Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sueston At Dusk

We have now installed lighting in all but one of the ten stations on the layout with the majority now being LEDs rather than the filament bulbs we originally used. 
We chose to convert to LEDs after we allowed some of the bulbs to get a bit too warm such that they melted part of the plastic lamppost!
Sueston was one of the more recent conversions and here we see 50020, in the fading light, at the aforementioned station, as viewed through the entrance to the station from the main road.

Coaching Stock - Part 1

Now that most of the construction work on the layout is complete, we are finding ourselves with more opportunities to actually run some trains. So, I thought it would be a good idea to feature, during the coming weeks, all of the rolling stock that we use on our various trains, beginning with the coaches. 
I must admit that we do have several rakes of coaches, in various liveries, which means that we can run a wide variety of passenger trains.
The majority of the coaches are Lima Mk1s as they tend to be more forgiving of some of the less than perfect trackwork encountered in some locations on the layout. 
However, having said that, I will start with the most modern coaches that we use, namely the Bachmann Mk2s, together with some Lima, Hornby and Mainline 'oddities'.
Bachmann BR Mk2 Brake / Second Class (BSO)
First up is the Bachmann Mk2 Brake / Second Class Open Coach (BSO). We have two of these coaches, both with the Running Nº SC9424, which means that it was a Scottish Region coach. The Bachmann Catalogue Nº is 39-381 and they date from 2006.
Bachmann BR Mk2 Tourist Standard Open (TSO)
Next up is a Tourist Standard Open coach (TSO), of which we have four, three with the Running Nº 5361 (39-361) and one with the Running Nº 5311 (39-351). All models date from 2006.
Mainline BR Mk1 Buffet / Restaurant Car (RBR)
We have only the one Mainline Buffet / Restaurant Car, primarily for use with the Mk2 coaches. The Running Nº is M1709 and the Catalogue Nº is 37-113. This particular model dates from between 1981 and 1984 and is a really nice coach, for its age, and is always popular with passengers serving, as it does, a variety of hot meals, teas, coffees and light snacks.
Bachmann BR Mk2 First Class Corridor (FK)
Now, for those passengers who wish to travel in greater luxury, we also have two of these First Class Corridor coaches, one with the Running Nº S13393 and one with the Running Nº E13472. Their respective Catalogue Nºs are: 39-330 and 39-340. Both models date from 2006.
Bachmann BR Mk2 Brake / First Class (BFK)
Our final Mk2 coach is the Brake / First Class Corridor, of which we have two, both with the Running Nº 14033, Catalogue Nº 39-400. As before, these models date from 2006.
Lima BR Mk1 Full Brake (BG)
Another coach that we often use with the Mk2's is this Lima Full Brake coach of which we, again, have two. Both have the Running Nº M80855, Catalogue Nº L305343 and this model dates from 1977.
Hornby BR Mk1 Sleeping Car
Finally, for now, we have four of these Hornby Mk1 Sleeping Cars, which we use with either our Mk1 or Mk2 coaches. All have the Running Nº 2510, Catalogue Nº R339. These coaches date from the mid-1970s and are a bit long in the tooth now so, maybe, we ought to start thinking about providing our night-travelling passengers some more modern sleeping accommodation in the not too distant furture!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Thunderer Under A Cloud

The latest locomotive to be added to our fleet although, admittedly, not one that will be used very often, is the Lima Class 50 50008 'Thunderer', which I acquired at a recent Model Railway Exhibition.
This particular model was produced in 1992 and was limited to just 550 thus making it one of the rarer Lima Class 50s.
It came boxed and with its original Numbered Certificate and, as you can see, she is Nº 340.
The loco has also been DCC-fitted (although not by me) with an address of 508 although, in typical Class 50 fashion, not long after we had started running and testing her on the layout, she failed! It seems that one of the wires had been poorly soldered and needs to be resoldered - and made slightly thinner too!
Below are some photos that I took of her showing both sides, both ends, the roof and the underside.
As the photos clearly show, she is in a really nice condition, for her age, and once the wiring is repaired, she will be up and running once again - although, unlike the Hornby Class 50s that we have, I doubt she will ever be fitted with sound.
Until then, here are a few photos of her on the layout beginning with a shot of her pausing at Carswater at the head of a rake of Royal Train empty coaching stock.
Finally, a couple of photographs of her in the service depot, awaiting repairs in the company of 50007 'Sir Edward Elgar'.
As a footnote I must say that, unlike the prototype Class 50s and, indeed our newly-acquired 'Thunderer', the other three Class 50s that we have in our fleet are amongst the best locos that we have in terms of reliability and sure-footedness and we regularly use them for all manner of duties.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Coming Back To Life

