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Found 21 results

  1. Hi All, For this weekend only, the brand new saint, No. 2999 Lady of Legend, will be appearing in plain black livery prior to her final GWR paint scheme being applied. The press release is as follows: The Saint’s boiler is now in the frames and has been clad, the fittings and remaining pipework are being fitted, which it is hoped to complete by Christmas; in the meantime, we are working towards an official launch for No. 2999 Lady of Legend next year – hopefully in the spring. Prior to the launch, we have agreed to display the locomotive in a black livery, which is now being applied, prior to final painting in the Edwardian lined green livery which she will carry in service. We are planning to display the Saint in this condition at Didcot over the weekend 17/18 November – she will not operate any trains but will be posed for viewing and photography. She will also not carry the 2999 Lady of Legend plates, but on one side will be 2908 Lady of Quality (the plates of which are in the possession of the Great Western Trust) and on the other side 2983 Redgauntlet with a red background – the latter are replica plates. The weekend comprises exhibition only days where the history of the Great Western Railway is captured by our unique collection of buildings, locomotives, carriages, wagons and other artefacts. Here is a little teaser I took a couple of weeks ago to whet the appetite... I hope you can make it! All the best, Castle PS: The No. 4079 team and I will be working on our project loco on Saturday. Please come up and say hello!
  2. Hi All, The World Famous* RMWEB Tour of Didcot Railway Centre Sunday 29th July 2018 A bit later than normal - sorry everyone! The final ok was granted by management on Saturday and I was a bit busy on Sunday with other things steam engine so here we are! For those that haven’t been before, my team and I will show you the whole of Didcot Railway Centre, taking you behind the scenes and giving you a chance to look at anything and everything you want to see as far as is possible! You can make prior requests to see things either before, during or after the tour and we will do our very best to let you see, photograph and / or measure what you need to! There will be trains running that day (when I know the roster, I will let you know - there will be a guest engine on site) and we will also tour Radstock Signal Box, the Carriage & Wagon Works, the Carriage & Wagon Storage shed and the locomotive works as well as all the normal visitor attractions. We have a great time and we also get to meet our fellow RMWEBBERs and put faces to names! We ought to give you a little sample of what is to be seen - how’s this? The plan will be for you to get in as soon after we open as possible and take your train rides and have a spot of lunch, visit the shops, etc and we will meet up at the entrance kiosk by the main gate at 12:00hrs. From there, we will do our tour and we are usually done by about 16:00hrs after tea (the main motive fluid for railway preservation, coffee is substituted by some) has been drunk and the world has been put to rights. There is parking across the road from Didcot Parkway station and the centre is accessed through the underpass in the station itself. The other way to get there is of course by train! So - I will ask the question I ask every year - who wants to come and have a look in the largest and greatest GWR toybox in the world? All the best, Castle *After OTBL and his good lady joined us last year, I can definitely claim this now! They have the longest distance travelled so far for the tour - it will take a bit of beating! Can we do it?
  3. I've been lurking on RMweb for a while and have been inspired by many topics, so thought it about time I started to share some of my own models and hopefully inspire others. I currently don't have room to start building a layout, but my plan for the future is to build a layout depicting part of the old Didcot to Newbury line. Being from Didcot I use to enjoy going for walks along the old track bed, especially in the summer. Anyway, the layout will have to wait, but I have started building up some of the rolling stock. First off is a kit built Martin Finney 'Duke'. Thanks to Brassmasters for re-introducing the MF range, this is the second MF kit I've built, the first being a GWR 47xx. I have only just finished the Duke, although a coal load still needs to be applied to the tender. Next is an old Hornby Dean Goods with a High Level Chassis. Much fun was had building this as it went together really well. Now a couple of wagons, the brown vehicles are from Parkside and the PO Wagons are from POW Sides. That should be enough for now, I have a few projects on the workbench and will update more soon. Cheers ADK
  4. Hi All, Well, it's that time of year where Castle offers you a look round the great GWR toy box that is Didcot Railway Centre on Sunday 30th July 2017! All the usual treats are on offer including in an in depth tour through all our exhibits and workshops, the unrestored wagon and coach collection, the annual special guest appearance by Stationmaster Mike in one of 'his' signal boxes and a chance to look at anything you want that isn't moving or on a running line. I don't currently know what the rostered motive power will be but I will let you know when I know! Anything that is moving or on a running line can be viewed after the toys have been put away at the end of the day by just asking and being prepared to hang around a bit afterwards! If there is something special you would like to see, measure or photograph for current or future projects then please let me know and I will see what we can do. The answer is nearly always yes, no problem! We are also entering into intercontinental visitor territory as we will be welcoming Mr On The Branch Line and his good lady to that little corner of an Oxfordshire town that is forever GWR. So, if you want to come and have a first look round, meet up with fellow RMWEB members, see how we have progressed on some of our restoration work up close and / or just come a long to have a good look at the premier collection of GWR rolling stock with knowledgeable guides (and me!) then book a spot by either posting a reply here or sending me a PM. We usually start up by meeting at the main gate at 12:00hrs so everyone can have a ride on the trains before hand and then go all afternoon until about 16:30 - 17:00hrs. Children are welcome and in fact are encouraged as long as the supervising adult looks after them as we will take you behind the scenes. I look forward to see you there for some 12":1' scale fun! All the best, Castle Nos. 4079 and 7202 (amongst MANY others!) await your inspection!
