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Tony Wright

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4 hours ago, zr2498 said:

Hi Tony

Yes, the missing 'bridge' does look strange after seeing it there so often.

Some progress made with the extra parts (following the preliminary installation as previously shown.

The additional photoetch delivered. A bit of a milestone for me as my first design using Draftsight software. https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/DSC04387.JPG.1cf8a70acf3635dfb7a8274821df4557.JPG

 

 

The top beam flange plates are addedhttps://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/DSC04507.JPG.0c82fe6cb5a4196cbf81603fd0cf1f7d.JPG

 

Today punched the 4500 rivets of the bottom cross beams

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/DSC04506.JPG.4251ebb365636e9494e3eb528986136d.JPG

So progress being made albeit taking some time. Thanks for your patience.

 

Dave

 

 

 

Will these etches be available to buy?

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42 minutes ago, St Enodoc said:

Tony, I don't think I ever saw Pontypool Riverside although I understand perfectly what you mean. There are others - Grantham and Cwmafon spring to mind - that to me are exceptions that prove the rule.

 

You've also highlighted something with your "best crew" comment. It's not easy to have a "best crew" available for the full duration of an exhibition.

 

On Narrow Road, we used to operate with a crew of 6. One on the fiddle yard, one on the loco shed (the easiest and being out front was also the main point of contact for questions, one shunting the yard, which was continuous throughout the sequence, two drivers on the main line, for arrivals and departures and a "fat controller" coordinating everything. We went out with 8, so we had two spares. We didn't get much of a break operating like that but we used to enjoy it so much we didn't want breaks.

 

With the "top link" crew, it was lovely to call for the next move and knowing that everybody would be ready. On song, we could run 59 trains in and out in an hour, plus shunting and light engine moves. With a less competent crew, we were still pretty slick but the sequence took perhaps 75 minutes and you would ask for a loco off shed and it would still be going round on the turntable! So you might only have one train departing, the pilot following it up the platform and the yard shunter moving. The light engine off shed which could have happened at the same time ran a minute or two later. To run the sequence in an hour, every move had to be perfect and every possible multiple move had to happen. We did it a few times but we didn't want to turn it into a "pressure to perform" situation so we didn't stress out over it. It either happened or it didn't. 

 

Many people have little or no interest in the type of operating I like. I fully respect that and don't ever try to inflict my way of doing things onto anybody else. But operating a complex layout with good operators is as good as the hobby gets for me.   

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3 minutes ago, t-b-g said:

 

On Narrow Road, we used to operate with a crew of 6. One on the fiddle yard, one on the loco shed (the easiest and being out front was also the main point of contact for questions, one shunting the yard, which was continuous throughout the sequence, two drivers on the main line, for arrivals and departures and a "fat controller" coordinating everything. We went out with 8, so we had two spares. We didn't get much of a break operating like that but we used to enjoy it so much we didn't want breaks.

 

With the "top link" crew, it was lovely to call for the next move and knowing that everybody would be ready. On song, we could run 59 trains in and out in an hour, plus shunting and light engine moves. With a less competent crew, we were still pretty slick but the sequence took perhaps 75 minutes and you would ask for a loco off shed and it would still be going round on the turntable! So you might only have one train departing, the pilot following it up the platform and the yard shunter moving. The light engine off shed which could have happened at the same time ran a minute or two later. To run the sequence in an hour, every move had to be perfect and every possible multiple move had to happen. We did it a few times but we didn't want to turn it into a "pressure to perform" situation so we didn't stress out over it. It either happened or it didn't. 

 

Many people have little or no interest in the type of operating I like. I fully respect that and don't ever try to inflict my way of doing things onto anybody else. But operating a complex layout with good operators is as good as the hobby gets for me.   

Lovely stuff Tony. That's the whole point of the Mid-Cornwall Lines too, although we do it at home rather than on the road. By the way, I could have included Castle Rackrent in my list but as far as I know it never went to a public exhibition in its full form.

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5 hours ago, jrg1 said:

Will these etches be available to buy?

Perhaps longer term they will. The etch shown is 1 of 3 and the first 2 are to be modified after I get better resolution drawings for the prototype bridge from the Midland Railway Study Centre. This will be after next February as they are in long term storage whilst refurbishment takes place. I also need to get Jamie Guest's permission as he did the original 2 etches for Tony and I am building the first iteration. I plan to build again (for my own layout) and record the method. If there is interest then futher templates etc. might have to be made and possibly more updates as it is a complex build. So, a big undertaking, but as a detailed OO brass bridge of UK prototype design (rather tha USA design) is not readily available, then it might be worthwhile.

