Modelling Take better layout shots Photographer and modeller Jack Boskett shares his skills
MODELLING A PRESERVED LINE
N GAUGE DJM'S MERMAID REVIEW
BLAST FROM THE PAST: LILIPUT
NATIONAL COLLECTION'S STIRLING SINGLE NO. 1 P29
EDITORIAL | 3
Editor Sarah Palmer RMModellingeditor@mortons.co.uk Contributors Tony Stratford, Lucian Doyle, Nigel Burkin, Ian Lamb, Michael Watts, Bernard Gudgin, Matt Wickham Production editor Pauline Hawkins Senior designer Holly Furness Picture desk Paul Fincham, Jonathan Schofield Advertising manager Sue Keily Publisher Tim Hartley Publishing director Dan Savage Commercial director Nigel Hole Subscription manager Paul Deacon Circulation manager Steve O'Hara Marketing manager Charlotte Park
Turn to page 26 to find out more about modelling the Bluebell Railway.
To advertise, contact:
From the editor
Lynsey Young 01507 529454 email@example.com Fiona Leak 01507 529573 firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find us
Editorial, advertising and administration Mortons Media Group Ltd, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6JR Tel 01507 529529
© Copyright Mortons Media Group Ltd. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, without prior approval in writing is prohibited. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for errors in articles or advertisements, or for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations.
Mortons Print, Horncastle, Lincs. Tel 01507 523456
Find stockists online at www.
railwaymagazinemodelling.co.uk. September's RMM is out on August 25, 2017. Last month's competition winner was Geoff Peart of Tamworth.
Sarah Palmer Editor
ou may have noticed that we’ve changed gauge this month, we’ve gone bigger! We print RMM ourselves so we can make it an even bigger and better publication with more room for great features, and bigger pages will allow even better detail in the images. All this… and it still doesn’t cost you a penny and we’re available in more than 800 stockists.
In this month’s new-size RMM we’ve got a fantastic feature with advice for taking better photographs of your layout with top photographer Jack Boskett. Tony Stratford in Blasts from the Past is looking into the history of Liliput, while Ian Lamb in Past and Present is talking about 'The Queen of Scots'. Nigel Burkin, as well as looking into the dark art of track cleaning, has written an
introduction to DCC for anyone who is a bit thrown by new terminology. There’s also a feature on National Collection engine the Stirling Single, a model of which is due for release this year. And talking of preservation, Matt Wickham shows how he created his model of the Bluebell Railway. I hope you enjoy August’s issue of RMM.
Have you got a story for us? Email: RMModellingeditor@mortons.co.uk
New releases for Scalelink and Finescale Ellis Clark Trains has announced an exclusive selection of upcoming releases for Scalelink and Finescale O Gauge. Bogie Tankers are available now and Mk. 1 coaches and well wagons are both available for pre-order. Bogie tankers are £69 each and available in more than 20 post- and pre-war liveries with prototypical wheels and bogies. Well wagons are also £69 each and are expected in August/September this year.
Prices for Mk. 1 coaches are £750 for Set A (four coaches), £565 for Set B (three coaches) and £189 for Singles. Set A will be released first in September of this year with all others released on a monthly basis until around February/March 2018. The Mk.1 coaches will be available in blood and custard, maroon, green, chocolate and cream, Intercity, blue and grey.
This year’s GCR Model Event took place over three days in June at the Great Central Railway at Loughborough in Leicestershire and was supported by RMM, Rail Express and The Railway Magazine. PHOTO: ROBIN JONES
Limited-edition Dunrobin Castle Mickleover Model Railway Group (MMRG) has commissioned Bachmann to produce a limitededition model of class 37/0 No. 37114 Dunrobin Castle in the large logo blue colour scheme complete with the Highland Rail emblems of Inverness depot. The model, of which only 512 are being produced, will be accurate for the period, featuring the correct 37/0 bodyshell with open boiler port, flush boiler roof panel with safety valves, split headcode boxes and gangway doors.
The anticipated cost of each model is £149.99 plus postage and packing, with delivery expected to be in late 2017 or early 2018. Please visit Mickleover Model Railway Group's website: www.mmrg.org.uk to declare your interest and secure your model. The model was launched at MMRG’s Derby show at the Roundhouse in May, and all profits generated will be used to fund the rebuilding of MMRG’s clubrooms at Mickleover, and hopefully more models will follow to benefit the same worthy cause.
SMRC to continue supporting Ryan’s charity The Shoeburyness Model Railway Club is renewing its support of the Ryan Tolley Leukaemia Trust Fund. In 2009 Ryan was diagnosed with leukaemia, and after a long battle he died in December 2011, aged 22. Ryan had asked just before he died if a charity could be set up to help those like him and his family cope financially and also bring some comfort. Last year’s Shoeburyness Model Railway Club annual show at Garons Park in Essex raised £500. Naughty models X-rated model railway accessories have gone on sale at Peter’s Spares in Middlesbrough as well as Hattons store in Widnes. The packs are part of a series named Sexy Scenes, and are manufactured by German firm Noch. As-preserved 'Jinty' 16410 DCC Supplies has commissioned a limited-edition O gauge 3F ‘Jinty’ model from Dapol in ‘as preserved’ condition of LMS lined maroon livery. Although the 3F ‘Jinty’ has its roots in the rebuilt Midland Railway 2441 Class of 1899 (with its distinctive Belpaire firebox), the class was built by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) to a design by Fowler from 1924-1931. Due in October 2017, prices are: £225 (DCC Ready), £255 (DCC Fitted), £400 (DCC Sound) all postage is free. Order from DCC Supplies 01905 621999 or via jinty.dccsupplies.com
Lyn returns to L&B The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway at Woody Bay will welcome back a new-built copy of its Lyn locomotive at its autumn gala at the station on September 30. The engine has been built at the works of engineering contractor Alan Keef in Herefordshire and has been made possible thanks to funding from independent charity The 762 Club.
New home for Lincs railway A Lincolnshire miniature railway has been saved at the 11th hour by a social media campaign. The Evergreen Miniature Railway based in Stickney, north of Boston, was set to lose its home after 15 years, but is now able to choose a new site after a flood of offers. Its final running day on its Stickney site will be on July 29.
Railway challenge event Stapleford Miniature Railway, near Melton, has hosted a railway challenge as university students compete to make the best small-scale locomotives. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Railway Challenge competition took place over three days from June 30 to July 2, and saw 11 teams compete to design and manufacture a selection of small-scale locomotives with a central part of the competition energy storage and energy-efficiency challenges. A group of nine graduate engineers from SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit’s Derby office won the Railway Challenge.
Biggest Little Railway makes it! The Biggest Little Railway in the is very steep, hence the need for World successfully reached its carpenters/engineers to assist. Four destination in Inverness after teams of track layers were involved, travelling 72 miles along the Great each laying the next section as Glen Way over a fortnight at the end they progressed along the route. of June and the beginning of July for The track was moulded plastic in a TV programme that will be aired in three-metre lengths. With more than the autumn. 100 volunteers involved from Fort “We at Inverness & District Model William to Inverness, it certainly is a Railway Club were approached some milestone achievement,” he said. months ago to see if we would become involved. We all had our doubts, as at that time they had not surveyed the terrain and also, being midge time, were setting themselves a task and a half,” says Gerry Parks, club secretary of the Inverness and District Model Railway Club. “They overcame a mountain of difficulties as The layout built by I&DMRC. some of the terrain
Spirit of Rotary taking a test run on the RMR.
RMR on track Riverside Miniature Railway is a brand new, still under construction, 71/4in gauge railway in St Neots, Cambridgeshire that
recently won first prize of £5000 in the Tesco Bags of Help award. The railway hopes to open to the public later this year.
6 | WHAT'S IN THE SHOPS
in What's the shops A side view showing the neat lining and printed number details, which are opaque and level.
Bachmann’s LBSCR E4 Tank Locomotive This popular radial tank locomotive model is reissued by Bachmann in OO gauge and reviewed by Nigel Burkin.
f the 75 E4 class locomotives constructed by the LBSCR as a development of the smaller E3 class, only one has survived to see preservation and it is currently located on the Bluebell Railway, which is now its permanent home. A powerful and highly versatile radial tank locomotive, the LBSCR E4 was primarily used on local passenger duties together with freight traffic on what became the Southern Railway and the Southern Region of BR. Construction commenced in 1897 to a design by Robert Billinton and all 75 locomotives were built by the LBSCR works in Brighton. The locomotive featured a wheel arrangement of 0-6-2 including the radial axle truck located under the coal bunker. Four E4 locomotives were rebuilt into the E4X class between 1909 and 1911; the primary difference being the use of larger boilers. As for the remainder of the fleet, they worked diligently on less exciting but equally important branch and local train services until the introduction of DMU and DEMUs, together with the closure of secondary lines in BR days, saw them relegated to station pilot duties and eventual withdrawal. In many respects, the E4
class was unexceptional in that it did nothing more than what it was designed to do but did that very well indeed. The lack of glamour might be the reason why only one example was preserved, but what an important locomotive it is in the heritage railway world! BR No. 32473 (SR B473) was saved from scrapping shortly after withdrawal by a group of preservationists and is a permanent resident on the Bluebell Railway where it has been ever since its purchase from BR. It has the distinction of being the only LBSCR steam locomotive designed by Billinton to survive in preservation. Its preservation was fortunate for at the time so many small locomotive classes succumbed to the cutting torch because they were overshadowed by larger main line classes. Model details Tank engines undertook the lessglamorous duties on the railways, yet translate into some of the most appealing models. The OO gauge of the LBSCR E4 by Bachmann is a great example of a workaday locomotive making a very attractive-looking model – small and versatile enough for small layout designs. Currently, there are two new releases in
the Bachmann catalogue, both of which are now available in the shops: 35-076A No. 2517 finished in SR green and 35-079 BR No. 32494 finished in lined BR black. It is the latter model that features in this review.
Manufacturer: Bachmann Europe Plc. Scale: 4mm (1:76) scale, OO gauge. Era: Built from 1897. Withdrawn between 1958 and 1962. Web: www.bachmann.co.uk Models: 35-076A SR green No. 2517. 35-079 No. 32494 BR lined black with early emblem (review model). Suggested retail price: £119.95.
The second issue of the popular Bachmann LBSCR E4 locomotive includes BR No. 32494 in pristine lined BR black (35-079).
WHAT'S IN THE SHOPS | 7
The body consists of several subassemblies detailed with numerous small mouldings, which have been carefully and neatly applied.
Summary of features:
Cab detail includes sight glasses and the locomotive controls – all carefully picked out in separate colours.
Body Bachmann has designed the model so that the plastic body is made up of several sub-assemblies fitted to a diecast floor permitting variations between locomotives to be modelled. Each model, including those previously released when the model was first introduced in 2015, is equipped with engine-specific details and standard fittings composed of individual mouldings carefully applied to the model. Some, such as lamp irons and the cab roof whistle, are delicate and modellers should be aware of this when removing the model from the box and during handling when fitting decoders and undertaking maintenance work. The overall appearance is of a fine-looking finish with some very crisp moulding of some very small and delicate components. The same level of detailing extends to the cab interior and noteworthy are the finished cab fittings, each one picked out in the appropriate colour. One thing the model does not have are sprung buffers; a detail which is not that important as the plug-in ones are of metal and nicely shaped.
Chassis and mechanism The similarity of the chassis design compared with the LNWR Coal Tank is noteworthy and the model is capable of good slow speed control over complex track work. The mechanism features a five-pole motor driving a single gear tower to the middle driving wheel axle. The motion is transferred to the remaining powered axles by the coupling rods. Like the LNWR Coal Tank, the locomotive is an 0-6-2 radial tank engine with a radial truck located under the rear coal bunker, which has been well represented by the model. Tests indicate that the model can manage second radius curves without difficulty and testing shows haulage capability of up to eight coaches on the level. None of the driving wheels are fitted with traction tyres. Tractive effort is aided with a die-cast locomotive floor and running plate, which brings the model’s weight to a handy 260g; heavier than the LNWR Coal Tank, which weighed in at 189g.
Electronics Wiper pick-ups act on all six of the driving wheels, giving the model current collection over 60mm of the model’s length. This should be sufficient to power the model over turnouts with plastic frogs (crossing vee or common crossing) such as Peco Insulfrog turnouts. However, if you are contemplating the construction of a layout with short wheelbase tank engines, the use of turnouts with live frogs is strongly recommended for electrical continuity. Internally, the model’s electronics are simple, primarily featuring a six-pin DCC interface socket. The motor draws very little power allowing the use of decoders rated around 0.5A; current levels normally associated with N gauge models. Painting and finishing The review model is finished in lined BR black with an early BR herald applied to the side water tanks. The lining and number is very neatly applied and of the correct colour. The base livery of black is also smoothly
The floor and running plate assembly of the model is die-cast in metal to add to the model’s weight, which comes in at an impressive 260g.
applied and without blemishes such as dust or smudging. The overall finish has a slight sheen to it, which is fine for an ex-works locomotive, but would soon become dulled with soot and weathering. Consequently, the model is a great basis for a weathering project!
Toolings designed to allow a range of different locomotives of differing eras DCC-Ready: Fitted with a six-pin DCC interface socket Analogue (DC) control blanking plug fitted to the DCC socket for traditional control NEM coupling boxes Accurately modelled wheels with correct balance weights Separate wire hand rails Neat and clean lining with accurate colours Rear axle designed to work as a radial axle Flush cab glazing Pack of detailing parts included with the model Fully detailed cab with controls picked out in the correct colours Model weighs 260g Model length is 143mm over buffers
Wrapping up I am sure I am not the only one to find pleasure in seeing workaday locomotives being modelled so well. Lacking the fame and glamour of main line express engines, the likes of the E4, the LNWR Coal Tank, Lanky Tanks and so on are being very attractively reproduced in model form allowing modellers to explore the modelling of secondary lines and services together with branch line trains. The LBSCR E4 is a welcome model for Southern Railway and BR (SR) modellers and one that will allow compact layout themes based on Southern Railway practice to be explored. The Bachmann SECR ‘Birdcage’ coaches due for release later in the year will make a good partner to the E4 locomotive.
The LBSCR built 75 E4 locomotives at its Brighton works for use on local passenger and freight duties. At 143mm in length over the buffers it makes the perfect model for compact layout designs!
Don't miss Liliput on p12
WHAT'S IN THE SHOPS | 9
in What's the shops
Simple track cleaning in N and OO/HO gauge Ten Commandments Models now offers the effective KPF Zeller track-cleaning cars in the UK, writes Nigel Burkin.
KPF Zeller offers a range of tools for fine tuning and cleaning including a range of rolling roads and track-cleaning cars to suit OO/HO and N gauge track. The cars are sold by Ten Commandments Models in the UK. An O gauge version will become available in the near future.
ewcomers to railway modelling soon discover that one of the most frustrating things about a model railway is when trains cease to run as well as they should. Although modern standard models are heavy and equipped with flywheels together with well-engineered current collection systems, they are not immune to track ‘dirt’. Stalling and stuttering becomes a problem and for no obvious reasons as to the cause. Erratic operation caused by dirt is particularly frustrating when experienced with expensive digital sound locomotives. The sound becomes broken and can cease to operate altogether. Running lights and interior lighting in coaches are also affected unless there is a super capacitor-based ‘keep alive’ system included as part of the circuit. Dirt accumulating on the surface of the rails is invariably the cause of poor running, dirt that also makes its way on to the wheels of your stock. Dirt is the result of dust (old skin cells!) settling on the rails between operating sessions then becoming mixed with oil and various other contaminants as trains pass over the track during an operating session. The resulting layer of indescribable grime causes electrical conductivity between wheels and rail to degrade to the point where reliable current supply to the trains
becomes intermittent. Metal flywheels in locomotives will carry a model over small dead spots caused by dirt but anything more than that will see your lovely smooth-running models take on a completely different character. The solution to this problem is as simple as cleaning the track (or rather the running rails) every time you plan to have an operating session. This leads on to the question of how to best clean the track. Well, ask that question of a dozen experienced modellers and you will get a dozen different techniques: track cleaning is seen as a black art. However, it does not have to be that way and in fact track cleaning can be really easy! Track rubbers appear to offer a very simple and straightforward method of cleaning the track. Problems with the use of track rubbers arise because they scrub the surface of the rail quite aggressively and this can wear the top of the rail down after a while. Furthermore, cleaning with track rubbers is very time consuming – time that could be used to do some modelling or enjoying the layout! Using a track-cleaning car such as the KPF Zeller featured in this review will save a great deal of time and take the drudgery out of layout maintenance, especially if your layout has a great deal of track. By making track cleaning a routine task when preparing the layout for an
operating session, you can be confident that dirt will not spoil the fun of running trains. Furthermore, a track-cleaning car with soft cleaning pads will not damage the top surface of the rail in the same manner as a cleaning rubber. Introducing the KPF Zeller track cleaning cars I am always interested in any technology that takes the effort out of track cleaning. The KPF Zeller OO/HO and N gauge track cleaning cars sold by Ten Commandments Models are particularly effective at cleaning the rails of any model railway. Both cars operate on the same principle, which is to apply pads of soft cleaning material to the rails on pivoted and weighted arms. Track cleaning is achieved through simple friction between the rail and cleaning pad without the need to apply potentially damaging track-cleaning solutions. Cars for both scales are specially designed for the job rather than being made by adapting existing model rolling stock. Each one consists of a specially machined chassis with just the right amount of weight added to the N gauge car for effective track cleaning. The OO/HO model is equipped with NEM coupling pockets which will accept any NEM-362 compatible coupling including Kadees. The model
is supplied with a standard tension lock coupling hook to get you started. Metal wheels make the car as free-rolling as possible, allowing for the friction between pad and rail.
The KPF Zeller track-cleaning cars are passive in that they rely wholly on friction between cleaning pads and the rails to remove the grime. No chemical track cleaning fluids are needed.
The N gauge model has a universal hook integral to the chassis of the track-cleaning car: one being fitted to each end which will engage with standard N gauge ‘Rapido’ couplings. Neither car is fitted with a body, allowing the modeller to build, adapt and fit any wagon body they desire. Self-adhesive cleaning pad material is supplied with the track-cleaning cars, which is cut to size and applied to the cleaning arms.
10 | WHAT'S IN THE SHOPS
An N gauge model is available too, using the same pivoted arm principle. The model is well engineered for optimum weight and performance. Points to note include: A: Generic coupling, which works with N gauge ‘Rapido’ couplings. B: Carefully ballasted for optimum performance. C: Clean pad arm pivot. D: Weighted cleaning pad arm. E: Cleaning pads.
1: Dirty pads are easily peeled off the arms and discarded. 2: Fresh pads are cut from the spare cleaning material supplied with the cleaning car. It is not specialised and any suitable cleaning material from a supermarket can be used and attached with double-sided adhesive tape. 3: Fresh pads are attached to the OO/ HO gauge model ready for another bout of cleaning. The curved surface of the cleaning pad arms ensures that the pads do not snag.
Track cleaning cars for OO and N gauge.
Manufacturer: KPF Zeller
Ten Commandments Models
£40 for both types.
http://tencommandmentsmodels. co.uk/product/track-cleaning-wagon/ www.tencommandmentsmodels.co.uk
Buildings with rail access are also challenging to clean. The N gauge track-cleaning car is propelled into a china clay loading shed several times to clean the rails. Paved track presents no problems as long as the road surface is below the level of the rails, which it should be for reliable operation.
The track-cleaning cars work well when propelled and hauled, which makes them perfect for pushing along end-to-end layouts and working into the end of sidings and platforms.
Operation When you pick one of the track-cleaning cars up, you will notice that there are two narrow cleaning arms with curved pad surfaces instead of a single pad fitted across the width. This is a design that is intended to prevent the cleaning pad from snagging on the studs of three-rail stud contact systems or detail fitted between the rails. It will neatly avoid AWS ramps, point rodding and other fine details used to complete track modelling. They apply gentle pressure to the rails to clean the top surface through friction and may be operated in either direction. I found that a single locomotive could manage the car in both scales, both propelling before the locomotive and when being hauled behind it. I prefer to clean the track before an operating session using a track-cleaning car. Clean pads are fitted and the car run first around the main line track several times before being removed from the layout and the pads inspected for dirt collection. The spent pads are removed, which is easy to do, and new ones fitted before repeating the exercise. The cars are easily propelled into platform bays, dead-end sidings and over complex point work. Once the layout has been covered, the track-cleaning car can be stored in the staging area of the layout until it is next needed. Some modellers may use the cleaning car throughout the operating session. It can be included in the formation
of an engineer’s train and run almost continuously – there are couplings fitted to both ends of the cars which will allow it to be run as part of a train. Remember that the cleaning pad material is designed to collect dirt and should be discarded after a while or it will become ineffective. Replacement pads Apart from the rugged design of the track cleaners, which means that they should last for a lifetime with care, the cleaning pads are not made of a unique material. While plenty of pad material is supplied with the cars, it is replaced with simple cleaning cloth available in most supermarkets – cut to size and fitted to the cleaning arms with doublesided adhesive tape. The benefits Track cleaning is a chore and track-cleaning cars are a great way to make the task easier and quicker. The KPF Zeller track-cleaning cars are particularly effective thanks to their unique pivoted cleaning arms and they can be propelled into less accessible areas of the layout and will clean the track in tunnels, under train sheds, in goods sheds and under the wires of layouts with electrification masts and portals. Delicate signalling and overhead signal gantries no longer need to be at risk of a hand and track rubber!
12 | BLASTS FROM THE PAST
Liliput UK We concluded the Trix story in the last issue with the closure of the Trix factory in Wrexham. Tony Stratford takes up the story.
oday, Liliput is part of Kader’s Bachmann Europe company, producing from its base in Altdorf near Nuremburg, Germany, the European outline HO, HOe, N and G scale models that are manufactured by parent company Kader in China. The Liliput story, however, starts not in Germany, but in Austria. In 1947 Walter Burcherl formed Liliput in Vienna’s 4th District producing toys with six staff from a small workshop. In 1948 the company produced its first trains in wood and tin but by 1950 an HO model railway system had evolved using plastic and metal from which the current system evolved. Liliput soon gained a reputation for producing high-quality HO models mainly of Austrian prototypes. To meet demand, Liliput expanded by setting up several other workshops around Vienna. By 1962 the workforce had expanded to 60 and in 1966 a modern factory was opened at Kalvarienberggase 22, in Vienna’s 17th District. Capacity again began to cause problems and in 1977, Liliput opened an additional production plant at Baden bie Wien to the south-west of Vienna. Liliput by now was well established and winning Model of the Year awards regularly. The Rheingold coaches, introduced in 1971, set new standards for model coaching stock. The company also produced a comprehensive range of HOe narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock based on the various systems around Austria. These ran on 9mm track and were compatible with the British OO9 narrow gauge equivalents. For sale By 1990 the company was in trouble and was eventually declared bankrupt. A rescue package was put forward by Germany manufacturer Herpa Miniaturmodelle, which produced model railway accessories, model road vehicles and model aircraft. Herpa took over the company name and tooling in 1992 and continued production of the Liliput range at Baden. It was to be a short-lived acquisition. The takeover had resulted in the closure of the main factory in
Vienna and the transfer of production to a new Herpa plant at Eisfield in the German state of Thuringia. In 1993, Herpa offered Liliput for sale and the company was acquired by Kader, the Hong Kong toy and model manufacturer. Having established Bachmann in the UK in 1989, the new acquisition became part of the renamed British operation, which expanded to become Bachmann Europe under managing director, Graham Hubbard, who took responsibility for both British and European ranges. Bachmann needed to establish a research and development team, a sales force and a warehousing operation, which was duly achieved in nearby Altdorf and continues today. Current European outline Liliput products are available through Bachmann dealers in the UK. Liliput’s UK entry In 1958, Ernst Rozsa set up a model railway import business in north London. Born in Austria in 1926, Ernst, through his company Miniature Construction Ltd, imported Liliput models from his native Austria. His company assembled some of the Austrian models in the UK. He persuaded Liliput to make an OO model of the Class AL1 E3000 (later Class 81) for them, which was released in 1960. Rozsa joined Trix in 1961 and took with him the E3000 model, which was reintroduced as part of the Trix range in 1963. Until the arrival of the A3 in 1968, this was the only true 4mm OO-scale locomotive in the Trix range. From 1965, Rozsa used his Liliput connections to reinvent the struggling Trix range. The first locomotive to be designed by Rozsa and tooled by Liliput was the Class 52 ‘Western’ diesel. Despite Liliput’s previous OO model for the British market, the Trix ‘Western’ was produced to 3.8mm scale, halfway between HO and OO, in line with Trix policy at the time. OO scale was finally adopted for the final range of LNER Pacific locomotives of Peppercorn’s A2 Class and Gresley’s A3 and A4 classes. Highly regarded on their release, the belated move to OO was, however, too late to stop closure.
Don't miss N Gauge Mermaid on p14
Liliput 1972 catalogue showing one of the 35T Whisky wagons alongside continental wagons.
A Liliput draughtsman working on a project in 1972.
The Liliput 1972 catalogue with silver cover produced to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the company’s formation.
A new beginning The Trix factory in Wrexham closed in 1973. Minitrix N gauge tooling returned to Germany to be marketed in the UK by Hornby as Hornby Minitrix until 1986. Bachmann then distributed it until acquiring the Graham Farish company in 2000 (see June issue) with Gaugemaster then taking over, although no more British outline models have been produced since the late 1990s. Factory manager Ernst Rozsa salvaged the remaining model railway spares and stock and set up a mail-order operation, Berwyn Hobbies, run by his wife, to supply Trix enthusiasts. When the factory building was sold to a Chester company, which manufactured dolls’ houses, Ernst Rozsa left to set up Liliput UK to recommence production from a new industrial estate that had been developed on the site of the former Bala railway station in mid-Wales. This operated as the Kivoli centre using the first two letters of each of the imported ranges Kibri, Vollmer and Liliput. The centre included a visitor centre and shop
BLASTS FROM THE PAST | 13
including exhibition layouts which, not surprisingly, concentrated on the products available from the nearby retail area. Kibri and Vollmer were manufacturers of continental outline plastic building kits. Much of the former Trix tooling was acquired by Liliput in Austria and batch production of components for some items continued with final assembly being undertaken at Bala. Other tooling remained in Bala and it was this that was sold eventually to Dapol. With Liliput in Austria in difficulty before its sale to Herpa, the supply of components dried up and Ernst Rozsa began the process of closing the facilities in Bala. The last models to be produced were those of the LNER A2 4-6-2. In 1992, Dapol purchased the remaining stock and tooling from Bala. Other tooling remained with Liliput in Austria and formed part of the inventory that passed to Herpa and to Bachmann. The tooling for the former Trix and Liliput models was now split between two companies, Dapol and Bachmann.
Bachmann LNER A4 Class 4-6-2 No. 60033 Seagull. The body tooling was originally part of the Trix/Liliput range but after Bachmann acquired Liliput it was reintroduced with a new chassis and had more than 100 improvements.
Liliput LNER A2 Class 4-6-2 No. 60525 A H Peppercorn.
Under Dapol ownership Dapol was established by David and Pauline Boyle in Winsford, Cheshire in 1981, originally operating as Highfield Birds & Models. In addition to supplying model railway items acquired from the former Airfix factory, which closed in the same year, the company also imported exotic birds. By 1995 the company had relocated to Llangollen in North Wales and to Chirk in 2004. In 1996, Dapol released some models of the Class 124 Trans Pennine diesel multiple unit. Although the company owned the body tooling, the chassis tooling remained in Austria. It was, therefore, necessary to utilise the company’s Class 150 chassis tooling to fit the Dapol-produced body. The process was repeated in 2000. In 2003 the remaining stock and tooling was acquired by the Trix Twin Railway Collectors Association (TTRCA). We will take a closer look at Dapol in a future issue.
The Vienna HQ of Liliput in 1972. This image appeared in the 25th anniversary catalogue.
Bachmann releases After Bachmann Europe’s acquisition of Liliput, tooling was transferred to the Kader factory in China. Among them was the tooling for the Class 81 Electric, the LNER Pacifics and the 35T Bulk Grain Whisky wagons, the only true OO models in the former Trix range. Of these the A4 Pacific and the Whisky wagon tooling was in the best condition. Both were subsequently heavily modified and upgraded before being reintroduced. More than 100 modifications were made to the A4 before it reappeared in the Bachmann catalogue in 1995. A new chassis was introduced in 2011 but it has not appeared in the Bachmann catalogue since 2013.
The 35T Bulk Grain Whisky wagons appeared in 1994 and last appeared in the 2006 catalogue. Liliput today Although it no longer manufactures products for the British market (these are catered for by the Bachmann Branchline OO range), Liliput is still a thriving supplier of European
outline models. Models are researched and developed by a team in Altdorf, which also provides the administration and distribution of the products that are shipped from China. They have a comprehensive dealer network across the world and Liliput European products are supplied by Bachmann in the UK to British dealers.
Liliput A2 Class in one of the later Liliput woodgrain (cardboard) boxes.
Conclusion A story that began in Germany with the founding of Trix in the 1930s continues until the present day. There are plenty of pre-owned British outline Trix and Liliput items appearing on auction sites, second-hand stalls at exhibitions and toy fairs, and on the pre-owned shelves of model railway retailers.
Further information about Trix and Liliput UK can be obtained from the Trix Twin Railway Collectors Assocation (TTRCA) at www.ttrca. co.uk which also produces many spare parts to keep these old models operating. In the next issue, we will look at the range of ready-to-run models produced by plastic-kit manufacturer Airfix.
in What's the shops
Mermaid ballast wagons were first deployed by the GWR in the 1930s, with the same basic design being purchased in large numbers by BR in the 1950s. They were to be found on all parts of the BR network until mass withdrawal during the course of the late 1980s.
N gauge Mermaid The complex side-tipping Mermaid ballast wagon is DJ Models’ first ready-to-run wagon in N gauge, writes Nigel Burkin.
ide-tipping ballast wagons such as the modern MRA design are not a new concept for the railways. The basic unfitted Mermaid design was first introduced in 1930 by the GWR. Constructed by MetroCammell, they were an immediate success in the fast discharge of ballast on to adjacent track during renewal work – usually the first layers of ballast before track was laid. BR continued to introduce Mermaid
wagons to the same basic design in the 1950s, ordering 239 unfitted and 400 vacuum-braked side-tipping ballast wagons from Metro-Cammell. The design is based on a tipping body with hinged doors mounted on an open chassis. The doors appear to lift, effectively opening them to allow material to flow out of the wagon when tipped through an ingenious cranked lever fitted to the ends of both side doors. A chain is linked to the wagon
underframe to the ends of each lever, preventing the door on the discharge side from remaining closed when the wagon body was tipped. The tipping mechanism on the wagon involved the body being fitted with rollers, which sat on two transverse rails. A centrally located screw system operated the tipping mechanism and was turned with a simple handle from the side of the wagon opposite
The model is amazingly detailed including numerous fittings for brake and underframe detail. The old coin comparison trick demonstrates how small the model truly is, yet it is as detailed as any N gauge model currently available.
from the tipping side. Mermaid wagons were very versatile in that the body could be tipped to either side: the ends of the mechanism screw being located on both sides of the wagon. During tipping operations, the wagon became unstable and prone to tipping over. A simple shackle is located on the solebars of the underframe (on both sides) and this was secured to the running rail before tipping commenced. Once the wagon was empty, the tipping mechanism screw was reversed to return the empty body to its travelling position and secure locks engaged to prevent the body from moving when in transit. The Mermaid was seen as a very useful wagon until the 1980s when they were becoming life-expired, despite many of the unfitted wagons being upgraded with vacuum brake equipment and eight-shoe brakes. Buffers and axle boxes were upgraded too, but nothing could hide the fact that many were more than 30 years old when the railways entered the Sectorisation era and more modern designs of side-tipping wagon were in development. While side-tipping ballast wagons continue to be used today in the form of the very modern MRA wagons operated by Network Rail, its origins on the BR network lie with the simple but effective 14t Mermaid design of the 1930s.
