Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Project 31 Fades Away

My class 31 has progressed quite well I'm pleased to say! It's very much on the home straight now. The photo of 31 171 I mentioned in the original post about the project shows the loco in a rather faded state. The grey was steadily loosing its density and had become a much lighter shade. I added a little rail grey to the mix of the body colour but the final effect would need a little more 'help'. The following photo will give you an idea of how much I have managed to 'fade' the paintwork.

I've used the techniques I described previously with which I've had a degree of success - though the model looks awful when the fading has been applied! The key seems to be not so much with the fading process but the application of washes of dirt to the model afterwards. This is where I differ from my normal method of applying paint and then removing it. Instead I use very thin washes applied like watercolour washes. For seam and panel lines I used a very fine brush to introduce the mix and let capillary action do the rest. It's a slow process which needs to repeated several times to build up the colour and shadows but it's very worthwhile. After these have dried I use a wide chisel brush to apply washes in key areas of the body and roof.

The next stage will be applied with an airbush - exhaust stains and dirt and dust thrown up by the loco's motion for example. This will be applied once the underframe has been completed and weathered to bring all the elements together. This is, I think, one of the most satisfying stages of modelling, when all of sudden the model exists as a whole and repays the care you took.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

First Class Week

I spent last week commuting to Leeds and back each day – commuting at the same time as the masses is not something I like especially. I was on a project management course administered by the Association for Project Management at Leeds Metropolitan University within their Centre for Project Management. It was a rather intensive course, far more so any part of my degree! With this in mind, plus the city centre location I didn’t really fancy driving in and out everyday. The days would be long enough as it was without having the stress three or four hours in the car everyday! Another thought was a hotel for four night – travelling is much easier and there would be somewhere to work in the evening, but it could prove expensive. So a further alternative was to go by train each day.

However, anyone who’s experience Selby to Leeds in a morning or the return journey in an evening will know that the numbers on the train make it a less than pleasant experience! All it shows is how suited the railway is to easily shifting large numbers of people from one place to another. But this wouldn’t make doing work on the train very easy. I remember this from my time in Manchester where having anything out on the table made you distinctly unpopular with your fellow passengers! But thanks to the privatised railway’s advance ticket systems there was another, not very obvious answer – First Class.

It’s normally seen as the expensive way to travel, and if you pay on the day it is – as is standard class too on some circumstances. However booking as far in advance as possible netted a selection of tickets to get me to and from Leeds which was significantly less than the price of a hotel or, possibly, petrol when crawling through heavy traffic! The key advantages? Well, up to fifty minutes each way to work and read through course material in a nice quiet and comfortable environment with a short drive to Brough and back each day. Seemed like the best choice by a long way.

Thankfully we had First TransPennine Express' class 170’s each way – I think they’re much nicer than the class 185 units which they also run – and first class is very comfortable. Not up to mark 3 coach standards, but pretty good. Every service got me to my destinations on time – the only issue was when a late running Scarborough service delayed my train’s arrival into Leeds by five minutes but we were on time by Selby. There seems a fair bit of slack in the working timetable so any small delays can easily be recovered. The only real problem for me was when we had a single two car unit instead of the usual two, two car units. First class was declassified and then full – I couldn’t do any work really this night on the train. I can claim back the difference on my ticket but that wasn’t the point at the time. But, these things happen, and life still goes on! The most annoying part of this journey was one middle aged woman who appeared to be wearing a man’s suit; she seemed an expert on everything and the whole compartment knew all about her mother’s ailments by the time we arrived in Selby.

The two stations I used are both excellent examples of their respective genres; Brough was once a village station which has now metamorphosised into a parkway station with a decent sized car park and staffed buildings. Leeds has too undergone huge change over the last few years. It used to be a horribly dingy station but is now light and airy with a real hint of many mainline stations on the continent. The only thing which annoys me is the ticket barriers. I understand the need for need to protect against fare dodgers but they do produce a real bottleneck. And the number of people with purses and wallets out as they go through, having extracted their tickets, must be a real temptation for the less desirable members of the community.

Aside from that one evening, I had a trouble free week of travelling which made the whole week so much easier. Combined with the course being good with decent lecturers and some lovely ‘course mates’, it was a really good week! The real downside was only being able to see Thomas for about half an hour a day before he went to bed in an evening. A nice extra on the Friday was the Northern Belle heading through Leeds with a Class 67 on either end!

A first class end to a first class week.

Friday, 10 September 2010

To York And Back

I went to York for the first PWI meeting of the autumn last night and one thing really struck as I drove home.

