Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Christmas!

I'd like to wish you all a merry Christmas!

May the day bring you many train shaped gifts and hopefully all those annoying relations won't bother you too much!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

A Danish Quickie

I haven't posted on here for a little while, but things have been ticking over. The latest item to be finished is this, based on a Heljan Class 47

It uses Alan Gibson wheels with new pick ups from 0,33mm handrail wire - the original pick up strips didn't line up with the tyres so were cut back and the new pick up wires soldered to what remained. The result seems, at least I hope, to provide a reliable solution. It certainly moves rather nice up and down my test track! As it was a quick conversion the work one the underframe was kept to a minimum - 'moulded gaps' between the battery boxes were removed a couple of obvious pipe runs and fire extinguisher points were added to fill the gaps a bit. A very simple job which made quite a difference was adding a piece of 20 thou of packing behind the each bufferbeam which corrected the front end rather nice and ensured the valance stood slight proud of the cab front.

The body is basically pure Heljan with just a few changes - the most obvious one is the replacement of the roof grilles with Shawplan Extreme Etchings version which are delightfully fine. A more subtle change was to replace the handrails on the cab fronts with my favoured 0,33mm nickel silver wire from Eileen's along with a centre lamp iron folded up from a double thickness of 5 thou brass strip. It's amazing the difference that new handrails make to the appearance of the whole model!

Repainting was confined to the roof and warning panels - Precision paint for the roof and Humbrol Trainer Yellow for the warning panels and transfers were reinstated as necessary using Fox products. The final job before weathering was to add glazing using a Laserglaze pack from Shawplan along with their wipers.

The final result, once it was weathered, certainly captures the look of the prototype despite the Heljan model being a tad over width.

I'll leave it for you decide...

Monday, 26 September 2016

Legbourne Railway Museum

For a few years in the nineteen nineties there was a lovely little railway museum in Lincolnshire. At the former station at Legbourne Road on the line which once ran between Grimsby and Boston in deepest Lincolnshire a small railway museum had been established.

There was a brief mention of the museum in an early issue of British Railway Modelling - 'Legbourne near Louth'. As a child we occasionally visited a relative who lived in a care home in Louth so we would be very close at time. It had many items of local interest but it was the signal box on the former platform which captivated me as a child and helped my interest in signalling and signal boxes grow.

There was a brief mention of the musuem in an early issue of British Railway Modelling - 'Legbourne near Louth'. As a child we occasionally visited a relative who lived in a care home in Louth so we would be very close at time.

The box, Tramway Crossing, came from near Sutton-on-Sea on the Mablethorpe Loop line. The tramway referred to in the box's name was the short lived Alford & Sutton Tramway which ran for just a few years in the 1890s. The name of the box survived as a reminder long after the tramway was all but a distant memory.

I know now there were some inaccuracies in the placing of the equipment in the box itself - the token machine isn't needed, the non pegging instruments are missing and the levers don't relate to the diagram above the block shelf but for me at the time it didn't matter.

The museum closed in 1998, an auction of many of the exhibits followed not long afterwards - a brief and retively unknown venture but a lovely little spot.

Further Reading

Legbourne Road Railway Station - Disused Stations
Alford & Sutton Tramway

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Taking Pictures

Haworth on the Keighley in the early nineties and a photo of me taking a photo of the preserved J27.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Tractor progress

I've not posted for a little while...

however this is what I'm currently up to - it's all coming together now!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Trainspotting Live

What a bizarre yet thoroughly British idea for a television programme!

Peter Snow and Dr Hannah Fry

BBC Four's Trainspotting Live is exactly that. Trainspotting. Live. On telly! It's like Springwatch but with trains.

Perhaps one of the strangest parts of the show has been the 'guides' to spotting! All good fun though!

And it's great! It does remind me of Channel 4's Going Loco season from twenty or so years ago - they had a whole weekend devoted to railways and they featured all sorts of railway documentaries and films throughout the weekend. The VHS tapes we recorded most of the programmes on were certainly well used for a good few years afterwards!

It's almost too easy to mock people's interests - society often seems almost suspicious of people with passions but Trainspotting Live is celebrating people's enthusiasm for railways, and it's great to see it! My interest has provided me with some amazing experiences and set me off working in an amazing industry.

And Trainspotting Live isn't just about the enthusiasts, from speaking to Kenneth Grange about his design for the HST to getting an insight at York to the role of signallers and controllers.

Hannah Fry being shown round York ROC

The pre-recorded items were really good - it would have been nice to see some of them developed further into programmes in their own right. Who knows maybe it may pave the way for more programmes like these? It may look a lady has taken her eccentric great uncle for a day out round Didcot for a day out but somehow, it works really well!

The final one of the three programmes will beon BBC Four at 8:00pm tonight!

Further Reading

Trainspotting Live
Dr Hannah Fry
Tim Dunn

Sunday, 26 June 2016

A Yorkshire Terrier

A snatched shot, so not the sharpest or best quality, from the other day...

Full size version available on Flickr.