The model Having described the wagon as a moving body on a fixed underframe with locking equipment and tipping mechanism, you will be all the more impressed with the tiny N gauge model developed by DJ Models. It is a lovely example of the Mermaid in BR condition with vacuum brakes, eight-shoe brakes and up-to-date axle boxes. In common with many wagons built over a long time frame and with origins in one of the Big Four railway companies, the wagons were often subject to considerable change in the design as technologies improved. As a long-lived wagon type, the unfitted wagons were upgraded to the same basic standard as the 400 vacuumbraked models. Repairs also saw many differences in details such as buffers and axle box covers appear as time passed. It is not easy to offer a tooling for every variation that might be found on such wagons and DJ Models has settled on the vacuum-braked version, which will suit most modellers, thus keeping development costs down and reducing the complexity and therefore the development time of the project. The more up-to-date liveries such as BR olive green and the yellow/grey engineers’ scheme will be a perfect match for the wagon in its modelled format. Research has also uncovered pictures of Mermaid wagons painted in the earlier BR Gulf Red scheme lasting into the early 1980s with vacuum brakes.
WHAT'S IN THE SHOPS | 15
The most noteworthy part of the model is the underframe, which is beautifully modelled with many separate components representing brake shoes, brake rigging, brake levers, a see-through underframe as well as a carefully concealed close coupling cam system. The cross-section of the underframe members is commendably fine, yet durable enough to withstand normal handling. Assembly is neatly executed, including the various rails and rollers for the tipping body, and anyone who has attempted a OO gauge Mermaid kit will testify as to how awkward one of these underframes can be to assemble! Metal wheels are fitted to the model and are found to be free rolling and fully concentric. The body is finely moulded with the correct rivet detail on the interior and accurately modelled side doors and curved top ends. The door levers are separate mouldings including an impression of the securing chains. A neat ballast load is included with the model, which has a metal weight on the underside allowing the wagon to be unloaded with a magnet. The load fits neatly and is just heaped sufficiently to be seen above the wagon sides. Two models were kindly offered for review by DJ Models: one finished in the once-standard all-over black with straw lettering. The model is numbered DW100046 representing a former GWRowned wagon. Keen modellers may choose to remove the brake cylinder from this model together with the outer brake shoes to bring the model closer to the appearance of the GWR wagons. The second review model is finished in BR Gulf Red as DB939176, which is neatly finished and with the correct colour shade. Don’t be fooled by what seem to be Gulf Red wagons lasting until the late 1980s – rusting and begrimed wagon bodies take on the appearance of Gulf Red in some scanned photographs! Interestingly enough, the red-andblack liveries survived for considerably longer than many modellers realise, although the colours were often hidden under grime, brake dust and paint patching, not to mention the loss of colour through rusting. The DJ Models’ Mermaid is a great little model for those who enjoy engineers’ trains – and the chance to have a go with some weathering paints such as the LifeColour ‘dust and rust’ range may prove irresistible for me!
Product details: ZJV/ZJO Mermaid side-tipping ballast wagon. Manufacturer: DJ Models. Scale: 1:148 scale, N gauge. Era: 1930 to late 1980s (in mass use) and with some survivors seeing the early 1990s. Some Mermaids are preserved on heritage railways. Price: £19.95. Web: www.djmodels.co.uk
Of two N gauge Mermaid models offered for review by DJ Models, one was finished in plain black livery with straw lettering and the other in BR Gulf Red. Both liveries would be appropriate for my early 1970s ‘Wheal Annah’ layout, with the appropriate level of rusting and grime application.
1. The BR Gulf Red model numbered DB 939176, which is lettered for the Eastern Region. Note the individually moulded brake lever and the stabilising shackle and the ends of the tipping rails.
2. Underframe fittings are modelled to represent a BR vacuumbraked wagon or a former unfitted wagon subsequently upgraded with vacuum brakes. Some Gulf Red wagons were so equipped. Modellers wishing to model an unfitted GWR or BR version can simply remove the vacuum cylinder and the outer brake shoes to make the design closer to the original full-size wagons.
3. All of the models are supplied with a neat ballast load, which has an additional metal weight on the underside allowing the wagon to be ‘unloaded’ with a magnet. The tipping body interior is also detailed for those who wish to run an empty train on its return from a work site.
16 | SHOW REPORT
I never tire of seeing Alloa, it reminds me of so many things from my childhood years.
Perth Show report C onsidered by many as the best model railway show in Scotland, to rival even that of the massive Glasgow event held in February each year, the Perth & District Model Railway Club truly lived up to that accolade when it presented its annual celebration of model railways over the weekend of June 24-25 in the Dewars Ice Rink in the ‘Fair City of Perth’, writes Ian Lamb. This is the biggest club-run exhibition in Scotland. Every effort was made to present to the viewing public the best that our hobby has to offer; the club priding itself in bringing a wide selection of model railways to inspire potential modellers to have a go or improve their modelling skills. Last year was the 25th anniversary of the formal establishment of the club, so it is quite a young group of enthusiasts compared with many other societies who have been in existence for considerably longer. Part of its phenomenal success is
probably – like the City of Perth itself – down to the ideal central location of the event, with easy transport connections. The enthusiasm of the membership was evident as they strived to meet their aims to promote the hobby and pass on knowledge and enthusiasm to others. Thirty-eight fantastic layouts from all over Britain in all gauges plus 36 traders and 15 society stands and specialist groups, supported with demonstrations and seminars on display. In particular the return after refurbishment of Blair Athol towards Drumochter layout was a great attraction. This OO gauge layout faithfully recreates the Highland Main Line from the impressive River Tilt viaduct and northwards through Blair Athol station on to the 1-in-70 climb towards Drumochter. Dale Smith’s theme of Chocolate & Cream refers to the coach livery of the Great Western Railway, having amassed O gauge locos and rolling stock for about
The quality of modelling as shown in this wonderful creation of the River Tilt viaduct shows how this layout is greatly admired by visitors and railway modellers alike. The overnight ‘Royal Highlander’ sleeper is depicted in this scene. First appearing at Model Rail in 1988, the layout will be 30 years old next March. IAN MCCREADIE
40 years. Hornby, Bassett-Lowke and ACE trains all feature on this colourful layout, using models through the ages to set the scene. The trains were backed up with Bakelite buildings from the 1930s. Tri-ang Minic tinplate vehicles and hundreds of little people from a range of manufacturers populate the urban and rural areas. Our hobby tends to be male orientated, so it was a delight to meet Alison Barker from Southampton who acquired this diorama some time ago and has developed it accordingly to its southern atmosphere in the early 1950s.
I never tire of watching Alloa whatever exhibition it turns up on. It represents everything that I can recall from my teenage years; over the Queensferry to Fife, then cycling along the north shores of the Forth estuary (via Alloa) to Stirling, and back to Edinburgh. This 4mm Finescale layout depicts a busy central Scotland scene with lines radiating in all directions. Local residents and former BR personnel state that the model is accurate and brings back happy memories of the time.
Over the years I’ve seen this exhibition grow in popularity, so that it now needs to occupy two halls! Undoubtedly the success of the venture is all down to long-standing exhibition manager, Stan Moug, and the organising team that he has built around him. For those who were present over the weekend the club’s objective in mounting the show was surely met when the club stated: “If we can entertain and educate our visitors then we will have succeeded.” There was indeed something for everyone interested in model railways.
PAST AND PRESENT | 17
Queen of Scots
'The Queen of Scots' headed by No. 60084 coming out of Harrogate. BRIAN MORRISON
“Sleek, swift and handsome; the aristocrat of LNER’s regular East Coast service,” was how that great railway author – OS Nock – described 'The Queen of Scots’ as it thundered along the rugged coastline just north of the Border, writes Ian Lamb.
enerally speaking most collectors focus on locomotives rather than coaches, but Pullman coaches were the exception, and for the Scottish link that meant 'The Queen of Scots’. As a youngster growing up in Edinburgh, almost religiously around 8pm I would cycle the short distance from my home to Saughton Junction to see what engine had been allocated to the Pullman and watch in awe as this magnificent train steamed past. In looking at my Ian Allan ABC of the period I note that out of 198 Pullman cars, 45 are underlined – including Agatha – which I assume were all seen on 'The Queen of Scots’ at some time or other. In the late 1950s my father took me on a day-return trip to Newcastle, but the main attraction was the return journey on the ‘The Queen of Scots’ as far as Edinburgh, the only time that I have ever travelled on a Pullman train. This royal title instilled a sense of pride among the staff attired in their blue-and-white tunics serving in immaculate chocolateand-cream coaches. Regular motive power was usually Classes A1, A2, A3 and A4, provided from Haymarket, Heaton, Neville Hill and Copley Hill sheds for this 451-mile run. Invariably it was an A3 – 60037 Hyperion – that sticks in my mind, however, I seem to recall that a B1 occasionally headed the train, but I can’t be certain from memory. Following the outstanding success of the ‘Southern Belle’ on the Brighton line, the first luxury all-Pullman train appeared on the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923. Although, at the time, it was known as ‘The Harrogate Pullman’, it ran further north, calling additionally at Ripon, Darlington, and then terminating at Newcastle. It proved so popular that after a few years the run was extended into Scotland, to Edinburgh and westwards over the old North British route to Glasgow. Ninety years ago in May 1928, the London & North Eastern Railway inaugurated a new train of seven all-steel Pullman coaches under the name ‘The Queen of Scots’. Apart from a break in service during the Second World War, the ‘The Queen of Scots’ made one daily run in each direction between London and Glasgow, and was much appreciated as an intermediate and fast service from Leeds and Newcastle to Edinburgh and Glasgow. The service ended in 1964. So much for nostalgia, but what was it like to actually be on the train? For a start there was a supplement to pay (even
allowing for having a privilege rail ticket through being the son of a railwayman) in being allowed to savour the ambience of such magnificent surroundings. However, as a trainspotter in the 1950s, it was more important to experience what was happening up front. The confined space of Glasgow Queen Street was dull and gloomy as Haymarket’s gleaming Pacific 60094 Colorado gently buffered up to its King’s Cross-bound train. As would be expected of a 64B engine, the footplate of this former LNER A3 was all clean and tidy, but with the 1-in-42 gradient through Cowlairs Tunnel facing the train there was a feeling that the fire was on the light side. Of course, this was deliberate, as fireman Jimmie Broadfoot, of Haymarket depot, explained. All trains are banked as far as Cowlairs with an engine on the rear, consequently smoke was kept to a minimum in the tunnel out of consideration to the loco crew on the ‘banker’. Also, a big fire would result in steam being wasted blowing-off at the safety valves. Driver Bell gave his engine a final check-over, and on settling into his seat received the guard’s signal. He gave a blast on the whistle, opened the regulator and this London-bound train was on its way. A near slip inside the tunnel was quickly checked by closing the regulator. Then, by carefully reopening it, driver Bell got Colorado working steadily and soon the train emerged from the darkness of the Cowlairs bore. Steam pressure had improved from 180lb at the start to 210lb per sq in on passing Eastfield MPD. By Bishopbriggs speed was rising at a steady pace, with the engine working easily at 25% cut-off on a half-open regulator. The rhythmic click of the wheels on the rail joints became audible, a sound not always noticed when on a locomotive. Lenzie was reached in less than nine minutes before approaching a 45mph speed restriction at Gartshore, then on through Croy. Near to Dullatur an A4 raced past with its train en route to Glasgow. Castlecary was passed at more than 60mph, with 60094 swaying a little, but giving the impression that much higher speeds were well within its power. Every so often Jimmie would hose down the cab floor to avoid coal dust swirling around. The efficiency of the footplate crew made the job look easy, and the remainder of the journey to Waverley
The Up ‘Queen of Scots’ Pullman awaits departure time at the east end of Waverley Station in the early 1950s behind one of Haymarket’s immaculate Peppercorn A1 Pacifics 60162 Saint Johnstoun (the last of the class until 60163 Tornado came along). TG HEPBURN/RAIL PHOTOPRINTS COLLECTION
Class A1 Pacific 60118 – later named Archibald Sturrock – getting to grips with the climb out of Leeds Central through Holbeck High Level with the southbound train for Kings Cross. The loco is sporting the earlier headboard with black letters on a white background. In the last decade of the service, these Peppercorn engines were the principal means of motive power.
was uneventful from an operating point of view. To all intents and purposes the train coasted through Winchburgh and Bathgate Junctions. Jimmie eased up on the shovel when coming out of the Ratho curve on to the almost four miles ‘dead straight’ to Haymarket Junction. Saughton’s upper quadrant home signal guarding the junction was all clear so Colorado had no hesitation in rushing past my favourite trainspotting location on the wall beneath the footbridge, enveloping the signalbox and the quadruple track in a pall of smoke while this express disappeared into the distance. Slowing down through Princes Street Gardens before crawling out of the Mound Tunnel soon brought this first part of loco operation to an end as 60094 came to a stand in Waverley Station. The A3 and its cheery crew were quickly disconnected from the coaches and transferred to the slip road to be cleared for servicing at Haymarket depot. In its place was not the hoped-for A4, but a much newer Class A2 60534 Irish Elegance, again a 64B-based locomotive. On board was driver Jim Paterson, ably assisted by fireman Owen Hand, both from Haymarket MPD. The engine was obviously newly cleaned, its smart appearance being a credit to the depot’s cleaning staff. All was spick and span on the footplate as well, and once again a light fire was noticed, and the boiler three-quarters full of water. There were several speed restrictions on leaving Waverley and evidently the fireman did not intend to waste any steam ‘blowingoff’, or shovelling unnecessary coal. Soon Irish Elegance got moving towards Calton Tunnel mouth for the descent down Abbeyhill and past St Margarets depot. A suspicion of a slip near the entrance to the tunnel was corrected and the cut-off quickly reduced to 35%. By the time Joppa was reached, speed was up to 45mph, with the exhaust inaudible from the cab, as 60534 accelerated with no apparent effort. Meanwhile, by short spells of firing at regular intervals, Owen had been slowly building up the fire for the harder work ahead. The water in the boiler was kept at a safe level throughout and there was always ample steam for the work in hand. Both driver and fireman (the latter who was qualified to drive) showed a high degree of efficiency and an intelligent understanding of their respective jobs. A permanent way slack was taken at the appropriate 20mph, and by Monktonhall Junction the train was up again at 50mph. Irish Elegance moved like a champion, steadily accelerating on a cut-off of no more than 15%, racing through Drem at 60mph. Another slack at East Fortune and then, on an 18% cut-off approaching East Linton, speed reached 65mph before easing the regulator for the severe Dunbar curve. The Anglo-Scottish border sign is at Marshall Meadows about three miles
R3402 ‘QoS’ TRAIN PACK This train pack recreates the magic and romance of the Golden Age of British steam travel, now sadly little more than a memory for those passengers who embarked on the legendary journey. Hornby has tried hard to match up to the great railway author, OS Nock’s, impression of this train by “eloquently conveying the sense of mystery and adventure that has always thrilled even the most seasoned long-distance traveller. The garter blue livery of the engine echoes the serene blues of sea and sky, the sepia colours of the earth blend superbly with the chocolateand-cream of the coaches.”
north of Berwick. From this point there is a stiff 12-mile climb, resulting in Owen firing heavier than ever, with 60534 more than equal to the task. The exhaust was clearly audible as the train wound its way up the heavy Cockburnspath gradient, known to enginemen as ‘the path’. Additionally, a fierce, bitterly cold wind coming off the Lammermuir Hills was making things uncomfortable on the footplate. Maximum speed on the climb was 55mph, falling to 30 before dashing into the blackness of
This premier train is far too long for most layouts so a compromise is likely to be necessary to achieve the desired atmosphere, short of a permanent life solely displayed on a shelf. Actual stock used was complex, but with a bit of ingenuity and allowing a balance of first- and thirdclass cars means that the formation can be shortened without losing too much authenticity and so make up a reasonable representation. To that end the following reference is worth considering. The buffet car locations were arranged so that the kitchen end of the vehicle was in the middle of the pair of cars it served to aid the efficiency of the table service.
