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?

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

1:1 Modelling

Those of you who have visited, or have relatively good memories will know that a "feature" we inherited when we moved here was a rather ugly shed. 

The original plan was to run the line behind it, alongside the dyke and the trees to create a semi-tunnel. A miscommunication with our fencing contractor put paid to that idea. Instead we've gone down the route of some 1:1 scale modelling of a Col Stephens style building.

The corrugated roofing is 3mm corrugated bitumen sheet which is highly recommended and I have a few other projects in mind that will make use of it, including winter quarters for Teddy.  

At some point the shed will be replaced with a garden office/ railway room, but since at the moment it is being used solely for storage we decided against installing windows. Instead we have used garden mirrors.

There are a few more jobs to do, like adding some enamel signs and a dummy ticket office window, but overall I'm quite pleased with the result..

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Potato Railways

At some point shortly after moving here I managed to lose my copy of the Oakwood Press book on the Lincolnshire Potato Railways - just at the time when it would have been most useful.

Finding a replacement was made more difficult by the ridiculous prices being charged on well known sites. Fortunately sanity finally prevailed and the price dropped form hundred of pounds to under fifteen pounds.  It also meant I got the newer 2005  edition.

Another plus is that I am now familiar enough with the area to be be able to turn the black and white maps into something a little more... I would say  3D...but anyone who knows the area knows even in real life it is mostly in 2D.

I remembered enough of the book to already know where some of the lines had run, such as Vine House Farm, and Nocton, of course. In some cases it has been a surprise to discover that lines existed in places I'd already visited with no idea .

And then there is this, on the A17 just South of the Fendyke Bridge. I've driven past it a few times and wondered if it was a fuel tank linked to one of the tramways. These weren't used for the locos themselves, but the railways supplied them for fuel to be used by the tractors.

But it turns out it isn't.

Turn around 180 degrees though and you come across this, which I'd never noticed

And it turns out this was a loading bank at the end of the Moulton Marsh Light Railway

Two of the loading banks from the Lawyers Farm line can also still be found around Holbeach St Matthew.

At Whaplode Manor a transhipment shed still stands


At other places traces are harder to find.

Here  you can just make out what was a loading dock on the Wraggmarsh House railway, and that agricultural shed to the left is where the line's good shed used to be. At the end of the muddy lane to the left was the well known Cauldwell's Jetty on the River Welland, served by the steam tug Leo.

Finally I believe this is the location of the front cover picture of the book.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Ho! for Holbeach

I do like a nice country show, though I've been spoilt having the Royal on my doorstep at various times of my life. Some are undoubtedly better than others. In recent years we've been to some where we've been in and out in under an hour.

This year was my first visit to the Holbeach Town and Country Fayre, a somewhat grandiose title which I suspect is partly tongue in cheek.

Some shows have a strong emphasis on livestock, some on country sports, and others just feel like pop up shopping malls. Holbeach though seems to have a definite emphasis on vintage machinery, without being a fully fledged steam fair. The downside of this is that you would be hard pressed to say there is something for the whole family. As a result I didn't get to spend anywhere near as much time as I would have liked. Next year I'll cycle up on my own.