Visiting Old Haunts

When I lived in Essex one of my regular haunts was the Oxfam bookshop in Saffron Walden.

Yesterday I went back. Browsing through the shelves I found this copy of the Encycolpaedia of Narrow Gauge Railways by Thomas Middlemass. It’s got lots of information about NG lines that I know very little about, for example, English tramways with gauges of around 3′ and Irish narrow gauge lines. This book will be a great way of learning more.

Also, it contains many photos that I’ve never seen before. Look at this lovely image of the Welshpool and Llanfair in the GWR era.


Adding a Layer of Cork Track Underlay

I have added a layer of cork track underlay to one of my baseboards. This will be the terminus baseboard.

I brought a sheet of cork from the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association. Using the full size print out of the track plan I created a paper template and cut the cork sheet to shape. It was glued into place with lots of PVA glue, then weighted down with lots of heavy objects and left for a week to dry.

Next, tracklaying. Gulp!

Gasp – A Second Baseboard !

Baseboards must be like busses. You wait ages for one to come and then two arrive together.

Well not quite. I was so pleased with the first baseboard that I decided to build a second one while I remembered how. 🙂 It did take a week to build the second one, so they didn’t arrive simultaneously.

To hold the baseboards together I have decided to use hinges with removable pins. You can pull out the pin to separate the two halves of the hinge and separate the baseboards. I saw this in the British Railway Modelling video of their ‘Edgeworth’ layout (at around 2 minutes 10 seconds in the video). I’m sure this has been done many times before but this is where I saw it for the first time. It looked a neat idea, so I thought I’d give it a try.



My Birthday List

It was my birthday recently and my pressie was a pair of wire strippers and a selection of 7mm scale accessories from Skytrex.

The Skytrex assessories include: tote bags, pallets, pipe loads and wheelie bins. All perfect for a modern period layout.

My 12 year old daughter chose the wire strippers. She’s used different types at school and she found these are the best. I’m rather proud that my daughter has an opinion on this and they do work very well. Good choice!

Is This A Baseboard I See Before Me ?

I am quite excited by the idea of the Granta Valley Railway. So much so that I decided to build the first baseboard.

I sketched out a simple design and went to my local builders merchant for the wood. The tops and sides are made of 9mm plywood. The builders merchant cut these to size using their large electric ‘sheet saw’. The cuts cost me nothing and saved me a lot of time. The frame is simple pine wood measuring 44mm x 19mm in section.

The first step was to attach the pine frame to the plywood edging. I pre-drilled holes in the baseboard so that I’d be able to attach the sides and ends to it.

The sides and ends were positioned and attached to the baseboard.

Here’s the finished baseboard, glued and screwed together. I know I’ll never be a cabinet maker, but I’m quite pleased with it.

Granta Valley Railway, Cardboard Mock Up

In my last blog I sketched an idea for the terminus of a freelance tourist line in SCARM. To test whether it will work I’ve printed it 1:1 and mocked up some buildings from cereal packets.

Creating a cardboard mock up is rather an odd thing to do, but it allowed me to experiment with different arrangements and look at things from different angles. Here’s the arrangement I liked the most. From left to right we have: a cafe, the ticket office, a storage container and a maintenance shed for the stock.

I’m encouraged. It combines a sense of purpose with a sense of space and I think this design could capture the feel of a country terminus for a rural tourist line.

It really could work. I should build it.

Months of agonizing over. Decision made. Onwards and upwards!

Granta Valley Railway, A Quick Sketch

To provide a home for the 09 stock I have been building I’ve decided to create The Granta Valley Railway a freelance, tourist line built on an old standard gauge track bed.

Obviously, the line will need a terminus.

The terminus for a modern tourist line doesn’t need extensive facilities. Let’s keep it simple: A run around loop, perhaps a small maintenance shed and a siding to store a wagon or two.

Then, we need to think of the passengers. Well, the railway isn’t a fancy affair: a platform, a ticket office and somewhere to buy a cup of tea. This will be all the line can afford.

After much sketching, designing track plans in SCARM and lots of scratching my head, I have settled for the design you see above.

It will allow me to create a 09 terminus for a ‘present day’ tourist line on a board 122cm long x 46cm wide (approx. 48 x 18 inches). It’s compact, so it won’t take up too much room at home and it could be transported to exhibitions (if other people like it!). Plus, it could be expanded by adding other boards if I decide I really like modelling in 09.

I rather like the sketch. So far so good…