A Yorkshire Terrier had got on to the line at Gilberdyke - we're not allow to caution trains for animals of this size, however, the trains were both stoppers and when the train on the right, 2R98, stopped we saw the driver jump out, putting his vest on, to try and retrieve the dog! He was joined from by the guard from the train on the left, 2C26, to help catch it! The other guard and driver were also present!

The dog's owner is on the platform and had rung both Network Rail and the Police when she realised that her dog was on the railway - they were reunited just after this photo was taken - 2R98's driver is handing the dog to 2C26's guard! According to the driver of 2C26 the dog was "a vicious little bugger!"

All ended happily!

Monday, 13 June 2016

The Power of Models

Model making is a funny thing - for most model makers, it's a solitary pursuit. Most of us are amateurs and we do it for relaxation, maybe to stimulate memories and for our won enjoyment. In most forms of model making there are shows where people can show their work to like minded souls and preaching to the converted is always easy. But sometimes models can have a wider purpose, be educational and connect with 'normals' in a way that other media simply cannot.

We visited the Royal Armouries in Leeds a couple of weeks back. It's about eighteen or so years since I visited and Suzi hadn't been before - a bonus Saturday off saw us pick somewhere different for the day. On exhibit which I noticed (among many...) was the model of the Battle of Agincourt. You can view it up close but you can also view it from the balcony above which gives you a sense of scale and scope of the model, but it also allows you to take a step back and watch how people interact and view the diorama. Up close the standard of the modelling is good, although the trees are not as good as we might aim for with our own models but this doesn't matter - when you watch how people of all ages take time to look, observe and take in the scene from all angles you see how powerful a model can be. Information panels and artefacts all have their place in helping to tell a story such as this. It helps visitors understand what is being recounted. And people didn't look briefly either for the most part; people lingered, used the different little viewing windows and took time to really take it all in. The sheer number of figures gave visitors a sense of the vast numbers of real people who would be involved in a battle - the figures cease to be just models, but represent lives gone by and for many it depicts the last day of their lives.

To produce a model which can appeal to our emotions and cause us to take the time to absorb the scene is quite something - it shows how powerful model making can be. Now, our models and layouts don't show quite such dramatic scenes, but if we can begin to engage those viewing our models in quite the same way then our modelling can become more than a sum of parts and something much bigger and maybe more fulfilling ultimately?

A New Jig

Today I have made this! And it has saves me an awful lot of time, any ideas?

Friday, 10 June 2016

Hull Steel

DBS class 66, no. 66011, had to wait at Hessle Road Junction for its path before its return to Rotherham with 6J94 with empty steel wagons. It would head for Gilberdyke on the mainline before it took the branch towards Goole and then onward to South Yorkshire. In the photo the signal has cleared and 66011 is seen accelerating towards the junction.

See the full size version on Flickr.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Hornby Class 47 TTS - Sound on a Budget

It's all too easy to be critical of Lima models - as they come, they can appear crude and basic to our eyes these days. And they are basic, but at the time of their release they represented progress from older models. The standard of tooling was a world away from some of the models then on sale. Even today new manufacturers struggle to capture moulded detail with the same delicate and subtle touch of the Lima toolmakers. And it's this which leads me to persevere with a number of Lima types. My recently finished class 40 is an excellent example of the potential some of the Lima models still have. I'm also building a fleet of class 47s based on the Lima model for exactly the same reason! Which brings me neatly to the model in question here.

The outline is unmistakenly Lima - is this a winning combination of Lima's tool making with a better mechanism (and sound!) for much less than the more sophisticated alternatives?

Hornby acquired Lima and its range a number of years ago - I suspect it was mainly to Hornby a foothold in the European market but the range of British models also came with this. A select few have made their way into Hornby's budget range of 'Railroad' models. The former Lima class 47 has appeared in a number of guises under the Hornby label. This model, however, is one of the more notable versions.

The former Lima model has received an all new power bogie which runs quite nicely and is very quiet in operation - the model has all wheel pick and runs very confidently at low speed. The old Lima bogie tooling has been modified further to accommodate NEM coupling pockets and have lost the massive Lima style couplings! Of course this isn't the first release of the Railroad version of the class 47, but this is the first Railroad version I've had myself. Well, not strictly true, I've had a couple of Railroad bodies which I've bought second hand, but it's identical to the Lima version so it tells you very little! They both have the same lovely and subtle tooling around the roof but suffer from the same issues which I've covered elsewhere - in the main, it's the window surrounds which are the worst bit with more subtle problems with the shape and curvature of the 'nose' and the horn cowling. All issues which can easily be corrected. The only other thing is an odd one - for some reason Hornby have changed the buffers which are fitted to the model compared with the Lima ones - the latter's were a nice size and proportion, even if not that detailed at all whereas Hornby's are rather short stubby things which give the front of the loco a slightly odd, 'bunged up' look. Lots of potential for the 'real modeller'...!

