Penlowry

Chronicling the development of my 5-gauge 4mm scale model railway with a few off-topic insights thrown in for free


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Further reading

Continuing the theme of weighty volumes, another one I’ve used to hold things down and flat is the Machinery’s Handbook. 

  
If you only ever have one engineering volume in your library, this is the one to have. My copy is the 1928 third edition. It covers pretty much everything, except perhaps how to get to the moon since they hadn’t achieved it back then (in fact if you think about it, the frontline fighter planes of developed countries were biplanes back then). 

It also is well presented with finger hole bookmarks and coloured edge paper.   

 
It also is weighty and hold things flat. What a book! 


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Shameless

Construction of the Metcalfe goods shed continues apace. I’ve shown a few photos here of construction showing again the sheer variety of clips and clamps I’ve built up over the years that make model making easier. 

  
This photo also shows my chosen glue. Metcalfe say to use UHU clear but I’ve always used Copydex because it is great for getting you out of trouble. Doesn’t come out of trousers though so be warned it can get you into trouble too. 

  
Apart from the mini sash clamps seen here I want to take the time to shamelessly plug a friend’s business. 

I first met Paul when I was learning to fire Blanche on the Ffestiniog. It was my first day on a single engine (instead of a double) and I was hopeless. My fireman wasn’t Top Shed either and Paul said we proved that two half wits don’t make a full one. We’ve pretty much been friends ever since and even more so once I could fire locomotives for him because then we could talk about anything but the loco we wee on because we both knew what each of us, what each other, and what the loco was doing. 

I then moved to Australia joining the same engineering company Paul worked for which meant we worked on the same project in Wellington NZ, and volunteered together for Mainline Steam while there. 

Paul now runs EDM Models as a full time job, which can be found at ngtrains.com. 

Amongst everything not useful to me because the scale’s wrong, Paul does sell some very useful tools. An imaginary shopping spree on his website normally costs me the best part of several hundred pounds. One tool that I’d definitely recommend is the corner clamps seen in these photos. They just make life easy. Worth the money to avoid the pain. Trust me. They’re at the bottom of this page. Get them. 

  


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Bulldog

No, I don’t mean the great British variety. And no, I don’t mean the Churchward variety either, although The Elder has a whitemetal Keyser one tucked away somewhere that he built before deciding to move onto the 7.25″ gauge variety of GWR locomotives.

I mean, clips. If you do railway modelling you will know there is no such thing as too many. I used to wonder if there was. But there isn’t. Whenever I see those “fun” stationery shelves in shops, I always have a qucik look to see if they have any mini bulldog clips, or pegs, or other clamping device, particularly if it is just after Christmas or just after the schools have gone back and they’ve all been shoved onto the Clearance shelves.

I thought I’d share this photo with you to demonstrate what I mean. I usually do a couple of bits of a Metcalfe kit in parallel so that I keep up a steady flow. If I had such a thing as a whole day free, it would be quite easy to complete a Metcalfe kit in a day. But I don’t, but I still want to maximise my time. However, it was only when doing these bits of the goods shed kit I realised I really don’t have enough bulldog clips. Still. I used all the ones you see in this photo to hold the laminations together to form the wall that has been residing under Modern Railway Working, which left me insufficient to do the other wall.

Maybe I’ll just have to add my wants to my Christmas stocking list. We’re in October aren’t we, so Christmas IS just round the corner according the shops…

 

Bulldog clips


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Modern railway working


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Newcastle Brown

I’ve got a new favourite. As regular listeners will know I like an oddity. Something off the norm for me is just really interesting. I think it is the designer in me, I like to see the results of other engineers experimenting. Sometimes there are successes, and sometimes there are failures. But if you don’t try, you/’ll never know. My list of “one day in the future” models includes (for example) the LNER streamlined B17/5s. They only did two of them and I think they were probably a pig to maintain, but it was an experiment for publicity – something the modern railways can forget about sometimes.

