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 (Dr) Richard Beeching is a technical director with ICI, of whom most people have no knowledge.



........ but already making a name for himself within the company for suggesting that parts of the business which are profitable but not hugely profitable should be closed down or sold off. Fortunately for ICI, he was soon to find a "suitable" role elsewhere and the rest is, as they say, history.

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The 3rd February 1959 was The Day The Music Died.  On the night of 2nd Feb Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper gave what was to be their last concert at Clear Lake Iowa.   In the early hours of 3rd Feb they took off from nearby Mason City Iowa, a flight which ended in tragedy.  Back in 2005 my late wife and I visited the area, and took the opportunity to film the ancient electric locos of Iowa Traction Railway.

33062950358_4f7bfef14d_c.jpgrev Mason City IATR 60 trestle July05 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Meanwhile back in Merrie Englande life continued much as it had done in the post-war era.  Sir Ralph Verney approaches Mantles Wood with a train for Aylesbury.

33062950298_7c6bb7327c_c.jpgrev Sir Ralph Verney approach shot 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


At the north end of the station Neasden’s 4MT 80147 has just attached to the Dreadnoughts. A stray WW2 bomb blew the roof off at this end but the superstructure still stands, rusting quietly.

46024538665_dc6b5f86af_c.jpgrev skeleton 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


After the passenger working had departed, a mixed goods follows.  Old George has finished his early shift and is waiting for a lift – maybe he’s contemplating the gold watch he’s due to receive shortly?

31997388067_824a4074d9_c.jpgrev waiting for lift 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


After the ‘main line’ activity Mantles Wood returns to its bucolic self.  Perhaps the Scammell driver will offer  George a lift?  In those far off days no-one bothered themselves about the possible insurance issues of such actions.

46886290522_67338d26e9_c.jpgrev L92 bunker shot 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

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While we were away Russ Conway spent 4 weeks at Number 1 with Side Saddle.   Coral records were pressing vinyl for all they were worth during this period and 03May 1959 Buddy Holly came in at Number 1 for 3 weeks with It Doesn’t Matter Any More – making it the UK’s first posthumous Number 1 record.


The old and the new can be seen at Mantles Wood.  Neasden’s C13’s were normally in a filthy state as we can see from 67420 entering the bay with the push-pull set.

32820803197_93be1690e7_b.jpgrev C13 arrival 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Meanwhile the future has arrived in the shape of D601 Ark Royal which has escaped from her normal workings to the West Country to perform on a Paddington-Wolverhampton Low Level express.

46847861735_73145555fb_b.jpgrev D601 Ark Royal 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

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I've just stumbled across this layout, in a part of the forum I don't look at often enough!  What a lovely layout; I look forward to reading more about it!

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Back in May/June 1959 Elvis spent 5 weeks at number 1  with A Fool Such As I/I Need Your Love Tonight – presumably not much competition at the time.  In fact the top of the hit parade was quite slow moving.  Russ Conway had 2 weeks with Roulette and then from the end of June to almost the end of July Bobby Darin was number 1 with Dream Lover – destined to become a classic.


Elsewhere, the space race was hotting up with the Russians chalking up firsts or attempted firsts.   Luna E-1A was launched in June attempting to make the first moon landing (Luna 1 had exited earth orbit in January).  Unfortunately Luna E-1A was aborted after 153 seconds but Luna E-2 in Sept would become the first man-made item to intentionally land there.  Dunno what the Americans are doing but they seem pretty angry.


Meanwhile back on Mantles Wood life plods on regardless.  I’ve been working on the disused goods yard where facilities were withdrawn at the outbreak of hostilities.   The staff had quickly grabbed part of the plot to dig for victory, and 14 years after the end of the war, allotments are still a big part in the lives of many.


A ramp had been built at the station end some years back and an unofficial parcels entrance had been created.  Not much sign of a space race here as C13 67420 awaits her next local trip.


48321990866_b231433f98_b.jpgrev C13 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


A rake of Q stock arrives from the city.


48321990806_14b642763f_b.jpgrev Q stock 900px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Later on, we see what was to become the Class 128 DPU had been introduced in 1959.  Let’s hope it spurs a revival in parcels traffic in the area.


