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Found 56 results

  1. I originally posted this background in the How it all began thread and am repeating it here for completeness. When I were a lad, only knee high to a grasshopper, and people lived in black and white my dad made the serious mistake of buying me a train set. Now being an engineer and having to travel over to West Germany on occasions for work he decided to buy a Märklin set (and quite a few extras) rather than the traditional Hornby. This system grew very gradually (as it was more expensive and less readily available than the home grown product) and moved from my father's study, to my bedroom, to the spare bedroom and finally the loft. Eventually I was lured by the charms of N gauge - so that I could run British outline models - and the Märklin got packed away. A little over 25 years ago it came out again as, having had an abortive dabble in OO9, I felt the need for a layout that could operate. By then the old track system was out of production and, since it was still a premium brand, stuff was horribly expensive and still hard to come by. I did get a few bits from a specialist secondhand dealer but the choice was limited and much was beyond my budget. The layout's life was brief, the closure order was served when I got married and moved out of my flat. Around twelve years ago a few locos came out for a weekend dashing around an oval to try and worm their way into my son's affection. However they couldn't compete with tanks and aircraft so went back in their boxes. About two years ago I was moving some stuff around and pulled the boxes of Märklin off the shelf. Well, I couldn't resist could I? https://youtu.be/w6xHnjZg2U8 I have to admit that it took a little bit of cleaning and oil to get that shunter to run, but run it did. Checking on eBay it all seemed to have got much cheaper. I suppose there is very limited demand and many of those who did have some are trying to unload it. Seeing some of the prices for things that I wanted when I was a child... A couple of years on and I have acquired the items that I lusted over in childhood catalogues, accumulated some more track and signals and am laying plans to annexe the garage for more useful purposes… Now that is out of the way, some more information... The Märklin system was brilliant. No need to worry about reverse loops, wyes or any other odd track formation. Signals could stop trains, trains could operate points and signals automatically. Wagons had delayed uncoupling, some locos even had remote uncoupling. All this in the 1960s. Hornby still can't do that today! Of course, I had to work through the various items, checking that they worked, replacing blown bulbs and grotty traction tyres. This called for a sophisticated test system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkCtGQyCTDk Then realisation struck. For years I have wanted a ‘system’ type of layout with a number of stations and wagons are sent to specific destinations – rather than the normal UK one station and a fiddle yard job. Think Buckingham Great Central or some of the large, classic US layouts. The main problem I have always faced is time and cost. If you work with detailed N gauge stock (which is what I had been doing) you need detailed N scale scenes for them to run through and detailed N gauge track to run on. You also need a complex control system if you want some degree of automation. As a lone wolf I need some for of automation to run passing trains whilst I shunt the freights. As for N gauge couplings – trying to shunt UK 4-wheel wagons… However I already had a good stash of Märklin, it was now available relatively cheaply (not the new stuff, of course, but the indestructible range of my childhood) – far more so than anything in N. The necessary automation was already built in. And, I don’t know a great deal about German railways so I can happily take huge liberties with period, operation, geography and just about everything else that I wouldn’t dream about with a UK outline layout. So a plan was drawn up for the garage. (Okay, several plans were drawn up. The current one is still up for revision from time to time as I squeeze something else in.) eBay was trawled for more track, signals, catenary and stock. A window ledge in the living room became a short lived test of the smallest station. https://youtu.be/XXYFDpQw7vQ The plan evolved a bit more and then I was ready for action. I started off putting together some supports for the baseboards but then had another idea (it was getting to be a habit). Instead of starting at the bottom and working up I’d start with the small station at the end of the branch and complete that first. That way I’d have a working railway in double quick time whilst enthusiasm was running high rather than spend months with little to show for it and run into the sand. This was a breakthrough because the site for the Ercallbahn had been accumulating junk for various domestic reasons and getting more and more cluttered since I first started drawing up the plans. It had now reached Augean stable proportions. I realised that I could at least clear one shelf and, by a happy coincidence, I could do so just where the small terminus that I had mocked up earlier would be located. Given this divine intervention it was a case of carpe diem (especially as SWMBO was away). Over the next few days I occupied myself in the garden... ...and underneath... Then a bit of gratuitous posing:
