Sunday, May 13, 2018

Swanage Diesel Gala 2018

On Friday we made our annual pilgrimage to the Swanage Railway Diesel Gala and Beer Festival. As always it was a great day out spent riding behind various vintage diesels and sampling various excellent ales!
Below are some of the photos taken on the day, featuring some of the diesels that we travelled behind.
We arrived at Norden just before 8:00 am and decided to walk to Corfe Castle to catch the 08:30 train to Wareham, having never travelled on this stretch of line before. The photo above was taken at Norden, as we commenced our walk to Corfe Castle.
This photograph was taken in Corfe Castle and anyone who knows the village will appreciate just how difficult it can be to take a photograph here with the road devoid of any traffic, especially in the summer months. Maybe the fact that it was only 08:00 am helped!
At Corfe Castle station, the first Wareham shuttle service of the day arrives on time at 08:30 - headed by D6515 ...
... and tailed by 20007.
50049 'Defiance' was one of two Class 50s used during the gala. The second one, 50031 'Hood' was actually a replacement for Class 37 37521, which was unfortunately unavailable. Here we glimpse Defiance through the trees at Norden as she backs onto her train to form the 10:00 from Norden to Swanage.
 Now we see her on Platform 1 at Swanage having arrived and been released from her train.
 Meanwhile, on Platform 2, is Class 45 45041 'Royal Tank Regiment'.
Also on duty during the weekend was this Class 35 Diesel Hydraulic 'Hymek' - D7017. This provided me with my first ride behind one of these lovely locos and doesn't she look great in her BR Green livery?
A head-on photograph of D7017, standing on Platform 1 at Swanage.
A couple of photographs showing inside the engine compartment of D7017.
The Class 45 arrives at Norden with the 12:46 from Swanage.
... while 'Hood' and 'Defiance' await their next turn of duty. Of course, the Class 50s never did carry this rather striking Inter-City livery during their working lives, although they did come very close during the late 1980s! Personally, I think the colour scheme suits them extremely well!
A close-up of Hood's nameplate and crest.
A final shot of Hood, at Norden, having arrived with the 18:15 from Swanage. This should have been hauled by 20142, in its London Transport livery, but, sadly, had to be replaced by Hood when, apparently, its brakes failed.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Coaching Stock - Part 3

Time to feature some more of our coaching stock and, this time, it is the Lima Chocolate and Cream Mk 1s.
We have eight of these coaches comprising the following types:
BR Mk 1 Gangwayed Full Brake (BG)
We have just the one of Full Brake and its Running Number is W24680. The Catalogue Number is L305345 and this model dates from around 1980.
BR Mk1 Corridor Second Class (SK)
There are two Corridor Second Class coaches in our fleet, both with the Running Number W26070. This one has a Cambrian Coast Express coach board which has never been removed. The Catalogue Number is L305362 and it dates from 1982.
BR Mk1 Restaurant Buffet (RBR)
We just have the one Restaurant Buffet car. Its Running Number is W24760, the Catalogue Number is L305322 and it dates from 1980.
BR Mk1 Corridor Composite (CK)
We have two of these Corridor Composite coaches, both with the Running Number W24624. The Catalogue Number is L305313 and they both date from 1979.
BR Mk1 Corridor Brake Second (BSK)
We also have two of these Brake Second Class coaches. The Running Number is W24528, the Catalogue Number is L305333 and they both date from 1979.
Finally, and with nothing whatsoever to do with the preceding coaches, here we see Class 50 - 50011 'Centurion' - heading north, in charge of a short rake of small oil tankers.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Collecting Seacows

We had left a rake of Seacows, together with a 50T PROCOR hopper wagon in the Ballast Yard a couple of weeks ago so we thought that, this week, it was about time they were collected and put away for safety.
We therefore sent along 37057 'Viking' to do the honours and the photos below show her in performing her task admirably!
In the photo above, Viking has already collected the first few hoppers and is now reversing back into the yard to collect some more.
Here we see the Class 37 slowly inching her way through the cutting and around the bend ...
... and into the yard.
Now we see her reversing on to the two hoppers in the middle siding, the rearmost of which has been loaded with ballast.

A close-up of her coupling up to the two hoppers.

Finally, she couples up to the 50 ton PROCOR wagon ...

... before slowly departing through the cutting and away, much to the relief of the traffic being held up at the level crossing!

Details of the rolling stock are as follows:

Bachmann Class 37 37057 'Viking". Catalogue Nº: 32-781DS. Originally came with factory-fitted sound but has since been reblown with Olivias Trains sound files, which, I must say, are excellent!

Hornby Departmental YCB Seacow Hopper Wagons in Dutch Livery. Catalogue Nº: R6288.