48321990831_272188a514_b.jpgrev Class 128 a 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


48321990851_fc89115ab8_b.jpgrev Class 128 b 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

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Summer and autumn 1959 has been marked by having a number of No.1 hits staying quite some time at the top.  Since we were last here, Bobby Darin spent 4 weeks with Dream Lover, Cliff Richard and the Shadows 6 weeks with Living Doll, Craig Douglas 4 weeks with Only Sixteen, Jerry Keller just one week with Here Comes Summer and Bobby Darin 2 weeks with Mack The Knife.  Cliff and the Shadows are about to embark on 5 weeks’ residence with Travelling Light.  All these are pretty much seen as classics and get a lot of plays to this day.  I won’t be around in 2069 but would lay odds 2019’s selection won’t be this well remembered.


On the news front quite a lot has been happening.

Jul 4 America's new 49-star flag honouring Alaska statehood unfurled

Jul 17 Tibet abolishes serfdom

Jul22 Plan 9 from Outer Space premiered

Jul 25 SR-N1 hovercraft crosses the English Channel from Calais to Dover in just over 2 hours.

Jul 28 – UK postcodes are introduced for the first time, as an experiment, in the city of Norwich

Aug 4  – Barclays become the first UK bank to install a computer.

Aug 21 Hawaii becomes the 50th US state, making the 49-star US flag rather short lived

Aug 26 – BMC launches the Mini

Sep 14 Soviet Union's Luna-2 is 1st spacecraft to land on the Moon

Sep 19 Nikita Khrushchev is denied access to Disneyland

Oct 4 USSR Luna 3 sent back 1st photos of Moon's far side



Meanwhile back at Mantles Wood not so much has been happening.   Life’s rather got in the way this summer and autumn and no work has been done on the scenic side.  However, as and when I had a few mins, I’ve been working on several items of rolling stock.


I took the plunge and bought a couple of the resin bodied Dreadnoughts.  I haven’t done a step by step set of pics.  These of course are somewhat lighter than the white metal ones though still quite sturdy.  The mounting of the bogies and their running is a much better arrangement.  I checked the back to back measurements on the wheels supplied and they were a touch too narrow for my liking (though nothing like how narrow Hornby wheelset often are).  Opening the wheelsets out before mounting was easy enough and I’ve had no trouble with the running on Code 100 rails.


I still find the roofs a challenge.  On the declassified 1st this wasn’t too bad. On the 9 compartment 3rd I’m working on -  it could be some time as Capt Oates would say.


Herewith the ex 1st class 7 compartment coach.  The roof still needs dirtying, otherwise it’s pretty much done.


48957869282_1b961fefe2_c.jpgrev Dreadnought 1st 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Work in progress on the 9 cmpt 3rd.


48957869332_b49a7df0dc_c.jpgrev Dreadnought 3rd 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


I also bought one of the LT flat wagons, not realising RT models do a bogie casting for this.  It comes with a couple of Bachmann Y25 bogies but I couldn’t see how to get them to work without fouling the lower body sides.  Not knowing about the RT Models product I butchered some bogies I had for replacing EFE tube car bogies.



Recent changes to the value of the £ and changes to Shapeways pricing mean these are somewhat pricier now than when I bought them a couple of years ago, especially as you still have to source wheelsets (and bearings, but these are quite cheap).


I chopped about 2mm off the central tower and drilled through the middle of the bogie (and of course the wagon floor) to take an 8BA bolt and nut.  Despite this butchery it seems to have worked ok and the wagon is a free runner and negotiates my curves.


48957680836_29c18f2a56_c.jpgrev flat wagon 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr



The brake van in the above picture was an old Bachmann one with horrible moulded handrails in BR livery, so I  decided to try and tart it up a bit.  This pic doesn’t show it in a good light but parked in a far away siding adds a bit more LT stock to add interest (though in fact it’s actually a bit late for my layout – they entered service 1962)


Whilst on the subject of tarting things up I had a spare unpainted Bachmann 3 plank wagon so gave that a bit of LT treatment – it’s the nearer of the 2 in this pic, the further one having been done some years earlier.  Speaking of doing things earlier, Blue Peter’s been going a year now – wonder if it will last?

48957680966_cf2f35a299_c.jpgrev 3 plank wagon 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


And finally some non-LT stock.  I intend to have a Summer Saturday set for working eg Margate/Ramsgate to The Black Country to add some interest (and green coaches hauled by ex GWR locos).  Back in the early 90’s Bachmann (there’s a lot of Bachmann in this upate isn’t there) introduced some Bulleid’s which were the bee’s knees back then.  After years of producing glossy carriages it became the new norm to knock out carriages in matt. 

