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New Haven Neil

Older Inspirational Layouts

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LB Mk1 is the truly inspiring one; Stony Stratford was a bit 'early and basic'; Tingewick looked a tad as if it was on a blasted heath, where nobody wanted to be.

 

Don't get at all anticipative, though. My rate of production has slowed to the glacial over the years ...... at times of the evening when I used to start a couple of hours model-building, I now seem to start a couple of hours loafing!

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I agree that the three part article on Leighton Buzzard was "the" article on the concept and build of such a layout.

 

The original Stony Stratford had the same trackplan but didn't quite have the charm of LB. The version of the layout with Tingewick as a terminus never really fired my enthusiasm for the smaller station. The building was very basic. The only thing I didn't like about LB was the goods shed being on the end of the running line. I would have liked it on the siding rather than the headshunt.

 

I have also thought once or twice about doing a replica, which I could then transport and exhibit with the Denny locos and stock. I have a collection of suitable old brickpapers etc. that came with the layout.

 

In this modern world, I had wondered about creating an eco friendly layout, plastic free. Everything wood, paper, card or metal. I might have to cheat when it comes to things like a plastic bush insulating a wheel!

 

Then again, I have work still to do on Buckingham, an embryonic 7mm layout (an O Gauge original LB!) and plenty of other things, so it may be a way off yet.

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The green/retro-layout thing does have a small following. There is a brilliant Minories on the circuit, all done in contemporary materials, and my own layout is supposed to be plastic-free; although the sleepers break that rule, I don’t think anything else does so far.

 

An 0 Version is something to look forward to.

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I have the the track plan for Leighton Buzzard (minus the curve and gasworks) in Peco Code 75 all done along with folding 6 foot baseboards. Mirror image though to make the 3-ways work.

But that’s as far as I took it due to my dissatisfaction with that code of Peco track, along with the gauge etc. Now on the faltering steps in EM gauge. And anyway, to me, it didn’t feel right to copy such an iconic layout. 

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2 hours ago, Denbridge said:

There is a belief that the Madder Valley doesnt run very well. Yet at the museums 50th anniversary celebrations, all 3 operating exhibits, including MV were running extremely well John ahearns classic still with original stock ran far better than many finescale exhibition layouts.

I was told by a number of staff that one volunteer had expended many hours into making the exhibits reliable.

Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case now. On my most recent visit ,MV Dartmoor and the vale were not running at all well. I was told that the volunteer who had done so much had left. It was sadly evident that Pendon lacks someone to maintain the models properly. I was also saddened to see the MV stocked by modern rtr locos.

As a friend of Pendon that is worrying. The team conserving the MVR did a magnificent job of making it into a reliable model railway that properly illustrates John Ahern's achievement in building such a paradigm shifting layout by himself while making as few visible changes to it as possible. After decades of seeing it as a static exhibit with just ocasionally a train making halting progress along it.  it's been wonderful to be able to see it running and running pretty well and as recently as June last year . 

I don't remember it running as well back around the time of the Museum's 50th but they may have pulled out all the stops for the celebration itself and been very judicious about the locos they actually used.

 

The decision to operate the MVR with RTR locos was a tough one for them and was based on the need to conserve John Ahern's original and now very elderly models rather than running them till they failed. They could have remeched them but I think decided not to. I undertand that the replacement models get used for actually operating the layout but the rest of the time, which is most of the time, when the MVR is a static exhibit. the RTR locos are removed.

 

The belief in  the MVR's unreliability came I think from Mrs. Ahern, who so generously donated the MVR to Pendon after John Ahern's untimely death. She is reported to have said that she wasn't surprised that the Pendon team had difficulties with at as she'd never seen it running  well when her husband had it. That may well reflect the state of the railway in the latter years of John Ahern's life but, though the design of the MVR is eminently suited to proper operation, I've never heard of him having regular operating sessions nor of anything like a timetable for it. 

 

The sad truth also is that permanent home layouts, however good when first built, tend to gradually fall into disuse and become something to potter with  rather than to devote a day or an evening to operate.  There are exceptions of course such as Peter Denny who had weekly operating sessions  and others. The regular operating evening also seems to be particularly popular with American modellers and to a large extent replaces the model railway club. However, on more than one occasion when visiting for other reasons, I've been invited to see someone's (or someone's father's) model railway, usually in the loft,  and I've found a very dusty scene that clearly hasn't been visited let alone run for months.

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Buckingham is still operated at least once a week and often twice. It is by far the best way of keeping switch contacts clean and polished, loco mechanisms free running and prevents build up of dirt on the track. In around 8 years of regular operating, the track has had to be cleaned two or three times in total.

