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KymN

Fal Vale – 00 Southern Railway in the Antipodes

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I have been fascinated by railways, real and model, for most of my life.  Like many of us of a certain age, railway modelling started with Hornby 0 gauge clockwork – the 101 tank set in my case, although I think that I remember a Mettoy set too.  Model railways as such began when my younger brother and I deployed the said Hornby in our sand pit.  Needless to say we were in trouble for that, but it was a start on a railway in the landscape.

Over the years I have made a number of further starts on the modelling, but have never got to a point where something could be seen as complete.  Nevertheless my enthusiasm has never waned, and indeed railways became a major part of my life.  I have had a wonderful career that for the most part has been with both rail-based freight and in urban public transport. However the real railway and family tended to get in the way of modelling.

I am now ready to recommence work on my model railway.  The most progress occurred when I was recuperating from open heart surgery over a decade ago.  That is when Fal Vale was built – baseboards were constructed, track was laid, the electrics were completed and structures and scenery built.   But it never really got to the operational stage and spent most of its life idle, and later crated up for removal.

I spent some 25 years in Sydney after a career move, but when I retired some three years ago I sold my house there and moved back to my home town of Adelaide, South Australia. I should have had time to make a new start.  It was not to be, as my earlier bovine heart valve reached the end of its useful life, just like Sir Mick Jagger’s - at least I am in good company!  This blog is intended to document progress as a means of inspiration (for me) to get on with it.

These photos of the un-crating might be of interest. There is method in my madness of buying a house with a double garage when I only have one car.

A_new_beginning.JPG

IMG_E2974_(2).JPG

Fal_Vale_Loco_2.JPG

IMG_E2964 (3).JPG

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Very nice Kym. Looking forward to following the story.

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It may seem odd that a proud South Australian would model a British outline railway. It isn’t that odd; after all our railways here were very British-influenced until the first quarter of the 20th Century.  However there is rather more to it in my case, and I will describe this in later pages.  In fact I intend this to be a personal account – influences, connections, some history and whatever else takes my fancy.

I am a member the British Railway Modellers of Australia.  I had been moderately active in the Sydney Branch, and that has been an inspiration.  BRMA meetings, layouts, friendships, exhibitions and other activities have kept me in touch.  I have been collecting locomotives and rolling stock (rather obsessively), not just confined to the Southern. This is some of my collection, displayed in my hall in cases superbly built by Malcolm Rogers of the BRMA here in SA.  What was on display then is a mix of British and Australian models.  The Pennsy T1 is there because the South Australian 520 (known as Shane in recent Thomas media) was styled after it.

IMG_2730_2.jpg.baaa8bdce9f55d2fee3220bae4be1e5f.jpg

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I have also written an extensive backstory for Fal Vale that began as a history but eventually became rather more imaginative. In parallel I have been writing a genealogy of my first wife’s family – her Grandmother was an Adams, related directly to William of the LSWR. 

To a very large degree what I hope to write here it also takes cues from other pages under the Layout Topics heading, and, with his endorsement, particularly the extensive RMWeb pages that John ‘St Enodoc’ has produced (Mid-Cornwall Lines - 1950s Western Region in 00).  I know John through BRMA’s Sydney branch. John’s work continues to impress me both in its quality and sheer extent and pace.  It happens that his St Enodoc and my Fal Vale are both located in Mid-Cornwall, although I favour the Southern, rather than the Great Western. As documented by Rowland Emett there is a very good working relationship:

553491124_img004(2).jpg.4ed5202b1de6869e2ce3f0e03175e7ba.jpg

 

 

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I should have mentioned that, for the un-crating photos, some random items of rolling stock were plonked onto the half unpacked boards.  The purists of course will have observed (but have yet to complain) that LNER J70s never operated in the West Country, and certainly never towed French-built trailers.

I have a good representation ex LSWR and Southern Railway stock that belong in Fal Vale’s time and location, but there is an increasing range of stock from the other SR constituents that fit my backstory under Rule#1. 

The model Fal Vale is what has been called ‘protolance’. This appears in my tags.  I think that the term came from Mike Harris, a Model Rail staffer who introduced some youthful freshness into the mag but unfortunately chose to pursue other interests.  It means realistic and plausible, but not necessarily fully prototypical. Fal Vale is intended to be just that – not totally freelance, nor strictly following one prototype. 

This is my alternative universe in which I can use my imagination, something that I enjoy in the hobby.

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This looks to be an interesting project. Do you have a track plan yet?

 

Good luck with this Kym.

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5 hours ago, Neal Ball said:

 Do you have a track plan yet?

 

Thanks Neal. I do. I'll need to dig it out of the archives!  Might take a few days, but I'll see how I go.