48957131108_b17383aa3a_c.jpgrev Bulleid original 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

The trouble is that although things got a lot of grime, carriages still went through the washer and weren’t totally matt.  Here’s one I’ve buffed up a bit: New glazing, passengers, light weathering and added a bit of a sheen to the paintwork.


48957869372_93f8737e34_c.jpgrev Bulleid weathered etc 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr





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And so we come to Jan 1960.  After Cliff and The Shadows spent 5 weeks at No.1 with Travellin’ Light we had Adam Faith for 2 weeks with ‘What Do You Want?’ taking us to mid December 1959.  This was a period of slow moving No.1’s – from mid-Dec to late Jan 1960 Emile Ford and the Checkmates held the top spot with What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For?

For the year as a whole, car ownership rose to 30pct of all UK households, ‘economic growth’ was 7.2pct whilst the Retail Price Index showed zero percent growth.  Maybe MacMillan was right when he said we’d never had it so good?   My recollection is that was a time of hope and expectation that the 60’s would bring ‘something’.  We seemed to think space travel was moving out of science fiction and would become a reality ‘ere long, not necessarily expecting to see a man on the moon before the decade was out.

The swinging 60’s were still to come, as was the Belgian Congo, Cuba, Vietnam, the Pill, the Beatles and much more – in retrospect quite a heady mix.  In the last couple of months of 1959 we had the births of Lorraine Kelly, Jasper Conran and Tracey Ullman.  Sometime in 1959 the MOSFET metal oxide semiconductor or MOS transistor was invented – which went on to be fundamental to the digital age.  Some other events:

Oct29 First appearance of Asterix The Gaul

Oct30 Opening of Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

Oct31 Riots start in Belgian Congo


Nov2 Minister of Transport Ernest Marples opened the first section of M1

Nov11 Production version of Routemaster bus entered service

Nov14 Dounreay reactor came online.

Nov15 A brutal murder in Texas would form the backdrop for Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’

Nov18 MGM release Ben-Hur which would be a smash hit but also MGM’s last ‘best picture’ award.

Nov20 Britain joins European Free Trade Assoc (wonder how that will go?)

Nov20 The Declaration of Rights of Child adopted by United Nations (if only they’d seen Saint Greta of Thunberg coming…..)


During December, Dr Barbara Moore walked from London to Edinburgh

Dec1 The Antartctic Treaty was signed, banning military activity in the continent

Dec8 Broughty Ferry lifeboat Mona capsized losing 8 lives

Dec28 Ivor The Engine broadcast for the first time



Meanwhile at Mantles Wood life plods along.  I’ve been concentrating on a module at the country end of the station, which means the long wall (approx. 14 feet of scenic section) is almost done.

I have some work to do on the station building, car park, platform, and ground surrounding the platform, but at least at a glance it looks ‘complete’.


49298830738_fc9e7b3865_c.jpgrev 1 wide view 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Ideally buildings should ‘grow out’ of the ground and not just be plonked on top.  My usual way is to get some 1mm or slightly thicker black card and cut out the outline of the building.   My preference is to keep the wider outline some way off so you (hopefully) can’t see the join when the work is finished, as it will be some way from the sides of the building.

49298830693_42cb1454da_c.jpgrev 2 foundations 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Then comes a perspective check, fiddling around with nearby objects to make sure I’m getting the effect I have in mind.


49299524182_63798a278c_c.jpgrev 3 perspective check 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Some days/weeks/months later the scene is done.


49298830593_7be34dbe17_c.jpgrev 4 view from station with ramp 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Needless to say there are copious breaks for tea, and maybe a chat as seen here.


49298830638_b8406064c4_c.jpgrev 5 work break 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


What next?  Unsurprisingly I need to carry out a monster tidying up operation, and possibly divert attention to something off the layout.  I might be doing a demo at the local model railway club about static grass and visual tricks.  Back on the layout am a bit undecided as to whether to work on some more stock next or continue round to the country end of the scenery.  However, I have in the last couple of days taken delivery of a couple of silver birch trees, and done a perspective check with them still in their cases.  Once installed they should be a couple of inches lower. I think they look ok but will leave them there for a couple of weeks to make sure they still look right before planting them.  