Lima 50T PROCOR Hopper Wagon. Catalogue Nº: L305635.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Mail Order

As we have recently started adding a few items of Royal Mail rolling stock to our fleet we thought that we ought to add the Bachmann Scenecraft TPO Apparatus somewhere on the layout. 
This would then enable future Royal Mail trains to deliver and collect letters and parcels whilst on the move!
The Catalogue Nº is 44-045 and the apparatus comes in three pieces: 
A small hut in front of which there is yellow and black warning sign
A net catcher, to catch the mail bags that are thrown from the train
A post with two arms, holding mail bags ready for collection by the passing mail train.
Sadly this is a non-working item but it does look good and fits in well with our mail coaches.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Coaching Stock - Part 2

Time to feature some more of our coaching stock and, this time, it is our fleet of Lima Blue and Grey liveried Mk1's. 
We do have quite a few of these coaches since it enables us to compile two or three rakes for use on various types of services.
There are four varieties of these coaches in the fleet and they are as follows:

We currently have six SKs in our fleet, all with the Running M25308 (Catalogue Nº: L305361) although these numbers will probably be changed in the future.

These coaches date from around 1982. 

At present we only have two SO blue & grey coaches although we do hope to add a couple more in the future. Both coaches are numbered E4630 (Catalogue Nº L305383) and, again, the number on one of them will be changed in due course.

These coaches date from around 1987.

We have eight CKs and all have the Running Nº W43671 (Catalogue Nº L305315). We definitely need to change these so that each coach is differently numbered.

They all date from around 1980.

Finally we have four BSKs all of which are numbered W43281 (Catalogue Nº L305331) and all of which date from 1979.
All of these coaches have been weathered to varying degrees, especially the bogies and all run very well too.

With the exception of adding, maybe, a couple more SO's to the fleet, I think this is as many of these coaches as we need for the services that we run on the layout.

As such they can be seen on expresses, semi-fasts and stopping trains and are also used for seating accommodation on the occasional sleeper service.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Type 2 Diesels

Moving on to Type 2 locomotives, we currently have five of these in our fleet and all them, except one, are in weathered condition.
The North British diesel-hydraulic Class 22, or 'Baby Warship' as she was also known due to its similarity to the BR Class 41 Warship Class of locomotive. 
The Class 22 was introduced in 1959 and consisted of 58 locomotives, numbered D6300-D6357. Initially there were problems with the transmission and the engines, albeit these were nowhere near as bad as those issues with the company's diesel-electric equivalent Class 21 locomotives.
Besides which, following repairs by NBL their reliability did improve somewhat although they were soon displaced by the more powerful Hymeks and Class 42 Warships.
Our model is by Dapol (Catalogue Nº: D1000d) and is a great little runner. It has a Howes DCC sound decoder fitted and is used on similar duties to it bigger sisters, namely, freight workings, local passenger trains and ECS workings.
Sadly, none of these locos survived into preservation although D6319 was purchased from BR but was cut up at Swindon before the purchaser could save it from the cutter's torch.
One Locomotive (D6319) was purchased by a private individual from BR, but it was cut up at Swindon before the buyer could retrieve it.
On a more positive note, 'The Project Class 22 Society' do plan to build a new locomotive and their website, for those who are interested, is here
Built by English Electric at its Vulcan Foundry, the Class 23, or Baby Deltics, were another small class of locomotives, numbering only 10 in the fleet. It used the Napier Deltic T9-29 9-cylinder engine of 1,100 bhp, a single version of the engine used in the Class 55 locomotive.
As with the Class 22's, they were introduced in 1959 but, unfortunately, this was another prototype diesel that was beset with problems and they were all withdrawn by 1971. Once again, none of the fleet survived although one of the Napier T29 engines did avoid being cut-up and this is now being used (together with the body of 37372) by the Baby Deltic Project to build a new Class 23 - D5310.
Their website is:
As with the prototypes, our Heljan model (Catalogue Nº 2323) also gave us a few problems in that the drive shaft kept dropping out. I replaced it myself a couple of times but eventually decided to send it back to Howes who managed to effect a more permanent repair.
Our loco has been weathered and is fitted with a Howes DCC sound decoder and she does sound amazing. We use her for a variety of tasks from frieght to ECs to both local and semi-fast passenger work.
D5909 was also the only member of the class to receive the full rail-blue livery.
Our model of the Class 24 (24081) is by the Sutton Locomotive Works (Catalogue Nº: 2402) and is a great model in so many ways. She looks fantastic, she sounds amazing and is just like the real locomotive to drive!
She is fitted with DCC sound (plus stay-alive capacitor) and has two speakers, which means her sound quality is awesome.
The model also features the later exhaust arrangement, exposed solebars and plated over front doors.
The class numbered 151 locos and were built between 1958 and 1961 with 24081 being the last one to be withdrawn in October 1980. It is also one of only four of the class to have been preserved.
Our model is very much a mixed traffic loco and can be seen on a variety of goods trains as well as on both local and semi-fast passenger workings.
So popular is this loco with us that we have put in an order for a two-tone green version (D5040) due to be available in the summer.
Our Class 25 locomotive is by Bachmann and, in fact, she started out as 25245 (Catalogue Nº: 32-326DS) although we later had her weathered and renumbered as 25248. She also originally she came with Bachmann's factory-fitted DCC sound files but we have since had her reblown with Howes sound files.
There were 327 Class 25's built, between 1961 and 1967 and so ubiquitous were they that they became known as 'Rats' by trainspotters. 
The final 25 was withdrawn in March 1987 but, happily, 20 of the class were saved for posterity although, sadly, neither 25245 nor 25248 is amongst those preserved.
Our final Type 2 locomotive, at least for the moment, is this Hornby Class 31, 31268, Catalogue Nº: R2413B. She came factory-weathered and we have not added to that weathering although, as with most of our locos, she has been fitted with a Howes DCC sound decoder. 
She is a great loco, too, and sounds fantastic although, of late, she has started giving us trouble by frequently derailing, especially on points. I am not sure why this is and is something that we need to investigate.
The prototype Class 31's became the BR standard Class 2 locomotives and 263 of them were built between 1957 and 1962.
Such was their success that 26 of the class have been purchased / preserved (although unfortunately not 31268) and they can still occasionally be seen on the main line today. 
Our loco, when she is running well, can be seen in charge of the same variety of trains that the prototypes could be seen handling across the BR network.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Type 1 Diesels

