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introduced in 1959 but, unfortunately, this was another prototype diesel that was beset with problems and they were all withdrawn by 1971.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.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Diesel Shunters

Following on from last week's posting: Coaching Stock - Part 1, I thought I would continue, this week, by describing the shunters that we currently have working on the layout then follow this with future postings showing all of the other locos from Type 1 to Type 5. 
Currently we have just three true shunters working on the layout and these are as follows:
This little loco was acquired, primarily, to work the Ballast Yard, shunting and marshalling the various hopper wagons, as they arrive. The loco is by Hornby, Catalogue Nº R3180, and is in Tarmac Green livery and was factory weathered. This loco is fitted with a DCC decoder although, as yet, is one of the very few locos that does not currently have sound.
Class 03 0-6-0 DIESEL MECHANICAL SHUNTER - 03162
I love the Class 03 shunters and this particular model is a cracker and is full of detail so we just had to have it working on the layout. However, like other Class 03's that I have heard about, it is a poor runner and hates traversing points! It could be that some, or all, of the wipers need cleaning but it certainly is a very contrary beast. 
The loco is by Bachmannan, Catalogue Nº is 31-363, and it was factory weathered although we have had extra weathering applied since purchase. It is fitted with Howes sound files and it does sound very good although, strangely, it does seem to run better with the sound off! It is also quite weighty for a little loco and can easily handle whatever duties we give her.
Happily the prototype of this particular loco survives and is currently awaiting repairs at the Llangollen Railway. It was built in 1960 and was originally numbered D2170.
Class 08 0-6-0 DIESEL ELECTRIC SHUNTER - D3105
Finally we have the Class 08 and, for the moment, there is just one of this archetypal diesel shunter working on the layout although we do plan to add a second one in the fullness of time. 
This model is by Hornby, Catalogue Nº R2903XS and, as the number suggests, this model came with factory-fitted sound, however, we have since had it reblown with the Howes sound files. 
This is a much better runner than the Class 03 although it is, occasionally, a bit stuttery over some of the points. 
The prototype of this model was renumbered 08080 in June 1974 and, although I cannot find out what happened to her, I do not think she is amongst those that survived into preservation.

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.