Thursday 31 March 2011

Buffer stops

This caught my eye a while back. It's Barton on Humber, t'other side of the river from 'ull in 1980. That doesn't matter. What is interesting is the buffer stop; or more to the point the post/lamp/ladder combo. I had to do something similar.Buffer stops So here's my quick take on it for the end of the running line on Rhiw: a PECO bufferstop sans lamp, a match with the exciting end cut off and a section of Ratio ladder nicked from a signal kit. All with a bit of paint slapped on.
Buffer stops

More about the Dyke.

A few details of the Dyke Branch. As mentioned earlier, the line ran from Dyke Junction (initially West Hove and now Aldrington) and ran in a continuous S shaped curve climbing steeply to a terminus with a 300’ long platform just short of the summit near what is now Dyke Farm. This has now engulfed the site, but there are platform remains. The line was opened in 1887 and closed in 1938. There were two halts: the first Golf Club Halt situated just short of the terminus and Rowan Halt, which opened in 1934 to serve the new housing estate which had been built around the bottom of the line.

Although built before the Light Railway Act, the line’s appearance does, as Mr. Hargraves points out in his comment below, show characteristics of the Colonel Stephen’s lines. The halts have simple platforms with only a name board at the 1st and a wiggly tin shelter at the 2nd. The terminus building is pure Stephens and is very reminiscent of the Selsey Tramway and KESR structures. The main difference in character being the fully signalled layout using Saxby and Farmer equipment, and the 84lb chaired rail. The line saw most classes of locomotive up to 0-6-0 C2x size, its oddity was the 48’ long Sentinal steam railcar which worked the line from 1932-35 after which it was transferred to Westerham. It is possible to trace the line on a map from Aldrington station where the following roads show the ‘S’ shape: Amherst Crescent, Rowan Avenue, Poplar Avenue, Honey Croft after which the line’s route crosses under the bypass and snakes toward Skeleton Hovel and up to Dyke Farm.

There then are the facts, but is it a modelling proposition? I think it has possibilities. Yes the operation is limited, but no less so than any other small terminus and that doesn’t stop people building them. There is one platform face and 2.5 sidings (the short one facing down the line is really only a ‘catch’ siding and can’t be any more than 100’ feet long). The track is quite substantial and I would have less qualms using PECO for this than I would a ‘light’ railway. If you were to stick to the prototype then using a mix of RTR and kits would work well. The obvious Terrier, although used, was a bit of a lightweight for the bogie stock on the gradient so a D1 and E4 are the best bet – the D1 from Southeast Finecast. Roxey Mouldings cover most of the likely coaching stock. The challenge would be the railcar.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

The Devil's Dyke Branch

I found this.
I've often talked about modelling the terminus; a comment which is usually met with derision as it's been done very well locally in P4 and it's only 5 points; which is one more than I usually put in... It is in many ways the model railway that we all build.
For the un-knowing the Devil's Dyke Branch ran from what is now Aldringdon station in Hove up onto the Downs to what can only be described as a steep-sided gully. Due to lack of interest, it closed before WW2. Most Brightonians only visit the area for now for dogging and golf and the site has reverted to farmland.

Monday 28 March 2011

Rhiw Passenger service

After three days of cutting card and getting stringy UHU all over my hands the asphalt is down. To my narrow gauge eyes it looks bloody huge, but fits the spec for a modern easy-access platform.Rhiw Passenger service OO gauge model railway Basically a Superquick kit construction: card strips to form an egg box type base, Slater's brick sheet unpainted with a wash of cream acrylic (about all its good for as the coverage is lousy) to highlight the courses and give a modern mass-produced brick feel, card top covered with some 'wet and dry' that I found in the shed and edging from copier paper with pencil marks. The wet and dry initially looked too black, but as I smoothed it down it reverted back to its proper use and took a layer of skin off my fingertips. Ta da! Nice grey tarmac-y finish. You can't have bad luck every day.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Brush 4

Class 47 Brush 4, as it would have been then, passing Cants Lane Bridge in Burgess Hill 1967/8 en-route to Brighton with what maybe the Manchester service.

Saturday 26 March 2011

I never need to buy anything again.

