Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fairground trains

Santa Express

Has anyone ever seriously modelled a fairground train ?

The example above is from Winter Wonderland in London's Hyde Park earlier this year. It's basically a great big LGB set running around a patch of whirling, brightly lit, fairground rides and stalls. The sort of model that would cost an arm and leg to build using Faller Fairground models but would be an exhibition favourite, at least with the visiting public. Model Railway Journal readers might be able to like to too in public if you do a decent job and a famous "serious" modeller says it's permissible.

Santa Express trackBefore you scoff, remember these are real railways. The gauge of this one appears to be around 2 feet, which is the same as many "proper" narrow gauge railways.

OK, these lines don't have points generally and they only go around in circles carrying happy holidaymakers so maybe the operation wouldn't be that exciting.

From a modelling perspective though, they could be interesting. Real track for a start, probably best modelled using PCB with rail soldered to it. You don't need real rail of course, strip metal is what the prototype used and so would the model.

Under the fibreglass body, there is a tiny wheeled power unit for the engine. Coaches look like they run on some sort of bogie though.

The thing is, there used to be loads of these lines hosting engines hurling themselves around tight circuits, but now there are very few. I miss the one found in St Nicholas Park, Warwick, it used to be simple steam engine shaped carriages running which were then replaced by this:

certainly a colourful model! Sadly, I don't have a photo of the older version of the line. I wonder what happened to the rolling stock?
My feeling is that done properly, you ought to be thinking bigger than OO to fit mechanisms in the locos. On the other had, Langley make a 4mm scale crazy golf set. In fact, I think I've got one somewhere...


James Finister said...

A variation of these were the circular lines. There is an interesting article here and a couple of the locos have real charm. I believe some smaller versions are still operating on the continent Obviously they would make an ideal "pizza" layout.

Phil Parker said...

Good idea about the pizza layout. I can see it in my mind already...