Penmanshiel tunnel. Over the summit at Grantshouse, and on the easy going beyond, speed rose steadily to reach 65mph at Reston. Further on 70mph was reached, and no doubt further high speeds would be achieved ‘over the Border’, but for this recording Irish Elegance and its Pullman train headed on to Newcastle and Leeds for engine changes before arriving at King’s Cross. No doubt the passengers were unaware that their train required four locomotive changes!
East Coast carriage workings summer 1958 'THE QUEEN OF SCOTS' PULLMAN King’s Cross – Leeds Central 2nd Kitchen , 1st Kitchen King’s Cross – Glasgow Queen St 2nd Brake , 2nd Kitchen, 2nd Parlour, 1st Parlour, 1st Parlour, 1st Kitchen, 2nd Parlour, 2nd Kitchen, 2nd Brake. Third-class cars were numbered 67-80, of which 77-80 were the Brakes, and first-class cars named Nilar, Belinda, Sheila, Thelma, Phyllis, Agatha, Penelope, Ursula and Lucille. Clearly the composition would change over time
as, presumably, there were ‘spares’ since not all numbered or named cars appear in the above. See ‘The History of British Railway Carriages 1900-1953’ by David Jenkinson, (Pendragon 1996), p504 for full details of the names/numbers and formation of the two 1928 ‘The Queen of Scots’ sets: Set 1 (No. 1 Train) Cars 77, 71, 73, Thelma, Sheila, 76, 70, 78 Set 2 (No. 2 Train) Cars 79, 67, 75, Phyllis, Agatha, 74, 69, 80. Due thanks are recorded to the 'Model Rail’ forum for much of the coach information.
18 | INSPIRATION PAGES
How to photograph your layout This month photographer and railway modeller Jack Boskett offers some suggestions for taking better photographs of your layouts.
ell, you’ve finished your layout, now you want to spread the word about your achievement, put a few pictures on Facebook or Instagram, or maybe your club’s website, but your photographs aren’t quite reflecting the feel or quality of your creation. If so, here are a few simple tips and explanations of some of the finer points of your digital camera to hopefully get you snapping happy. How can I change the angle of my shots so viewers feel part of the scene? When I watch a really good movie or TV series, such as Game of Thrones for example, I feel like I am either on set or heavily involved in the story during each episode. My way of doing this on a layout is to try to capture as much detail as possible and focus on a main character, e.g. a grimy-looking 9F poking its smokebox door out of the shed while the staff and cleaners carry out their work. If the detail on the layout looks realistic then you’re there. My shed diorama pictured here isn’t very big but I’ve added detail and grime to depict a heavily run-down 1960s BR-era working shed. I’ve been studying old photographs during shows at our local railway club for many years and I’ve taken note of images showing locomotives in a grubby state, with rubbish on the floor, fire irons left unattended, headlamps strewn around the shed, rusty oil drums propped up against the building and cabside nameplates stacked up for the scrapman.
I’ve also ensured that nothing is neat and tidy as that wouldn’t be true to this particular era. What is white balance and how can I use it to improve my photos? White balance in digital photography means adjusting colours so that the image looks more natural. We go through the process of adjusting colours to primarily get rid of colour casts, in order to match the picture with what we saw when we took it. Why do we have to do this? Because most light sources (the sun, light bulbs, flashlights, etc.) do not emit purely white colour and have a certain colour temperature. The human brain processes the information that comes from our eyes and automatically adjusts the colour temperature, so we normally see the colours correctly. If you took a white sheet of paper and looked at it outside, it would most likely look as white as if you were to look at it indoors. What most people do not realise, however, is that there is a huge difference in colour temperature between bright sunlight and indoors tungsten light. So we can use this to our advantage, if it is possible to take your layout outdoors on a cloudy day, this will result in an even flat light across the set you’re about to photograph. Most digital cameras are very clever and the automatic white balance setting will suffice, however, if you set it to the sun or cloud setting, this will work according to the outdoor weather.
1. My layout is called Gravel Walk and it measures just 360cm x 120cm. 2. Using the foreground will help create a sense of depth and make your layout look bigger than it is. 3. Lighting helps to recreate a feeling of a busy engine shed at night in this shot.
INSPIRATION PAGES | 19
4. Remember that sheds were dirty places, and engines wore signs of their working lives. 5. Use your camera’s position to help viewers feel part of the scene.
Black and white, or colour?
It all depends on the layout, but I absolutely love black and white, it’s timeless. Especially for a grubby layout and weathered locomotives, you seem to see more detail than if it were in colour. Back in the Fifties and Sixties colour film was in fashion but was expensive, so the lucky photographers in those days who could afford colour film were fortunate to capture something unique. Black-and-white film was cheap and easy to get hold of, so when you see a black-and-white shot from those days it’s quite likely that you’ll see small details you wouldn’t necessarily see in colour. If I were to photograph a modern layout or shed scene from the 2000s era then I would use full colour. I would say that black-and-white photography definitely works well with steam engines.
How can I create some atmosphere in my layout? There are several ways of creating atmosphere on a steam-based layout. The main one is through lighting; in real life I photograph a lot of steam engines using a backlit technique where the sun is 45 degrees behind the locomotive, resulting in a harsh effect that picks out the detail in the exhaust and length of the train. Going back to my small shed scene, I used a bedside lamp and placed it in several areas around the table to give a backlit effect. Sometimes less is more in this instance; you don’t need to over-light the subject. A steam shed needs steam – my diorama is a static display, so nothing moves on the set, but to create some atmosphere I need to create some raising steam and exhaust. You could continuously light and blow out a candle and hold it in front of the camera at the same time as taking a photo while blowing the rising smoke gently across the scene. If you know someone who smokes one of these vape cigarettes, use them to exhale vapour across the set. I’ve yet to do the latter but it’s on the to-do list. Top tricks and tips Use your imagination to come up with scenarios. I’ve seen some layouts at exhibitions and although they’re stunning and have taken years to build, they look too clean – railways are not clean environments. They are untidy, especially the modern-day scenes, with rubbish everywhere and trackside equipment
dotted along the lines. Experiment and think like a railwayman – what would you do if you were going to clean out the smokebox of a loco? You’d have the bucket and wheelbarrow at the foot of the front bogie, a small hand shovel and brush. Stick these together in a small scene with a couple of loco men on the running plate holding on to the hand rails. Less is more, so don’t fill the scene with loads of engines. One or two will do, you can always swap them around for another photo. Try to get the right angle, remember that steam engines to us on the standard gauge are giants, when we photograph them in real life you’re either looking up at them from the ground, looking down from a bridge or from the countryside at a level height depending on the gradient of the railway line. Going back to my layout, if you were ‘bashing a shed’ you would be taking the shots from ground level, so make sure you’re using this rule – you wouldn’t be above the locomotive unless you were standing on a bridge or building next to the yard. Again, use your imagination, come up with something different to the bog-standard photograph. Explain about image sizes/pixel dimensions in terms of how big I can print my shots. The bigger the resolution on the camera the better the quality the final image will be, enabling you to print to a larger scale. Most mobile phones are okay, however, there is only so much you can do with a
phone photo – if you print bigger than A5 and it isn’t pixelated then you’re doing well. Most digital cameras will allow you to print to A3 and beyond. Just ensure you’ve got the settings to the largest size in megapixels. Should I shoot indoors, or outdoors, where possible? As a professional photographer, I love to use natural light where possible. However, you can control studio lighting or a bedside lamp indoors whereas you wouldn’t be able to move the sun outside to the right a bit! It depends on your layout and how you want it to be portrayed. Seeing as my steam shed is run down, and I have rusty worn-out weathered locomotives in the scene, to create that feel of grubby and tired, then a cloudy day outside will be perfect, as the flat lighting will highlight a lot of detail and get the photographs you need to create the scenes you’re after. I found it difficult to get the same results using the bedside lamp indoors with the room lights off; it’s down to personal preference but I love to experiment and play around with the lighting in my spare time to try to come up with something different from the norm. If your layout is a modern-day scene with Class 68s running around with Chiltern stock then if possible take the layout outside on a sunny day and photograph it under the sun to get the shadows, this will look realistic to the eye.
Do I need an expensive camera kit to get good results? Ideally yes, however, most phones and small compact cameras will do a good job. Besides, it’s very difficult to get a big Nikon D5 on to a small set, not only will you struggle to fit among the scene, but you’re at risk of damaging the details on the layout. I’ve taken some shots on my iPhone 6 and I’m really pleased with them and they work well on a standard lens, but when you zoom in you’re cropping the sensor immediately resulting in pixelated images. I’ve got some decent shots taken on the Nikon D5. I placed a 50mm Nikon prime lens on the body, which allows the aperture to go to F16 to give the depth of field in the final image. I raised the ISO to compensate the aperture and found a shutter speed comfortable to shoot with, sometimes it can go as low as 1/40sec. I’m comfortable using slow shutter speeds hand held, but I’d recommend using a tripod. My backscene doesn’t look great. Can I use depth of field to concentrate on the foreground? On my set, the backscene has marks on it, is damaged in places and looks awful in others, however, we can blank this out using a shallow depth of field on the set. For example, take the man holding the cabside numberplate in my scenes. I’ve photographed him with an aperture of F5.6; this worked well
as he stood out but behind him you could clearly see the wheels of a steam locomotive on the shed, so immediately your eye went straight to the figure first and not the engine and the back scene. How can I make my layout look larger than it actually is? Using a wide-angle will help with this in some cases, but if you found that it looks strange either fix a 50mm lens on to the camera, or zoom in to 50mm. This will create a balanced scene, you won’t be able to be too close to the subject as the lens will not be able to focus, so you may have to crop the image afterwards either in the camera or in Adobe Photoshop. My layout featured here measures 360cm x 120cm, so it’s not that big. It’s amazing what the camera can do, and they say that cameras don’t lie!
Don’t be afraid to experiment and think outside the box, use the camera to your advantage, push it to the limit in cases, try panning a locomotive running at full speed on a long straight to give the impact of speed. (I’m going to give it a go). Remember that the railways were not spotless and were unclean environments, don’t worry if it’s messy!
22 | ASK A DAFT QUESTION
What is Digital Command Control? Digital Command Control (DCC) for newcomers to the hobby is explained by Nigel Burkin, a long-term user of DCC.
igital Command Control (DCC) has become the leading method of controlling model railways of all shapes and sizes in the last 15 years. The number of manufacturers offering complete control systems together with accessory hardware and even complete digital train sets has expanded dramatically as modellers have come to realise the benefits of DCC. The attraction of DCC is that it brings realistic train driving to the layout in a manner not possible with traditional control systems (called traditional Direct Current (DC) or analogue control). Many newcomers to the hobby are attracted to DCC because they have no preconceived ideas about control systems and DCC is immediately seen as a logical and flexible way of running a layout. A train set may be the entry point; or an advanced system may be chosen from the outset. All DCC systems are supplied with comprehensive instructions and are intuitive to use with the odd exception where the use of complex menu systems have been employed to keep the number of buttons on controllers to a minimum. The reality is that DCC systems are no harder for newcomers to use than any other system and in some instances, the special operating effects most desired by modellers are easier to implement with DCC than traditional DC control.
What is DCC? When this question arises at model railway exhibitions when displaying digital layout, I believe it is unhelpful to jump straight into an explanation of decoders and other technical features. As important as they are, the true answer to that question is: ‘DCC is a great way to operate a model railway’. The amazing benefits of DCC are realised through the use of digital signals or packets to transmit control instructions through the track to on-board controllers called decoders, which are fitted to locomotives. Digital packets are embedded in the track power supply, which is always present even when trains are not required to be moving. The constant supply of current allows trains to operate independently of each other and for on-board features such as sound and lights to be used to great effect. The digital packets tell the decoder how
the lights, motor and sounds should be controlled, all determined through the use of the driving controls. Little technical knowledge is required to use a DCC system on any size of layout and the practicalities of using DCC have become even easier with manufacturers of locomotives and stock equipping locomotives with decoder sockets, factory-fitted decoders together with onboard digital sound. Although DCC is very flexible to use compared with analogue control, the benefits may not seem that obvious until you try it for the first time. You will soon come to realise that it is a very realistic way of driving trains, for train driving is what DCC is all about! The experience is very liberating compared with operating a traditional DC-controlled layout. There will be no section switches to remember to throw to set up the power in the track and the ability to control lights and sound in the locomotive being driven will add exponentially to the pleasure of operating a layout. With the development of specialised decoders, trains can be driven on a layout of any size with realistic digital sound and individually controlled lighting, controlled with the press of a button or two, and all independent of other trains operating on the layout. All of this is possible through the driving controls or hand set, which represents the regulator and brake found in a steam locomotive cab together with other controls. In effect, everything is independently controlled as if you were in the cab of a real locomotive, explaining why a DCC hand controller or hand set is sometimes called a ‘throttle’ or ‘cab’. Composition of a typical DCC system: DCC systems are made up of a command station, a power station (or booster) and throttle or cab (driving controls). A transformer is needed to power the system and power ratings for N and OO gauge can range from 1A for a basic entry-level system such as the Hornby ‘Select’ up to 5A for an advanced system such as the Digitrax Super Chief. Entry-level systems may have all of these components, including the driving controls, incorporated in one box or console. Decoders are needed too; one for each locomotive or multiple unit to work as on-board controllers and may be bought separately or supplied as a factory-fitted feature in off-the-shelf models.
1. Railway modelling is a great way of recreating the drama of main line steam in the home. DCC brings all the excitement of driving a real train as it is possible to achieve with a model railway, particularly if digital sound is used. 2. The driving controls on a DCC system replicate many of the controls found in the cab of both steam and diesel locomotives and make the model train driving experience more realistic.
Constant power supply to the track Independent control of locomotives (and multiple units) Simplified wiring No section switches necessary to separate locomotives Walkabout control with hand-held driving controls with more advanced systems Compatibility between systems from the command station to track and decoders Decoders can be mixed and matched to suit the model, not the digital system DCC has become increasingly easier to use with plug-and-play decoders and equipment Manufacturers are offering a growing range of DCC-fitted products ready for use on the digital layout Integration of hand-held devices such as smartphones and tablet computers is becoming increasingly common
ASK A DAFT QUESTION | 23
Hornby 'Elite' DCC controller with two integral power knobs and reversing switch: A: Display screen showing selected locomotive address and status. B: Track power switch. C: Turnout and accessory decoder function button. D: Integral locomotive power control knobs and reversing switches. E: Menu button to access functions such as programming modes. F: Locomotive address selection button G: Full numeric key pad for selecting addresses.
All DCC systems offer the same basic controls:
3. The advanced Hornby system called the Elite is also a console system with two sets of driving controls available in one box. It can be expanded by using the Select and other add-on products to fit remotecontrol points around the layout.
In summary: Command station: The intelligence centre that receives instructions from the driving controls and converts them into digital signals or packets that decoders can translate to operate locomotives, multiple units, turnouts and signals. Power station: The power house of the system, which boosts (amplifies) the digital signals from the command station to supply it as track power so they can be efficiently transmitted through the wiring and rails of the layout. Track power is always present on a digital layout allowing decoders to draw current from it at all times and to keep in touch with the command station. Driving controls: the controls used by the layout operator to drive trains – they may be hand-held or incorporated in the control system base station. They are used to control a selected locomotive by
entering the decoder’s unique address. The driving controls do not directly control the power in the track in the same manner as traditional DC, but send instructions to the command station for it to transmit data packets to the decoder of the selected locomotive. In effect, they directly replicate driving controls as if the modeller is in the locomotive cab, and some digital systems are set up with controls that do something to visually replicate the fittings in a locomotive cab. One set of driving controls is required per train; it being difficult to drive more than one train with one controller. Decoders: The on-board controllers which actually operate the locomotive or other accessory. Decoders have a unique address that it constantly listens for. When the correct digital packets are received, the decoder will do exactly what those digital packets instruct it to do as directed by the driving controls in your hand.
