Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Marriage and Pacific Tanks

Strange title I know, but this quick post will explain...

First of all, I got married on Saturday!!!

Not quite sure how I ever managed to persuade Suzi to agree to it, but I'm so pleased she did! It was an absolutely lovely day! I am the happiest person in the world as a result! The photo shows the wedding party just after the service outside the village church - I look about twelve in the photos, but I am next to my very beautiful bride so I really don't care how I looked!

Now, the other part of my the title, which will probably interest more of you... It's one of a pair of A7's I've been building. One is P4 and for Botanic Gardens and the other is for my dad, for Eastmoor, this is the latter.

This was being done as a surprise for my dad - all the parents (and others who helped with the wedding) received presents for their efforts towards the wedding. It wasn't ready after we had a hell of a week in the run up to the wedding! From suits which didn't fit and were stained to the kitchen ceiling collapsing after we had a water leak in the bathroom! It was a relief that Saturday went so well! Anyway, here are the two locos together on my mum and dad's garden table -

The locos will both represent the same loco, NER 1126 later BR 69772, of which my dad has some very happy memories from when he was young. I wish to point out, so as not to offend him too much(!) that his memories concern the loco when it carried its BR number! It is quite an interesting exercise to model a locomotive at both the start and end of its working life. Though, 69772 was remarkably similar in these respects, more so than some of its classmates.

The earlier version, 1126, has progressed a little since it was last mentioned and now has a set of frames ready for axleboxes and other basic components.

One final look at 1126, which should give a clear view of the frames. Hopefully soon, we'll have a basic rolling chassis for this one...

However, that work will have to wait a little while as I am on my honeymoon from tomorrow morning, heading for Egypt and able to leave water leaks, loss adjusters and collapsed ceilings behind for a little while. Hopefully the next update will include a snapshot of Egypt's railways, we'll have to wait and see on that one.

Monday, 19 May 2008

How Green is your City?

(With apologies to Richard Llewellyn)

Urban railways have fascinated me for years. I still have plans to model the Great Northern suburban operations in London; I even have a couple of locos from a still born attempt to model this scenario. I love the way urban railways cut through towns and cities in such close proximity to their surroundings. It surprises me that more people don’t model these railways – they are perfect for modellers where space is at a premium. Land in cities was more expensive than it was in the country. This is why minor country stations could be very spacious despite their, sometimes, lowly status. On the other hand, some quite important mainline stations in cities are surprisingly compact. If you ever wander round King’s Cross, you’ll notice that it doesn’t actually take up that much space.

One thing I have noticed is that urban lines can be quite ‘green’ in appearance; especially now when very few resources are available to keep embankments clear. I’m lucky enough to be working on the Hull Docks branch enhancement at the moment, Hull’s railways provide a real fascination for me, and part of my work involves regularly going out on the docks branch itself to record various aspects of the work. On one walk out last week I took a few photographs of the coal trains which ply the branch – once I was back in the office looking at these photos it struck me just how green the area around the line is!

The photo at the top of this piece gives you a good idea or how much vegetation surrounds the line – class 66, 66 184, is approaching the bridge which takes the railway over Beverley Road in Hull. However it is this second photo, taken a few seconds earlier which reveals the full extent of the local greenery. Vegetation comes right up the embankment, almost to the track itself. Trees have fully established themselves on both sides of the embankment, making it hard to see trains going by in many locations! The only give aways to this urban location are the pylon and gas holder in the background. These elements combined would, I think, provide a very appealing basis for a layout setting.

I’m not sure I can recall many layouts which do reflect this greenery in the modern-urban context. Anderstaff Yard is about the only that readily springs to mind, with perhaps Widnes Vine Yard, which I’ve mentioned on here. But others do seem few and far between. So, next time you see an urban layout which is based in the last few years, have a look and see how ‘green’ it is.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

NER Class Y Progress

Another hint of what's happening with my pacific tank.

The frames now have the cut outs for the axleboxes - it'll be a simple three point compensation arrangement. The cosmetic springs have been removed and will be replaced once the axleboxes are in place and all is working well. I have some spare etched springs which are very useful. Unfortunately I have no idea of the source.

The fixed axle will be the leading ones, which seems unusual compared with a lot of models following this arrangement, as the rear axle as often the fixed one. My reasoning is quite simple. The clearance around the leading driving wheels are quite tight, so keep this one fixed and it's much simpler! The loco will also spend half its time going backwards anyway, so it will be the trailing axle which will be fixed for this time! I want to try fully sprung suspension soon - I have an N10 (NER Class U) on the to do list, so this may become a test piece for a fully sprung chassis.

As well as preparing the frames I also spent half an hour searching for the rear buffer beam - couldn't fit it anywhere... I had already soldered it in place sometime previously! So panic over, but I really should make more of an effort to keep track of parts!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

English Electric Matters

Just a short posting on this. The loco you see here is based on the latest Bachmann refurbished class 37 using some rather nice bits and pieces from Brian Hanson.

A model of 37 677 based on Bachmann's latest version of the class 37The roof grille over the radiator fan is an amazing piece of work! The finest of its kind by far. If you're used to some of the rather crude after-market etched parts for diesels, these will blow you away! The windscreen etches at superb too - they are scale size which the Craftsman ones weren't. (Although the latter were very good, they were sized to fit the Lima model, which was slightly compromised.)

I have a full set of Brian's class 40 parts - the loco concerned should shortly be making an appearance here. I'm hoping the result will be something rather special.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Waterloo 1967

I managed a quick visit to the National Railway Museum yesterday; I had a meeting in York and I parked at the museum. As I wanted to write a few notes on the meeting while it was fresh in my mind, I headed back to the car via the Museum’s cafĂ©/restaurant in the Station (south) Hall. I emerged half an hour later with a complete set of notes and went for a quick wander around the museum.

On display in the South Hall was a painting by the artist Terence Cuneo, Waterloo 1967. I have to admit to being completely awestruck by the work. You felt like you were there as you take in the huge scale of what stands before you.

Another exhibtion which is worth the visit on its own is the China: The Last Days of Steam which is an exhibition of photographs by Michael Rhodes. I didn't really have enough to spend as long as I wanted looking at his work, but I will be back in the near future!