Dave

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7 hours ago, Armchair Modeller said:

Lincolnshire Road Car route 24 from Stamford to Grantham appears to go past the station in the early 1960s. Sorry about the quality of the scan, but hopefully you can just about read it. 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/LincRC-1.jpg.ce527c7949ebe9b1b9e531ff7f386f0a.jpg

That's brilliant, thank you.

 

I can now renumber the bus, alter the route number/destination and give it a tiny bit of weathering (some of which it got from the bin!). 

 

Seriously, it was a gift from a friend - a bus enthusiast.

 

It shows how all of us have a 'blind spot' with our modelling (I'm being defensive here). I'd never dream of putting an incorrectly-numbered or inappropriate loco on the layout (RTR at that, with no alterations - even worse!), yet I did the equivalent of that with the bus. Ignorance, I suppose.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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6 hours ago, t-b-g said:

 

On Narrow Road, we used to operate with a crew of 6. One on the fiddle yard, one on the loco shed (the easiest and being out front was also the main point of contact for questions, one shunting the yard, which was continuous throughout the sequence, two drivers on the main line, for arrivals and departures and a "fat controller" coordinating everything. We went out with 8, so we had two spares. We didn't get much of a break operating like that but we used to enjoy it so much we didn't want breaks.

 

With the "top link" crew, it was lovely to call for the next move and knowing that everybody would be ready. On song, we could run 59 trains in and out in an hour, plus shunting and light engine moves. With a less competent crew, we were still pretty slick but the sequence took perhaps 75 minutes and you would ask for a loco off shed and it would still be going round on the turntable! So you might only have one train departing, the pilot following it up the platform and the yard shunter moving. The light engine off shed which could have happened at the same time ran a minute or two later. To run the sequence in an hour, every move had to be perfect and every possible multiple move had to happen. We did it a few times but we didn't want to turn it into a "pressure to perform" situation so we didn't stress out over it. It either happened or it didn't. 

 

Many people have little or no interest in the type of operating I like. I fully respect that and don't ever try to inflict my way of doing things onto anybody else. But operating a complex layout with good operators is as good as the hobby gets for me.   

I watched Narrow Road a few times, Tony,

 

And, you must have had the 'crack' crew in operation whenever I did, though do you remember the time, just to get Malcolm annoyed, I sneaked a Thompson A2/2 on to the shed when he wasn't looking? 

 

I've mentioned this before, but when WMRC originally took out Charwelton, we had the ironstone line in operation, but it was quickly abandoned. A pity I know, but the slow pace of the interchange of wagons between BR and the private line meant spectators walked off, because 'nothing was running' if they were standing by Catesby Tunnel or near the south end occupation bridge. 

 

Another factor was the guy needed to work the cassettes (full and empties). One extra body. A minimum of six was needed to operate the layout (four on, two off at any one time) - seven if you include the ironstone man, or eight with a spare. That's a very large number of people to accommodate over the course of a show (even with a trainset 35' x 14'). Many shows couldn't afford a layout like that. 

 

We accepted that there is a fundamental difference between operating at a show and operating just for pleasure as it were. I firmly believe that, in most cases, 'accurate' operation doesn't 'work' at an exhibition. Not if you wish to 'entertain' the majority.

 

The big factor, of course, is the type of show. Because I'm really a Philistine, I usually attend the 'general' shows as a demonstrator/loco doctor (though I have demonstrated at EM events and even P4 ones - the latter demonstrating photography). At the 'scale' shows, I find things are much more relaxed. Without barriers, there's often an 'intimacy' between layout operators and spectators. There seems to be more time to talk, often at the 'abandonment' of running. It doesn't matter. I'm surprised more 'general' modellers don't attend.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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10 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

The point, I think, is that we should attempt to inform and educate at the same time as entertaining. The viewer will probably appreciate that even if they don't realise it at the time.

 

I like to be educated. In fact I expect to learn from layouts I see at shows, even if it's only a small thing, in order to develop and improve my own layout building/modelling efforts. If there is nothing to glean I tend not to linger, even if the running is entertaining.

 

Likewise, if there is no modelling beyond the railway boundary or the railway is not in an appropriate setting I don't hang around beyond checking the trains/stock. Oddly perhaps, operation isn't high on my priority list. I prefer the crafting aspects to the running/playing part of the hobby, although that is not to say I don't enjoy watching trains and having a dabble at operating.