  5. Hi all, It seems to me that there are many closed railway lines in England that would be useful today for freight and commuter traffic across the country. That seems a fairly simple and or obvious statement in itself, but let me explain. I can think of two railway lines in Britain which could have been of use to the economy and the transport industry. The first is the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway metals between Oxfordshire and the port of Southampton, which would ease congestion around the Southampton port area, provide a more direct route to the old Great Western Main Line near Didcot Parkway. The double track backwater railway would see a good mixture of intermodal traffic from Southampton, defence traffic from Wiltshire in the west and commuter services could link the south coast with the tourist centres of Oxfordshire in the north. There could/would also be a considerable amount of coal, oil, construction materials, steel, vehicles, timber and waste traffic as well. Cement trains from Westbury could also feature. I doubt the line would be electrified but it's always a possibility. The second railway is the Great Central Main Line, which opened in 1899 and closed in the late 60s. A double track line from London to Manchester via Rugby would see in my mind a lot of freight and passenger traffic, many different diesel and electric locomotives and a wide range of freight traffic. It would be an impressive modelling achievement for the modern image modeller or railway club. I can only think of so many other railway lines of this length, calibre and engineering achievement that would be of immense benefit today. Can anyone else? The modelling potential makes my head spin. Cheers, Jim.
  6. Hello all, Does anyone have any information on any ex-LSWR T9 Greyhound 4-4-0s that worked on the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton metals during the 1950s and 1960s? I'm looking for numbers specifically, so I can find out what variant of Greyhound was used (narrow or wide splashers, six or eight axle tender etc). Any help would be appreciated.
  7. Hello chaps, I'm planning a layout that isn't exactly on the cards but I needed some assistance. My prototype is the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway and I was considering either modelling one of the through stations on the line or a ficitional spur from the line. I used the brillant GWR Modelling website to help me in planning this but I was curious as to if anyone has any photos or designs of the buildings of the DN&SR. I'm interested in station buildings but moreso in signal boxes, goods sheds, storage sheds, huts of any description, water towers, yard cranes, bridges, tunnels and level crossings. I'm sure something that will come up but as I am an international modeller I have some difficulty in acquiring certain resources like books. Any help would be appreciated!
  8. So I’ve been doing some thinking… I have ‘episodes’ at random times every few months where I go into full layout planning mode where ‘I say to hell with the lack of funds, time constraints and no space whatsoever for a railway of any size, shape or form, I want to see what I can come up with in my head’. Being an international modeller of British railways I’m limited by resources such as books, DVDs etc. and the range of models from which I can use. I found a reasonably cheap Hornby Terrier in BR Black and a T9 ‘Greyhound’ which are two locomotives I’ve always been in love with, as well as three coaches, a range of open wagons and vans, buildings, vehicles, figures, scenery items and a lot of other stuff. I then wanted to know if it would be possible to make a prototypical and historically accurate layout that is somehow unique, offers endless running opportunities, and there is always some interesting scene to look at. I’m a fan of the GWR Modelling website and looked on there for some ideas. I wanted to run ex-GWR stock behind a Southern Region locomotive and I didn’t really fancy setting it in the southwest. I wanted to run a beautiful T9 through a leafy Oxford landscape. I found something close enough to it. I decided on the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway, a forty-six-mile-long rural backwater railway that was dreamt up by a small railway company and eventually became a battleground in the Railway Wars between the Great Western Railway and the London and South Western Railway. The eventual resolution came that although the line was built by the DN&SR, the majority of it would be operated by the GWR. The line was split by the GWR in two. The Northern section stretched from Didcot to Newbury and the Southern section from Newbury to Winchester. Stock was exchanged at Winchester and the LSWR manned the railway from Winchester southwards. The line was also unique because of its architectural merits: many of the station buildings were double-storey red brick structures, many of which survive today and are instantly recognisable by railway buffs. There were sections of line that were proposed but never materialised: including loop lines and a few branch lines as well. Moreover, there has never been a more interesting location to model GWR/SR workings. I would plan to model the line during its decline in the 1950s and early 1960s. I’m caught between modelling an actual station on the DN&SR route with passing loops and sidings, or a short branch servicing a quarry of some kind (I have no idea what sort of minerals were mined in the area, but I’m not really a big fan of coal trains). The line was worked then by Western Region ‘Collet Goods’ 0-6-0s and 4300 2-6-0s and by Southern Region Q1 0-6-0s, T9 4-4-0s and Standard 