Sunday, August 18, 2019

Back to Bekonscot

90th Birthday party

After my trip to Bekonscot for Garden Rail, I was keen to come back and enjoy a more leisurely look around. A friend in need of something to do during the school holidays with her 6-year-old provided the opportunity. I was interested to see what a child thought of the place, I recall being entranced when I was a few years older, but then I'm a bit weird.

It seems that today's children like a bit of animation, but then I suspect I was the same. She loved the trains, the working playground, animated figures waving. Pretty much anything that moved in fact. The child's quiz went down well and we all enjoyed spotting and counting various details. 

And I took some more photos, which you can find on Flickr.


Saturday, August 17, 2019

Saturday Film Club: British Rail in 1972



I've been been looking at a lot of photos showing BR in the 1970s - and so this excellent film from 1972 is really interesting. I like to think this is fairly recent, but it's nearly half a century old!

The railway was different then. Lots of lovely locos to spot and interesting rolling stock. 

Overall, the tone is positive with many technological advances. This isn't quite what I remember (OK, I was 2, but you get the gist) from the period, but I suspect that the grimy, rail blue world coloured our perception.

Friday, August 16, 2019

There's some special Hornby in BRM, and this weekend

This month, it's all about Hornby - you see I'll be taking part in their open weekend, and have been asked to take along some Cake Box models. 

Well, I thought I'd better do something new and also relevant, so have built a 1:24th scale train set, in a suitable setting. It's like no other model I've ever built!

I'm a bit of a DCC Luddite, but as a test, I took on the task of carrying out the (allegedly) hardest job you can do, hard wiring a chip into a locomotive.


 My candidate is a Class24 from the back of my cupboard. Converted from a Hornby Class 25 at least two decades ago, if this can be chipped, pretty much anything can be.

My camera has been out, this time for Derwent Road.


With it's mixed bag of interesting rolling stock and a cracking 1970s housing estate setting, I pounced on this at Warley last year and am pleased to see it's now made it to the page as well as being lead layout on the DVD. 


Talking of the DVD, I'm building some coaches from Dapol kits. In an era when people are always moaning about the price of model railways, these bargain ready-painted kits are perfect. They don't take long to build and produce models that I suspect are of equal quality to the layouts they will be running on.

I know you can scrape off handles and add detail, but IMHO, a consistent standard is more important to the look of a model railway than a few hyper-detailed items running through an otherwise average quality scene. You can't go too wrong with these kits, so let's hope we see more on layouts!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Huricane proof modelling in Garden Rail September


Garden Rail is an international magazine and the lead layout this month is from Florida in the US of A. Built in a land where they can experience some extreme weather, everything has to be well fixed down! 

Despite this, the Buckinghamshire Light Railway has a real British look, it could easily be a lot nearer home but shows that we enjoy attractive railways. 

I've been at work doing some whitemetal soldering using an IP Engineering kit, although you might remember that rushing things didn't pan out too well for me on this project.  It was fixed and completed though. 

We get more construction with an interesting live steam loco, battery-powered DeWinton and really good looking gravel loading facility. Dave S looks at slate wagons and Mark T builds a really detailed garage. 

Lots of good stuff again this month, so get out and buy a copy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Warehouse Wednesday: Manx bus shelters


Driving around the Isle of Man, I became a little bit obsessed with the concrete bus shelters. They are found all over the island and I really wanted to stop to photograph each one. 

The shelters are made up of pre-cast concrete components and seem to come in two sizes. Most are small as shown above, but near Jurby, there is a large capacity version. 


If you want a "proper" reason to photograph these, years ago I used to shoot red telephone boxes. Each time, I did my best to get the best-composed image possible of these standard items. It's great fun and good practise. 

The shelters aren't immediately appealing, although I suspect on a wet day, they are very welcome. However, they have a certain brutal charm and do the job they are designed to do in all weathers, something that appeals to me.

I couldn't find a history of these stops online, but I did find a video about the man who maintains them.