 

I guess we all have subtly different reasons for spending time at a layout.

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11 hours ago, Clive Mortimore said:

 

Clive,

 

I love your layout plan. I think we've had the discussion about King's Cross before, so I hope we're not boring people, but your plan certainly captures the feel of the place, although the pointwork is a lot less interesting/ challenging than the 1950s plan. The ability to use your sidings as turn back locations is a great idea - are they scenic ('inside the fence') or just conventional fiddle yards?

 

I estimate that you have about 15 feet from buffer stops to 'Gasworks Tunnel', whereas the real thing would be 17 feet in 4mm, so you're not far short of the prototype - King's Cross was very cramped lengthways. The issue when modelling it is the required width which is about 10 feet from York Road to the tip of the milk dock, so some serious compromise would be necessary there. I see you've managed by just modelling the mainline part of the station which is a sensible step when you're lifting the track plan for another location but wouldn't really work for modelling King's Cross itself.

 

I'm with you when it comes to modelling 'outside the fence'. I do a bit just to provide a setting for the trains, but track laying, wiring and rolling stock are my main interests, so that's what I'd prefer to spend my time on. That, of course, is the benefit of a club layout as different people can bring different skills/ interests to bear.

 

Andy

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2 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

I watched Narrow Road a few times, Tony,

 

And, you must have had the 'crack' crew in operation whenever I did, though do you remember the time, just to get Malcolm annoyed, I sneaked a Thompson A2/2 on to the shed when he wasn't looking? 

 

I've mentioned this before, but when WMRC originally took out Charwelton, we had the ironstone line in operation, but it was quickly abandoned. A pity I know, but the slow pace of the interchange of wagons between BR and the private line meant spectators walked off, because 'nothing was running' if they were standing by Catesby Tunnel or near the south end occupation bridge. 

 

Another factor was the guy needed to work the cassettes (full and empties). One extra body. A minimum of six was needed to operate the layout (four on, two off at any one time) - seven if you include the ironstone man, or eight with a spare. That's a very large number of people to accommodate over the course of a show (even with a trainset 35' x 14'). Many shows couldn't afford a layout like that. 

 

We accepted that there is a fundamental difference between operating at a show and operating just for pleasure as it were. I firmly believe that, in most cases, 'accurate' operation doesn't 'work' at an exhibition. Not if you wish to 'entertain' the majority.

 

The big factor, of course, is the type of show. Because I'm really a Philistine, I usually attend the 'general' shows as a demonstrator/loco doctor (though I have demonstrated at EM events and even P4 ones - the latter demonstrating photography). At the 'scale' shows, I find things are much more relaxed. Without barriers, there's often an 'intimacy' between layout operators and spectators. There seems to be more time to talk, often at the 'abandonment' of running. It doesn't matter. I'm surprised more 'general' modellers don't attend.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

I do remember the A2. Malcolm recovered eventually!

 

He could be a very good operator on shed as he knew the correct sequences for disposal, turning, coaling etc. The problem was that he just didn't know how to multitask, so if he got talking, which was often, his attention to what was happening on shed vanished. You could easily have taken off all the locos on shed and he wouldn't have noticed.

 

There were a couple of potential invitations to shows that fell through when 8 operators were mentioned but not many. We reckoned that we would fill the same space as 3 smaller layouts which might have 3 operators each. The problem became getting a crew together and advancing age. We lost Malcolm and George Morris and a couple of others got to the stage where it was hard work and too tiring. Which is why we don't exhibit it any more.

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13 hours ago, Clive Mortimore said:

 

Hamilton Rd Sheffield

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/1907483661_Hamiltonrdrma.png.bb2119d2a3a8440a2da050f68efaa189.png

 

Lloyd Street, Sheffield. they were posh as they had front doors.

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/1618233788_lloydstrm.png.0027df55dd05467c24d81d1cdebed328.png

 

I am not anti outside the fence modelling, most layouts benefit from having a setting. There are a few where it is more of a model village with a train running through than a model railway. I can appreciate the modelling but surely railway modelling is about the trains and what their surroundings are like.

 

Interesting re the front doors Clive. Where I grew up, the Duke of Bedford didn’t like to see women chatting at the front doors of his tied, terraced houses, so they didn’t have any front doors.  There were two backdoors instead.
 

