Monday, 20 July 2015

Evening HST

HST Power Cars 43307 and 43317 passing Gilberdyke - the leading power car is in East Midland Trains livery, the coaches in the previous East Coast colours and 43317 bringing up the rear in fresh Virgin red, a bit of a mix. The full size version can be found on Flickr here.

The evening Virgin Trains East Coast service for Hull from London Kings Cross approaches Gilberdyke Junction on a glorious summer's evening in East Yorkshire.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Gilling East

Just off the main road between York and Helmsley is one of the most delightful miniature railways you hope to stumble across.

In the grounds of the village hall at Gilling East is a 7¼" and 5" gauge railway - it's not he longest you'll see by any means, but it probably the smallest main line railway you could visit. A double track mainline runs round the edge of the grounds and features two marshalling yards, a decent sized passenger station, a four road engine shed and two signal boxes which supervise the fully signalled railway and work the signals and points by miniature McKenzie & Holland lever frames.

The yards can be seen, complete with the scale stock stabled in the nearer of the two - this is probably what the Gilling railway is best known for among railway enthusiast. 

The railway is perhaps best known for its mainline galas when no human sized passengers are carried and the railway is taken over by scale 5" inch gauge stock. And this scale sized rolling stock is very accurate and each one is worth considering in its own right as a model but the sight of a whole gathering of them is incredibly impressive. However, our visit was a summer Sunday when people form the main traffic.

The setting gives the railway a lovely feel - very family friendly with room for picnics and climbing frames for children to use any excess energy!

Sometimes places which encourage families aren't necessarily the sort of places many people want to go though! But the atmosphere is so nice and laid back with people free to move around as they please (with people respecting the railway and not 'trespassing') with the Society's clubhouse providing refreshments and toilets, complete with baby changing facilities, all great stuff and beyond what you might expect for a society of model engineers! This does seem quite in keeping with the whole place.

The society members I spoke to were very friendly and very keen to engage in conversation with their visitors. This isn't a customer service type spiel but is very genuine and makes you feel very welcome. It would be all too easy to make visitors feel like they were getting in the way of the members playing trains (some standard gauge heritage railways are guilty of this!) but nothing of the sort. It makes us want to return - we can sit and enjoy a picnic while watching the trains go by and also have a few rides too!

Gilling East Village Hall

From my own personal point of view, the way the railway can be operated is great! It works with a type of Track Circuit Block with automatic sections on part of the line. Two signal boxes control movements on the railway - one controls the station and engine shed access while the other looks after access to the two yards. Communication between the two boxes is by bell. The care and attention which the signalling has clearly had is very impressive. The signals, too, are to a very high standard - all are North Eastern Railway slotted post pattern - they're probably in better condition than some of my signals! When we drove up I think it was a lovely bracket signal which gave Thomas an idea of what sort of place we were going to visit!

The perfectly scaled down McKenzie & Holland lever frames which feature in both of the boxes - click here for a view of Gilberdyke SB's M&H frame to see how good the miniature version is!

It's just a lovely place where you're made to feel very welcome indeed.

Well worth a visit!

Further Reading

Ryedale Society of Model Engineers
The Ground Level 5 Inch Gauge Main Line Association

Monday, 13 July 2015

Model Railway Journal - Bob Barlow

Model Railway Journal No.. 240

The latest Model Railway Journal, issue no. 240, has a very different appearance from normal but it seems very appropriate. Much of the magazine is has tribute to Bob Balrlow who edited MRJ for the first 14 years of its life. During this time MRJ set the bar very high indeed, but (and it's a huge but) if you read the back issues there was nothing elitist about it and it was very much a 'doing' publication, with plenty of articles about how modellers could achieve things.

The finescale, and hobby as a whole, owes Bob Barlow a huge debt.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Full Circle

How to get a little boy to help pack away his wooden railway quickly?