  2. Does anyone know if these are available to purchase anywhere please?
  3. A left over piece of MDF produced the idea for “Yet Another Micro Layout”. My youngest daughter recently acquired a new bunk bed for her room, and wanted a place to do some painting without painting on the walls of her room. My wife purchase a large piece of MDF for that purpose, and had it cut to size at the hardware store, and a 1200 x 240mm piece of MDF and a few extra pieces about 70mm deep, were left over. My wife specifically said to me “can you use these for a model railway”. Of course I can, I thought! But how to use it? I perused the various eBooks by the late Carl Arendt until I settled on an expanded and customised track plan based on the “Tramways de Chamies-Les Thurs” track plan in the “Creating Micro Layouts” eBook. That track plan is only about 600mm x 300mm, whereas the track plan I will be using will cover 1200 x 240mm. The next thing to do was to decide on a prototype / theme. I had thought of a tram / streetcar layout like that suggested for the “Tramways de Chamies-Les Thurs” track plan in the eBook, with the possibility of a Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) Tram layout. But in the end I settled on a Brazilian themed layout. The reason for this is that I have a limited budget, and a Melbourne Tram model was over $250 (Australian) – a huge chunk out of my model railway budget. I had previously come across the Frateschi HO scale models, made in Brazil. So I did some research about them and from what I read they seem like reasonable models, and very reasonably priced. I went onto ebay, and found a model of a Brazilian G22 Bo-Bo diesel electric locomotive with an RFFSA (Rede Ferroviária Federal, Sociedade Anônima) paint scheme which is about 7 inches long, for $99. And so I purchased it. To make the most use of available space, I purchased 2 Peco short radius Y turnouts to minimise the space for the layout. The combination of the reasonably short locomotive and Y turnouts should give me some space to also have up to 2 freight cars attached to the locomotive to able to move through the switchbacks on the layout. Not only is this the first Brazilian themed layout I have built but it is also the first one where I employed multi-use foam board (called XPS insulation board) which is very similar to extruded foam board used in the USA. Because of the use of XPS foam board, it is also likely to be the first layout that I use no nails or screws on! Photos above, top left to bottom right: XPS foam board info, the MDF left over that is the reason for the layout, the layout base from the front, the layout base from the back. Rather than the layout being a passenger switch-back between multiple tram stops like the original “Tramways de Chamies-Les Thurs” track plan, this layout will be a freight switching layout, with a small 2 track yard, the switch back, and various industries on the different legs of the switch back. This gives a fair amount of operational interest in a micro layout space. Because the RFFSA only operated between 1957 and 1999, and the layout will be run with an EMD G22 diesel rather than steam motive power, the era is fairly well defined to between 1967 (when the G22 was introduced) and 1999. This era is about the same as the other model layouts I have, and is purposely broad to allow for the use of more types of rollingstock. As well as the locomotive, I also purchased some Frateschi rollingstock: a reefer, covered hopper and boxcar. After testing the G22 locomotive and rollingstock on one of my other layouts, I am quite impressed with the quality and running ability of the Frateschi models I purchased. I’m particularly impressed that the locomotive and 3 cars cost less than $200 (Australian), and that the cars have metal wheels and are reasonably close coupled when connected together.
  4. It's been well over 2 years since I built my last US small switching layout, The Marlborough Branch. A conventional 'inglenook' track arrangement worked well but since then I been looking for something a little different. I recently came upon John Errrington's excellent RSSX Railserve layout on YouTube which featured an interchange track serving as an on scene staging track, with the whole layout scenicked. Now that was different to my usual layouts with hidden or partially hidden staging. I managed to reduce to track plan to fit my usual 9ft x 15ins in HO, whilst maintaining the 4 industry spurs. The purchase of an Reading & Northern MP15dc switcher meant I could locate the layout in Pennsylvania. The R&N interchanges with Norfolk Southern at various locations in PA, so my NS GP38-2 could be used to bring in cars for interchange. Construction of the layout began last weekend , using my time honored method of fixing 12mm MDF onto a 3ins x 1ins timber frame built over 20 years ago! Mal ps. The photo of #1540 is on an old layout.
