Locomotives of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway by Anthony Dawson covers a fascinating time in railway, engineering, and indeed social history - the development of the steam engine from a primitive and unreliable industrial machine to a means of reliable and convenient transport. The Liverpool & Manchester Railway was of course the first public and passenger carrying steam railway - the railways that existed at that time carried only freight (usually coal or minerals), and very few (including the Stockton & Darlington) used steam locomotives.
Monday, 26 April 2021
Tuesday, 20 April 2021
Obviously the sand surface needs to be painted if it is to look like anything other than sand. These are large areas, and the sand has a large surface area as well as being abrasive. I use cheap acrylic paints and a cheap, stiff paintbrush - the stuff sold for kids is fine for this job. Colours are mixed from white, black, red, green, and yellow - I can't say I find mixing colours easy and I usually end up with something too dark. Also a single colour sometimes looks too flat and plain, the aim is for a finish that is not too even which I attempt with multiple washes.
The platform got a coat of pale grey, this seems to have come out well and looks fine as well tended gravel so I left it at that. The road and car park behind got a darker coat which looked too even, so it was followed by a much thinner coat of mid brown to weather it and add shadows. However, this looked too dark, so another thinned coat of pale grey was added. The result is a mid grey that isn't too even as the thinner coats have had differing effects at different depths.
Monday, 19 April 2021
The yard at Hexworthy will be used as a "permanent way" (track) maintenance yard, and will have a grounded shipping container. These are often placed on timbers, so I made up some from plasticard, along with a rudimentary ramp up to the doors, and stuck them down before surfacing the yard.
Sunday, 11 April 2021
Before ballasting I needed to glue down the platform - thus far it has not been in fixed, and was in two pieces, which was convenient for working on. However, the fixing of the slabs had caused a slight curvature to the 3mm foam-core platform pieces, so I needed to be sure it would lie flat. Gentle working between the fingers got the pieces flat before they were stuck in place with PVA. Clearances were double-checked with some larger locos to ensure the position was correct, and the larder raided for some weights to ensure it stayed fully flat while the glue set.
Wednesday, 24 March 2021
A little while back, on the tip-off of a friend, I bought a Woodland Scenics boulders rock mould. It's a flexible rubber mould for casting boulders in plaster. Of course Woodland Scenics recommend their own casting plaster, but I still have some Linka compound left in a large tub - it must be close to 30 years old, but it still works! I expect dental plaster or similar would work too.
The idea is to line the river bank, though I'm not quite sure how to use them. Lined up like this looks too regular, I think a few irregularly spaced with some smaller rocks in between is what is needed. I could try casting another batch partially filling the mould?
I also need small rocks and stones, I've seen others use cat litter but I don't have a cat...
Tuesday, 16 March 2021
The March issue of the 009 News carried the last article in a 4-part series about Loctern Quay, which even made the cover on the January edition.
The 009 News is the magazine and newsletter of the 009 Society, if you are interested in 009 and not a member why not join? I have found membership beneficial and rewarding over many years. For the last few years the 009 News has been edited by my friend Chris Ford, but the April issue will be his last as he passes on the proverbial blue pencil to a new editor. Thanks for all the great work Chris!
Tuesday, 9 March 2021
Britain's Railways in the Second World War by Michael Foley is a new book from Pen & Sword. Obviously I've an interest in railways, and as an important part of Britain's recent history I take an interest in the World Wars too, so was intrigued by this book.
It is what it says on the cover, the story of how the railways of Britain reacted, coped, and were used during the war, from evacuating children to feeding the essential manufacturing to moving troops and armour, all while struggling with reduced staff and limited resources. The story is told chronologically, from the start of war through Dunkirk and the Blitz to the support of D-day and beyond, although these events are the background and have an impact on the railways this isn't a military story. There are many human stories, and much about the organisation and running of the railways.
The text does sometimes jump from one topic to another, and there are some instances of a topic being repeated from another perspective, maybe this is due to the chronological approach but in some places careful editing and rephrasing could have made the text flow better. Strangely, the GWR was referred to as GWS several times throughout the book (so not an isolated typo), even using GWR and GWS in the same paragraph, this and a couple of other minor errors suggest proofing could have been more rigorous. Overall though, the text is engaging and interesting to read, and avoids complex and technical language making it easy to follow.
