Precipitation within sight

Anyone familiar with the BBC’s Shipping Forecasts will recognise the heading.

I was brought up in Glossop where local weather forecasting runs to “if you can see Whiteley Nab it is going to rain, if you can’t see the Nab it is raining”. I also endured countless childhood weekends and holidays in North Wales, which is well known for being mountainous, damp and smelling of sheep’s wee.

So it stands to reason that sky blue is an alien colour to me. This is demonstrated on the FCPyF Frog Rock module (below) where the heavily overcast sky threatens rain… Logically for a lush green country like New Zealand where the real Frog Rock is located.


There are parts of the Andes where it is incredibly dry and others where the climate is positively Welsh, possibly even Glossopian. This is the whole premise behind the flooded turntable pit at Puerto del Sastra.


The long grass around the turntable and shed siding is hanging basket liner. It is not glued down yet because I’m still not quite happy with the “concrete” around the pit, and the paint may require some touching up, but it gives an image that I have wanted to model for a while, that of a very overgrown but still operational siding. As locos do not venture beyond the turntable the long grass should not give rise to current collection issues but it will need trimming to clear the couplers once it has been glued down.


Anyway, I’m digressing. The title of this blog post is often heard on the Shipping Forecast and means there’s rain nearby. I want to go further than I did with Frog Rock and actually model Puerto del Sastra as if it has been raining.


The bruised looking sky on the backscene is the first stage of this and will be backed up by giving the roofs of the buildings, the station yard and the platforms a slight sheen instead of the usual matt finish on scenery. Puddles will also add to the effect and the few passengers awaiting the next train will be sheltering under the canopy of the station building.

As there was no precipitation within sight in this part of Cheshire this morning I took the dog out for a fairly long walk after breakfast. We came through the village on the way home and called in at the pet shop for some dog chews, bird grit and chinchilla dust. A strange combination but only the chews were for their intended purpose. The grit and sand are, of course, my cheap options for scenic materials. Since then I’ve ballasted the track on the lower level of the zigzag and through the platforms on Puerto de Sastra.

pws ballast

It was originally my plan to have a full platform along the loco release road but, as the only passenger carrying movements to use this track are railcars, the easier option of a short ground level “platform” has been taken. This is some of the chinchilla dust with a coffee stirrer edge.


As railcars were later additions this short low level platform is the kind of thing a cash-strapped railway like the FCPyF would build instead of going for a full height, full length, platform.

Real railways, like modellers, don’t spend money where they don’t have to!



About Bob Hughes

Ex railwayman, life long railway modeller, lover of real ale and spicy food.
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