  5. The world is a big place and the world's railways offer a huge variety for railway modellers. Such a huge variety that many interesting possibilities for layouts and other modelling opportunities are unknown to most people. This topic is to promote suggestions. I'm sure we all have more ideas for layouts than years in which to fulfil them, this is a place to share the ideas that we will never get round to fulfilling ourselves. However, given the forum, this topic should be restricted to non-British prototypes. To kick this off, I suggest the narrow gauge steam tram lines of Gelderland (NL) What are they? These were 750mm gauge lines built at the end of the 19th century to open up the "Achterhoek", an area of Gelderland lying East of the river Ijssel between Arnhem and the German border. The lines were built by different companies but they combined after WW1 into the Gelderse Tramwegen Mij. The lines carried both passengers and freight, and towards the end freight was the more important. The last line closed in 1957. Where can I find information? The internet is a good place to start. Google "Doetinchem tram" or "Doesburg tram" and click "images" and a whole number of pictures of the tramways will be found. Then there are books, all in Dutch unfortunately but treat Google Translate as your friend. Stoomtrams in Gelderland - H.G. Hesselink, is a small volume to get you started. De nadagen van Neerlands Stoom en Motortrams - J, Voerman, has a major chapter on the GTM De Stoomlocomotieven der Nederlandse Tramwegen - S. Overbosch, provides descriptions and some drawings of the locomotives used De goederenwagens van de Nederlandse Tramwegen - A. Dijkers, has line drawings of most of the goods vans and wagons as well as sketch maps of the line through the towns of Doesburg and Doetinchem De rijtuigen van de Nederlandse Stoomtramwegen - A Dijkers, has line drawings of the passenger carriages, including the diesel railcars used in the late 20s and early 30s The Gelderland provincial archive (www.geldersarchief.nl) also has a fair number of documents but I am not sure how useful many are. Quite possibly there are track plans and drawings of buildings, there usually are in provincial archives. Local archives in Doetinchem and Zutphen might have more. Locomotive No 13 "Silvolde" is preserved in the Railway museum in Utrecht Why would I want to? It's a narrow gauge network that offers a variety of train possibilities and more than one engine in steam operation. A famous photograph taken in 1942 shows five steam tram trains lined up ready to leave Doetinchem in quick succession. Tram trains run on reserved tracks, at the side of the road and in the middle of the street in true tram style. Locomotive types include 0-4-0T boxy tram types and both 0-6-0T and 0-8-0T end cab locos - Gelderland is relatively hilly by Dutch standards and there were some stiff climbs. Some internal combustion railcars were used as well.Scenery and architecture are generally pleasing and, for those interested in boats, transhipment of goods from river barge to goods tram was a major part of the business Why wouldn't I want to? There is virtually nothing available either as off the shelf RTR or as kits. Has it been done before? Once or twice.
  6. I've always had a passing fascination with Spanish Railways since my first holiday to Spain in 1985 (at the tender age of 8), but recently during lockdown I stumbled on some videos of Spanish railways during the 1980s which spurred me on to dig out my father's old photographs from that holiday. I have been back and visited Spain roughly every decade since that first holiday, and on the last holiday back in 2015 I had intended to buy some Spanish HO stock from Rocafort in Barcelona, however, they were in the middle of moving from their shop near Las Ramblas and the model train department was closed. I thought I would chance a search on eBay and the internet for Electrotren, and low and behold, eBay had quite a few items available. I knew I wanted a Class 269, as I remember these locomotives from my visits to Tarragona and Barcelona, and managed to get one in the rather attractive Blue and Yellow 'Mazinger' livery. I also found that Amazon UK stock rather a lot of Electrotren items, and managed to get hold of a Class 440 emu in Blue & Yellow. Also managing to get hold of half a dozen freight wagons, thoughts started turning towards somewhere to run them. I fortunately had a couple of 4' x 15" baseboards sitting spare in storage already available, and negotiated with the household authority for planning permission to use them. It was agreed I could, plus a 2 foot overhang for a sector plate fiddle stick, but no larger. With the UT440 emu measuring just over 3' in length, fitting a decent layout into essentially a 7' length (10' less the 3 foot fiddle stick), almost turned out to be trying to fit a quart into a pint pot. Having looked at quite a few Spanish stations on Google Maps and YouTube videos, it appears there are very few true terminus stations on the RENFE network, especially in the 80's and early 90's. Most seem to be of a typical pattern. 