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Everything posted by Pacific231G

  1. I have a number of those. including no. 4 Sept 1982 which included Andy Hart's Achaux (the name a pun on how H0 is pronounced in French) Andy's original description of Achaux, a 12ft long (plus FY) Main line Terminus had been in MRC in two parts in October & November 1980. I still find myself reading all three articles quite often. The Euromodel Rail Review article was on "Exploitation- or train movements, French-style", basically a description of the timetable used for exhibtions and the thinking behind it . (The "ancient autorail" on P13- an FNC- is currently in service on my own French BLT) . In the earlier MRC articles the location of Achaux "somewhere in the Ouest" was fairly vague but by the time of the Euromodel article he'd placed it as a cathedral City in the location actually occupied by the smallish town of Château-du-Loir with some changes to the local railway topology. The original terminus became a through station with an extension built by Andy's great friend Roger Beacham and that version was described in Continental Modeller in May/june 1986 (It was also still exhibited as a terrminus particularly in its later years) "Achaux- Then and Now" was the other article about Achaux twenty years later in European Railways - which seems to have been the successor to Euromodel Rail Review - in no. 152 Feb/March 2003 (presumably Trevor Ridley started E.R. at no 150 to make it appear well established) That article was a retrospective on the orgnal portable layout- both its terminus and through station mode- and an introduction to the new larger permanent version of Achaux as a main line terminus which sadly Andy Hart didn't live to complete before he died in 2013. Although it was a far less glossy publication I always rather liked Model Trains International and its Chris Elllis edited predecessors and, in the end, sometimes wrote for it. It included some very useful small layouts that didn't ever appear anywhere else.
  2. It definitely wasn't lifted. There is indeed only one running line, signalled bi directionally, to St. Katherine's Dock and the other is presented as a siding off Tower Hill Yard also going to the dock . In reality both are hidden under a high level road in front of the passenger station (which hinges up for access) so that trains can appear to disappear off to the dock. Tower Hill Yard (the two visible sidings) is supposed to be for sorting wagons before they're taken down to the dock where space would have been very restricted (St. Katherine's Dock was one of very few in London that didn't in reality have a rail connection) I'm guessing now but it seems likely that complete trains (albeit short ones) could go down to the dock on the direct signalled line. The other line connects the Dock to Tower Hill Yard without needing to go onto the running lines so presumably wagons were shunted there and run down to the dock, possibly to the nearer basin, as shunting moves. I'll take another look at Geoff's articles to see if they shed any light.
  3. I had to check but yes it is. From Central London, Luton Airport is 28 miles Gatwick 29.5, Southend 36 and Stanstead 42. Oxford is 62 miles from Central London. It's also far more awkward to get to than the others which all have a direct rail link with London The others are all airports with scheduled International flights whereas Oxford is a General Aviation operation and considerably further out than Farnborough - about 40miles- which does not style itself as a London airport. At least Oxford hasn't tried to grab great swathes of the airspace around it which, unfortunately, Farnborough, which is also GA, has. There are three airports actually in Greater London, Heathrow, London City and Biggin Hill (also GA) .
  4. According to the owners of what I used to know as Kidlington Aerodrome. It starts about six miles north of Oxford. They now style themselves London Oxford Airport!
  5. It's very simple. The West of England is where the GWR main line goes to before it turns south west after Bristol and heads for the South West. The London and South West Railway is also a bit of a clue though I definitely regard Southampton as the South of England I still tend to see regions in terms of BBC broadcast regions (which were partly defined by TV transmitter coverage and which region they were assigned to) so South, based in Southampton, had as its editorial patch a triangle with its points at about Weymouth (barely) , Newhaven (at a pinch Seaford but Eastbourne was definitely South East) and Reading includng the IofW. (It now includes almost the whole of Oxfordshire up to about Chipping Norton which seems a bit odd) West was (is) based in Bristol and South West in Plymouth so i suppose I'd regard the South West as starting somewhere between Taunton and Exeter. I think Salisbury is west rather than SW though the BBC thinks it's South (I once did South Today's Christmas special from there)
  6. Not far from Unravelled, our second favourite spot was the old Wolvercote Level Crossing north of Oxford. It became less level crossingish as the years progressed but I think the crossing box was still in place when we first went there. My favourite spot though was the north end of the down platform at Oxford station. Not so much watching trains go by as their arriving and departing - though goods trains went by on the middle roads. You could quite legally get a lot closer to the Halls and Castles than you ever could from the lineside as they set off for Banbury or Worcester and even walk alongside them for the first few yards. Added entertainment came from watching the Bulleid Pacifics slipping furiously on the other side andguessing how late the Pines Express would be "The Pines Express is ninety, nine oh, minutes late" was a not uncommon Oxford station announcement. A good afternoon's entertanment for the price (2d?) of a platform ticket though more pennies were wasted with the metal sign making machine. With the station master's permission I even made my very first film at Oxford station (a very short black and white silent comedy) but by then the hated Hymeks had come.