A few years ago I cleared out a lot of the modelling stuff and moved most of it into three large boxes. That to some people may be quite a small amount. Indeed there is one chap I know with a whole room full of Scandinavian RTR in boxes. These three boxes are stashed in the eaves and only pulled out when there is a major layout building in process.

I'd rummaged through these boxes in the last couple of weeks to find bits and pieces for Rhiw (Rhew Deri) and made a mental note to sort through it all.

I won't list all the things I found, but I sat on the bed and pondered that apart from buying 'filler' materials like plasticard and glue et al, I could spend a least a decade just modelling from what's in the boxes. The above is the built stock from Froxington , the EM chassis for a GER Y6 and a 5.5mm scale 40HP Kerr Stuart. This from one ice cream tub and one marge tub. Maybe I'll rebuild Froxington one day, or maybe I'll take the spud drives from the locos and fit them to the tram kits that I moved upteen time in a hour.

There is much to do and much to do it with. Rhiw has had more cash spent on it than any other project in recent history and quite frankly I wonder why when I have enough to do from these three boxes.

Friday 25 March 2011

Wood End

An archive photo from the file. This must have been taken halfway through the build as there are no bridge rails apparent in the shot. Nothing remarkable here: the loco from the Peco kit, the open and van from Parkside again. The odity is the brake. Roxey whitemetal duckets and the left-over bits from the above coach mounted on a Bagwag chassis. I thought this was dead and buried, but it turned up in this month's 009 News (p12) still alive and kicking in Yorkshire. The walls as always of course were laid from card one block at a time.
Wood End 009

Thursday 24 March 2011

Rhiw Platform

Before I could get the wall more than halfway I had to mark out the extent of the platform. Pencil marks are OK, but by the time I''d put them in I thought that I may as well start building it. So again using the Peco diagram I saw that minimum width was 50mm (although if you look at the valleys prototypes on the Rhiw page they look narrower) and 17mm high (5mm to the rail top and 12mm above that). This equates pretty well to the Unnycoombe platform which I think is 9mm high.Rhiw Platform OO gauge So basic carcass of mounting card - out of the shed and a bit damp and wavy - and a fairly random egg-box construction. I had two basic choices: concrete stands as here at Uckfield which is roughly contemporary and similar usage,
Or brick faces, breeze-block and rubble, a little like this photo of Goring on the West Coastway. This is a complete dog's dinner. The facing stops half way, but this can't be a new section as the building sits on top; although the platform was lengthened at some point. The photo is I think from around 87-91 when I lived in sunny Worthing; so not too far out of period. The bridge in the background carries the road which originally crossed the line in the foreground. Is this platform 12' wide?

Wednesday 23 March 2011


I got into the Arundel exhibition, threw Garn onto the table and wandered over to the other side to chat to the Crowborough clergy. On my return there was a small plastic box sitting next to the layout containing parts for Parkside coach kits and this half built variation. The builder ambled over, 'I though you might like those.' I thanked him and carried on setting up. A little while latter he came back, 'Err, the thing is, I suppose it's a bit daft taking a low centre of gravity coach and putting a birdcage on the top.'

I love it. It's just moved to the top of the to do list, is painted and awaiting glazing.


I mentioned a while ago that I'm now having a problem with the name Llynfordd; partly because I can't spell the bloody thing the same twice in a row. The initial idea was the sprinter connections with the 155s and 150s running on the layout, but I'm a bit icky with layout names that include the owners' and especially that include the ex-mother-in-law's. What is needed is something a little more 'valleys'.

I went to the library and perused the OS maps of the area focusing on the ex colliery lines. Something short and not too twee. It's down to two Deri or Rhiw. No naff links, no My Fair Lady connection, no twee Welsh/English wordplay, just solid valley names. one means oak trees, the other slope or hillside.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Rhiw Walling

I have about three projects on the go at the moment, but keep trying to focus on Rhiw.
Time for the retaining wall at the rear.Rhiw Walling When you start looking for photos of what you think is a very common railway aspect you find that it isn't. Softer embankments are a lot cheaper I suppose. What you do notice is that walls are at least partly sloping often with a more vertical upper part so this I the direction that I've gone in.
Materials thus far are a lever-arch file... well a defunct file with the metal ripped off and the plastic coating removed leaving me a couple of large bits of 3mm thick card.
Scraps of corregated box for the formers.