3 tracks, with 2 being passing loops for passenger trains and a third for freight trains to hold-over or run-round. Obviously not having space for a through station, I tried to see if I could adapt this plan to fit a terminal station. So taking bits from stations such as Blanes and Tarragona, i've arrived at the below track plan. The intention is to model the left-hand side with buffer stops, but leave me with the option to continue as a through station at a later date. The cassette fiddle yard will allow (if the layout is exhibited) for trains to be swapped out quickly, especially if having to handle 3 car multiple units. The cassette section will be hidden behind a low retaining wall, similar to the approach to Tarragona, with either a road or low relief buildings on top, and there will likely be a road bridge hiding the entrance to the sector plate. Most, if not all, of the track will be electrified, which is rather daunting, having never modelled OHLE equipment, but will be a nice challenge, instead of laying 3rd rail. I have been able to get hold of some Vollmer catenary masts, which, whilst not looking exactly like RENFE masts, are close enough, and I can scratch-build the arms and wires out of brass. The boards have been topped-off with foamcore board to allow for some vertical terrain changes below the track, and i've taken advantage and increased the layout width to 16.5" to give a bit more scenery at the front, probably with a nice low retaining wall, again like at Tarragona. I mention Tarragona quite often, and probably will continue to, however, having visited the station quite a few times, it's sea front located and rather narrow track plan, it would make a great layout if I had the space. Maybe sometime in the future? Constructive critisism is very much welcomed, especially with regard to the track plan. Be quick though, as i've already started laying track.
  7. progress on ww2 military train layout ho
  8. A couple of years ago whilst on a eurobash I stayed in a place called Stakčín on the eastern Slovak border with Ukraine. On arrival I found a cargo class 751 shunting the timber terminal and also spent some time watching an open wagon being hand loaded from a lorry in the station yard - a very 1960/70's scene! I can remember thinking this would make a good layout....fast forward a couple of years and a house move meant my British outline layout had to be dismantled and the new house had a converted loft ready for the next project...I had planned to start afresh with 70's BR blue diesels etc but increasingly I wanted to do something different so I have started Stakčín. Stakčín is a typical Czechoslovkian station with four running loops but there are two timber loading sidings, one adjacent to the station and the other is part of the headshunt at the end of the loops. The passenger service is a mix of local hauled and 4-wheel railbuses. The baseboards are done - it will be a permanent fixture - and I have temporarily laid some peco track recovered from my old layout so I can have a play and get a feel for whats possible. I have ordered Tillig track which will replace the peco later this year. I saw Dobříš at the Newbury show back in Feb and got a few good tips of the guys operating it that day. A few pics are below and I will update this thread with progress
  9. My nascent Dutch plan, an inglenook based on the yard at Amsterdam westhaven is moving forward slowly. However, until now, one key element was missing, the ubiquitous MaK 6400/6500. There have been kits, and various other MaK locos renumbered to look like the 64s, but the only vaguely accurate model ws fromMarklin/Trix and that suffered from hopelessly under scale running gear, particularly the bogies. However, in timely fashion, the cavalry have arrived, in the form of Belgian firm Rocky Rail, who announce at Nuremburg a line of super high detailed MaKs. My first example arrived today, and frankly this is the best Christmas present I can remember! However, I'm struggling to upload photos, so for the moment you'll have to take my word for it!
