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rapidotrains

Off to Brum... Again!

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Hi all,

 

As you've read elsewhere on the forum I am indeed heading to the UK next week. I will be spending most of the time in the Birmingham area, with a quick detour to Dungeness.

 

Because they're really close to each other!
 

On the bank holiday Monday - 28 May - I will be at the Transport Museum Wythall with the first sample (or three) of our new New Look bus. Actually it's our second New Look bus so it's really our new new New Look bus.

 

The Model Bus Federation will be there as well, and there will be lots of vintage buses on display and in service. I'll have a pile of Rapido trains at the show as well, so it's not just buses.

 

Wythall is just south of Birmingham so it's pretty close to everyone in the entire country. 

 

I do also intend to ride some trains, though (gasp!) I have to hire a car for the trip. Maybe this time I will remember to turn RIGHT out of the Heathrow car hire place instead of left. Last time I ended up on the way to Paddington Station via residential streets instead of going to the M40.

I will do my best to keep everyone updated in this thread, but as I haven't got much downtime on the train and I don't have Gareth or Bill to help out, I will probably get my first opportunity to update this blog in, erm, November.

We're working on a newsletter for our UK customers. It should be out tomorrow.

 

I look forward to seeing some of you soon!

 

All the best,

 

Jason

 

 

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.

 

Ahhhh !  Dungeness !

 

So, either we're going to get An OO Scale nuclear power station as a diorama feature, OR, you'll be scanning some of those old coach bodies used as beach bungalows down there to create some old railway carriages !   :jester:

 

Of course, you could just be boring and enjoy riding on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

 

Seriously, there are some interesting old coach bodies which have been made into homes, well worth looking at.

 

(IF you are that way inclined, the bone crypt in St Leonard's Church Hythe is worth a look ;

 

 

.

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Actually I'm going to Dungeness to find the bit of beach where the BBC embedded an Axon spacecraft in 1970.

 

It has to be the right bit of beach. Should take me no more than a week to find it.

 

-Jason

 

coa14.jpg

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......... I will be spending most of the time in the Birmingham area, with a quick detour to Dungeness.

 

Because they're really close to each other!

 

For a Canadian they most probably are.   ;)

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Hi all,

 

As you've read elsewhere on the forum I am indeed heading to the UK next week. I will be spending most of the time in the Birmingham area, with a quick detour to Dungeness.

 

Because they're really close to each other!

 

...

 

Wythall is just south of Birmingham so it's pretty close to everyone in the entire country. 

 

 

 

For a Canadian they most probably are.   ;)

Indeed. The North American Continent's perspective on distances is a joy to behold. :yes:

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For a Canadian they most probably are.   ;)

 

 

When I first moved to the UK my parents came to visit. For a day trip, we drove from Brum to Salisbury and back. And we stopped in several twee places on the way to look around.

 

Last time I was there, Gareth and I drove from Peterborough to Beer to Basingstoke in a day. No problem...  :sungum:

 

-Jason

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When I first moved to the UK my parents came to visit. For a day trip, we drove from Brum to Salisbury and back. And we stopped in several twee places on the way to look around.

 

Last time I was there, Gareth and I drove from Peterborough to Beer to Basingstoke in a day. No problem...  :sungum:

 

-Jason

 

We did 3300km from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Sligo to Perth to Inverness to York to Newcastle-upon-Tyne (and many points in between) in less than 3 weeks on our honeymoon in 2014 with ample time for days sitting around family homes visiting and doing stops on the way.  The distances in the UK are easy, fun twisty driving roads (SWMBO may disagree with my view of my tossing our BMW M1 around on the trip, I thought they were fun to drive!).  Whenever I am in the UK and bounding about, be it by rental car or rail, covering what is perceived to be lots of distance by my family there as if its nothing seems to be the norm.  You don't cover long distances as fast without highways (motorways) as we can here, but you can certainly cover the distance in more interesting scenery than on the highway.

 

I look forward to hearing about Jason's latest tour of the UK, he always seems to come up with some wacky story.

 

Stephen

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One thing to remember is the West Coast Mainline is shut between Coventry and Birmingham all of the bank holiday weekend. Just to add more issues in to the mix, both Aston Villa and Coventry are playing at Wembley Stadium on Saturday and Monday respectively so remaining services (Chiltern Railways) will be very, very busy on those 2 days.

 

Hope you have a cracking trip.

 

Alistair

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When I first moved to the UK my parents came to visit. For a day trip, we drove from Brum to Salisbury and back. And we stopped in several twee places on the way to look around.

 

Last time I was there, Gareth and I drove from Peterborough to Beer to Basingstoke in a day. No problem...  :sungum:

 

-Jason

 

Weird, why on earth would anybody want to go to Basingstoke?  It's only attractions are an excellent annual model railway exhibition and the Milestones Museum.  Maybe the latter is a clue - Rapido or one of their commissioning partners has a certain Avonside engine in mind for future production perhaps?  (nothing like adding a bit of spice to a thread  :jester:  :jester: ) 

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Most of the UK varies from nice to really beautiful. There are one or two truly awful bits.............and then there's Dungeness. 

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So... I am indeed planning to ride the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch next Thursday 31 May.

 

If anyone lives in the area and would like to go for a ride on a little train, I would love to meet you! Please let me know.

 

Best regards,

 

Jason

 

PS I'm hoping to get to ride behind their latest engine.

 

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Edited by rapidotrains
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Jason, be great to meet up with you on the 31st and take a ride on the RH&DR.

 

I'm at Folkestone just down the road from the RH&DR and ride the line from time to time. 

 

Keith

Edited by tetsudofan

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PS I'm hoping to get to ride behind their latest engine.

Captain Howey (the railway's founder) would have LOVED that! Not only was he a very early adopter of internal combustion rail traction in the UK, but his love of speed is well documented. Famed for closing the line to the public on occasions so that he and his friends could race locomotives along the double track (replicated today rather more sedately and safely with official parallel runs), he was also once recorded covering the 8.5 miles between New Romney and Hythe on a custom-made motor bike in 8.5 minutes, inclusive of 5 ungated level crossings - so he must have topped 70 mph on rails just 15 inches apart. Nerves of steel like that would surely have had no hesitation in dropping a 15 inch gauge HST into notch 5 and seeing just how fast it could go.

 

I absolutely love that railway - I hope you do too Jason. And if you can find a way to make a Rapido model of a Greenly Pacific.........

 

David

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So here's the trip so far. I have to be quick as I'm leaving to meet with Phil Parker in a few minutes. Because I didn't get enough of him in Canada last month.

 

Flying sucks compared to the train. That's all there is to say. I'll take a Voyager over a 787 any day, but I like rumbly bums, vibrating tea and the sweet perfumey smell of the chemical toilets....

 

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The flight arrived 15 minutes late and then I experienced the joy of Heathrow border control. Morning or night, summer or winter, it's always an hour wait in a crowded hall kept at a cool 30 degrees. Celsius, of course. I came prepared with Spelltower on my phone (I passed 200,000 points while in the queue) and a bathing suit. We were all in Speedos by the end of the wait.

 

The hotel my first night was just lovely, even though I arrived well after midnight. It's Long Crendon Manor near Aylesbury. 

 

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It was built shortly after the birth of the planet. Nothing is plumb or level and that just adds to the charm.

 

The only trouble is that I have not yet figured out how to use this $%#@^&$ electronic "hill hold" brake on my hired Nissan Qui Quae Quod or whatever it's called. I had to reverse up a really steep hill to get into the Manor and molten bits of clutch were being tossed all around Buckinghamshire. You could smell my car in Banbury. I've since practised a bit and I still can't figure it out. I just stall the car when trying to use it. 

 

I ask you - what is wrong with the idea of a handbrake?

 

I met Ben and Mike from Revolution Trains at the Severn Valley Railway, and thankfully we were on the one diesel-hauled train. And what a diesel!

 

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This is Gareth's favourite locomotive on the planet. If I had known, I would have brought a three-foot-wide photo of Gareth's face to mount on the front of the engine. Next time...

 

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You can never get good photos while on the train, but I gave it a try nonetheless...

 

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The teak is wrong.

 

The lovely Crosville Bristol FS6G in the carpark is of course the highlight of any trip to the SVR...

 

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I've spent the night in Dudley. Sorry, Duuuuudlai. Whereas the Long Crendon Manor was just lovely, this hotel is just. Well, just.

 

There isn't any shampoo or face wash - just hand soap. No tissues. There's no lounge, and the proprietor hides in the back of the building and doesn't answer the phone or the door. It's, erm, very clean. It's certainly uncontaminated by amenities. Next time I will find a proper hotel.

 

I will be in touch with further updates when I have some time...

 

-Jason

 

 

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Nice photos, Hope that you did enjoy the SVR though, Especially since my local railway :P

 

Should have walked up to Highley :P

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Rapido's new hi-fidelity range breaks cover.

 

IMG_20180525_104321.jpg

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Rapido reveals project to replace Hornby's defunct Thomas range: Gareth the peak diesel & fiends

 



This is Gareth's favourite locomotive on the planet. If I had known, I would have brought a three-foot-wide photo of Gareth's face to mount on the front of the engine. Next time...

 

attachicon.gif7.jpg

 

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OK - I've survived getting from Dudley to Wythall to Edgbaston. And I only left one tiny bit of molten clutch on the Pershore Road. Well it was stop and go on a 75% incline...

 

Today I met with a bunch of people from BRM at the Black Country Museum. Sadly, we couldn't have our meeting on a trolleybus or a tram as it was pouring and the nice people at the Black Country Museum didn't seem keen on bringing out their forms of mass transport for the four of us.

 

Phil and I did Manage to tour around in the rain and we had a jolly good time! We even got to ride a West Brom Guy single decker. 

