Sunday, 23 October 2016

Back at my Desk

It is hard to realise a month has gone by since our Indian trip. I've still only managed to edit the first two days of photos. Here though are some more of my Kalka Shimla shots. For those interested the link to the holiday firm is here and it is worth noting that for next year they are planning to use the charter stock rather than a standard service train. Five hours was a long time on vinyl seats.

The ZDM 3 locos are quite charismatic

First view after the long train journey from Delhi

The train doesn't stop at most of the stations....

There is barely a straight or level section of line, and the loco horn is in constant use, not least because of the volume of people walking along the track 

It could almost be north Wale, apart from the monkeys.
There isn't a lot of space inside the carriages. The steps aren't a bad place to sit.

I wasn't sure if this was a service train or not

Have I mentioned I like the locos?

This is the spur at Barog

Rather an attractive little inspection trolley

You could, but probably wise not to

Some incredible stats

Not all the locos are fitted with the protective screens

The turntable at Shimla, still used by the railcars

No shot of Shimla is complete without a monkey

Meanwhile I've been making quiet progress on the ELR, the next point kit is due for delivery soon though construction will be delayed by a business trip to the States. One it is down though it will make a big difference and provide the spur that will allow eventual  access to the second wood shed and simplify delivery of coal to the bunker.

I can't say I've been making any progress on the Cadeby diorama. In an attempt to put a quart in a  pint pot I've decided to wait until the Minitrains track is available and try to fit in an extra point. The downloadable track template convinced me this is just viable.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A Taste of Things to Come....


Just as soon as I've finished editing down the other 2000+ photos. from the last twelve days...

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Last of the Summer Work

With the dismal Summer drawing to a close, and our holiday in India fast approaching, I'm feeling the pressure to make a final push.

Sir Arthur Heywood, whose approach to small railways has so inspired the minimal railway movement, would no doubt have approved of me resorting to a  "stout mackintosh" which was his preferred alternative to locos with a cab. Sadly working in pouring rain did little for the quality of my woodworking skills, but I did manage to produce two basic flat bodies.

Talking of inspiration it appears that many of us who have embraced the minimal ethos were independently influenced  by a picture of Roger Marsh, with his original Tinkerbell working a goods train on his Nunfield Tramway. It was published in "Model and Miniature Railways" in the early seventies - a book that is well worth getting hold of.

So here is my homage to that well known photo, featuring my two new wagons.

The bodies are built in a simple jig. These are the short version, intended to sit between the supports of the tipper wagon. I'm planning to build a longer version for the bolt together wagons. They are designed to have de-mountable bodies, like the Heywood "tops" wagons but I suspect will get most use in this form. The handles on the other body make lifting it on and off the chassis a lot easier, but also facilitate hand tramming when Teddy isn't available.

Teddy actually went U/S today and wouldn't move in reverse. One of the great things about his design is it only takes minutes to strip down. Since he was working well going forwards, and with the clutch off was moving freely in both directions, it was fairly easy to work out the problem was with the wiring in the direction controller. What came as a shock was the problem was a dead earwig.

Here are a couple of shots that should really have been part of the last post. First the sub-assemblies of one of the bolt together chassis  in transit.

And here is a more complete view of the first turnout

Construction of the second one, which will provide access to the engine shed, is well underway and the third is on order. An oddity of  7 1/4" is that I've had to treat the timber sleepers of the turnout to try and get them to look like the plastic sleepers used on the plain track. 

And finally Simba has been making a big play for promotion from linescat to driver.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Getting to the Point

It seems a long time since I posted about starting construction on the first point the the ELR. I have to say that this time the delay has been solely down to the extended delivery times of 7 1/4" gauge suppliers, not my own procrastination. In fact if ever the weather and time have allowed I've been out there doing something, at the expense of my other hobbies and the OO9 project.

Last Friday the key components finally arrived, along with parts for the next point. Primarily the parts involved were the tie-bar, slide rail chairs, and decent check-rails with machined spacers.