4 2-6-0s. Southern Region operations extended to Enborne Junction on 2nd April 1950, leaving only the Didcot to Newbury section to be operated by the Western Region. I plan for a railway extension south of Enborne where the Western Region still had running rights on one of the branch lines (my layout). But what about the Terrier, you ask? While the GWR often allocated its most ancient stock to the line, and I suppose an elderly tank engine should be no surprise. The Western Region had acquired two Terriers from the defunct Weston, Cleveland and Portishead railway in 1940 and put them to work on the Bristol Harbour lines before working at Taunton (later Newton Abbot). My engine of focus, WC&P No. 5 ‘Portishead’ (original number No. 43, ‘Gipshyhill’) was stored at Swindon in January 1950. It was later scrapped there, however in my fictional universe it would have been sent to work the DN&SR branch line extension in March 1950, a month before the Southern Region takeover. Its prominence would have been of interest to trainspotters to see it working away in the quarry, or taking the afternoon passenger service to one of the stations on the DN&SR. Perhaps I won’t build the branch line layout if I decide to model a through station on the DN&SR, and maybe just have the Terrier work in the yard behind a few empty wagons. The possibilities are making me dizzy. What does everybody think of this? Does it sound prototypically correct and feasible? I’m a stickler for accuracy but I also like questioning the ‘what if’. I’ll make a post on the prototype questions page about requesting photos of the line during the 1950s, as well as plans and photos of the buildings on the line and questions about stock such as which Greyhounds worked the line. Another post I might make may be dedicated to the Terrier. I just want to know everyone’s thoughts on the DN&SR and maybe get an official page going to discuss this magnificent little backwater railway that offers so much modelling potential. Cheers.
  9. The 2016 RMWEB Tour of Didcot Railway Centre 31st July 2016 Hi All, It's back! I have again agreed with our centre manager and Andy Y that we could have another day to meet at Didcot to have another one of my traditional 'access all areas' tours of our site. I have entertained people of all ages on these tours so it is open to my fellow RMWEB members and family members of all ages! The date decided upon was Sunday 31st July 2016. Locomotives could include, Railcar No. 22, Railmotor No. 93 and large Prairie No. 4144. I will update the loco roster as we know what is happening on site! Saint No. 2999 Lady of Legend is looking very impressive at the moment and is not that far off. County No. 1014 County of Glamorgan should be sat on its wheels by then too. Churchward Saddle Tank No. 1363, 72XX class No. 7202 and Sodor railways No. 1 have seen much effort and all show noticeable progress. No. 4079 Pendennis Castle will also now look a vast amount more impressive as she now sports (albeit temporarily) her boiler and is in the final stages of her restoration. We will also be able to see behind the scenes in the Carriage and wagon department too! The new 'Controlling the Trains' exhibit building, in conjunction with the Swindon Panel Society is now making major leaps forward, not least of which is the delivery of said panel! I had a look this afternoon and it is an impressive beast... As before, I will do a proper modellers tour where I will take you behind the scenes and enable you to look in all the workshops and stored collections of vehicles. If there is anything that you specifically want to see, measure, look at, go inside of or crawl over then let me know and we will see what we can do. The only obvious restrictions would be on any stock or items on the running lines of course - squashed patrons don't go down well with management... However, if you don't mind waiting until after the trains are put back in the box for that vital item that needs measuring I am sure that something can be arranged. It's been done before! As per last time, the signalling box key will find its way into my pocket so there will be an opportunity to go and have a look at the box and the incredible level of authentic restoration achieved with this building. I will also steal a carriage key from somewhere so we can inspect the interior of some of the vehicles not normally accessible to visitors. The plan as always would be to get yourselves to Didcot and take any rides in the morning and I will take an early lunch and start the tour at 12:30hrs, meeting you at the entrance kiosk at the top end of the site. I would like to put a cap on the group size of 50 as any more than that and it gets a bit confined in the various works. I will rope in my fellow GWS tour guides again too! So then, who wants another look in the best GWR toy box in the world? All the best, Castle