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Hi Kym,

 

Great to see you are back in action.

I will follow your progress. The photo of the layout above look really good.

 

Regards

 

Rodney

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As Neal Ball suggested (thanks Neal) here is a plan of what I a hoping to find in the crates. 

 

The layout plan was originally drawn in an old version of 3rd Planit. I have added a few words and corrections using PowerPoint, but it is a bit crude. No structures are shown except for  platforms that are neither the right shape nor position, any anyway there is only one, an island. The double track approach (actually two bidirectional tracks, otherwise the yard movements are restricted) heads north after a junction with the Brighton Cross Wharf Branch, then to London via the North Cornwall line. The line across the steel viaduct is the mainline to Truro.  The other branch (the tunnel) is a clay branch that figured (with some adaption) in the notoriety of Fal Vale Junction (where do it come from...where do it go?). The generous loco depot will be explained (justified) as we go forward.

 

I haven't a clue what happens in the empty space to the lower right. I never have. The layout was built to fit a small attic bedroom, and I have a good bit more space in the half garage that I now have for it.  That journey will start when I have assembled the first three boards and solved the alignment problem. 

 

By way of explanation Fal Vale station comprises an island platform with two faces, and yards on either side.  The goods yard is on the western side, and contains three general use sidings, and a siding to the coal drops.  All of these are accessible from the mainline and a headshunt.  There is also a back storage road off the coal road. The Back yard is mainly operational, comprising a loop off the rear main line.  The loop provides access to a siding running to the South and the locomotive depot to the North.  The locomotive depot consists of a turntable off which run five locomotive roads.  Two are shed roads, each with room for two smallish locomotives or one larger one.  The other three roads have ash pits and water cranes, with limited coaling capability.  The depot can accommodate about ten locomotives, given the bias for the smaller 0-6-0 or 4-4-0 types typical of the line.

 

The Fal Vale yard is approached from the North by a stretch of double track. Either side of the island platform can be accessed by trains approaching from this direction on the line towards Truro. Some of the yard on either side can be reached directly from this line. Trains can proceed towards Truro from either platform.  The other line can only be accessed from the main (West, or Front) platform unless bi-directional running is allowed. All trains departing to the North must use this platform or one of the Goods Yard roads.  I have yet to designate names for individual roads.  The Back, or West platform is intended as the Branch platform, but it can be utilised as an arrivals road from any direction.

 

Now I need to spend some time on sorting out the neglect of my finances (mea culpa) so I can do this, and actually working on the layout rather than writing about it!!!

Fal Vale track layout.jpg

Edited by KymN
Additional explanation
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That’s going to be interesting to see it all go together, looks as if you have a lot going on there!

The change in levels will also be interesting. Before we moved, my layout of Henley had a change I’m level over 16ft and some locos struggled with it.

Its going to be interesting to see how it all ends up as you presumably now have more space as well.

Good luck

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The only grade on the layout is the rise up from Brighton Cross Wharf. The lower yard limits trains to 5 or 6 four-wheelers, but most movements will be just a few. But I don't want to get ahead of myself.  The grade is locked in and there are plenty of other things to do after all this time :blink:

 

Edited by KymN
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In order to set the scene for what is to follow, here are two pages from the preamble to the Fal Vale backstory 'The Fal Vale railway story: part history, part legend and part affirmation, 2nd Edition'.

My RMWeb pages here will draw heavily from that document, intermixed with progress on the model. However not all of the backstory document will be reproduced here out of concern that it wanders too far off-topic.  People that know me have found that I am prone to write far too much, as you will see.  Sorry.

 

 

 

Context to Fal Vale story.jpg

Preface to Fale Vale Story.jpg

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The Layout

 

I built Fal Vale some years ago while I was recovering from major surgery.  At the time the location was vague - somewhere called Stoke Hampton in Cornwall.  There is also a ludicrously large collection of trains.  We should come later to the difference between collecting and the mental illness of hoarding or syllogomania.

The layout was planned to be continuous station to fiddle yard covering Stoke Hampton/Fal Vale, its mainline approaches, the approach to the Gothers Branch and tunnel, the Treviscoe Viaduct and the Brighton Cross Wharf Branch. This geography will be explained later. The Wharf was built as a stand-alone plank wire for DC  before I chose to use DCC.

 

In the condition before the final move the layout had been ballasted, wired for DCC and about 50% of the scenery done on the main station boards.  These contain Fal Vale station, the goods yard and locomotive depot and the Brighton Cross Wharf.  At this point there is no goods shed, but there are some options.  The mainline board to the North has no scenery at present.  A further board with the ‘Treviscoe’ steel viaduct (not built – presently in bits in a box!) and the Fal Vale Academy (complete with Hogwarts insignia – that has a back-story of its own) had to be trashed to get it out of the house.  It had a nice tunnel under the hill at one end. The basic specs are: 

·         Scale      00

·         Track     Peco code 75

·         Control DC/DCC

·         Period   Late 1950s

The baseboards are over-engineered and about as portable as a brontosaurus. They use Model Railroader L-Girder construction, with well supported Caneite (soft-board no longer available) surfaces.  They were designed to be pulled apart into modules of about two square metres or slightly more.  Unfortunately my bodged-up device for alignment was a total failure.  I have started reengineering it with DCC Concepts dowels but I need to repair damage from the moves. My assistants, notably my son Hugh and ex son-in-law Ben (the less said about him the better), did not have the same care as I try to. Made worse by the fact that the boards had to be extricated from the upstairs attic room via the balcony.

The main boards excluding the Wharf have been wired for DCC, with droppers from every rail and crossing (‘frog’) to four power districts. The crossings are to be switched by a micro-switch at each one, linked to the wire-in-tube point switching mechanism.  The Truro end (South Box) of the yard is fully mechanically interlocked with a Modratec mechanism, not yet connected. I’m not sure I could stand building and operating a second at the North Box!!

 

DSCF2983.JPG

Scenery is mostly built up using polyurethane packing, covered in plaster-cloth covered in a thin coat of dirt-coloured plaster. Scatter materials finish it off including electrostatic grass from a Noch electronic applicator.  Trees are commercial products. Some of the buildings so far are anglicised European models from Heljan, Kibri and Faller; hence the need for a Northern European excuse that we will eventually get to! There is a Ratio water tower and a few smaller British structures, mostly at the Wharf. A station building, signal box and covered interlocking fame are resin ready to plant.  The turntable is Fleischmann.

The next are some images from those days, sadly poor quality.

 

Bright Cross Wharf.jpg

platform.jpg

City of Birmingham.png

O2.jpg

tanks.jpg

Quiet Please.jpg

 

DSCF2973.JPG

Edited by KymN
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5 hours ago, KymN said:

I’m not sure I could stand building and operating a second at the North Box!!

Of course you can!

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SOME BACKGROUND – WHY MODEL TRAINS AND WHY BRITISH?

 

Some might ask why an Australian - a very proud South Australian - would build a British-themed layout. Worse still, as you the reader will find out, why rewrite British History to do it?

Let offer some background on the early days, as all good Layout of the Month type articles do.  First, as mentioned earlier, there was the usual Hornby ‘0’ gauge clockwork train set.  The first British influence. It probably suffered a bit when my brother and I used it to build landscape in the sand pit but that’s OK.  I guess Mum and Dad sold it to go to the next stage, but I later wished they hadn’t.  When my wife (#1) and I were travelling in the Cotswolds some years ago I found one just like it in an antique shop. At that time we were on the beginning of the trip so I resisted the temptation to buy it then.  However last year I spotted another at The Station Master www.thestationroomsmaster.co.uk . Thanks Kevin - I am now the proud owner of my childhood train set once again.  

 

Hornby.jpg

 

Actually ours was a later version of this 101 Tank set. Our childhood set would have been early 50s. The new acquisition would have been made in the late 1940s after Hornby production resumed post-war. It is complete, including stock, track, connectors and a guarantee. There is an invitation to join the 'Railway Company' collectors club from Roland Hornby, who became Chairman after the death of his father Frank. British Railways was formed in 1947/48; however Hornby retained the liveries of the 'Big Four' railway companies for some time. It first introduced the British Railway liveries in 1954; however I do not recall a BR logo on our train.  And another piece of useless trivia: The famous 'Fat Controller' in the Thomas books was the 'Fat Director' in the first few books, written before nationalisation.

 

Secondly we lived opposite the South Australian Railways (SAR) line to Brighton, Marino and Willunga, so trains were always there. 

 

The SAR saw two distinct periods of rolling stock development in the steam days, interspersed with periods of dereliction.  The first was very British in character – after all we were a British colony (did I not mention that South Australia was NOT a penal settlement like the other states). Locomotives were based on those used in the UK, with a few colonial features such as cow-catchers and locally styled cabs.  By the 1920s the SAR was in a mess – rolling stock was still being built to nineteenth century designs, costs were increasing, and mismanagement was obvious.  As a result, the State Government appointed Mr William A. Webb, a highly experienced senior American railroad executive, to the position of Chief Commissioner.  The British/ Colonial small locomotive and goods wagon car style of the SAR was to be changed fundamentally.  New locomotives were huge and freight cars to US high capacity designs.  Ironically the first of the new locomotives (the 500, 600 and 700 classes) were built in the UK due to a policy of only procuring from British Commonwealth countries.

