to the cathedral city of Buckingham). Were I into British modelling I think that would be my "Minories". I also rather liked Peter Denny's reason for choosing the GCR. It was apparently because the MRC was full of GWR enthusiasts who'd instantly and noisily criticise any departure he made from the prototype but few people then knew anything about the GCR so he could develop his modelling of it in peace. It also had solid rather than lattice signal posts which would be easier to model. On such small matters are great works founded.
  19. Interesting. Comparing thus with photos of the Rochers Noirs viaduct it appears that it would be entirely possible, with a bit of bashing, to turn this into a shorter span Gisclard suspension bridge that would be eminently suitable for a railway.
  20. I've recently been admiring the Wharncliffe Viaduct (which is just about within walking distance of my house) and it looks almost archaeological - like some ancient temple. When it was widened from two (originally BG) to four tracks there must have been a temptation to build a more modern and presumably cheaper structure alongside Brunel's original - fortunately the GWR's aesthetic sense must have prevailed (It's only just struck me that Maidenhead Bridge would also have been widened at some stage) BTW Isn't Verney Junction somewhere near Grandborough Junction ? I've seen a rather nice model of that!
  21. Yes, despite his reference in his paper to it being a contradiction, he actually titled the paper "a new type of rigid suspension bridge". you can read it here. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6125610/f216.image
  22. This one on the Cerdagne line and the viaduc de Rochers Noir are both examples of Gisclard rigid suspension bridges*. They're a bit of a hybrid as the actual deck is suspended by vertical cables coming from the two main sets of cables but these are in turn supported by stay cables from the opposite tower. This isn't immediately obvious from photos as the vertical cables are actually supporting the deck from below but you can see that if you examine this photo of it closely https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Viaduc_des_Rochers_Noirs-1923.jpg The two main cable sets are also firmly coupled at point O on this diagram so making for a far more rigid structures than a traditional suspension bridge or a simple cable stayed bridge. I've been over both viaducts - though unfortunately, for the Rochers Noir, only by car and, when that was no longer allowed, on foot as I was twenty two years too late to cross it by a train of the Tramways de Correze (the last of France's many public steam tramways to close) Since 2005 you haven't even been allowed to cross it on foot. These were both metre gauge viaducts and I don't know if Gisclard's design was ever used for a standard gauge railway. *In his paper in Annales des Ponts et Chaussées in 1899 Albert Gisclard does appear to refer to a rigid suspension bridge as being a contradiction though clearly his system was rigid enough.
  23. Looking at it again more closely , I'm certain that you and others are right and it's definitely not Reading Southern station. Apart from anything else, the platform, as can be seen from the people seen between the two pillars, is too wide and I think the second carriage is chocolate and cream. It might be Reading General but, if it really was a wartime image, the Ministry of Information were probably trying to obscure its location. I have found the same image from the IWM who describe it as "A PICTURE OF A SOUTHERN TOWN: LIFE IN WARTIME READING, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND, UK, 1945 A busy scene on platform 1 at Reading railway station." https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205202162 You can clearly see the platform1 sign. However, when I knew Reading General (and Reading Southern) in the mid 1960s the main down platform was no. 4 with bays at the down end. Did the GWR number platforms differently from British Railways or is this really somewhere completely different? I'm also not convinced this is a wartime image. Nobody is carrying a gas mask case (though by 1945 maybe few did) but, more significantly I can't see more than perhaps three or four men and no women in military uniform (including the American officer with his girl in the foreground which suggests it's not pre-war) Even after VE Day, this relative lack of uniforms seems very unlikely before the final end of the war. There are destination (or train name) boards above the carriage windows but, even looking at the zoomable image on the IWM site, I can only make out Paddington- on the nearest one so we know it's a down express on the GWR. None of this of course reduces the value of Reading Southern .
  24. Reading Southern, which adjoined the eastern end of Reading General, was a very attractive compact terminus with two Island platforms (for platform faces) and definitely worthy of consideration in a Minories context. There are plenty of images of it online including here http://disused-stations.org.uk/r/reading_southern/index.shtml and this 1945 wartime image of it very crowded. I used it a few times on shedbashing trips to the Southern from Oxford when it was a lot quieter than this and it did make a very nice contrast to Reading General. Unfortunately, I left my small case on a train there once and it never turned up.
  25. There does seem to be a (hopefully temporary) glitch with Peco's website just now. I've used their contact form to let them know that as these are particularly useful, especially as they include a ruler to confirm that your printer is not distorting their size. XtrackCad is definitely available for the Mac and I've certainly used it to produce full size plans (admittedly for a small layout) It has a steeper learning curve than AnyRail but is more flexible and you can try out train movements with it. Templot is really for designing your own trackwork rather than for assembling ready to lay track such as Peco's. BTW does anyone know of track planning software that has Tri-ang TT-3 (type B) in its database? I need to draw a trackplan for someone's layout that's based on it and I was thinking I'd have to do it with Setrack and rescaling
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