Monday 21 March 2011

The Rabbi and the Class 73

Trawling to the end of Mr. Hill's reject slides. And a case where the shutter was closed just a tad too late cutting the end off this Class 73.Class 73 on the Brighton line Though a couple of historical points: the 73 in the pale blue I think, parcels trafic heading into Brighton and lastly the S shaped wall tie on a domestic property directly above the drivers window - don't see those anymore.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Arundel Model railway exhibition

Yesterday I attended what was to be the last Arundel exhibition. The details and reasons for this are varied and I won't elaborate. For someone who has been there since almost the beginning of the nearly twenty year run, I find it sad. But is it? Model railway exhibitions, like much in life, have a natural span and being that that they are are in the main non-profit making for individuals, rely on goodwill and enthusiasm. The Arundel show has I feel run it's course and with (from my perspective ) a poor overall attendance yesterday compared to its glory days, I think it is a good idea to let it rest.
However Garn behaved itself all day-thanks to Mike Campbell for operating for a while - and there were some lovely pieces of work scattered around the hall. There was an enormous amount of conversation taking place and exchanging of ideas which is what this particular show has become known for.

The scratch-build competition (pushed here) was won by Les Coleman with (again!) a Lister rail truck. I really wouldn't have wanted to judge this one as the standard of those who entered was pretty high - 16mm Talyllyn tea car with working shutters, lights and full of crockery? Brilliant. My paltry entry, which may pop up here soon, looked pretty pathetic by comparison.

Friday 18 March 2011

Cheap model railway scenery

Not a comment on the financial sector... well perhaps. Regulars will have noticed that there is not of money spent on modelling here at Wood End Towers, in fact the buying of materials is very much discouraged. This is a case in point. Possibly a little early in procedings, being that it is the front of everything else I decided to put the groundwork in along the leading edge.

Formers were added from scrap card to match the fascia board and the gaps in between filled with a little screwed up newspaper. I tend to use whatever is to hand for this and the 'inner layout' is like a snapshot of whatever I threw in the bin the day before. I'm very aware of this and muse the reaction to whoever rips the layout up at some future point of time. I seem to remember that Wood End was full of crisp packets and condom wrappers. (I'd never get that sentence past a magazine editor) so goodness only knows what Alan Martin found when he re-built the corner section. I hope he wore gloves.

The top layer is the tissue paper that you get in public toilets - well that's where I get it from. A little more difficult to get these days with the increasing use of electric driers. This is of course technically theft... well it's only going in the bin ain't it? About half a dozen sheets used here. This is cheaper and a bit less messy than any other method especially the polystyrene foam game. And for medium to large areas it is hard to beat.

The paper is torn into 1" strips and 'pasted' with watered-down cheap craft shop PVA and a pound shop brush on a shiny magazine (peels off easier). Then laid over the formers and rubbish. The first layer looks awful, but the second smooths it out and the final looks OK. When dry it's coated with matchpot emulsion to seal.
This gives a hard shell to scenic over. And while you couldn't stand on it it's firm enough to plant things in.
Occasionally the edges will lift, and have to be repaired with a little UHU, but other than that it's foolproof.
Cost.... virtually zero.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Modelling lifted railway track

I seem to like tedious jobs. And most involve cardboard for some reason. The 'lifted track' on the bridge looked OK so I thought I would do the same through the body of the layout. The historical background for those that haven't spotted it, is that Rhiw is a 'new' station. The old site has been developed and a new platform built a few hundred yards down the main line which has also been singled. This seemed relevant to the South Wales valleys which were having cash thrown at them in an effort to regenerate during the 80s.Modelling lifted railway track in OO scale So there has to be evidence of the lifted down line. I've used the same technique(!) as the bridge. That is; strips of thin card cut roughly the same length as the PECO HO sleepers and slightly under-width to match the spacing, covered with sticky emulsion. The card is from tights packets again, and is no more that 1/2mm thick, so that when the whole lot is covered in scanky ballast and weedy flock there should be a very subtle regular undulation reminiscent of the ballast pattern on lifted lines.
This has to be almost un-noticeable otherwise it won't work. If it doesn't, I can always get a wide chisel and take the whole lot off.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

