My spam catcher has intercepted a message, nothing new there, and AOL’s email features an option to read messages in the spam folder without opening them, a good safeguard against unwelcome attachments.

The latest message is offering to rebuild my website, this website, for a better price.

It might be interesting to find out just how they can give me a better price than WordPress do because this is a free account, are they saying they’ll pay me to let them rebuild the website?

I resisted the temptation to reply to the email.

Posted in Toy train chit chat

Lochside MkII – Lockside

While operating the 5.5mm scale modules at Daventry yesterday my old Lochside layout came up in discussion and I mused that I regretted selling it.

Maybe it’s time I built a new version but I’m running out of space so it’ll have to be compact!

Pedants may say it’s not actually a canal lock that’s modelled but an arm, a waterways version of a private siding, instead. OK, but arm side doesn’t really work as a layout title does it? It may be that the arm is actually off a tidal river and is provided with gates, beyond the bridge, to retain water at low tide so it is a lock of sorts. Anyway it’s just a toy train so it doesn’t really matter!

I’m undecided yet whether to model it as O scale or 5.5mm but the baseboard and track are cut ready for assembly as soon as I’m in a soldering mood, cue the smell of burning fingertips.

Posted in My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Another collectors’ item meets the hacksaw

Collectors of old Tri-ang might not wish to read on.

Of course not. It’s the wrong scale!

But what’s happened to the middle bit?

The lettering above the windows will be retained if possible! The smaller window will eventually be part of the door. New ends are yet to be made, these will include corridor connections and the coach will be used on short diesel hauled trains either as extras or railcar replacements.

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

Using the wye

I’ve wired up the track on the wye at San Fernandez so it is now operational.

The video shows #8 on a northbound passenger train.

Posted in FCPyF 2016 rebuild, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Not necessarily in that order.

First the bad… Remotored Shovelnose #29 is not suited to working the mail train on either route, unable to make the grade on the San Fernandez line and geared to run at a higher speed than the banking engine on the Cuarto line, so it’s been temporarily assigned to a one coach local train running additional to the booked timetable between Perejil and Grande. In theory Perejil is a major freight hub and has plenty of locos but no railcars based there.

Now the ugly… A close up of the landslip and washout just beyond the bridge on the tail track of the wye.

Not a sight to behold, the Sierra Oculta section of the Ferrocarril Internacional is well and truly closed.

Another disused section of the FI crosses the FCPyF nearby, this branch once connected to the standard gauge interchange yard in San Fernandez and can also be seen crossing the FCPyF adjacent to San Fernandez station.

The train in these photos is FCPyF #46 with a short freight, having pulled onto the tail track it is awaiting the points being changed before setting back into the San Fernandez freight terminal.

Which brings me, at last, to the good. You may have noticed some modelling progress. The tail track no longer looks like a pile of scrap wood. It now looks like a pile of scrap wood with scenery on it.

The rock face is a mixture of paint and sand, easy to create on a portable baseboard by tipping it over first. The river looks paler than before because it has its first coat of PVA “water”, but it will darken again as it dries. The rest of the baseboard, including the track, is covered with grass.

Posted in FCPyF 2016 rebuild, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Two dis-easels

Two of the FCPyF’s older diesel locos have not been used much since the layouts ongoing “2016” rebuild.

In the case of #58 this is actually due to a mechanical failures of the chassis rather than problems with the combination of curves and gradients. When I bought this loco several years ago it was on an Atlas chassis. This stopped working so I replaced it with a Bachmann mechanism from one of the Underground Ernie EMUs. It ran OK but didn’t have enough pulling power so I eventually got round to repairing the Atlas chassis, after which #58 was used for a while but it failed again and got relegated to the “pending” box.

I’ve dug it out again and mounted it on a Hornby 0-6-0 steam loco underframe, it rides a bit higher than it did on the BoBo mechanisms but should be OK if the buffer beams are redesigned to hold Kadee couplers at the right height. Still work in progress but looking promising and, with a lot of additional weight, it runs very well at low speeds so it’ll probably be destined for use as the station shunter at Grande.

The other dis-easy diesel was #29. The big GE loco is one of my favourites but its C-C chassis really does not like the junction at Bodjio. While shopping for scenic scatter at Haslington Models this morning I noticed that Les had a couple of Lima HO class 33s for sale at very reasonable asking prices. Lima’s electrical pick-ups, split between the two bogies, have given problems in the past when running over the electrical gap between the Grande and Jones River controllers but this chassis seems to handle the changeover better. It still hesitates but, as long as it has some momentum, it does run through.

Shovelnose #29 is now a four axle loco and takes the curves and gradient changes in its stride, unfortunately only two axles are powered (actually making it a 2-B instead of a B-B) and it will not pull the San Fernandez Mail up the hill from Resurreccion to Bodjio so it’ll be trialled tomorrow on the Cuarto Mail instead. The gradients are fiercer on the Cuarto line but the uphill run has the banker assisting on the rear.

Posted in Bodging and Kitbashing, FCPyF 2016 rebuild, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat


Quite literally, the End Of Track.

I often refer to the FCPyF’s abandoned neighbour. In real life the Ferrocarril Internacional was a jointly owned modular exhibition layout and I believe there are some operational modules in existence but as far as Sierra Oculta is concerned the railway is almost entirely defunct.

The only remaining section is the tail track of the wye at San Fernandez (above), the rest of the line was abandoned as the result of a series of landslips and washouts along the route.

The first washout and mudslide occurred just beyond the bridge over the river near San Fernandez, these were only minor but the cost of restoring some larger washouts, one of which caused a major bridge failure, further upstream was too much for the FI so the company declared itself bankrupt and wound up all operations.

Posted in FCPyF 2016 rebuild, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat