Sunday, April 9, 2017

Dirty Looks

Here we see 'Before' and 'After' photographs of two of the most recent additions to our locomotive fleet - namely a Heljan Class 35 and a Bachmann Class 40.
The After photos were taken at the same location as the ones Before and, as you can see, both locos have been fairly heavily weathered and, to me, they look pretty good too; much more life-like than before.
As you may know, from previous posts, we have had most of our locos (and rolling stock) brilliantly weathered by Alex at Mikron Models in Taunton and he continued to do a few jobs for us, for a while, after the shop sadly closed in 2014 - yes we still miss that amazing shop!
However, with the need to find someone else to weather these two newly-acquired locos, we thought we would try Scott at The Weathering Works.
I had previously purchased, through e-Bay, a couple of wagons that he had weathered and was very pleased with how they looked. I then visited his website and could tell that he knew what he was doing so I sent these two locos to him on the 15 February. 
They duly returned last Saturday (1 April) and we are very pleased with the results. The turnaround time, of around 6 weeks, was a bit longer than Alex used to take and much more than the two weeks that others (like TMC) state in their advertising. 
However, he does seem to be quite a busy chap and, provided we are happy with the results (and we are), the timescales are not such an issue.
For the moment we have no more locos that need weathering but we do have several rakes of coaches that require dirtying up a bit. Therefore we may well send some of these to Scott and send some to other weathering services, such as TMC and Grimy Times, to see how they compare.
I will report back with our findings!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring Clean

The train is about to depart Sueston
Here it is seen passing Petersfield
A different angle of the train at Petersfield
Arrival at Gunnmere Junction.
About to depart Gunnmere for the journey to Davemoor.
Having acquired three of the Tri-ang Track Cleaning cars (R344) recently we thought we would run a track cleaning train around the layout instead of employing our more usual method of track rubbers plus lots of elbow grease.
The train was hauled by a Class 20 and consisted of the three aforementioned Track Cleaning Cars plus the Hornby Track Cleaning Coach (R296) with the Dapol Motorised Track Cleaner (B800) bringing up the rear in vacuum cleaner mode.
The first two cars behind the loco had a small amount of Goo Gone applied to each of their cleaning pads while the third track cleaning car (green) had Wahls Cutter oil applied to its pad.
Goo Gone is very good at removing anything that is stuck to the rails, while the clipper oil lubricates the track and helps to prevent any unwanted build-up on the rails. The Hornby Cleaning Coach was added to help remove any dirt softened / loosened by the Goo Gone.
Unfortunately, the Dapol Motorised Cleaning car is faulty and only works intermittently. I think the spindle that rotates the vacuum cleaner catches somewhere and, therefore, does not spin freely. It did pick up some debris so it obviously does what it is supposed to do but it clearly has a problem somewhere.
As for the track cleaning itself this all seemed to work very well although there were some problems on points, with the various pads and abrasers (on the Hornby coach) catching from time to time.
However, judging by the colour of the white pads after the cleaning was completed, I would say that the train did its job very well and the track certainly looked and felt a lot cleaner afterwards.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Trains at Gunnmere and Davemoor

Here are a few photographs of trains at Gunnmere and, in the last picture, at Davemoor.
Gunnmere is our main intermediate station and is also the junction for the branch line to Anchwood.
In the first two photos we see Class 23 'Baby Deltic', D5909, at the head of a short rake of milk tanks that would have started their journey at the milk depot just outside of Sueston.
In the next couple of photos, two express trains call at the station. The southbound train to Sueston is hauled by Class 45 45053 whilst 50007 'Sir Edward Elgar' is at the head of the train heading towards Davemoor.
In the final photograph we again see 50007 standing at Platform 2 at Davemoor, having arrived with its train. Meanwhile, at Platform 4, Class 37 37057 'Viking' stands having earlier brought in a stopping train from the south.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Shredded Wheat Train