Tim
 

Tim

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3 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

We accepted that there is a fundamental difference between operating at a show and operating just for pleasure as it were. I firmly believe that, in most cases, 'accurate' operation doesn't 'work' at an exhibition. Not if you wish to 'entertain' the majority.

 

The big factor, of course, is the type of show. Because I'm really a Philistine, I usually attend the 'general' shows as a demonstrator/loco doctor (though I have demonstrated at EM events and even P4 ones - the latter demonstrating photography). At the 'scale' shows, I find things are much more relaxed. Without barriers, there's often an 'intimacy' between layout operators and spectators. There seems to be more time to talk, often at the 'abandonment' of running. It doesn't matter. I'm surprised more 'general' modellers don't attend.

Penny drop moment :blush:

 

My attendance tends to be at scale shows and their ilk. Much of the operation (within understandable parameters) I would describe as 'accurate' and everything tends to be pretty relaxed without barriers and much discussion going on. Often listening to the conversations is pretty interesting as well. I suspect this gives me a different reaction to layouts than I might have at a general show. The experience tends to be interactive rather than a simple spectator sport.

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2 minutes ago, queensquare said:

For those interested, I've attached the trackplan for my Bath layout. All the baseboards are built and about two-thirds is currently operational so very much a work in progress. Its scale length to the end of the goods yard/loco shed boards though I've had to reduce the width over the yards. The distance from there to the junction is considerably shortened and the climb up Bath bank is very compressed although most of the main features are there including crossing the GWR (15" or so ending in a mirror!) and the two private sidings. The twin, Devonshire and Combe Down tunnels are reduced to one followed by Tucking Mill viaduct, Twinhoe bridge then into the coal field and the S&D fiddle yard. 

 

I'm with Tony G when it comes to operation and I'm fortunate that Bath offers great operating potential - two goods yards, two sheds and two distinct routes dividing at Bath junction. With the exception of a few locals that started or terminated at Bath, the station essentially worked as a through station with trains heading north over the Midland  or south over the S&D reversing and changing locos at Bath so plenty to keep operators busy.

 

Jerry

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/1621363967_20191031_095457(3).jpg.6bad4938e79204f709338555659edea7.jpg

 

An epic, Jerry,

 

And a fascinating and entertaining talk you gave about it, too. Even if, on the odd occasion, we had to stand on our heads to see the pictures! 

 

I'd better be careful saying that, because I'm next to talk at Laurie's. I'd better make sure my pictures are the right way up.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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4 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

An epic, Jerry,

 

And a fascinating and entertaining talk you gave about it, too. Even if, on the odd occasion, we had to stand on our heads to see the pictures! 

 

I'd better be careful saying that, because I'm next to talk at Laurie's. I'd better make sure my pictures are the right way up.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

All of the pictures were the right way up when I put them on the stick - something happened to a few between there and the screen:mad: I'm afraid me and technology are not buddies!

 

Jerry

Edited by queensquare
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10 minutes ago, queensquare said:

For those interested, I've attached the trackplan for my Bath layout. All the baseboards are built and about two-thirds is currently operational so very much a work in progress. Its scale length to the end of the goods yard/loco shed boards though I've had to reduce the width over the yards. The distance from there to the junction is considerably shortened and the climb up Bath bank is very compressed although most of the main features are there including crossing the GWR (15" or so ending in a mirror!) and the two private sidings. The twin, Devonshire and Combe Down tunnels are reduced to one followed by Tucking Mill viaduct, Twinhoe bridge then into the coal field and the S&D fiddle yard. 

 

I'm with Tony G when it comes to operation and I'm fortunate that Bath offers great operating potential - two goods yards, two sheds and two distinct routes dividing at Bath junction. With the exception of a few locals that started or terminated at Bath, the station essentially worked as a through station with trains heading north over the Midland  or south over the S&D reversing and changing locos at Bath so plenty to keep operators busy.

 

Jerry

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/1621363967_20191031_095457(3).jpg.6bad4938e79204f709338555659edea7.jpg

 

 

I haven't seen that before. Wow! Very impressive and ambitious. I hope I get to have a play some day!

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Thanks for all the recent comments about layouts and operation. A wide spectrum, from which, I think, we can all learn. 