5. Digital systems are designed to be expanded with hand-held driving controls often called a throttle or cab. They are not always compatible across systems because the manufacturer is free to develop any protocols and hardware that best suits the system. Expanding the controller side of a system is simplified with plug-and-play products and accessories.
4. Digitrax offers a 3A entry-level and small layout system called the Zephyr (DCS51) which offers many advanced features compared with similar systems in its class. The nature of the Digitrax LocoNet controller bus network allows it to be expanded with a large range of Digitrax controllers and it will also work with Digitrax Duplex radio hand sets.
So, what do I need to get started? The choice of a system very much depends on personal preference and the type of operations and layout theme. For example, the number of locomotives you wish to run at the same time, number of operators, size of layout and complexity of the track formation may determine the system you find most suitable. Should traditional control from one point be your preference, the console type of system is ideal. Those who like to follow their trains around a larger layout may find a system that allows roaming control including plug-in hand controllers and wireless control their preferred choice. When researching a system, look at how the system can be expanded and if any entry-level system can be used with an advanced system when upgrading. Here’s a summary of digital systems:
Entry-level systems: Generally lower in cost and ideal for smaller layouts with few locomotives in use at one time such as a branch line theme. They make a good entry point for newcomers to the hobby, which can be expanded as involvement in the hobby increases. Entry-level systems rarely provide all of the features that an advanced system may offer. Programming of decoders may only be through the layout track, requiring some care to set up a special track for programming locomotives, a subject for a future article. Power levels to the track may be limited to as little as 1A, limiting the number of locomotives that may be run at any one time. They usually take the form of a ‘console’ in which the command station, power station and driving controls are incorporated in one box with provision for hand sets to be plugged in. Digital train sets frequently include an entry-level controller,
6. The rear ports of the Digitrax Zephyr with the LocoNet ports for additional controller cables to be plugged in. Most digital systems will have similar ports for adding controllers to the system allowing more operators to enjoy the layout.
A: Display screen showing selected locomotive address and status. B: Track power switch. C: Turnout and accessory decoder address button. D: Reversing handle. E: Loco decoder address button. F: Full numeric key pad for selecting addresses. G: Power handle!
together with a suitable transformer, an excellent and cost-effective way to experiment with DCC as a newcomer to the hobby. Advanced systems: A great deal more power and scope for expansion becomes available with an advanced system, but at a higher cost. Advanced programming options are offered together with operating features such as advanced consisting (double-heading), fast clocks, the ability to programme locomotive names, four-figure decoder addresses, advanced layout control and in some cases, personal computer interface ports. Greater capacity for locomotive and accessory control is a given with advanced systems together with a greater number of decoder function controls, which may be important when using locomotives equipped with digital sound.
7. Another popular advanced digital system is the NCE Pro-Cab, which enjoys a reputation of reliability and ease of use. The command station and booster is enclosed in one box while driving controls take the form of hand-held throttles.
Don't miss the Stirling Single on p29
24 | ASK A DAFT QUESTION
They can take the form of a single console with all components, including driving controls, in one box, or as separate devices. For example, the power station and command station may be enclosed in one case with minimal controls, a unit called a base station. The driving controls then take the form of hand sets (cabs or throttles) which can be connected to the base station directly or through a plugand-play network of dedicated cables enabling the hand sets to be connected to the system anywhere around the layout using special plug points called ‘fascia panels’. It is a very flexible system of control and unplugging the driving controls from the system does not stop the train – the locomotive is powered and controlled by the decoder, not power in the track. When a hand set is unplugged, the decoder will continue to obey the last instruction sent to it until told otherwise. Wireless control is growing in popularity where the hand sets are not ‘tethered’ to the layout with a lead, offering the freedom to roam wherever you like which is particularly beneficial for working large layouts. Following a train around the layout and watching it pass through various scenes is very enjoyable. Signals and speed restrictions may be obeyed as the train approaches such hazards, just as if you were in the cab. Wireless is going beyond the use of infrared technology and bespoke radio systems. The use of routers and wi-fi is enabling the use of hand-held devices to be used as throttles, and a layout controller is offered in some advanced DCC systems. Locomotive decoders: Decoders are an essential part of DCC operation, working as on-board controllers, and one at least is usually needed for each locomotive or multiple unit. Locomotive decoders are called mobile decoders and they follow digital commands set up by the hand controller and command station of the digital system. Each decoder is given a unique address by the modeller so only it responds to the driving controls when that unique number is entered. Locomotive decoders are in constant contact with the digital system’s command station through the track supply current which is available all the time to keep lights illuminated and sound systems working, whether the locomotive is moving or stationary. The constant supply of power to decoders carries the all-important digital signals, including decoder addresses. When a decoder’s individual address is called up, it responds accordingly, interpreting the digital signals transmitted by the command station and embedded in the track power supply by the power station or booster. Decoders respond to them and use the track current to power the motor and operate on-board lighting and sound. Accessory decoders: Digital systems can control a wide range of accessories such as turnouts, signals, level crossing lights and scenic lighting through accessory decoders. They take power and commands from the power supply from the base station in the same way as mobile locomotive decoders, except their function is entirely different. Compatibility: Standards and recommended practices for DCC were established fairly early in the adoption of digital model railway control by MOROP and the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association). Compliant and compatible systems are compatible in one area: the downstream part of the system that controls and supplies power to the trains. In other words, from the rear of the base station to the track including the digital signal transmitted through the rails and the decoders themselves. This means that one modeller’s DCC locomotives should
be able to run on a friend’s DCC layout regardless of the DCC system being used. The principle is the same, more or less, as that which ensures that off-the-shelf models from different manufacturers will run together on the same track. The standards are not applied to the controller side (upstream) of digital systems for which there are no published standards. Modellers should be aware that there are many proprietary systems for the controller side of digital systems, all with different communication protocols between driving controls and the command station. This means that hand-held controllers from one system may not be compatible with another, including the ports in the rear of the base station together with connectors and cable. When deciding upon a system, controller compatibility with a friend’s or club layout may be as important a consideration as the style and design of the equipment itself. For more information on the NMRA and its work on DCC standards and recommended practices, visit http:// www.nmra.org/standards/ Why choose DCC for my layout? Modellers have recognised that DCC is making the driving experience much more realistic and enjoyable thanks to some important technical features together with the way DCC works. The key feature is constant power in the track, something hard to achieve with analogue control. This allows decoders to work independently of each other and for lighting and sound systems to be powered at all times, just like a real locomotive, which would have an independent power supply (even fullsize electric locomotives and multiple units are connected to a constant power source when in operation). In conclusion DCC can be as simple or as complex as the modeller needs it to be. Those with limited budgets or a desire for simple control can choose from a range of entry-level systems. Others may like the advanced features of something more expensive and powerful; buying DCC systems is very much a personal choice and it is advisable to try some first before deciding. When making the decision to adopt DCC, remember, it is not necessary to buy all of the equipment you think you will need all in one go. Instead, start with the main system and some decoders and play with them to become familiar with the power and flexibility of digital control. Control the cost by fitting decoders to the most-used locomotives on your fleet first; advancing to the other lessfavoured engines as funds permit. Read the manuals for hints and tips on how to get the best of the system and look at how you control your layout, making changes to make operations more realistic. In other words, enjoy the greater freedom and flexibility that Digital Command Control will bring to your layout.
Write to us
Get in touch by emailing: RMModellingeditor@mortons.co.uk or send letters to: The Railway Magazine Guide to Modelling, Mortons Media Group, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6JR. Please include your name, address and email in all correspondence.
8. Digital systems can be expanded to allow hand-held driving controls to be plugged in using special ports that may be fitted at strategic places around the layout. This allows the modeller driving a particular train to stay on top of operations, especially when shunting a yard or industry.
9. Compatibility of systems with regard to the downstream part of DCC is indicated by one or both of two symbols: The NMRA compliance symbol which states that the system complies with all NMRA standards (A) and the DCC compatibility symbol (B) which shows a system is compatible with other DCC standard systems. This means that the systems will control any manufacturers’ decoders without difficulty. The controller side of DCC systems does not have to conform to any such standards.
10. The benefits of Digital Command Control for layout operation is demonstrated on this small layout. The turnouts are manually controlled and there are absolutely no section switches to control power in the track – in fact, this layout has no control panel at all. Decoders allow the Bachmann 2MT and the DJ Models J94 to work independently of each other without having to isolate any track sections. Furthermore, both locomotives have different decoders, but the downstream compatibility of DCC systems means they will work with any DCC compliant or compatible system.
ASK A DAFT QUESTION | 25
11. Modern decoders are surprisingly tiny, yet pack a great deal of power and functionality into a tiny circuit board. Bachmann offers some factory DCC fitted models including one of its Ivatt 2MT locomotive models (31441DC) which is equipped with a ‘Next18’ decoder. 12. The circuit board complete with the ‘Next18’ DCC interface socket is located in the coal bunker! The interface has 18 connections allowing a wide range of functions to be incorporated in the model. Non-factory fitted models will be equipped with a blanking plug, which will allow the model to operate on conventional DC layouts until changed for a decoder.
13. Some manufacturers will go to unusual lengths to make decoder installation as simple as possible. The DJ Models’ J94 locomotive model is DCC-ready, being equipped with 6-pin DCC interface sockets fitted with blanking plugs for conventional DC operation. This picture shows how the circuit board, located in the smoke box, is easy to reach by simply pushing the smoke box door moulding to one side. This pair of locomotives was photographed following the fitting of Digitrax DZ126IN six-pin decoders.
15. One of the DCC interface types you will come across is the original eight-pin DCC socket shown on the model’s circuit board fitted with an analogue blanking plug. Simply remove the plug and plug in a decoder fitted with an eight-pin plug soldered to the end of the wire harness.
14. It is good practice to ensure newly acquired models are running smoothly before undertaking a decoder installation. A simple rolling road is one way of checking for binding running gear or other minor problems that will prevent you from obtaining the best from the model.
16. One thing you will encounter is the use of high-performance capacitors as ‘stay-alive’ units. One is fitted to the J11 model to provide power to the decoder when there is a slight interruption in track current owing to dirt or other factors. This prevents digital sound production from being interrupted or cut off altogether, even when the model’s flywheel keeps the locomotive in motion.
26 | INSPIRATION PAGES
Heading down to the Brighton Line Modeller Matt Wickham took the inspiration for his layout from a preserved heritage line, the Bluebell Railway, on the former LBSCR route between London and Brighton, and here he talks about the research he did in order to create it.
efore I built my layout I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to base it, although I did change location in the beginning before settling on my final decision; to model one of the stations on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex; Horsted Keynes. At the very start when I was coming up with ideas for my layout, I had originally decided on the Isle of Wight and Havenstreet; however, as I researched locomotives and rolling stock it started to look like the more difficult and expensive option, which is why I opted instead for the Bluebell Railway. The station is well known for being part of the first-ever standard gauge preservation line. I started visiting the railway back in March 1998 and have visited pretty much every year since. It appealed to me for a number of reasons; the locomotives, the rolling stock, the buildings and also different station types. I also wanted to model what I could see, and also measure; of course, if you’re looking at recreating a location from the past that is no longer in existence your research path will be slightly different, possibly going through archives for drawings, old film footage and books. Like most I wanted to model the Bluebell Railway because it holds childhood memories of family trips, holidays and days out. This is similar for most modellers, they model a moment in time or something from their childhood that they have seen and experienced.
The station that I have modelled, Horsted Keynes, was built in 1882 by the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway, and the station today has been restored to the Southern Railway era of the Twenties and Thirties and features two island platforms as well as a main station building built in the same LBSCR style as the rest of the line’s stations. Horsted Keynes was originally a junction station with a line branching off to Haywards Heath via Ardingly. Having decided upon the Bluebell line, I opted to model the preservation era or as it is today as I am still reasonably young, and at the moment preservation is not that widely modelled, but I am sure as the hobby continues it may become more popular. You may wonder why I chose Horsted Keynes as it is Sheffield Park that has a loco shed and station as well as a goods yard to show off locomotive models. The reason mainly is that I needed a lot of storage space for coaches and wagons. I also have five platforms, so I can run more than one model at a time. Firstly I checked the space I have to work with; this dictated both my plans and my research. The space available meant that I had to compress and shorten some areas such as the platforms. A normal coach set for the Bluebell is between six and seven coaches. Sadly I don’t have the space for that length, so I decided to only use a maximum of four to five coaches plus one locomotive. The width meant that I had to miss out some of the storage sidings.
1. The canopy and canopy supports around the station were modelled from sketches and photographs taken at Horsted Keynes. 2. Signals at the real Horsted Keynes station. 3. Images of the W H Smith stand at Horsted Keynes helped me get details right when modelling station infrastructure.
I also decided to stick to good old DC control, as DCC was only just starting to become available at the time of building, and not knowing anything about it, I felt I would go with the safe option and so I went with what I knew. For me, modelling a preserved line means a trip to the railway itself is probably the best way to go about research as all the buildings and lineside furniture is there to see and photograph. On my research trips I would take a tape measure, a camera and a sketchbook. I would probably go about it slightly differently today as I would try to elicit the help of a guide to allow me to take photos of areas where members of the public may not have access to. I also watched a few clips on YouTube of a well-known programme called Model World – Model Railways presented by the late Bob Symes, after I found out he also made a model of Horsted Keynes. This gave me a great insight into modelling this project. For the track diagram I used a very good diagram available on the Bluebell Railway’s website, which was great so I could make a note of the number of points and if they were left or right. Also now with the wonders of the internet this can be done with something like Google Earth, which gives a very good view of a layout and placement of buildings, signals etc. Sometimes diagrams or drawings of buildings are not available either from councils, or the preservation group themselves, so photos are the way forward for this – taking photos, if possible, of each elevation of the building, front, back and sides, you can use the bricks as an idea of size, and also you never know when
INSPIRATION PAGES | 27
these might come in handy once you begin your layout. After returning from my research trip I sat down and looked into buildings, how I could go about constructing some of them, or what was closest to them that was available on the model market. Of course today a number of manufacturers, Bachmann Scenecraft and Hornby’s Skaledale building ranges, produce ready-to-plant resin buildings; sadly for me these were not around at the time of my planning and building. At the time I was on a strict budget, so I found a number of island card kits were useful for Platforms 1, 2, 3 and 4. I could easily modify these using pictures I had taken at the railway as I had taken them square-on during my research trip. I cut them up on photo-editing
software and made the photos as a covering. A range of plastic buildings are available, the closest I could find was Wills country station, which is similar to the LBSCR design featured on the Bluebell, these can be modified with other Wills kits products. 5&9 models do a nice range of LBSCR station furniture, such as station water columns. If you have modelled a preserved line then please get in touch to tell us about it at rmmodellingeditor@ mortons.co.uk
About the Bluebell Railway
The Bluebell Railway was the UK’s first preserved standard gauge passenger railway and runs on part of the old London, Brighton & South Coast Railway. It is 11 miles long and runs between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead with Kingscote and Horsted Keynes stations en route. Locomotives that run on the line include BR 4-6-0 5MT No. 73082 Camelot, SECR 0-6-0 No. 65, Maunsell Q Class 4-6-0 No. 30541, S15 Class 4-6-0 No. 847, SE&CR 0-6-0T No. 323 Bluebell, Fletcher Jennings 0-4-0T No. 3 Baxter and Wainwright P Class 0-6-0T No. 178. The Bluebell Railway also has four Metropolitan Railway coaches known as the Chesham Set. For more information visit www. bluebell-railway.co.uk
The London, Brighton & South Coast Railway, otherwise known as the Brighton Line, was formed in 1846 and ran along the south coast from Portsmouth to Hastings and up to London. At the 1923 Grouping it became part of the Southern Railway. The LBSCR was famous for the yellow ochre livery carried by the locomotives designed by William Stroudley and Robert Billinton periods. Several locomotives are still running today on heritage railways and three are to be found on the Bluebell Railway: ‘Terrier’ No. 55 Stepney, ‘Terrier’ No. 72 Fenchurch and E4 (0-6-2T) No. 473 Birch Grove. USEFUL LINKS www.lbscr.org/ www.5and9models.co.uk/ www.peco-uk.com/ www.stationcolours.info/
Stepney with Fenchurch photographed on the Bluebell Railway in September 1982. BRIAN SHARPE
4. As well as taking photographs when I did my research trip, I also sketched some of the buildings at the station. 5. A view along the tracks of my layout. 6. The island platform buildings overlaid on to A4 Superquick card kits to transform them into Southern wood-clad buildings. Pictured is a Beattie well tank. 7. South station overview on my layout. Photos I had taken helped with positioning, as well as modifying signals.