I can only say that building  points in this gauge is a joy. It is rather like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. The only problem I had was down to starting with a  wye point for which I didn't have a template that I could attach the sleepers to with double side sellotape. Instead I temporarily screwed the sleepers to some splines, which also prevented my pre-curved rail from pulling things out of shape.

Meanwhile the first of the new wagons is nearly finished. The next body will be a flat wagon with a Heywood style "top" 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Bressingham has been on my to do list for a very long time. OK, most things have. I've never visited before because it has always seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, but then that is where we have moved to so it makes sense to it now it is, if not on the doorstep, at least within easy travelling distance. So the East Anglian Garden Railway Show provided an excellent excuse to pop over.

I'm extremely glad we did, since we had an extremely enjoyable day.

My kind of railway scene

The Nursery line was a bit of a disappointment to travel on, but is very picturesque on the sections within the main site 

Who can resist taking a photo of the horses on the gallopers? There is something so magical about them. 

Chevalier is rarely modelled in 16mm but it has a certain charm. A large number of the layouts were scenically much improved on  the 16mm layouts you used to see at shows, but still let down by silly thingd

I can't remember any details of this small 7mm layout. It struck me the other day that though I've no compulsion to model in the scale, at least for standard gauge, it does produce some very photogenic scenes.

I'm a sucker for a wing tank/inverted saddle tank

Who is watching who? Once again Issy was entranced by Timpdon.

Early trips to R&ER, Dudley Zoo and Fairbourne have made me a sucker for  15" gauge mainline diesels

The Waveney Valley really needs a loco like Rosenkavalier but is still an excellent trip. The newish 7 1/4" line is obviously not very exciting for drivers.

Exmoor locos are sometimes excellent , and sometimes a bit, well, unattractive. And I think this falls into the latter group

The Gardens at Bressingham remain impressive and inspiring, if slightly dated

Good news is that this standard gauge Garratt might soon be restored to steam

A highlight of the day was seeing Martello in operation

Oh yes, and the cafe.... it might not be slick but it has that old fashioned greasy spoon charm

Friday, 12 August 2016

An Evening's Work

A sunny and relatively windless evening gave me a chance to put another couple of hours work into the new wagons. As a result I managed to run the first one just before poor light stopped play.

I still need to add the brake lever, but I want to do that in good light so I can give Colin updated photos for the instructions. It also doesn't yet have the buffer plates because although I've trial fitted them I want to paint the frame before adding them.

Having got used to lugging the frame around in just one hand whilst it was under construction it was a bit of a shock to pick this up after fitting the wheels. Two hands are definitely needed, but  it is still light enough for one person to move.

The other wagon isn't far behind, but is awaiting tomorrow's delivery of a few more bolts before I put it together. In fact now I know how easily everything fits I might paint that one before final assembly.

I even found time to quickly trial out one of the de-mountable bodies. This one was a bargain buy from a vintage shop. You may recognise that in other photos I've been using it as a workbench. I'll be adding some angle iron reinforcement before it enters revenue earning service.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Weekend Progress

Saturday was spent at Station Road Steam's open day. Unfortunately I've been messing around with a manual fish-eye lens and when reverting to a fully automatic lens on the Fuji X-M1 I somehow set the auto focus point to the bottom left hand corner, and then didn't notice because I was wearing sunglasses that made using the rear screen nearly impossible. I did realise fairly quickly that something was wrong, but not what it was.

So here are the few salvageable shots from the day.

The best bit of the day was a good chat with Andrew Neale that I'm hoping might lead to finding a restorer for our kitchen range. Phil Parker would have undoubtedly enjoyed the quality of the excellent cakes on offer.

A Sunday with good weather, despite a fair amount of wind, gave me a chance to press on with track building for the ELR. I'm still hampered by the delay in getting the enhanced components for the turnouts but I at least managed to get several curved  track panels assembled so that once the points are built progress should be swift.

I also got most of one of the wagon under frames assembled.

It took about 90 minutes to get it to this stage, It would have been quicker with nimbler fingers to get the nuts into their captive slots. All the tools required so far are in the top shot, it really is that simple.

What could be simpler? Well what about this 3D print that dropped through my letter box on Friday?