Well, make it like a real railway when it was closed and lifted, have a demolition train! We'd passed Gilling station, near Helmsley in North Yorkshire, this afternoon and we'd been talking about how there's no longer a railway there. So later on, when it was nearly bedtime and Thomas didn't really want to put it all away, adding a demolition train in to the mix worked wonders as it ferried track 'panels' ready for disposal!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

A Bit of a Difference

The replacement window frames from Shawplan has been placed on the part completed Lima conversion on the left and to the right is an unaltered Lima body, albeit stripped of parts ready for paint stripping. The difference is obvious!

An interesting comparison of standards and finesse between a Lima class 47 and the replacement parts which are now available from Shawplan. Etched from thin stainless steel, the are very delicate and a world away from the moulded window frames which feature on the Lima moulding (which itself is at odds with the rest of the body which is very subtle and worth using as a basis for a class 47 even now!).

Between them, Brian Hanson at Shawplan, Ian Penberth at PenBits and Justin Newitt at Rumney Models, are making true finescale diesel modelling so much easier and accessible.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Malton to Driffield without leaving the Room

I really like the idea of a model railway where a train goes from one place to another - American modellers (modelers?) are very good are creating layouts like these. British homes don't really lend themselves to them though. I've posted about them before on here and that post is one of the most viewed posts on my blog! This isn't to say that British modeller's don't attempt systems. At the larger end of things there is the Gainsborough Model Railway Society's amazing model of the East Coast Mainline from Kings Cross to Leeds Central - this is very much like an American style layout, winding its way through a whole building virtually! At the other end of the scale is Paul Marshall-Potter's proposed scheme - something which is achievable but a modeller working on his in a reasonable space, a garage in this case. It's not that far removed from building a 'conventional' layout but its concept is a great leap forward from what British modellers usually do. You read it and think "I'd like to do someting like that!"

When Thomas and I have his wooden railway out, normally the trains do go from one place to another, even if it's between just two stations. We must, deep down, enjoy see our trains as having a purpose. The problem is, most of us just don't have too much room available for our little trains. There are things we can do to fit more in - smaller scale, tighter curves, shorter trains, etc., etc... But sometimes things can just look a bit too busy.

A teenage plan for a room sized layout based on the malton & Driffield railway - it misses out Wharrem which is one of the larger and most distinctive loactions on the line but the room needed, even in 2mmFS as here, would still be significant. But as it stands, a layout like this could provide a lot of fun and enjoyment for its operators.

There are other options which won't make things appeare compressed or compromised for a smaller space. A smaller scale is an obvious thing to consider - too often though, people pick N gauge and then pack in so much it just looks silly and toy like. But used carefully, the smaller scales can give a feeling of space in a relatively small area - combined with the right prototype, the results can be very good indeed. Chee Tor is perhaps one of the finest model railways ever built and it shows how well a smaller scale can be used to convey the feeling of space, and it wasn't as big as it looked either.

Go further and combine these advantages with the idea if a layout showing a journey and a smaller scale can really achieve big things. Have a look at some of the N gauge schemes which appear in Kalmbach's Model Railroad Planning and you'll see just how good things can look. Some of the 'sincere' plans (where the route will pass through each scene only once) are superb.

In a similar style, I sketched this plan when I was a teenager. I assume it was sized to fit a room at my parents' house, but I can't remember now! Nothing came of it, but I was attempting to model a couple of bits of the Malton & Driffield Railway during my teens in 2mm Finescale. It wasn't an overly succesful venture but I did learn an awful lot, especially about building track. The line itself is a favourite of mine - a ridiculous scheme which didn't really achieve anything it set out to do but set in one of the loveliest parts of Yorkshire, deep within the Yorkshire Wolds, diving underneath them at Burdale. Today the whole area is still unspoilt and largely ignored by visitors who pass along the main road to the much busier moors to the north. But there is a group working towards reestablishing the line - please do have a look at the Yorkshire Wolds Railway's site!

