No satnav

Do you remember the old days …

… when navigation meant keep going until you recognise something? Even if that something is the coast!

Some of us still navigate this way.

Mind you, it doesn’t help if two places share the same name. There was a passenger turned up at Piccadilly station quite late on a Sunday evening, having been sent to Manchester from London because she was aiming for Buxton.

Unfortunately the Buxton she was aiming for was the one in Norfolk, not the one in Derbyshire.

Posted in Toy train chit chat

Not much happening

I have been feeling particularly lethargic, even by my standards, this week so there has not a lot been going on modelling wise.

Goose 23 has had a visit to the paint shops but still needs weathering before it can be considered as finished and I had a play with the layout yesterday.

Back indoors I have been fiddling with the large scale loco and trying, with limited success, to get it to work satisfactorily. I have found some more 32mm gauge plastic track though so the 7/8ths challenge layout will now be L shaped, thus making the scenic divide a lot easier to achieve.

It’s been persisting down today so I’ve not been out but some skip diving is called for to salvage timber for a baseboard suitable for the large scale project.

Posted in Bodging and Kitbashing, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Sunday at Grande

A peep over the station compound wall at Grande reveals galloping gooses (galloping geese?) 21 and 23 seen together for the first time.

No.23 is still needs painting but it is now stuck together so bits don’t fall off during test runs. The clearance for the front bogie’s mounting lugs needed some fettling before the passenger section could be attached to the chassis.

As it’s Sunday there are no senior managers on site so the shed foreman is taking the opportunity to do some work on his garden railway loco.

Posted in Bodging and Kitbashing, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Llama and goose

Nothing to do with cooking, but it might make an interesting chilli con carne!

It’s a fine spring Saturday in Sierra Oculta and the FCPyF’s celebrity loco, Llama, has been hauling another excursion.

The loco’s nameplates have been on order since early July but it looks as if another celebrity England, in Wales, will be getting her nameplates before Llama’s arrive from the foundry.

Talking of Wales, the “Welsh Set” was used for today’s train. A good turnout, and social distancing, meant all four coaches were needed so the train had a banker as far as Cumbre.

The third Matchbox Yesteryear Scania bus has been collected from the post office this morning (postie was playing knock and run yesterday) and dismantled so work can start on the new Galloping Goose. This will be numbered 23, in sequence with the freight motors rather than the branch railcars.

And finally, as they say when leading into the light hearted bit at the end of the news, evidence has come to light of a visit to Sierra Oculta by a well known builder of narrow gauge rolling stock.

Paperwork found with the photo suggests it was taken at some time in 1938 when the government provided the FCPyF with funds for a batch of new coaches from the British company. Events in Europe, Africa and the Far East during the ensuing years meant the order was not placed and a change of strategy after the hostilities meant the funds were subsequently spent on railcars instead of loco hauled stock.

Posted in Bodging and Kitbashing, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

GEQ MkII (Plan C)

While plan B would have worked I do like the little battery powered loco so I’ve taken another look at the auto stop switches and, by modifying a piece of plastic track from another toy train set so they fit, managed to get them working properly. While I was at it I have devised an unloading mechanism to tip the wagon. The result is a straight line, about as simple as any model railway could ever be but it will be treated in the same way as the original Green End Quarry and divided into two separate scenes.

A few words about the train’s heritage would not go amiss. The loco was originally made by Faller, bought several years ago for use with a large scale module that was built as part of a competition in connection with one of the erstwhile Telford Narrow Gauge Exhibitions.

In theory it’s an old petrol loco, with the motor under the driver’s seat. The drum to the side of the driver is a reservoir for the cooling water, in lieu of a radiator, similar to this Lister.

The wagon is a Tri-ang Big Big Train tipper, repainted and weathered.

I had fitted it with O scale wagon wheels but they wouldn’t stay on the tinplate track used for plan A and plan B so I replaced the original Tri-ang wheels, in this scale they don’t look too bad, more in keeping with the size of the rails.

Posted in 7/8ths Group Challenge, Bodging and Kitbashing, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat


There’s a micro layout building challenge to spur interest in the 7/8ths scale group on Facebook. One inch scale (1:12) is also acceptable so I’ve decided to have a go at building Green End Quarry MkII as an entry. The original Green End was 1:24 scale but I sold the train (one loco, one wagon) with the layout so I’m starting again from scratch.

Despite being twice the scale the new version is in a much smaller area, storage problems were the main reason I sold the first one. The area is 12 by 20 (inches) and the height to the top of the tipple roof will be about 16 inches.

Operation will be pretty much the same as the original, loading at the quarry tipple and tipping at the mill. I had intended to use battery power for the loco, making this a truly portable layout capable of being used anywhere, but an afternoon spent tinkering with the Faller auto stop/manual reverse switches has failed to get them to work satisfactorily in combination with the tinplate track.

Go to plan B, fishing line!

A suitable 32mm gauge bogie has been located to build a dummy loco on and fitted with a very low mounting point for the fishing line. This is below rail height, just clear of the sleepers, so the line should stay between the rails as it is pulled around the curved track because it’ll be captured by the web of the rails – in theory at least.

Posted in 7/8ths Group Challenge, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Two sections

The afternoon railcar from Grande to Cuarto was heavily loaded today so a relief train preceded it to pick up passengers from the intermediate stations.

The two railcars, 34 and 35, were photographed at Cuarto shortly before they departed on the return run this evening.

Posted in Bodging and Kitbashing, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Size doesn’t matter

There’s a video been posted on NGRM this morning showing a 2’6″ gauge railcar. It’s got me thinking. The railcar in the film is very small, probably about the same size as an SUV (i.e. tiny by train standards).

I’ve been contemplating transferring the Dennis railbus from the Ravenglass & Windermere (55n3 / 1:55) to the Cognito, Cahoots & Sane (HO / 1:87) because some people at shows in the past have questioned its scale, even though it is built using two 1:55 road buses.

Intrigued by the tiny Japanese railbus I posed the Dennis on the FCPyF (On30 / 1:48). As the photos show, it works in all three scales, though the doors are just a bit too narrow for 1:48, so it can stay where it belongs, on Carters Bridge.

On the topic of railcars, I have acquired a third Scania for the FCPyF.

By way of a contrast from Nos.32 and 33 I think this one will be used to create a Galloping Goose type railcar instead of a small railbus.

Posted in Toy train chit chat

A return ticket to Tweedsmuir Street

Tweedsmuir Street was built way back in 2007 as an N gauge take on a project that wasn’t working out as planned in OO.

The simple, three track pointless, layout was a passenger version of Jack Trollope’s Shortover Yard.

I’ve previously used this design for a number of layouts in various scales but Tweedsmuir Street was probably my favourite.

For that reason it didn’t get scrapped but has lain derelict for a number of years, visited only by the garage spiders.

How many times has somebody said “It’s changed, you’d hardly recognise the place now.” when you mention visiting an old haunt? In the case of Tweedsmuir Street LRT Terminus it certainly has changed, it’s not even the same scale any more! The railcar is approximately 1:120 (TT).

As is so often the case with derelict city centre railway stations the land is worth more than the transport facility and a faceless concrete monolith of a superstore now occupies the site of platform one, along with the ground floor of the Station Hotel.

However, the city authorities retained part of the land for a light rapid transit terminus. Platform two is back in use but the bay, platform three, has been filled in and landscaped to prevent it becoming a dumping ground for supermarket trolleys.

Finances didn’t run to electrification so the new line is operated by lightweight continental style diesel tram-trains built by Alstom.

I’m waiting for the glue to dry before patching up a few gaps in the scenery. The train , a die-cast model by Siku, will be powered by fishing line.

These vehicles are all too old to be used on the layout but I’ve posed them in the photos for special reasons. The Foden, like the layout, was built in Sandbach. There used to be a derelict Commer dumped in a field near home when I was a young boy and the Scammell was, of course, a railway favourite.

Posted in Bodging and Kitbashing, My trains, Standard gauge, Toy train chit chat

Railcar 34

What? Another one?

Railcar 34 has been planned for a while but I’ve only just got round to building it. The bodywork is a T&S Models 55n3 saloon, the same kit as used for one of the “Welsh Set” coaches, but with a few minor modifications. It’s single ended with an engine compartment immediately behind the driver’s cab and passenger entrance from the rear only.

The photos show work in progress, with a temporary roof added, the bodywork is sitting loosely on the chassis at the moment and still needs more coffee stirrers to make it a snug fit before painting and glazing.

Posted in Bodging and Kitbashing, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat