Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!


2012 is coming rapidly to an end and it's been an interesting year - promotion at work, some lovely family days out, meeting up with friends as well as a few harder times with Suzi in hospital and her car being written off as a result of a careless lady who'd missed her turning....

Hopefully 2013 will be a good year! My resolutions (not that I really ever make much of them) are to tolerate idiots less; try to help Suzi get the house in order; be more proactive and organised with my modelling activities; try not to assume that everyone else is having a better/easier time than we are and concentrate on our own things!

If you've regularly read my little part of the 'net I hope you have a great 2013! If you've only just discovered my blog I hope you too will have a great 2013 and might return again soon!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

I'd just like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year! This rather wintry view at Crabley Creek Signal Box seemed like an appropriate photo for this time of year!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

NER Numberplates

The North Eastern Railway, much like many other pre-grouping railway companies, had quite distinctive numberplates on their locomotives - on models, transfers never looking right. The best way to model these is in brass but there has been a very limited range of plates available and it's no fun building locos to match this limited range. However with the help of Narrow Planet, we've been able to have them made to suit whichever locos we need!

These aren't part of their normal range so won't appear on their website but they're very willing to help with more bespoke work. I'll also add that they were just £4 for the two pairs which is stupidly good value!


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Hornby 2013

Each year as companies such as Hornby and Bachmann announce their intentions a whole host of reaction surrounds every single proposal for the year ahead. Often it's comments about what they should have done and someone thinking another comment about their wallet hurting is as amusing as it was last year. I try and steer clear of the general, almost, hysteria which can be generated but one announcement is very interesting.

Hornby's intention to produce a Ready To Run (RTR) model of a Sentinel diesel locomotive. These locos were the result of Rolls Royce's take over of Sentinel. For modellers these locos have many possibilities given the wide range of homes and uses. Judith Edge has listed one for some time and, I read, is one of their best sellers.

Whether this has had a bearing on Hornby's decision or not, we'll probably never know, but it is a very significant release; we have a new generation RTR industrial which is not also a mainline loco. The 'J94' in Hornby's range can represent many industrial locos but it is in full J94 mode so requires LNER and BR additions to be removed - of course only those which passed into LNER/BR stock can really be called J94, the fact that all the Austerity tanks tend to be branded so is one of those rather unfortunate references of which enthusiasts are completely ignorant, which I always find a shame...

Non-mainline industrials are nothing new in the Hornby range but they have been freelance or very loose interpretations of real locomotives - they have sold well too I think. They have certainly provided motive power for for countless train sets over the years. Maybe this loco could too? What it can certainly do is fit into all sorts of prototypical schemes - from collieries to oil refineries, steel works to quarries. If it runs at a nice slow and steady pace with ease then 'serious' modellers will lap it up while collectors and many other modellers and enthusiasts will loco the attractive liveries which they carried. If it can be easily converted to P4 then a coouple may well find a home on my new layout - British Steel had similar locos in use at their Skinningrove site. My only concern is they become too common and every man and his dog has an example on their layout!

I hope this quite new and bold move pays off for Hornby - from my own observation of discussion online, its announcement and even the price (around £55 RRP) has met with a very positive response. Certainly far better than their new 'design clever' philosophy which sees a return to moulded handrails and other similar details on a number of new models. So we'll see just how easily it can be converted to P4 next year!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

RHTT 2012

Still on the sbject of class 20s! One of the Rail Head Treatment Trains (RHTT) at Gilberdyke - it had arrived as 3S21 from Sleby and go out back towards Selby as 3S22. I think it has 20301 and 20303 powering it. The best bit is once it's clear of the cross over and you hear them open right up! Fantastic!

Right at the start of the leaf fall season, DRS Class 20s, 20302 and 20301, glide passed Gilberdyke Signal Box with 3S21 in readiness to form 3S22. They were around for slightly longer than planned due to a problem with the points. Not great quality but not too bad for a quick shot leaning out of the window in poor light!

It's hard to believe that in 2012 you can still see six train movements (as on is the same train shuttling back and forth!) all powered by Class 20s!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Flixborough Cab Ride

One catalyst for my interest in the North Lindsey Light Railway was an experience when I was about eleven. The branch from Dragonby/Normanby Park sidings to Flixborough Wharf runs round the site of Normanby Park Steelworks and the wharf itself was originally used for imported ore for the steelworks as well as, I believe, sending finished products out. Now it's more for commercial shipping but still sees steel exported from there which is tripped, even now, by rail.

