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Loxborough to Fenton


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So, I have been slowly developing a layout for a little while now (umm, like 8 years) and bits of it have appeared here under various guises. After a serious refurbishment of the railway room (longer, more light, less dust, to be brief) I have got the mojo properly back and thought the time has come to unify all under a single thread.


In broad terms a 4 track 1930s ECML OO roundy-roundy with a station on each straight section. Somewhere around Grantham-Peterborough. Slightly lacking in originality, but I've gone too far now to start adding in wierdness...


First side has a station and a wagon repair yard (previously on here as 'Meakin Brothers'). The station, to be named Loxborough, is fairly small local one that doesn't even have a platform for the up fast;




On the other straight leg we have a more important station, Fenton St Michael's, which is a mainline station and a branch terminus (think Tallington);




I'll come back and post more details later, but here's a little teaser from Meakin Bros yard;




(I've just noticed the incomplete wagon that has slipped into the rake, rather soiling the image... must do better next time...)



Edited by Loxborough
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So, I said I would post some more images...


Before we get to the work in progress, we will take a gentle stroll around the bits of the layout that are pretty much built.


Firstly, an over the wall look at the smithy in Meakin Brothers' yard...



And a detailed look inside the smithy;




God knows why I went to the trouble of detailing the interior there. There's a whole lot of detail (including a forge) that you can't see from anywhere!!


A helicopter shot of a couple of old tanks kept at the side of the smithy just in case (not sure the oil leakages would be very well looked on nowadays...)




A, elevation shot of the smithy (can't get the camera any lower than that as there are lamp posts in the way...)



And finally, for some reason my favorite, a peek through the gate...




Now, time to get out into the sun and do some gardening!

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  • 1 month later...

So, we continue our gentle amble through the yard. 


Starting with a private owner mineral wagon in to have its old grease axelboxes replaced with oil ones, and to have a few planks renewed...




The crane is the rather nice Langley Models Ransom & Rapier, though the driver, who comes with the crane kit, looks a little too much like something out of the planet of the apes for my liking, and may have to be replaced in due course...


Next a helicopter shot of the same operation.




While we are in the helicopter, an LMS 5 plank in for a total subframe rebuild;




And finally an atmosphere shot through the yard, showing three key industrial activites under way, from left to right. 1; Drinking tea and yipping, 2; Thinking about how to do the work, 3; Actually doing the work!!



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  • 1 month later...

So, the gentle amble around the layout has been a little more gentle than I had anticipated, but hey ho, it was ever thus...


Today we get to the joiners' shop. Firstly by day...




and then at twilight...



Which, if anyone can be bothered to zoom, shows some of the detail inside.


I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the Gaugemaster backscene cooperated in reduced light (it really was quite reduced, too; 4 seconds at f8.0). I thought the sky came out rather nicely as twilight looking east...


Next going down the yard we get to the wood store (well, it would be next to the joiners' shop, wouldn't it?) I have to hold my hand up to a little modeler's licence here; unless anyone is able to tell me differently, I don't think that plywood was much used in wagons as early as 1937 but, hey, I liked the way the 'ply' stacked, it's my trainset and I'm going to go down pleading rule 1...




And finally for this post, the paint store. I have no idea what an NER brake van would have been doing getting condemned this far down the ECML (we are in principle between Peterborough and Grantham) but it's the second time I have used the Slater's model as a grounded van/store, and I have to confess to having a little thing for them...




I must get hold of some fire buckets and post them somewhere near the paint store. Or the flammable goods store, as we would probably call it today.


All suggestions welcome...





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When I first started posting about the idea of building a 1930's wagon repair yard, Paul Bartlett, based on conversations with people who had worked in such places, set me the challenge of trying to depict the frugality of such an operations. Not a bolt or a board went to waste, and everything that might have been of value was recovered when a wagon was condemned, or even during repair. I have started to try to depict, initially through the way major components might have been set aside (and not just chucked in a pile)... This is just a start; I have plans for lots of grounded store wagons, spare part boxes and probably more of what you see below.


If anybody has any other ideas about how this 'frugality' might be set into the model, I am all ears...


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  • 1 month later...
On 03/09/2020 at 23:23, LNER4479 said:

Loving the detail in the wagon repair depot, very unusual modelling subject. The wagon frame on stands is inspired.


