Thursday, 28 May 2009

Peco Plans

Coming back from the office to Piccadilly Station I popped into the Ian Allan Bookshop which is just by the station - I hadn't done on my previous visits in this stint at Manchester as in the lead up to pay day it's often essentials only! I intended to get a magazine to read on the train but this caught my eye.

It has been recommended previously but I've not been able to get or even view a copy until now. I've see Paul A Lunn's plans in the Railway Modeller many times and have seen how innovative he is with his plans. This book is full of his work, continuing his good work from RM. Some of the plans are not what you would really expect in a Setrack plan book! A wonderful meandering version of the Line which runs through Bleneau Ffestiniog fills a large room and gives a real sense of trains actually going somewhere! Schemes like this could easily be built (with obvious adjustments for track geometry) using finer track and as such this book can provide inspiration for all modellers.

There are of course plenty of plans for smaller layouts and these are equally inspirational. The designs could provide someone with a wonderful basis for their first 'serious' (for want of a better term!) layout which would provide a good looking and 'fun to operate' layout which would be easily achievable. And some the author seems to be able to make continuous runs in a small space rather convincing.

This book really has impressed me and at just £2.75 is cheaper than most magazines and not only excellent value but should appeal to those well beyond its target audience. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


I've calmed down now!

The people I'll be working with are very nice and the work should prove interesting. P-Way is where I want to work ultimately but my time in OHLE should prove interesting and very useful. Hopefully will be able to get out and about and learn as much as I can.

While waiting for my train this afternoon, I looked across at the pair of Class 142 units sitting at the buffers in Piccadilly. It reminded me of a site I remember from my visits to Manchester in the nineties.

Where they sit now used to be a regular haunt for stabled Class 101 units as they reached the end of their careers. At one time enthusiasts paid the one-oh-ones very little attention but as they aged and became endangered enthusiasts warmed to them and ultimately mourned their passing. There was something quite pleasing about them ticking over here, helping to line the station's roof with that faint blue smoke.

Some things have changed, Manchester Piccadilly is now a light and airy place. The two 'Pacers' sitting in the same place gently ticking over nicely showed how the railway changes but in some ways, things are the same.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Goodbye Hull

A Freightliner service leaves the Docks Branch for the Mainline - my final photo of the Hull Project.
I'm writing this as I head to Manchester on an early train from Brough and not in the best of moods! With about eighteen hours' notice I've left the Hull project and am to report to our Manchester office at 0930 today. Travelling is all part of the way contractors such as ourselves work and it doesn't bother me too much. But the lack of notice has infuriated me. Hopefully the work I'm going to be doing will be interesting and something where I can really learn.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Cumbria 2009

Life has been rather hectic of late - worked most weekends recently too. You may have noticed the complete lack of updates here. This weekend, however, a slight change from the norm. We've been to a friend's wedding in Carlisle, followed by a reception in Penrith - a few miles between the two but we can't judge, our guests had to go twenty five miles between the wedding and reception!

I'm writing this in a rather nice guest house, Bush Nook, just near Brampton - if you're ever up there, it's well worth considering! To make the most of the weekend, we stretched it out by a night to make it more like a short holiday! Today we decided to head west-ish further into Cumbria. We ended up at Lakeside, northern terminus of the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. It turned out that the Aquarium Suzi had seen in the leaflets and guides at the hotel was at Lakeside so we could combine the two very easily!

This was the first time I'd been since I was about three or four! I had some rather vague memories of the place - though strangely I had always remembered going into the shed building. It was the railway's 'Mixed Traction Weekend' but it didn't really have the feel of galas on the railways with which I am more familiar.

I couldn't remember very much else but Haverthwaite did have a feeling of familiarity. The site at Haverthwaite is quite pleasant; the station itself feels quite hemmed in by the surroundings and tunnel which has been blasted through the rock which looks decidedly un-British! The ease of access to some of the stock at Haverthwaite is rather refreshing when compared with some railways. The buildings are all maintained to a very high standard and are well presented. It's a shame that the shop doesn't really have a large selection which would appeal to enthusiasts. Perhaps a reflection that the Lakes are undoubtedly a tourist area. This is certainly reflected in the prices of some things. Food was very expensive at both ends of the line. Compared with what we would pay in Yorkshire's visitor attractions and popular areas, such as the Moors, it seemed very expensive indeed. This was quite disappointing. I don't like being critical of attractions but the prices meant that we set off and got food on our way to Brampton rather than stay longer and have lunch in the area. The fares themselves weren't too bad but with everything else a trip on the line could become rather expensive rather quickly.

It was a shame as the Railway's stock and infrastructure was to such a high standard. I would say that if you were in the area then it's worth calling in to see the railway.