About the layout:
My OO gauge layout measures 11ft 7in by 2ft 2in. I mostly run Bachmann’s E4, SR livery B473 (ready-to-run), Hornby, Bulleid rebuilt 'Battle of Britain' class 34059 (this was renumbered from 34058), South Eastern Finecast, kit built, B4 (96) Normandy (used for shunting/goods trains).
The Model Shop Guide
To advertise on the map please call Lynsey on 01507 529454 or email email@example.com
Britain is blessed with a network of great model shops and outlets, who are always keen to help and advise. Here are some you can turn to... simply look for the number nearest you on the map, and find their details below: 1. Redcar Models & Hobbies
Location: 130 High Street Redcar Cleveland TS10 3DH www.redcarmodels.co.uk 01642 494912
2. Jacksons Models
Location: 33 New Street, Wigton, Cumbria, CA7 9AL
www.jacksonsmodels.co.uk 01697 342557
3. Roneo Models
Location: 32 Roneo Corner, Hornchurch, Essex, RM12 4TN 01708 442836
4. Hattons Model Railways Ltd
Location: Unit 17 Montague Road Widnes WA8 8FZ
www.hattons.co.uk 0151 7333655
5. Chester Model Centre
Location: 71-73 Bridge Street Row East Chester CH1 1NW
chestermodelcentre.com 01244 400930
6. Church Street Models
Location: 10A Church Street, Basingstoke, Hampshir, RG21 7Q www.churchstreetmodels. co.uk 01256 358060
7. The Loco Shed
Location: 48 Bury Old Road, Whitefield, Manchester, M45 6TL
8. Tutbury Jinny Model Shop Location: 5 Tutbury Mill Mews, Lower High Street, Tutbury, Staffordshire, DE13 9LU 01283 814777
9. Digitrains Ltd
Location: 15 Clifton Street, Lincoln,Lincolnshire,LN5 8LQ www.digitrains.co.uk 01522 527731
Location: Gaugemaster House, Ford Road, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0BN
www.gaugemaster.com 01903 884488
11. Taunton Controls Ltd
Location: 12 The Octagon, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1RT
www.tauntoncontrolsltd.co.uk 01823 327155
12. Monk Bar Model Shop
Location: Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LQ monkbarmodelshop.co.uk 01904 659423
13. Morris Models
Location: 80 Manor Road, North Lancing, West Sussex, BH15 OHD www.modelsandhobbies.co.uk 01903 754850
14. Collectors Cellar
Location: 11 Hencotes, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 2EQ
www.collectorscellar.co.uk 01434 601392
15. A C Models
Location: 7 High Street, Eastleigh, Hants, SO50 5LB
www.acmodelseastleigh.co.uk 02380 610100
16. The Hobby Goblin
Location: 54 Hamil Road, Burslem, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 1AU
www.thehobbygoblin.co.uk 01782 818433
17. Going Loco
Location: 38 Potovens Lane Loft House Gate Wakefield WF3 3JF www.goinglocomodels.com 01924 824748
18. Ron Lines
Location: 342 Shirley Road Shirley Southampton SO15 3HJ
www.ronlines.com 02380 772681
19. Pooleys Puffers
Location: 382A Jedburgh Court Team Valley Trading Estate Gateshead Tyne & Wear NE11 0BQ www.pooleyspuffers.com 01914 910202
20. Carnforth Models
Location: Unit 5, Carnforth Station, Carnforth, Lancashire, LA5 9TR
www.redcarmodels.co.uk 01642 494912
21. World Of Model Railways Location: Meadow Street Mevagissey Cornwall PL26 6UL www.model-railway.co.uk 01726 842457
22. Flair Rail
www.flair-rail.co.uk 01621 786198 Location: 54 Cavendish Street Barow In Furness Cumbria LA14 1PZ
Location: Unit 7 Springfield Nursery Estate Burnham On Crouch Essex CM0 8TA
23. Crafty Hobbies
www.craftyhobbies.co.uk 01229 820759
24. Trains & Planes Ltd
Location: 15 Cowdray Court Kingston Park Newcastle Upon Tyne NE3 2TZ www.trainsandplanes.co.uk 0191 286 4175
25. Caistor Loco
Location: Ashtree Enterprises 33 Nettleton Road Caistor Lincolnshire LN7 6NJ 01472 859990
26. Grimy Times
Location: 187 Orford Lane Warrington WA2 7BA www.grimytimes.co.uk 01925 632209
27. Millennium Models
Location: 67 Queen Street Morley Leeds LS27 8EB www.millennium-models.co.uk 0113 2189286
28. Buffers Model Railways Location: Colston Cross Axminster Devon EX13 7NF
www.buffersmodelrailways.com 01297 35557
29. Wellingborough Trains & Models
Location: 26 Market Street Wellingborough Northamptonshire NN8 1AT
www.facebook.com/thelococentre 01933 274069
30. Mac’s Model Railroading
Location: 4-8 Reform Street Kirriemuir Angus Scotland DD84BS www.macsmodels.co.uk 01575 572397
31. The Sport and Model Shop
Location: 66 High Street, Dingwall, Ross-shire, Highlands, Scotland, IV15 9RY www.sportsandmodelshop. co.uk 01349 862346
32. Agr Model Railway Store Ltd Location: 9 High Sl Mews Leighton Buzzard Bedfordshire LU7 1EA
www.agrmodelrailwaystore.co.uk 01525 854788
33. The Hobby Shop
Location: 122 West Street Faversham Kent ME13 7JB www.hobb-e-mail.com 01795 531666
NATIONAL COLLECTION | 29
The first of the East Coast speed kings
GNR Stirling single 4-2-2 No. 1 accelerates away from Loughborough on the Great Central Railway on Saturday, May 8, 1982. BRIAN SHARPE
When Patrick Stirling was appointed to the Great Northern Railway as locomotive superintendent in 1866, speed was his ultimate goal, and the most famous of his products were the legendary Stirling Single 4-2-2s, which paved the way for ever-shorter journeys between London and Edinburgh, writes Robin Jones.
Prototype of the Stirling Single No. 1, part of the National Collection in Miniature range, and due out in October.
atrick Stirling was born in Kilmarnock in 1820 and came from a family with a proven track record in steam engineering. His father, Reverend Robert Stirling had, in 1816, invented the first practical example of a closed cycle air engine, which came to be known as a Stirling engine. His brother, James Stirling, was also a locomotive engineer, while Patrick’s son Matthew became chief mechanical engineer of the Hull & Barnsley Railway. Patrick Stirling was taken on as an apprentice at Urquhart Lindsay & Company’s Dundee Foundry and subsequently became foreman at Neilson’s Locomotive Works in Glasgow. In 1851, he became superintendent of a short line between Bowling and Balloch, which was later taken over by the North British Railway. Two years later, he was made locomotive superintendent of the Glasgow & South Western Railway where he stayed for 13 years.
His finest hour, however, came at the GNR, where he stayed in charge until his death in 1895. On his arrival at the GNR, Stirling set out to standardise the railway’s rolling stock as there had been little standardisation under his predecessor, Archibald Sturrock. He borrowed a ‘single-wheeler’ from the Great Eastern Railway and, in 1868, designed two versions of 2-2-2 with 7ft 1in driving wheels. His aim was to produce a fleet of standard engines that combined speed with power in order to tackle the continuous gradients on the King’s Cross to York line. The GER designs were developed specifically for the GNR’s highspeed expresses. Stirling used outside cylinders and a 4-2-2 wheel arrangement for stability at the front end. These were key steps in the evolution of the design of the Stirling Single, with the first
appearing from Doncaster Works in 1870 followed by another 52 between then and 1895. He disliked the concept of compound engines, and preferred traditional types with outside cylinders and domeless boilers. His Stirling Single 4-4-2s were designed for express passenger work on the GNR. With a single pair of 8ft 1in diameter driving wheels, and nicknamed ‘eight footers’, they were intended to haul up to 26 coaches at an average speed of 47mph. In short, they became distinctive images of Victorian railway technology at its finest and fastest. The first was numbered 1. The GNR did not follow the practice of other lines in having a sequence of numbers for set classes: if a locomotive was scrapped, its number was up for grabs. Designed especially for high-speed express trains from King’s Cross, they cemented the GNR’s reputation for speed.
Don't miss RMM Letters on p37
30 | NATIONAL COLLECTION
For many years the Stirling Singles were, as an overall class, the fastest locomotives in England, and indeed the world. Their designer became a living legend among engineers and enthusiasts alike, and through him the GNR became one of the most popular routes in the country. The GNR never tried to hide the fact that it ran fast expresses. This approach was the opposite of most other British companies of the day, which were mindful of the public concerns about high speed and the resulting increased likelihood of crashes. Stirling also established the locomotive works at Doncaster so that the GNR could start to build its own engines, and it was there that his Singles were built. It was not the only locomotive type that he built for the GNR; there were 2-2-2s for express passenger duties, 2-4-0s and 0-4-2s for branch passenger train and mixed traffic, 0-4-4Ts for suburban passenger trains, 0-6-0s for freight and 0-6-0Ts for shunting. However, it is the Stirling Single for which he is readily remembered. Its prowess and fleet-footedness were never more underlined than in the two escapades in late Victorian times, which came to be known as the Races to the North. On August 20, 1895, in the second Race to the North held at night between the operators of the east and west coast route from London to Scotland, Stirling Single 4-2-2 No. 668 took the East Coast express 1051/2-miles from King’s Cross to Grantham in one hour 41mins with an average speed of 62.7mph. An engine change saw No. 775 take over, and complete the 82 miles to York in one hour 16min; an average speed of 64.7mph. The overall 393-mile trip was covered in six hours 19mins, at a speed of 63.5mph, while the extended
run to Aberdeen, making a total of 523 miles, took eight hours 40mins, with an average speed 60.4mph. With the arrival of the Ivatt Atlantics after 1898, the Singles began to be displaced from express services, and withdrawals of the early engines, which had become an icon of Victorian transport technology at its finest, began in 1899, but the last ones were used on secondary services until 1916. A star in a second life too The first of the class, No 1, was preserved by the LNER on withdrawal in 1907, firstly at King’s Cross shed. It was displayed at an exhibition in Wembley in 1909, and then stored at Doncaster Works. The public saw it occasionally and it took part in the 1925 Stockton & Darlington centenary cavalcade in steam, after the LNER gave it a new boiler. This centenary led to the establishment of the York Railway Museum by the LNER and No. 1 was placed there on permanent public display. It emerged in 1938 to take part in the LNER’s publicity programme, hauling a GNR train on the GN main line, and also featuring in railtours, becoming the first preserved British steam locomotive to haul a main line passenger train. It returned to the museum where it remained until its closure in 1974, after which it moved to the new National Railway Museum. A surprise was the decision to return it to steam, after which it ran for just three weekends on the Great Central Railway in 1981-82. It also took part in a filming session on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Levisham and there was even talk of a main line run to Scarborough. Sadly, that proved to be too ambitious.
Don't miss Point Motor wiring on p34
1. Stirling Single No. 1 heads a train of teak coaches at the Doncaster Works open day in 2003. ROBIN JONES 2. A star-studded line-up at King’s Cross shed in September 1938: left to right are Stirling Single No. 1; GNR J3 0-6-0 No. 4039; GNR C1 Atlantic No. 4-4-2 No. 4404; A3 Pacific No. 2505 Cameronian and A4 Pacific No. 4462 Great Snipe. ERIC FRY COLLECTION
3. Stirling Single No.1 at King’s Cross top shed on September 11, 1938 ready to back down on to a vintage six-wheeler train set that is waiting in the station to take Railway Correspondence and Travel Society members on the first-ever privately organised railtour, to Peterborough. Around this time, the celebrity locomotive also made other trips including a day excursion to Cambridge. The second half of the 1930s was a momentous time for the LNER, with the success of the ‘Silver Jubilee’, ‘Coronation’, ‘West Riding Limited’ named trains and A4 No. 4468 Mallard’s 126mph world record, plus in 1938 a completely new train set for the ‘Flying Scotsman’ including the new concept of a buffet lounge car with ladies' retiring room, which survives and can be seen at Kirkby Stephen East on the Stainmore Railway in Cumbria. The whole train was pressureventilated and double glazed. The main reason why Stirling Single No. 1 was brought out of retirement was to promote this new train, with journalists being taken in East Coast Joint Stock six-wheeler stock hauled by No. 1 as far as Stevenage, to represent a ‘Scotsman’ train of the 1870s. The passengers were then transferred to the new 1938 stock for onward transit. The train not only had Sir Nigel Gresley on board, but was also hauled by his namesake A4 No. 4498.
NATIONAL COLLECTION | 31
No. 1 is now display at the National Railway Museum in York. In 1898, an 18in gauge model of No. 1 was built by students at London’s Regent Street Polytechnic. They included Henry Greenly who found fame as a builder of similar miniature locomotives for lines such as the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway. The scaled-down Stirling single was sold to EFS Notter, who was the GNR’s district locomotive superintendent based at King’s Cross, and who later kept it in King’s shed; home of the full-size originals. After changing hands several times, the locomotive is now at the World of Country Life Museum at Sandy Bay, Exmouth. Taken from Great British Steam: The National Collection bookazine by Robin Jones.
National Collection in Miniature
ERIC FRY COLLECTION
4. Stirling Single No. 1 displayed inside the Great Hall of the National Railway Museum at York in January 2017. ROBIN JONES
5. The single most distinctive feature of the Stirling Single: the 8ft 1in driving wheel that made them speed kings of the Victorian age. ROBIN JONES
Locomotionmodels.com and the National Railway Museum in association with Rapido Trains Inc are pleased to announce the production of the GNR Stirling Single No.1 in OO gauge. This highly detailed locomotive is the latest in the exclusive range of models that make up the National Collection in Miniature. The model will feature the original/current tender and is expected to be in stock in October 2017.
32 | FEATURE NAME
Dates for your diary MUSEUMS
Open Tuesday to Sunday Brighton Toy and Model Museum. 52/55 Trafalgar Street, Brighton, West Sussex BN1 4EB. www. brightontoymuseum.co.uk 10am-5pm (Saturday 11am-5pm). See website for admission prices. Open daily until October 1 World of Model Railways. Meadow Street, Mevagissey, St Austell, Cornwall. www.model-railway.co.uk 10am-5pm. Adult £4.50, concessions £4, child (5-17) £3.50, family £14. Disabled access. Open Saturday-Monday Famous Trains Model Railway, Markeaton Park, Derby. Nearest postcode for sat nav users is DE22 3BG. www.famoustrains.org.uk.11am4pm. Largest OO-scale model railway in the East Midlands plus other layouts. Famous Trains also has a shop in the model railway building, which has the same opening hours as the model railways. Members are present to give expert advice to visitors.
EXHIBITIONS JULY 29
Barnstaple & District Model Railway Club, Christ Church, Bear Street, Barnstaple, Devon EX32 7BU. 10am-4pm. Disabled access, refreshments, 14 layouts and trade stands. Bridport Model Railway Exhibition. Bridport United Church Hall, East Street, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3LJ. 10am4.30pm. Adult £3.50, child £1. Layouts.
Colwyn Model Railway Club Annual Exhibition. Craig y Don Community Centre, Queen’s Road, Craig y Don, Llandudno LL30 1TF. www. colwynmodelrailwayclub.co.uk 10am-4pm. Adult £4, child £2. Layouts, free parking, refreshments.
