Sunday, November 30, 2014

Coming Along Nicely

This past two or three weeks has seen quite a bit of progress not only in the new, central, section but also at Davemoor and Gunnmere.
The station at Carswater (see top two photographs) is looking good and we will be turning our attention to the Ballast Depot before too long. Name boards and signals still need to be added to Carswater but she is almost finished now.
Meanwhile, the frontage area of Davemoor (as seen in the third photograph) has now been turned into a car park complete with a bus stop and a small Memorial Garden. 
The paving across the front of the station entrance was created using the Metcalfe Self-adhesive Paving Slabs (P0210). Davemoor still has to have lighting as well as name boards and signalling added but it is coming along very nicely now.
The main station building and the buildings on the island platform at Davemoor are all from the Bachmann range of Art Deco Station Buildings and, I think, they look very good too. They are quite different to what has been used at other stations and, indeed, all of the stations have used different styles of buildings and this, to my mind, makes for a nice variety.
Over to Gunnmere now and you can see from the fourth photograph that we have changed the goods siding here to include the Bachmann Corrugated Goods Shed (Catalogue 44-006) and the re-use of the Hornby Cattle Dock R8790. This used to be in a different location, before the layout was altered and we were not sure if we would be able to use it again but, happily, it will fit in here quite well. 
The area around and behind the signal box at Gunnmere has also been improved - and an old Tri-ang Advertising Hoarding added for good measure!

Monday, November 17, 2014

50s In The 80s

Here are three photographs that I took, on 35 mm slide film, of Class 50s in the early 1980s.
The first one, I believe, is 50017 Royal Oak at Exeter St Davids having just arrived with a train from Waterloo.
This photograph was taken in the summer of 1980, not long after the fleet had taken over the Waterloo to Exeter services, in May 1980.
The middle photograph is of a rather dirty 50003 'Temeraire' standing at Paddington with a train from Oxford. This was taken in the spring of 1981.
Finally we have 50037 'Illustrious' about to depart Waterloo with a train for Exeter St Davids on a wet summer's day in 1980.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Outlines of Power - Nº 4 : EE Type 1 (Class 20)

For the fourth 'Outlines of Power' article by Mike Turner, that the magazine 'Rail Enthusiast' ran during the early 1980s, we have the English Electric Class 20 with a terrific portrait of D8000 in her original BR green livery.
The accompanying annotation reads as follows:
The first English Electric Type 1 Bo-Bo, later designated Class 20, emerged from Vulcan Foundry, in Lancashire, more than 25 years ago and, amazingly, most members of the class are still around. The long-nosed diesel-electrics normally work in pairs, joined nose-to-nose to give drivers an unrestricted view from the flat cab ends. The Class 20s are powered by an eight-cylinder English Electric 8SVT Mk 2 diesel, energising four traction motors (one to each axle), and weigh in at around 72 tons.
The prototype, D8000, is now awaiting conversion to a near-permanent display at the National Railway Museum, York, and most of the others in a class, which once numbered over 220, are either in store or still at work. Their normal duties are mixed freight, engineering or MGR trains, but, at a pinch, they have been used on enthusiasts' or holiday specials.
Mike Turner's painting shows D8000 in her original green livery, and captures the spirit of this reliable, rugged and long-lived class. The accompanying technical drawings are by Russell Carter.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Steam Preservation

I recently came across these three Tri-ang Hornby Steam Locomotives, all of which were still in their original, cellophane-sealed boxes.
All of the models date from the 1960s and 1970s and it must be very unusual to find them in this unopened and unused condition.
The first model is, of course, Nº 4472 LNER Class A3 Pacific 'Flying Scotsman, Catalogue Nº: R.855. This model has a corridor tender and glowing firebox and it dates from between 1968 and 1970.
The second is a Southern Region Maunsell Class L1 4-4-0, Nº 1757, Catalogue Nº: R.350. This one dates from between 1971 and 1972.
Finally we have a GWR Class 57xx 0-6-0 Pannier Tank, Nº 8751, with smoke! The Catalogue Nº for this locomotive is R51S and she dates from between 1971 and 1974.
All of the locos are in a lovely condition and, I should imagine, would be highly collectible.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Outlines of Power - Nº 3 : English Electric Class 50

