Much news…

November 20, 2008

News flow is getting back into gear with the latest announcements including overhead line equipment for 25Kv ac electrification from Peco (also announced new track with pressed steel sleepers) and a Class 86 locomotive from Heljan for 2009-10. All good news on top of ViTrains announced later versions of the Class 47. Pre-production images look very encouraging too. Also, the first of the much anticipated Hornby HSTs has arrived too together with a model which will be a good match: the former Lima Class 101 in Blue and Grey livery.

On my own workbench is a new Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED slide/neg scanner which was bought to enable both a friend of mine, Graeme E. and myself to scan our extensive slide collections which number over 15,000 between us. It’s quite some beast and takes a great deal of learning to make the most of its advanced features, a task that’s kept me away from the layout this week. However, with the latest modelling news in mind, here’s a selection of scans of newsworthy items – all taken in the summer of 2002. Hard to think that’s six years ago…how times have changed. Especially at Nuneaton.

02-629Cheltenham Spa and a Virgin XC HST…Fuji Provia 200ASA film and a lovely Saturday. Hornby’s HST made an appearance this week – at least the first version of many to be produced.

02-526Heritage livery on a Class 86, also taken on Provia film under less than ideal conditions. Heljan has announced a Class 86 model for 2009-10.

02-593Photographing ‘drags’ at Nuneaton. Whilst passengers were inconvenienced on Birmingham and Wolverhampton services, the WCML upgrade work certainly offered some interesting photographic opportunities at weekends.

02-585Class 47s made it into the news again this year – a new ViTrains model before Christmas – much anticipated here.

02-586Heljan and ViTrains have made good choices – popularity and loads of liveries to produce.

DCC book:

My own news concerns my DCC book published by The Crowood Press: Digital Command Control for Railway Modellers, which was published this summer. To all intents and purposes, it has sold out at the warehouse. Dealers will still have copies if you are seeking one. A reprint is on the cards for next year. I am pleased with this development and the problem with line diagrams being reproduced in mono instead of colour will be corrected.

Platform 4a & 4b:

Another bit of news, or rather a serious consideration is the future of my older exhibition layout. With no invitations on the cards for Platform 4a & 4b plus the issue of storing it whilst working on other projects, I am thinking of dismantling it to recover useful components. It needs an overhaul anyway and I very much doubt it could be sold. After all, it’s EM gauge; I need the stock used on it for other projects and the supports would not be available either as they are shared by Dudley Heath Yard!

Food for thought. I will think more on it during today.

All the best!


Slow progress…

November 13, 2008

I am sorry for neglecting you this week. It seems to have taken ages to recover from the Newcastle MRS exhibition of last weekend. Re-ordering stocks, doing paperwork and all that stuff. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable show, despite the rubbish venue, a dirty council-run sports hall – Gateshead council should be ashamed of itself for such poor management and cleanliness of its facilities. What do we all pay such huge levels of tax for in the UK? Not for better services, so it seems.

Anyway, D&E layouts included EM gauge Canada Road and Andi Dell’s OO gauge Dagworth. I went spotting for the Great Eastern’s equivalent of the 4-Cep EMU: the Class 309. Andi obliged by running his 4mm scale models which were much appreciated. There’s something about BR Mk.1 Express EMUs from the former Southern region and the GE which has never been matched by modern power door stock, not even the BR MK.3 EMU coach profile.

Anyway, it has been notable how the number of visits to my new blog site has grown – thank you for calling by. Particular interest areas beyond my layout project include the new DRS service to and from Inverness. It started with Class 66, No.66 415. The closest I can find to it is Bachmann’s OO gauge ‘low emission’ Class 66 in DRS colours as 66 412:new-out999_997I am wondering if I will have work for this loco on my future layouts. Even so, it’s an attractive-looking model and one I plan to keep.

Digging around in my archives, I found these images. Any guesses as to where this is?

This picture may help…gives it away!


Demolition of the old carriage cleaning depot at Inverness to make way for the DRS terminal. Hard to believe when I took that picture that it would become what it has in such a short time. I understand that ground conditions were challenging for the contractor – when running a reach stacker, that could be crucial.

Finally, when away at shows with either my layout or Nairnshire Modelling Supplies, my in-laws look after the cats which know how to ambush them at the side door to make an escape into the garden. Of course, our two youngest are the worst culprits:

It-girl of the cat world is Sophie. Very happy to pose in front of a camera.

Sophie again – very cute. The smallest cat I have ever had the privilege to share my home with.

Katie is big sister and when we collected them from the SSPCA shelter in Inverness at 12 weeks old, Katie had taken control of their destiny, looking after Sophie who was just a little scrap of fur.  It was Katie that checked Sarah and myself out and decided: They’ll do.  There is a touch of Siamese in them both, shows more in Katie than Sophie. Katie,  who is exceptionally intelligent, exceptionally naughty and very very chatty, still looks out for her smaller sister. We love them both despite the performances and the two older cats, Foxy and Miss Nibbles have happily let them move in. The only problem comes from competition for the mats in front of the wood burning stove we have in the living room!