  7. Your memory is correct. There's a TV report on it here I think this all became a bit of a bad joke (like the Eurostars crawling along through Kent before HS-1 was built) and there were politics involved. The Vendée was the only Département on the Atlantic coast without a TGV service and it feared that it was losing out in terms of economic development. There was poltical pressure on SNCF which came up with this "solution" to say that Vendée was now in the TGV network though it actually ran diesel hauled between Nantes and Les Sables at a decidedly modest speed that did nothing for the journey time. Converting several 72000s to haul the TGV sets wasn't cheap. The service began in 2000 but only until 2004 when a new département council president decided it wasn't worth doing . The line was electrified in 2008 with much local fanfare. There had been projections that this would increas summer overnight visitor numbers by 20%. In reality, between 2006-2017 numbers went down by 3.7% . Given that Le Sables has just two return TGV s (plus a third in summer) and ten TERs I can't help wondering whether the cost of electriifcation was really justified but French railways seem to survive on a very thin diet of trains. I drove through Les Sables d'Olonne at that time and saw a TGV set in the main platform drawing power from the OLE (without a CC 72000 coupled to it) and thought nothing of it. I then explored the old line to the port (fishing AFAIK) which was still completely intact though disused and on the way out of the town noticed that the terminus and approaches was still mechanically signalled. The penny simply didn't drop till I got back home and went through my photos and realised that outside the station itself there was no overhead cable for the TGV to run on . I then discovered what was really going on there.
  8. Update I tried to update the above post last night soon after I posted it but discovered this morning that the edit hadn't happened. I'd looked at the timetables in more detail and, except at weekends there are , apart from the Train des Plages (not the Train des Sables- I was wrong about the name) , three TERs between Saumur and Thouars. Two of these go on to Bressuire one of which goes all the way to Les Sables d'Olonne. So, the line between Bressuire and La Roche sur Yon does see one return train on weekdays and two on weekdays in high summer when the Train des Plages is running daily I did wonder how many people from Tours or the Saumur area are willing to spend four or five hours or more on a train for an afternoon on the beach (arr. 11.30- dep 18.00) but there did seem to be people at every stop some of who looked they were doing just that. I've watched more of the section between Thouars and La Roche sur Yonne and was suprised to see that that Bressuire (once a major junction) and Chantonnay still have mechanical signals.
  9. Thanks very much for posting this Welly, an excellent find. The line from Saumur to Thouars was double track. It was part of the main line from Paris to Bordeaux via Chartres and Chateau-de-Loir that the CF de l'Etat cobbled together from various former cross-country lines (apparent from the tight curves) after it took over the CF de l'Ouest. It was downgraded after SNCF took over in 1938 (the main route to Bordeaux was that of the PO via Tours and Angoulem) and I think it was singled during the occupation. It was electrified at 25 KV 50Hz in 1982. Other sections of this run were always AFAIK single including the last bit from La Roche sur Yon to Les Sables de Olonne. That was famous for having a TGV service before it was electrified (also at 25kV 50Hz) I saw a TGV at Les Sables d'Olonne in the 1990s when the line was still mechanically signalled. Though there are three daily trains each way between Saumur and Thouars. It doesn't appear that the unelectrified section between Thouars and La Roche sees any passenger trains apart from the Train des Sables (weekends and Jours de Fete May -September, daily in July and August) so it's not suprising that the track is so weedy. As Old Dudders says, this 4K video offers a huge amount of detail . I particularly noticed the suprising number of unbarriered level crossings on unclassified roads protected only a St. Andrews cross and the unusually narrow platform at Les Sables. That surely doesn't have two metres of clearance from the seats and columns so useful for space starved modellers. It was sad, though not an unfamilair sight in France, to see the number of unused or even disconnected goods sidings and yards. Emblematic of SNCF's major failure to hang on to its goods traffic against the relentless advance of the CO2 spewing HGV even for customers who wanted to continue to ship by rail.