Decoration is to a high standrad and the paint very well applied but I'm not convinced by the colours - it doesn't sit well with with either locos which have retained their Lima paintwork or have been resprayed using Pheonix paints. The lack of OLE flashes and the orange cantrail stripe are very obvious by their absence. Although I realise this is a budget model, leaving details like these seems a real shame - it does appear as penny pinching, regardless of what the financial implications for Hornby. If the windscreen wipers can be picked out in black, why not add add the cantrail stripe instead?

While the coupling would have been welcomed like a long lost relative twenty years ago, the funny short buffers really spoil things. The bright red tail lamps look wrong too - when the lamps are off, the have a much darker, crimson and . maroon appearance. Red looks rather toy like I feel.

The chassis is exactly the same as the Lima version with a lot of plastic where there should be daylight, the 'moulded gap'. It does give the model a rather dated appearance - although I'm happy to chop and modify Lima models, it's a different situation here. With the Lima ones I'm hacking at older models which I've bought cheaply or had for years, here we have a brand new model which needs the same treatment! Not a problem but some people may be apprehensive. But we need to remember that this is a budget model which is priced some considerable way below other RTR class 47s on the market. At £89.99 it's still not cheap but for what you get as a package, it's rather good. Of course the main attraction is the sound!

So for less than the cost of a sound decoder, we have a complete locomotive. But the main question is, is it any good? Hornby have been very keen to promote their Twin Track Sound (TTS) products. The price is, I think, the main selling point.

Much of it is subjective. For me sound is good up to a point but overly loud locos can dominate layouts and not be particularly pleasing. When a train passes the sound of the loco is only part of it - watch a freight pass and its the roar of the wagons which causes most noise. Few layouts really use sound effectively, Mark Tatlow's Portchullin is one where sound seems to be perfectly executed, subtle unlike many exhibition layouts running sound locos! So is sound part of our pursiut of realism or just a bit of fun? Well, that's up to the individual - I can see the fun my little boy had running the loco up and down a four foot test track!

And it's rather good - for the money, it's surprisingly good! It's not to the same quality as a top end set up, as you might expect, but still good from the test running I've done - I could have filmed it, but it would have looked like all of those video reviews on You Tube which also show you how to open the boxes... But this from Hornby will give you a good idea of the range of sounds -

My main issue is the severe lack of weight which affects the model's tractive effort significantly - Lima used the rather crude but effective method of sections of steel bar for weighting its British models, Hornby have used a die-cast weight in its place. There is a cut out to accommodate the speaker which reduces the weight even more. Once I get to work I'll address the weight issue - anyone who's converted Lima models will be used to this anyway! It should improve both haulage and slow speed running.

The roof is one of the best areas with this model - since we normally look down on a our models, this is no bad thing either. The subtlety of the Lima tool making is not always equalled by more recent releases.

As a package, I think the model works really well - you can argue that it lacks all sorts of things. These extras will cost money, and Bachmann provide a readily available alternative if you desire more factory applied details and a choice of liveries anyway. So a basic model which is well proportioned and sounds pretty good for this sort of money sits quite well with me. If you shop around you can get the TTS class 47 for just short of seventy quid too which makes it a very attractive proposition, especially as second hand prices on eBay and Facebook seem to verging on the ridiculous! Plus it provides an excellent base for further work. Spend a few quid on parts from Shawplan and along with a few other details and time you can easily build a model which can easily eclipse more expensive options. This is definitely an option which deserves consideration.


Hornby Railroad Class 47 TTS

Friday, 13 May 2016

Evening Stars

Class 66, 66779 is the final member of its class to be built for the UK and European markets. Since 1998 the class 66 has been a key part of the railway scene all over Britain and this loco represents the end of this era of locomotive construction. GB Railfreight has decided to mark this by naming the loco Evening Star, the name which was given to the BR 9F, 92220, which was built at Swindon Works in 1960 and was the final mainline steam locomotive built for use in the UK. It was named at the National Railway Museum in York on 10th May 2016.

The plate below the name reads -



This is in the style and sentiment of the plates below the nameplates on 92220 Evening Star, noting its significance and GBRF have said that when the loco is withdrawn it will be donated to the National Collection.


GB Railfreight

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Penbits Class 37

Of all the recent innovations within the hobby, the easy availability of sprung diesel bogies must rate very highly indeed. Both Penbits, as here, and Rumney Models (I have a set of their Warship bogies to build soon) have established a range of bogies for a variety of classes.

For a while now I've been working on Penbits bogies for a class 47 and a class 37, the latter can be seen here. The kits are very well designed and the brake gear is superb - a bit fiddly in places due to the small size of components, but it all goes together rather well. The one disadvantage of modelling diesel locos is that there is a lot of brake gear and it can get repetitive. A little and often approach works very well!

The Penbits bogies all complete and working very nicely; over the last couple of days I've added the cosmetic frames with their separate brake cylinders and steps. The brake cylinders are the last of my stock of Hornby Class 50 ones. The steps are modified from the Bachmann originals with PH Designs step treads epoxied on. As they come the PHD etch for the steps have the two lower the steps mis-spaced. So, whilst the solution isn't perfect, the overall effect is relatively pleasing. But at five quid a set for the steps, just using the treads isn't very cost effective - I used them as I had them in stock and had intended to use them for the model before realising the issue with them.