This was my teenage attempt at modelling Settrington in 2mm Finescale. The trackwork was mostly completed on this and the adjoining North Grimston. All that's missing here are the coal drops and the road leading to it. It worked too! The one item of motive power which was completed was a J27 based around a Nu-Cast kit. This was intended for the Farish 94XX chassis which I rewheeled with wheels from Neil Ballentine who used to prodce drop in wheel conversions for RTR Farish models. The wheels were a world away from the Farish originals (though not so much with the more recent Farish releases) and it felt like I was really getting somewhere with 'finescale'! It ran ok, but the pick ups I fitted to the replacement PCB keeper plate were probably not the best... I did produce a small selection of stock but this was the only loco which was appropriate for the line - for someone used to 4mm and 00, it was a whole new world of wagons. Some easily converted with replacement wheels and others built from the 2mm Scale Association's wonderful range of kits. I suspect this had quite an effect on me for how I've approached things later on in P4. I had a lovely Fraish Std 4 2-6-4t with Neil Ballentine wheels which looked very nice and I still have it somewhere. It was probably one of the better Poole era steam locos produced by Graham Fairsh and with the new wheels, really looked the part. I think I had ideas about a Whitby area based branch line! I might not have finished anything in 2mmFS, but I did learn an awful lot.

I part built models of Settrington and North Grimston stations, most of the track was completed but scenically the schemes never reached completion at all - fields mostly remained plywood coloured. The remains are still stored in a cupboard at my oldies' houes... Both stations would make excellent subjects for layouts in a number of scales. I intended to build Settrington in P4 for the Scalefour Society's 1883 Challenge but I think with uni and detailing and respraying diesels for people I just didn't have the time. A shame really. Worringly I did sketch out a scheme for Settrington in S7...

The idea of one train meandering along the Malton & Driffield would have suited single person operation. In later years a pick up goods would be the only trains the branch usually saw by the end of its life. the plan does give an option of working trains from Burdale back towards Malton, and is sited so these would traverse virtually the whole length of the layout too. There are issues with the plan; both Settrington and north grimston have been placed so they're viewed from 'the wrong side' as they would be better view from the outside. Settrington could be on the plan if you ducked under. The should also be a distinctive viaduct between the two stations which would be best added as it was a very obvious feature to passing motorists. I actually like how Burdale is presented but the biggest omission is Wharrem! This was one of the larger locations on the line and very distinctive with the quarry by the station and the stone silo still visible today. however the site would require a fair bit of room, which is, I presume, why I omitted it. Regardless of the mistakes and issues, I still think the line would make a rather nice system to model.

Further Reading

Yorkshire Wolds Railway

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

All in White

The RT Models exhauster box can be seen towards the front of the running borad by the front steps - along with the Brassmasters' rods and new laser cut springs from Tim Horn, it's coming along nicely now.
A very, very long term project has made a little bit of progress over the last few days.

The model of 08632 is now is white primer, or at least it's first coat of it. And it's specifically white as the BR blue paintwork will, in places, be quite faded and the white provides a better base than other colours of primer would

I'd left things for ages as I was constantly putting off the louvre grilles on the exhauster box on the running board. Not hard but fiddly! Thankfully, RT Models do a lovely resin casting for this item which looks very good indeed!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Modelling Again

So far this year I've not very little modelling until the last week or so. I've not been very well over the last few months - quite often I've simple had no desire to do any modelling, or much else for that matter. It a very strange way to be, life seems too much sometimes but I feel that I can really appreciate the good things. Suzi and I have been very lucky to have had a second, very healthy child who is (and I know I'm biased!) just adorable! Abbie smiles and grins all the time, seemingly unable to contain her happiness a lot of the time! And Thomas just a simply a lovely little boy, even though we'd love to find his volume switch sometimes! And all of this is held together by Suzi who is very much a long suffering train widow at times!