  10. Hi All, It's back! I have again agreed with our centre manager and Andy Y that we could have another day to meet at Didcot to have another one of my traditional 'access all areas' tours of our site. I have entertained people of all ages on these tours so it is open to my fellow RMWEB members of all ages! The date decided upon was Sunday 26th July 2014. Locomotives could include, Railcar No. 22, Railmotor No. 93, pannier No. 3650 or large Prairie No. 4144, which should be fresh from overhaul and nicely run in by then (the replacement front end steam pipes are being picked up next week and the paint is going on as weather temperatures permit...). I will update the loco roster as we know what is happening on site! Progress on our project locomotives including Saint No. 2999 Lady of Legend, County No. 1014 County of Glamorgan, Churchward Saddle Tank No. 1363 and of course, my personal favourite, Castle No. 4079 Pendennis Castle will be there to inspect as will the impressive output of the Carriage and wagon department. Amongst others, the rebuild of 1902 4-wheeler Dean 1st / 2nd composite coach to Dia. U is looking amazing in skeletal form and the the long awaited refit of the interior of 1932 Collett Super Saloon No. 9113 Prince of Wales to Dia. G61 is also underway. There are many upgrades to the infrastructure of the railway centre at the moment too and progress on building the new 'Controlling the Trains' exhibit building, in conjunction with the Swindon Panel Society is underway as are a number of upgrades to the Railmotor shed. The Ex Wantage Road bus garage is largely complete now and awaits fitting out. As before, I will do a proper modellers tour where I will take you behind the scenes and enable you to look in all the workshops and stored collections of vehicles. If there is anything that you specifically want to see, measure, look at, go inside of or crawl over then let me know and we will see what we can do. The only obvious restrictions would be on any stock or items on the running lines of course - squashed patrons don't go down well with management... However, if you don't mind waiting until after the trains are put back in the box for that vital item that needs measuring I am sure that something can be arranged. It's been done before! As per last time, the signalling box key will find its way into my pocket so there will be an opportunity to go and have a look at the box and the incredible level of authentic restoration achieved with this building. I will also steal a carriage key from somewhere so we can inspect the interior of some of the vehicles not normally accessible to visitors. The plan would be to get yourselves to Didcot and take any rides in the morning and I will take an early lunch and start the tour at 12:30hrs, meeting you at the entrance kiosk at the top end of the site. I would like to put a cap on the group size of 50 as any more than that and it gets a bit confined in the various works. I will rope in my fellow GWS tour guides again too! So then, who wants another look in the best GWR toy box in the world? All the best, Castle
  11. G-BOAF

    Railway Flight

    Flew 'up north' today, originally wanted to get to Shildon for C1 Atlantic launch, but logistics from Durham Tees Valley and timing from my pilot were difficult. Instead passed some other interesting railway sites (also some now historic pics of Didcot from 2012...): National Railway Museum - South Yard in foreground (or is it really a contender for 'how realistic are your models...) National Railway Museum - Great Hall. A Class 55 Deltic (presumably KOYLI) lurking outside the 'Works'. York Station in background York Carriage Works, with new turntable to the left York Tear Drop Site Asfordby Test Centre (Old Dalby Test Track) - Brand New London Underground S-Stock awaiting test. I counted 9 units in total Asfordby Test Centre - LUL S Stock and Class 47 47714 in worn Anglia livery Didcot Railway Centre (2012) with Power Station in background Didcot Railway Centre (2012)
  12. Don't know if this has been posted previously, so here goes: http://www.didcotnewburyandsouthamptonrailway.co.uk There is a proposal to reopen the DNS using the original track formation between Whitchurch and Didcot and then running parallel to the A34 south of Whitchurch with proposals to open a link with the main line at Micheldever or further down towards Romsey/Southampton. Apparently re opening the station at Winchester Chesil and using the Hockley viaduct adjacent to the m3 are non starters. The benefits being suggested are a further route for the diversion of freight traffic from Southampton to the North and a direct route from southampton to Cambridge etc via the Evergreen 3 route.
  13. Hi All, In what is fast becoming an annual event, I have agreed with our centre manager that we could have another day to meet at Didcot to have one of my 'access all areas' tours of our site. The date decided upon was Sunday 27th July 2014. We have lots on site to offer. Firstly, a Southern interloper in the form of T9 No. 30120 will be joining us along with auto-fitted Collett pannier tank No. 6435. The latter will enable the running of auto trains using our autotrailers Nos. 190 and 231, which we have been unable to do since the withdrawal of our own No. 1466. Also on site will be Railmotor 93 and the only fully restored Churchward Autotrailer No. 92. Progress on our project locomotives including Saint No. 2999 Lady of Legend, County No. 1014 County of Glamorgan and Castle No. 4079 Pendennis Castle will be there to inspect as will the impressive output of the Carriage and wagon department. As before, I will do a proper modellers tour where I will take you behind the scenes and enable you to look in all the workshops and stored collections of vehicles. If there is anything that you specifically want to see, measure, look at, go inside of or crawl over then let me know and we will see what we can do. The only obvious restrictions would be on any stock or items on the running lines of course - squashed patrons don't go down well with management... However, if you don't mind waiting until after the trains are put back in the box for that vital item that needs measuring I am sure that something can be arranged. As per last time, the signalling box key may well find its way into my pocket so there will be an opportunity to go and have a look at the box and the incredible level of authentic restoration achieved with this building. I will also steal a