 

This shows the impact that Webb had.  The new Adelaide Railway Station under construction 1927 Compare the Webb engine closest to the camera with the older ones further back. (SLSA)Adelaide station.jpg

 

But we are off the track, yet again.  My next train set was a Tri-ang Transcontinental set.  I really wanted a Hornby-Dublo one, but Mum and Dad saw the Transcontinental set as being a bit more Australian (and cheaper, and more of a toy).  The only real Australian-built option was the Ferris 0-gauge tinplate model of a Sydney suburban ‘Red Rattler’.  Dad thought this looked like a tram, and was deemed unsuitable.  The locomotive I got was the Canadian Pacific (4-6-2) model, and the trains North American styling styled, but to my parents’ eyes close enough. 

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The set grew in the usual way.  One of my good mates (Ian), however, had a Tri-ang British set, from memory with a Jinty and suburban carriages.  I saw this as much more realistic.  Not that any of the SAR trains we saw and heard ran on the line out the front of our house resembled these either.  Local trains were the colonial style Rx class or British-like F-class ‘Dollies’ hauling end-loading carriages partially resembling those on the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead (WC&P), but actually based on carriages built for the private-sector Glenelg railway .  The daily Willunga ‘express’ passenger and freight trains were hauled by the locally built light Pacific 620s and Mikado 740s, still ‘big’.  The SAR still had nineteenth century ‘dog-boxes’ that resembled BR suburban trains, but these did not run on our line.  We just had the aforementioned nineteenth century end-loading cowboy cars. I travelled to High School in such a train.

 

My local station Hove – Brighton was the next stop! This predates my time; one of my early memories is the duplication of the line near my house, with all the local kids at the site when the works train arrived. No OH&S then.

 

Hove.jpg

 

My Brother, Tony, had the good fortune to receive a Tri-ang TT train set one birthday or Christmas.  This grew to finish up with a Bulleid ‘Spamcan’ and a Jinty.  I seem to have inherited one SR Mark 1 carriage.  However by then we were into models railways rather than train sets, and what is now called 00n3.  We built a lovely little 12mm gauge, HO scale line that featured a locomotive resembling a Canadian 3 foot gauge pacific (with BFM wheels) and an 0-6-0 Drewry shunter, with German buildings.  So much for British.  I also had excursions into Americana and Continental outline, but they never took root.

 

Some early layouts – the 00n3 layout

First Layouts 1b2.jpg

First Layouts 1cx.jpg

 

A later H0e attempt with Egger-Bahn

First_Layouts_1a.jpg

 

An American + Brit ‘Plank’ in the garden

First_Layouts_2a.jpg

 

With a couple of friends I was briefly involved in one of the first preservation activities to occur in South Australia: the preservation of ‘P’ class locomotive 117, the first acquisition of the fledgling Mile End (now National) Railway Museum.  This was a very British locomotive, based directly on a West Midland Railway design. At that stage the little engine was parked at the Tube Mills Kilburn factory, near the Islington railway workshops.  Our job was to paint parts of the locomotive with black rust converter paint.  We soon discovered that there were little rail trolleys that were much more fun.  Unfortunately my mate Wally got is foot caught under the axle and spent the next few days in pain.  Then, having placed the can of paint on a flat surface near the cab door, I grabbed a convenient handle which I think was a handbrake, to have it spin around to knock the paint all over the floor.  The cab got priority application for the paint from this point.

 

The Museum’s P Class - Our very British little engine (NRM)

P117_48-987-d128-13_RHaebichCollection cropped.jpg

But we are digressing.  Again.

 

Next time I will look at some of the literature that led me on the British course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by KymN
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THE INFLUENCE OF THE MODEL RAILWAY MAGAZINES

 

At this point we should look at the literature.  First there was Thomas the Tank Engine.  I had just a few of the Railway Series.  My favourite was Toby the Tram Engine, who I thought was a girl.  Something to do with the skirts I guess. I have an omnibus volume of the entire Railway Series, thanks to my good wife (#1).  She gave it to me as a present after she suffered an extended visit to the (British) National Railway Museum at York.  I think the tipping point was my fascination with the track exhibit.  Well my middle name is Thomas after all.  I read the omnibus or bits of it from time to time.  It is a remarkably accurate record of the nationalisation of British Rail, the birth of the preservation movement, and the way steam railways were run. Awdry understood railways. 

 

toby.png.61bd248eb09f72c27525f318fde5e333.png

 

I also had a number of Sammy the Shunter books.  I still remember Sammy cladding himself with billboards to look like an air-smoothed Bulleid engine.

 

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More important were the magazines.  The first was Model Railway(s) Constructor.  My younger brother (then aged 8) and I (aged 12) were allowed to catch the train into the city on Saturdays to go to the Children’s Library and to Bridgland’s model shop. The first thing I looked for at the library was whether a new (to me) edition of the Constructor was on the shelves.

