Monday, 24 September 2018

Further Progress



A lousy photo, but a quick snap to show progress on my "quick" Barclay well tank build.

Whistle and clack valves should be finished tonight, along with rear frame extensions.

I was originally going to keep it in black, but I think it will end up in green.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Seeing the Wood for the Trees



Rails Round the Rectory might be a micro layout, but it still required seven trees to form both the wooded end of the layout and to balance that out visually at the graveyard end. In the past, the few trees I've made have been knarled and sparse Welsh hillside ones. An overgrown rectory garden calls for quite a different look.

Somewhere I have a detailed plan of the trees in the garden at Cadeby, for use if I ever build the larger version. On RRtR I decided generic Woodland Scenic armatures would suffice, with differences in leave and branch materials to give a sense of variation. This sped up construction considerably.

The slow bit comes with the post-construction trimming. I haven't started that on this one so it looks rather too dense and has those telltale horsehair loops. The loops need two cuts, to remove part of the material otherwise they still look like loops. Apart from removing the majority of the straggling branches the other main trim is to cut in horizontally to give a more layered effect.

I've never managed to finish counting the trees in our current garden. In places, they are as overgrown as the ones at Cadeby were. In reality, that means there is much less space between them than you would expect, and very few of them have a clear shape. I did think about trying to replicate that, but the catch would be losing some of the possible viewpoints on the layout. I might yet fill in some of the below canopy gaps with substantial shrubs once I've discovered what does and doesn't work as a cameo view.

I've been struggling to get decent photos of the layout at this stage in its construction. It really needs outdoor lighting


Trying out possible combinations of trees.
Looking back at this I realise I made an eighth tree that I seem to have lost somewhere 



Thursday, 30 August 2018

An Irish Interlude

"So what is his latest excuse for lack of progress on Rails Round The Rectory
and The Eaugate Light Railway?"

Well, apart from the mysterious appearance of even more chickens in the garden, and a major reorganisation at work, the biggest non-modelling reason has been my first cycling holiday for three years. In fact, now I come to think of it, my first holiday at all since India two years ago.

There were two peripheral "visits" to narrow gauge sites. Once again I passed through the bus station at what used to be the Ennis terminus of the West Clare, and in theory, I cycled along the route of one of the two narrow gauge railways, indeed, the only railways, on Achill Island.*
The quartz quarry on Achill Island
This was the least interesting of the two. It was gravity and horse worked, running from Achill Quartz Quarry to the pier at Darby's Point**. I say in theory because although the quarry was visible I couldn't discern any trace of the route itself, nor even say with confidence where it reached the sea.

Getting to Achill Island involved three days of cycling from Clonbur, a few miles from Galway, and up the coast to Westport. Westport has several attractions of note, including a 15" gauge railway in the grounds of Westport House and several brilliant pubs and restaurants. For model railway enthusiasts the name will be familiar from Iain Rice's plan for a model of Westport Quay. In his usual way, he paints a picture of a wild and desolate place where he spent his honeymoon.  In recent years the site has been built over and is hard to recognise from his description, but the route from the Quay to the junction at Westport station forms part of the Great Western Greenway which continues on to Achill Sound, just one bridge short of reaching Achill Island itself.

On our rest day in Westport, as well as visiting the aforementioned pubs and restaurants, I walked the Quay line. It loops far south of the town through open countryside.

The next day we cycled along the main part of the route, and I've got the T-shirt to prove it. At times the greenway diverges from the railway line, but the route was usually still in view. The further we went the more bleak, wet and windy the landscape became. This, remember, was in August.

And the photos reflect the weather.
The steam era engine shed at Westport

Current end of the Quay branch

Looking from the site of Quay station to where the quay sidings started. There were goods platforms here, I think.

Westport House Railway

Many of the bridges still exist. Soon after here the line begins to get more wild

Newport Viaduct

A train passing by must have been really exciting if you lived here

It really is bleak

On the outskirts of Mulranny

A distant view of Croagh Patrick

Mulranny Station

360 degree panarama

Achill goods shed

Achill station

*Typically, having struggled to find historic maps of both Achill Island and Westport before the trip I found reliable sources almost as soon as I was back. Had I had them in advance I would have taken some very different photos.

** At least it ran to Darby Point according to Beaumont's definitive text. The historic maps seem to show it didn't.




Thursday, 23 August 2018

A Prelude to an Irish Interlude

CIE 071 class EMD JT22CW series diesel-electric 073 waits patiently at Westport Station whilst pit props are loaded. Behind it is the remaining spur of the line to Westport Quay

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

A Motor Racing Diversion

What better way of spending a Sunday than basking in the sun at a circuit that evokes the glory years of British motor racing, like Cadwell Park?


We had a great day watching the VSCC meet last Sunday.


Here you see a typical member of what someone we know thinks is the aloof Frazer Nash "Chain Gang" attacking the mountain in Thunderbug, powered by a Riley crankcase and 4.2  litres of aviation technology.

Both before and after the event drivers and owners loved talking about their cars. Thunderbug's owner took pains to explain to a boy how he drove it "responsibly" on the roads by reference to the red line on the rev counter. I dread to think what speeds that equates to.

Two highlights for me were this Targa Floria  Alfa


And the ex-Prince Bira* MG Magneta owned by John Gillett who was also immensely approachable and fun to talk to, as you might expect from an Aussie.



More photos, OK a lot more photos, over on Flickr


*Thus providing an obscure link to the world of models