So the model is mechanically complete now, all the remains is to add the remaining details, and there are a lot of them, especially around the underframe - it could take a while!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Birchwood Casey Super Blue

After sixteen years my bottle of 'Birchwood Casey Super Blue' has finally run out! I bought my bottle from Martyn Welch when he was demonstrating at York MRS one year. I think I was about sixteen at the time. It's great stuff too - intended for re-bluing shot guns, it works well on nickel silver and brass too as well as the obvious steel, for which it is really intended. For chassis and running gear this is much better than painting, you loose any chance of paint gumming anything up. I have moved to 'painting' all my chassis with this, as it leaves a lovely dull metallic appearance which, once weathered, is just right for these part of a vehicle. As you can see, it worked very effectively on these Penbits bogies too.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Class 40 - A Whistler of Many Origins

The latest loco which I have finished is a hybrid Class 40.

D235 Apapa
I do like class 40s in their original livery - the green emphasising the enormous bulk. Whilst no longer than the steam locomotives they appeared alongside, that they were one unbroken piece must have made them seem enormous to enthusiasts in the late fifties.

The body is mostly Lima with Bachmann nose ends running on a lowered original class 40 Bachmann chassis which has been rewheeled for P4. The body has been covered in Shawplan parts - Brian Hanson's detailing parts are always a pleasure to use and his class 37/40 windscreens and their associated backing plates really do make the model I think. But also the small details of the step an inspection plates on the buffers (Hornby Class 50 spares) also help add to the final result.

It represents D235 Apapa as it was early on in its career in British Railways green with small yellow warning panels. The grey roof is my usual cheat of using Halford's grey primer as a base but keeping it for the roof colour! Why add more layers of paint than we really need? Especially when we want as little paint as possible around those beautifully fine etchings by Shawplan. The fan grille is a lovely piece in its own right and deserves careful finishing. The warning panel yellow is Humbrol's Trainer Yellow and the bufferbeams are Humbrol Matt Red Brown - a nice subdued red which doesn't over power like normal buffer beam reds would.

A good view of the vitually complete but unpainted body shell - the mix of parts in plastic, brass and stainless steel. Models at this stage always rather satisfying to look at, seeing how you've combined various elements to complete the model.

On top of this is a typical coat of dirt but with class 40 specific bits such as the leak around the cooling fan grille - very typical of the class when you begin looking.

I'll leave you to judge if the effort has been worth it.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Real Life Low Relief

We were wandering round Malton yesterday, as we have plenty of times before, but I'd not noticed this building before - well not properly! If you ever wanted a prototype for your low relief building, this is it!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Corgi Rail Legends - The Missed Opportunity?

Corgi have a range which is half way between the railway and die-cast market, their Rail Legends range. A range of die-cast model locomotives in, what will be to many, an unusual scale. The range reflects Hornby's main range, clearly sharing research between the two teams - remember that Hornby own Corgi.

I've seen them in various places (the NRM shop has a decent selection of them as some of the range are of locos from the National Collection - I've often looked at them and thought they have potential - someone told me "they're TT you know" and having always thought that 3mm scale is a lovely scale and such a shame it never flourished as it really should have done. I gon to Warley with my good friend james and we both commented a couple of years back, whilst looking at a 'Blue Era' 3mm scale layout, what a nice size it was. It's size when compared with 4mm scale would really give advantages for modelling modern block trains. I also recall a couople of continental TT layouts being on the local exhibtion circuit in the nineties - European and US TT uses a smaller scale of 1:120, rather than the 1:101.6 used with our UK based scale of 3mm:ft. Bear this bit of trivia in mind...

Every so often I trawl through the 3mm Society's website and suppliers like 3mm Scale Model Railways mentally planning layouts as I read! And much like the more niche and specialised scales there are some beautiful modelling to be seen! Two which instantly spring to my mind are Everingham and Masham - they're both North Eastern Railway based so no wonder they appeal to me!

I even have a stock of Kitmaster 'TT-3' Mark 1 coaches in stock which I bought off eBay 'just in case'. It is one of these coaches which lead to this post...

The Corgi Rail Legends version of BR Britania 70013 Oliver Cromwell.

It's a very well proportioned and finished model and represents pretty good value. Twenty years ago we'd have gone mad for RTR which this much seperately applied detail!

My parents bought Thomas a model of 70013 Oliver Cromwell from Corgi's Rail Legends range for Easter. No I'm not sure why either - they never bought me Easter presents! He was quite taken by the model as it's very nicely done - for the price it's pretty good, perfectly proportion and more seperately applied detail than many ready to run locos of not that many years ago! Clearly smaller than the trains he's used to, but not as small as many he's seen at shows (N gauge). So we talked about the size/scale and that lead to me digging out a couple of the Kitmaster coaches, based on having previously been told "they're TT". I was rather surprised to see the coaches towering over the loco. A quick Google revealed Corgi had used a scale of 1:120... Not the British scale, but the continental scale. To me, as a railway modeller, it seemed rather odd. Of course they're really ornaments, aren't they, so to Corgi I guess the scale doesn't matter as long as the end result will be bought by the public. It did however write off my thoughts of using the LNER pacifics they offer as the basis for for an ECML themed layout - a serious thought too at one point!