  10. Thanks for that. I suspect the tiny wheels will make it a nono for motorising - though I did wonder about cheating by using a four wheel chassis with the little wheels as dummies outside the actual ones. Anathema to the fine scale fans but it might work visually. I assume SNCF did it that way to keep the CofG low so they could whizz round tight sécondaire curves at twice the speed of a loco hauled train.
  11. I suspect we're more obsessed with "correct" colour than ever was the prototype until modern pantone etc. colours came in and branding came to be seen as of vital performance. You also simply can't rely on the pigments in colour photos, expecially older ones, to give you an exact colour reference and I actually suspect that the work of a good painter may be a better guide. Colours also change with the light falling on them. I had a good, though frustrating. illustration of this in the version of Tati's Jour de Fête restored from the original colour negatives*. For my layout I wanted to know the exact colour of green of French posting boxes from that era and there is a scene in the film that takes place around a post box. No chance! From each different angle (there were about four or five) the colour of the same postbox shot probably within a couple of hours under a clear sky looked completely different. * Tati's first feature film was shot in and around the small French town of St. Sévère -sur-Indre where he'd spent the occupation and released in 1949. He used the new and untested Thomsoncolor proces but for safety shot the scenes simultaneously in B&W with a second camera. In the event the colour process (that I think used two negatives) didn't work properly for printing so Tati cut and released the film in B&W- More recently, in the 1990s, new digital techniques made it at last possilbe to work from the original colour negs. that had been kept in storage so his daughter, the film editor Sophie Tatischeff (Tati's real surname) and the cinematographer François Ede set about restoring and cutting a colour version. It wasn't just a matter of cut matching the B&W version as colour favours a different cutting rhythm so Tatischeff cut it as she felt her father would have done (she'd worked as an editor on a couple of his films) The film does by the way includes two rather good railway sequences one involving a bike race at a level crossing, a visual gag he'd used in an earlier short film, and the other some bucolic shunting at a metre gauge station (Marçais, Cher. a junction on the SE Centre) that closed a couple of years later.
  12. Neither I believe did the actual FNC. They even had to build special lightweight trailers for them as their performance couls be described by reference to the skin of a rice pudding. How did Rail 87 handle the two sets of tiny wheels on the Mobylette (that I think were fixed rather than bogies) ? I have one of the Atlas models and it would be fun to motorise it.
  13. In the Netherlands the Guild of Musicians was particularly powerful. The driver, not being a member of the Guild, would of course be forbidden to play the whistle, which counted as a musical instrument, professionally. The answer to this tricky question of demarcation was a requirement for all trains to carry a brass band to warn of their approach. The Guild of Bandmasters was far less powerful so the driver was authorised to conduct the brass band, who sat in an open wagon coupled in front of the locomotive, so long as they only played simple tunes. In the end, the tragic loss of brass players in railway accidents and from pneumonia led to the guild dropping its objections and Dutch locomotive drivers were then instead allowed to use the whistles with which their British built locomotives had always been equipped. The answer is quite obvious. It was a requirement for the recruitment of Dutch level crossing keepers that they had perfect pitch. They could therefore, upon hearing the brass band in the distance, estimate the speed of the train and so close the gates at the appropriate moment. I really don't know why, given the importance of the Doppler effect, none of this seems to appear in popular railway histories. I think I found it in the writings of Dr Strabismus (Whom God Preserve) of Utrecht- for which university the railway was of course built.
  14. Ahh but if the brass band played a particular note, any musically literate physicist with a good ear for pitch would be able to measure the doppler effect by identifying how far up and then down the scale was the sound from the advancing and then retreating brass band. Of course you'd also have to know the speed of the train and I'm pretty sure that Flaman type recorders or even speedometers had not yet been developed.
  15. I was watching Paris Blues (1961) on London Live with a young Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll last night. Not a great film though the Jazz is good and just enjoying the Paris of that era. There are a couple of very nice atmospheric scenes at Paris St. Lazare as the various protagonists arrive from and, at the end of the film depart to le Havre including a good shot of the terminus throat from the Pont d'Europ. The lovers parting scene isn't though a patch on the heart rending one near the start of Le Parapluies de Cherbourg as the young Catherine Deneuve's lover, who has been called up, departs for the war in Algeria.
