Jump to content

Please use M,M&M only for topics that do not fit within other forum areas. All topics posted here await admin team approval to ensure they don't belong elsewhere.

Andy Kirkham

C J Freezer's own layout

Recommended Posts

Cyril Freezer wrote numerous articles and books and is acknowledged to have exercised an enormous influence on railway modeling; and yet I don't recall seeing any published descriptions of any of his own layouts. Admittedly there has been a  lengthy period when my interest in model railways lapsed, so I might well have missed something. Does anyone know what CJF's layout(s) were like?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cyril Freezer wrote numerous articles and books and is acknowledged to have exercised an enormous influence on railway modeling; and yet I don't recall seeing any published descriptions of any of his own layouts. Admittedly there has been a  lengthy period when my interest in model railways lapsed, so I might well have missed something. Does anyone know what CJF's layout(s) were like?

I don't recall ever seeing such a beast. I've had every Railway Modeller since 1973 & have many older ones than that. Lots of track plans etc and many loco drawings of the GWR. There was once an article on his son's Nick layout (a Minories scheme) and was 'obviously Midland' from the description. More was promised after his exams, but I don't remember seeing anything more than 1 poor quality photo.

 

I think CJF was too busy with track plans, drawings & visiting people like Peter Denny to build his own layout. I don't even recall anyone stating in the RM that they were 'inspired by CJF's actual layout'! Or else perhaps he didn't think readers would want any more of him! That's my guess anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the 1950s he built a GWR branch terminus based on St Ives.  Photos of it appear in (if memory serves) his book Model Railways on a Budget.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last year I was talking to Nick Freezer and he mentioned that the layout in question, "Dugdale Road" still exists, although it hasn't seen any use for many years. I did suggest that it might be one to resurrect and exhibit as a bit of model railway history but he didn't seem very keen! Nick will probably put in a visit to the Doncaster show in a couple of weeks so if I see him I will ask him about what layouts his dad had, unless somebody answers the question first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the 1950s he built a GWR branch terminus based on St Ives.  Photos of it appear in (if memory serves) his book Model Railways on a Budget.

This was called Tregunna and was originally designed to fit somehow in an under-stairs cupboard, hence a platform on a curve was necessary.

 

I have seen no evidence that he was a good modeller. When he was editor of MR he ran a series called "Confessions of a Lapsed Loco Builder" or something similar and the models he used to illustrate it were frankly poor. I have seen no other models by him and I have lots of mags from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

 

I'm sorry if that sounds mean-spirited but, being Yorkshire, I speak as I find.

 

He was, though, a brilliant writer and editor and although most of his plans are no longer to my taste (excessively simplified trackwork and sharp curves to fit tiny sites) I can see that they were very clever solutions for space-starved, cash-starved modellers, of which I was one until very recently. I built two layouts based on his plans, a U-format small branch terminus with fiddle sidings which fitted in a tiny box-room in our first flat (the first Clecklewyke), and a Minories-based terminus (the original Bradford North Western). Both, within the limits of my abilities and budget, were very satisfying, because they were fundamentally sound plans.

 

Ian

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There will notionally have been a home Freezer layout at the point that Nick left home to study, because was not 'Abbey Road' constructed for him to get his 'fix' while away? That was a minimum space O gauge layout based on the ex-GER Wisbech and Upwell system and equipment.

 

Of course this may have been a purely journalistic ruse, solely intended to demonstrate O in a small space, thus no home layout need have existed.

Edited by 34theletterbetweenB&D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was called Tregunna and was originally designed to fit somehow in an under-stairs cupboard, hence a platform on a curve was necessary.

  

Ian

So his book 'A Home for a Layout', didn't really apply to himself, as most of his plans were designed for garden sheds of various sizes. You'd think a long time editor/modeller would find some space for a layout during his many decades.