When my Dad worked in local government he knew the then site manager quite well through work and arranged for a cab ride from Flixborough Wharf to Dragonby Sidings and return. Although the line is now direct, before the Normanby Park site was redeveloped fully there was a kick back where the train had to reverse. This was previously the route into the steelworks itself.

The journey was expectedly slow, bearing in mind that the loco was propelling its rake of wagons for half the journey in both directions - empties were taken from the wharf to Dragonby where they were left and loaded wagons collected and brought back to the wharf ready for loading on to ships for forwarding. The whole process seemed to take the whole morning! The loco was crewed by an ex-BR driver and an ex BR shunter, who enjoyed quite a laid back working experience on the branch.

Perhaps I was a little too young to appreciate the finer points of the whole experience? Certainly it was an area with which I was quite unfamiliar the area, knowing only Barnetby as that was one of the places where my Dad and I would go and watch trains (and what would many of us give to see a parade of 31s, 37s, 47s, 56s and 60s again now?!). However these photos of my Dad's are lovely reminders and the more I've learnt since about the area's railways has almost enhanced my memories. And it's probably why I get excited when I see Class 20s!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Return of the Exiled A4s

For most British railway enthusiasts. ex-London and North Eastern Railway A4s 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower and 60010 Dominion of Canada are like mythical creatures; we've heard of their existence but only a small number have ever seen them... This, of course, has recently changed with their return to the UK...

Both locomotives have headed to Locomotion at Shildon where they've spent most of October on display - their condition is rather poor, 60010 looks particularly bad and uncared for, where as 60008 is very shiny with US style silver painted rods but isn't perfect either. But this didn't seem to matter as it was almost like seeing into the past. We're all used to the UK based A4s - living where we do we have easy access to York and the North Yorkshire Moors railway so 4468 Mallard and 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley are regular sights. However, despite that familiar shape the two at Shildon were still very much a novelty for all the visitors. Clearly for many men of a certain age who formed a significant population of the visitors, these provided direct links to days spotting on the East Coast Mainline.

Soon Dominion of Canada will be transformed into a single 'chimney'd' machine in LNER garter blue with the full Coronation condition as it was when first built and number eight will receive a new coat of green paint before a year of events to celebrate seventy five years since the 126 mph record.

I think it'll be great to see all the surviving A4s together!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Out and About

I've just finished a week and a half off work - the main aim was to keep both small person (Thomas!) and myself out of Suzi's way while she worked on her uni assignments. This has resulted in me doing over 1,100 miles over the course of a week or so! Given me time to get used to our new car though! We've covered pretty much from the bottom of the M25 while attending Scaleforum to the top bit of Yorkshire! Though admittedly at not Leatherhead with Thomas as that's too far for a small boy, it's bad enough for a group of adults! The really odd thing is that I used to do up to 20,000 miles a year purely for work and that used to include a huge number of motorway miles - now being spoiled with a short journey to work each day I have realised how little I miss motorways! So 450 miles of boring, wide roads was more than enough to visit the Scalefour Society's main show!

We've had a couple of trips to the NRM, a trip to a friend's in the Dales to see his layout and a ride on the NYMR on Sunday as an early birthday outing from Pickering to Goathland with lunch on the station at Goathland! So not a bad few days off! Just back to work to play with 'big trains'!

Class 47 Progress

Just a quick one to show that occasionally I make progress with models - it's almost there! It looks rather rough round the edges (I need to run a little black ink round the edges of the glazing pieces in particular to remove the white edges they have), but only a few small parts to add and finishing weathering the body and it'll be done all being well!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Market Weighton Station YFA

If you follow this link you will be an absolutely wonderful piece of film. It's what was once an everyday scene up and down the country, one which a preserved railway can never truly recreate.

Whilst some preserved stations do a very good job of the actual appearance of how things used to be, heritage railways often see any siding used to store stock which means that many stations have a feeling of being 'full'. But if you watch the film, the openess, almost emptyness, is quite noticeable. And everything is happening for a purpose, nothing is for demonstration purposes. It's a very normal scene, one which has gone completely now.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Steam at Gilberdyke

A lovely treat for us the other day was Railtourer's Scarborough Spa and Wolds Coast Special which flew through Gilberdyke on Wednesday evening! And the crew didn't have much choice being booked to run between a TPE service to Manchester and Hull Trains' service for London. The light was fading so it was too dark for photographs but a low-res video on my camera hopefully captures a little of the drama!

Monday, 17 September 2012


I've not posted very much on here at all recently - I seem to spent most of my time at work! But we have managed a few nice days out and even a couple of nights between all sorts of funny shifts! We've been around a little bit, even if the weather hasn't been up to much - the National Railway Museum acts as an excellent shelter on a rainy day! Regardless of what Suzi says or how many times 'Again?' is used!