 

The loco pick ups have fluff removed once in a while and a spot of oil on gears and bearings once in a while and the lovely old thing just keeps going.

 

  

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4 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

at times of the evening when I used to start a couple of hours model-building, I now seem to start a couple of hours loafing!

...or RMwebbing.

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A few pages back a member was asking for a list of Peter Denny articles etc. I am an infrequent visitor at present to RMWeb, so much happening in life at present but I offer the attached list in the hope it is of interest to others. I am most happy to scan any of the articles if requested as long as I am not breaching any copyright laws! Since some articles are verging on antiquity I doubt it, but I am really too old to contemplate a stretch in the "Scrubs".

 

As with most of my work, the list ends in 2009, but I am thrilled that previous efforts have been appreciated and added to by other members. That is what RMWeb is really all about.

Denny List.doc

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1 hour ago, Pacific231G said:

As a friend of Pendon that is worrying. The team conserving the MVR did a magnificent job of making it into a reliable model railway that properly illustrates John Ahern's achievement in building such a paradigm shifting layout by himself while making as few visible changes to it as possible. After decades of seeing it as a static exhibit with just ocasionally a train making halting progress along it.  it's been wonderful to be able to see it running and running pretty well and as recently as June last year . 

I don't remember it running as well back around the time of the Museum's 50th but they may have pulled out all the stops for the celebration itself and been very judicious about the locos they actually used.

 

The decision to operate the MVR with RTR locos was a tough one for them and was based on the need to conserve John Ahern's original and now very elderly models rather than running them till they failed. They could have remeched them but I think decided not to. I undertand that the replacement models get used for actually operating the layout but the rest of the time, which is most of the time, when the MVR is a static exhibit. the RTR locos are removed.

 

The belief in  the MVR's unreliability came I think from Mrs. Ahern, who so generously donated the MVR to Pendon after John Ahern's untimely death. She is reported to have said that she wasn't surprised that the Pendon team had difficulties with at as she'd never seen it running  well when her husband had it. That may well reflect the state of the railway in the latter years of John Ahern's life but, though the design of the MVR is eminently suited to proper operation, I've never heard of him having regular operating sessions nor of anything like a timetable for it. 

 

The sad truth also is that permanent home layouts, however good when first built, tend to gradually fall into disuse and become something to potter with  rather than to devote a day or an evening to operate.  There are exceptions of course such as Peter Denny who had weekly operating sessions  and others. The regular operating evening also seems to be particularly popular with American modellers and to a large extent replaces the model railway club. However, on more than one occasion when visiting for other reasons, I've been invited to see someone's (or someone's father's) model railway, usually in the loft,  and I've found a very dusty scene that clearly hasn't been visited let alone run for months.

At the 50th, all of the surviving Madder Valley were running, including the IOM 2.4.0t Manx Kitten. That was the first time it had ever run on the 2 rail layout, JA had never converted it from 3 rail. I was told that the same volunteer had built a new chassis in the week leading up to the celebrations. It was running minus cylinders which hadnt been completed. 

I agree its worrying. The operation of Dartmoor and MV were very poor on both of my visits this year. Trains no longer seem to stop at Pendon Parva station in the vale. I was told that if they stop, they sometimes stall because the baseboard have sagged. Indeed,  looking along at eye level it looks dreadful.

Edited by Denbridge
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Whilst there is a link to these earlier in the thread, given the discussions about the Buckingham system, I thought it is worth providing the links to a series of blog posts I have done following visits to Tony:

 

Buckingham Central

Buckingham Plan

Return Ticket to Buckingham - 1: A Running Day

Return Ticket to Buckingham - 2: Peter Denny's Modelling

Return Ticket to Buckingham - 3: Automatic Crispen

 

There are a lot of photographs in these and a number of stories of the layout from Tony!

 

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6 minutes ago, Portchullin Tatty said:

Whilst there is a link to these earlier in the thread, given the discussions about the Buckingham system, I thought it is worth providing the links to a series of blog posts I have done following visits to Tony:

 

Buckingham Central

Buckingham Plan

Return Ticket to Buckingham - 1: A Running Day

Return Ticket to Buckingham - 2: Peter Denny's Modelling

Return Ticket to Buckingham - 3: Automatic Crispen

 

There are a lot of photographs in these and a number of stories of the layout from Tony!

 

 

Thanks for these links, brilliant.......