The five year (model railway) plan

It's is the nature of a blog that it must be kept short and sweet; people don't want to read reams and reams of stuff. The trouble is I have too much to say.
This caught my eye at Eastliegh a week or two back. 'Holcombe'. Built by Tim Ticknell I believe and shown by the Burnham club. 8'x 2' of O gauge .Holcombe O gauge Why is this relevant? Well, I suppose this is the target point. Not one that's un-achieved as I did it with NLW (see sidebar), but for those that remember my comments on how many layouts do we have left, it is the end of the process.
Holcombe O gauge Nigel and I have joked about the five year plan. It's impossible to build a layout a year of course... for most people that is. But I think I've probably got about five/six layouts left. I've also said that Rhiw would be the last exhibition piece.... we'll see.

There have been discussions in the last couple of weeks about what could be built using the already constructed Rhiw FY and trestles. The possibilities are: Norwegian freight yard, Southern Region Terminus, American Terminus, GWR Terminus. These four because all or some of the stock is available. There are others that the FY is not suitable for: 7mm NG, O. The pattern and reasons are obvious. Despite unusually buying a lottery ticket for this evening I'm using what I have (the O excepting). And those of you out there that are good with numbers will spot that there are six. The wildcard would be something light in EM. Which there is also stock for.
So this is actually a twenty five year plan. Time will tell.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

And yet more Listers

(Again) while looking for something else I came across three more Lister photos. These taken at Buzzard possibly late 90s/early 2000s.Listers

Listers Useful for Worthing chaps building 7mm kits perhaps?

Post-Modern Unnycoombe.

Nigel sent this this morning: Post modernisation plan Unnycoombe. Brand new and out of the box runs very smoothly and bought as a replacement for the AEC railcar which has developed the Farish click.Unnycoombe The AEC will in time be updated with a Jap' mech, but with art replicating life, the first of the British Rail units ends up on Unnycoombe.

The thrust of the project was that it was to be a GWR branch terminus that wasn't too typical, but then it is in a way. The 55-65 period was chosen deliberately so that it wasn't the chocolate and cream dream world. The use of the Hymek and DMUs only reflects the period and of course, like much of the layout, have been well served by the trade of late.

I was going to talk about Stalin-esque five year plans not Modernisation plans, but that'll wait.

Sunday 13 March 2011

Basingstoke model railway exhibition, riding Scandiwegian shotgun to Nigel on the SRS stand. What I know about Scandinavian railways you could write on that last full stop. However a willing body.

Excellent exhibition full of lots of things to buy, but I kept a firm hand on the tiller and only bought a few bits of stuff for Rhiw. Including the below.Lima shunter The Signal Box had a tray of these loose for £12.50 apiece. As far as I can tell it's a Lima shunter repackaged under the Joueff name. What you get is two plastic mouldings and a pancake motor assembly. Basic ain't the word for it, but as a simple power plant and at that price it seemed daft not to give it a go. I wasn't the only one who thought the same . Christopher Payne stood beside me and muttered. 'See if you can haggle four for forty quid.' This I did. The girl looked and me like a piece of shit on her shoe and said, 'That's the price.' I tried. CP put his hand in his pocket and bought two. I wandered back and got just the one.

It runs OK - better than I thought it would. Cogs a little, but this does give a nice sound. What I have in mind is to diddle with it to turn it into a quickie industrial for Rhiw.
Anyone know what the prototype is? Assuming there is one.

Consensus so far points toward a european-ised Plymouth switcher, but does this have any basis in reality? Did the French use Plymouths in industry somewhere? According to my stats, 15 Frenchmen viewed the blog so far this morning. One of them must know.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Rhiw Profile boards

This just shows how much there is to do. The trick is to try and do a little something everyday. Even if it's just paint a bufferstop.

 Yesterday the second profile board went on (needs tidying to match) and the 'land' formers in the shape of scraps of mounting card. I wanted to avoid a parallel track plan - parallel to the edge that is. And although its slightly cranked toward the camera, from normal viewing it doesn't show. Also in almost every other example I've dropped the front of the baseboard. the only other time I've used flat square boards was on the American HO layout - which in many ways this is remarkably similar to. Here I want a 'peering over the fence' feel. With a low pros-arch and embankment. Perhaps that should be 'peering through the letterbox'.