I also started to buy magazines with my pocket money.  The first purchase was Railway Modeller, December 1959.  I still have it, hard bound with most of the 1960 volume.  In fact I still have all of the model railway magazines that I have ever bought, and I tend to buy a lot.  I also collect 00 trains, CDs and albums of electric folk / blues / indie / obscure music, and travel documentation, and don’t like to discard or sell them. I told you I was insane – remember syllogomania?

There were two particular layouts from these very early days that may have influenced me:

  • Robert Symes-Schutzmann’s  Payerbrook and Fairlie (Model Railways Constructor November 1958f)
  • Wilbert Awdry’s Ffarquhar Branch (Railway Modeller December 1959)

I managed to buy copies of the November and December 1958 Constructor quite recently. What is striking is that the mags are so small!  Just like the houses we knew as children that seem to have shrunk with age. They are also very simply written, which is probably why they were in the Children’s Library. 

The Payerbrook and Fairlie was a fairly simple model, even by the standards of the day.  Two circles of track, mostly Tri-ang trains.  However it oozed character, greatly aided by Symes’ wonderful description.  It told a story in an engaging, humorous way both about the building of the railway and the railway itself.  The outer circuit was a railway branch and the inner an electric tramway that had replaced a non-economic railway.  The tram had been imported from Europe! Love it and I still enjoy rereading Symes’ articles. He was an amazing man who lived an exceptional life.

 

Payerbrook.jpg.b28bcefb674d782a4e55a6008f7b502f.jpg

 

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Wilbert Awdry is of course the author of the Railway Series and Thomas the Tank Engine’s creator.  The Ffarquhar Branch was just a 6’ by 4’ Cyril Freezer type of layout, although Freezer suggested in his editorial that such a layout was not a good choice for a larger scale line.  It was based on an idea by Maurice Deane where the fiddle yard is hidden by scenery behind the terminus. 

1097352556_FFarquar1.png.a5039f60e82d288eb93243e6402f5d5e.png

 

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I have built a new baseboard that will accommodate my running-in track.  Rather than just an oval, this will be built for eventual scenification (if that is a word) and a layout similar to Ffarquhar.

 

2081138226_Ffaquar4.jpg.8e209edf0fe0834f3b29fa27dd96c737.jpg

Awdry’s little layout and the way he wrote was brilliant, in much the same lucid way as Bob Symes.  The layout fits F(f)arquhar station (the station running-in board ‘economised on Fs’) and the halt at Hackenbeck on Thomas’ branch line in the scenic area before the tunnel.  The quarry line disappears though a gap in the backscene.  There is a fiddle yard at the back of the layout.  There were only three locomotives: Thomas, Percy and Toby. But these were not the ones with faces.  They were real models, essentially freelance but based on real prototypes. ‘Duck’, a Gaiety 0-6-0PT, was a spare engine.  Originally it waddled, hence the name.  It migrated from the layout to the books.

In the article Awdry describes the layout, the scenery and human characters that appear on the layout in a way that brings the whole scene to life:

 

“Next door is a neat little house, built of local stone.  It is set in a neat little garden, very suburban in type.  Mother, father and the two children have just started their holiday.  That, at least, is their idea, but the car has decided to be awkward!  All we can see of father is a pair of legs.  He has been underneath the car for some time! The children are fidgeting about and asking irritating questions, and mother stands impatiently by the pile of luggage.  She is getting crosser and crosser every minute.”

796496656_FFarquar3.jpg.b4478d7e43996800ae3054f249964d5c.jpg

He describes the locomotives and rolling stock is similar detail and, one thing rarely seen, a detailed description of the operating plan, headed Traffic Working. 

 

“’Percy’ arrives with the morning goods at 8.34.  He shunts the yard until ‘Toby’ has crept out from the quarry line and backed into the passenger platform, ‘Scarborough fashion’.  When ’Toby’ leaves (8.45), ‘Percy’ finishes his shunting, goes along the quarry line to the stone wharf and picks up a load.  He waits at the signal till the push-pull arrives from Tidmouth at 9.20, and then sets out for the harbour.”

 

At the time I had no idea what ‘Scarborough fashion’ was, or a push-pull, but that didn’t really matter; my imagination was excited regardless.  I don’t think that the books depict Thomas, Annie and Clarabel as a push-pull motor train; but they were on the layout.  Later, Awdry rebuilt the little layout into a bigger end-to-end scheme. It seemed to lose some of its magic in this form.  I still enjoy reading about the 1959 version.