carriage key from somewhere so we can inspect the interior of some of the vehicles not normally accessible to visitors. The exciting prospect of seeing two GWR broad gauge locomotives alongside each other in the form of replicas Firefly and Iron Duke will be on the cards this year - the first time in modern preservation that this has been possible! As for what will be running on the day, I am going to try to get management to give us No. 6435 on the day in auto working format for you to enjoy - I will see what can be done. There may also be another exciting locomotive development or two but those are on a need to know basis for now... The plan would be to get yourselves to Didcot and take any rides in the morning and I will take an early lunch and start the tour at 12:30hrs, meeting you at the entrance kiosk at the top end of the site. I would like to put a cap on the group size of 40 as any more than that and it gets a bit confined in the various works and at that size I may rope another volunteer or two in to help with the tour. So then, who wants a look in the best GWR toy box in the world? All the best, Castle
  14. My aim for 2014 is to start my new OO layout. My modelling priorities ... 1. A standard GWR 1930's 4-road through shed with turntable (e.g. Didcot) 2. Continuous Run, with Junction station to Branch 3. Long Branch Line with Terminus (based on Kingsbridge) 4. 6 coach main line trains; 2 or 3 coach branch line trains 5. Lots of shunting potential 6. Some local industry (e.g. Creamery) 7. No fiddle Yard 8. Aim for 3' radii curves on the main line 9. DC, but convert to DCC eventually The layout room (my loft) is 6m by 3m. There are some structural bits in the way (to keep the roof up) so I'll work around these. So far I have: put in a ladder; removed the cold water tank; insulated the loft (it now looks like the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle); put in lights and power. Now in the process of building the baseboards. And as its in the loft, I thought I'd have a go with Extruded Polystyrene baseboard tops to minimise warping. The no fiddle yard choice might cause some questioning so let me explain that one. Whenever I go to exhibitions I am always peering at the back of the layouts to see what is there; and if friends come round they comment "oh, you haven't finished this bit with no ballast then"; and probably above all ... I enjoy shunting and so need the space for this. Most of my stock is old, up to 40 years old, so I'll go for Peco Streamline Code 100 track with Electrofrog Points and with Peco point motors. I do not have the skills or patience for finescale modelling. Bits I have never done before ... - A layout this size (my previous layout was 12' x 6') and that was 30 years ago - Electrofrog points - Electric Point Motors - Flexible Track - Gradients - Signals - DCC (but I did have Zero 1) - Using Extruded Polystyrene for baseboard What I'd like from you. Inspiration, ideas and advice. Realistically, its going to take me 3 years to build and have something I am happy with; so I think lots of encouragement along the way would be terrific! Your help to ensure that the plans and are as operationally and prototypically sound as practical. e.g. I know little about railway operations or signals, but I know there are many on here who do. But lets make one step at a time, and think about the overall layout. It is going to be Great Western, but no specific period (other than 1900 to 1947 so no need to worry about Broad/Mixed gauge!), however, if you want a datum for track layout etc, then lets go for the 1930's to fit in with the shed. And I do not have a specific location, but as I like the Kingsbridge Branch, so lets says its based in Devon.
  15. Hi Everyone. I want to test the water with an idea for a thread before I put loads of stuff up here. As some will have seen from others of my ramblings I have an ambition to represent the Didcot Newbury and Southampton line in my newly liberated cellar. I am near enough now that I can smell it so it's time to start detailed planning. I wondered of there would be interest in a thread using the Iain Rice book "Layout Design" published by Haynes as a basis for planning the layout. I would provide a case study of how I use the book, chapter by chapter, to plan my layout. What you get then, is a layout planning thread and a book report rolled into one. Interested????? Shall I go on????
  16. Hi All, As I am going to be making some models of the 81E preserved trio of Nos. 9112, 9113 & 9118 I need a little bit of assistance. I have consulted the experts and no consensus can be reached (coaches liveries are not my area of expertise at all!) so I thought I would throw it open to the RMWEB floor... The question is this. When were the names lost? Was it from repainting into blood and custard or was it from BR chocolate & cream and if the names stayed in blood and custard were they painted in the same style as they were with the GWR or were they in different font and / or format? My understanding was that they didn't have them post 1957 C&C repaint but I am firmly in the B&C era and I can't find a picture. I have found lots of pictures in GWR livery both period and the liveries of the coaches in preservation (81E & SDR versions are in GWR) and some great colour shots in BR (W) C&C in Robertson's Great Western Coaches In Colour. There is a picture in this of King George in preservation in B&C but annoyingly, it is post lining and lettering! The story is the same on line as far as I can see... Any thoughts or pictures I have missed anyone? Thanks in advance! All the best, Castle P.S. Here is a nice picture of them on a recent airing with No. 6106!