  16. It was a real eye opener for me when the BBC required H&S training for all production staff (following the Michael Lush tragedy on Noel Edmonds' show in 1986) It wasn't about not doing things but about identifying risks and then looking at mitigations. News crews working in war zones do risk assesments (they also have specialist training), and the outcomes don't mean never going into war zones, but even having to consider the risks to a reporter standing on the side of a pavement in the High Street for a perfectly normal piece to camera was revealing. To stop production departments from backsliding (which they certainly would have done "Oh our directors are far too busy to do any training until we finish the current series") Bill Cotton jnr. the then head of BBC TV, simply gave a deadline date after which producers and directors who hadn't done the training weren't allowed to do their jobs in the studio or on location. We all got the training well before the deadline! I still have my copy of the BBC H&S manual and it's very good and, though some of it is out of date, it is still very relevant.
  17. Hi Bill Gordon is right about the relative lack of branch line termini in France (though even in Britain there were probably more junction-junction branch lines than junction-terminus). This was largely because the entire national network was planned by the government and then let out to private companies through concessions rather than being the result of local initiatives. Termini tended to appear when a line ran into an impenetrable barrier such as the Alps, the Pyrenees, or the sea (around the coast there were quite a few, some of them quite small. Where termini were more common, and often more compact, was on "Départemental" railways. These were not part of the national network but came under the aegis of the local authority (though Paris still had to approve them) and were largely designed to end the isolation and poverty of much of rural France. They were roughly equivalent to our light railways and run, at least at first, by private companies as concessions. Though most of them were metre gauge (a very few were 60cm) there were enough standard gauge examples to provide plenty of prototypes and these tended to survive longer than their metre gauge equivalents. Some of them such as the late lamented Chinon-Richelieu line (preserved until the local mayor took against it) were fairly indistinguishable from national network branches though they tended to use lighter rail section. Unfortunately, they also tended to follow contours so had even fewer road overbridges and didn't offer workings like the daily (and sometimes nightly) through coaches to and from Paris that were such a feature of branches serving resorts or spas. You mentioned quite rightly not wanting to simply build a typical British BLT with French buildings and stock and that probably applies to the service level as well. Apart from the often summer only through coaches on those lines that had them, for most French branch lines both "National" and "Local" two or three passenger trains and one or two goods trains (one of the passenger services was also often an interminably slow mixed train) was the usual daily ration. In both cases the service level tended to be written into the concession with no incentive to develop it further.
  18. Hi Bill I've got a few examples of REE rolling stock and there's a lot of detailing on all of them that looks frighteningly fragile for an operating layout. So far as I know, the Mistral and REE models are separate productions as were the Mistral and LSModel Picassos.
  19. Coming late to this Ian so you've probably already built it but the old Tri-ang TT-3 type B track came with radii of 12" (30.5cms) and 10 3/16 (25.9 cms): the point radius was 12". I know someone who's built a French metre gauge layout using Tri-ang TT-3 material (once a popular option for 00n3) but Tri-ang stock had wider tyres than more modern metre gauge and the standard 0-6-0 chassis had a flangeless centre driver. You'd probably get typically short wheelbase metre gauge stock around an evenly laid 12" curve but Bemo's 330mm would be more comfortable if yuo can still get it. Tillig do offer a 12mm gauge setrack with a radius of 310mm but it has an integral plastic (ballasted) base and is TT rather than H0m. As an aside, I know that with H0e on 9mm gauge track I found anything less than 9 inches to be problematic for my Lilliput 0-6-2s (though Eggerbahn/Jouef used about a 6 inch radius for their Decauville inspired models but with 0-4-0 chassis) It therefore depends a bit on what you intend to run on it. As a rule I reckon that the radius in inches probably shouldn't be less than the gauge in mm. or , more mathematically, not less than 25-26 times the gauge. Curiously, that's about the same as Decauville's own minimum radius for loco haulage for all but their very smallest loco though for their six coupled locos that ratio went up to 4`1.