 

WANDERINGS

I have some volumes of old American mags (mostly Model Railroader), and buy the Australian Model Railway Magazine quite often.  I think what I look for in model railways is old-fashioned characterful trains that tell a story.  Ideally they would be South Australian, but until recently these have not been available as ready to run.  So British is the default.  For a while it was German, because the best, most characterful models came from the likes of Roco and Fleischmann, but that didn’t last.  I returned to the British scene.  I enjoy the quality of what is now available ready to run – the quality to me is the main thing.  I don’t count rivets and to me if it looks right it is right.  In that way it helps not to be a Brit!  It is the Southern Railway as it used to be - ex LSWR - that stirs my imagination these days.  Not Great Western – too much sameness among their locomotives (apologies to my mate @ St Edonoc), but I do have the Railway Museum’s ‘King’ and various Cities.  I don’t relate to Midland much either.  I have a few Great Northern engines, notably the Railway Museum’s GNR Atlantic – lovely model that was to tide me over until the Bachmann Brighton equivalent.

I have strayed further again with my train set.  I have a small but growing collection of South Australian Railways and Victorian Railways items and, of all things, a Pennsylvania RR T1.  But then that is the big brother – the styling inspiration for the SAR 520 so maybe I’m still close to home! The T1 was style by the famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy.  It is said that the SAR’s CME Frank Harrison saw a pic in an industry magazine and instructed his draftsman to draw that shape!  The 520 was fast (by Australian standards) and a beautiful and very capable locomotive built to run on light track. Two have been preserved, with one (No.520) being returned to operation by the Steamranger Heritage Railway http://www.steamrangerheritagerailway.org/.  

 

521 on the Port Pirie Express Adelaide

1479946479_521onthePortPirieExpressatAdelaideStation...Jan1964..jpg.c4cde6bff6475a23c828961f7a96ac45.jpg

 

I also have a couple of National Rail locomotives – one of the companies in which I worked.  One on the way is a National Rail Corporation NR-class loco with a superb indigenous design livery based on the work by Alice Springs artist Bessie Liddle.  This is NR30 Warmi featuring an Aboriginal Dreaming story.  National Rail’s motive power strategy incidentally was the same as that of W.A. Webb: replace the hotchpotch of inherited underpowered locomotives with a new fleet of standard high-powered (3,000HP) machines. Virtually all long-haul intermodal power in Australia is now of the same configuration as the NR – a bit like the 66 class story in the UK.

 

SDS Models Indigenous NR Class (SDS Pic)

nrind1000.jpg.8dee74b72ff88426f5832f5531e53553.jpg

 

The F-class that I knew from my school days is available RTR from Orient Express Reproductions http://www.orientexpressmodels.com.au/ and I have a DCC Sound Version.  I also have suitable passenger coaches, also from Orient Express, and Joint Victorian-SAR coaches from Auscision Models http://www.auscisionmodels.com.au/, and other items of mostly sentimental value. Beyond that I have little interest in the railways of other Australian states or North America.

 

Orient Express Reproductions F-Class (OER pic)

OR600.jpg.6572eba90c803af1139fd9ad4b300c29.jpg

 

My interest in Victoria is of note, and I have an Auscision model of the iconic double-ended GM Bulldog B-class http://www.auscisionmodels.com.au/ , once in the Tri-ang Transcontinental range.  

Auscision VR B Class (Auscision pic)

B74.jpg.4d2b05b5647718ca51007bf6a7b407b0.jpg

 

The railways of Victoria and South Australia were built to the Irish Gauge of 5’3” (1600mm). Both States also built narrow gauge lines of different gauges. The Irish gauge came about because those states (colonies then) followed New South Wales in the choice of the Irish gauge.  NSW had an Irish engineer, but he was dismissed to be replaced by an Englishman, who promptly changed the gauge of the NSW line to the Stephenson standard gauge.  But South Australia and Victoria had entered contracts, and stayed with 5’3”.  So it came about that the first Australian Intercolonial Railway was Broad (Irish) gauge, and the great Australian gauge muddle started.  The Narrow (Cape) Gauge used in more remote areas elsewhere just added to it.

 

Triple gauge (wogm pic)

2006090528_triplegaugewogm.jpg.47820a4c266bbaed781fa921a6601f7c.jpg

 

♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣

There are other reasons that I went British, notably the link with William Adams that I will come to.  I am a bit of an Anglophile, addicted to Escape to the Country, Antiques Road Show, and British drama and comedy going all the way back to The Goons. I don’t get American ‘comedy’; but then my American Daughter-in-Law doesn’t get British comedy.  And there is something about England and Scotland, particularly, that appeals to my imagination.  History, legend, culture, architecture and style, literature – whatever….. 