  10. Asking the combined wisdom of RMWeb... Have just acquired a Lima “HO” Wagonlits blue livery sleeper coach... Is this model, to the best of the Forum’s knowledge, true HO, or over-scale? Wanting to create a “representative” Night Ferry train without paying £100+ per etched coach kit! Many thanks Steve
  11. Did the USA double truck Birney ever get used by any UK tram company? Andy
  12. Truth be told, my miniscule branch terminus (provisionally nicknamed "Tinories") probably wouldn't have had any fixed signals in 1840. All that would have been needed to control the trains at that time were a pocket watch (so that a train could be given a five or ten minute start along the line before the following train was allowed to depart) and some red flags for the railway policemen to wave frantically in an emergency. But I've always had a soft spot for the rotating disc signals used by companies like the Great Western and the London & Croydon. It's very easy to build a rotating signal: you just need a stick, a disc and a drop of glue. In my case I used a length of skewer, collected during a visit to a posh burger joint, and the flat head of an office drawing pin: I wound some copper wire around the pole of the signal to make a bracket for the cam mechanism that was going to turn the post through 90 degrees. This was easier than I expected - I just had to use a pair of pliers to keep squeezing the (reasonably) soft and pliable wire into the correct shape: Then I glued the wire bracket to the post, remembering to glue it at 45 degrees to the face of the disc so that the cam would be able move the signal into the two positions required (disc facing the driver for "Stop", and disc turned sideways though 90 degrees for "Go"): All that's needed is a hole drilled in the baseboard to hold the bottom of the signal post, with just enough slack to allow it to turn freely. I added a small length of brass tubing at the bottom of the signal post just to make the arrangement look a bit more visually interesting (and because I've had it in the spares box for years and never found a use for it before): I used a coffer stirrer rod to operate the signal, with a piece of copper wire running through the bracket to move it from side to side: And that was it. Surprisingly simple and effective, even if I do say it about myself. Oh, and does it actually work? Of course it does:
  13. I always said that my micro-terminus was an experiment - and the whole point of an experiment is to learn lessons. I quickly realised that my layout had two major faults: (a) the foamcore baseboard was so light (250 grams including rails and fittings) that I had to put a finger on top of it every time I changed a point to prevent it moving about on the tabletop, and (b) the traverser, driven by a rod under the baseboard, suffered a bit from friction and it often needed some finger-poking to get the rails to join up accurately with the rest of the track. There was also a minor irritation that the wiring, point controls, etc were all underneath the board, so that the layout had to be turned over to work on them. This wasn't a problem when the layout was being built, but it did become inconvenient when I added some rudimentary scenery. So when I found a piece of wood 50 cms by 15 cms that weighed a hefty kilogram, it seemed a fine opportunity to build a replacement layout (in foreground below, with original layout at rear): This time I started with the traverser, rather than leaving it to the end of the track-laying process, because I had learned the hard way how essential its smooth operation is for the track design. I made a 12 cm base for the traverser from a couple of freebie plastic Lottery cards (after checking that the smooth plastic coating of the cards did run smoothly over the surface of the wood). The paper envelope shown in the photo below provides a covering surface for the top of the traverser, while the base (which glides over the wooden baseboard) is left as the smooth plastic coating advertising the lottery: A length of PECO flexitrack glued on top gave the traverser base a bit of rigidity, and I added sides from wooden coffee stirrers mainly for cosmetic effect: I also used the coffee stirrers to make guide rails for the traverser along each side, and when the connecting track was laid I put strips of stirrer at the front and back to make sure the traverser stops in the right place: A copper rod (actually Mercontrol tubing) is used to operate the traverser from the back of the layout. Since the traverser only rests loosely on top of the board (hence the guide rails) it can be easily operated from the front of the layout with a finger tip. Points are operated by stiff copper wire above the board. The wire and the plastic brackets I used came from PECO's 009 uncoupler kits, but similar homemade brackets could easily be made: Electrically, block connectors and PECO pre-soldered fishplates cater for my Can't Solder, Won't Solder phobia. So far I'm very pleased with the second attempt. It seems to work well and it was cheap to build. The next stage will be a bit of scenery ... * Note for overseas readers: when British politicians are caught doing something especially deplorable they always say "I can assure the House that no wrong-doing was intended, and that lessons have been learned". This is seen as an acceptable alternative to actually learning anything or doing things any better in future.