The advancing model of 47380 Immingham - Lima model as it's basis with Ultrascale wheels and a selection of Plastikard parts! The underframe used the 'Bayer Method' as described by the former Rail Express editor, Gareth Bayer, a good few years ago in DEMU Update. Soon it will have a lovely selection of Shawplan etchings added too.

And with all of this it makes it all the more frustrating for me - questioning while I can feel so low with so many good things around me. But depression doesn't really make sense; it's indiscriminate and can have a huge impact on people from all backgrounds and walks of life. And yet as a society we still don't really do enough to look after everyone's mental health and do poorly when it comes to provide resources to look after and treat those affected. The ridiculous waiting times should make the government ashamed... It makes me all the more appreciative to have been re-referred and seen so quickly this time. And hopefully it'll benefit not just me but also family and friends.

The new therapy is taking quite a different approach from last time - I was asked what would I like to be able to do or do differently. A main one was spending with my family but also just with Suzi too - she's just finished her degree so it should be a lot easier now! But it's also the 'extras' which I really wanted to do again - cricket and modelling being the two main ones. I've played cricket since I was a child, all at the same club too but this last year I've just not been able to face it and really don't know why. And modelling, just sit there and couldn't really get into it and sometimes almost seemed scared to do anything. Writing that down makes it seem just silly! But when you're engulfed by it, it just takes over.

But... This last week or so I've made a big effort and forced myself to or make something and it's lovely how good do something creative has felt! And you can see the progress made so far.

It'll be 47380 Immingham running as it was just before withdrawal in the summer of 1992. It was a bit of an oddball - oval buffers for traffic on the Barton branch, cut away buffer beams, extra cab vents, repositioned nose steps and probably a few other details I've forgotten or not noticed yet. Every time I look at newly found photographs I seem to notice something else! It's based on a Lima model with old steel tyred Ultrascale and will soon be covered in Shawplan etchings!

If all of the above seems a little far fetched or simply rubbish, well you've probably been lucky enough to not have experienced poor mental health or seen those close to you go through it. Either way, looking after our mental health is very important.

And maybe railway modelling is good for your health after all?!

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Modern Railway

This is a scene on the present day railway.

Class 47, 47843, passing Gilberdyke with 4D94, Doncaster Decoy - Hull Docks empty gypsum working on 6th May 2015. The full size version can be found on Flickr.

Here we see 47843, which entered traffic in 1965, running on a mainline signalled using absolute block and semaphore signals. And this was taken this week - this is part of the 21st Century railway!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Flamingo Land

Flamingo Land is a long established theme park in North Yorkshire, around the site is a 'miniature' railway. In winter only part of the site is open, mainly the zoo and a few smaller rides. The railway doesn't run out of season but you can see it as it winds its way around the park and at the back the trains and their strange looking single wheelers steam outline locos can be found.

The railway has quite a down at heel feel which many commercial miniature railways seem to have had. The gauge is larger than many miniature railways as it is around two foot gauge, which is very much narrow but the railway is very much miniature in character.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Working in the Wrong Direction

Wrong Direction Move by James Wells, on Flickr

Whilst not a stand out shot in its own right, it is unusual to see photos of workings and moves like these. Northern Rail class 158, 158905, is making a wrong direction move (travelling in the Down direction along the Up Branch) towards Gilberdyke station having been marooned at Saltmarshe whilst working 2C35, Hull - Doncaster, after Goole Bridge had failed in the open position after the passage of a ship. The train worked back to Hull as 2G35 stopping at only Gilberdyke and Ferriby.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Green and Rusty!

Green and Rusty
Freightliner Class 66, 66618, passing Gilberdyke with 6F38. Visit my Flickr Photostream for the full size version.

A bit of a snatched shot! This is Freightliner Heavy Haul's class 66, 66618 passing Gilberdyke with 6F38. The external condition of the engine might surprise some enthusiasts, but the intensity with which many modern types are used it is not uncommon to see traction in this state. Although it does show the surprisingly rusty appearance of the locomotive!