OHLE for Dudley Heath

July 29, 2015

OHLE-2

The push is now on to complete the OHLE portals currently being installed on my N gauge ‘Dudley Heath’ layout. It has taken some time to complete the planning and find the money to make this part of the project a reality, as is the nature of these things. The total cost of the basic portal kits and fittings came to around £120.00 for both sides of the layout, a total of 22 portals and eight single masts, so the outlay was not insignificant. The time needed to fold and solder the portals together with the register arm assemblies was another factor for the slow progress.

OHLE-3

The OHLE portals represent the heavyweight 1950s Mark 1 WCML OHLE and are produced as flat brass kits by N Brass Locomotives which are folded to shape with the aid of brass folding bars and completed with various fittings for register arms, insulators and so on. The result is a basic portal (there are various lengths available) which can be primed, painted and installed as it is or detailed further with additional fittings. They certainly look the part in a West Midlands setting.

OHLE 1

The project was completed in part as preparation for exhibiting the layout at the Perth show in June this year, including painting and finishing of the portals except two over the junction on the opposite side of the layout to these pictures (it takes some time to assemble 22 portals). Bases and some additional details are being prepared to complete the portals and various other masts which will then allow me to use a handful of Dapol Class 86s on the layout. Some remedial work to scenery and other features will then follow together with completion of a number of structures.

And before you ask: I will not be modelling the contact and support wires – certainly not straightaway. They could prove to be too heavy in appearance in N gauge and too delicate for a portable layout which is dismantled for storage. I am not sure that the considerable time needed to put wires together convincingly could not be better used to rework some other areas of the layout with a better result, or indeed detailing the masts and portals to further reinforce the WCML Birmingham loop lines and Grand Junction lines atmosphere.

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What’s a cookin’?

July 28, 2015

Class20TC-3-wordpressHmm – I have been quiet of late. Computers or my work bench? I know I prefer the latter, but the arrival of the first new (and I mean brand new) OO gauge model for my collection in a very long time deserves a little attention.

And no, it’s not another product of English Electric for the Southern region. It’s EE alright, but there’s something amiss with my traction choice of late. The Bachmann Class 20 above is going to more at home on ScR pick-up goods circa 1965 than the former Southern Region. Numbered D8028, the model (32-044) is one of the latest Class 20 releases from Bachmann which includes the unusual green Class 20, No. 20141, a real hold out loco which survived in BR green into the early 1980s (32-034A).Class 20TC-2-wordpressClass20TC-1-wordpress
The tablet catcher equipment is a bit of a giveaway as to the origins of this locomotive model. Not destined for Folkestone East; it is the first arrival for a new OO gauge layout project which has been slowly taking shape this year. The model itself is neatly finished in early condition. It will be renumbered D8032 and given a suitably grimy finish. The model does not come equipped with lighting, so that will make an interesting DCC project.
Class20TC-4-wordpressClass20TC-5-wordpress copyHere’s another clue as to my current layout planning ideas:

Covhop-2-wordpress

Covhop-1-wordpressOne of my rare Ebay auction wins and for a reasonable price too. Two ‘Whisky’ covhops, origin Trix Trains/Liliput and latterly Bachmann. They are more recent models and cost relatively little to buy. I am now searching around for some 16t mineral wagons, 13t steel sided wagons and some shock wagons, not to mention a handful of vans. The project will not need a lot of wagons, being compact in design.

This does not mean that I have been dormant on my other projects. The OHLE is finally in place on Dudley Heath and anyone who saw the layout at the Perth show last month will have seen it in its state of interim installation.

The Montana Rail Link layout has seen considerably more activity – almost a complete redesign now I have decided to bridge the layout room door way – something I have resisted for some time. The result is a simplified layout design and a longer main line run.

Folkestone East is mothballed currently and has been so since my return from a long trip to Norway. The stock is yet to be placed back on the layout and remains in secure storage. Dust sheets rule there!

Tronheim copy
Finally, I am surprised how little equipment there is for modelling current NSB operations. The shot above was grabbed at Trondheim on the 28th May of this year. The stock from the Bodø-Trondheim sleeper is moved ECS to the berthing sidings after its arrival from the Arctic. I would take considerably more interest in modelling the railways of one of my favourite countries if there was more equipment available either in HO or N gauge.


One for electric traction fans…

July 14, 2015

EL 18

An NSB EL18 class electric locomotive. That beastie has a lot of horses under a streamlined body…