The Best of Bishop

Saturday 19th August was the Bishop Stortford Railway Society Exhibition.

There were no narrow gauge layouts but I was struck by this standard gauge one. Acacia Avenue is a 00 scale BR 1970s-80s era, parcel depot and goods sidings layout by Julie and Colin Palmer. It does not represent a particular location, yet I was very struck by the run down, industrial atmosphere the layout creates. I had a good chat with Colin and he even gave me a copy of Narrow Gauge World. Nice bloke. Thanks Colin.

For me, the best part of the show was the traders. There is always a good selection at the Stortford exhibition, and this year was no exception. I had a good rummage around all the stalls and I went home with some laser cut wood kits from KS Laser Designs. I got three O scale kits: a cafe, a small garden shed and some wooden gates. I have a layout in mind (don’t we all?) and these could fit in well.

KS Laser design make kits in N, OO and O scale, including some impressive engine sheds and depot accessories. Check out their website at:


Light Green Open Bogie Coach

The 09 bogie coach has visited the paint shop.

I said I fancied a light green livery and here it is – Moot Green from Citadel to be exact. I think it gives the coach a nice, summery feel. Well, you wouldn’t ride in an open coach in mid-winter would you?

The wood effect is Citadel Karak Stone dry brushed with Zandri Dust and the sole bars are painted with Humbrol Dirty Black.

I haven’t varnished the coach yet because I want to add some transfers for the stock number and perhaps a logo. The catch is that I don’t have any transfers – but I have ordered some.

Colin Peake designed the coach and wrote his article describing how to build it in order to encourage others to get modelling. It worked for me!



Carry on Coaching

I have continued work on the open bogie coach. I have cut out the side and end panels from 1mm thick plasticard.

Next, I attached them to the coach, and added some seat supports. Then I cut out the seats themselves. Each one has a groove in it to represent planks of wood.

Finally, I added some buffer beams to the ends of the coach and some U channel to represent the sole bars. The underside of the coach isn’t particularly pretty, but it will be hidden from view.

As everything was assembled I decided to add a few coats of primer. I’m always amazed how much better a model looks after the primer.

Now for a nice livery. I fancy a lightish green…..



Simple O9 Coaches

In the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association handbook ‘Going Minimum Gauge’ Colin Peake wrote a really good ‘step-by-step’ article showing how to build freelance miniature railway coaches. The article describes how to make a four wheel, eight seater coach. At the end Colin included a photo of a 12 seater bogie coach that you can build using the same approach.

I particularly liked the bogie coach and I decided to try to build one. I’ve never made anything with bogies before. I contacted Colin and he gave me some good advice on which bogies to use and how to brace the underside of the carriage. Thanks Colin!

Armed with all this info I could start.

First, I made the floor of the coach from a 88 x 26 mm piece of 1.5mm thick plasticard. I scored the card at 4mm intervals to represent planking.

I decided to mount the bogies on 2mm diameter bolts. These fit nicely through the existing hole in the Parkside Dundas bogies. I made two pieces of plasticard, drilled a 4mm diameter hole in each one, and araldited the heads of the bolts into the holes (see left hand end of chassis).

The flanges of the wheels protrude slightly above the top of the bogies. I made two small spacers from 0.5mm plasticard (see right hand end of chassis). These increase the gap between the plastic mounts and the bogies and stop the flanges catching on the plastic.

The bogies are held in place with small nuts.

As this is my first bogie vehicle, I wanted to test it before I went any further. I tried it on my test track, weighted down with the first piece of lead that came to hand. I was pleased to see it negotiated the 9½ inch (approx. 24cm) radius curves on the test track without any problems (click the image to view the video).

Great 🙂  Now, on with the rest of the build.





A Sunny Day at Leighton Buzzard

On the hottest day in April I visited the Leighton Buzzard Railway. At Page’s Park Station a train, headed by this charming O&K loco, was waiting to depart. She had a fine head of steam and the safety valves were venting off the excess.

These’s something attractive about polished brass plates.

The train was an eccelectic mix of carriages, in all shapes, styles and sizes.

I hopped aboard and we headed off.

The 2 foot gauge Leighton Buzzard Light Railway (LBLR) was opened in 1919 to serve sand quarries and brickworks and connect them to the standard gauge just south of Leighton Buzzard. Originally the line was very rural but the town developed and now the first part of the line runs through housing estates. This was fascinating. The line runs over ungated road crossings and the guards stop the road traffic with red flags to allow the train to pass. The train weaves past gardens, shops and even a school, then out into open countryside and past a sand quarry, to arrive at Stonehenge Works Station.

Stonehenge is the base for the railway’s internal combustion loco collection. The first loco I saw was this Baguley-Drewry, built in 1973.

I was struck by the simple, clean lines of the loco. Quite easy to model.

Nice ‘wasp stripes’ (or should I say ‘Shunter Chevrons’…).

The railway has a fine collection of Simplex locos. These were built by the Motor Rail & Tram Car Company, which set up its factory in 1916 in Bedford, around 20 miles from the LBLR. The original 20hp Simplexes were used to construct the line, and haul trains on the quarry branches. In 1921 the 40hp version replaced steam on the ‘main line’ of the LBLR. There are lots of examples to see at Stonehenge, here’s one being repaired.

There’s a fine collection of skip wagons.

This Ruston Hornsby was built for the West Kent Main Sewage Board in 1932. Apparently, it is the second oldest Ruston Hornsby locomotive in existence. Rather ugly, but strangely attractive at the same time!

Back in the station I found ‘Peter Wood’ a Hunslet built in 1994. I do like the ‘curved’ effect of the axle boxes.

The journey back to Page’s Park.

The railway has an impressive collection of steam locos. In the engine shed at Page’s Park there was another O&K loco.

And this very elegant Andrew Barclay 0-6-0 originally built in 1919.

Outside in the yard this very beautiful Baldwin Class D loco, built in 1917 for the War Department. After the war it worked in a sugar mill in India until the 1980s, before being restored and returned to service in 2007.

I love the unlined, black livery. Simple and elegant.

Finally, the oldest loco on the line, a lovely vertical boilered De Winton originally built in 1877.

Too small to haul regular passeger trains, she is steamed on gala days.

The Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway Society have done a great job of keeping the line open and assembling a large, diverse collection of locomotives. It’s well worth a visit.


‘First’ in 009 News

My layout ‘First’ was featured in the July issue of 009 News.  I am very chuffed.

Many thanks to the late Mark Howe, former editor of the News, who encouraged me to submit an article, and to Chris Ford, current editor of the News, for laying out the article and pictures so well.

I have tried to persuade my daughter that this makes me famous. She’s not convinced.



Here is the finished Unit Models O9 box van.

No rocket science was involved in finishing it, although a steady hand was useful when painting the iron work details.

I used Humbrol acrylics for the basic colours. The body is German Camoflage (160) with Dirty Black (RC401) for the iron work and Engineers Grey (RC413) for the roof.

The weathering was done by drybrushing with Citadel acrylics. Ulthuan Grey to create a worn look, XV88 mixed with a small amount of Doombull Brown for the rust effect, some Stirland Mud around the bottom of the door and a hint of Caliban Green in places on the roof. A few coats of varnish, some couplings and ‘job done’.

I’m rather pleased with it. Many thanks to David Gander for giving me the original kit.