A bit more digging found this article by Simon Kohler of Hornby. It's bascially about how he thought and considered that Hornby should reintroduce TT as a ready to run scale and range. What an interesting thought - however, there was one section which, to me, is one of the most arrogant pieces I've read concerning the model railway trade.

"I suppose the most radical decision I made when putting my initial thoughts together was to scale the UK ‘TT’ to match that of the European ‘TT’ which is 1:120. The old Tri-ang ‘TT’ was scaled to 3mm:1ft which equated to something like 1:101.6. according to Wikipedia. For me it was time for the days of UK bastard scales to come to an end and although I may not be keen on losing the UK£ to the €uro I had no such qualms over the new UK ‘TT’ being compatible with the rest of Europe even though it may not have suited everyone."

For 'radical' I think 'arrogant' is more appropriate. And saying "according to Wikipedia" does not really give you much confidence in his background knowledge of the hobby. And it seems a very sad "I am Hornby - you will do as I say" attitude. And why would UK TT need to be compatible with European TT? How often would he think that an A4 would be seen alongside German electrics? If someone decides to run their layout so, I would suggest that the mixing of scales bothers them very litte - they're just doing their own thing!

It also shows a horrible either disregard or complete ignorance of the 3mm Scale Society who have done an awful lot to maintain and support the scale nearly fifty years. Although the society, as with many other specialist scale societies, is not huge, it is worth noting that these societies and their members are very vocal when it comes to promoting their scale and activities. So, you have a captive audience who would be, I think, supportive of new generation RTR products in their chosen scale. Then there would be scope for articles in the mainstream and finescale model railway press too. And I always thought Mr Kolher was comercially savvy?

So maybe there is a connection between this and Corgi's choice of 1:120 for their Rail Legends series? We'll never know, but isn't it a shame they didn't choose our traditional and much loved 3mm scale?

Friday, 1 April 2016

Industrial Steam in East Yorkshire

In the early part the twentieth century parts of East Yorkshire witnessed the sights and sounds of a number of narrow gauge steam locomotives fussing their loads of chalk across parts of the Yorkshire Wolds. A little known industrial railway connected various quarries in the Market Weighton and North Newbald areas with the North Eastern Railway just outside Market Weighton - it opened 110 years ago and lasted just thirty years. This was the East Riding Quarries' system.

The Wolds are chalk hills which gentle undulate from near the Humber round to Flamborough Head – many quarries have been established all over East Yorkshire to exploit this resource, some are still worked. Most notably near Melton, just to the west of Hull – for many years their products left by rail too. Further north the quarries at Burdale and Wharram ensured the Malton & Driffield line lasted as long as did – these workings have been well documented too fortunately. Numerous small quarries can still be scene right across the Wolds too. And it is these quarries which provided the need for the subject of this post.

If you walk along the disused line between Beverley and Market Weighton, once the hills begin to rise and the line climbs up into the Wolds, you cannot miss the number of former quarries which almost litter the area. A number of these were served by the line too. Much of the Wolds, however, did not have the luxury of a rail connection and what limited products were produced had to leave by other means. Rivers and canals are not common in the east of the county – the Wolds does not have a navigable water way.

The railway was the brain child of Douglas Richardson – the Richardson family owned lands in the North Newbald area. On the land were a couple of chalk pits which were being a local man was paying to work and sell the stone.

Chalk (Calcium carbonate) is used for many things – a common use of chalk from Burdale and Wharram, for example, was to be used in the production of steel. It’s used as a flux for during the process of converting iron into steel. Other uses have included ceramics, whitening agents in paper and many other uses in industry. Richardson was aware that the small quantities from the workings on their land had worth, but not in the small volume which was produced. Other similar existed pits (too small to call quarries really) and if the combined produce of all of these could some how be shipped together, then it might prove profitable. Just how to achieve this was the stumbling block – transporting by horse and cart was a non starter.

A photograph which is believed to be from around 1931 or 1932. The gentleman by the loco is Gordon Shappey who managed the line in later years. He had worked for the Richardson family for a number of years. His son, Arthur Shappey, served as a fitter and driver in the final years of the railway.

The loco is more of a puzzle. Records of the motive power are certainly not complete. The majority seemed to be ex-contractors' machines - some did not last long and other than being able to say this is a Kerr Stuart product and similar (but obviously slightly larger) to 'Sirdar' which ran in Northumberland at Cawfields Quarry.

The location of photograph is believed to be new North Newbald

A chance conversation with one of his Uncles provided a solution – his uncle was a civil engineer who had been involved with the construction of a number of reservoirs in Yorkshire in the latter part of the nineteenth century. To aid the movement of materials, narrow gauge railways had been used. Narrow gauge would prove perfect for the terrain involved. Standard gauge would be too expensive and not suited to the area where some steep grades and tight curves would be required. Richardson had also learned that similar lines existed in Leicestershire for transporting iron stone.

