Saturday, 11 November 2017

Spalding Model railway Show 2017

We recently had the sad news that there isn't going to be another Spalding Model Engineering Show. But at least we still have the Model Railway Show. And if today's crowds were anything to go by it remains extremely popular.  I suspect the time of year and the proximity to an outlet shopping centre help enormously in getting non-enthusiasts family visitors through the door.

At the other end of the extreme, it highlighted that shows really need to take into account the age, health and mobility of visitors. This is something the 16mm AGM  does really well.

This year the show also suffered from a lot of people stood in front of layouts pontificating and seemingly unaware that other people might want to see things. When taking photos I go out of my way to try an avoid making life difficult for others. This year just one person offered to move so I could get a better photo.

As for the layouts, well the usual mix, with everything seeming to be popular with someone. The disappointments in my eyes were definitely the N gauge and narrow gauge lines. Last year Tony Hill's 16mm layout showed what could be done by modelling the narrow gauge with the real thing as a guide.

The stars were the big name layouts, Hospital Gates and St Merryn, and Outwell Basin, which attracted a lot of attention for being both well modelled and a local prototype. In fact it would have looked very familiar to anyone with the Wild Swan book on the Wisbech and Upwell.

Uppingham was very well modelled, and I liked a lot of things about Wolfe Lowe

Hospital Gates

Earls Court 


Lee on the Solent 

Wolfe Lowe

St Merryn 


 Outwell Basin

Friday, 10 November 2017

The World's Railways Part 2

Having been worried by how badly my copy had deteriorated I got hold of a second hand copy, complete with dust jacket. So here are some more pictures from it.

I never dreamed I would one day see this for myself.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The World's Railways

The last few months have not gone well. Partly that is because I've spent a lot it working in Milan. That wouldn't normally be so bad except the first week I was there I picked up a chest infection and three months later I still haven't got rid of it. On top of which Issy has been ill as well. So basically we've been feeling rather sorry for ourselves. Even the regular sight of Peter deWitt trams isn't really enough to cheer me up

Something which has, though, is this. Spurred by a recent post from Phil Parker  I dug out from the depths of the engine shed my old dog eaten copy of "The World's Railways"

The dog who did the eating was Oscar, my childhood dalmatian.

What with that and the passage of time it isn't in the best of condition, but it brought back so many memories. This is the book that taught me, as the sub-title says, how railways work, with superb illustrations.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A Trip up the Line

Whilst my last post included a lengthy description of recent progress I forgot to include any photographic evidence. So to make up for that this is the latest video of the line

And for comparison here is a trip from May last year.

Sadly further progress this year might be very limited since I'm now working in Milan.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Long Slog

We've been living out here in the middle of nowhere for just over two years now. It remains a strange, wonderful, challenging and very different part of the country for us but overall we still love it, apart from the wind.

Ah yes, the wind.

I hear you saying "Yes, the fens, they get the full blast of the winds blowing from Siberia. It must be one of the windiest parts of the country, you know"

Actually, it is very rare we get winds from the East, which is a pity because most of our trees would protect us if we did. And the Westerly winds we do get aren't, notionally, that dreadful.  What they are is relentless and, frankly, depressing. Especially cycling home against them.

What has all this got to do with the railway?

I always knew building a 7 1/4" line single handed would be a challenge but I think I underestimated the impact the weather would have on construction. The truth is it just isn't any fun to be crouching down in the wind trying to fasten ridiculously small fish-plate bolts.

I'd been relying on having some balmy Summer evenings to get things done, with the Easter long weekend providing an early season boost.

Easter ended up being devoted to clearing out the sheds of all the things that become surplus to requirements when you move from a six bedroom house to a 2 1/2 bedroom cottage.

We have had some balmy Summer evenings, but then there is cycling to be done, and BBQs to be cooked.

Never mind, I thought. Issy is off for a week's leave in June when her step-mum is coming to stay. I'll take that week off and do a mix of day trips with them and days working on the railway.

Which was a great plan until the day beforehand when poor Barb got rushed to hospital with life threatening sepsis. Issy and I got to spend three days together, one of which was a total washout, and on the other two we had days out. to Skeggie and the rather wonderful Peckover House. Incidentally, I'm sure I read somewhere that Teddy Boston lodged at Peckover House during his curacy in Wisbech, but I'm not sure where.

Barb, incidentally appears to have made a full recovery, I'm glad to say.

The rest of the week was dismal wet and windy, apart from the final Saturday. Fortunately, by then I'd had time to plan a detailed set of actions so we made massive progress with the whole of the "yard" laid to give Teddy proper access to the engine shed and a stock siding enabling the wagons to be stored out of sight.

Another weekend's work saw the tramway extension get underway, with the eye watering 8' radius curves that Teddy seems quite happy with.

So now, after 20 months, the ELR has extended from an end to end run of 30m to a current 55m.

Not exactly massive progress is it?

Well no, but we've actually laid a lot more track than that when you take the sidings into account. And given the nature of the ELR  some of the sidings are probably best thought of as short branchlines.

And it completes my plans for phase 1a and 1b of construction. 6 months late, but hey, you can;t have everything.

Better still phase 2 just involves laying 30m of plain track so 2018 should see rapid progress.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

North Ings

It is claimed that North Ings Farm Railway is one of the least visited tourist attractions in the UK.

To be honest my first impressions seemed to confirm why. It wasn't easy to find and my first few minutes there made me wonder if an open day was more of a social event for the supporters rather than for the benefit of visitors.

During the course of a relatively short visit though I found it quite a friendly places, and Issy was well looked after in the cafĂ© whilst an enthusiast  friend and I roamed around at will.

It is perhaps the closest thing I've come across to replicating the Cadeby experience.

The original stock, now preserved, first came to my attention because of the rubber scaled IP Engineering 16mm kits. This has now been supplanted by the ex Abbey Light Railway stock.

A visit is highly recommended, it is just a pity it didn't coincide with a Lincolnshire Light Railway operating day.