We currently have four Type 1 diesels in our fleet and we use these for both shunting as well as for main line working. All are fitted with sound and have been weathered subsequent to purchase.
This is the Heljan Class 15, Catalogue Nº 1508, which we have had fitted with Howes sound files. It is a very popular loco on our layout and is used for both shunting purposes as well as the occasional freight working. It is seldom seen hauling passenger trains but is frequently used on ECS workings.
Only 44 of the prototype locos were produced; they were designed by British Thomson-Houston and built by the Yorkshire Engine Company and the Clayton Equipment Company between 1957 and 1961. 
They were numbered D8200 - D8243 and, although they definitely had their problems, they were more successful than the contemporary Class 16 and Class 17 Type 1 locomotives.
Only one Class 15 has been preserved, D8233, and she is currently undergoing restoration work by the Class 15 Preservation Society -
Happily for us, unlike the prototypes, our model is a reliable and popular little runner.

Our Heljan Class 17 (or Clayton Type 1) is a model of the only one of these locos to be preserved. It is here seen in it's Ribble Cement (now Castle Cement) livery wherein it was used by the company to shunt heavy trains at Clitheroe. 
In 1983 it was purchased from them by the Diesel Traction Group for the princely sum of £1,000. Since then it has spent most of its time at Chinnor where it has undergone an overhaul and repaint. Indeed, since the DTG carried out preventive maintenance on the loco, it has greatly improved its reliability and it is a great shame that BR did not try and do something similar, instead of withdrawing all 117 of the locos as hastily as they did.
Our model is another good performer and is used for shunting coal wagons up the Tipper Branch as well as other assorted freight duties. She is also, occasionally, to be seen hauling local passenger trains.
Once again she has been fitted with Howes sound files and we love her two-tone horn, which is really rather mournful!
This is the first of two Class 20 Type 1 locomotives that we have in our fleet and she can be seen performing all manner of duties on the layout, from shunting and ECS work to hauling various goods trains and some local passenger services, both on the main line and up the branch.
This Class 20 is by Bachmann, Catalogue Nº 32-033DS, and she still has the factory-fitted sound files, which are much better than Bachmann's previous attempt (see below) and she has also been weathered since we acquired her.
As for the prototype 8158, she came into service in September 1966 and was renumbered 20158 under the TOPS scheme. Sadly she was withdrawn in May 1989 and cut up in March 1991.
The second Class 20 that we have is also by Bachmann, Catalogue Nº 32-035DS, and she was actually acquired before 8158. As with her sister, she also came with factory-fitted sound but, as I alluded above, this initial attempt by Bachmann at the Class 20 sound files was pretty poor so she was soon sent to Howes to be reblown and, I must admit, she sounds very good indeed. 
As with her green stablemate she has been weathered since purchase and is similarly called upon to perform a wide variety of duties, all of which both locos perform with great aplomb.
With regards to the prototype 20034, she began life as D8034 and came into service in March 1960. She was, though, withdrawn after 8158, in October 1990 and was cut up in July 1991.
228 of these highly successful and reliable Type 1 locomotives were produced and many were either preserved or went into private ownership.