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Roye England told me, back in 1964, that they had failed to find anyone, Ahern family or friend, or model railway enthusiast, who had actually seen the Madder Valley layout running satisfactorily, it was in a U-shape, of course, at the Ahern home and had been modified to an L for display at Pendon. The distinct impression had been gained that JA was a man who liked making things and was just not bothered with whether the layout actually worked or not - there were plenty of other modellers of that period who had a similar ethos but because their work appeared on the Model Railway Club's static stands at Central Hall shows rather than as operating layouts, we tend not to remember them.

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1 hour ago, Caddy said:

A few pages back a member was asking for a list of Peter Denny articles etc. I am an infrequent visitor at present to RMWeb, so much happening in life at present but I offer the attached list in the hope it is of interest to others. I am most happy to scan any of the articles if requested as long as I am not breaching any copyright laws! Since some articles are verging on antiquity I doubt it, but I am really too old to contemplate a stretch in the "Scrubs".

 

As with most of my work, the list ends in 2009, but I am thrilled that previous efforts have been appreciated and added to by other members. That is what RMWeb is really all about.

Denny List.doc 23.5 kB · 3 downloads

 

Well done on your list. I do have a slight advantage over you in that Stephen Denny has provided me with not only a list but a copy of everything he found that his father had written, so there are a few more that can be added.

 

I have scanned his list, which hasn't been added to since 2012, so am attaching a copy here.

 

Some are just a letter published in a magazine, others are full articles. Not all are about Buckingham. The garden railway and the TT railway are included, along with the very first written work published in 1931 about the O gauge tinplate railway in Meccano Magazine.

 

Hopefully this works, my skills at such things are not as up to date as they used to be!

 

Full Denny Article List.pdf

 

 

 

 

Edited by t-b-g
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My half-remembered muse about the Formoway advert has been corrected above - Clive, I would have had no idea where it was though, not going to points so far south (of Newcastle) until some years after those adverts due to being a bit young then! Alas not now.

 

i do recall operating 'Southallerton' by Phil English, who was in our club, when I was an early teenager.  This had Formoway track and mechanical lever frame point operation, rather crude but it worked.  This layout did feature in the Modeller way back then.  It was fun to operate at shows, Phil unfortunately died very young.  Phil was a great loco basher, with a V2 made from a Triang A3, and other clever plastic bashing.  They wouldn't pass  muster today, but at the time were quite good.

 

I'm so pleased this thread has burst back into life, I have really enjoyed being reminded of the layouts I intended it to reflect.  Keep it up folks!

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49 minutes ago, Portchullin Tatty said:

Whilst there is a link to these earlier in the thread, given the discussions about the Buckingham system, I thought it is worth providing the links to a series of blog posts I have done following visits to Tony:

 

Buckingham Central

Buckingham Plan

Return Ticket to Buckingham - 1: A Running Day

Return Ticket to Buckingham - 2: Peter Denny's Modelling

Return Ticket to Buckingham - 3: Automatic Crispen

 

There are a lot of photographs in these and a number of stories of the layout from Tony!

 

 

Many thanks for posting those links. Happy days! 

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3 hours ago, D-A-T said:

I have the the track plan for Leighton Buzzard (minus the curve and gasworks) in Peco Code 75 all done along with folding 6 foot baseboards. Mirror image though to make the 3-ways work.

But that’s as far as I took it due to my dissatisfaction with that code of Peco track, along with the gauge etc. Now on the faltering steps in EM gauge. And anyway, to me, it didn’t feel right to copy such an iconic layout. 

Sorry for going a bit OT but, apart from not being EM gauge what were the sources of your dissatisfaction with Peco code 75? I'm asking because I use their Code 100 track and have found it suitable for my purpose albeit  a little heavy looking. I'm looking to use code 75 for my next layout but wonder if there are pitfalls I should be aware of.

 

Edited by Pacific231G

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Gauge obviously. 
But sleeper spacing, end diverging sleeper orientation, flat bottomed rail profile and just the fact it was a “unit” and did not flow. Plus the 12 degree standard as opposed to A/B/C 6/7/8 etc angles.

There is nothing wrong with it as a product in my opinion but I think I just wanted more realism.

This has lead to me attempting to learn Templot which is a whole other matter.

Remember this hobby is supposed to be fun....

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51 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

Sorry for going a bit OT but, apart from not being EM gauge what were the sources of your dissatisfaction with Peco code 75? I'm asking because I use their Code 100 track and have found it suitable for my purpose albeit  a little heavy looking. I'm looking to use code 75 for my next layout but wonder if there are pitfalls I should be aware of.

 

You could try Peco code 75 bullhead David (usual disclaimer).