And while at work, there can be many whose place of work looks like this most evenings, can there?

Friday, 24 August 2012


A little a bit of blue in a sea of red class 66s... GBRf's 66707 rounds the curve to join the Hull - Selby line from the Goole branch with 4D12 at Gilberdyke.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

What might have been?

Not mine but painted a while back by me - what if British Rail had ordered further locomotives to the same design as Kestrel. Personally I think they'd have been delivered in Corporate Blue but in Class 47-esque two tone it looks quite stylish!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


On the branch from Gilberdyke to Goole there's just one intermediate station, Saltmarshe which despite all the changes it has seen over the years still very much retains an air of the typical country station. Although its station building and goods yard have gone it still has a signalbox, a typical later North Eastern Railway box, next to its level crossing. And the box itself is beautifully cared for and looked after.

Despite its off-the-beaton-track nature, it sees a significant amount of freight yet it seems to seldom be a destination for photographers or enthusiasts - which is rather a shame really...

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Bang Road at Crabley Creek

In connection with the recent programme of engineering works locally, every mid week morning and evening has seen Single Line Working, where trains work over a line signalled in one direction in both directions - you may have heard of Pilotman working previously.

Some operations staff may go thirty years without working in this way, but we've had it constantly! It certainly makes for an interesting photo! The train has authority to proceed in the wrong direction passed Crabley Creek Signal Box once he gets a yellow hand signal - note, yellow, note green!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Round the Bend

Progress with Botanic Gardens! Well, part of our on going work. The boards which link the fiddle yard with the scenic section. A nice little job which is one where the progress appears to be quite brisk as with both the up and down roads in place means they are virtually complete in a very short space of time!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


A bit more luck today than the last time I tried to see 2Z02! This time it more found me than me chasing it... And what a glorious sound as 37419 resumed having stopped at Gilberdyke station yesterday!

And not far behind was a bonus; Class 60, 60074, at the head of 6J94! Although I really don't mind Class 66s, having a Class 37 and a Class 60 by on the same day was a rather nice change!

Friday, 6 July 2012

East Yorkshire Area Group Meet

Earlier this week the East Yorkshire Area Group of the Scalefour Society met in a country pub to discuss railways over a drink or two!

This is the third such meeting we've held and they've proving to be enjoyable and very interesting. We've begun to make an effort to bring something we've been working on recently - it is nice to share projects with like minded people but also, as one member has said, it could provide a nice incentive to get on with things!

Please bear in mind that the following photos were taken hand held in poor pub lighting!

First time attendee Chris Parsons brought along a very nice test piece, his first attempt at P4 - it look very nice indeed! Built using C&L components and Templot templates.

Dave Burman brought along the level crossing for the group's Hull based Botanic Gardens layout; now it may sound like a simple piece but this involves both the up and down lines as well as two tram lines crossing at not quite ninety degrees! To add further to the complication Hull's electric tramways used double headed/centre grooved rail, with corresponding centre flanged wheels. Once installed this will form a lovely centre piece for the layout.

Also for Botanic Gardens was a pair of shops under construction by Chris Leach - these will be right next to the level crossing. The right hand shop was a piano dealer in 1913 but the left hand shop was a sweet shop. The confectioner must have had some sort of epiphany the previous year as he had been an undertaker until just before the time chosen for the layout!

Also from Chris was a NER Class E1 - perhaps better known as an LNER J72 as it became. Chris brought this along at my request as I have just bought an old Mainline model from ebay for just £2.50 and I wanted to see the Bill Bedford chassis he'd built.

Finally my own 'show and tell' items - a NER Class U (LNER N10) built from a Connoisseur Models component pack and a much modified Slater's NER brake van.

Dave Fenney had a set of etches for a NER Petrol Electric railcar along with a set of scratchbuilt ends and sides for the same. I didn't get a photo of these but anyone who saw Whitton Junction Engine Shed at Scalefour North recently will know just how good his modelling is!

A great evening and I think we're all looking forward to the next!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

To Russia With Love

Direct Rail Services' 37611 leads the 6Z30 07:33 Carlisle Kingmoor - Hull Docks through Gilberdyke, with 37606 bringing up the rear. Within the containers is low grade nuclear waste which is being shipped to Russia.

The route learning trip for this working can be found here.

Monday, 2 July 2012

What The World Was Waiting For

My favourite band is unquestionably The Stone Roses, and last night we went to see them perform live at their massive homecoming at Heaton Park in Manchester! A venue my some of you may know better for its trams than music...