RM MODELLING LISTINGS AUGUST 2017
Compiled by Jon Longman. Send details of your events to RMModellingeditor@mortons.co.uk
EXMOOR-RAIL (organised by Exmoor Coast Railway Modellers). The Minehead Eye, Mart Road, Minehead, Somerset TA24 5BJ (next to the West Somerset Railway’s station at Minehead). 10am-4.30pm. Adult £5, children £1, family (2+2) £10. Layouts: Merryfield Lane (OO), Oake (OO), Brixham Bay (N), Friday Bridge (EM), Chalworth (O), Tregellion Quay Power Station (N), Extown & Willsbridge (N), Peafore Yard (OO), Streatwell Green (OO), Brewhouse Lane (00), Bodmin General (N), Shillingford (00), 11 traders, demonstrations and society stands. Pennine Model Railway Society 25th Model Railway Show St Philips Community Centre, Briarlyn Road, Birchencliffe, Huddersfield, HD3 3NL 10am to 5pm. Adults £4.50, under 16s free. 11 layouts – UK, European and American. Contact: 07787840672.
Model Railways Plus. Tinkers Park, Hadlow Down, East Sussex TN22 4HS. www.tinkerspark.com. 10am5pm. Adult £6, child £2. More than 18 layouts, disabled access, free parking, narrow gauge railway, bus rally only on Sunday. Redcar Model Railway Exhibition. Redcar & Cleveland College, Corporation Road, Redcar TS10 1EZ. www.cmrc.club. Saturday 10am5pm; Sunday 10am-4pm. Adult £4.50, concessions £3.50, child £3.50, family (2+2) £12.50. Disabled access. 13 layouts, demonstrations and displays. Southwold Model Railway Exhibition. Waveney Valley Model Railway Club, St Felix School, Halesworth Road, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6SD. www.wvmrc.org.uk Adult £7, 12-17yrs £3, under 12s free. Layouts, societies, outdoor steam rides, trade support, disabled access.
Brighton Model Railway Club, Clubrooms, London Road Station,Shaftesbury Place Brighton. Annual Sale Day. 10am2pm. Admission free. New members welcome. Lots of bargains. (See also entry under Museums). Heywood Model Railway Group Open Day. Unit 3, Park Works, River Street, Heywood OL10 4AB. www. hmrg.co.uk 10am-4pm. Admission by donation.Club layouts. Silver Fox DCC Model Railway Exhibition. Oakgrove School, Brickhill Street, Milton Keynes MK10 9JQ.10am-4pm. Adult £6, child £2. 30 layouts, trade support, outdoor rides, classic car display, disabled access.
Ellesmere Model Railway Exhibition. Ellesmere Town Hall, Willow Street, Ellesmere, Shropshire SY12 0AL www.ellesmeremodelrailwayclub.weebly.com Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 10am-4pm. Adults £3.50, child (12 -16) £1.50, Accompanied child (under 12) free. Nearby parking, disabled access, refreshments, layouts, demonstrations and trade support. Isle of Purbeck Model Railway Exhibition. Harmans Cross Village Hall, Haycrafts Lane, Swanage, Dorset BH19 3EB.10am-4.30pm both days. Adult £5, child £2, family £12. Layouts, trade support. Midland Railex Model Railway Exhibition. Midland Railway – Butterley, Ripley, Derbyshire DE5 3QZ. 10am-4.30pm both days. Adult £15.50, concession £14.50, child (5-15) £7.75, family (two adults and up to three children) £38.75. More than 20 layouts, trade support and many other attractions. Admission includes all-day travel on the railway, free car parking and Show Guide.
Railex NE (organised by the Blyth & Tyne Model Railway Society). John Spence Community High School, Preston Grange, North Shield, Tyne & Wear NE29 9PU. www.railexne.com Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 10am4pm. Adult £7, child £3, family (2+2) £16. 40 layouts, demonstrations and society stalls.
Welling Charity Model Railway Fair. Association of Bexley Charities, Falconwood Community Centre, Falconwood Parade, The Green, Welling, Kent DA16 2PG. Adult £1, accompanied children free. Trade support.
Railwells 2017/Scalefour Southwest. Wells Rail Fraternity, Town Hall, Market Place, Wells, Somerset BA5 2RB. Saturday 10.30am-5.30pm, Sunday 10.30am4.30pm. www.railwells.com Adult £6, child 14+ £4, accompanied child under-14 free. Layouts, demonstrations, displays, disabled access.
South Coast Model Railway Club Exhibition. Arnewood School, Gore Road, New Milton, Hants BH25 6RS. www.southcoastmodelrailwayclub. co.uk Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 10am4pm. Adult £5, child £3.50, family (2+2) £15. Disabled access. 17 layouts.
Bexhill Model Railway Club annual exhibition. St Richards Catholic College, Ashdown Road, Bexhill-onSea TN40 1SE. www.bexhillmrc.org. uk. 10am-5pm.Adult £4, child £2, family £10. Layouts, sales stands, refreshments. Free parking on site.
To advertise in the next issue call Lynsey on 01507 529454
Broadland Model Railway Club Open Day. Stalham Town Hall, High Street, Stalham, Norfolk NR12 9AH. 10am-4pm. www. broadlandmodelrailwayclub.co.uk Admission £2, accompanied children under 12 free. Club and members
layouts, second hand stall, disabled access, refreshments.
AUGUST 19 Astolat Model Railway Circle Open Day. National Trust Dapdune Wharf, Wharf Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4RR. www.astolatmrc.co.uk 11am-5pm. Adult £3.95, child £2.30, family £11.50, National Trust members free. Layouts, test tracks. Bishops Stortford Railway Society Annual Exhibition. Birchwood High School, Parsonage Lane, Bishops Stortford CM23 3LK. 10.30am-4.30pm. http://bsrs.webplus.net Adult £5, child 6-16 £2, family £10. More than 20 layouts, trade and society stands, steam rides in grounds (50p), childrens’ area, disabled access Northampton Model Railway Exhibition. Cogenhoe Village Hall, York Avenue, Cogenhoe, Northampton
NN7 1NB. 10am-4.30pm. www.ndmrc. org Adult £3, child £2, family 2+2 £8. Layouts, disabled access
£2, family (2+2) £9, under 5s free. Disabled access. 11 layouts in N, 00 and 0 scales, demonstrations and trade stands.
Famous Trains Model Railway Summer Trains Event. Markeaton Park, Derby. www.famoustrains.org.uk/ 11am-4pm. Event includes the largest OO-scale model railway in the East Midlands among other layouts. Famous Trains also has a shop, in the model railway building in Markeaton Park, which has the same opening hours as model railways. Members are present to give expert advice to visitors. The railway is open to the public every weekend and Monday (11am-4pm).
Inverness Model Railway Exhibition. Jurys Inn, Millburn Road, Inverness IV2 3TR. Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 10am-4pm. Adult £5, child £2, family (2 + 2) £10. Working layouts, traders, second hand stand, disabled access, juniors photo opportunity to be the controller at the Thomas the Tank Engine stand and adults can try their hand at the shunting puzzle.
Gainsborough Model Railway Society. Florence Terrace, Gainsborough, Lincs DN21 IBE. www. gainsboroughmodelrailway.co.uk 1.30-6pm (Monday 10.30am-6pm). Adult £4, concession and child £3, family £10.
Hayle Model Railway Club & Duchy Railroaders Summer Exhibition. Hayle Day Care Centre, Commercial Road, Hayle TR27 4DE. Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm. www. haylemrc.org.uk Adult £4, children
See a model of King's Cross to Leeds in a Victorian schoolroom at Gainsborough Model Railway Society.
IAN HOLLOWAY | 33
O gauge and rabbits Ian Holloway looks to the North East for railway modelling inspiration this month.
deas for a model railway can often come from reading about a particular line, researching aspects of operation and walking the track bed if trains no longer run. The Rothbury line in rural Northumberland is one such railway that has attracted me over more years than I care to calculate. This single-track branch line, some 13 miles long, ran from Scot’s Gap to the peaceful rural town of Rothbury and was opened by the North British Railway in 1872, some 10 years after the Wansbeck Valley Railway reached Scot’s Gap from Morpeth. In LNER days the Morpeth to Rothbury route was operated as the ‘main line’ when in fact the Morpeth to Reedsmouth line was intended to have this function. On leaving Morpeth the line reached the junction at Scot’s Gap via stations at Meldon, Angerton and Middleton North and I shall return to these stations later. From the junction the railway climbed towards Fontburn and Brinkburn before descending into the Coquet Valley and the terminus at Rothbury. The land in the valley is well farmed and produces both crops and livestock. Rothbury became a small and popular holiday centre for people from Tyneside and was home to a number of wealthy businessmen, notably Lord Armstrong who lived at Cragside House, which is well worth visiting. Although the North British and the North Eastern Railways were rivals they collaborated in providing both a morning and an evening through
carriage to and from Newcastle. Although the railway ran through thinly populated countryside there was some mineral traffic from small coal mines and quarries. Rothbury station boasted a turntable and an engine shed housing two locomotives. A G5 0-4-4 handled the passenger trains while a J21 0-6-0 tender locomotive hauled the goods stock. During the years 1942 and 1943 large numbers of soldiers trained in the Rothbury area and their stores were brought to Rothbury by rail. If some 25 to 30 wagons made up a train then it would be double-headed and the G5 would pilot the J21. Rothbury featured in the horse-racing world and the site of the racecourse can be traced today. During the Rothbury Races special passenger trains were run and a ‘special’ was provided on the last Saturday in August for the popular Bellingham Show. Sadly, the line closed to passengers in 1952 and the last goods train ran in 1963. Nothing remains of the station, turntable and engine shed although we can still enjoy walking, or indeed skiing during an old-fashioned winter, along the route of the railway or model the line and operate it in miniature. My recreation of the Rothbury branch uses Hornby clockwork O gauge tin-plate locomotives and stock together with a good deal of imagination. An 0-4-0 tank engine is used to represent the G5 locomotive and an 0-4-0 tender engine represents the J21.
A single Hornby No.2 Brake composite coach is provided for passengers while various vans and wagons handle goods. I enjoy operating my model to a real timetable, including the slightly more complicated Saturday arrangement of an additional passenger train, not forgetting to deliver newspapers at the lineside cottages and the occasional stop to pick blackberries!
Finally, I wish to return to Meldon, Angerton and Middleton North stations. During the economic depression of the 1930s there was a great deal of poverty on Tyneside and many people simply could not afford to purchase meat. Again, during the Second World War, meat was in short supply and was strictly rationed. During these years the Wansbeck Valley was overrun with
rabbits and a regular traffic developed at these stations of wicker baskets filled with freshly killed rabbits being loaded into the goods compartment of the passenger trains for delivery to Newcastle and surrounding towns. Who organised for this muchneeded, relatively inexpensive and readily available source of nourishment to be made available has, so far, escaped my most diligent research!
LMS 4MT 43129 at Rothbury Station with the RCTS Wansbeck on November 9, 1963. THE RAILWAY MAGAZINE BLACK AND WHITE ARCHIVE
ABOVE: Page taken from Beeching: The Inside Track by Robin Jones.
34 | STARTING OUT
Point motor wiring and power supplies
This month Bernard Gudgin and Michael Watts continue to investigate electrics.
f you have decided to use your finger or the wire-in-tube method of point control, please ignore this section – it is for those who wish to operate their points electrically! If you have opted for manual operation there is nothing to be ashamed of, just delight in the enjoyment of getting your layout working all the sooner and at lower cost too. Electrical control of your point motors means that you can control your points from a distance. Further, if you mount your switches centrally on a control panel this impresses your friends and relatives – images of Sir Topham Hatt of Rev Wilbert Awdry fame! Exactly how you wire depends on the type of point motors you have decided to use. If you have followed our advice, your first layout will be small and probably have only two, three, or at most four points to wire. Similarly, using the traditional point motors (the solenoid type) allows straightforward wiring with minimum additional equipment, and that is what we will help you with here. Wiring a point motor and its operating switch is not a complex task. Each point motor and switch is wired in the same way, so once you have done one, it is just a matter of repeating the process. With experience, when wiring several point motors, you will find that there are some economies in the actual wiring that reduces the amount of wire you use (trivial in cost) and the time it takes (not so trivial). You need to know that most solenoid point motors are vulnerable in that they will not tolerate electrical current flowing in their coils for more than a few seconds. This is not a fault, but the need for a large electrical current for a short time to generate a large magnetic field force to move the point blades quickly and effectively. Hence the electrical switch needs to be of a type that allows only momentary contact.
You can use: a. your old friend – your own hand, together with a metal probe and some stud contacts; b. PECO’s passing contact switch; c. a change-over switch with a biased centre-off position. The wiring is essentially the same for all three; it is only the actual switching bit that is different. All methods require an electrical power supply, in the form of a transformer, from which an output of about 16V a.c. is required to supply about 1A for a few seconds. Probably the most straightforward and lowest cost switch for electrical point control is the probe and stud ‘switch’ method advocated by PECO who can supply the components (PL17 and PL-18) if you can’t improvise your own. It is a good principle to use a separate electrical supply for each of the different systems on your layout – locomotives, point motor, uncouplers, signals, lights, etc… This will save much confusion, problems and fault finding in the long run. It will cost a little more initially, but you can and should reuse these electrical items on subsequent layouts. We say more about power supplies later. Most beginners use a 16V a.c. supply to power their point motors so that electrical polarity is not relevant, and the connections can be either way around. The electro-mechanical action of the solenoid type of point motors is not dependent on electrical current direction, hence the current can be a.c. or d.c. Note that the power supply and switching arrangements for slowaction type point motors may well be very different from the solenoid type, and they may also vary considerably from one make to another!
Bernard Gudgin and Michael Watts are experienced teachers and trainers. They have several decades of modelling and exhibition experience across the gauges from T (scale 1:480) to 16mm live-steam (scale 1:19), as well as narrow gauge. They are often seen at exhibitions where they provide free advice to newcomers and returnees under the brand name of Oxford TRAINing.
Two readily available point motors of the solenoid type – PECO PL-10 (left) and SEEP PM 1 (right). The short rod moves left and right within the two solenoids. The long end of the actuating pin passes through a slot in the baseboard and hole in the point tie-bar, then is cut to length. This solenoid type requires an electrical power supply of about 16V a.c. output from a transformer, and a momentary contact type of switch to operate it.
In our attempts to support beginners and returnees to the world of railway modelling, we are particularly careful to be clear about essential technical terminology. The abbreviations DCC and DC are commonly used in magazines, i.e. DCC = Digital Command & Control of locomotives and other facilities; DC = Direct Current control, the traditional way of controlling a locomotive. We always use the term analogue, and not DC, to minimise misunderstanding. AC and DC are often used instead of a.c. and d.c. We do not do this in our articles because of the confusion with the misuse of DC for Direct Current control.
For the PECO point motor join connections (our labelling) C1 and C2 and call it C. There are several additional contacts on the SEEP motor, but just use those labelled A, B, and C for this basic operational application. Connections for these point motors are appropriate for all three switching methods; a. b. and c. Fig. 4.
A home-made low-cost probe and studs ‘switch’ utilising common household items and bits from your scrap box. You only need one probe for a whole layout, but two studs for each point. An old ballpoint pen case with the ink refill removed and two small bolts/nuts/ solder tags are the pair of studs for each point. A length of insulated wire (7/0.2) is soldered to a small screw that is glued (cyanoacrylate or Araldite) into the tip of the ballpoint pen case and the wire threaded to emerge from the end of the case. This fly-lead wire needs to be about 3ft long or whatever suits your layout arrangements.
Two additional types of point motor switches that provide momentary electrical contact – these ensure that the wire wound solenoids do not get very hot and burn out! The PECO Passing Contact Switch, packaged and unpacked (left), and two single-pole double-throw switches that are spring biased to centre-off position (right). The PECO switches are available with several different coloured levers, and there is a range of different slip-on coloured lever covers for the other switches. This facility allows you to colour code your control panel.
Wiring connections for all three types of point motor switches.