I found this an enjoyable book that feels more like a story than a history book to read. It tells of an important aspect of the wartime struggle and what life was like for the railway companies and their workforce. For those with even a passing interest in railways or in the impact of the second world war this is a book worth reading.
Sunday, 7 March 2021
After a visit to the paint shop, the lever frames and point rodding have been added to the layout.
The lever frames cover the points on the running line which need facing point locks, the one from the loop to the front siding doesn't need a lock so I have used a Peco lever. These look quite effective although the planked base is rarely seen in reality. I have set it on strips of plastic to look like extended sleepers.
Saturday, 6 March 2021
Signal boxes are all very well for standard gauge railways, but let's face it only the larger and better equipped narrow gauge railways had the need (and cash) for such luxuries. Many lines managed with levers next to each point, although for those carrying passengers the regulations on facing point locks means ground frames were often use. I'm modelling Hexworthy in preservation so of course facing point locks would be needed, though as a terminus of a single line signals would not be necessary - movements being controlled by the single line token. So while some preserved lines have gained signal boxes in later years, I thought Hexworthy could manage with a couple of ground frames - the single line token equipment would probably be installed in the station building. The two points on entry to the station would need facing point locks, the loco release point probably does too since it is against the platform and a departing train could have coaches over it.
A Wills kit makes up a delightful pair of ground frames (with parts left for a couple more). The small one has levers for a point and its point lock, the larger the same for two points. The problem is, now they will look odd without some representation of the rodding and cranks that would connect them too the points. Wills do a nice kit for the rodding, but I only need a few inches...
Saturday, 20 February 2021
While I am happy with using Microtrains couplings for most of my 009 stock with its advantages in shunting, I have realised that fitting them to my Heljan Manning Wardle is too difficult but also unnecessary. It will only be likely to run with suitable coaches such as the Peco ones, and so long as it can couple up reliably and uncouple to run round the type of coupling doesn't really matter. So retaining the "standard" 009 coupling is easiest, except that the ones factory-fitted to the loco sit too high, and I've been unable to adjust them until they couple reliably to the Peco coaches.
The Peco coupling works normally, but when positioned over a magnet the staple pulls down which lifts the loop. If there are two loops a pair of magnets might be needed, but I only want to uncouple the loco (without loops) from the coaches so this should work well with one magnet. Here a tiny 2mm x 2mm neodymium magnet is held between the sleepers with blue-tack, a Greenwich magnet would be ideal but I don't have one, I will try a slightly longer magnet set under the sleepers which should work with less accurate positioning. However, the experiment shows this is a simple mod to add magnetic uncoupling capability to the standard Peco 009 coupling. It might work with other types so long as the loop is not magnetic (the Peco loop is plastic). The coupling on the Manning Wardle is level here and couples to the Peco coach, but does still look slightly high in this photo, a quick adjustment with pliers should fix that.
Sunday, 31 January 2021
A while back I got a resin kit for a water tower from Anyscale Models. It's a nice small size just right for 009, and the stone base fits well with Hexworthy. It came with some wire for pipework, but no outlet for locos to use, so I found a corner of plastic sprue and carved out the resin to set it under the tank, the filler bag is a piece of electrical heat-shrink insulation and a wire handle was added for operating a valve.
The problem with the Peco buffer stop is it looks a bit flimsy, not so bad on the end of a long siding but it doesn't look very substantial if used on a platform or running line. For the bay platform I beefed up the Peco moulding with some diagonal pieces of plasticard, suggesting hefty timbers set into the ground to reinforce the stop beam. It's simple but does make the little buffer stop look like it could survive a gentle nudge.
Saturday, 9 January 2021
Back in June I showed a canopy fitted to the Hexworthy station building. I realised I'd taken a couple of photos of it under construction so thought I should share them! It's made from plasticard edged with some plastic valancing I've had for "one day" for years. The felt roof is just masking tape, applied in slightly overlapping strips. Also in this photo can be seen one of the chimneys with flashing fitted just before final installation.
Hmm, the café in the old goods shed could do with some interior detail though. The roof is not fixed on yet...