 

Clearly there's no layout (whatever scale/gauge) that suits everyone. For instance, my approach to operating a layout is totally different from Tony Gee's. In fact, I'm not sure whether I actually enjoy operating all that much. I rarely did on Stoke and Charwelton (doing what I do best - wind-bagging at the end of them!), and I never operate LB by myself. I much prefer building things rather than running them, though everything I make must work. Work hard, work smoothly, work quietly and not derail! 

 

I think that what we might all agree on is this. If a layout is well-built, looks realistic, follows prototype practice in all aspects (though not necessarily a model of an actual place) and runs well - the last-mentioned, most important - then it's worth looking at, even if the operation might not entirely be what we enjoy the most. The two P4 layouts shown recently in action on here prove that the finest 4mm gauge can work superbly, and, I hope, the recent rerun of LB proves that it works, in OO (even if the trains stop and start too quickly!). 

 

Poor running, I cannot tolerate (again, whatever the scale gauge). I've mentioned this before, but two years or so ago at Spalding two 4mm layouts were back-to-back. One was in P4, the other in OO. The former ran superbly (St. Merryn), the other (not named for obvious reasons) didn't.  

Edited by Tony Wright
to clarify a point
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15 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

If I've been unfair, then that's my observation. 

 

What I find hard to reconcile (not just with Ambergate, which is wonderful in P4), is how folk can 'tolerate' such crude RTR carriages, even for testing. I've never used anything RTR to test trackwork on the layouts I've been involved with. The appropriate stock must be tested, along with the trackwork. 

 

I assume the carriages in question have just been re-gauged? If so, it rather proves that compensated bogies aren't absolutely necessary in the finest 4mm gauge. Looking again at the other carriages lying about the layout, they too seemed to be RTR. For testing purposes? 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

Thinking about this I really don't see the issue with using a re-gauged RTR coach for testing.  What should come first, the stock or the track ? 

 

As a lone builder I wouldn't contemplate building the stock then the track so it could be tested that way. Part of the enjoyment for me is seeing what you've built, running on what you've laid.

 

As for compensated bogies, I'd say it's a testament to the track layers skill that they're maybe not required.

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Am I unusual in being happy to just watch them run.

 

Complex running to timetables, not really interested, building and watching is more fun. This is where train sets win, start them up and watch them.

 

My under construction for 20 years garage layout will be converted to continuous run eventually so I can kick off a couple and watch them pass by.

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36 minutes ago, t-b-g said:

 

I haven't seen that before. Wow! Very impressive and ambitious. I hope I get to have a play some day!

Always welcome Tony.

 

Jerry

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58 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

Thanks for all the recent comments about layouts and operation. A wide spectrum, from which, I think, we can all learn. 

 

Clearly there's no layout (whatever scale/gauge) that suits everyone. For instance, my approach to operating a layout is totally different from Tony Gee's. In fact, I'm not sure whether I actually enjoy operating all that much. I rarely did on Stoke and Charwelton (doing what I do best - wind-bagging at the end of them!), and I never operate LB by myself. I much prefer building things rather than running them, though everything I make must work. Work hard, work smoothly, work quietly and not derail! 

 

I think that what we might all agree on is this. If a layout is well-built, looks realistic, follows prototype practice in all aspects (though not necessarily a model of an actual place) and runs well - the last-mentioned, most important - then it's worth looking at, even if the operation might not entirely be what we enjoy the most. The two P4 layouts shown recently in action on here prove that the finest 4mm gauge can work superbly, and, I hope, the recent rerun of LB proves that it works, in OO (even if the trains stop and start too quickly!). 

 

Poor running, I cannot tolerate (again, whatever the scale gauge). I've mentioned this before, but two years or so ago at Spalding two 4mm layouts were back-to-back. One was in P4, the other in OO. The former ran superbly (St. Merryn), the other (not named for obvious reasons) didn't.  

Hello Tony

 

I use to be in the "build not run gang" until I built Sheffield Exchange Mk1 which was a Minories style layout. I would pop out to the garage to do some modelling, while in there temptation would over take and I would say "I will only run a couple". I would look at the clock "Oh my God!! I was supposed to be in bed an hour ago." No modelling again.

 

Now I am really lucky I mix operating with modelling. If in a modelling mood I put some music on and will set two trains off around the room. Every now and then have a break from modelling, swap the trains over, post something on RMweb and if there is a tune I like have a little dance. I have found operating is much more fun if the stock stays on the track, and the trains move when told to. If I have to resort to the hand of Odin the offending loco or DMU is whipped off the track and the problem sorted. If the hand of Vishnu is needed to put something back on the track where my poor operating hasn't been the cause, the fault be it track or stock is sorted. Apart from errors by the fat bald bloke Sheffield Exchange runs very well. I am now not sure if I am in the driving trains group or the making things club. One thing I know all the dance companies in our area have said "No thanks."

