Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dirty Three

Along with the Class 24, featured below, we also had our Heljan Class 33 (33025 "Sultan") weathered recently and, again, had but the lightest of touches applied. This is because, apparently, this particular Crompton was something of a pet to the guys at Eastleigh Works and, as such, she was kept in a fairly clean condition.
We felt, therefore, that we should respect this fact and, hence, she is not quite as grubby as some of our other locomotives.  
She is fitted, like the majority of our fleet, with the Howes sound and I think that, once again, they have captured it very well indeed bringing, to our layout, sounds that were once heard across the railways of southern England for over forty years. 
So yes, you are right, this is another loco that, strictly speaking, would not have been seen in the region on which we have modelled our layout; it being a definite Southern Region class. However, we have many fond memories of travelling behind these Type 3's, mainly on the Exeter to Waterloo route, before the introduction of the Class 50s, as well as between Dorchester South and Bournemouth where they were in charge of four and eight car TC sets prior to electrification of this stretch of line.
Therefore, with so many happy hours spent riding behind these great little workhorses, it seems only right and proper that we honour them by borrowing a member of the class to run on our railway, just so long as we promise to give it back to the Southern Region ... eventually!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

24 Heaven

This Bachmann Class 24 locomotive was the first DCC sound fitted locomotive that we acquired, almost two years ago now, so she occupies rather a special place amongst our growing fleet.
Originally she was numbered 24035 and came with Bachmann's own sound which, actually, was quite good. 
However, she has recently undergone a complete make-over such that she has been lightly weathered, renumbered and reblown with the Howes Class 24 sound.
As far as the weathering is concerned, in this instance, we wanted it to be only lightly applied since, being our introduction to the world of DCC sound, we wish to convey the impression that she is being well looked after - which she is of course! Therefore, only the subtlest of weathering was applied recently by Mikron Models of Taunton.
We also wanted to make her unique to us and, as there must be many 24035's in existence now,  we decided to renumber her 24037. 
Lastly although, as I say, the Bachmann sound in this loco was quite good, I think that the Howes sound is better and that is why she went away last week to be reblown and, I must say, we are very impressed with both Howes she sounds and how she looks.
As for the prototype locos, there were 151 of these Sulzer Type 2's built between 1958 and 1961 at Crewe, Derby and Darlington and they later formed the basis for the development of the Class 25.
The last surviving member of the class, 24081, was withdrawn in 1980 and is now in preservation along with sister locos 24032, 54 and 61.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coaled Snap!

Here is a snap-shot on the progress of the Coal Depot that occupies the north-west corner of the layout. This really only came about as a result of us wanting to include the Operating Tipper and Conveyor Belt in order to provide us with another location to send our trains. However, it has now become, together with the adjacent Coneyvale Halt, a nice feature and is progressing well especially since, at the weekend, we added a new section of rock walling, seen to the right of the photograph.
This we made by shaping a piece of corrugated cardboard and then forming, on top of that, the rock face by using small pieces of screwed up newspaper covered with landform. Finally this was coated in a layer of polyfilla.

Once this had dried we landscaped it with various paints and scatters etc and let that dry before attaching it to the wall. 
We then keyed it in to the baseboard using more newspaper and landform so that it tapers down nicely to the road behind the station. This is just out of shot in the picture above but I will feature it in a posting next week when, hopefully, this area should be virtually complete.
The Coal Depot itself is not quite finished yet since all the buildings and vehicles have just been placed there for now. We may decide not to have so many as are shown here and we will probably position them differently too. 
It also needs some human activity which we will also be adding this weekend.
The Class 17 (D8568 "Ribble Cement") is the locomotive that will work the Coal Depot sidings and it will also be used to push the coal trucks up the incline to the operating tipper and conveyor. 
These items, I am sure, will be frowned upon by all serious railway modellers but the incline up to the tipper has certainly made an interesting feature and it also provides us with an excellent backdrop at this end of the layout. It does also give us added operational interest and adds to the fun of running the railway which is, surely, what it's all about.

Monday, October 25, 2010

She's Grrrr8!

This Hornby Class 08 is a recent addition to our fleet of locomotives. We wanted a shunter to work the Brewery Siding and had initially planned to use one of the excellent Bachmann Class 03's. However, these locos are too small to install sound without the addition of a permanently coupled wagon in which to house the speaker. 
So we plumped, instead, for this beautiful Hornby Class 08 and she really is a lovely loco, in fact she is perfect for what we were looking for. Unfortunately, though, we were very unhappy with the Hornby-installed sound so we almost immediately sent her off to Howes to have her reblown with their excellent sound file.
Now she looks and sounds just great!
Looking ahead, we will probably get her weathered in time but, as she is supposed to be owned by the Brewery, she will only be lightly weathered since we just know that the Brewery will be making sure that they look after her.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beast From Montreal

The Tri-ang Transcontinental 4-6-2 Pacific locomotive, TR2335, was based on the large,  powerful Canadian Class G3 mixed traffic locos built by the Montreal Locomotive Works.
The model measures almost 12 inches long and has a working headlight and some even had smoke. It also came in various liveries, based on Australian and Canadian outline railways.
Sadly my model here is a little the worse for wear with much of the white lining missing and a slightly bent tender. However, despite this and in spite of its great age, it is still an excellent runner with great pulling power.
The model was sold individually as well as part of both passenger and freight train sets and was in production from 1955 until 1970 and, from 1962 until 1970, it carried the name 'Hiawatha'.
Throughout this time though it carried the same catalogue numbers: R.54 for the locomotive and R.32 for the eight-wheeled tender.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hard at Work!