  20. Going back to the OT's oriignal question. Had 7ft become the standard gauge I suspect that the increased construction costs would have left us with a basic intercity network and not much else. It's likely that feeder and branch lines would have made far more use of narrower gauges, as happened in countries such as India in territories where the cost of even standard gauge (in India's case 1676mm) was not financially viable. Had that happened, the resulting extra costs and delays of transhipment would probably have led to them not surviving against road transport for very long. Going back to my 1940 military railway manuals, the authors are very clear that, though a narrow gauge line can be pushed forward more quickly and with fewer resources, the far greater capacity of a standard gauge line still made that the normally preferred option. If a line would make a direct connection with an existing railways then a different gauge might be called for but otherwise a SG line would be the preferred option with an optimum balance between construction "costs" (in times of war, manpower and the shipping needed for material rather than cash costs) and the carrying capacity to serve a campaign.
  21. Thanks for alerting us all to this Welly. It's almost a lesson in French signalling practice and particularly interesting to see that on a line signalled for bi-directional working (indicated I think by the REV signs) . His expanation of VISA was also particularly interesting (I think by fixed yellows he means non -flashing ones which are a less restrictive aspect) The first part of the video is in the Acheres yard and slips do nowadays seem to be far more common in yard trackage (voies de service) than on running lines (voies principales) but I did notice a number of scissors crossovers on the main line. There are slips on the approaches to Paris St.Lazare that appear in one of Railtrotter's earlier videos that I'm watching now but they may be confined to relatively low speeds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak64IaL1CtE Is that also the case with Network Rail? By the way. that second video includes a section running on the extreme left hand track leaving St. Lazare so giving an excellent view of the Batignolles Tranche (cutting) which has definite potential for a Minories approach.
  22. Ahhh. Perhaps not everyone is aware that films made for the cinema have quite often been reshown on the new fangled television service. The film had its premier in London in October 1959 so probably reached the Odeon Erith in late 1959/early 1960. I never did see it on the big screen. Some of the railway scenes were filmed near Jaipur in India on a metre gauge line but others, including the viaduct scene, were shot in Spain on broad gauge track. I must say that I'd never noticed the disparity of gauge.
  23. Well discovered. I knew it was shot in Romania close to Transylvania but I couldn't find an extant Romanian loco that fitted and even wondered if they'd brought one in from Hungary. It is definitely 1493/1497 with its external Allan valve gear. It appear in an RMWeb posting about the Sibiu "museum" from 2015 https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2015/post-9472-0-49891700-1444860905.jpg and also in this blog from 2009 http://bda-train-blog.blogspot.com/2009/09/cfr-1493-at-sibiu-steam-locomotive.html The loco was in a fairly sorry state in 2015 and I've no idea whether it has since been fully restored or, perhaps more likely, was simply cosmetically restored for the filming with just the addition of a few prop signs to hide its CFR identity. It looks real enough in the episode though and far more so than the prop locos used in Hell on Wheels. The viaduct crossing is clearly fantastical (and with rail bolted to the sleepers with fang bolts why would the rails have lost their sleepers in such a collapse) but no more so than the same scene in North West Frontier in the days before CGI, and no more unikely than a balloon with sails to steer it (think about it!) nor the idea of the main line from Rome to Brindisi being a single track with no major towns (with a hospital) between them. One accepts these anomalies is an adventure film like this and I am though thoroughly enjoying the series so far with far more rounded characterisations- particularly of Passepartout than the earlier film and TV versions (thogh I think the 1956 film was actually closer to the book's plot. I found it interesting that, though Jules Verne set his story in 1872, the year before iit was published, two years earlier in 1870 Geoge Francis Train actually had circumnavigated the globe in 80 days of actual travelling (though two months in Paris during the Commune made the overall time longer).