49299318011_b3be8ceb4a_c.jpgrev 6 next steps 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr






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On 03/05/2019 at 15:03, Metr0Land said:

While we were away Russ Conway spent 4 weeks at Number 1 with Side Saddle.   Coral records were pressing vinyl for all they were worth during this period and 03May 1959 Buddy Holly came in at Number 1 for 3 weeks with It Doesn’t Matter Any More – making it the UK’s first posthumous Number 1 record.


The old and the new can be seen at Mantles Wood.  Neasden’s C13’s were normally in a filthy state as we can see from 67420 entering the bay with the push-pull set.

32820803197_93be1690e7_b.jpgrev C13 arrival 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Meanwhile the future has arrived in the shape of D601 Ark Royal which has escaped from her normal workings to the West Country to perform on a Paddington-Wolverhampton Low Level express.

46847861735_73145555fb_b.jpgrev D601 Ark Royal 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

Love this layout, Looks so realistic!

may i ask where you sourced the signal with pigs ears and the cable arch please? 


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Thanks. They come from Shapeways.


https://www.shapeways.com/shops/the forth rail


Nigel Atkins is an ex-pat living in the US who designed this stuff for his own layout initially.  You need to provide your own brass tube but it tells you what you need in the various signal options.  Printing is actually done in Holland and sent UPS to UK.  Some people regard even the cheaper postage option as pricey which it is for just one small item, but they come in b0mbproof parcels!  I've had a few and they've all been very well packed from Shapeways.


Unfortunately with the exchange rate going down, and Shapeways pricing going up and up the items can be quite pricey these days.  The cable gantry was about $45 when I bought it about 2.5 years ago.... nearly double now..... 

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It’s been a while since the last full update and quite a lot happened in the world in the first half of 1960.  We started the year with Emile Ford and the Checkmates at No.1 and this held the position until almost the end of January.  Some number 1’s were long stayers like Lonnie Donnegan and the Everly Brothers whilst others just had a one or two week moment of glory.

Jan 29th Starry Eyed – Michael Holliday

Feb 5th   Why – Anthony Newley

Mar 10th Poor Me – Adam Faith

Mar 17th  Running Bear – Johnny Preston

Mar 31st  My Old Man’s A Dustman – Lonnie Donegan

Apr 28th  Do You Mind? – Anthony Newley

May 5th Cathy’s Clown – Everly Brothers

June 23rd  Three Steps To Heaven – Eddie Cochran – becoming UK’s 2nd posthumous No.1 in just over a year.


Other events at home and abroad:

January 2: John F Kennedy announces his candidacy for US President.

January 3 Constance Spry (florist and author) died

January 5 – closure of the Swansea and Mumbles Railway

January 6 Nigella Lawson born

January 9: In Egypt, the building of the Aswan dam starts.

January 10 – British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan makes the "Wind of Change" speech for the first time, to little publicity, in Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana).

January 12 Neville Shute (author) died

January 14: Elvis Presley in promoted to Sergeant in the US Army.

January 18  Mark Rylance (actor) born


During January (not sure of exact date) the state of emergency due to the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya was lifted by Britain, though it wouldn’t be until August 2003 that the Kenyan govt lifted their ban on the Mau Mau organisation.


February 3: Harold Macmillan, makes his Wind of Change speech in Africa, against the apartheid regime angering South African politicians. If at first you don’t succeed…..

February 8: Queen Elizabeth II announces her and her family will be known as the House of Windsor, and her descendents will take the name Mountbatten-Windsor.

February 8 Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (architect) died.  Amongst a long list of projects were Battersea and Bankside power stations, the iconic red phone box, and the Guinness brewery at Park Royal

February 19 – the Queen gives birth to her third child and second son, the first child born to a reigning British monarch since 1857.  It wouldn’t be until 1989 that Cher would record ‘If I Could Turn Back Time…….’

February 29: The first Playboy Club opens in Chicago.

February 29 – Edwina Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma died, last Vicereine of India (born 1901)


March 5: Elvis Presley finishes with the US Army after 2 years of service.

March 14 – Jodrell Bank Observatory makes contact with the American Pioneer 5 over a record-breaking distance of 407,000 miles.

March 16  Jenny Eclair born

March 22: The first patent for lasers was granted to Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes

March 24 Grayson Perry born

March 26 – the Grand National is televised for the first time. The winner - Merryman II. 

March 28 – Cheapside Street Whisky Bond Fire in Glasgow; 19 firemen killed in the UK's worst peacetime fire services disaster.


April 1 – Bill Griggs of Northampton first markets the Dr. Martens 'AirWair' style boots.