  14. Hi all, As many of you may, or may not be aware, ourselves, Ellis Clark Trains, launched a brand new website two weeks ago called Clark Railworks! We launched this (after many requests over our many years of trading) as a platform to market all our OO, HO, N gauge and other gauges smaller than 7mm O gauge. You can view the website here: www.clarkrailworks.com We'd also love to hear any feedback you might have for us, as the website has been designed around the input of yourselves and we would like to make it as appealing and user friendly as possible! Hope everyone's keeping safe. All the best, Ellis & the team.
  15. The current Covid 19 lockdown resulting in way more time at home then planned with both shows and trips away all cancelled for now has given me the incentive ot commence a high level test track around the shed. The shed had been planned for more than ten years but in April 2019 having got sewriously fed up with commuting etc. it started to become a reality and was largely completed Autumn 2019. Its given me a lot more space for modelling including a good sized workbench,spray booth and built in DCC programming track in various gauges. These have helped with the few commissions that have been building up since then , doing weathering, loco repairs and DCC sound decoder installations for a few people but with the virus lockdown its all come to a halt up for now as I had been collecting and dropping off local commisions and some slightly further away ones, the owners were coming over. So with even more time on my hand, now was a good oppotunity to crack on and build the high level test track especially with the new layout under construction currently being taken down for work to the underside of the boards. So why the High Line? Well it has to be out of the way from any layout building, the doors and opening windows. The shed is built to the maximum permissable regs for our narrow garden so its not a big as I really wanted hence it does get tight in there with a layout set up. the high line laso has to clear my head height so that I dont end up knocking myself out. It is hard to see trains moving but I can just without using step ladders or ohp ups. As many of my locos have sound installed tyou can hear them moving aswell. Work commenced a few weeks ago as the lockdown came into place and I had enough meterial left over from the shed construction and also from the new layout to make a start but the closure of our local timber merhcants caught me out. Luckily the two and a half weeks delivery lead time from one of the few that would deliver was speeded up with a spare slot in their schedule and the materials arrived a week ago allowing me to completed the boards. At present there is just OO / HO gauge track spaced to allow On30 narrow gauge to run on the main line but space has been allowed for N gauge track with clearances for 009 to run. These will allow me to run any of my N scale, 009, HO and OO stock especially rolling stock that doesnt see much use at shows plus testing any future commissions hence a mixture of turnout types incuding those with live frog, and dead frog to help check for any poor pick up issues. I hope to post more photos of various stock as and when it gets a run. I must set up my APT-E very soon to give it the longest run that it will have ever had. Anyway a few photos during construction. Track laying was much easier with the main boards laid on the ground. The first section fitted on the timber brackets and tested. The ply upstand at the back stops any stock falling off the back and adds rigidity to the boards. There will be a perspex front added once the N gauge track is laid. Its along way down to the floor. A few short lengths of 009 track laid in place to show the future plans.
  16. Hello all, I've become very interested in trams recently, especially European single-deck trams. And during lockdown, eBay has become very dangerous...I have a browse, think 'Oh, that look interesting, let's chuck a tenner at it and see what happens'. Well, one of the things I chucked a tenner at was this. And I won it. It's a collection of HO parts, resin rather than polystyrene, with no instructions. It was listed as Ustra Stadtbahnwagen, Ustra is apparently the transport provider in Hannover, so I'm assuming that's the prototype. There appear to be enough parts for six cars; there are definitely six roofs (four of one type, two of another) , twelve body sides, and eight cab sides, so I think it's two three-car units. Any idea what make it might be, and what the correct prototype is, so I might find some more photos? Thanks in advance!