The A1079 is now littered with speed cameras and long limits well below the national speed limit - I believe for 'safety' reason though if it's busy you'd do well get near the lower limit yet when it's quite it is so frustrating not being able to get anywhere near sixty on such a wide main road. As such, if I'm on my own I often leave the main road and head home on the more minor roads where I can easily follow the route of the former Beverley - York line. With the low limits on the main road, this little diversion doesn't actually much to your journey time at all!

It may seem odd to have followed the line like this so many times but it still holds my interest and so many times I notice a little remnant which I'd missed previosuly; it may only be a disused gatepost but it's another little piece of evidence that this line once existed.

One thing which struck me as I drove home was how perfect the railway would have been for my journeys last night. I could have walked to village station (assuming it could have reopened as it closed in 1959!) and caught a direct train to York, not sat in traffic in the centre of York for twenty-five minutes and very easily walked to the meeting! On the way back a short walk after the meeting to the station and then back on a late train and then a stroll from the station to our house. I could even have met a friend for a drink afterwards, I could have had a couple of pints too as I wouldn't be driving! Would be fantastic, wouldn't it?

Will it ever happen? Well, we've looked at this before but there have been a few interesting references published recently. The Minsters' Rail Campaign's website has some interesting items in its news section.

If you look at the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's website for their Local Development Framework and browse the Allocations Development Plan Document section a number of the schedules mention "Site within potential area identified for proposed Beverley to York railway line" and various maps "Potential route for Hull to York railway".

So a statement of intent? A pipe dream? Or a naive idea by people who don't really understand the true cost? Well I hope I'm way of the mark on the latter. But who knows? One thing I do think is that spending money which may go on HS2 would probably be of more economic benefit to many areas if it was spent on reopening or upgrading lines which could really benefit communities.

Maybe I'm idealistic - recent events have seen me really reassesing what I think and fell is important and questioning many things and drawing new conclusions. Idealism might not be achievable but even if you wish to make a practical and workable solution I think the idealistic starting may still help one reach the best solution. So maybe one day we will see the York - Beverley line's "potential route" realised?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Navy Lark

The title may seem to be more the likes of CPO Pertwee, but it seems a suitable title for a little bit about moreWarships! The Navy Lark, incidently, is a huge favourite of mine! Along with Hankcock's Half Hour!

This time the result is more weather beaten and distinctly more filthy than the previous Warship. This effect is, I think, emphasised by the cool light of a cloudly late summer/early autumn afternoon.

I rather enjoy weathering these locos, especially the dirtier examples. The hydraulics seemed to weather in their own unique way. The body coloured valances seem to attract dirt and never seem to be touched by any carriage washers. The dirt builds and builds as time goes by. Then as locos move further away from their last overhaul oil seems to being to seep out mixed in with fuel spills and this soaks into the dirt making for patterns which can look amazing in model form if you can carefully replicate them. The Bachmann model is a delight to work with; a solid simple model locomotive which really looks the part!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Hull's Big Bus Day

Over the weekend, my Dad and I went to the 'Big Bus Day' at the Streetlife Museum in Hull. It's a rather interesting day which attracts approaching five thousand people on just one day! Interestingly, from observations, I think a larger proportion of the visitors are 'non-enthusiasts' which seems to show it is a wonderful PR exercise for East Yorkshire Motor Services!

The museum is both a superb choice of venue and a most unsuitable place! For photography if you don't have a wide angle lens you don't stand a chance! But the venue, in Hull's 'Museum Quarter' is a delightful place. The Streetlife Museum is home to one of Hull's last remaining trams, no. 132, too - the museum also houses a wonderfully restored North Eastern Railway brake van too.

It's right in the heart of Hull's old town, which is probably not what many people would expect of Hull. I often think that Hull gets a bad press, often undeserved. All cities have their problems but Hull's 'best bits' never seem to receive the credit they deserve.

The day always sees a number of preserved vehicles in attendance - the standard of the vehicles is always very high indeed. And despite being East Yorkshire's day, Hull City Transport always seems to be represented too - these are privately owned normally, although Hull City Council does own a number of ex-Hull buses but sadly they don't have the room to display them so most are sadly stored away from public view.

East Yorkshire always have new buses on display - interesting for the public and enthusiasts but also wonderful PR. Previously the Manchester City team coach has attended - this is owned and operated by EYMS' Manchester operation.

For railway modellers events like these can be wonderful sources of information and inspiration. A chance to closely inspect buses easily without causing any problems! All too often I think many layouts, including some finescale efforts, are ruined by the inclusion of untouched die-cast buses. It's such a shame when it is so easy to research buses properly - even more so when the owner and builder could never live with an untouched RTR loco on their layout yet seems happy with an out of the box EFE bus!

If you can make it to next year's event it is worth a trip - the atmosphere is always fantastic and it really shows Hull at its best I think. And, I don't wish to jinx things, but they always manage to have lovely warm sunny weather each year!