April 2 Linford Christie born

April 3: In RCA Studios, Nashville, Tennessee, Elvis Presley records “It’s Now or Never”, “Fever” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight”.

April 11 Jeremy Clarkson born (must admit it feels like he’s been on our screens longer than that)

April 13 – UK announces cancellation of the Blue Streak missile.

April 14: The first underwater launch of a Polaris missile occurs.

April 16 – The Times newspaper stops use of the term "Imperial and Foreign News", replacing it with "Overseas News"

April 16  American rock and roll singer Eddie Cochran, 21, is badly injured in a car crash in Chippenham Wiltshire and died in hospital in Bath in the early hours of April 17.  

April 22 Gary Rhodes (chef) born (died 2019)

April 27 – The first production of Harold Pinter's play The Caretaker at the Arts Theatre in London.

April 30 – Yorkshire County Cricket Club opens its first season since 1883 under a professional captain, Vic Wilson, who leads the club to the County Championship. Obviously no truth in the rumour the 1st professional captain would be Willie Eckerslyke.


May 1: (Francis) Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane is shot down by Russia

May 1 – Charles Holden (born 1875), architect and designer of over 40 stations in the London area died

May 3: The Anne Frank House opens in Amsterdam.

May 6: Dwight D Eisenhower (US President, not 60008) signs the Civil Rights Act in 1960

May 6 – Princess Margaret marries photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey in the first televised Royal wedding

May 7 – Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Blackburn Rovers 3–0 in the FA cup final

May 10: John F. Kennedy wins a primary in West Virginia. He would go on to become president of the United States in Nov1961 election.

May 11: Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann is captured by Israeli soliders in Buenos Aires. He is later tried under the Piracy laws, in which pirates can be punished wherever apprehended. 

May 24 Kristin Scott Thomas and Guy Fletcher (Dire Straits) are born


June 7 – Sir Maurice Bonham Carter and English Liberal politician and cricketer (born 1880) died, (grand-father to Helena Bonham Carter)

June 8 Mick Hucknall born, and now he’s holding back the years.

June 16: Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock opened in New York City – never has cocoa powder been so scary.


In 2015 Mark Rylance would play the part of Russian spy Rudolf Abel in the film Bridge of Spies, where he was exchanged for Gary Powers.

Some time in 1960 (date unknown) an 8 year old Jill Viner would decide she wanted to become a bus driver.  It would be 1974 at the age of 22 that she became LT’s first female bus driver, working out of Norbiton garage.


On the Mantles Wood layout I’ve been working on the section beyond electrification, which means there will be fewer opportunities for LT rolling stock.  The proposition being that the goods area was expanded between the wars for the area to become a dormitory town for expanding Aylesbury, but the population and thus traffic, never came.


Neasden’s 80147 pulls away from Mantles Wood with a train of Dreadnoughts bound for Aylesbury and is seen passing the goods yard in the going-away shot.


50004722207_9c64ac53d1_c.jpgrev 80147 and Dreadnoughts front by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

50004722192_21e5717abc_c.jpgrev 80147 and Dreadnoughts rear by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


D5000 passes Neasden’s 80143 with a Banbury-Marylebone train of milk tankers.  D5000 did actually work on the Great Central route, albeit a bit after my timescale.  The standard 4MT is in the Up and Down goods loop with a short parcels.


50003940888_5aa049cb48_c.jpgrev D500_80143 by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


L99 has been to Aylesbury to pick up a short rake of coal wagons for Neasden but must wait in the loop – possibly for the guard to sort out a tail lamp.


50004460931_71dae85a9e_c.jpgrev L99 rear by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


And here we see why L99 was waiting.  B1 61186 works a Nottingham-Marylebone express with quite a decent load including a buffet car.  When the London Midland region take over, this will be reduced to four BR Mk1’s with no buffet, working to a semi-fast timetable as they’ll be promoting their soon to be upgraded WCML.


50003941008_5cd970e2a9_c.jpgrev B1 and L99 by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


The future?  There’s an area at the end of the scenic section which is left to finish.  On original plans, this would have been a job for next winter/spring.  At one time I was hoping activities for seniors would become easier this autumn but the practicalities of getting out of lockdown aren’t easy. 