Friday 11 March 2011

Rhiw buffers

It's become apparent over the years that I refuse to use any bit of commercial scenic kit as intended. In the top drawer I discovered a PECO buffer stop in a packet - unopened - a virgin buffer.  From Cove Models no less. Haven't they dissapeared now?Rhiw What I wanted was something in the style of the set at the end of the headshunt at Newhaven which are still there, albeit marooned and covered in muck. The board of these is pretty lightweight. It looks no more than a large floorboard. This replicated here by tossing the PECO iron part into the scrapbox and replacing with a length of coffee stiry-thing with the ends rounded off to match the prototype. A bit of white and pale grey from Humbrol and some Charondon Granite from G*** W******p does the job. One has to wonder the point of these. Even at walking pace a Cl 08 would plough straight through. Let alone the Cl 56s that laterly worked the Newhaven ballast trains.

For the buffers at the end of the rails in the distance I have in mind the set from Barton-on-Humber with the lamp on a stick and a ladder. I'm sure I have another PECO set somewhere.

I note that RM are leading a Newhaven Harbour layout for next month. Hope I won't be dissapointed.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Model Trains International

It was pointed out to me this morning via email that I have an article published in the current MTI; an article that I had long forgotten about, such is the gap between submitting and publication. Looking at the list (via the link) it would seem that at least one contributor has died in the intervening period, and not recently either. My article is on building the hut on Pinchingfield which is pictured on the page link to your right.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Tens of units

One of the things that fascinates me about this hobby is the murky corners to which it takes you. With the bridge more or less complete, my attention turned to t'other end. This quick snap taken today is pretty close to what I want - visualise a couple of bufferstops where the pavement is and you're halfway there.

What I don't want to do if I can help it is to rush out and spend twenty quid (Ha! if I had twenty quid) on a Pikestuff kit. This kit and the Knightwing porta-cabin have become to the modern layout, what the Airfix engine shed was to the layouts of the 70's... rather predictable.

However I do need an industrial unit (and indeed may need a porta-cabin).

Enter the murky waters.

For things that do basically the same thing, i.e. a tin shed with a big roof there's a hell of a lot of variety. And then of course there is period... they tend not to come with build dates on the keystones. Which is a typical design for a mid 1980s build? I dunno. Even in industrial parks where the build is simultaneous they all seem different. Take these two: The UPS on the right has a third more brickwork and long windows, it's neighbour to the immediate, left more extruded section and no windows - not from this view anyway.

What this is giving me is a sad bloke walking around taking photos of big sheds and counting brick courses (Mr. left-hand shed has thirty above an 18" plinth. Yes, yes I know. Welsh layout/plinth...'The plinth of Wales'... already been done). I'm already ahead of this now and photographing bus shelters (you want to see the variety in those!) and porta-cabins. This is a kit-free zone.

Carl Arendt

Was sorry to hear via email this morning that Carl Arendt had died.
The funeral was well attended, but mourners were surprised to see that the coffin was only 8"x35" folded in half and carried on shelf brackets.

Monday 7 March 2011

Pipe dreams

I think it's the nature of the beast that modellers plan themselves into bad health. Someone wrote once that a good modeller has one layout done, building another and planning two more. Or was it bad modeller? No matter. I, like everyone else, am prone to flights of fancy and fantasy. The 'closer look' at S scale (see below) got me thinking. The initial draw was standard gauge, but then coincidentally while looking for something else (isn't that always the way?) I tripped over a few photocopied sheets given to me by Tim Rayner on the Barbados Railway. The initial gauge of this being 3'6", which is about right for 16.5 in S scale.

You know what happened next. Hours of timewasting mentally working out what could be done and how. The problem being that the three photos enclosed on the sheets were late period and hazy. More time wasted scouring the net, but to no avail. There's nothing. Only a continual reference to a Locomotives International book on the line which of course I don't have.