The 'Shredded Wheat' is an N Gauge train that was made by Graham Farish for the Shredded Wheat Co. in 1989.
The locomotive could be obtained from the cereal company by sending 3 tokens, plus £1.00; or one token, plus £5.00, with the tokens available on packets of Shredded Wheat. 
The coaches were acquired separately (in pairs) by sending a single token plus £2.99.
The loco is non-motorized so is not intended for layout running. 
However, it must be possible to (carefully) change the couplings on both the loco and the coaches. 
The loco is free running so would be great for double-heading.
I really don't know how many set of these cute little trains were made but it is one that I have never seen before and one that I was delighted to acquire recently.

Monday, October 17, 2016

And Then There Was Four

The latest edition to our locomotive fleet is the Bachmann BR Standard Class 4MT 2-6-4 Tank Nº 80120, Catalogue Nº 32-354A, seen in the two photographs above. She is a late crested version and has been factory weathered and I think she looks very nice!
I picked her up, second-hand, at a recent toy and train fair and, although she is not sound fitted, she has already been fitted with a DCC decoder so that we can run her - and she does run extremely well!
In the first photograph she is seen at Carswater, at the head of a local train, while, in the second photograph, we see her standing below the long footbridge at at Manxton.
This now brings to four the number of steam locomotives that we have in our fleet - all of which are members of classes that were regular performers on the Somerset and Dorset Railway.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Hoppy Event

Here we see Class 56, 56082, at the head of a rake of empty seacow hopper wagons, after departing Gunnmere and heading north towards the ballast yard at Carswater.
We now see the train passing Mankston, with the branch line to Anchwood running above, and in parallel with, the main line.

Having reached Carswater, the train reverses around the curve, through the cutting ....

.... over a level crossing and into the ballast yard.

The train brings traffic to a standstill while it shunts its rake of hoppers into the yard.

Now for a view from the rear of the train as the hoppers are squeezed into the yard between rock face and buildings.

A close-up of the Grid as she stands at the head of her train.

Next we see 56082 passing through Carswater with her hoppers now fully loaded.

Before she then passes through the high-sided cutting, just beyond the station, in this final view of the train.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Somerset and Dorset Steam Special

We do not run many steam locos on the layout as it is set in BR Blue Diesel era.
However, living where I do, I obviously have a great love of the Somerset and Dorset Railway and, therefore, we do have a few S&D related items in the collection, some of which are shown in the photographs above.
Our prize possession is the Limited Edition, Bachmann Fowler Class 7F 2-8-0 Nº 88 in Prussian Blue. This in Catalogue Nº 20-2012 and was released, as the number suggests, in 2012.
We have fitted her with a sound decoder by Howes, albeit a generic one, and have run it occasionally.
In the first four photos it is seen travelling along the branch line to Anchwood, stopping at High Bridge, en route.
In the penultimate photo, we see it back on the main line, emerging from the tunnel on its way to Carswater.
Finally, the 7F is joined by a couple of other recently acquired Hornby S&DJR locomotives, namely:

Fowler Class 2P 4-4-0 Nº 25 - Catalogue Nº: R3029.
Class 3F 0-6-0 'Jinty' Nº 24 - Catalogue Nº: R2882
The Prussian Blue colouring is a bit too light on these locos, to be honest, especially on the 3F but this one is from the Railroad range.
The 2P can be seen on the branch, hauling a rake of non-prototypical S&D coaches by Dapol. These are also limited editions (150, I believe) and are based on old Airfix coaches. They are not brilliant but do look good behind a blue S&D loco!
The 2-8-0, meanwhile, is hauling a rake of maroon coaches, reminiscent of the Pines Express that these locos were often called upon to haul over the Mendips.
Finally the Jinty can be seen emerging from the tunnel at the head of a rake of coal wagons. This again recalls the days when these locos were often to be seen hauling similar coal wagons in and around the collieries of Radstock and Midsomer Norton.