50004460981_1929c8b24b_c.jpgrev final scenic area cropped by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


The U3A is very active in Newcastle Emlyn and I used to go to at least one activity per week.  Also short mat (ie indoor) bowls should have restarted in the autumn (1 match and 1 practice per week).  Although west Wales is relatively ‘safe’ compared with some parts of UK, all these activities are people over 60 in halls of various sizes, so in varying degrees of close contact for 2-3 hours at a time which pushes up the risk.  There’s also the weekly O gauge model railway club where it will be difficult to distance. So, it’s possible the next lot of scenic work may have to fill my time sooner rather than later.  We shall see.


J15 65405 was kept at Aylesbury for working the Watlington branch but did escape on other duties.


50004722077_c7a76b29e6_c.jpgrev J15 Watlingon goods by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Thompson L1 67778 with a rake of Gresley stock heads north for Aylesbury.  From the cab of a southbound DMU we can see the empty goods yard.


50004757827_e30a675da7_c.jpgrev L1 heads for Aylesbury crop by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

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1 hour ago, LNERGE said:

Super modelling. I hope you can dim the colourlight signals? I have a circuit diagram showing a lineside circuit that could reduce the brightness of the signals..


Thanks they're not actually lit!  Not sure if I can master what's necessary to make them so.

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Just had a catch up with this fantastic layout. I really like the four rail technique. I've only ever done it in tube tunnel, but if I ever do realise the dream of something Metropolitain I'll certainly go for your method.

Thanks for sharing.


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Summer/Autumn 1960 was quite eventful.  Several No.1’s hit the charts, all of which are still played as classics.  I wonder how many 2020 No.1’s will be regarded the same way in 2080?


7 July Good Timin’ Jimmie Jones

28July Please Don’t Tease Cliff and the Shadows

04Aug Shakin’ All Over – Johnny Kidd and the Pirates

11Aug Please Don’t Tease Cliff and the Shadows 2 more weeks

25Aug Apache – the Shadows

29Sep Tell Laura I love Her – Ricky Valance 1st male Welsh singer to have No1 hit (Shirley Bassey had previously hit No.1 being the 1st Welsh person overall)

20Oct Only The Lonely – Roy Orbison

03Nov It’s Now Or Never – Elvis



July 1: Following a treaty signed in 1958, as of this day in 1960, no passports are needed inside Benelux. The three neighbouring countries that make up the Benelux are Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. 

July 4: America’s new 50-star flag is revealed to include Hawaii.

July 6: Barbara Moore completed 3,200 mile walk LA to NYC

July 6: Aneurin Bevan, Welsh Labour politician and father of NHS, died

July 10 Belgium sends troops to Congo

July 11 Moise Tsjombe declares Congolese county Katanga independent

July 11 – Caroline Quentin, English television comedy actress born

July 13 – Ian Hislop British broadcaster and editor born,

July 21 -  Mrs Bandaranaike becomes the world's 1st female elected head of government, as Prime Minister of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)

July 21 Francis Chichester arrives in NY aboard Gypsy Moth II, setting record of 40 days for a solo Atlantic crossing


Aug 6 Chubby Checker performs his version of "The Twist" on "The Dick Clark Show" starting a worldwide dance craze

Aug 7 – the Bluebell Railway in Sussex begins regular operation as the first standard gauge steam-operated passenger heritage railway in the world.

Aug 14 – Sarah Brightman, English soprano singer and actress born

Aug 17 Francis Gary Powers U-2 spy trial opens in Moscow

August 17th or 18th (sources vary): The Beatles, with their original drummer Pete Best, perform their first public performance at the Indra Club in Hamburg.

Aug 27 British swimmer Anita Lonsbrough sets 200m breaststroke world record for the gold medal at the Rome Olympics

Aug 30 East Germany imposes a partial blockade on West Berlin


Sep 5 Cassius Clay [Muhammad Ali] beats 3-time European champion Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland by unanimous points decision to win Olympic light heavyweight boxing gold medal at the Rome Games

Sep 8 German Democratic Republic limits access to East-Berlin for West Berliners

Sep 9 – Hugh Grant, English actor born

Sep 10 - Colin Firth, English actor born

Sep 10 – ITV broadcasts the first live Football League match to be shown on television, and the last for 23 years

Sep 15 – First traffic wardens deployed in London

Sep 15 – Danny John-Jules, English dancer and actor born

Sep 17 - Damon Hill, English racing driver born

Sep 26 Cuban leader Fidel Castro delivers a 4 hour and 29 minute long speech at the United Nations

Sep 27 – Sylvia Pankhurst, English suffragette (born 1882) died, poss of boredom listening to that speech