  17. Hi All, In consultation between Andy Y and me and the powers that be at 81E (perhaps I'm a poet an I don't really know it?), I can announce firm plans for a RMWEB Members day visit to Didcot Railway Centre. The suggested tour date at the moment is Sunday 28th July. This is during my summer holiday so I will be available for tour guide duties and it is also a full running day so there will be 'toys' to play with! I will do a proper modellers tour where I will take you behind the scenes and enable you to look in all the workshops and stored collections of vehicles. If there is anything that you specifically want to see, measure, look at, go inside of or crawl over then let me know and we will see what we can do. The only obvious restrictions would be on any stock or items on the running lines of course - squashed patrons don't go down well with management... The plan would be to get yourselves to Didcot and take any rides for mid morning and I will take an early lunch and start the tour at 12:30hrs, meeting you at the entrance kiosk at the top end of the site. In addition to last time, the signalling box key may well find its way into my pocket so there will be an opportunity to go and have a look at the box and the incredible level of authentic restoration achieved with this building. I will also steal a carriage key from somewhere so we can inspect the interior of some of the vehicles not normally accessible to visitors. Also, Railmotor No. 93 will be back in the fold for inspection (or perhaps rides) as, in theory, should No. 6023 King Edward II. I am thought that if we start getting numbers now, those that want to come will be able to do so including those that were disappointed to not be able to attend last year. I would like to put a cap on the group size of 40 as any more than that and it gets a bit confined in the various works and at that size I may rope another volunteer or two in to help with the tour. This is easily done as they are a bit like Boris in that respect - they will work for a beer or two... Just leave a post here or PM me to express an interest and book places. So - is there enough interest for another tour? Who wants a look then? All the best, Castle
  18. After a recent trip to Didcot I spotted something else that I need to make. This time it is for the layout rather than rolling stock and it needs to be installed before too much of the track is detailed. I've seen someone else make this size of feature work in 2mm scale already and I'm hoping that the LEDs I've ordered will be small enough to fit inside the model, because I'll be disappointed if I cannot make it light up. If not then this will possibly die a death. If so then it will still be a trial to make this well. All will be revealed if progress can be made but can you guess what it is yet?
  19. Hi All, What am I supposed to do with this lot? Knowing that you all like a challenge (!), I thought that I would throw this out to the floor to see what you can make of it. As you may or my not know, I am building the collection that is housed at my home shed of 81E in 4mm scale, OO gauge in the GWR / BR (WR) transition from around 1948  (ish) to about 1955 (ish) period. Now the question is this. Being a loco engineering type and knowing comparatively little of the mysteries of the carriage and wagon workshop (where they make extensive use of some sort of engineering material that apparently grows on trees?) across the turntable where the 'tow behind engines things' are restored, what kind of formations of the preserved stock can I make up to be at least vaguely prototypical? I am well aware that what we have in preservation is not exactly what would make a useful collection in service so I thought this might tax a few little grey cells and provide a bit of entertainment for those in the know! I am willing to make kits and to kit bash to a fairly heavy degree. I have been known to scratch build too on occasion. The vast majority of the stock is available either RTR or as kits however so don't worry too much about that side of things - its my problem, not yours. As per the museum ethos at 81E, I would like to display as wide a range of workings as possible to provide historical interest rather than having a 'realistic balance' of services as I don't envisage ever being the type to run to a timetable! My layout will be very much the sort of watch things trundle past on a stretch of main line type deal with a hint of loco servicing depot for the display of engines not being gainfully employed. I would like to start thinking about this now as I would like to build up some trains from beginning to end, thereby completing it as a 'model train' and it will help to know these things when designing the layout. Don't make the trains too long please (a mental picture of all the GWS freight stock hooked up behind 3822 or 7202 springs to mind!) as I don't know what layout space I will get when we (eventually) move house! 8 or so bogie coaches seems a reasonable maximum. Also remember, if you run out of locos, coaches or wagons of a particular type - that's it! I, by my own rules, can't just go and buy another one. It is much like running a real railway... Try and use as much of the locos and stock as possible. The GWS coach list is at: http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/guide/coaches.html The GWS loco list is at: http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/guide/locomotives.html The GWS wagon list is at: http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/guide/wagons.html Formations that I have already decided on (although the last two are open to discussion / deletion / alteration) are: Auto Train #1 14XX Class No. 1466 + Dia. A38 Auto Trailer No. 231 (I couldn't not do this as it is effectively the GWS' first train!) Diesel Railcar No. 22 - a train in itself needing no stock at all... Whickham Trolley Auto Train #2 Dia. A30 Auto Trailer No. 190 + 4575 Class No. 5572 + Dia. U Auto Trailer No. 92 (I have always loved the look of an 'auto trailer - loco - auto trailer sandwich' style train!). The trouble is I then don't know about what to do with Dia. A26 Auto Trailer No. 212 (No. 212 was built as railmotor No. 93 in 1908, and coverted to an autotrailer in May 1935 and was still in service during my time period). Should I just add it to the rear of the above formation? Permanent Way / Civil Engineers Train 0-6-2 56XX Class No. 6697, Dia. U4 4 wheeled coach No. 290 as departmental stock,  Dia. T12 Chaired Sleeper Wagon with load, Dia. J28 Macaw B with rail load, Dia. O11 Open A goods wagon with permanent way gang tool load, Dia. P15 Ballast Wagon with load (x2), Dia. P17 Ballast Wagon with load, 'Grampus' Ballast Wagon with load, 12 Ton Hand Crane and Match Truck, Dia. AA3 Toad Brake Van I quite like the idea of but don't know what to use for: An express goods of some sort with lashings of siphons, monsters, pythons, XP rated goods vans, a full brake, et al behind a Hall size engine. Some sort of really swanky train with the special / VIP saloons, etc behind a highly polished 4 cylinder beast (guess which one!). A branch size passenger or even a mixed train. A brake down train (LMS crane I know!) A LARGE load on the Pollen E's and / or the Crocodile F? A shunting loco and shunter's truck on a positioning move, possibly DL 26 (not BR and just out of period I know, but I have a soft spot for this particular beast). Remember that, while I don't mind the occasional bending of history a little (see DL 26 above), not all the stock at Didcot is suitable for my time period. For example Avonside 0-4-0 saddle tank No. 1340 'Trojan' was sold into industrial service fairly early on in it's life thus wouldn't be eligible for the BR thing. Likewise, some of the coaches were doing sterling service as bits of architecture by this time... Also remember that certain things were converted before, during or after my time period. Steam railmotor No. 93 is the obvious one but S&T mess van No. 263 was converted from a brake van in 1952 so those earlier or later incarnations may be useful in plugging a gap in your chosen formation. So then, given that the GWS collection has (in my mind at least) miraculously all been restored to full working order and into transition era liveries / condition, what would you do with this lot? Just suggest a train formation and we will go from there. I will keep the list updated in these posts and as it develops, I expect we will get into a bit of horse trading of stock. Let's see where we go... Thanks for your input in advance and this should hopefully promote some interesting discussion that will be useful for others too! All the best, Castle PS: don't be witty and either include the broad gauge stock or suggest I give this lot up and go LMS / LNER / SR / diesel / modern image / 7mm scale / 2mm fine scale / other related non GWR / BR(WR) transition era Didcot collection in 4mm scale OO gauge suggestion - I know what some of you out there are like!