Gresley B17/5 East Anglian

Gresley B17/5 East Anglian

The list also includes the LNER C7 with booster tender. Booster tenders never seem to have survived much wherever they were tried but I love the experimentation that went into them

Gresley C7 with booster tender

Gresley C7 with booster tender

My new favourite class is the Consett long boiler tanks. There is something about the way they look, almost narrow gauge in appearance. I also like the ingenuity that went into solving a particular problem. Again, it was an experiment, partially successful, partially not. At high speeds the long boilers, with their firebox behind the back axle made them waggle their arse – a bit like a salsa dancer waggling their hips as they walk. However, the tractive effort packaged into a small locomotive with small wheelbase made them ideal for hauling heavy loads on branchlines with tight curves and steep gradients. So that is what they were used for. Evolved over time, the details of the design changed although the concept remained the same. One remains, preserved by the North Tyneside Steam Railway Association. It has just been returned to steam and looks fantastic. Railway Bylines has just done an article on them in the latest issue (Vol 20, Issue 4, March 2015). Worth a read.

(c) North Tyneside Steam Railway Association

(c) North Tyneside Steam Railway Association


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Going underground

Having recently been in the depths of a project looking at international trains, I got on to ruminating on what-could-have-been with the UK – mainland Europe business as BR originally intended. Originally the Eurostar business was a conglomeration of BR, SNCF, and SNCB, which of course were all state run. By the time Eurostar went live in 1994, the UK was in the midst of privatisation so the BR share was being run by London and Continental Railways (LCR) which is a company wholly owned by the DfT. In 2010, a company called Eurostar International Ltd was created to run the Eurostar service, 55% stake being owned by SNCF, 40% owned by LCR, and 5% owned by SNCB. It is this 40% stake which has just been sold by the Government.

The original intent was the service we see today (London – Paris / Brussels) but augmented with regional trains from as far afield as Glasgow running direct through the tunnel to Paris. Then on top of all that, there was a proposed sleeper service, the Nightstar.

The regional Eurostar trains were built; they are called the North of London sets and you may even have travelled on one. When GNER ran the ECML and was short of rolling stock it hired in some N0L class 373/2s to cover the shortfall. Most people remember them fondly in their striking dark blue livery. Those who got off at York particularly liked them because York was the first stop north of London where the platforms were long enough to take an entire set (all 14 carriages) – if you wanted to get off at York, you were advised to sit in the front carriage it was off the end of the platforms at the other stations. Unfortunately that has been the only use for them in the UK and for the last few years they have been running as TGVs on French domestic high speed routes.

GNER liveried class 373/2 NoL Eurostar (C) Tagishsimon

GNER liveried class 373/2 NoL Eurostar
(C) Tagishsimon

The Nightstar project was even more disastrous. Most of the vehicles were built but never went into service as it was realised early on that the demand wasn’t there (well I would have gone on it gladly so there was some demand, obviously just not enough). At the time the sleeper carriages made headlines for their price – three times the price of any other carriage built around the time (the Mk4s being the most recent) but unlike other carriages they were fitted with three power systems to work in the three countries so it’s perhaps not surprising they cost so much. These days, such compliacations are much easier to deal with. Eventually, having been kicking around for a bit with nothing to do, London and Continental Railways sold them back to Alstom who promptly sold them and the rest of the incomplete order to Canada’s Via Rail to run their Renaissance train.

Train of Nightstar carriages in Toronto (C) Buddah / Arsenikk

Train of Nightstar carriages in Toronto
(C) Buddah / Arsenikk

 Of course, on Penlowry, there is the aim to model a tunnel running from Sodor to Northern Ireland, known as the Stollen. Such claims as “economic unviability” are of course unheard of on Sodor with the bankrolling of the railway that seems to occur. So it is highly likely that Eurostars will be seen running through the tunnel in GNER and original livery, along with other trains the Fat Controller has collected from round the globe to enable him to run the service.

White rose

One day, it might even see the use of high speed postal services between the UK and Ireland….

TGV La Poste.  La Poste announced in June 2014 that they were going to stop using the TGVs (but crucially unlike the Royal Mail shortlived change, they are keepign the traffic on the rails) (C) Baastian

TGV La Poste.
La Poste announced in June 2014 that they were going to stop using the TGVs (but crucially unlike the Royal Mail shortlived change, they are keepign the traffic on the rails)
(C) Baastian


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Racking my brains

Following on from my earlier post about the mountain railway section, I have since got hold of some of the rack rail Fleischmann makes / made. This has tempted me to do a rack railway properly.

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I may be slightly mad but I think, just possibly, it may be possible using a Mini-chassis or by making my own chassis and adding a rack gear.

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I get plenty of time to think in my job as I hurtle up and down the ECML but not much time to do, so I should have plenty of time to work out if it’s possible before I actually get the chance to do anything about it!

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