Sep 30 "The Flintstones" animated sitcom created by Hanna-Barbera premieres on ABC in the US


Oct 6 "Spartacus", directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier, premieres in NYC

Oct 8 – closure of the original Sheffield Tramway, leaving Blackpool as the only place in England with electric trams

Oct 12 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev bangs his shoe on his desk at UN General Assembly session

Oct 19 US imposes embargo on exports to Cuba

Oct 21 1st British nuclear sub HMS Dreadnought launched

Oct 25 – barges collide with one of the columns of the Severn Railway Bridge in heavy fog, causing two spans of the steel and cast iron bridge to collapse. It is never repaired.

Oct 27 Singer Ben E. King records "Spanish Harlem" & "Stand By Me"

Oct 29 Cassius Clay's [Muhammad Ali] 1st professional fight; beats Tunney Hunsaker on points Louisville, Kentucky

Oct 30 – Michael Woodruff performs the first successful kidney transplantation in the UK, at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.


Nov 2 Penguin Books cleared of obscenity for publishing DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover.  The Crown’s case was probably demolished with a single out of touch sentence by their QC to the jury “Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?"

Nov 8 John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States, defeating Republican candidate Richard Nixon who was the incumbent Vice President

Nov 16 – Gilbert Harding, radio and television personality died, especially known for ‘What’s My Line?’ – Who can forget the time he correctly guessed a contestant was a saggar maker’s bottom knocker?


So what’s been happening on Mantle’s Wood?  As I feared the general inability to socialise in any numbers curtailed activities through the summer and autumn, meaning I spent far more time in the garage than would be normal.  The missing corner has been filled.  It took me 2 goes as there needed to be a slope upwards from the end of the yard to the backscene, and another slope from the inside of the layout to the tracks – I’m unable so far to get a decent shot showing this as the camera would need to be on the far side and all attempts to show this have failed.


A view of the final corner of scenic work:

50596783301_3e39523c37_o.jpgrev Corner view by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


The north end of the yard is now complete apart from a few details:

50596783276_75c21c874f_o.jpgrev lunchtime by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


During the summer I bought a 3D printed body of a 97xx class condensing pannier which fits on Hornby J52 chassis (and I believe the Railroad version of the Jinty):

50596041918_3e9aa7d952_o.jpgrev 9703 by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


The new order of things represented by a bubble car (later to become Class 122) with tail load for parcels:

50596904932_49ed01e44a_o.jpgrev Class 122 with load by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


The old order still hangs on as C13 67420 departs with a push-pull set:

50596041828_14fed876b4_o.jpgrev Push Pull set a by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


For the future I need to return to the station area, as I’d left it ‘ok for a quick view’ but needing a lot more detailed work. I also have more calls on my time with these 2 scamps.


Last winter I’d decided to get either a rescue dog or cat, and with the likelihood of another winter without being able to get out to group activities made serious enquiries this autumn.  In the end I decided against a dog (though I love them).  The need to turn out twice a day or more in prolonged bad weather coupled with advancing years means cats would be better.


50597645716_d244675fb1_b.jpgrev 10Oct20 Togetherness by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


The pair I have are works in progress.  They came as a pair as they’d bonded strongly in the rescue centre.  The little one is said to be an exotic cross and is actually 6 years old, with a heart murmur but is a sweet little thing (Spangle).  Nephy is twice her size, 5 years old and is said to be a Selkirk Rex cross. I was told she wouldn’t be a lap cat but wasn’t told she wouldn’t let me touch her…… though in fact she follows me around like a little doggie – just don’t touch!


What of the future?  The date of my layout is a bit fluid 1957-61 so I can justify various things that were just coming in, or still hanging on, so maybe I can do some updating for early 1961 next time.


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Not a lot happening with No.1 records since the last update, as Elvis stayed at the top for 8 weeks:


03Nov 1960 It’s Now Or Never – Elvis for 8 weeks

31Dec 1960 I Love You - Cliff Richard and the Shadows for 2 weeks

14Jan 1961 Poetry In Motion - Johnny Tillotson also for 2 weeks


Despite this update covering a fairly short period it’s clear with hindsight just how much the ending of the colonial era in Africa was moving ahead, not to mention the situation worsening in Vietnam without us really appreciating the gravity.



