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A Cartoon of Helston(ish)


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I've not disappeared but been a bit busy over the weekend.




Saturday was a a day out with the family, including most of the grandchildren, and my brother. (He of the blue diesels). So it was back to the DFR for their diesel operating day with one of their class 14s (D9521)




Have also been busy knocking up some culvert mouths, to allow for a water feature, (thought it might attract a certain duck to enliven the thread).




Under construction.




One in place on layout.


Progress has also been made on the station masters garden. The house is a metcalf kit, built by my wife, (only the 2nd she has made).


This shows it in its setting




This shows how far progress has been made. Including now a small orchard.




Will try to post again soon, but must get some more clay scribing done, instead of typing at the computer.





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I'm afraid I've been a little distracted from this thread this week, and although some modelling has been done, its not really noticeable enough to show photos yet.


Its been things like stringing fences, scribing culvert entrances, and 1st steps towards a halt etc. But I will try to show some of the progress  soon.


I did however manage a bit of a tidy up, enough for one of my grandsons to come round and run some trains, as opposed to just doing the switches. So he's a passed fireman, rather than signalman now.


Also managed to find a missing pair of chimney pots, off the stationmasters house. These turned up in a box of screws etc.


So I must thank Stubby47 for puting the idea that I might take Helstonish to the SWAG Party in April. As I was modifying a pair of layout legs when I found them.


To keep your interest heres a couple of 12" : ft photos




Winchcombe G+WR




near Etloe on the Gloucester - S Wales line


I'm also turning my attention to putting together a sort of timetable/ running order.


This leads me to say that the layout is based on Helston so a fairly simple GWR Branch terminal. And this will be its basis in the 1st timetable. Although it is likely that at as time goes on it will be transposed to a Severnside location, to allow me a little more variety, and some references to the memories of my childhood.


However to start I want to put together a timetable for a Cornish branch that is interesting, and could be worked as BR(W) late 50s/early 60s or late GWR


I am thinking 2 branch B Sets, which is pretty much all Helston used, plus possibly an auto train/railcar for a Penzance - Helston "commuter" train morning/evening. Plus some through coaches perhaps FO /SO off the C R E relief.


Freight is a little tickier and I would like suggestions.


I have 2 or 3 hoppers, for the Serpentine stone traffic. There will obviously be coal in, cattle out, Brocoli out (although the model is meant to be early Autumn), Parcels (? in addition to passenger trains). There is reference to traffic for RNAS Culdrose, but I'm not sure what form that would be. There has also been mention elewhere of the Rabbit van for Birmingham(?), but what sort of van would have been used, both GWR and later had it continued. I'm thinking also of some milk traffic, although I'm not convinced how much it really existed. (But then again I'd have to it 'cos Andy Peters has sent milk trains to Helston - so they should arrive! But which way was full/empty??)


Please jump in with ideas, lets have some discussion, after all the fiddle yard will hold up to 12 trains when "at home"


More pics soon.



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As promisedI ave managed to ge some photos of the past weeks work. Nothing too spectacular but \i'll share tem for the record.


First the modified layout legs - a third bar was added to each with the intention of bolting the 3 boards to the pair for transport/storage. The additional (centre) bars are at different levels 'cos the one board steps up a level.




Truthwell Halt, starts with old steell rail inserted into holes in the baseboard to form the platform supports. This had to be done twice as 1st time they were too far from the line.




Then the front wooden structure was made, and fitted to a piece of expanded polystyrene. Pic shows it in place behind the rail supports, and with wooden flight of steps placed in approx position. Handrails are yet to be made, but I await the arrival of a pagoda shelter, and can't judge exact position without it).




Culvert tunnels all in place, the last giving more of an overview. The stream/river will run diagonally across the board from the inside, negotiating the embankment on the way










Don't yet know how I'm going to do the water!


Some trees we've been working on, they are definately getting better and this has become more of my wifes department. I'm sure they'll all get used somewhere








Thats about it for now, but when I'm next on there will actually be a train passing!



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Todays not gone well. I thought I'd try to get 2 or 3 of my old locos running, but seem to have only suceeded in creating more to do than I started with.


So to cheer us up heres the train photos I promised yesterday.