 

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We ended up traipsing around in a recreated coal mine. This is all foreign to me. I come from a long line of bricklayers (father's side) and bible scholars (mother's side). We don't know anything working down in coal mines. Phil is going to talk on his blog about the modelling possibilities to be found in places like the Black Country Museum, but just have a look at this:

 

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Doesn't that just scream "Tetleys Mills" to you? I wonder if Dave Shakespeare spent any time at the museum...

 

It almost makes me give up my dream of modelling Canada in 1980. Almost...

 

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Nahhh...

 

I'll be in touch soon. Off to Sandtoft for more "meetings in museums" on Sunday and Wythall on Monday.

 

-Jason

 

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Here's a warning. If you get on a bus with Jason, be prepared for him to head straight to the front to interrogate the driver on ALL the details of the vehicle and its history. 

 

jasononbus.jpg

 

Then he will point out that the seats are covered in the wrong moquette, in this case from a London Transport vehicle. I know this, because he looked it up on his phone and showed me. 

 

Sadly, on a rainy Friday, the trolleybus was in the garage. 

 

trolleybus.jpg

 

There didn't seem to be any sign of the tram, made famous by the K's kit either. Has it moved?

 

Now, if anyone fancies recreating the unique Rapido style, then I can exclusively where Jason buys at least some of his clothes. 

 

clothes shopping.jpg

 

Fashion fans will be delighted to know there is also an on-line store.

 

Anyway, I did take a load of photos for the popular "Warehouse Wednesday" slot on my blog so look out for them there. 

 

 

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Now, if anyone fancies recreating the unique Rapido style, then I can exclusively where Jason buys at least some of his clothes. 

 

attachicon.gifclothes shopping.jpg

 

Fashion fans will be delighted to know there is also an on-line store.

 

Anyway, I did take a load of photos for the popular "Warehouse Wednesday" slot on my blog so look out for them there. 

He had to find somewhere now Honest Ed's is no longer with us.

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Then he will point out that the seats are covered in the wrong moquette, in this case from a London Transport vehicle. I know this, because he looked it up on his phone and showed me.

 

There's a good reason for that. 252 was new to London Transport!

 

Potted history: ECW-bodied Guy Vixen Special MXX340 was new to London Transport in 11/53 as GS40 & sold to Sandwell Town West Bromwich in 01/61. It passed to WMPTE (although never receiving blue/cream livery) on formation in 10/69 & later reallocated to Wolverhampton Cleveland Rd in 12/70. Withdrawn in 05/73, it entered preservation some 44 years ago in 05/74.

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Well I narrowly dodged a couple of bullets today. Read to the bottom to see what I had to deal with at the end of my trip.

 

Today I headed to Sandtoft. As it is the spring Bank Holiday weekend and every heritage railway and bus museum in the country is putting on a special event, it was only logical that I go to the exact same bus museum I went to last time I was in the UK. Right.

 

Actually, it was a wonderful day out, and the weather was co-operative. Check out this line-up today. It really was the past brought back to life.

 

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I was there for meetings with Peter Crichton and Simon Howard from SH Modelmaking. OK, I say that I had a meeting with Peter. What I really wanted to do was drive his Manchester Leyland PD2.

 

And drive it I did. Here is some guy overtaking me in a screen grab from a video by Simon:

 

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It wasn't so bad on the straight, but when some yutz overtook me while I was TURNING RIGHT, that was a bit scary.

 

Posing for the camera...

 

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So. After these photos were taken, I tried to pull out. Three times. All three times, the bus shut down. I was then politely informed that, in order to move, one must first release the handbrake. D'oh!

 

Here's Simon, Peter and me posing in front of 3706.

 

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I enjoyed driving 3706 and I feel confident enough to try it in an urban environment. My only observation is that you really need ear protection. It's obscenely loud in that thing.

 

Simon has been doing repairs for Rapido for a couple of years, but he and I had never actually sat down for a chat. We're looking at other ways we can work together in the future. Stay tuned for more on that.

 

One of the many wonderful things about the UK is your incredible selection of heritage transport. It means that I can have meetings on trains, on buses, and even on trolleybuses. Here Simon and I are doing some planning on a Walsall trolley. We corralled a granddad to take our picture and his young granddaughter promptly ran off into the bus shed. I think he's still looking for her.

 

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I thankfully left Google turned off and used my AA map book to get around today. The A38 was empty between Brum and the M1 and back again, and it was a much more pleasant drive than the motorway. I discovered afterward that I had avoided quite a mess on the M42 and M6. That being said, coming back I was driving on the Pershore Road south of Birmingham City Centre and the water was over a foot deep. At Priory Road I had to get off because this was what was waiting for me further along:

 

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(That's a Birmingham Mail photo. I wasn't actually under water at the time.)

 

The only thing worse than being stuck in your car in the pouring rain with your window fogged up and the road flooded is to be stuck in your car in the pouring rain with your window fogged up and the road flooded AND you have to pee.

 

I finally pulled up to a gas station in Yardley Wood and begged the guy behind the counter to use his bathroom. He was so nice. Just thinking about it, I need to go....

 

-Jason

 

 

 

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I forgot to mention Simon also drove the Leyland - he's got a coach driving licence! That is so cool.

 

-Jason

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