However I need to make it clear that ‘Football’ is a game played by teams of 18 superbly skilled men or women and usually called ‘Footy’ (Australian Football). One of the great developments is the women’s AFL league that, as with other games, has shown just how good the women are. I don’t get that round ball game that we call soccer – a game for gentlemen watched by thugs, in contrast to Rugby (Union – not that League rubbish that South Australia ignores) – a game for thugs played by gentlemen.  I accept that we love the game of Cricket here, but a baggy green cap must be worn.

Having said that, I played Lacrosse, which in my day in Australia was a man’s sport, unlike the UK.

Edited by KymN
Complete illustration
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2 hours ago, KymN said:

I still remember Sammy cladding himself with billboards to look like an air-smoothed Bulleid engine.

Oh, I thought I was the only one! Mine are long gone. Next time I'm down your way I'll drop in and have a read...

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2 hours ago, KymN said:

Lacrosse, which in my day in Australia was a man’s sport, unlike the UK

If you said that in certain parts of North West England, notably Cheshire, you'd have as likely as not got a clout with the stick!

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38 minutes ago, St Enodoc said:

Oh, I thought I was the only one! Mine are long gone. Next time I'm down your way I'll drop in and have a read...

Sadly mine are long gone too.  I wish I knew where!

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Bob Symes

 

Bob Symes Driving 

342529582_bobsymes.jpg.4aa2d8f6d39bdb78907a38a99001ddc8.jpg

This is a footnote to my mention of the Payerbrook and Fairlie layout earlier. That little layout could give the impression that its creator, Bob Symes, was just an average railway modeller. In truth, the more I learned later about Symes, the more I was inspired by him as a human being.  I know that this is way off-topic but I did warn that I intended to go beyond my train set. 

The Web contains a lot about Bob Symes, often in the form of obituaries and vdeos of his garden railway, so I won’t go into detail, but here is a summary. 

Robert (Bob) Alexander Baron (Symes-) Schutzmann von Schutzmansdorff (to give him his full name) was a gentle, charismatic man with a beautifully cultured voice.  As a BBC presenter and producer he was well known in the UK.

The Schutzmanns were an aristocratic Austrian family with a title that dated back 600 years.  After the death of Robert’s father (a lawyer and Zionist) and the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, his mother (a writer) fled Austria with their two children. To cross the Austrian border they walked through the 8km Karawanks railway tunnel into Yugoslavia.

During the Second World War the young Robert joined the Royal Navy, operating torpedo boats in the Mediterranean.  He broke anti-torpedo measures in a raid on Tripoli and, as Lieutenant Commander Schutzmann, took part in protecting the landings that led to the liberation of Crete.

After studying Mechanical Engineering at what is now the University of Westminster, he joined the BBC's Overseas Service. He was multi-lingual. Over the following 30 years Symes became a familiar face to British TV audiences with a number of engineering, technology and railway related productions. He also was well-known with German-speaking audiences through his presentation of the Bahnorama railway films, produced by a company in Austria that he co-founded.

He created inventions in metal engineering and held patents in plumbing, setting up and twice chairing the Institute of Patentees and Inventors. He helped set up private railways in Switzerland and across the United Kingdom. That included a company to restore, maintain and introduce new services along the Waverley Line.

His model railways moved to the garden, from 00 gauge during a post to Nigeria, and his Gauge 1 railway and a later 10¼ inch Gauge in the UK.  He collected vintage tractors and opened his garden each year for charity. He was a member of the Guildford-based Astolat Model Railway Circle and had been its President.  

 

Open Day in Surrey 

1833228712_bob-symesathouse.jpg.ccae404e303543186a2a4f4eab594040.jpg

 

Gauge 1

1399019317_SymesGauge1Surrey(Gullwingpic).jpg.ab5838fa34921ec6f50bece9cf68b8a6.jpg

He was made a companion of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and awarded the Knight’s Cross (first class) by the President of Austria in recognition of his work in promoting Anglo-Austrian relations.

His first wife Monica, who had been a BBC radio presenter during the War and later, died in 1998.  In January 2007 he married Sheila Gunn, then Works Manager at Boston Lodge on the Ffestiniog Railway. He his family and railway moved to Wales. Bob Symes died there on 19 January 2015, aged 90.

Bob Symes garden.jpg

 

[Pics in this section - Gullwing]

Edited by KymN
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Sometimes I add the strangest things to my toy collection. Oxford Rail's model of the WWI 'Boche Buster', and Dean Goods loco in Royal Engineers Railway Operating Division khaki have arrived. 62 of these locos were requisitioned and sent to France.