The branch 45xx arrives under the bridge into Truthwell Halt, with the afternoon train to Helstonish




It comes to a stand and awaits the "right away"




Viewed from the other side of the line the train departs, and silence returns.




Will be looking out for a freight working next.



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Todays not gone well. I thought I'd try to get 2 or 3 of my old locos running, but seem to have only suceeded in creating more to do than I started with.


So to cheer us up heres the train photos I promised yesterday.


The branch 45xx arrives under the bridge into Truthwell Halt, with the afternoon train to Helstonish




It comes to a stand and awaits the "right away"




Viewed from the other side of the line the train departs, and silence returns.




Will be looking out for a freight working next.

Looks good Tony. I hope to achieve the same sort of feel with Indian Queens Halt on my layout.


If I can be so bold, given that it is really none of my business and it's probably only a working title anyway, Helstonish doesn't sound quite right for a station name (whereas Truthwell Halt does!). How about Helstown, Helstone, Hellystown or Hellyston?

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Looks good Tony. I hope to achieve the same sort of feel with Indian Queens Halt on my layout.


If I can be so bold, given that it is really none of my business and it's probably only a working title anyway, Helstonish doesn't sound quite right for a station name (whereas Truthwell Halt does!). How about Helstown, Helstone, Hellystown or Hellyston?

Hi John


Thanks for the question, its so much easier to keep this up to date with answers.


I have to say that at the outset I too had some doubts about Hesltonish, its not an exact copy, so its Helston=ish.


We then had a few thoughts about whether place names did end in ish. We came up with a few e.g. Hewish, Huish, Standish (as in junc), Beamish, and of course Dawlish.


Without doing a study of the etymology of place names, we decided that a place ending ish could be acceptable.


To be honest thats about as far as it went, until I had a weeks holiday in October. I set myself the objective of finally getting my layout thread up and running, (I had intended to when I started building it the year before). But I hadn't found my way through the maze involved, especially resizing photographs, prefering to go do some modelling.


When to my surprise it all fell into place, I hadn't really settled on the place name, so it kind of became Helstonish by default.


Its not an absolute, there are no station nameboards ordered as yet, but I have to say the name Helstonish has kind of grown more comfortable with use.


However I'll share some of my thinking re future developments.


As it stands the layout is very much a GW BLT, probably set in the late 50s/early 60s, but its quite possible to run it as late GW. Because of my past modelling history, (or lack of it), I have quite a bit of stock, and locos. Many are old and not really up to modern standards. However quite a few have some sentimental value and can't really be disposed of, and are of little value anyway. Many are GW as that was my early inclination, I blame Cyril Freezer.

More recently I reallise I would like to recapture some of the memories of my youth. Helston fits as my grandparents retired to Porthleven in the 60s, and as a result I walked the trackbed from Helston to Nancegollen in about 1970. However I grew up just outside Bristol, with a view of Mangotsfield station from the back window.


It is therefore quite possible that if I get the chance to incorporate Helstonish into a larger layout, it may move location, to probably Severnside. This in turn may prompt a change of name.


I may have taken a long way round to say, its not entirely settled - yet, but thanks for giving me the chance to philosophise.


I hope people find this of interest, and my next post will do more philosophising, in response to Andy Ps question. Thanks to you both for your interest.


I'm off for a break, theres trains on the Telly, and I've got my back to it!

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Tony, Please may I ask why you have; A Cartoon of, in the Thread title, I cant seem to find any reference as to why, or am I missing something?

Hi ndy thanks for the question.


I've said before that prioir to starting this thread I had spent a year getting the layout started. But prior to that I had been following RM Web for about a year. This where I got my inspiration to get started again, and that went in tandem with a change of job, which effectively halved my hours. So I suddenly had spare time, (but little money), and the most important +ve nod from the household authorities. So I could start on a small layout in our spare bedroom.


What the preparation time following RM Web also did was allow some time to develop some philosophies about my modelling, and where I fit in the overall spectrum.

I realised that, like you, I'm a bodger.And I need to get on with it, 'cos I lack the patience to get too bogged down with planning. (Although I did reign myself in on this one, and started with a drawn out trackplan, but I couldn't get my head around Templot quickly enough to make use of it).