Here we have the third of the 'Outlines of Power' articles by Mike Turner that the magazine 'Rail Enthusiast' ran during the early 1980s. 
This one featured the English Electric Class 50s with a fantastic portrait of 50003 'Temeraire' in large logo livery.
The accompanying annotation, which may be too small to see on the picture, reads as follows:
Mike Turner's painting of 50003 'Temeraire, in the bright new livery applied during the type's refurbishment at Doncaster Works, compliments Russell Carter's outline drawing of sister loco 50023 'Howe'. The Class 50s, originally leased to British Railways, were built by English Electric at Vulcan Foundry, Newton-le-Willows, in 1967 and 1968. A total of 50 are in service on the Western Region, although their early days were spent on the London Midland before the full electrification of the West Coast Main Line to Glasgow.
Technical details:
Type: Co-Co diesel-electric; Weight: 115 tons; Tractive Effort: 48,500lb; Maximum Speed: 100 mph; Fuel Tank Capacity: 1055 gallons; Brake Type: air/vacuum; Brake Force, 59 tons; Engine: English Electric 16-cylinder 16 CSVT; Horsepower: 2,700; Traction Motors: six English Electric 538/5 of 400 hp; ETH Index: 61; Route Availability: 6.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Brush / Hawker Syddeley HS4000 'Kestrel'

I thought it would be a good idea to follow the previous posting, featuring Heljans OO gauge model of the Brush / Hawker Syddeley designed Type 5 prototype diesel locomotive 'HS4000' with a couple of photographs of the original.
The top photograph was taken on 29th January 1968 with the loco in pristine condition departing Marylebone station at the head of a special Press test train.
Unfortunately, I do not have any details for the second photograph but it was probably taken towards the end of its working days for BR.
Kestrel was, without doubt the supreme of all the prototypes, being as powerful and rugged in its performance as it was in its appearance.
It was introduced in 1968 and BR were originally delighted with their new, high power, locomotive. However, they found, to their concern, that with a running weight of 133 tons, mounted on to Co-Co bogies, it was greatly in excess of their existing axle limitations.
The  high performance of HS4000 was tested on various freight trains during the early part of 1968 but BR did not really use it to its full potential.
On 8 May a train consisting of 20 standard Mk 1 coaches, weighing in excess of 665 tons, was hauled up Shap Bank by HS4000, topping the summit at an amazing 46 mph. This was indeed the first time that the locomotive had been seen working to its full operating potential.
Later, in August 1968, a special test train was arranged to put Kestrel through her paces when a train of 2,028 tons, formed of 32 ton open hopper wagons, was hauled between Mansfield and Lincoln. This was announced at the time as being the heaviest train to operate on the BR network.
For much of its early life HS4000 was employed hauling coal trains between Shirebrook and March (Whitmore Yard)  because  BR engineers would not let the locomotive haul passenger services until the axle loading had been reduced. So, Kestrel was called back to Falcon Works at Loughborough early in 1969 to be fitted with modified Class 47 bogies.
Following this refitting, Kestrel duly took up the 'Deltic' diagram of the 07:55 King's Cross to Newcastle and the 16:45 return service.
Its passenger train running was superb with an 89% availability and virtually 100% timekeeping.
During 1970 the locomotive was employed hauling one of the heavy daily freightliner services between London and the north.
Following an engine overhaul in September 1970, the loco returned to its original coal train duties between Shirebrook and Whitmoor Yard before being finally withdrawn in early 1971 having accrued only 136,646 miles.
The loco was then sold to the USSR where it was displayed at the railway exhibition at Scherbinka during the summer of 1971. Since then very little was known of HS4000 but it is believed to have been finally scrapped during the early 1990s.

The Kestrel Takes Flight

In the photographs, above, we see prototype diesel, HS4000 'Kestrel' calling at the newly illuminated Carswater station.
We actually acquired this Heljan model a few months ago but it has only recently been fitted with a Howes sound decoder so this is the big bird's maiden flight, so to speak.
We hope to get her weathered in the not too distant future and, I am sure, she will be a future star of the occasional video in the future.
As well as the platform lights, we have also added fencing and people to this station although we still need to add signalling here and station name boards etc.
The trackwork in this central section of the layout is now complete and we have been concentrating on the scenery. 
We have also been spending some time giving the track throughout the rest of the layout a thoroughly good clean, it having been neglected for the past few months while we concentrated on rebuilding the northern half of the layout.
Hopefully, soon, we will be running regular trains over the complete system, as well as making some videos, too, to upload to YouTube and this blog.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Slowly Getting There

As you can see from the photographs above, we have been making steady progress with this new section of the layout. Carswater station now has fencing and buildings, the ballast depot is coming along nicely and more of the hills have been grassed over.
The track here has almost all been ballasted too and this should be finished next weekend. 
Of course there is still much more work to be done, both here and elsewhere on the layout, but at least we can start running trains again - once the track has had a deep and thorough clean!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Built-up Area

