Two trains cross in the loop east of the (now) old Forres station. The first train was an east-bound special consisting of DRS No. 37 423 propelling No.975025, the former Southern Region General Managers Saloon (Caroline) and a former Hastings line DEMU catering car. Crossing was the Royal Scotsman on a Classic Tour with a West Coast Railways Class 47 in charge. Note the token exchange. The sleepy feeling to this location has all been swept away for a new station, station access and expanded car park.
As part of a multi-million pound upgrade of the Inverness-Aberdeen line, Forres has seen some considerable changes – more than any other location on the line between Huntly and Inverness. Here’s a few pictures, some a little surreal, of the works as it nears its climax on the 13th October. The new station was due to be opened the following week. In the meantime, Forres signal box, level crossing and semaphore signals are now history. Token exchange outside the station, a time-consuming exercise is also history, as is the signal box at Elgin West. A mound of earth now laps onto the old platform and the old yard at Forres now hosts the new station.
Graham Farish is due to release its brand new Class 40 this Autumn (2017). Here’s a preview of the model, featuring No. D211 ‘Mauretania’ in plain BR green (371-180) which is being released alongside three other models including No. 40 141 in BR blue and with digital sound. The models feature the new NEXT18 decoder socket, provision to install digital sound and working lights. Included in the model’s specification is a coreless motor with flywheel (not suitable for address zero operations on a DCC layout without a decoder) and NEM coupling pockets. Even though the buffer beams appear detailed, there’s more add-on details provided in a special pack. So here it is – a good-looking Class 40 in N gauge!
…and minutes to assemble!
From time to time, I get the chance to look at some very useful quality products such as the track cleaning car by Ten Commandment Models/KPF Zeller. Recently, another excellent product has appeared in the studio for evaluation. I have recently had the opportunity to give the new laser-cut diorama baseboard units manufactured by Scale Model Scenery a try. Two outer (end) and one centre unit board has been built for review and I am most impressed by their potential. The outer units build up with back and side boards and may be either a left-hand or right-hand end unit. The centre one has additional fixings and a back board. Three together makes a baseboard with 121cm length measured on the inside faces of both the left- and right-hand side boards – ideal for a compact or micro-layout in N or OO/HO gauge. Add another centre unit and an O gauge diorama or micro-layout is possible. Fixings to secure the boards together are supplied in each kit.
Assembly is quick and easy – can be done on a table top with minimal tools and a spot of fast-setting wood glue. Within an hour, you could be laying track (and track bed) and planning wiring, structures and scenic detailing!
The ‘dove-tail’ construction method is strong and although I would suggest glue is used to permanently secure the boards and plinths together, the parts having a good interference fit. A slight tap with my hand was needed to seat some of the sections together. The plinths are deep enough for solenoid point motors such as Seep motors or servos. The thickness of the high grade MDF from which the boards are made is sufficiently strong to support a small layout theme because the unsupported length of the boards is small.
There is no reason why a small layout built on these boards could not be exhibited from time to time. The real benefit is being able to dismantle the layout into sections for storage or having the option to secure the boards together as a single length of layout as seen in the accompanying pictures. For those not keen on joinery, or without the space to work with timber and all the mess that goes with cutting and shaping it, these boards offer a lot of potential. I can see military diorama modellers taking an interest is these units too. They will save a great deal of time!
Features are two BB001 large diorama baseboards, one built as a left-hand and one and a right-hand unit using the alternative front plinths supplied in the kits. A BB002 middle unit was used for the middle board. Produced by Scale Model Scenery: http://www.scalemodelscenery.co.uk.
Long awaited, the 60-foot SE&CR ‘Birdcage’ stock is due for release in September 2017. Three coaches in BR Crimson livery as permanently coupled three-coach set No. 595 will be the first to arrive. Here’s a preview of the models in BR condition with second dynamo and battery box set fitted to the Brake Third together with torpedo ventilators and plain roof profiles – lighting conduit being located under the roof.
39-602 Brake Third Lavatory coach No. S3500S
39-612 Composite Lavatory coach S5468S (centre coach):
Further releases are expected as Autumn progresses including three-coach sets for the Southern Railway and SE&CR with appropriate detail differences reflecting the time era in which the coaches operated. N gauge models are in development and will be released under the Graham farish label.
- Metal wheels.
- Insulated wheel set axles.
- Current collection through stub axles.
- Facility for the fitting of interior lighting.
- NEM coupling pockets.
- Close coupling cams.
- Era and vehicle specific details.
- Separate wire hand rails and commode handles.
- Separate wire water tank filler pipes.
- Flush glazed.
- Interior detailing – compartments and seating.
- Coaches offered with numbers to make up correct three-coach sets.