I also realised there are some layouts that  I was following which are so good they could be regarded as masterpieces.

e.g. Dent, KY2, ANTB, DitD etc


Realistically I will never reach their standards. So I reflected before putting finger to keypad, what do I want to achieve? What can I achieve? How do I go forward? Will the result be good enough?


Without trying to answer those points directly, I concluded  mine won't be a masterpiece. Ability, knowledge and financial contraints will come into play. I will have to make compromises that others may not face. Then I realised that what I could aim for if not and old master, it could be a cartoon.


After all we can all appreciate a cartoon, which isn't necessarily an accurate picture, but is recognisable and captures the feel of the days when I were a lad.


As a bonus it has already got my wife doing a bit of scenic work, after 40 years, so thats a pretty big achievement already.


I hope thats not too wordy an answer, and I should finally say that the other thing that realy got me to bare all on here, is the advice encouragement and goodwill that is so evident. I'm just sorry I didn't manage to get it going in Jocks time' because he was the epitomy of that support and goodwill.

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You know there was a Ford advert recently, essentially saying do I deserve it, well this week I was in the same position.


I saw the signs, and got the message that I wasn't going sailing on Wednesday, even though the wind conditions meant I might have won!. But I was going to Cheltenham to "assist" No2 daughter buy a new kitchen. In my excitement I did make the comment that was dangerously near said model centre.


The kitchen designing was at least over in time for lunch, (but not for sailng). So we adjourned to the town centre, and conveniently parked next to the model shop.


The obligatory visit ended up with some treemaking materials for the boss, and a full parcels brake (LMS) for me. The wallet was considerably lighter than planned for.


Its funny how in the good old days I'd have made do with a triang utility van or a toad, to bring up the rear of a milk train. But I have seen the light, and therefore desperately NEEDED my new acquisition.


I can now show first pictures of the Pencarn - Helston empties being shunted by a Collet goods, for reloading. (Apologies they're not as sharpe as I would like).








Incidentally whats the best way to remove the LMS decal, so it can run as BR?


As a bonus Matchbox tank 9680 was shunting the coal empties, at the other end of the yard.

This view also features the latest tree addition to the stationmasters garden. (I've also been waiting for some comment / query to be made re this loco, as there is a story to tell).




But whats the question?





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Great Stuff mate, excellent stock, but it looks like the Loco Crew stopped off at the Masons Arms and stayed there.


T-Cut might get off the transfers or the back of a Stanley Blade to scrape it of VERY CAREFULLY one letter at a time, BUT WAIT FOR OTHER SUGGESTIONS AS WELL.

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Been following with great interest & enjoying your posts.......


I use a fibreglass pencil to remove numbers etc from stock but you must be very gentle/careful or you'll go back to the base plastic of the model ....

There are very fine ones available with the business end quite fine.

The old adage is relevant....practice on an old item of stock first......

I've used T cut which does an excellent job but I'm not patient enough as it seems to take an age to do.....

But that's just me.


Matchbox Pannier? ....& the story is........


Cheers Bill

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Thanks to Treggyman for the advice and interest in the "story" but I will ask your forebearance for not telling it yet, as there was a specific point which I expected to be challenged, and hasn't yet. For example Andy P did spot the absence of crew from the Collet goods, when will the panniers "odity" be picked up?


Mentioning Andy P brings me back to a serious ommission in my post #62 the other day. It was indeed true to say that the layouts listed provided me with inspiration, but it was really picking up on Andy's Bitton thread at the start, and then the following developments, which gave me the belief that I could perhaps produce something worthwhile. I just hope I can get something that approaches Pencarn eventually.


Today has seen quite a bit of time on railway stuff, a lot of it drawing out the bits for 2 platform huts, from drawings supplied by John (St Enodoc), from MRN in 1967. Unfortunately I couldn't get it to print out at 4mm scale, so had to work from an oddly scaled print, and the Oakwood book. Cross referencing between the two took some while, good job I found a rubber. I did take a picture, before I started cutting out, but will only use it when I can bundle it with something more interesting.


But I do know that there is a feeling that no post is complete without a photo, so as a bit of an afterthought here's one of 9680 again shunting the coal, now whats the question?







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Hi Bill


Thanks - you got there!


The loco is numbered 9680, which I saw once, but the number has stuck in my mind for 50+ years since.


