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.


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!

Merry Christmas !

A very Merry Christmas and an enjoyable, and model filled, New Year to everyone reading this blog.

The picture shows the Bernina Railway, a metre gauge line that runs over the Bernina Pass from the German speaking to the Italian speaking parts of Switzerland. It reaches a height of 2,253 metres (7,392 feet), runs over gradients of up to 7% and is one of the steepest adesion railways in the world. What I like most about this picture is that it is a mixed goods and passenger train, oh.. and all that snow 🙂

At times this year I have felt that my modelling has been making slow progress. Browsing through my blogs from 2017 made me realise I’m being rather hard on myself, I’ve done a lot, including many things that were totally new for me. I started modelling in 09, finished my first soldered brass kit, started scratchbuilding in plasticard (wagons and a bogie coach), made my first resin kits (a box van and a coach), refurbished two secondhand 09 locos and converted them to DCC. My 009 layout went to the Beccles exhibition, was featured in 009 News and had it’s fiddle yard approach re-laid. On top of all this I visited nine exhibitions, the Bure Valley Railway, the Leighton Buzzard Railway and the Yosemite Sugar Pine Mountain Railway and I even met Peppa Pig. It’s been quite a year!

Perhaps, the Bernina line trains feel they are making slow progress up those gradients and when they get to the top of the pass they see what they’ve achieved. A quiet moment of reflection at Christmas has made me realise I shouldn’t always look at the detail, but should step back and look at the bigger picture.

Have a great Christmas!

Many thanks to David Gubler for the original photograph used under a Creative Commons License

Narrow Gauge World (Updated Post)

 At the Bishop Stortford show Colin Palmer gave me a copy of Narrow Gauge World, a magazine I hadn’t read before. I really enjoyed reading it. There’s an interesting mixture of news, articles about the prototypes and narrow gauge modelling. It’s a bit like a Sunday paper for narrow gauge enthusiasts.

If you shop on the high street each issue costs £4.75. The publishers are offering a subscription for £9.99 per quarter at the moment  ( That’s a saving of a couple of quid over the cover price over the course of a year.

I have subscribed, of course.

Updated post: Many thanks to the people who kindly pointed out that I had made a mistake in my original posting. In my rush to get a ‘bargain’ I didn’t read the (not so) small print 🙂

Note: I have no connection to Narrow Gauge World, I’m just a happy reader.

Surprise! Moving O9 Models

A little while ago mrfagsy asked if I could post a video of my stock. I don’t take a lot of videos but here you are mrfagsy, this is especially for you. (Click on the image to start the show).

The stars of this Hollwood extravaganza are my ‘test track’ and all of my O9 stock.

The ‘test track’ is a scrap of plywood salvaged from a skip with some set track brought from ebay.

The loco is an A1 Models O9 brass kit, with a kato mechanism, plasticard chassis and axle boxes built from 2mm diameter bolts and odd bits of plastic.

The wagons are scratchbuilt from plasticard and run on Peco N gauge wagon chassis. I use Greenwich couplings.

Not much more I can say, except, I hope the camera movement doesn’t make you feel sea sick!

Brown, Brown, It’s Gonna Be Brown

I’m singing ‘Brown, Brown, It’s Gonna Be Brown’ to the tune of the famous Status Quo song ‘Get Down, Deeper and Down’, because I’ve decided my O9 open wagons will be brown.

I’ve made a test strip of all the browns I can find in my paint box. I sprayed a piece of card with Citadel Corax White, my default primer. I painted and dry brushed each brown onto the card. I had one can of brown spray paint and I sprayed that on (rather too heavily as it turned out).

I like Humbrol Brown (186) and Humbrol German Camouflage (160) best because they are an attractive red-brown.

I will sleep on it before deciding.

One other thing I’ve learned from this is that the dry brushed effects from Citadel ‘Dryad Bark’ and ‘Stirland Mud’ will be great for weathering. They create very nice dirty, muddy effects.

(If you are not familiar with the Status Quo tune watch this video, but be warned it contains long hair, waistcoats and 1970’s special effects!)



Beds and Bucks Narrow Gauge Modellers Open Day 14 May 2017

The Beds and Buck Narrow Gauge modellers Open Day is on Sunday 14th May 2017. We have a super selection of layouts in a range of scales and gauges including:

  • Bowleggett Manor (009), West Midlands Group.
  • Elkington on Sea Tramways (0-16.5), Roger Elkin.
  • Grasslands and Wetlands Railway (G scale), Glyn Bennett.
  • Scrubbs Lane Yard and The Maltings (009), Ken Paul.
  • Morton Stanley (0-16.5), Chris Ford & Nigel Hill.
  • Brandgeight (009), Peter Hardy.
  • Fowlers Lake (0n30), Mike Bartlett.
  • Green Pond Mine (H0e/H0f), Lyn & Jim Owers.
  • Purbeck (009), John Thorne.
  • Symonds Green Brewery (009), David & Lynda Coates.
  • Green End (009), David Gander.
  • Old Oak (009), John Rees.
  • Ellerbank (009) Graham and Caroline Watling
  • and a modelling display by Chris Krupa.

Plus we have the following top traders:

  • Model Roads and Tramways – Modelling and electrical goods for model roads, tramways and railways.
  • Narrow Planet – Narrow Planet offers a custom etching service for unique name and works number plates, as well as a growing number of kits.
  • 12 volts DC – A wide range of bulbs; LEDs; street, platform and yard lights; effect modules; point motors; CDUs and switches.
  • James Corsi  – Interesting items for the 7mm scale modeller

As usual it’s at the Barton le Clay Village Hall, Hexton Road, Barton Le Clay, Bedfordshire, MK45 4JY. The hall has full disabled access, adequate car parking and tasty range of refreshments

The exhibition is open from 10.30 to 16.30. For 009 Society Members admission is £4.00 and it’s £4.50 for non members. For that you get 13 layouts, four trade stands and the chance to chat with like minded narrow gauge modellers for up to 6 hours. It’s a total bargain!

I hope to see you there…