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37 minutes ago, D-A-T said:

Gauge obviously. 
But sleeper spacing, end diverging sleeper orientation, flat bottomed rail profile and just the fact it was a “unit” and did not flow. Plus the 12 degree standard as opposed to A/B/C 6/7/8 etc angles.

There is nothing wrong with it as a product in my opinion but I think I just wanted more realism.

This has lead to me attempting to learn Templot which is a whole other matter.

Remember this hobby is supposed to be fun....

I use SMP Scaleway track and make my own points for exactly those reasons (apart from gauge) among others.

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For Fans of MAdder Valley there are some good pictures taken behind the glass here https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/107713-castle-aching/page/847/

There are also some comment about stand in locos

 

The original LB plan has been widely used. For my 0 gauge Sparrows Wharf layout I realised I could not place the fiddle yard beyond the outer crossover so took the main line off to a sector plate before the  crossover. It worked very well  and was great fun to operate. My current portable layout uses the LB plan with the addition of a bay road there are some photos here

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/79053-cambrian-and-gwr-0-gauge-layout-the-west-signal-box-locking-frame/page/15/

 

post-8525-0-88317900-1440711592.jpg.15bb640c15f94c6117f5b14c7894c3f3.jpg

 

 

Don

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11 hours ago, D-A-T said:

Gauge obviously. 
But sleeper spacing, end diverging sleeper orientation, flat bottomed rail profile and just the fact it was a “unit” and did not flow. Plus the 12 degree standard as opposed to A/B/C 6/7/8 etc angles.

There is nothing wrong with it as a product in my opinion but I think I just wanted more realism.

This has lead to me attempting to learn Templot which is a whole other matter.

Remember this hobby is supposed to be fun....

OK thanks. I was mostly concerned with its performance in service compared with Code 100.  I model French railways in H0 so many  of the problems you've cited don't really apply. Ironically, responding to St. Enodoc, my choice of prototype actually makes Peco's avowedly OO Bullhead track rather interesting.

 

Though it happened everywhere to some extent, Britain seems to have been somewhat unusual in the degree to which complex trackwork was tailored to individual sites rather than being made up of off the shelf units particularly going into the late 1940s onward. I don't know whether this is more about tradition or simply the need to pack more complex layouts into smaller spaces than most other railways.

Edited by Pacific231G
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10 hours ago, Donw said:

For Fans of MAdder Valley there are some good pictures taken behind the glass here https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/107713-castle-aching/page/847/

There are also some comment about stand in locos

 

The original LB plan has been widely used. For my 0 gauge Sparrows Wharf layout I realised I could not place the fiddle yard beyond the outer crossover so took the main line off to a sector plate before the  crossover. It worked very well  and was great fun to operate. My current portable layout uses the LB plan with the addition of a bay road there are some photos here

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/79053-cambrian-and-gwr-0-gauge-layout-the-west-signal-box-locking-frame/page/15/

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_11/post-8525-0-88317900-1440711592.jpg.15bb640c15f94c6117f5b14c7894c3f3.jpg

 

 

Don

 

That looks very much like the one I am plotting! Except I was planning to include a bay just there for a cattle dock but have done away with it now as my boards are quite small and I wanted a bit of room for some scenic work.

 

Peter Denny once told me that the most interesting operation on such a plan came about if you run a mixed train. He had one that consisted of 2 six wheeled carriages, 3 or 4 goods wagons and a brake van.

 

He reckoned that even with such a simple track plan, sorting that out and getting it ready to depart was an excellent way to spend a while shunting. 

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13 hours ago, bécasse said:

Roye England told me, back in 1964, that they had failed to find anyone, Ahern family or friend, or model railway enthusiast, who had actually seen the Madder Valley layout running satisfactorily, it was in a U-shape, of course, at the Ahern home and had been modified to an L for display at Pendon. The distinct impression had been gained that JA was a man who liked making things and was just not bothered with whether the layout actually worked or not - there were plenty of other modellers of that period who had a similar ethos but because their work appeared on the Model Railway Club's static stands at Central Hall shows rather than as operating layouts, we tend not to remember them.

On the Pendon DVD there is an interview with relatives of John Ahearn who clearly recall being shown the layout and seeing it running.

Edited by Denbridge

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24 minutes ago, t-b-g said:

He reckoned that even with such a simple track plan, sorting that out and getting it ready to depart was an excellent way to spend a while shunting.

One might say "especially" with such a simple track plan...

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6 minutes ago, St Enodoc said:

One might say "especially" with such a simple track plan...

 

I think you have hit the nail on the head!

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