  17. Hi All I recently picked up this Alco S-2 as part of a job lot... It's an older Atlas product (Austria made), I wasn't expecting much, however putting it on a length of Peco code 75 track powered by a 9v battery, it ran superbly. Taking the shell off revealed a twin flywheel set up, so my thoughts turned to what I can do with it. It was previously a Rio Grande liveried loco, which had the lettering painted out and fictitious N&W railroad lettering applied to the cabsides. I've decided to strip it down and repaint it either in a yellow, green or black fictional livery - colour to be decided when I go in the shed tomorrow and see what rattle cans I have! Progress so far... After taking the above photo I've removed all printing and wasp striped from the loco, using a fibre pen. I've removed the sunshades from the cabside windows (although kept the wire support as I'll add new ones, and also removed the warning light from the cab roof and filled the resulting hole. This wont be a super detailed conversion, just a quick repaint to keep my mojo up in these strange times
  18. There I was, quite happily dreaming of a layout idea that probably won't get past the armchair modelling (or swivel chair when I'm at work) stage, when along come Prof Klyzlr and Ozexpatriate with some more photos and video from prototype locations that have inspired me to do something slightly different from my usual norm. Many years ago I saw one of Peter North's layouts and was so impressed with how a complete scene could be modelled and was seen to be alive through nothing more than background music and a flashing Neon sign in a cafe window (tumbleweeds blowing across the layout were optional), I thought my first foray into US modelling would have to be something similar but based in a City in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990's and featuring music from the Grunge bands of the era which is more of my scene. Coupled with the fact that I like having a layout on the go and with Wiley City just about finished, I started some scribbling... Here are the posts from the other thread:
  19. I've gone as far with the coupler project as I can now. I've run out of couplers. Well, mostly. I have two packs of #31, but that micro draft box is impossible. Not worth the trouble. These are what I converted during this push; I feel rather accomplished, cranking this out in a couple of weeks. I piled the old couplers... ...for no purpose other than to dump the pile in the trash. I have no use for them. I managed to botch removing the couplings cleanly from this set; Either by not making the initial cut close enough, or knocking buffers off. As of right now, I'm not in a position to correct either. I need to recover my Dremel and accessories. The accessories are more significant; I have a second Dremel still to hand, just no bits. Finally, this is the remainder of my freight stock that need converting; I wasn't going to cut into them before I had couplers for them. With some sort of conversion car, I can use them as-is. The one LMS 3-plank in the first image will likely be said conversion car, being about my only wagon with NEM sockets. My whole impetuous for pushing hard on this project was to have a consist ready for the All-American Railroad Show next Saturday, the 21st. Amidst the current health concerns, the show has been cancelled, rendering my haste for naught. I am rather annoyed. Still, I may have the balance finished for the next show. I also have some Collett coaches than need such fittings, as well. It all depends on obtaining the #141 couplings I prefer.
  20. Initially, early railways weren't very interested in third and fourth class passengers. Firstly they saw the big money coming from goods traffic rather than passengers anyway, a misconception that quickly vanished as the first main lines opened. Secondly, the passengers that they did want to attract were the well-heeled people who had previously travelled by stage coach, not the poorer folk who hitched a ride on the carter's wagon (or simply walked everywhere). But it didn't take railway managers long to realise there were lots of poor people out there ... and when they did recognise this fact they soon started providing open coaches - not always with seats - to earn a few extra quid. I decided to see if I could cut a Bachmann Prussia coach up into an open coach, and I was surprised to find how quick and easy the work can be. First I disassembled the coach and removed the seating unit and the glazing. My plan was simply to cut the sides of the coach along the top of the quarter lights (the curves at the bottom of the windows) with a razor saw. But when I removed the seating unit, the plastic side seemed a bit too thin, and so a bit too flexible, to saw across accurately without some reinforcement behind it. So I used some of the freebie lottery cards to pack out the interior and support the coach side during the sawing. (Pieces of wood, card etc would do just as well.) After sawing the sides, I turned to the ends and sawed through them as well ... ... by which time it was taking shape ... ... especially when I cut the partitions of the seating unit down to match. The basic job took under 20 minutes, although a bit of tidying up was needed afterwards to improve the appearance. The seated passengers are by Preiser, although some of the figures on the platform are by Andrew Stadden. The early railway companies' decision to provide open coaches for the poor was based on financial considerations. My own spur to experiment with the Prussia coach was a chance to exhibit some of my models at Wealden Railway Group's Annual Exhibition when an exhibitor pulled out at the last moment. But the real star of the display was Nigel Hill's brilliant conversion of the Airfix/Dapol "Rocket" kit into an 1830s Stephenson Single (right hand side of the photo), so that will be my next post!