The reality is that this is a bad idea. It's wildcard put in the way of getting what I should be doing done. Which is getting Rhiw finished and possibly - just possibly - looking at broadening Garn.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Bridge scenic-ing

An afternoon of cutting and sticking with Nigel.
The painted bridge carcass was lined with dummy thin card sleepers (tights packet again). No so much sleepers, as the ridges between. This painted with matchpot emulsion to seal and solidify. Then PVA'd and covered with fine fresh coal dust, a few tea leaves and some WS green foam. This will only just be visible at no more than this angle, but I wanted to get the impression of a colliery line with the track lifted; hence the weeds and the subtle ridges where the sleepers were. Rhiw Later it dawned on me that it would be easier to ballast under the bridge before it was fixed. Something I usually leave until almost last. Again a higher angle than will be possible.
I'll point out now that having point control under a bridge is a bloody stupid idea.
Rhiw Ballast is magnesium - which you can't seem to get anymore - knocked down with a little ash and coal dust. The central section is the WS/ash/tea mix. The effect I'm trying to get is to avoid the hard ballast line, with just a general coating of ballast dross and weeds.
This is not pretty.

Friday 4 March 2011

Girder bridge

Girder bridge The first sort of finished central bridge support, based around those at Seaford (see earlier post). I noted that these had cable stringers running fore-aft so added these to the obvious Airfix footbridge parts with a bit of 10x20 thou strip. The footing is a slice of 6mm MDF and a little Slaters brick. The top piece representing the visible girder end... Well... a slice of sprue and ahem...

My ex, and now late, mother-in-law was diabetic and need to test sugar levels daily. I spotted the fact that the machinery for this was 5 thou plastic strip, so nearly 20 years ago I blagged a load.

Thus, the top of the girder is a bit of sprue and a piece of plastic that my ex mother-in-law has peed on.
You only get sheer class here.

Brush type 4 Class 47

Class 47 in two tone green Another of Mr. Hill's B/W shots. At at a time when the parlance for these machines was the 'Brush Type 4' this Class 47 waited at Reading.
There was a chap next to me at Eurotrack running one of these in this livery and I kept wondering whether I could justify one on Rhiw....err no.
After raking around for headcode clarification for Unnycoombe two days ago, the answer stares you in the face.

Thursday 3 March 2011

S gauge thoughts

As it says in the blurb to your right, I tend to wander around a bit when it comes to scales. Not surprising then that late last summer I sent off a couple of quid to join the S Scale Society. This more out of curiosity as much as anything else. I'd always drooled over Jas Millam's stuff and there is a notorious photo of me impersonating the Dali Lama while examining Robin Fielding's layout at Uckfield a few years back.

First thoughts are this: S is not a layout builder's scale. There aren't too many of them. There aren't too many members either - 108 including self. The magazine is not the glossy periodical that I've been used to with the 009 Society, but then this is a numbers game - the 009 mob have tenfold the membership so that's possibly a little unfair. Is this a scale that I want to persue or am I just trying to find a middle ground between 4mm and 7mm where the pickings are richer? I like building things, but I do want to see an end result before I get wheeled off to the nursing home. I don't want to be one of those people who is always building the layout; the one that never gets finished. The jury is still out.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Bridge for Rhiw

A little work this week on the bridge on Rhiw. The girders (courtesy of Nigel's sticky fingers) checked for height on 2x2" blocks. Now the fun bits: 2mm black mounting card. I know it doesn't look black - this is the inside. Black so that the bits that aren't covered, the bits that can't be seen don't reflect any light... hopefully. Theatre training darling.
The whole lot is mounted on the good old standby, tights packet card. I needed to do this as being a skew bridge I had to set the angle out. First time I've used a protractor since I left school. And no it wasn't made of slate. So, mounting card 65mm high built to make a crooked box and covered on two sides by Slaters brick plastic.

A little banding added to break it up visually and painted with Brick Red, Scorched Brown, Pale Grey and Multiple Unit Green

Balanced to check. Girders painted Brick Red, followed by Leather. Washed over with Black and then covered in talc just before totally dry. Everything either Humbrol or G**es W******p acrylics. There's a fair bit to do yet and its' worth pointing out that this angle of view will be impossible when finished... unless you have a very small head.

Tuesday 1 March 2011

More Listers

Lister auto truck locomotive As requested a few photos of rail Listers, all taken at Amberley early 90's.
Lister auto truck locomotive These as far as I'm aware are the 30" wb version. I have now found a GA drawing of the 20"wb without the central weight. Not sure that it would reproduce well on here though.

Lister auto truck locomotive