 

IMG_3015.JPG.12e7d96e368aca65d8aaa11797b9803e.JPGIMG_3013.JPG.0059894b68feae06d0d97f50ef1f98db.JPGIMG_3017.JPG.09ee7e1469731424073e607214c71748.JPGIMG_3018.JPG.1a721b1c3159b7a3bd65bba8a863789d.JPG

 

The Boche Buster was a rather large rail mounted Howitzer (artillery gun) intended to fire over the English Channel. As its range was barely as far as the channel is wide it wasn't very useful! As my layout purports to be in Cornwall it appears that the Scilly Isles has declared war on Great Britain. 

Edited by KymN
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There will now be a short intermission while I deal with some house renovation/decoration matters. 

 

The house keeps getting in the way...although the railway keeps stands its ground.  The luggage rack is in my Arts and Crafts styled dining room.  I bought it half a century ago and restored it.  It comes from a beautiful 'AE' First Class  coach that was being scrapped at the time. The coach was  used on the 'Overland' inter-capital (Adelaide-Melbourne) train. Naturally I have a model of this coach (by Auscision).

 

The Rack

13952229_IMG_2896luggagerack.jpg.a91ee12bafd07b2f9671695d95e37cea.jpg

 

The Auscision model (Auscision pic)

VPC-1 Auscision AE.jpg

Edited by KymN
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Progress – Board #3

 

The house-imposed intermission is over for the time being and it is briefly back to the railway. Actually much of the break was spent in filling out State Government forms for utility concessions. These are available to Veterans card holders, not just Age Pensioners, but the State does not let this be widely known.  Hmmm.

 

The third board (of four) is now on its feet.  This is the station approach from the North and its connection to the rest of the LSWR via the North Cornwall Railway. This board has no scenery at present. The flat area to the front is for industry (clay dries?), and is accessed from the Wharf yard.

 IMG_3022.JPG.583d0daa538d40d105415382286ba393.JPG

IMG_3026.JPG.07bc18a6703e827b6534e4e4a4e0ba63.JPGIMG_3029.JPG.1e62b822d81b300454e36b20fe001c77.JPGIMG_3030.JPG.749ec3c1bd363b0afeda8ce7d14e3ea9.JPG

 

The next challenge is to align the boards both vertically and horizontally, and to join them.  They were built as modules but I think that I have already mentioned that my home-built connections did not work.  I have a great deal of respect for those who have built exhibition layouts that go together with ease. I now plan on reconstructing the track with no breaks across what will be more permanent joints.  I recall that P.D. Hancock confessed to doing that with his iconic Craig and Mertonford Railway – until the voice of doom told him that the room needed to be painted.

Not much to add this time.  The photos show Board #3 and much of Fal Vale yard put roughly  together.

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47 minutes ago, KymN said:

Progress – Board #3

 

The house-imposed intermission is over for the time being and it is briefly back to the railway. Actually much of the break was spent in filling out State Government forms for utility concessions. These are available to Veterans card holders, not just Age Pensioners, but the State does not let this be widely known.  Hmmm.

 

The third board (of four) is now on its feet.  This is the station approach from the North and its connection to the rest of the LSWR via the North Cornwall Railway. This board has no scenery at present. The flat area to the front is for industry (clay dries?), and is accessed from the Wharf yard.

 IMG_3022.JPG.583d0daa538d40d105415382286ba393.JPG

IMG_3026.JPG.07bc18a6703e827b6534e4e4a4e0ba63.JPGIMG_3029.JPG.1e62b822d81b300454e36b20fe001c77.JPGIMG_3030.JPG.749ec3c1bd363b0afeda8ce7d14e3ea9.JPG

 

The next challenge is to align the boards both vertically and horizontally, and to join them.  They were built as modules but I think that I have already mentioned that my home-built connections did not work.  I have a great deal of respect for those who have built exhibition layouts that go together with ease. I now plan on reconstructing the track with no breaks across what will be more permanent joints.  I recall that P.D. Hancock confessed to doing that with his iconic Craig and Mertonford Railway – until the voice of doom told him that the room needed to be painted.

Not much to add this time.  The photos show Board #3 and much of Fal Vale yard put roughly  together.

Very nice Kim. Will we be able to come and see Fal Vale during the BRMA Convention in October (no pressure...)?

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1 hour ago, St Enodoc said:

Will we be able to come and see Fal Vale during the BRMA Convention in October (no pressure...)?

 

I'd like nothing better but I need to get a feel for progress first.  The issue is that it is a long way from being operational.  A few individuals perhaps but I can't commit to anything yet. But thanks for the encouragement (+ pressure :excl: :unknw_mini:). 

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A little bit of comfort.  The ex-dining room carpet has been requisitioned to soften the model railway operators area.  Also serves to distinguish model railway territory from that claimed by the motor car.:dirol_mini:. One step closer to actually working on the layout.

 

IMG_3035a.jpg.c31562bbace684b9fffc954b52df0642.jpg

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