08Nov John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States, defeating Republican candidate Richard Nixon who was the incumbent Vice President

10Nov – Lady Chatterley's Lover sells 200,000 copies in one day following its publication since being banned since 1928. (You’ll recall the court case at the end of the last update)

12Nov Coup against South Vietnamese President fails

14Nov Belgium threatens to leave UN due to criticism on its policy on Congo

23Nov Tinseltown dedicated its Walk of Fame at Hollywood Blvd & Vine St

27Nov  Dr Felix Houphouet-Boigny becomes president of Ivory Coast, a post he would hold until late 1993.

28Nov Mauritania gains independence from France


01Dec Paul McCartney and Pete Best arrested then deported from Hamburg, Germany for accusation of attempted arson.

02Dec – The Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, talks with Pope John XXIII in the Vatican, the first ever meeting between the leader of the Anglican Church and the Pope.

07Dec Ivory Coast claims independence from France

09Dec 1st broadcast of "Coronation Street" on British ITV

10Dec Willard Libby won the Nobel prize in Chemistry for his work developing carbon-14 dating.  Kenneth Branagh born, Northern Irish actor and director

14Dec – Chris Waddle born, English footballer and commentator

16Dec TWA 266 & United 826 collide over Staten Island, killing 134

20Dec The National Liberation Front, better known as the Viet Cong, is officially formed in South Vietnam

24Dec – Carol Vorderman born, British television presenter

27Dec – Maryam d'Abo born, British actress (The Living Daylights)

31Dec Last day on which the farthing is legal tender. The last man is called up for National Service, as Conscription ends.  Steve Bruce born, football player and manager


01Jan 1961 Betting and Gaming Act 1960 comes into force, permitting operation of commercial bingo halls. Fiona Phillips, journalist and television presenter and Mark Wingett, British actor, both born

02Jan Neil Dudgeon, English actor born

03Jan US breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba

07Jan Members of the Soviet Portland Spy Ring are arrested in London (and charged 2 days later).  The Avengers television series first screened on ITV.

08Jan The French vote for Algerian independence from France in the wake of seven years of guerrilla war

13Jan – Graham McPherson born, British singer aka Suggs

15Jan Berry Gordy signed The Supremes with Motown Records



It wouldn’t be until January 1974 that the first would be a public holiday in England, but as it happens 1st Jan 1961 was on a Sunday so the power was switched off and some engineering work took place.   A couple of rakes of LT wagons, plus a BR rake consisting of a 97xx plus Grampus wagons.  A shuttle service was run between Mantles Wood and Amersham using one of the new railcars (later to become Class 121).

I’ve been waiting a few days to get the photos back from Boots.  It would be nice to think our scientists could develop something faster, what with us now being in the space age.  It wouldn’t be until 1977 (in Canada) that I would have my first experience of 1 hour photo machines.  How revolutionary that was!


Despite service being severely curtailed there are still a few takers.

50830729243_9140fcbb90_c.jpgrev a tight view 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


BR’s share of the work was undertaken with this 97xx and Grampus wagons

50830729273_67fc310c3e_c.jpgrev b 97xx with Grampus wagons by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


Pannier L92 simmers gently whilst not  a lot is happening

50830729218_dd1dbe23ea_c.jpgrev d L92 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr


The ‘bubble car’ departs for Amersham

50830729263_0a3d85d99a_c.jpgrev c DMU arriving 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

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GT3 has been seen hurtling through Mantles Wood.  Sadly the old biddies seem more interested in discussing Mrs Dales Diary than the white heat of technology.  Mind you the recent introduction of Derek Nimmo as Jago Peters has added some frisson.  They say he painted his Swedish au pair in the nude you know!


(For those that don’t know, KR Models – a new entrant to the market – have brought out a RTR GT3 and very good it is too).


51058753672_157a1f7aa9_c.jpgrev2 GT3 with detailing 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

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On 21/03/2021 at 12:02, Metr0Land said:


GT3 has been seen hurtling through Mantles Wood.  Sadly the old biddies seem more interested in discussing Mrs Dales Diary than the white heat of technology.  Mind you the recent introduction of Derek Nimmo as Jago Peters has added some frisson.  They say he painted his Swedish au pair in the nude you know!


(For those that don’t know, KR Models – a new entrant to the market – have brought out a RTR GT3 and very good it is too).


51058753672_157a1f7aa9_c.jpgrev2 GT3 with detailing 800px by Sarah S1ddons, on Flickr

White heat was a phrase that could well be applied to GT3 - they would have felt the heat as it went past!

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