A truly amazing experience from a band who have an incredibly loyal following - I doubt if many other artists could sell out three consecutive nights of 70,000 a night in little over an hour - and even with the hype, they didn't disappoint.

For those at Heaton Park, The Stone Roses, even if only for that night, really were the greatest band in the world.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Half a Mile Long

The High Output Ballast Cleaner (HOBC) is currently mid way through a four month program of works on the Hull - Selby line. A wonderful and very impressive piece of kit. The whole train is half a mile long! It makes a wonderful sight as it passes by.


Had the Officers' Special, hauled by a DRS Class 37, run as planned yesterday it would have been in this photo...

2Z02 was planned to go from York to Leeds, Harrogate, back to York then up to Malton before returing to York yesterday. Unfortunately it never left York following its return from Harrogate and Leeds!

Thomas and I went to see it (leaving Suzi free to get on with her OU coursework for the afternoon) but it never showed... Not all bad; Thomas was still happy he got to see trains going by and we spoke to a couple of other enthusiasts who were waiting for it. The way the railway can provide surprises, sometimes you see things in unexpected places but occasionally this works against you. It's all what makes it such a fascinating hobby.

Monday, 18 June 2012

North Eastern Class U

Quiet Sundays at work allowed me to get on with another loco for Botanic Gardens. It's been in quite an advanced state for quite a while but I needed a bit of a push to get it moving again. Only a few small items now remain; these small details are really important, I feel, on North Eastern locos. Their clean, simple and elegant lines make for a very 'clean' appearance, so these details are what really add character though they require a little subtly to be effective.

I'm rather pleased with its progress, but the worst it yet to come... lining! It almost makes me wish that Botainic Gardens was set in BR days, these would have been plain black by then!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Hybrid Class 47

As well as other diesels currently on the go, I've been assembling a few bits for another Class 47!

I posted a while ago about a Heljan 47 which had suffered from a swollen and warped chassis and I mentioned that I would salavge the running gear to use under a Lima body - a slight change, I have decided to use a Vi Trains body as they look rather good once they've been detailed and toned down. Out of the box Vi models have a rather toy like appearance, due I think to their rather brightly applied livery colours are generally accurate.

Just to be really open minded I have added a Lima chassis frame into the mix for the true hybrid experience! Madness maybe, but so far (before detailing parts have been purchased), taking into account items already 'in stock' a total cost of £12 for the body via ebay - not bad value so far! And I think it's shaping up rather nicely...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Railfest 2012

"Get fired up at Britain's biggest rail celebration!"

As the National Railway Museum's site proclaims...

I'll be honest, I'm not sure what Railfest is celebrating - the previous event in 2004 was to mark 200 years of railways in the recognisable form which we know and, in many cases, love. But this time? It was more like depot open days used to be - lots of different locos, forms of traction and even a the naming of a locomotive! And in this sense, it's a great event - plenty to see!

Behind all of this we have RAIL Magazine - the magazine which desperately wants to be Modern Railways! And I'll be honest, I can't take Nigel Harris seriously. My view was consolidated when, in a recent issue of RAIL he tried to show that he's 'one of us'. Northern Rail and its drivers were in dispute over changing ends in the dark at Hexham station where no walkway is provided for use where the units do not have corridor connections between all vehicles. Mr Harris tried to tell all he understood their plight from when he had early starts cleaning when he volunteered on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway! He's not one of us, he writes about what we do...

The selection of exhibits was very good indeed - seeing the NRM supported by a wide selection of the industry is wonderful. A sign that the industry cares about its heritage even in these rather uncertain economic times - some of the exhibits were very much off the beaten track.

A highlight for me was a chance to see Synolda very close to its original home. Originally built for Sir Robert Walker for his railway at Sand Hutton Hall, it moved around following the lines rebuilding from a 15" gauge pleasure railway to an 18" gauge estate railway. Now based at the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, it made the trip which coincided with its one hundredth birthday. It also made a private visit to Sand Hutton school - such a shame it couldn't have had a proper 'home coming' as there are a good number of local enthusiasts and miniature railway enthusiasts who would have relished the chance to see the loco in its original surroundings.

Undoubtedly the highlight was a footplate (well, tender!) ride on the Ffestiniog Railway's Palmerston! Thomas and I had a ride and he wasn't at all worried and seemed to relish the opportunity - only problem was he wanted to ride on every loco he saw afterwards! The FR's staff were excellent and very friendly - I certainly hope their attitude will lead to people deciding to visit the railway itself.

Photo courtesy J Griffiths

And finally, the souvenir for a little boy after his day at Railfest...