From the photographs above you will see that we have been busily working on the new, central, section of the layout during the past few weeks. 
As a result, this area now looks vastly different to how it was in my post entitled 'The Second Crossing'.
Lots of hills have been constructed and there is now a lake, albeit a dry one at the moment, opposite the new station.
We have also started work on the Ballast Depot with a re-alignment of the track following the acquisition of new buildings. These buildings were constructed using the Knightwing Mine Top Buildings kit (PM113) and were expertly put together and wonderfully weathered by Alex of Mikron Models, Taunton. This area will slowly be developed during the next few weeks.
The new station (called Carswater) has also acquired a station building and footbridge. These are the Hornby Skaledale Hagley Station (R9752) and Covered Footbridge (R9751). We still need to add more buildings to this station but this is a start.
Meanwhile the hills that have sprung up in this area are slowly being covered by grasses and trees and, when finished, should look quite spectacular.
So, watch this space for further developments!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vulcan's Bad Baby

Class 23, D5906, is pictured on a down train at Belle Isle on March 18 1961.
Photo: R C Riley
Sporting the 2B65 headcode and two-tone green livery, D5900 prepares
to leave King's Cross in February 1965. Photo: Jim Slater

It is generally accepted by both professional railwaymen and enthusiasts alike that the English Electric range of locomotives, from the humble but efficient Class 08 shunters to the high and mighty Class 55 "Deltics" were a pretty good investment for British Railways.
However, there was a "black sheep" in the family of EE locomotives - and that was the class of ten Type 2 diesel electric locomotives, otherwise known as Baby Deltics.
These locos were 1100 hp Bo-Bos, with BR Numbers D5900 - D5909 that were introduced in 1959.
Sadly, they were to be retained in BR revenue-earning service for less than 12 years, during which time there would be long periods when they were either out of service or back at the manufacturers.
The "Baby Deltics" were of conventional build with their superstructures being similar, in both construction and external appearance, to the Class 37 and Class 40 locomotives although, of course, the Type 2's were much shorter than their sisters.
When completed at Vulcan Foundry, in late 1958, the locomotives were found to be too heavy and BR subsequently refused to take delivery. Various measures were taken to reduce weight, including drilling holes in the bogie beams and frames as well as in some of the internal structural members. However, even when they were eventually accepted by the Eastern Region in 1959, the "Baby Deltics" were still too heavy and were banned from certain routes in the London area.
Once in traffic they were soon found wanting due, largely, to engine failures. They tended to throw their pistons and their cylinder liners would often work loose. Both defects that would lead to engine damage which, in turn, would require a change of power unit.
Most serious was a spate of fractured auxiliary drive shafts which caused an immediate loss of the fan, traction motor cooling and air pressure, which would lead to overheating.
The broken drive shafts would then flail around in the engine room, cutting through pipework, radiators and other components and cause complete engine seizure.
Their poor availability and frequent failures in traffic made them very unpopular with everyone; not least BR management.
One by one the locos seized up, with Stratford being the collecting point for the withdrawn members of the class. By the middle of 1962 only D5900, D5901, D5905 and D5907 had survived and each of these slowly succumbed until the last one, D5905, was finally withdrawn in June 1963.
All ten locos were duly returned to English Electric where they were parked in a siding together with the similarly ill-fated EE Gas Turbine 4-6-0 Nº GT3.
One by one the Baby Deltics were taken back into the shops and mechanically refurbished, re-engined. They also had their nose ends fitted with flush panels and a four-character route indicator. A new two-tone green livery was applied, which was similar to that worn by the big, twin engined "Deltics".
By the middle of 1965 all ten locos were back in use and, although some improvement in performance and availability was recorded, the "Baby Deltics" never lived down their previous bad reputation and local commuter workings, empty stock haulage and station pilot duties were their usual lot!
By 1967 they were considered to be non-standard, which was another way of saying that they were  to be scrapped!
The first to go was D5906 in October 1968. D5907 followed later the same month and, by early 1969 D5900/3/4/8 had joined them on the scrap heap.
The remaining four locos were then a familiar sight outside of Finsbury Park depot, where they stood for several months in the company of a doomed Class 15.
D5902 was withdrawn towards the end of 1969 while D5901 was sent to Derby Research Centre for driving control experiments. D5905 was the next to go, in February 1971, while the blue liveried D5909 managed to linger on for just another few weeks.
Then there was one! 
D5901 continued in traffic through the early 1970s, usually to be seen in charge of the mobile adhesion test laboratory train. However, it was eventually replaced by a Class 24 and was duly dumped at Doncaster Works in January 1977.
This time there was to be no escape for what was, by then, the remaining member of the class and it is sad to think that it met its end while the attention of enthusiasts and preservationists was diverted to what was happening to the diesel-hydraulics on the Western Region.
What a pity that there is not just one less Class 52 so that a Baby Deltic could have found its way into preservation.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Second Crossing

We have now made the second crossing, between the main line and the new central section, although this has still to be wired to the bus.
With space at a premium here, not helped by our desire to include a ballast depot, it has been tight getting the track from the station to the point where it must cross the new 'bridge'.
I think we have finally cracked it, by using Radius 2 curves and some flexi-track.
Hopefully, during the Easter break, we should get the track fixed down and wired to the bus - and, hopefully, we might even run a short test train.
It will be interesting to see how this area develops during the coming months and I will, of course, report on our progress throughout.