5a. PECO probe and studs. The electrical connections are identical to those for switches, but you touch the appropriate stud with the metal tip of the probe for about a second to make the necessary electrical contact. 5b. PECO passing contact switch. 5c. Change-over switch with a biased centre-off position.
Diagrammatic symbols for a momentary contact switch and a transformer as used in wiring diagrams. Transformer – a device that converts mains electricity from 250v a.c. to about 16v a.c. that is safe for model railway applications. The connection labels (1, 2, 3 for the switches, A, B, C for the point motors, and X, Y for the transformer output) are used consistently throughout this article, and are applicable to all the labels on the probe and studs, switches, point motors and power supply discussed here.
STARTING OUT | 35
The basic schematic wiring diagram for a single point motor with its momentary contact switch (of whatever type). Each point requires one point motor and one switch. The electrical supply at X and Y can be a single common supply for all the sets of switches and point motors on your layout. A colour code is suggested for the PVC covered wires. The actual wiring harness length and route that provides all these connections will vary considerably depending on your layout shape and size. The actual distances between the point motor and its operating switch, and between the switches and the power supply may well be up to three feet even for a small layout – this depends considerably on your personal preferences and the amount of planning you have done! Fig. 9
A typical probe and stud arrangement. Your track plan is represented and marked on your control panel, and two studs are set at the frog end of each point – each stud marked as per the diagram above. The stud connection numbers 1 and 2 are wired as in Fig. 7 to A and B for each point motor. The probe lead connection 3 and the point motor connection C are wired to the power supply output X and Y. Touching one of the studs with the metal tip of the probe moves the points to that direction – if you have wired them the correct way around – if not, just swap the connections to the studs!
If you choose to use the other types of switch, instead of the probe and studs method, they can be mounted in your control panel at the representation of the toe of each point. The advantage of the PECO switch (although it is a bit large) is that it can indicate the direction setting of the point. The centre-off switch is conveniently small but cannot indicate point setting direction. Wiring diagram showing three sets of switches and point motors – just more of the same … Fig. 12
Fig. 11 For greater sophistication modellers use a Capacitive Discharge Unit (CDU). Only one CDU is required for all the point motors on your whole layout. Advantages of using a CDU is that it provides a very short but large pulse of electricity to snap over the points in a very positive way, and that it can readily drive more than one point at one time. The electrical supply at X and Y can be a single common supply for all the point motors on your layout. Warning - do not touch the output from a CDU; although not fatal it will give you a nasty nip!
A Gaugemaster CDU, packaged and unpacked (left). You can use the same 16V a.c. power supply and switches as before, so that this is an easy upgrade for a later stage of your layout. A typical mains voltage input, low-voltage output transformer (right). Note that you should not use a CDU to drive slow action point motors.
Fig. 13 In this layout plan (which is the same as in the July edition) there are two sets of cross-over points, each with a pair of points with adjacent frogs: L, M and J, K. Since it is essential that both of a pair be switched for a viable route, it is sensible and practical that their switching is combined electrically. A single switch for each cross-over is mounted in your control panel at the toe of one of each of the cross-overs.
Wiring diagram for a single pair of crossover points using a single switch. While you may not wish to do this initially, it is certainly a suitable upgrade for a later stage in this or for a subsequent layout. It will also save on wiring, switches, construction time, and errors in route setting! However, to ensure reliable operation of each pair of the two cross-over points to operate simultaneously, it is probably better to use a CDU for your power supply.
Power supplies Power supplies could be a whole series of article in their own right and we cannot go into them in detail. However, it is an area that causes confusion among beginners and here we describe the basic components that go into the shiny box you buy! There are many manufacturers of power supplies but probably the most widely available independent supplier is Gaugemaster. They come in three forms: self-contained in a box; a panel mountable version; a handheld type. However they may be packaged, the essentials are always the same. We will always refer to this type as an analogue controller. The basic component is a transformer. This takes the mains voltage, 240V a.c. in the UK, and transforms it into a lower voltage, typically 16V a.c. It isn’t necessary to understand how a transformer works but essentially there are two coils of wire very close to, but electrically isolated from, each other. The coil on the mains side of the transformer (primary) creates a magnetic field in the secondary (low-voltage coil) and this creates a current at 16V a.c. There is a very close connection between electricity and magnetism (discovered by Michael Faraday) and this is the basis of all transformers. We mention this only because often people think the many coils are so that the electricity runs round and gets tired and so emerges at a lower voltage! To operate your locomotives you will need a d.c. supply and to achieve this the a.c. supply is passed through a device called a rectifier. This takes the fluctuating a.c. supply and converts it into a steady d.c. supply. To alter the speed of the locomotive, we need to be able to alter this d.c. voltage. On many simple controllers this is done by passing the current through a variable resistor. This alters the resistance in the circuit and the effect of this is to change the voltage going to the locomotive. The less the voltage, the slower the loco goes. More sophisticated controllers use
feedback to adjust the voltage. We can’t go into detail but it does give smoother operation. Also widely available are hand-held controllers. These are similar to panel-mounted controllers but are on a long lead so that you can easily move around the layout while controlling your locomotives. Because these are relatively small, there is no internal space for the transformer, so that the transformer is an additional separate purchase. So there you have it. A transformer with a rectifier and variable resistor gives a controllable 12V d.c. output that is used for running the trains. If you buy an analogue controller, remember that however it is packaged, it will contain some or all of these basic components. It usually comes in a single box and may or may not have a hand-held controller. Another transformer gives a low voltage, typically 16V a.c. output. This can be used for many of the auxiliary items on a layout, such as operating points or lighting. We strongly recommend that you have a separate power source for these items. As we say elsewhere, although it may cost a little more initially, it will save confusion and make it much easier to find the cause of any problems. REFERENCES Seep point motors, Capacitor Discharge Units (CDU), Power Supplies, etc
Gaugemaster Controls Ltd, Gaugemaster House, Ford Road, Arundel, BN18 0BN. 01903 884488 www.gaugemaster.com/index.html
PECO point motors, probe & stud, etc
Pritchard Patent Product Company Limited, Underleys, Beer, Seaton, EX12 3NA. 01297 21542 www.peco-uk.com
A selection of Gaugemaster analogue power supplies and transformer for locomotive control – controllers.
Handheld (this does require a separate transformer).
Panel mounted (this does require a separate transformer).
Complete and self-contained with integral transformer.
Transformer. This model has two completely independent 16V a.c. outputs, so you can use one for locomotive power and the other for point motor power.
TYNE & WEAR
ISLE OF WIGHT
TYNE & WEAR
LETTERS | 37
Slow-action point motors
Dear RMM, I welcome your magazine with its wealth of information, especially that which is useful to beginners, however in Starting Out, page 29 (centre right) related to turnouts it is stated that “the small ‘V’ shaped spring MUST be removed if you intend to use slow-action point motors”, this is incorrect, on my HOGWARTS ADVENTURE N gauge layout (see right) I use four Tortoise motors with drive pin hole through centre of the tie-bar, the power of such motors when used on OO or N gauge layouts easily overcomes the resistance of the ‘V’ spring in the tie-bar. Once that spring has been removed from a tie-bar the turnout cannot be reused easily. Regards, Jim Wills
Reply from Michael Watts and Bernard Gudgin: We agree that perhaps we should not have mentioned slow-action point motors at that relatively early stage – but then some readers would reasonably have said why are they not mentioned? There are many different makes and types of the plethora of equipment available to modellers, and we tend to focus on the more readily available kit with which we have direct personal experience. We are not armchair modellers, and
only teach from our direct handson experience. We have found that several modern slow-action point motors will not overcome the PECO tie-bar spring, and especially so if modellers do not realise that the PECO spring pre-tension stiffness is adjustable – as most do not!
Soldering and flux pastes
Dear RMM, The recent article on tracklaying and soldering for those just starting out in the hobby was informative and pitched at exactly the right level to explain these subjects (June issue). I have a couple of comments to make, if I may. Flux products such as Fluxite, Bakers and similar are slightly acidic, so ideally any residues should be washed off afterwards otherwise, from my own experience corrosion and potential failure of the connection can take place. Using flux sparingly will minimise the risk. The flux in multicore solder does not have this characteristic. We at Billericay MRG have discovered that the latest design of PECO N gauge pointwork uses the over-centre spring to hold the switch blades in place against the remainder of the switch rail. When we removed the spring the switch rails no longer made reliable electrical or mechanical contact. One of our members spoke to PECO and their advice was not to remove the spring. We have found that the Cobalt brand of point motor is able to operate the points with the spring left in place. All the best and carry on the good work. Graham Roper, via email.
what to recommend? Again, we rely on our considerable hands-on experience, often inevitably with an emphasis on the tried-and-tested traditional stuff. Yes, lead-free solder is safer to use, and a legal requirement since July 2006 in some cases. But there are several different lead-free alloys, each with different properties together with their exotically priced paste fluxes. They are more expensive and not so easy to use because they have higher melting points, although they are now available with multicore paste flux. So we stick to the traditional lead-tin alloy (wash your hands before eating), preferably with the paste flux running through it like Brighton rock! This flux is a great boon, but does not replace the need for an additional cleaning agent on the many metal parts to be joined. We did emphasise this, twice – a small amount of paste flux, a cocktail stick is ideal for this. In more than three decades of soft soldering we have never had any corrosion at a joint when using a small amount of Fry’s Fluxite paste flux and we do not routinely clean the subsequent joint – we commend it to you on that basis.
Reply from Michael Watts and Bernard Gudgin: There is an overwhelming range of soft-soldering tools and materials, each promoting their wonderful benefits, so
Enjoying the nostalgia Dear RMM, I am writing to tell you how much I enjoy your new magazine. I particularly like the nostalgia articles that deal with times gone by. I have been a member of the hobby for almost 60 years. I have a railway model set in the Sowerby
Bridge area in the 1930s. I am also fond of the former LNER network in south Lincolnshire. I well remember an attractive branch line to Horncastle but that was a long time ago. Keep up the good work! Mr M Waters, York.
The actuator pin of these motors can be adjusted very easily to ensure that the electrical and mechanical contact between point blade and point stock rail is as good as the effect of the PECO spring. Of course, this is not so essential if you use live frog points (our firm recommendation), but we would
then have had to address the wiring of the switch for the frog polarity – we judged a step too far at that stage. If the PECO spring is left in place, the action cannot then be slow! We agree that for some points, when fixed down to the baseboard, it is difficult or impossible to replace the spring.
Graham Farish memories
Dear RMM, I am very interested in the recent article regarding Graham Farish, as GRAFAR was my first model railway, in about 1950. I still have the LMS ‘Black Five’ together with a number of trucks. The motor no longer exists as it was a most strange pendulum-cum-makeand-brake system. The controller was a Hugh box holding four 3V batteries. I also bought a coach but the bogies were made of poor metal, and they eventually disintegrated.
Two years ago my grandson was given a box full of old railway gear and this was a GRAFAR ‘Black Five’, the same as mine, in its original box! The motor is complete and my local shop was able to get it to go for a short time. I now have two ‘Black Fives’ sitting in our engine shed on the grandson’s layout. After some 65 years the engine and the die-cast wagons have lasted well. Noel Marrison, Washington.
Model for an 'alert' mind
Dear RMM, How true are the words of Iain Climie (June RMM). As a hobby, railway modelling is positive, constructive and gives the mind an ‘alertness’. I am retired but have several interests; music, reading, aviation and railways as well the general responsibilities in life: but l look forward to my railway modelling projects. I model mainly N gauge but also have and gauge interests.
I have completed several dioramas and have several micro layouts in hand. I have now encouraged a friend into the hobby. I encourage visits to exhibitions as it gives an insight into railway modelling as a hobby. This is a photo of Chardon: A Cross Country Line. All my models are under ft×in in N gauge. Keep up the interesting magazine. David Woodward, via email.
38 | LETTING OFF STEAM
This month Lucian Doyle talks about visiting exhibitions as a way of finding out more about modelling, providing you ask the right person!
steam Expectations of exhibitions...
am always keen to listen to other people’s views especially where modelling railways is concerned, in fact I believe it is one of the fundamentals of enjoying the hobby. For me, and I suspect for many railway modellers, sharing information is one of the great joys associated with our particular pastime. I am not a great joiner of clubs mainly because my lifestyle prevents me from attending club nights on a regular basis. Instead I enjoy reading monthly publications or dipping into some of the numerous internet forums to pick up on any ‘trade’ gossip as well as to see how other modellers tackle the ever-enjoyable passion of building a model railway. I have to be very honest and state that I do not call myself a modeller. I am more of an accomplished beginner who is anxious to learn from those who have both the skills and indeed the talent to produce some truly stunning layouts. I compare myself to those who can strum away on a guitar but when it comes to actually performing in public they know their limitations. Like them I am aware of any deficiencies but I am also keen to learn and develop my modelling. Of course, that is not to say I am not pleased with my efforts but I am realistic enough to know that my skills are rated as average, although I am more or less satisfied with what I achieve. Learning from the ‘professionals’ either via magazine features or from the internet, including some fascinating tutorials on YouTube, is a great way to develop one’s skills but occasionally it is good to have a one-to-one chat with someone who has produced a stunning piece of modelling, and what better place to meet such people than at a model railway exhibition. Exhibitions for me are a real joy to attend and, although I have been visiting such shows for many years, I still get that schoolboy sense of excitement as I walk through the exhibition doors. To me it does not matter if it is the great Warley Show or a small local event held in a church hall, each exhibition I attend always generates for me a high degree of expectation. What will the layouts be like? Will I see something truly amazing, and will it be just a small detail hidden away on a layout, or maybe a special technique to help me improve my modelling? Then again, will I come across that rare model I have been searching for over these past years or more? In short, a model railway exhibition has the potential of creating a world of surprises and excitement for me, but at times my expectations can be let down by some individuals who consider visitors such as myself an intrusion into their own exclusive world. I once spoke to an exhibition manager and asked him what he wanted to achieve at the particular show
I was visiting. Was it just a grand club night event or something else? He replied that he wanted it to be a window into the hobby. He told me he was keen to have layouts that were appealing and a draw for the modeller but he also said he wanted to have people walk through the door who were not keen modellers but just curious. ‘These visitors,’ he said, ‘are the ones I really want to attract, which was why we include in the layouts on show a Lego Train system, a Thomas the Tank engine layout that the youngsters can operate, plus more than one layout that are tail chasers; well-detailed and great layouts but tail chasers all the same. The new potential enthusiasts want to see the trains moving and many at speed,’ he said, adding, ‘and hopefully what they see excites and entices them to know more and hopefully take up model railways as a hobby.’ Personally I could not have agreed with him more although at the same exhibition I did come across one of the demonstrators who had obviously ‘not received the memo’! While walking around the exhibition hall I came across a superbly scenicked and beautifully detailed layout. The frontage of the layout was quite long, about 10ft in length and approximately 18in in depth with the tracks either end disappearing into tunnels fronted by some very ornate tunnel mouths. The reverse of the layout was where the ‘through tracks’ ran and where alongside them several sidings housed numerous trains each waiting their turn. I was particularly taken with a small group of trees that had been arranged to look as if they were a small orchard and I was curious to know if they had been handmade or were commercially available. The layout was manned by five or six gentlemen, one of whom was standing almost in front of me and as I could see he was not busy controlling any of the trains I decided I would ask him about the trees. As he was less than two feet in front of me I felt there was no need to shout so I just said, ‘Excuse me’, to which I got no response. I then tried again but a little louder and with an air of disinterest he replied, ‘Yes?’ ‘I was wondering about those trees that make up the orchard,’ I enquired. ‘Are they commercially available or were they handmade, please?’ “I have no idea,’ he replied and walked off to join his friends. This was not the reaction I was hoping for but no doubt I was considered a bit of a nuisance for asking a simple question and ruining his solitude. Nowadays that type of response is unusual as many who exhibit at these shows realise that they are ambassadors for the hobby and not there just to ‘play trains’. For them it is not purely a question of operating their layouts but also the need to engage with the visitors and that includes helping people like me who are anxious to learn. ■
Published on Aug 29, 2017