Edited by Clive Mortimore
Wrong There Their They're
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48 minutes ago, MJI said:

Am I unusual in being happy to just watch them run.

 

Complex running to timetables, not really interested, building and watching is more fun. This is where train sets win, start them up and watch them.

 

My under construction for 20 years garage layout will be converted to continuous run eventually so I can kick off a couple and watch them pass by.

 

In the words of Tom Jones, "It's not unusual". If anything, the full on operation enthusiast is in the minority. You mention block bells and people roll their eyes and sigh, usually passing some overused Notre Dame reference! You really do get all sorts in he hobby, from the builder who just wants to see their creations running to the person who will operate quite happily using all RTR stuff. In between is the person who builds their models and then enjoys operating them rather than just running them. I see myself in that group but here are not that many of us!

 

I agree that there is something satisfying about having a continuous run, so that you can do some modelling as the trains run through the scenery. You couldn't operate Buckingham or Narrow Road and carry out some model making at the same time! 

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6 minutes ago, t-b-g said:

 

You mention block bells and people roll their eyes and sigh,

 

I never saw Heckmondwyke - I'm too young - but I read somewhere someone commenting on its atmosphere - the bells rang, the down main signals came off, there was an expectant hush - a Jubilee on a down express? No, engine and brake - somehow archetypically Midland, to my thinking.

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16 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

I think that is very true Phil. As a rule of thumb, it seems that layouts that attract viewers at exhibitions are not very exciting to operate and vice versa.

While this is a very true rule in my experience, an exception to this rule must be most of Bob Harper's layouts!

For those who don't know him, Bob is a rather talented modeller of GWR broad (& standard!) gauge in 7mm fs as well as a very keen American narrow gauge modeller in 3' and/or 2' gauge in 1/48 scale. He is most emphatically NOT an 0n30 modeller!!!

As a one-time fellow member of the Manchester MRS, I was privileged on a few occasions to operate his large "basement" style empire as well as various of his exhibition layouts - none of which were ever boring to operate, always intellectually challenging and stimulating.

Personally, I always found them interesting/fascinating to watch too but I fear the subject matter would put many off. Even I, with my very catholic tastes, didn't much like some of his more esoteric US narrow gauge locos!

However, operating them was great fun, principally because they usually worked well.

He does still travel the country so if you see his name, try and observe any of his layouts.

Cheers,

John.

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26 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

 

I never saw Heckmondwyke - I'm too young - but I read somewhere someone commenting on its atmosphere - the bells rang, the down main signals came off, there was an expectant hush - a Jubilee on a down express? No, engine and brake - somehow archetypically Midland, to my thinking.

 

In that case the signalman rang the wrong bells! You should know what type of train is coming. 4 bells for the express, 2 pause 3 for the light engine and brake (on the GCR that would be the code, they did vary).

 

I see it time and time again on layouts. One operator will ask the other, often quite loudly to be heard above the background sound of an exhibition, "Can you take a pick up goods?".

 

The real railway had a perfectly easy to reproduce method of offering and accepting trains. To be fair, we use a simplified system and only use about 10 different codes but it is just so much more railwaylike than shouting from one end of the layout to the other. Of course if you are sending trains to yourself, or just running them round a circuit, it becomes a bit daft unless you have an "Automatic Crispin"! For a layout with multiple operating positions and operators, it is as good a way of passing rains from one to the other as any. I have seen it done with lights rather than bells. That works just as well and if anybody is offended by a few bell noises, they could always do that instead.

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While strict running to sequence can be interesting for the operators, and use of bell codes can add another dimension to the interest and the realism, experience tells me that such things are NOT desirable in exhibition conditions when not only are there mixed levels of ability among the operators, but also that the more able, quicker, more enthusiastic members of the crew insist on trying to push the pace to maintain the moving spectacle for the viewers. All that achieves is annoyance and fatigue for those operators who need to proceed more calmly, slowly and methodically, in turn risking disaffection and loss of vital contributions to the layout as a whole.

Allowance has also to be made for engaging verbally with interested members of the public. Strict attention to the job, like an isolated signalman, is not a realistic goal.

Edited by gr.king
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