  20. Hi All, A recent accident that involved a friend of ours lead to him being air lifted to hospital in the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance and being delivered to the Intensive Care Unit of the John Radcliffe Hospital. The prompt reactions of the paramedics, the helicopter pilots and the subsequent superb care he received in the ITU have undoubtedly saved our friend's life and we at the Didcot Railway Centre would like to repay the compliment. As a result, we are holding an event whereby we are going to let you all out there come and play with our toys (for a small charitable donation of course!). There will be lots of great events and unusual activities going on all day that include: The chance to drive WW1 veteran and the sole surviving Churchward Mogul No.5322.* The chance to drive a pannier tank (either 3650 or 3738 - whatever is chosen to go on the day!).* We will be offering guided tours around both the locomotive and carriage and wagon works. There will be no passenger trains on all day - we are going all freight! This is a great photography opportunity! Finally, for a few days only, 5322 will be presented in early BR black livery. The lion and wheel will have to be removed in the evening so we can keep our appointment with our sign writer and he can get in and her new livery can be applied. So, if you want to see it during this current boiler ticket it's before 12th May or never! There will be other exciting experiences that we will announce when they have been confirmed so stay tuned to this thread and our website for further updates! The standard static day entrance charge will apply and the GWS council has agreed to fund the fuel for the locomotives as their contribution to the day. ALL donations and proceeds from the extra activities generated will be split between the two causes 50/50. Our website is at: www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk Please come along, support our cause and help us say thanks to these fantastic and dedicated people that have worked so hard and with such great professionalism and care so that our friend can still be with us. I hope to see you there! Castle *All locos are, of course, subject to availability on the day.
  21. Hi all, I have been a very long time lurker on this site but have never plucked up courage to post on the site before with some of my models. No time like the present so I have signed up and here we go. Comments, advice and discussion are welcome here. I will apologise about photography now and as the majority will be me, my iPhone, a glass shelf and a powerful lamp, they will not be to the great standard that we sometimes see here. My partner has a fancy camera and she will take a few snaps from time to time to offset this lack of skill on my part! I don't have a layout but I hope to do so in the future. However, I wanted to get modelling. I therefore took the decision to start making kits and adapting RTR models to get the fleet of vehicles that I would like to own which leads me on to another point. I am a member of the Great Western Society (usual proviso here about any opinions being mine and not the society's) and an active volunteer at the Didcot Railway Centre having a role in the restoration and overhaul of the loco fleet. I decided that having free access to a large fleet of preserved vehicles meant that it was natural to want to model them so that is what I am up to. Didcot's collection in 4mm scale. I chose to model the GWR / BR change over period from the late 1940's up to about 1954 (with one or two modellers licence type exceptions) so that I could get the greatest range of liveries in both the loco and rolling stock fleet. For the engines alone it means blue kings, black LNWR style mixed traffic locos, BR green locos, GWR liveries with British Railways in GWR text, a few in old GWR liveries and so on... I know and understand the appeal of the late BR period with the ability to run early diesels on the layout too but the BR totem logo on a steam loco is to me a bit like it running around with a death sentence on its side so it isn't for me as a steam loco man. This is just my opinion and this is in no way a dig at anyone else's interests and I hope it isn't taken as such. There are some truly stunning examples that fall under the 'art of modelling' category when looking at the inspiring end of steam weathering jobs we sometimes see on this site. In any case, the engines from the immediate post war period were not far short of this condition and in fact a picture exists (published in the book 'The Didcot Story') of our own No. 6998 not long after it was built looking in a very sorry state, not unlike it probably did in 1963... I like to detail things as far as is reasonably possible without going mad and I like my engines and rolling stock to look like they have had a life so weathering is the order of the day. Wherever a loco or bit of rolling stock isn't available, kits and RTR will be ruthlessly bashed chopped and hacked into a vague resemblance of the prototype. In a cheeky and thoroughly unprototypical move, my engines all have 81E shed plates. Destination / area markings on rolling stock is deliberately vague or of the 'Return to Paddington' type so that when I do get to the layout, I am not restricted or forced to repaint. I can hear the gasps from the purists but I think of it as my collection’s signature. These things are quite small and largely unnoticeable as they trundle past on a layout. if we put our models in a fictional setting, they are likely