Last weekend saw us complete the scenery in this corner of the layout and, to celebrate the fact, we actually started to populate the area. As such, policemen (and policewomen of course) can now be found in and around the police station and a permanent way crew has also arrived track-side and are busy installing some AWS boxes by the looks of it.
It is amazing how placing people onto the layout brings it to life and these Bachmann figures are excellent and so life-like. However, they are not permanent fixtures (no pun intended) and, indeed, may well not be fixed in place at all since we will probably move people and cars around the layout to try and vary the scenes a little.
Like the workmen in the photograph we have been quite busy ourselves this week in that we also progressed the coal yard beneath the operating tipper and conveyor and this area should be finished this weekend so I will feature that in a future posting.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


The Tri-ang Hornby Freightliner train set (top photograph) was available for just three years - 1968, 1969 and 1971. It contained a Class 35 'Hymek' Diesel Hydraulic locomotive (D7063) plus three Freightliner wagons, each with three standard 20ft containers with opening doors.
This set came without any track and I suppose it was, what would now be called, a train pack. Its catalogue number was R.645.
Tri-ang Hornby then introduced the operating Freightliner Depot Crane (middle photograph) in 1969 and the instructions on how to install and operate it are shown in the bottom photograph. The idea being to facilitate the transfer of containers from one freightliner wagon to another or from a wagon to a lorry.
This had a catalogue number of R.675 and but I am not sure for how long this particular set was produced although I am guessing it would have only been for a couple of years.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Paving The Way

This last weekend saw continued progress in the corner of the town around the bus depot and police station. The latter has now acquired a nicely paved base, courtesy of Metcalfe's Self Adhesive Paving (PO210). These paving slabs were quite fiddly to lay as there was a lot of cutting and shaping to do around the edges but the result looks very good and is a lot better than the scatter that we had used previously. The slabs were stuck to a piece of grey card and, as the name suggests, they are self-adhesive but to make sure they stuck properly I spread some PVA glue on the card first.
At the front of the Police Station we have created a semi-circular flower bed around which police cars can drive back on to the main road after dropping off various  apprehended ne'er-do-wells and villains - not that a nice, law-abiding town like ours will have too many such miscreants, I'm sure!
The recently relaid track has now had its sleepers painted and will be ballasted this week and the area between the pick-up hook and embankment will also be landscaped. That will mean this part of the layout is practically finished which will mean that we can to move on to the next area.
Please note that the petrol station has acquired a recycling centre which may be a little modern for a layout that is set in the mid to late 1970s but, hey-ho, we like to do our bit for the environment and clearly this railway was somewhat ahead of its time in trying to go green.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Tri-ang's Diesel Switcher was another item that was produced for the Canadian and Australian markets. It was based on the RS-2 Class (North America) and Victorian Railways T Class (Australia) locomotives. 
I believe that the US company ALCO built 374 of the RS-2 Class between 1948 and 1950, with a further 9 being built in Canada by MLW Subsidiary, while Clyde Engineering of New South Wales built 95 of the T Class.
The model locomotive was produced between 1958 and 1967 had a working headlight and came in various liveries that were all based on Canadian and Australian outline. Originally they were produced in Yellow, Maroon and Green liveries but, latterly they seem to have been produced in yellow only.
Initially they all carried the Running Number 5007 although, in later models, this was switched 7005.
Most of them had TRI-ANG RAILWAYS printed on both sides of the loco but the ones for Australia carried TRANSAUSTRALIAN RAILWAYS instead. 
The locos were sold both individually (as R.155) and also as part of the Diesel Freight and Transcontinental Freight train sets.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Getting Hooked

Well, I think that it is high time for an update on the progress of the layout and, as you can see from the photograph, the area around the bus depot and police station has come on a little since my last posting and this part of the town is nearing completion. Now we are keen to get this bit finished so that we can start work on the other side of town.
The TPO Receiving Bin, Pick-up Hook and associated ramps are all now in place and we just need to reballast the track, which should be done during the next week or so.
As always Pete has done a fantastic job in landscaping the embankments and we hope to complete the section between the embankment and the signal box this coming weekend.
We have put up some of the Bachmann Security Fence (44-505) behind the signal box and may continue with this up to the Pick-up Hook.
There is actually no easy way to erect this fencing though and no clue given with the instructions so we inserted short, thin pieces of wire into the baseboard and stuck the fencing to these and to the board.  If anyone has any other ideas as to how we can hold this fencing in place, please let me know.