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  • Location
    North of Annesley Junction (Near Manchester, actually.)
  • Interests
    The Great Central Railway, pre 1923.
    (Most other railways are of interest too, particularly if they have steam engines, but I can't model them all.)
    Bury Corporation Tramways 1903-1949
    My other great interest is the middle ages, especially England and Wales in the 14th/15th century.
    I write historical novels. Two have been published.
    I also enjoy walking, beer and eating out. Sadly I can no longer walk as far as I did or drink as much as I should like.

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  1. Extremely informative and interesting. Thank you. There is usually a logic to these things, but often it is not obvious. I suppose another factor in later years might have been the increasing difficulty in obtaining quality wood at an affordable price. One reason why some railways made great use of concrete and or steel for signal posts.
  2. I would suggest that not having a loco release road gives you an excellent excuse for deploying a pilot, while the central road can be a very useful storage road for parcels vans, strengtheners, and the like. Personally - this is my quirky nature - I would have an arrival and a departure side, shunt stock between the two as required, and thereby greatly simplify the approach trackwork. Pre-group railways quite often arranged matters like this. If you are going to have a standing pilot you might as well make sure there's plenty for it to do. Having said all that, at Manchester London Road - a very cramped and busy location on the GC side - the GC and its successors were not above working empty stock in with a pilot engine up front and the train engine at the back, ready to go. They weren't above "stacking" local trains at the platforms either, but you won't have space for that I shouldn't think. That was a good example, BTW, of a terminus that in its original form had central roads used principally for storing stock.
  3. Very sorry to lose Adrian, a great bloke with vast knowledge. It was too bad some people objected to his habit of pointing out faults in commercial models - I always appreciate such knowledge even if I don't always worry about the finer questions. I loved his wagon kits, which were never less than very good castings. Also greatly miss his vast stock of bits and pieces - you just cannot get this stuff now, and if you haven't got the talent/equipment/knowledge to make it yourself life gets awkward. So RIP Adrian, and thanks. I never regretted a purchase I made from you, not once.
  4. I remember the 1950s and 60s very well, and as far as I am concerned, most aspects were ghastly. The present isn't perfect (I could write a flipping book about stuff I would like to change) but on balance I think life is better. Compared to my grandparents, I live like a king. On the specific topic of food, I don't think there's an argument, I really don't. Of course, if some people abuse the choice available to them - wider than it has ever been in human history - that is their problem, but it's a consequence of freedom. I wouldn't want to live in a country where people were told what to eat "for their own good". Anyone who wishes who has something like a reasonable income can eat a healthy diet, and the choice is amazing. If you want another example of something that has changed for the better - schools. The one I went to was barbaric, although it would have been an excellent training-ground for anyone contemplating a life in Strangeways. Children of today's generation nearly all want to go to school, and are really missing the current absence of it. I should have thought that I had died and gone to heaven.
  5. School dinners - ye gods! My school had the miraculous ability to impart a taste to potatoes that literally made me want to retch. How they achieved this I have no idea, but it put me off eating potatoes - bar chips - for years. Once I got married, my wife gradually weaned them back onto them, but it took me a while to accept that potatoes didn't necessarily make me want to spew. At home "luxury" meals - that is what my mother set before honoured guests, and which she would have set before the Queen had HMQ ever visited Gorton - were tinned salmon (always "potted" that is, with added breadcrumbs to make it go further) or chicken, in those days a dish for high days and holidays only. I think people tend to go on about the "old days" with rose-coloured spectacles. It was mostly absolutely crap. OK, we had steam locos and trolleybuses and it was only 25p for an adult to get into Maine Road. But against that, the food was generally appalling and at present we enjoy far higher quality, a much wider choice, and generally speaking, lower prices in real terms.
  6. Just what I need for my many excess wagons!
  7. There was a line from Ashburys to Philips Park that (theoretically) gave the GCR access to Victoria and Exchange. It still exists. Truth is the GC and LY were often, if not invariably, at daggers' drawn, and relatively little use was made of it. Eventually GCR excursions were allowed to run this way (to Blackpool etc.) but engines (and crews) were invariably changed at Midland Junction (where the GC running powers over the Midland hit LY metals.) You might have thought Victoria was a more logical place for this than a crossover situated on a viaduct, but that's how it was. Although the GC had access to Philips Park sidings, and put pilot engines up there, the L&Y objected to exchanging coal traffic here and, inexplicably, their objection was upheld by the courts. This led to Ashton Moss exchange sidings being built by the GC (in 1911) because for a time they had to exchange coal traffic at Penistone or Barnsley. This cost the GC a lot of mileage, as they moved a whole load of coal for destinations on the LY and LNWR west and north of Manchester. There were at least two attempts to reach Blackpool. The second one - which Dow does not mention at all - involved building a line up to Heysham as well. I strongly suspect the GC hoped to get the Midland involved, but the Midland (I assume) was not interested. Perhaps they were more interested in keeping the GC out of Heysham than acquiring a more direct route to it and having access to Blackpool.
  8. It seems strange to me that (most) railway companies were quite slow to adopt steel frames. Yes, there always exceptions to the rule, but most persisted with wood. One factor may have been that repair shops were simply better equipped to repair wooden wagons. Or maybe it was just the innate conservatism that (generally) pervaded railway culture.
  9. I actually prefer wagon kits not to have wheels so I can use Gibson's. These come pre-blackened, which saves a job. Consequently, there is no question of their going rusty.
  10. I have got several wagons finished during this "lockdown". In theory, the "lockdown" makes little difference to my daily life, but somehow it has focused my mind. I have discovered that several "apparently" completed wagons needed details added - tare weights and so on. So I am bashing on with it. It is a remarkable achievement to complete a model railway to a point where there is literally nothing more to add.
  11. Personally, I try to paint my GC wagons so that no two are exactly the same shade of grey. I strongly suspect that there were so many variables at work that you would not get a uniform colour. 1. First, paints were mixed by hand. There was a theoretical ratio, but I doubt they measured the paint with any degree of exactitude. 2. It was done in different locations, under the direction of different foremen. 3. Weathering, and the filthy industrial atmosphere of the time would work on the paint. 4. Wagons were covered in muck anyway. Even in those days, no one washed or polished wagons. 5. The bosses weren't that bothered as long as the wagons did their job. But that's just my theory. If anyone wants to believe there was a Duluxe wagon grey ready mixed that was always used, feel free.
  12. I think the lettering on the Wigan Junction wagon is fine. It may be a top professional could do marginally better, but really, I'd be absolutely delighted if I could get anywhere near that standard. Having attempted to hand letter wagons on odd occasions, usually when transfers have failed, I know how flipping difficult it is. Ideally one needs to be a trained artist who has studied calligraphy, and that rules me out. Having said that, it's obvious from this thread that you set very high standards for yourself, which is admirable.
  13. Awesome workmanship, as ever. It's like watching David Silva play football.
  14. The GBP was very slow to accept "open" coaches - they were for many years regarded as "American" and therefore a Bad Thing. I suspect, traditionally, people liked the "privacy" of a compartment, but then society changed and it began to feel safer and more comfortable in "open" stock.
  15. I think it's excellent. As (I think) I said before, if I could letter as well as that I would never buy another transfer. It may not be perfect, but it's damn close.
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