 

PS Ian, I still haven't started my Minories!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My family laugh at my short term memory (lack of) but my long term memory usually holds good.  Andy's question rang bells as I knew that there was a CJF layout I'd read about besides Tregunna.  June 1970 Railway Modeller has the answer in the Plan of the Month.  Cyril entitles it 'Slightly unconventional' and he writes, "Mostly my plans are projects which may be built.  This one differs in that it is actually under construction".  He writes as though it is he himself who is the builder.  It shows a typical CJF terminus plan with plenty of operation as well as a healthy span of scenics including tunnel, roads, bridge and river.  A key feature is the milk depot accessed through a series of diamond crossings in GWR fashion.  

 

The layout design also features as S51 on page 30 of 60 plans for small railways 3rd edition published by Peco.  

 

PS why do the old magazines and books smell so nice (!), even after all these years?  Is it the paper or the ink?

PPS  I still have to start my Minories as well...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My family laugh at my short term memory (lack of) but my long term memory usually holds good.  Andy's question rang bells as I knew that there was a CJF layout I'd read about besides Tregunna.  June 1970 Railway Modeller has the answer in the Plan of the Month.  Cyril entitles it 'Slightly unconventional' and he writes, "Mostly my plans are projects which may be built.  This one differs in that it is actually under construction".  He writes as though it is he himself who is the builder.  It shows a typical CJF terminus plan with plenty of operation as well as a healthy span of scenics including tunnel, roads, bridge and river.  A key feature is the milk depot accessed through a series of diamond crossings in GWR fashion.  

 

The layout design also features as S51 on page 30 of 60 plans for small railways 3rd edition published by Peco.  

 

PS why do the old magazines and books smell so nice (!), even after all these years?  Is it the paper or the ink?

PPS  I still have to start my Minories as well...

 

 

My current U-shaped layout started life as a "Minories" scheme, but the boards proved too small. I only had room for a single track between station and fiddle yard. I realised that the whole, and very clever, essence of "Minories" is the double track. I must build a bigger spare garage when I next move.

 

PB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was called Tregunna and was originally designed to fit somehow in an under-stairs cupboard, hence a platform on a curve was necessary.

 

I have seen no evidence that he was a good modeller. When he was editor of MR he ran a series called "Confessions of a Lapsed Loco Builder" or something similar and the models he used to illustrate it were frankly poor. I have seen no other models by him and I have lots of mags from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

 

I'm sorry if that sounds mean-spirited but, being Yorkshire, I speak as I find.

 

He was, though, a brilliant writer and editor and although most of his plans are no longer to my taste (excessively simplified trackwork and sharp curves to fit tiny sites) I can see that they were very clever solutions for space-starved, cash-starved modellers, of which I was one until very recently. I built two layouts based on his plans, a U-format small branch terminus with fiddle sidings which fitted in a tiny box-room in our first flat (the first Clecklewyke), and a Minories-based terminus (the original Bradford North Western). Both, within the limits of my abilities and budget, were very satisfying, because they were fundamentally sound plans.

 

Ian

 

I must admit that the photos that I've seen of Tregunna show it as being a little rough, although fairly typical, in overall standard, of its time if other layouts in the contemporary model press   Unless one regularly revisits the historical record it is easy to forget that the likes of Buckingham and Craigshire were very much the exceptions (hence their iconic status).

 

I agree that we should accept Mr Freezer's substantial contribution to the hobby as being that of author, editor and draughtsman rather than being, himself, an inspirational modeller

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wasn't Abbey Road built by Deryck Featherstone's son rather than Nick freezer?

Ees possible I have the wrong layout name? Pretty certain of the minimum space W&U inspired O gauge layout built for N Freezer to use while at college - though I don't recollect the layout builder's name if it was other than Freezer, senior or junior - and 'Abbey Road' is the only layout name that comes to mind in this connection. Anyone got the old RM's and willing to check? I know I haven't got them, long ago gutted for good drawings and the like, then disposed of.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CJF wrote a letter to MRJ (MRJ 62)  in which he made reference to owning a model of a RhB loco and having switched to HOm or something. Whether that means he had a layout on which to operate this was not entirely clear, though the letter suggests he may have had.

 

As an aside, it was quite an incendiary letter! If posted on here it would probably end up with the thread being locked after one of those wonderful battles of scale and gauge. He did though make some statements which perhaps provide insight into his layout planning philosophy. He proposed that what matters most in layout planning is coming up with a scheme that, within the available space, would provide a way of simulating the operations of the prototype even if very compressed spatially.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concuring with steve In the Jan. 1970 issue of RM is an artcle entitled Fresh Thoughts on Baseboards and on re-reading the artcle it does seem to of a layout that CJF was building. The article has several photos of a layout in build and does have 2 milk tankers in a short siding arrived at by what appears to be a diamond crossing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ees possible I have the wrong layout name? Pretty certain of the minimum space W&U inspired O gauge layout built for N Freezer to use while at college - though I don't recollect the layout builder's name if it was other than Freezer, senior or junior - and 'Abbey Road' is the only layout name that comes to mind in this connection. Anyone got the old RM's and willing to check? I know I haven't got them, long ago gutted for good drawings and the like, then disposed of.

Abbey Road appeared in RM November 1972, and it was indeed constucted by the Featherstone's

 

Also don't forget 'Brill' as serialized in Model Railways in 1982/3, which also appeared in Model Railways On A Budget  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CJF wrote a letter to MRJ (MRJ 62)  in which he made reference to owning a model of a RhB loco and having switched to HOm or something. Whether that means he had a layout on which to operate this was not entirely clear, though the letter suggests he may have had.

 

As an aside, it was quite an incendiary letter! If posted on here it would probably end up with the thread being locked after one of those wonderful battles of scale and gauge. He did though make some statements which perhaps provide insight into his layout planning philosophy. He proposed that what matters most in layout planning is coming up with a scheme that, within the available space, would provide a way of simulating the operations of the prototype even if very compressed spatially.

 

I've always thought that he was basically an operations man.  After all, whilst he designed many and varied layout plans, I tend to think of the "classic" Freezer design to be a main-line type scheme in a small space.  Indeed, this is the man who, in an early edition of 60 Plans, crammed a double track main line and a branch to an operable high level terminus into 6'x4' and left room for a comfortable operating well.  Certainly it would have bee very crowded indeed if built but if the object was to operate trains rather than achieve photographic realism I suspect that it would have provided excellent bang for the buck.

 

I used to have the RM issue containing Abbey Road and Barton Bendish.  I wish I still did now that my interests are turning towards minimum space 0 gauge.  Although it was stated in the article that it was built to fit into a university hall of residence bedroom, I thought it wasn't Nick Freezer's as he was still quite young in 1972.  I was of the understanding that Dugdale Road was his university layout as I recall one of the articles on it stating that it was designed to fold into a cupboard in Nick's room at Bristol.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concuring with steve In the Jan. 1970 issue of RM is an artcle entitled Fresh Thoughts on Baseboards and on re-reading the artcle it does seem to of a layout that CJF was building. The article has several photos of a layout in build and does have 2 milk tankers in a short siding arrived at by what appears to be a diamond crossing.

 

It was a recollection of this article that prompted me to post my query in the first place. I always wondered why nothing more was heard of this layout.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was a recollection of this article that prompted me to post my query in the first place. I always wondered why nothing more was heard of this layout.

Pure speculation but I would not be surprised if CJF was basically an "ideas man". Anyone who could produce a "Plan of the Month" every month for decades has a fertile imagination and I think that sort of person is more likely to start a layout than to finish it. After a few weeks a newer, better idea will have surfaced, which just has to be tried.

 

I know quite a few like that! 

 

Re that 6' X 4' main line plus branch terminus, I think it was entitled "Multum in parvo" and it fascinated me for years as it was so beautifully drawn and really well worked out. I nearly built it before being seduced by P4.

 

Ian

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the 4th edition of "60 Plans for Small Layouts" (undated), plan S54 is described as being 'based on a Freezer Family layout'.

In the "PSL Book of Moldel Railway Track Plans" (1988), Plan 42 'Dugdale Road' was designed for CJF's eldest son who was at University. At the time of writing it was still in existence and had had it's trackage increased by 200% without the addition of a single point...

Edited by talisman56

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tregunna was indeed as others have described. CJF also related how it was left outside whilst re-decorating and a short shower ruined the fibre trackwork. When he moved to Model Railways and moved home he detailed a track plan Avon for his study this was followed by other plans as space got taken up with other bits but there were some photos and plans of a truncated version called Brill. Never seemed to get much in the way of scenery. I strongly suggest that gathering enough material for the magazine was more than just a nine to five job (based on my experience as the Gauge 0 Guild editor for a while). I suspect Cyril spent time dreaming up and drawing plans for layouts instead of completing the ones he had started. Finishing a layout requires the discipline to finish what you have started warts and all. Sometimes that fresh start can be too tempting.

The Abbey Mills layout of the featherstones and how it was fitted into Derycks shed with the garden layout was described i n the Wingham diary series in the old MRC. Guild members can get a DVD of it from the guild.

 

Don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concuring with steve In the Jan. 1970 issue of RM is an artcle entitled Fresh Thoughts on Baseboards and on re-reading the artcle it does seem to of a layout that CJF was building. The article has several photos of a layout in build and does have 2 milk tankers in a short siding arrived at by what appears to be a diamond crossing.

I'm fairly sure that one of those pictures is also in "Model Railways On A Budget", as an example of "L-girder" baseboard design. The milk tanks are the Triang United Dairies wagon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm fairly sure that one of those pictures is also in "Model Railways On A Budget", as an example of "L-girder" baseboard design. The milk tanks are the Triang United Dairies wagon.

 

I wondered why that description was familiar! The layout looked good, but it was never referred to in the text. Some nice photos of Arcadia by Martin Brent in there too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re that 6' X 4' main line plus branch terminus, I think it was entitled "Multum in parvo" and it fascinated me for years as it was so beautifully drawn and really well worked out. I nearly built it before being seduced by P4.

 

Ian

 

 Someone built it - I distinctly remember a layout in RM that was based on the plan, operated by a father and son team. At the time it was my idea of the perfect model railway. The young chap was wearing a 'Jinty' t-shirt in the photos. I've not seen it in perhaps 30 years, but I remember Superquick buildings, a Hornby Flying Scotsman on mainline express duties, and a rake of short wheelbase Esso tankers serving a siding with an oil refinery on the backscene. It was very much an 'achievable' layout, using RTR stock, building kits and Peco backscenes. I think the layout was stretched out to a slightly larger size, but the essence of the CJF plan remained.

 

No idea when it appeared in RM, best I can estimate is 1975-1980.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Someone built it - I distinctly remember a layout in RM that was based on the plan, operated by a father and son team. At the time it was my idea of the perfect model railway. The young chap was wearing a 'Jinty' t-shirt in the photos. I've not seen it in perhaps 30 years, but I remember Superquick buildings, a Hornby Flying Scotsman on mainline express duties, and a rake of short wheelbase Esso tankers serving a siding with an oil refinery on the backscene. It was very much an 'achievable' layout, using RTR stock, building kits and Peco backscenes. I think the layout was stretched out to a slightly larger size, but the essence of the CJF plan remained.

 

No idea when it appeared in RM, best I can estimate is 1975-1980.

Oh dear, now I suppose its going to be hard to find, because its called 'Junior Modeller' or something generic!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't he have a project called "Arteare" in the old MR mag in the 80s??

Yes! Serialsied in MR 1981/82

 

But built by members of the MRC!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.