  21. I finished building the Commando. Of course, the pic I took barely shows what the last bit I added was. There's a couple where you can see the canteen. The canteen part also has the gas mask case. There also was another case for the waist. One or two have knives in place of either aforementioned part. I probably won't have these out for another couple of months. Also, a teaser to what the next project is; Watch the other blog. I'll be posting this work there.
  22. Just came across a nice old postcard showing a long train of the Los Angeles and Pacific cars off loading at Venice Beach. Eventually these cars became the fully enclosed Pacific Electric 950 Class, and repainted in PE Red.
  23. Thomas Klimoski, known for his Georgia Northeastern layout, has an interesting post on a visit to his friend John Farrington’s shelf layout posted on his blog It also contains a link to a video, which gives a nice overview.
  24. Back here after a few months - basically i've not posted due to not having done anything. Simple as that - however with a few days of R&R due I shall be having a crack at it all again - notwithstanding a new year's party looming with seven Ethnic German Russians, (or are they ethnic Russian Germans?) long story. Long night, day after the hangover I dare say mojo will be reinstated and work shall recommence. Big stumbling block was that the baseboards in the station area are not really even, despite laying the supports with a spirit level quite accurately when the baseboards were laid on top there are peaks and troughs in the run through the station, I shall relay the supports lengthways rather than crossways. It'll take a bit of doing as i've already stuck cork down etc, however my overriding philosophy is to do things to the best of my ability and not put up with compromises if I can improve something myself. Anyway enough of that. More when it's done. I was in Berlin recently for a work project (the one that has taken all my take up) but managed to find a couple of hours to visit the Technical museum, I was pleasantly surprised to see a HO model of the Anhalter Bahnhof. I have included a few pictures of it here. I aged them in PS just for something to do while the wife was in one of her busy moods . And a couple of photos without me messing about (too much) with them... If you're in Berlin the museum is well worth a few hours, I didn't bother with the printing, jewelry, and other bits. The trains took about 2 hours to go through and they even have a strange collection of railway tickets from around the world... Lots, including a rather large selection of "Dog" Tickets from the "North British Railway"...
  25. Hi A bit of an unusual topic, but I would really appreciate any advice. For a film shooting in Yorkshire during February and March 2018, we require a small loop layout/train-set, about 5ft by 3ft. The film is set in the 1980's and the boy in the family has a small train set which he has spent some time on, but is nothing like the standard of a exhibition layout. We do not want historically accurate 1980's (vintage!) models, just something that looks the part on camera and can run loops. For reference the atmosphere of the film is 'Close Encounters' and 'Stranger Things'. The director has asked me to look into this as he knows I have a layout myself. I model UK 1950's - 70's and have realised I know next to nothing about USA models, other than gauge. If there is a small demonstration layout one of the manufacturers has that can be rented that would be really good, but otherwise I would be happy to build the layout myself. It is not a historical recreation, but a boys train set. Steam trains look good on camera, so that would be preferable to diesel. So here is a rough breakdown of the requirements. DC operation, one round loop, possibly a small siding or two - think a set for Christmas. 1. Steam loco (not too big, so it can run on a small layout), something like ... Probably a spare loco which will be unopened, and sold/returned afterwards. It is always best to have spares of mechanical equipment just in case of failure or mishap. I briefly spoke to one retiler bout this, and if returned within 2 week unopened there is no porblem refunding for the spare loco. A couple of coaches. About 4 freight wagons. Some buildings, station halt, people, tress, general decoration. I have steered the director away from exhibition layouts as they are not right for the film, they are not a child's train-set, and also film sets are full of equipment and people handling things, including the layout. A model that someone has spent years perfecting is far too precious and also wrong for the story. Possibly the most likely option is for us to buy the parts new, me build a simple layout, and possibly sell of the stock afterwards, but if something already exists that we could use that would be great. If we do go down the route of building this, then if anyone has their eye on a loco or stock that they would like to buy off the production after we have finished film that might be a possibility for us to pursue. Recommendations of stockists of US steam locos and gear would be welcomed. I did look at the American Railroad Centre's website in Bodmin, but they don't seem to stock steam locos. Kernow Model Centre and Rail of Sheffield seem like possible suppliers, but if there are others please let me know. I will be grateful for any help with this. Jamie
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