Chronicling the development of my Cambrian and Narrow Gauge 4mm scale model railway

Keeping it real

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The problem with houses is they require maintenance. The problem with maintenance is that they keep you from railway modelling. So in the mean time here is a quick delve into train formations.

The problem with model railways often is the lack of space meaning you can’t run scale length trains. Even going down to the smaller scales such as N or Z requires quite a lot of space for a full length train. If you’re modelling in 1:76 you are effectively having to be one of the larger models on the exhibition circuit or take over a substantially large room in your house.


Examples of this include Gresley Beat and Bron Hebog. Bron Hebog is a good example (only because I know it). Even for a narrow gauge railway the model is so large (it can accommodate scale 10-car trains)  it has so far required a house extension and hiring a van every time Himself, the Scribe, and the Artistic Director  move it. On the faff front, it’s possibly top of the Top Trumps. (But they enjoy it, else what would be the point?!)

The picture above shows Bron Hebog’s magnitude, and the picture below shows it in dismantled transport state (with Dduallt, their other layout, in the right foreground showing how much smaller it is)


For the rest of us, we are either required to run branchlines or shorten trains to a point where it looks unrealistic (think HST set of two power cars and two mk3s). However, there are examples of short form trains out there and I thought I’d share a couple from my own collection.

 First up is the Class 43 going to / coming  back from overhaul or wheel turning. Both these activities only happen at certain locations so there is always the chance to see a lone power car. The problem with the Class 43 is, unless you have an ex surrogate Mk4 DVT one (the ones with the buffers), you can only couple to them at one end, and the coupling is a buckeye so can limit what you can couple to. Often the solution is to run two power cars together to give redundancy and that makes an interesting short form train for the layout, or, as I intend to do, run one power car with a Mk2 barrier vehicle. The barrier vehicles are there to provide coupling adaptors to enable anything else to couple up. The extant mk2 barrier vehicles are made out of redundant BSKs with the windows boarded up. I intend to paint mine in GNER livery (you can see them at Bounds Green).



Author: Chris H

Having now officially reached middle age, I am a rolling stock engineer and have worked in many different locations including a 7 year spell in Sydney, Australia, where I arrived with a suitcase and left with a wife and a son. I am now based back in my home county of Yorkshire where I juggle full time work, being a Dad to two rascally mini-mes, and trying to fit in railway modelling, assisting the GWR 1014 County of Glamorgan project, and visits to the top left hand corner of Wales. In addition to my heavily railway themed life, I am interested in rugby, cricket, reading crime novels, falconry, and medieval re-enactments.

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