I grew up in Bristol, and as a 12year old nagged my Dad to take me to Barrow Road shed, on the basis that I had heard it had closed the previous weekend. I was expecting there would at least be withdrawn locos left, but when I got there they had already been cleared, and there was just 9680 standing outside. Looking quite unkempt and without numberplates, the crew had thoughtfully made replacements with the number shown in black paint, on cardboard, strung in place with sizal string. The loco and crew had apparently been kept on to clear up the depot, and she moved on to Gloucester, briefly before scrapping.


Mine was an e-bay win, already dirtied and unkempt, so easy for me to recreate. The only problem is that I think that number series should have rectangular cabfront windows, rather than round. The solution to that will have to await an equally attractive price opportunity.


As an aside I will now be following your S&D layout with interest, another line close to my heart.


On the modelling front the platform huts are proceeding, albeit a little slowly. Update will follow when theres something worth showing.

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Confession time, progress this week has seemed very slow, and then to cap it off my computer was taken away yesterday for rectification. That means I can't do photos as the tablet isn't set up to do them, even when I do manage to prise it away from the Mrs! There is the small consolation that Andy P won't notice the absence on his phone.


Just to sumerise this week I have been working on the 2 sheds which stood on the platform end. Between the station building and signal box. One was wooden, the other brick, originally a warming pan store. The wooden one is virtually completed, bar painting. So too is the brick one, which I have had to clad with plasticard, although I am mid way through "tiling" the roof. I have also just started trying to form a base for the platform, which will be needed when I am building the station building. This is a little delayed in starting, not just by my prevarication, but also pending the possible ordering of laser cut windows and doors. These may be available early December, but I am reluctant to set out the plans, until dimensions for the openings are settled.


Tree and hedge production is in full swing, but thats not my department, so I'll report on that as they come through.


I did pose a question here before re what sort of van would have been used for the Helston - Birmingham rabbit traffic, both GWR and BRTransition periods, any ideas?


Also a query re branch line goods trains. I am thinking of attempting a card system as per John Flann's Hintock. However that has set me thinking, how did branch goods deal with the mix of fitted and unfitted wagons? Would they have ensured a fitted head, or simply run unfitted? Or would it have depended on the total load? E.g. if the max load was say 15, and the actual say 6, would that have simply run unfitted perhaps? Whereas a load 15 may have required a fitted head maybe. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.


Please help to keep this thread ticking over whilst I am computerless, I will check in when I get the chance, it just won't be that easy compiling posts.


All the best

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Still no pics I'm afraid, and lack of computer mean't I missed the chance to go to Thornbury exhibition today! Doh!


I feel in a bit of a limbo where bits of the layout are awaiting other things to happen before they can progress. Yet I feel as though I should be pressing on, having rashly said I'll take Helstonish to the SWAG event in April.


Considering this was meant to be a transportable, rather than exhibitable, I'm begìnning to have moments of doubt. However I'm also looking forward to the helpful comments of others who are far more experienced and knowledgable than me.


To that end this week has seen the virtual completion of the platform huts. They only need gutters, drainpipes and dirtying.Plus a section of platform end with a slope which matches the model, rather than the layout.


I have also aworked out how the Station / platform are going to be arranged. In effect the central shelf on that side of the layout will sit on the main board, as the central part of the platform. This has been cut from

20mm ply. The 2 other extension shelves for that side have also been cut, and brackets fitted. But the necessary fittings to accept the brackets will have to wait until the layout is dismantled, as that side is a gainst the wall. Well nearly!


I have also dug out the original small 3 track x 4ft fiddle yard. This didn't really work well enough, and was a bit short to operate. But I çan't take the bed that supports the 8ft traverser that I replaced it with, so it will have to do. However the original set up had relied on it resting on my railway book case. Now I suspect that may have provided more interest than the layout, but have opted to devise some legs to make it freestanding. This was not easy as there is not much stability inherant in a width of only 6-8 inches. I have come up with a design, which I have trusted with a pannier tank on top, and it seems to work. Appropriately from a dinghy sailor, this includes bits of string to hold it together.


Bet you can't wait for those photos!


Please feel free to chip in, and remember there are a couple of queries outstanding from my last post, which are unanswered.


Will be back soon,

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