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

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Ready for the new year

Modelling has been at a complete standstill over the last couple of weeks and won’t change for a little while. In the meantime I have been doing some interesting reading from a book with pictures such as this:

I’ve had a work trip which took me to this:

Which allowed me to see some of these still on the national network:

And views like:

This was a trip on the North Eastern round robin so I got this view at Newcastle:

In the course of the last year this blog has been read from 60 different countries which is an honour to have people reading from so many corners of the globe. Below is the top ten countries list. 

 I hope you all had a good Christmas which didn’t involve too many “Trains” books from the bargain bookshops as presents. I hope you all have a good New Years Eve whatever that involves (from a party to a quiet whisky and a good book). 

Next year there are exciting plans afoot which may well result in more action and less talking. I will reveal all in the new year. 


It’s a broad church

Railway modellers are a funny bunch. They know what they want and can be vocal when something doesn’t meet their expectations. They can think their flavour is right and other flavours are wrong. And they can say what they think about the other flavours in a most detrimental light not realising that their comments are then used to apply to the whole not just the part they were slating. 

I was saddened last week to read a Facebook comment where someone belittled a model that a modeller had posted a picture of based on the type of construction the modeller used. “Why use that? Anyone can use brass with time and effort” or words to that effect. 

(C) Phil Parker

It’s such a shame that people think it’s ok to voice opinions like that because modelling has so many flavours and they are all acceptable. From the train set with Thomas galloping round at a million miles an hour to Pendon or the Gresley Beat, from the mighty Bron Hebog to a pizza layout, they are all built by people doing what they love and shouldn’t we embrace that whether that is our thing or not? 

For me personally I have some brass kits but they’re at the back of the cupboard awaiting the days when I have time and the mini-mes are more interested in chasing girls than trains. I have a mix of simpleton kits and a Backwoods Double Fairlie which won’t be attempted until I’ve learnt and have confidence – but that takes time, as the Facebook poster said, and I haven’t got that right now. 

(C) Rob Waller

In the meantime I’m happy to run whatever I get my hands on and whatever I can tweak to suit me. Operation is as important to me as the modelling. 

I have been fortunate enough to operate two railways on polar opposite ends of the scale. Firstly the 009 Dduallt which is a scenic masterpiece but is operated very much as a “run what you want” within the confines of the FR operating practice. 

(C) Rob Waller

Secondly Allan Garraway’s O gauge scratchbuilt layout in his loft – scratchbuilt locos and stock, working interlocking frames for both points and signals, bell codes, correct headlamps, and woe betide if you forget to put the tail lamp on the goods train preventing the signalman giving train out of section. But scenically bare- the stations have scenery but the runs between are totally bare. 

Both are a joy to behold and both provide hours of entertainment – I’ve operated both for a whole day and could have easily carried on into the night. They are poles apart but both delight. 

It’s a broad church this hobby of ours and we should embrace all of it not just our flavour; we might just learn something new. 

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The postman cometh

I would advise, as a rule, never use Penlowry post. It is one of the slowest in the world. 

With my model of carriage 121 (the disco carr) out-shopped in Scotland it needed transporting to Yorkshire. In my wisdom I decided that rather than it being posted it could go to Wales with Bron Hebog’s Himself and Scribe and then be collected there by Mr EDM and transported to York. 

This all went very smoothly until it arrived in York where in the sat in the EDM models emporium while I failed to travel the 2 miles (if that) to collect it. Every time I remembered and enquired as to meeting up at some suitable establishment to hand over the loot, Mr EDM was either driving trains in Wales/Devon/County Durham or doing his day job at some exhibition. 

However, on Tuesday night, after several months of it already residing in York, carriage 121 made the trip to my possession (via the York Brewery Club). 

And it was worth the wait. 

Once my lastest standard gauge activities are complete I’ll turn to adding the details to make it a rocking disco. 

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Not much to report on the modelling front. Been too busy with work and house. 

However I did pair the Saint with a tender from my Collett Goods just to see what it looked like. The tender is a 3000 gal so is a tad too small but it sets the scene. 

The combination of lined loco and unlined tender is historically accurate – it’s what happens when some of your locos are lined and some aren’t and you need to do a last minute tender swap. 

Although the result looks acceptable an unpowered Hornby loco attached to an unpowered Mainline tender won’t get very far….

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Castling the Court

Not much to report currently especially as I’m in London tonight. I snatched half an hour last night and fitted the new Castle cylinders to the Saint on a trial fitment. Pure Swindon, it was nearly a perfect swap. 

The slidebars that came with the cylinders are really good but unfortunately the connecting rods are too short and the crossheads of the Saint won’t fit in the new slidebars so some head scratching is required to finish that little puzzle off.