to gain things that are not as they would have been in life. I'll invoke the 'it's my railway' clause if anyone moans. So there! I have fitted scale couplings and I will probably regret it but I really don't like putting something as hugely obtrusive as a tension lock or a knuckle coupling on my stock and I also want a layout where trains generally process past with perhaps a loco shed (not predictable at all that is it?) on the cards. The trains should therefore be pulled in most cases (auto trains excepted but I have a plan here involving rigid couplings) and from what I have read, the issues with this are mainly with propelling stock. So there is the philosophy, such as it is, and I will from time to time post pictures of models and projects past present and future and preserved prototype photos to illustrate a point where relevant. Without further ado, for your education, entertainment and edification, here is some of my humble, ham-fisted cobbling. I thought I would start with no real order and in a shock move for a steam fan, with the build of one of the newest residents at Didcot - Brown Boveri Gas Turbine No. 18000. A bit of potted history: 18k was ordered by the GWR as part of their 'Next Station' modernisation plan but didn't arrive until 1949, well after nationalisation. She was a prototype and understandably she had her issues. The various reasons as to why she and her Metropolitan Vickers Cousin 18100 were not perpetuated are many and don't just centre on reliability. The rise of diesels, the cost of fuel, maintenance and further development requirements all played their part. For a prototype machine in a situation where her owners showed a progressively lessening interest in the type of traction and on a steam railway she actually did quite well! She eventually ended up back in Switzerland and was used (minus her power plant) as a test vehicle to investigate the interaction of wheels on the rail head. She went in display in Switzerland in 1975 and returned to the UK in the 1990's, her first home being Crew. She finally arrived 'home' to Didcot, after a long derogation process with Network Rail as she is an 'out of gauge' load, on the 29th July 2011. She will be put through a conservancy & restoration process that it is hoped will include the reinstatement of one of her cabs to the same condition it was in when she was a live loco. Kevin Robertson's book on the subject 'The Great Western Railway Gas Turbines - a myth exposed' is recommended reading on this subject. Little known 18k fact: After she returned to Switzerland and was converted, she carried the name 'Elisabetta' between her front cab footsteps. Back to the model - This is a Silver Fox resin body that will be detailed, fully lit, mounted on a brand new Bachmann Class 37 chassis (purchased as a complete loco and mega bargain at my local toy & train fair) and painted in my absolute favourite British 'modern traction' (it's a bit inaccurate calling 18k modern I suppose but it is to me and my fellow steam fans!) livery of black with silver roof and body stripe. A livery with its LMS origins I know, but we are all railway fans here! The first photo shows a try at the Cab end of 18k with the chassis fitted loosely and the bogie side frames attached. The plastic of the Class 37 bogies didn't accept the glue easily so there was much fruity language as this process was done. Roughening the surfaces with a file to provide a key seemed to help. The moulded handrails have been pared away with a scalpel and wire replacements fashioned. The moulded buffers fared no better and were cut off in readiness for sprung replacements. Alan Gibson GWR short whistles (I couldn't find anyone supplying whistles for a 1940's prototype Gas Turbine loco surprisingly) are fitted too. The original 18k had these air powered whistles fitted earlier on in her career to be replaced with horns when it was found that they were not loud enough in the noisy steam railway environment she operated in. Photo 2 - the windows on the side have been nibbled out with a drill bit in a pin vice, a scalpel and a further application of the afore mentioned fruity language... Also gone is the exhaust for the train heating boiler, replaced with a new version made in styrene. Photo 3 shows the front end with the various lifting and step holes in the valance opened out. The etched lamp irons are from the ever useful mainly trains etch and have been straightened post photo! These were fitted despite the original having four electric marker lights in the appropriate positions. She started using discs that were not unlike Southern Region practice but ended up using regular WR lamps. Some little cast door handles (source forgotten), Slater's buffers and screw link couplings from Smiths complete the picture. The handrail and step pattern on her cabs changed throughout her life and the layout modelled is as she was when delivered with just steps and rails on the left side (when viewed head on). Presumably as the use of lamps became more prevalent, dicing with death stretching across with a relatively heavy lamp to do the far side on a wet or icy day became less and less attractive and the additional steps and handrails were fitted. Interestingly she was also fitted with a bracket below the centre cab window so she was able to carry train headboards but this also falls outside our time period. Well, I will leave you to mull that lot over and I will get back to you soon with further updates! All the best, Castle
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