With the layout fairly moribund during December and January we thought that it was high-time to start running some trains again and, for me, to post some photos on the blog. 
So, with this in mind, here are some pictures taken during a recent running session, featuring trains at Gunnmere Junction, Sueston and the Ballast Yard.
First we see a Class 45 at the head of some oil tankers at Gunnmere while, in the background, is a Baby Deltic with a rake of green liveried coaches.
Next we see 50020 Revenge waiting to depart Sueston, while 37057 'Viking' arrives with a train from the north.
Now for a few photos taken at the Ballast Yard and we begin by peeking over the closed crossing gate at the entrance to the yard. The signal is at red so, obviously, no trains are due to arrive.
Moving inside the yard we see a Class 03 shunting some currently empty seacow hopper wagons.
Finally, a couple of photos looking from the other end of the yard and we can see that one of the seacows is already full of ballast. Judging by the amount of hoppers here there is some serious ballasting work due to be carried out!
The ballast yard is almost complete now, in terms of trackwork and buildings, but it does still need to be populated with workers and final detailing.
For those of you interested, the buildings here are the 'Mine Top Buildings' by Nightwing International, Catalogue Nº: PM 113 while the blue portakabin 'office' is by Hornby.
The Seacow hopper wagons are also by Hornby while the large Yeoman Ore Tippler, in the background, is by Lima.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Steam Team

Just to prove that the Lakeland Railway is not a completely steam-free zone, here I present a sequence of photographs taken of the three steam locomotives currently fitted with sound files and which make very occasional forays onto the layout.
The first two photos feature Hornby's highly detailed model of the Rebuilt West Country Class 4-6-2 locomotive 'Wincanton', which is a recent acquisition. Originally she had Hornby's factory-fitted sound files but we have had those changed to Olivias sound, with firebox glow, working head lamps and an engine crew also fitted.
Here she is seen crossing Niggly Bottom viaduct at the head of the Pines Express.
Next up is the Bachmann model of an S&D 7F 2-8-0, Nº 88 (53808) in S&D Prussian Blue. She has a generic Howes sound file fitted plus non-working headlamps but no loco crew, as yet.
In this photograph, the 7F is hauling a rake of Dapol Limited Edition wagons that we have collected during recent months.
Finally, we see a Bachmann 4MT Nº 80120 in heavily weathered condition in charge of a train of coal wagons. This image was actually captured from a video so is not quite as crisp as the other photographs. 
She is also fitted with an Olivias sound decoder and, like Wincanton, has working head lamps and an engine crew fitted.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Branch Line Backdrop

We now have a backdrop behind the branch line that runs from Gunnmere Junction to Anchwood.
It rises above, as it runs parallel to, the main line to Davemore and was previously backed by a blue wall.
Now, though, it has a photographic backdrop, as can be seen in the photographs below.
A Class 42 heads an express for Sueston past a Class 37
heading north with a long train of ventilated vans.
Meanwhile, a Class 121 is held at signals on the branch line.
The same trains viewed from the other direction.
The 121 now leaves the branch line and heads
into Gunnmere Junction.
While the 37 is now seen having arrived at Davemoor.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Re Joyce at Midsomer Norton

It was a special 'Sentinel and Vintage Vehicles Weekend' at Midsomer Norton South this weekend (8 and 9 July) so we went along on the Saturday to see how things had progressed since our last visit which, ashamedly, was some time ago now.
Well, I can tell you the progress has been amazing with the line almost reaching the start of the infilled cutting leading to Chilcompton tunnel and, indeed, from August 7th to 11th they are hold a Track Bash Week to try and lay the rest of the track in one go.
Once the filled in cutting has been reached a platform will be constructed and locos will then be able to run around their trains - fantastic! 
Thereafter the cutting will obviously need to be cleared of its in-filling, something that will doubtless take a lot of time and money to achieve.
However, after that ... well, who knows?!?!
The station itself also looks terrific with some modifications having been made to the ticket office / shop in order to allow for an expansion of the sales area. They now sell a wide variety of books, models, toys and DVDs etc.
The former stable block at the station now houses an S&D museum and it is full of many fascinating S&D related artifacts. You can quite easily spend an hour or so in there perusing the many and varied items that are on display.
It is indeed to be highly recommended, as is the buffet coach and its adjacent seating area where you can partake of some delicious refreshments whilst watching the trains.
Sentinel steam locomotive, Joyce, was on train duty this weekend and, in the car park, there was a display of various Sentinel and other vintage road vehicles - as shown in the photographs below.
The view across Silver Street upon our arrival -
with one steam waggon already in situ ...
... but soon to be joined by a second ...
... and with a third in the background!
The seating area adjacent to the buffet coach
with the museum building in the background.
Joyce gets ready to depart with her two coach train.
The view across Midsomer Norton from the train.
The end of the line ... for now!
Looking back towards the station
Resident diesel shunter D1120. This is an English Electric
0-6-0 Diesel-hydraulic Locomotive, Type DH648A-60.
It was built in 1966.
Class 08 D4095 with a mixed train at Platform 2.
Joyce gets ready to depart with the next train
in the half-hourly service ...
.. and giving it all she's got up the 1 in 47!
Fire bucket notice beneath the signal box.
Inside the fully restored and immaculately-kept signal box.
The signalman's view looking towards Chilcompton.
Properly lettered fire buckets on Platform 1.
A steam car has now arrived in the car park as we are
about to depart. I know very little about steam cars
but is this a Stanley?
Wow! Where's the clutch?
A final view of the station - with the newly-arrived
steam car attracting many admirers.