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...