No real idea of what else to suggest; I'd be guessing. You look to have many of the obvious ingredients already.

Kind comments, as always, thank you. 


I did rather enjoy doing the wagon frame and I have plans for a couple of partly dismantled wagons, which will require me to build them from the frame up board by board. Not this week, though...

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So, today we get to the MPD. Now, I would love to be showing you a grungy little engine shed, probably built as a lean to against a more substantial building, with a half falling down coal stage, a rickety rusty old water tank and a dreadful old, many times patched and repaied 0-4-0 steam shunter.


Trouble is, though, that a yard on this scale would never have been able to justify the purchase, or operation, of a shunter, so we will have to rely on horse power...


Which means stabling and a hay barn... 




The inevitable random agricultural rubbish that was once useful...



I really must sort out that wagon with the flying tarpaulin; it seems to bomb just about every photo I take...



And the much loved power unit itself...





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  • 1 month later...

So, today we will step briefly over the lines from the repair yard, to visit Mrs Appleby's cottage... There she is, waving to us!




This is, err, backdrop modelling, so don't loook too closely... The house was done in a couple of hours with offcut ply for the walls, talc in the paint for render effect and wood dust for the thatch. I want to do some more thatched houses elsewhere on the layout and need to find a method that will stand up to close range photography...




Anyway, notwithstanding her slightly shoddy house, Mrs Appleby seems to be pretty self sufficient, between hens, bees, veg garden... 




...a little orchard some sheep... and a goat (why do people keep goats? My experience is that they go everywhere except where they are supposed to go, and eat everything except what they are supposed to eat...)




There is some disagreement about Mrs Appleby's status. I think she lost her husband during the great war and, like so many women of her generation, made her own life as an independent widow. My daughter, though, insists that this is too sad, and that she is married to one of the carpenters in the wagon repair yard. 


Now I'm not sure about this, but if there is a Mr Appleby, and if he does have to cross the ECML to go to work every day, it might explain this slightly unorthodox arrangement...




Happy and safe Christmas all.


Mrs A long.jpg

Edited by Loxborough
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  • 8 months later...

So, I thought to myself that it was about time to post on here again. 9 months since the last one? Seriously? Are we sure there isn't a software issue there somewhere? Or am I just getting that old??!!




The management team in action in front of the office. On the left Mr Jeremiah Meakin, one of the foundng brothers, who never much cared for office work (but likes a nice car!). On the right, young Mr Meakin, sone of Mr Jeremiah's late brother; likes to look dapper but is content with his Austin 7. And in the centre Mrs Davies, who has done the books and manned the telephone since the old king died, and whose relationship with the late Mr Meakin we DO NOT talk about...




Just a little further on we come across a delivery waiting to be unloaded. And waiting. Beacuse that's what he does (blistering pace of life in this litte piece of heaven I am creating). Driver Ahab?


Truck waiting for number plate, wingmirrors etc. Beautiful model from Langley, looking a lot like it was put together by a five year old with no thumbs. Must do better next time. Ho hum...




Experimenting with the camera. Helicon Focus image stacking (which I really can't recommend enough) being pushed to the limit here. I wondered whether it would be able to cope with the cars just seen through the fence, while keeping the fence in focus, and it can, clearly.




And finally the helicopter shot. 




Next update in less than nine months... I promise!

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10 hours ago, Loxborough said:

And in the centre Mrs Davies, who has done the books and manned the telephone since the old king died, and whose relationship with the late Mr Meakin we DO NOT talk about.

I assume Mrs Davies actually can never leave as she knows where all the skeletons are as wel :D


Seriously though, you almost ignore the railway in these pictures given all the cameos such as the escape train spotting chicken. How many hours have you spent on interior detail that only you can see once you have done 20 mins stretching to crane your neck into the right position? 

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I think you're probably right about Mrs Davies. Also, even seen from the back, she doesn't look like someone you would want to argue with!


Seriously, though, your comment means a lot, thank you. I do enjoy the tains (and there will be more showing on here shortly) but what I really enjoy is creating the little details of the world in which they exist. Gets my imagination going, allows a bit of escapism and also ties in my teenage daughters (who are deeply uninterested in the trains themselves!).



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