  24. A small French branch line terminus would quite possibly have had just two goods sidings - one serving the goods shed and adjoining loading dock and the other usually a voie de debordement - what we would call a mileage siding and the Americans a team track- where shippers would load and unload complete wagon loads. British goods yards usually also had a coal siding (which might be part of the mileage siding) and coal pens for the local coal merchants but these were fairly rare in France where rural domestic heating was more often based on local timber. There would probably also be a weighbridge to work out how much to charge the shipper. The goods yard would generally have a single set of points connecting it to the running line with usually a key locked derailer rather than trap points to protect the running line and more use of key locked individual point levers than ground frames. The practice at some British termini (e.g. Ashburton) of having separately accessed sidings for a good yard, end loading dock and cattle dock seems to have been far less common in France. There might very well also be a private siding for a local grain solo, sawmill or other agribusiness (I chose a winery for mine) that might be accessed from the running line separately from the goods yard. Permanent cattle docks, as found on many if not most British BLTs seem to have been less common in France- I suspect because agriculture was more local there- but temporary pens could, if necessary, easily be erected on the loading dock*. At a terminus there might be another siding between the running line and the goods yard to enable wagons to be sorted but with 9.25" of width available you probably won't have room for it and I wouldn't let that worry you. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you view them, almost all French BLTs seem to have had a small annexe traction probably with room for just one loco (as of course did most British examples). This was because the first train of the day would likely leave at some ungodly hour in the morning to connect with the morning train to Paris. I was going to include one on my layout but the winery offered far more operational value. I did though have to invent a suitable fiction to explain its lack. A set up that was quite common on local Départemental raiways, both standard and metre gauge, was a terminus consisting of just three loops formed by the running line, a run round loop behind it (looking from the station building) with the loco shed on a short spur at one or other end of th run round, and a single goods loop running between the station building and the running line with room for a platform between them. This served a goods shed that was connected to the station building, a loading dock (on which the goods shed effectively sat) and a loading/unloading area. There are good examples of this arrangement on the metre gauge CF du Baie de la Somme, on the standard gauge Mamers-St. Calais (though Bonnetable wasn't a terminus though it is now https://gertrude.paysdelaloire.fr/img/caecfddb-2ad1-4b45-af2c-8d67af1b14ff and on the still intact SG terminus of the Voies Ferrées des Landes at Sabres (now providing the rail only access to the Ecomusée at Marqueze three kilonetres up the line) Some stations on single track lines of the PO also used this arrangement but, on "national network" branches it was far more common for the goods yard to consist of blind sidings either to one side of the station buildings or opposite them (which does allow for longer sidings on a shortish layout) The Jouef and MKD station buildings, though generally underscale (1:100 rather than 1:87) are good examples of the type of generic station buildings found all over France. Though the major companies might have somewhat charateristic designs, a lot of lines were built by contractors who simply drew on their own pattern books (Very similar stations can also be found in Spain and Portugal often built by the same contractors) though regional variations would include the roof pitch and roofing material (usually slates or roman tiles and sometimes shingles) Station designs would be fairly common along a line with their importance revealed by the number of doorways on the platform side from two for the very smallest stations to perhaps seven or more for an important terminus or junction. I'd expect a terminus to have at least three to five doors with typically three or four for the main two story building ( the chef de gare and family nornally lived over the shop in a first floor apartment) with single story wings on one of both sides. *In some parts of France there were large scale bi-annual movements over surpisingly long distances of sheep between summer and winter pastures mainly in Provence and the Pyrennean regions known as "transhumance". Between the 1920s and the early 1950s a good proportion of this traditional activity was carried out by rail rather than by driving the flocks along the roads (something you really didn't want to get stuck behind!) though from the 1950s trucks took over this traffic. Looking at contemporary images of this activity, the sheep seem to have been herded across open loading docks with little sign of temporary pens. https://journals.openedition.org/rhcf/1162?lang=en
  25. I'd suggest trees or even bushes and/or a building. France is generally far more wooded than Britain so trees make a good option. It was also quite common to find a level crossing at the throat of station so a foreground maison de garde barriere is possible, though possibly a bit, as is a small agricultural buisness or a café de la gare (which were often next to a level crossing) Because my own layout is tapered (it folds horizontally to form a rectangular box for storage) the throat end was too narrow to give room for foreground trees as a view blocker. However, I'd seen a lot of French modules that use the light box/proscenium arch approach so I simplified this to just have a black painted return to frame the layout. This works well for me as, though it's obvious from the other end of the layout, I don't see it from my normal operating position so the illusion works. Obviously you could us a wider return to limit the view of the hole from a greater range of angles. You can see both buildings and trees used to hide the fiddle yard exits in this photo of Giles Banabe's very effective portrait of French "Départemental" railways St. Emilie (the standard gauge terminus of which largely inspired my own layout) The metre gauge "hole" in the foreground being much smaller required less masking than the standard gauge one hidden behind the "Engrais Hurel" buildings and silo (which also provided a kick back goods siding to make shunting far more interesting)
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