Sunday 21 May 2023

SWING taking a bow

On Saturday I took a short trip to the SWING industrial and narrow gauge show. This has been a favourite show of mine for many years, with few NG specialist shows in this corner of Britain, but sadly this event looks like being the last. If so, it went out on a high with some excellent layouts and the usual freindly atmostphere. This year I wasn't there with or helping with a layout, so just a visitor, and it was nice to have opportunity to take time to see the layouts and chat.  

Shellsea Harbour (OO) - Giles Barnabe. It was nice to see this attractive little layout featuring a light-railway terminus again, not having been out for several years. 

Much Meddling (009) - Chris O’Donoghue. Whimsical Emett-inspired fun, with amusing cameos and a few well-known fictional characters, not to mention ludicrous trains (like a submarine railcar!). 

Rainbow Rock (Gn15) - Charlie FoxWilson. Chris was out-Emetted by Charlie's huge Emett themed layout, the photo shows only about 1/3 of it. 

Bunkers Lane (O9) - Bill Flude. Bill's new Leighton Buzzard inspired layout, which I saw briefly at Alexandra Palace, feels like a rail gala on a summer's day. 

Launceston Steam Railway (009) - Richard Holder. I love that this layout reminds me of the real Launceston, and so holiday trips on the steam railway, every time I see it. The train is modelled on the real lineside vegitation clearing train the railway uses, including the raised platform wagon. 

Kaninchenbau (009) - Iain Morrison. This Alpine layout is unashamedly a rabbit warren (apparently that's what it's German name translates as), with lines appearing at different levels. When a train enters a tunnel you never know where it's going to come out. With 5 trains running apparently at random but always with something moving it is puzzling how this can happen, but of course... is computer controlled. Now DCC and fancy control systems aren't really my thing, but I did spend much of my professional life controlling hardware with computers. This set-up is impressive, this screen over the layout showing the schematic plan and the trains being controlled. I won't pretend I understand what it means or how it works, but it was fascinating to watch!

 The Worm (009) - Ian Corps, Southampton Model Railway Society.

Manor End (O) - Martin Brimson. This surprisingly compact O-scale layout had an inglenook shunting puzzle plus a diesel depot on its lower level, and a single-line terminus for a DMU on a shuttle on the top level, making for a lot of railway action. What I particularly liked was the use of fridge type magnets holding photos of the wagons which could be stuck on a metal strip on the fascia to set out the train to be made. A neat alternative to the laminated cards I use on Loctern Quay. I do thing it needs more variety of wagons though!

Arun Quay (O) - Gordon and Maggie Gravett. Only the second time I've seen this layout, it was nice to soak in the incredible atmosphere and realism. A simple concept (small shunting yard) it is brilliantly executed, the track plan is just interesting enough, the location is unmistakably Sussex (for those who know the area) even though it is ficticious, and the detail and colour pallette are understated and consistent. This was the layout I most wished I could build!

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Ouse Valley Viaduct

Today I visited what has become a bit of a local landmark - the Ouse Valley Viaduct. Actually my wife has been keen to visit this since she saw pictures of its distinctive piers, and since we were in the area we made a detour. 

This viaduct on the London-Brighton line was built in 1839-42, early in the railway building boom, and is built in an elegant and ornate style. Its features include limestone capping and parapets, with little "pagodas" at the ends, and of course the oval cut-outs in the piers. 

It is these that have become so instagram-able in recent years, and looking through the length of the viaduct is quite surreal. This feature helps make the viaduct look slender and elegant. 

I was fascinated by the variety of brickwork - I presume due to repairs over the years, rather than the orginal bricklayers all using their own favourite bricks?

I was also interested in the detailing of the arches and parapets, the weathering, and the odd bush...

Check out the little pagodas at the ends of the parapets. The class 37 "tractor" made a nice change from the stream of EMUs, though I'm not sure what it's doing there without a train!