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  1. Album of the most recent photos here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/photos/album/A1D7ZYQM1ZK6F7:1vjABh4SQeaW3olY2oN1sA
  2. I can remember at Swanley some years ago seeing a 16mm scale Quarry Hunslet being printed while the show was going on!
  3. A friend of mine was one of the Royal Mail managers who made the decision to stop using rail in 2004. He told me the two main reasons were: 1) The main advantage of sending mail by rail was the ability to sort on the move. However the trains weren't large enough to be able to carry automatic sorting equipment and the money wasn't there to continue to employ manual sorters. Sorting before loading the trains would negate any time advantage over going by road. 2) Abandoning rail meant Royal Mail could sell off the (highly valuable) sites it owned adjacent to railway stations and move to cheaper out-of-town locations instead.
  4. I would say if you're going for 1.25m width, that's really too far to stretch across and you would be better off with at least some of the centre space being taken up with an operating well (unless, of course you can walk right round the layout). In terms of gradients, the recommendation used to be not to have gradients steeper than 1 in 30 (which works out at 3cm per length of flexi track!), however some modern models can't manage gradients that steep, and gradients on a curve need to be less steep. (On the other hand, my father's layout has a 1:20 gradient but as the platforms either end of the branch line are limited to three coaches anyway, and we run older Hornby, Triang and Lima locos, that isn't really a problem). It all comes down to what you want to run. Maybe try an experiment with a few lengths of Flexi and a plank of wood propped up at an angle. You will need 8-10cm clearance over the lower level tracks, and of course need to remember to allow for the thickness of the board supporting the top level. I'll have a bit of a play later to see what I can come up with. Plans 51 and 52 in "The PSL Book of Model Railway Track Plans" look like the sort of thing you seem to be after, but are too wide.
  5. "Lion" has now returned to service following overhaul, although I was expecting it to go into the early Guinness colours (i.e. without yellow ends) rather than BR black:
  6. There's mention in an episode of Dad's Army of the Germans drinking "ersatz" coffee made from acorns. Jimmy Perry and David Croft were usually pretty accurate with their wartime details, so I would presume that this was genuinely the case.
  7. I assume we're talking BR black here, rather than any other black liveries... Guinness had two 08s in their black colour scheme until the early 1990s when they were transferred to the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway. Both continue to wear black ("Lion" was sand blasted and repainted by our friends at Grundon last year), and of course as the C&WR runs into the bay at Cholsey, they can regularly be seen from passing trains on the National Network. I can also remember seeing an 08 in LMS black at Tyseley in the mid-late 90s, again visible from passing trains on the National Network.
  8. That route was actually proposed quite early on by the VoR's promoters (the navvies who built the VoR had just completed the Elan Valley reservoirs...). Of course the VoR now has an NGG16 which would have made light work of such a route!
  9. Also being pedantic, I would argue it can be "virtually unique" in that something can be "almost unique" (i.e. there are only two or at most three of them). What it can't be is "very unique".
  10. It's not just a case of him "putting his hand in his pocket". It may well be he already has a 3d printer, but for every order he has to set the printer up, send the file, remove the print from the printer, package it, go to the post office, and send it. All of this takes time which he may well prefer to spend designing more prints. By contrast, a customer with a 3d printer can download the file and do all the rest himself (apart from posting it, of course!)
  11. Even more of a shame when there's a 2 1/2 mile heritage railway with a historic GWR train shed next stop down the line! I remember a couple of years ago when we had LNER teaks down at Wallingford for Polar Express, that it was a shame to have to bring the teaks all the way from Yorkshire when there was a shed full of GWR coaches almost within line of sight! (It used to be possible to see the cooling towers at Didcot from the C&WR).
  12. I've often felt it would be preferable (not just for steam but for diesels too), for certain owning groups to either merge or transfer locos to try to get locos of the same class (and therefore needing the same parts) under one umbrella. (Although I know that many groups with similar locos co-operate well with each other).
  13. Yes, I think the major works tended to have a "float" of parts, at least for the larger classes, so that a loco could come in, have its boiler taken off, a spare one put on and (after probably attending to a few other matters) out it went, whilst the old boiler went off for refurbishment. Every day a loco is sat in the Works is a day it isn't earning any money.
  14. It is of course also possible to have a train arriving in 3 as a train departs from 1 (since 3 forks from 2). If you want a train to be able to arrive in 3 whilst one departs from 2, you need a LH point where the "new" point is in the above plan, but facing the opposite way, creating a parallel line that connects on to the inbound line just beyond the trailing crossover.
  15. Operating a layout every 29th February (i.e. once every 4 years) would be regular, but would not qualify as "often" ;-) On the other hand, I know of one layout which has for the last few years notched up over 300 running days a year!
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