The original style of 'tub', as staff called them, used on the railway.

Two foot gauge was discounted as too small. The more substantial nature of three foot gauge stock was considered advantageous – derailments in the quarries turned out to be more problematic as a result of the larger nature of the locomotives though! The wagons used, however, were of a ‘tub’ style and their low centre of gravity proved very successful. So much so that at a couple of locations they remained in use, pushed by hand, at a couple of locations until the mid-seventies!

The first loaded train left Goodmanham Siding on 1st April 1906. The final train left in 1936, just thirty years later - the workings were not exhausted but the cost of this method of working was simply too expensive to make it worthwhile.

The Route Described

The railway had its exchange sidings with the North Eastern Railway’s York – Beverley line near Goodmanham, just outside Market Weighton. It was known as Goodmanham Siding. ‘Exchange Sidings’ is a grand term. It was one siding, the narrow gauge raised above the standard gauge to allow the tubs to be tipped into the waiting wagons beneath. Moving the standard gauge wagons was achieved with horses. Simple but it worked. The big disadvantage was that stone could not be stored, the only place where it could be stored was in the the tubs! This lead to the line, at its height, having a rather large number of wagons – most of which were built in the company’s own workshops using wheels and fittings supplied by Robert Hudson Ltd. Some ‘new’ wagons would often reuse parts from accident damaged examples. The gradient from Goodmanham up to ‘Arras Top’, as it was known (due to its proximity to the hamlet of Arras), was particularly steep. No trace of the line, the workshop buildings or the row of cottages exists here today – only a slight dip in the current A1079 gives any hint of what was once here. From here the line headed in a south easterly direction towards the quarries on the land of the Richardson’s.

The line then headed across between Sancton and High Gardham - the track bed is now a Bridle Way marked on some maps as Beverley Lane. Near Hesslekew Farm a branch ran towards Gardham, crossing the main A1079 on the level, by the level crossing was a substantial brick building which served as a work shop for a number of years.

Continuing south from Hesslekew the line followed the approximate path of Wrangman Dale Road (a bridle way now), crossing Beverley Road before the line swung round towards North Newbald. Just here one line began to climb steeply to access chalk pits around High Hunsley - beyond here the lines were laid and lifted as traffic demanded. Only lighter locos could use the lighter laid lines - in early years a small ex-contractor Manning Wardle 0-4-0st named Hunsley worked exclusively on this part of the railway. Following the great war, a re-gauged, 'Protected' style Motor Rail Simplex was used here - it was very suited to these lightly laid lines. Trains would be marshalled waiting for larger locos to take them to Goodmanham. This loco affectionately became known as 'Gertie', eventually the name was signwritten on at least one end of the loco on the 'protected' panels.

A line ran to North Newbald itself - a number of workers were provided with house at North Newbald and workmen's trains ran from here to certain key points. For these workings three crude coaches had been in constructed in the workshops. The station was located opposite the site of the present day school, just by the junction of Beverley Road and Townsend Road.

From Wrangman Dale Road a line ran east towards Walkington - the main route here lasted until the railway closed but, as with High Hunsley, branches and connections made the railway quite transient. Records of exactly which quarries and workings the line served vary from poor to non existent!


Operation was 'interesting'. There was no real form of train regulation and when the line was at its peak, it was possible to see trains following each other, seemingly just yards apart. The facilities at Goodmanham dictated this style of operation - with no ability to store stone at Goodmanham Siding, stone had to tipped directly into the waiting mainline wagons. At Newbald sidings were provided to store loaded wagons ready for transport for unloading - this lead to a large number of wagons which were never really used to their full potential, spending much of their stood awaiting movement.

Generally a loco would spend it's time on a branch a day at a time. For example, one loco would spend a day working exclusively between Newbald and Walkington Heads (and other points along the branch) bringing loaded wagons down and returning with empty wagongs to be filled. Occasionally a second loco would be doing the same between Newbald and High Hunsley - normally one loco could manage both tasks at usual levels of traffic. Another loco would take loaded trains from Newbald to Arras Top or Goodmanham depending on arrangements at the exchange sidings.

The Gardham branch never produced much traffic so generally a loco would spend a morning as required taking empty wagons and collecting loaded wagons.

As time went on, especially post 1930, it would be unusual to have more than three locos in use each day. Only if a train was waiting would a third be required anyway - normally one loco collecting loaded wagons would be sufficient with Gertie preparing tubs for collection at High Hunsley.

During 1936, as part of the general run down, locomotives were being sold off leaving only Gertie as the soul motive power. For the final four months she spent her time collecting final consignments from quarries for few remaining trains from Goodmanham - now down to just one every two weeks.


The line closed in the summer of 1936. Run down had been quite gradual. As road transport had become more economical, the railway lost purpose - some of the smaller pits ceased to be worked but Walkington Heads continued until 1973, still in the ownership of the Richardson family, sending out stone by road although a number of tubs continued to be used round the quarry itself.

Few jobs were lost - the final years had seen a skeleton staff running the line with everyone concerned having to take on multiple roles and jobs.

The final trains to be worked were scrap trains which saw Gertie hauling loads of recovered materials. The scrap merchant used her to move items round at Arras Top before her turn came round too.

The Line Today

In the eighty years since closure, virtually all traces of the line have all but vanished. Three buildings have survived - the workshop building on the Gardham branch can clearly be seen from the A1079. In the intervening years it has been rebuilt to suit various purposes but it is substantially still the original structure of 1910, when the branch opened. Another building remains at Goodmanham, now property of Yorkshire Water. This is a substantial brick structure, reflecting the confident nature of the enterprise. It is contrasted rather greatly by the third surviving building. This is no more than a hut which stands at High Hunsley. Today it stands in excellent order, though it may be like 'Trigger's Broom', just how much of the original structure remains is questionable. So much so, it meant quite a bit of research was required to establish if this was the original a structure or merely a new building on the sit of the original. It dates from 1919 and replaced the original wooden shed used to house the Hunsley. It allowed facilities to maintain and service the replacement Simplex meaning it didn't have to leave High Hunsley - Hunsley made weekly visits to Arras Top for boiler wash outs.

If you know where to look, signs of the railway can be found. The most obvious, which even the lay person will notice, is the incline to take the line up to High Hunsley. This represented the most major earth work on the system - for once money was spent as it made for a much shorter route than the original proposal to reverse at the site of North Newbald station.

Near Newbald one of the best preserved earthworks left on the route - this is where the line to High Hunsley climbed a steep grade to gain height rapidly.

One problem with the line is that, much like the Sand Hutton Light Railway, its short life means it missed inclusion in the more detailed Ordnance Survey maps. Details from the company's records, along with notes and correspondence of Gordon Shappey's, do at least provide some information. Exploring the route is difficult - much of it was laid over private land. in the case of the Richardson family's land, it was very straight forward however elsewhere rent was paid for a strip of land or agreements reached to allow transportation of material from chalk pits where proceeds were split between the company and the land owner. So please bear in mind that for the most part, the route is still private property. Around the Sancton and Newbald area parts have become bridle ways, however human activity has meant that no physical remains beyond light earth works have survived.

However, as mentioned some isolated sections did remain. At Walkington Heads Quarry, track and 'tubs' remained in use until the seventies. They were pushed by hand or tractor as required. Their stability meant they were still considered worth using nearly forty years after the railway closed. The quarry cannot be visited now - since it closed itself in 1973 it has been flooded and trees surround the pit disguising the industry which once was here, see below. Sadly the route between Newbald and here has completely disappeared, mostly ploughed out.

Roadworks in 1998 along Beverley Road, Newbald, at Wrangman Dale Road did reveal a pair of rails beneath Beverley Road! They were removed without ceremony. This short section is believed to be the very last section of the system.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Rail Engineer - Resignalling

My photograph in the latest edition of Rail Engineer.

It's nice to see one of my photos in print, even more so to be asked to use it rather than having to submit it. Just a shame that here it's being used to illustrate an article on the resignalling of our line. This is from the latest edition of Rail Engineer.

This is the original photo, un-edited. It's from 19th January 2015, it had snowed overnight but by this point it had started to thaw and is now just thick ice making life hard for p-way who were out packing the junction between trains. And while they wait, DBS class 66, no. 66088, tears through Gilberdyke with 4D88 bound for Hull Docks with empty bio-mass wagons.

On a miserable January morning, 66088 leads 4D88 passed Gilberdyke. P-way watch while they wait to get back to work packing the junction between trains.

The full size photo can be seen on Flickr.

See Also

Rail Engineer
Winter at Gilberdyke Junction

Thursday, 10 March 2016

My First Loco in P4 - What to do Next?

Back in 2001 I joined The Scalefour Society. I can't remember exactly just what particular thing got me to join, it was more a general swaying towards the standard of P4 which I think got me to this point. Helped by seeing some excellent layouts in P4 at shows and, in particular, at Scalefour North. My initial ideas for my own layout were quite different from my thoughts now. Firstly there was an East London based based layout (supposing that the Great Northern had built a line East of Kings Cross - I had already made a start on this in 00 which has lead me to looking more closely at track and it's construction) and 'something' in the North East influenced by the Consett iron ore workings.

It was this latter project idea which gave rise to my first locomotive in P4. A simple conversation of a Bo-Bo diesel where I could use Gibson wheels (which would arrive by next day delivery!) And I would have a working loco in P4. And the conversation was very quick indeed! Quicker certainly than when I converted a Hornby 25 using Gibson coach wheels in 00! I had found a photo of D5103, one of the type converted for the Consett workings - the nose mounted air pipe being the most noticeable external modification. The locos retained these after they had ceased to work the Consett train and had been transferred to other areas.