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Looking All White!

Over the weekend we progressed the railway on the central section so that it has now reached, what will be, Carswater station, albeit is a bit incomplete at the moment.
The track has been raised off of the board slightly using the white foam board so that we can include a small lake near the station.
We are still not sure if we will use all or some of the ridge that is currently dividing the baseboard almost in two. It does make a good scenic break, between Carswater and its environs and the ballast depot on the other side. 
We just have to decide how best to fit it in.
So, in the meantime, watch this (white) space!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Central Line

So, I hear you all ask, what's been happening on the Lakeland Railway since the last posting?
Well, whether you are asking or not, it has been quite a while since I gave an update and, as you can see from the photographs, quite a bit of progress has been made during the past few weeks.
In the first picture you will see that Manxton now has working lamps. The main station building also has lights but these are, currently, ordinary bulbs rather than LEDs and do not shine as brightly. This will doubtless be rectified in due course! 
The white area in front of the station is not snow but a layer of plaster to provide a smooth surface for the road and station car park.
The second picture shows the central area with a rough idea of the track layout marked in chalk. There is to be a new station here (the tenth one on the layout) although it is only partially shown here.
The long thing in the middle of the table is a hill that we made in the very early days of the layout and, because of its sentimental value, we would like to use all or some of it again to divide the new ballast depot, which will be to its right, from the station and its environs, to its left.
In the third picture you can see that the car park and road, in front of Manxton, have both now been painted while, in the fourth photograph, Class 53 'Falcon' takes a short test train across the first of the two removable crossings between the central section and the main line running around the side of the Shed.
The track over both crossings will be single, with a passing loop through the new station. This should make it operationally interesting as trains have to wait to enter the single line sections.
Now, you might ask why, then, is the bridge so wide? Well, this is because it is going to carry a road as well the railway to give vehicular access to both the ballast depot and the station.
The track across the bridge does have to rise very slightly (the reason for which will become clear in future postings. This made life a little awkward and the test train was more to check the continuity of the electrical supply and the smoothness of the track rather than the strength of the bridge. 
And, I am happy to report, the first crossing went very smoothly indeed.

Monday, January 27, 2014


At the weekend we started planting trees along the embankment between the main line, running along the bottom, and the branch line, running along the top.
The trees are from a pack of Gaugemaster Seafoam Trees (GM195), which were duly treated with spray on glue and then sprinkled, dipped and coated with various shades of green scatter material.
The fencing, along either side of the branchline, is the faithful old Hornby Trackside Fencing (R537), of which we had plenty, with the bottom bar removed to make it a three-bar fence rather than a four.
More trees, bushes and undergrowth will be added during the next week or two to transform what was a plain embankment into a wooded landscape that will, almost, conceal the main line from view.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Good Deal Better

This is Hornby's Art Deco style, Deal Signal Box (R9729) which we have used as the signal box for Davemoor Station. We chose this one because it was in-keeping with the Bachmann Art Deco station buildings used on the platforms and was smaller than Bachmann's version (44-064) so fitted better in the space that we had available.
The signal box is excellent but, as purchased, it is a bit of an empty shell. So, it has been duly weathered and fitted with interior detailing by Alex and now looks superb!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

High Bridge Station

Time for an update on our progress at Anchwood Station and, as you can see, much has been done during the past few weeks. 
A prominent feature is the new bridge, which we had specially built and weathered by Alex of Mikron Models. This was the only way that we could see for passengers to exit the island platform, due to the cramped nature of its location. It is a steep old climb, that's for sure, and we are still trying to figure out how to allow access for disabled passengers!
A small waiting room which, like the canopies, is by Ratio (SS 78) has also been added to the station and this fits nicely beneath, and is somewhat dwarfed by, the steps of the bridge. According to the Ratio Catalogue, this Platform Building, as it is called, is based upon those at Clapham Junction.
Meanwhile, in the background, you will see the station has also acquired a tall signal box, complete with interior details, courtesy of Alex. This box is by Bachmann (44-172) and is, as described, nice and tall. This is both in-keeping with the bridge and, also, allows the signalman (although the signalman is actually a signalwoman in this instance) a good view down the line in both directions.
Below the station, we have also been working on the orchard and paddock area, beside the main line. The orchard now has an assortment of apple and plum trees while, in the paddock, there are a few sheep. We just need to add a rusty trailer or tractor beside the barn to give it interest and character and I think that this area will be pretty much complete.
The truncated line, emerging from the tunnel, will continue across a, yet-to-be-built, bridge to the table in the centre of the room and then rejoin the main line across another bridge, also to be built, at the other end of the table. 
Work on this area will begin in the spring now that construction work on the rest of the layout is complete, apart from the detailing.