Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Christmas!

I just wanted to wish everybody who waunders by my little corner of the web a Happy Christmas!

And the picture? 66 025 heading past Hessle Road Junction light engine bound for Hull Docks on Christmas Eve 2008.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Hornby Magazine Yearbook

I must admit that I don't actually buy Hornby Magazine. So it may seem odd that I decided to the the 'yearbook'.

The book has a nice, high quality feel to it being hardbound and the paper has a nice glossy feel to it. The content too is of a high quality. Bearing in mind that Hornby Magazine's own brief is to help beginners in the hobby, the material in the yearbook doesn't patronise and provides even more advanced modellers drawing inspiration from what is in the book.

The track plans in the book look good at first glance but when you begin to work out the radii, they start to be quite implausible - Mr New seems completely unaware of transition curves! This is a shame as those who might fancy tackling one of the plans for their first 'big' home layout may loose faith in the hobby if such schemes just don't work.

However else where within the book there are some real gems. Firstly Tim Maddocks' Enginewood is always good to see - a layout with a real 'railway like' quality which reflects its builders own involvement in the rail industry.

Elsewhere there's an excellent section which gives a wonderfully useful advice for those wanting to start weathering. Paul Marshall-Potter and Ian Fleming, of the Hull MRS.

PMP's guide are pretty good - though his approach for weathering diesels is different from my own it nevertheless provides a good grounding for those starting with such matters.

Paul Marshall-Potter's guide to basic weathering of steam locomotives.
Ian Fleming is a god in the field of wagons. It might be a rather strong way to describe someone but his wagons are absolutely superb. I still remember being blown away by his models when I saw his articles in early issues of BRM. His guide is very easy to follow and is a wonderful piece of work.

At £16.99 you'll have to decide if you can justify spending that on the book but I felt it was worthwhile and there's plenty to read over the Christmas period.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Getting there!

One long term project has been my North Eastern Railway P1 which I have been building over the last year. Just a quick post tonight as I'm playing with the big train set each night this week - a couple of photos for you tonight to show the result! The loco, 2035, can be seen posed on Botanic.

The loco just needs lamps (and a new decoder) before it's ready for service.

I'm rather pleased with the result. I hope I've got the right look for a hard working loco during Edwardian times early in the last century. I have a pair of Class C's (LNER J25's) on the cards next. Oh and an A7, N10, J71, etc. etc.! I'm getting there, albeit slowly!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Dick Turpin

This has nothing to do with railways at all but I just felt the need to share!

Click here for a full review!
One thing which I believe everybody must do before they die is go and see the pantomime at York Theatre Royal!

Whereas many pantomimes seem to feature fading stars trying to prolong their careers the York Pantomime is a world away. With all due respect to the cast, their are no 'big name' stars but a regular core of actors who have appeared in it for years.

However for those who attend regularly Berwick Kaler is a star. And along with Martin Barrass and David Leonard, the ultimate villian, provides an evening which is unforgettable and immensely enjoyable. However once you have seen the York Theatre Royal's production, no other pantomimes will ever match it.

If you have never seen Berwick Kaler's Patnomime you're life will never truly be complete.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Ultimate Library!

North Eastern elegance; Aerolite in the Main Hall of the National Railway Museum
I went to York today.

It must have been one of the clearest days I've seen for a long time. The Wolds were bathed in glorious winter sun and over the top of the Wolds you could see for miles and miles. York too was illuminated by the same intense winter sun. I popped to The Barbican Bookshop on Fossgate, which is an absolute gem of a bookshop! It's easy to loose track of time in there; their selection of new books is pleasing covering areas which mainstream book sellers wouldn't normally deal with. Their second hand section is very comprehensive and worth a careful look.

But if you're like me, no visit to York is complete without visiting the National Railway Museum. One of the recent additions to the museum is the Search Engine

The Search Engine and the view over the Great Hall.
It makes the NRM's archive easily accessible by all. At the simplest level this has seen a huge number of books being out on shelves allowing all visitors to browse through them. But further to this there are rooms available for meetings and research. Volumes upon volumes of railway magazines fill shelves in part alongside the books - for anyone with an interest in railways this is the ultimate library!

Saturday, 6 December 2008


I had a quick look at couplings recently. A friend and I have been debating by e-mail as to which couplings would be best to use for a future project. We've discussed the idea frequently over the last couple of years - a large 'modern-ish' layout in P4. Since we both work in the rail industry we should be at an advantage when it comes to getting details correct! As it currently stands we've not in a position to start any layout construction but careful planning is very easy when you have plenty of time!

Couplings may seem to be a low priority for some; indeed for some modellers they don't even think about it as they're quite happy with the couplings which come with their locos and stock. This is fine, but we not happy with tension lock couplings, and I don't think they're very 'finescale'! So what were the options?

  • Three link couplings
  • Kadee couplings
  • Sprat & Winkle couplings
  • Alex Jackson couplings

We discounted three links as being a bit too fiddly for exhibition use. Kadees are ultra reliable but are expensive and we felt don't look right on most British stock - though for the large EWS hoppers may provide a useful and prototypical solution. Alex Jacksons are brilliant in operation but require careful set up and maintenance - not something I'd fancy on a large fleet of wagons. We are considering using them on Botanic for stock which will be required to shunt the coal yard though.

The final option we have are Sprat & Winkle couplings. My dad and I have used them on Eastmoor for some time and have found them to be rather good. They are discreet and only work out at forty odd pence per vehicle. I hope you'll excuse the lighting in the photos - I was using the kitchen lights at my parents' house! At this time of year East Yorkshire seems to have a distinct lack of sunlight and when we did get it, it was snowing so not ideal for photography!

As you can see the coupling is quite small in its appearance - I used the 3mm scale/4mm 'finescale' version (AC3/3). The couplings are quite subtle too, when vehicles are coupled it is quite hard to see the couplings! As the following demonstrates -

I used 0,33 mm handrail wire for the coupling loops - it's quite thin but in this application will be fine. It's also near invisible to the naked eye when stock is viewed at 'normal viewing distances' - this is especially pleasing for diesel locos where a feature of models is the full compliment of bufferbeam hoses and jumper cables.

So we'll see how the small selection converted gets on before we make a final decision.