Very soon I had a loco which could trundle up and down the short length of 18.83mm track I had quite happily. And in line with my other diesels, I started 'meddling'! Actually I probably took this further than I might have done normally at the time. I was now modelling in P4 after all! And yes I know that sounds a little bit smug, but it's not intended to be - i it was more the thought of pushing wheels and track meant I wanted to push other areas of my modelling. The Scalefour Society had, even in 2000, a very good website. Being completely honest, this was a big selling point. Being able to read about and see modelling on the society's site gave it an edge over The EM Gauge Society whose website was incredibly basic at the time. Did this swing me towards P4 rather than EM? Probably not as some of my main influences have been in P4 - Chris Pendlenton's North Shields in particular - but it did allow my fascination and desire to model in P4 to grow rapidly.

Around this time I was just starting to undertake commissions for various people, all diesel and electric locos, and the class 24 was used to experiment a little. So it had a chance to experiment. I had seen Paul Moore's class 25 in one of the various editions of Scalefour News I had received upon joining the society. So I scratch built the fuel tank and battery boxes - compared with my recent class 25, very basic but at the time I was very pleased! As the commission work progressed, the model of D5103 proved useful as it showed a mix of materials and parts being used so it remained unpainted. A levels came and went, as did University, life, girls and things and at the same time interests changed and it wasn't long before any sort of project based on the workings which fascinated me around Consett workings would require far more space than I had available. So the loco ended up on a shelf and stayed there. So what to do with it?

I do feel it deserves something - finishing perhaps as it stands. Or even benefiting from a few more recent parts but keeping at its heart the project which kicked things off fifteen years ago.

But it throws up an interesting question - since I did this, Phil Suttons' SLW company have produced a very decent looking Class 24. Does a new model make an old favourite redundant? With a new model available, is it even worth finishing a model which I know has major shape and fidelity issues? Time is always a factor but is it worth finishing a model like this after so many years of sitting on a shelf?

Monday, 29 February 2016

Flying Scotsman

Following its lengthy overhaul, 60103 'Flying Scotsman' stands at the NRM at York. See Flickr for the full size photo!

Friday, 26 February 2016


Completed Austerity WD 2-8-0, converted to the later Doncaster pattern firebox, for my Dad's layout - no couplings, but it still counts as finished!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Tatty Twenty

It's been a long time since I posted about class 20s on here but this is the progress so far with one of them - a very tatty class 20, 20104! My Dad's photo of the real thing at Frodingham, Scunthorpe in 1992 shows how much of a state the loco was in. It's very faded and its previous livery of BR blue showing through in many places.

The transfers are from Railtec (aside from the BR arrows which are Fox) and I can ehartily recommend Railtec's transfers - very, very impressed! It almost seemed a shame to cut away most of the 'Railfreight' logos to match the prototype!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Nearly Milford

A couple of years I came up with this plan for a friend while he was thinking whether to go 4mm or N gauge - in a space of 13' x 6' a full blown mainline firmly set in the 1990s. For part of the nineties, he was signalman at Gascoigne Wood Signal Box, when it was a very busy job with large numbers of coal trains in and out of the loading facility at Gascoigne Wood on the Selby Coalfield. It couldn't be more different these days - though the box at 'Gas Wood' is the only older box in the York OM area to have air conditioning as the dust from the gypsum workings gets everywhere and they can't have the windows open! Anyway, that's digressing, just a bit!

'Nearly Milford'

I just hope you can all read my writing!

So with the area in mind, a scheme inspired by the general workings seemed appropriate - it's not Gas Wood, it's more like South Milford, but it certainly has hints of it. The photo below shows the huge extent of sidings and facilities at South Milford.

The key features, I think, centre around the ability to send trains in and out of the sidings between gaps on the 'mainline'. The sidings would be, I think, where trains from the local pit would wait to join the mainline. There's also a small capacity for wagon repairs too. You could justify an 08 or 09 shunter as a pilot. Even an 09 on a trip to Knottingly with crippled wagons along the mainline would be entirely appropriate. Even in 2016, Knottingly depot still uses a class 09 for local trip workings. Has to be an 09 though, the 08 is too slow! Other motive power could be 31s, 47s and 60s on oil trains; 37s, 56s, 58s and 60s on coal workings; 37s, 47s, 56s and 60s on steel trains and later on pretty much anything on Enterprise trains! I personally would make room for National Power class 59/2s - they were a real feature of railway operations in this part of the country and the moved trains in such a quiet, graceful manner. Local passengers would be in the hands of Pacers, 150s, 156s and 158s and you could have the odd Cross Country service with either an HST or a 47 and loco hauled stock. All of this would really exploit some of the excellent stock which is now available in this scale.

Scenically a couple of things help I think - the dummy junction with its single line hints at a larger and more complex appropriate for the area (and could literally lead somewhere if you had enough room) and one end of the fiddle yard has been left open to appear to be another junction, more scenic space and it gives the impression of the trains really going somewhere. I would certainly develop the fiddle yard a litte more to allow more flexibility in the operation but other than that I was pretty pleased with it. With enough room, it would be an amazing P4 project!

The Real Milford - South Milford in 1997 with one of National Power's class 59/2s just setting out on to the mainline. Photo - J Wells

Friday, 1 January 2016