Sunday 29 March 2015

Lancing Member's Day

Yesterday the Sussex Downs 009 Group (of which I'm a member) held our biennial member's day exhibition. We aim for a friendly and informal gathering, as much a social event as a show, and I think that was achieved, but we certainly had an excellent selection of layouts on show as well as specialist trade support and the 009 Society sales stand.

We were pleased to welcome well-known 009 modeller Ted Polet (creator of the Craigcorrie and Dunalistair Railway) from the Netherlands with his superb mini-layout Nixnie, and some characterful stock running on it. After an extremely close ballot Ted took the Alan Fall award for best layout.

John Thorne brought his latest 009 layout Bottle Kiln Lane, which like all of John's layouts was well received for it's scenic work, cameo scenes, and eclectic stock.

Member Mark Holland brought his long-term project Spirit of Welshpool, now near completion with the compressed town-scene looking great. He really has captured the spirit of the well known railway through the town, and is interested in exhibiting - I'm sure it will be popular at shows.

Phil Savage (another member) was showing another long-term project featuring Ghum on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. It's a proper railway in the scenery layout, including much roadside running, tight corners and severe gradients, and a spiral. There's a lot yet to do but he's already captured the distinctive terrain.

Prolific layout builders Chris Ford and Nigel Fox brought a brand new layout in O16.5 called Morton Stanley, which sounds like an argument over which type of craft knife they prefer. Its a superbly atmospheric, typically simple, and deceptively small. I gather the layout already has a new (lucky) owner, so I don't know if it will be shown again, it certainly deserves to be.

I'll leave you at that for this post, but there are many more photos here if you'd like to see more. Great to see you if you were there, if not - hopefully in 2 years time?

Monday 23 March 2015

Hunslet Body Building

Time for an update on the Hunslet, though progress has been slow things are starting to take shape.

When we last left the story I was making up a bracket to mount the chassis to. Here it is firmly glued into the front of the footplate, with the buffer beam fitted. Of course I've had to make a square hole for the Microtrains coupling, the plasic just visible is the mounting point, though it is tight for space. You can also see the footplate has been filled inwards slightly with a strip of plastic, and new holes made to fit the springs in line with the wheels, and further inboard.

The front part of the body has been packed with lead sheet - the smokebox and front part of the saddle tank, forward of the rear wheels. The rear part hasn't as I'm trying to balance the loco rather than just make it heavy! However I have continued the boiler shape in plastic (this would be where the motor fitted with the originally designed for Ibertren chassis).

Up top the main components have been assembled, and the springs, safety valves and chimney fitted. The tank filler, sawn off early in the build, has been refitted to the front of the tank on a layer of epoxy to fit it to the curve. The buffer beams and footplate were fitted with a 45 degree chamfer, this not only looks better than sitting below the footplate as intended, but allow a more appropriate ride height. They still sit rather close to the track!

So some detailing to go: filling holes. handrails, pipework, cylinder covers, cab steps, and of course a cab roof. I'm inclined to ditch the cast one and make one from brass or plastic to save weight at the rear. The loco already weighs about 95g (most similar size 009 locos are around 60g), and of that over 60g is on the rear wheels. It does run very well and shows no sign of wheelies (unlike the undressed chassis!), but nonetheless it really doesn't need any weight at the rear.

Sunday 22 March 2015

Steyning small layouts show

Yesterday I took the kids to the Wealden Railway Group show in a new venue in Steyning, rather than the scout hut in Arundel. Like that venue the new one was small - somewhat cramped in fact - but as previous shows the quality of the exhibits was good. And entry included a free hot drink! Anyway here are a few favourite views from the show.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry

Over the Christmas break while visiting my family "oop north" we visited the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. I remember visiting as a child and found it really exciting, and in that respect it hasn't changed; there's a floor full of hands-on "experiments" for kids to play with that demonstrate scientific principles, a hall full of aircraft, a (replica) sewer, and a "Power hall" full of stationary and rail steam engines.

In this hall is a 3' gauge Beyer Peacock "Pender" from the Isle of Mann that has been sectioned to show how a steam engine works, it's a great educational visual aid and even to someone who knows the principle, the detail of the fittings is interesting. It does seem a sad waste of a lovely engine, though fortunately the other side looks unmolested.

Pender is the smallest but there are a few other Manchester-built locos including one from India, and an electric that ran in Holland, but the biggest loco is also Narrow Gauge - this 3'6" gauge Garrat that ran in South Africa.

Outside, this unassuming brick building is the original Manchester station, dating from the opening of the first public railway in 1830.

While short passenger rides through the site were provided by this well-kept industrial loco.