May 30, 2017
Some high-speed painting…got about 100 casks to paint and weather for my tiny Loch Dhu Distillery layout scheme…
Phew! Nearly done!
All the colours are by ‘Lifecolour’. There’s no doubt, the Italians have done a great job with modelling paints over the years.
April 10, 2017
Thumpers take a spin over the layout. It is run as the real location would be run in both the BR Sectorisation and post-privatisation eras. It is also home to my EMU and DEMU fleet, whether they are suitable for the location being modelled or not!
Remodelling of my EM gauge Folkestone East is making progress, having reached that ‘nothing looks finished’ chaotic stage. To recap, the work commenced with rebuilding the key cross-over from the down line to the yard and branch turn-back sidings. This required the removal of the Up staff halt platform and signalling to allow room to work on the new track and to allow for the slight remodelling of the track at that location. No.6 curved turnouts were replaced with longer No. 8 turnouts making the track run in a smoother arc in the curves and through the turnouts. The new track can be seen in the image below.
The flats which can be seen at the Ashford end of the real location have been built and in the process of detailing – fitting windows etc. The buildings are loose fitted to the layout and will be removable once the scenery is complete to suit particular date and time stamps, so to speak. Furthermore, they will be partially screened by weed trees growing on the embankment. The actual structures are slightly smaller than scale – the real ones being set a little further back from the lineside.
Two of the most challenging structures to build include Folkestone East signal box (above) and the electricity sub station (which will be located more or less opposite this scene). The box might appear to be of a simple design. However, there are elements of it that are quite challenging to work out, including the sun shields. The interior has been left clear to allow me to model the panel.
The box is situated on the old demolished Down platform of Folkestone East station. A short length of platform survives as a staff halt as it does on the Up side as mentioned above. Note how the box is set into the demolished platform with a low retaining wall.
The back drop has been pushed back about three inches to make room for some more low relief buildings including the end of the terrace houses on the street leading to the signal box. The end of an small industrial building is to be added too. Yes, the layout is seeing quite some remodelling, but I hope the extra effort will be worth it. The new cross-over track has already brought much benefit in improved running over what is already a pretty reliable layout. The signal box is reaching the painting and detailing stage. Already, I am eyeing up the construction of baseboards for the harbour branch.
March 19, 2017
…I am sorry that events have brought us to this…alienation of our friends in Europe by the British Government closely allied to a pig-headed determination to push Scotland down the hard Brexit path when so much could have been done to involve us in negotiations and retain access to the single market.
Independence for Scotland is now the only way. For me, I am growing cold on a second referendum too. I think the best course of action now is to convene a National Assembly and declare a formal unilateral declaration of independence or UDI.
January 3, 2017
Despite my best intentions, the new Hornby ‘Peckett’ 0-4-0ST locomotive proved to be totally irresistible! I chose the plainest one offered by Hornby for Loch Dhu Distillery which was supplied by Crafty Hobbies of Barrow-in-Furness – my thanks to Shelagh for her help in securing the model. It will be simple to add etched nameplates and new works plates to transform the loco into ‘Loch Dhu No.2’.
Whilst I organise some new etched plates for the model, it has been undergoing a little testing on my OO gauge Loch Dhu layout and after a short running-in period, it told me of some over enthusiastic grasses on the siding and a slightly misaligned rail joiner. otherwise, running was impeccable.
Track weeds were trimmed back a little to clear the low slung chassis of the loco. It is a beautifully built model with smooth valve gear action and good shunting capability. When a decoder is fitted, it will be adjusted for a low maximum speed appropriate to an industrial loco.
Fun with some Bachmann wagons. I am in agreement with many that this loco could turn out to be a big seller for Hornby.
A lovely little model and the second 0-4-0ST to be acquired by Loch Dhu Distillery (from the Manchester Ship Canal Co. and Esso Petroleum) for shunting duties. It will work alongside an Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST once its identity has been changed. Apparently, negotiations are underway to acquire a third locomotive for the distillery: another Andrew Barclay – this time a smaller 9-inch version in late pre-war condition. Rumour has it that the distillery has its eyes on Dailuaine No. 1…
Dailuaine No.1, an Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST. it is disgracefully stuffed and mounted at a distillery it never worked and with which it has no association. Time it was removed and restored in fully working condition. This loco is an important part of Speyside line history. It was allowed to work the main line between Carron and the Dailuaine Siding to serve the Imperial Distillery as well as Dailuaine itself.
December 30, 2016
Approaching the summit of Sgùrr Breac in cloud and with a 40 mph SW wind.
To counter the excesses of Christmas, I made an attempt to bag the last two Munros in the Fannaichs. A small weather window opened up on Tuesday (27th December) after the second of two very intense low pressure weather systems had blown through leaving a fresh breezy day to attempt the walk. I had no idea how much snow was left on the Fannaichs at this time, so went equipped with winter gear including ice axe for traversing snow fields which may (or may not) be frozen and extensive on the lee slopes of the hills. My targets were Sgùrr Breac and A’ Chailleach, the two most westerly of the Fannaichs.
Loch a’ Bhracin near the starting point on the A832. A morning shot.
As it turned out, the wind was too severe to allow a climb of both Munros in the short time available in mid winter with dusk at around 15.45 hrs. depending on cloud cover. I was not keen on clambering back down through Allt Breabaig in near darkness, not even with a head torch and other light.
I climbed up onto the ridge at Leitir Fhearna at the start of the walk to reach the start of a ridge walk along Druim Reidh that would take be to the top which lies between the two mountains. The wind chill and speed made walking challenging and with the turn back time approaching, I decided to leave A’ Chailleach for another day and concentrate on climbing Sgùrr Breac. Once completing the top, I walked down the south east side towards Allt the pass or bealach (Allt Leac a’ Bhealaich to the south of the pass and Allt Breabaig to the north of the pass) which separates Sgùrr nan Each and Sgùrr nan Clach Geala from Sgùrr Breac. The bealach was the route for the return walk which turned out to be relatively sheltered. I have used the Allt Breabaig bealach route from the north before and in much better weather conditions too!
The view west from Druim Reidh on the approach to Toman Coinnich, a top which sits between the two Munros. The picture was taken just before entering the cloud sitting over the hills.
A panorama from just below the summit of Sgùrr Breac. The shot was taken just below the cloud base. Loch Fannich can be seen in the distance and the Munros Sgùrr nan Each and Sgùrr nan Clach Geala also make it into the shot.
Approaching the top of the bealach or pass from the south for the return leg of the walk.
Shelter at the top of the pass. Beyond, to the north is the walk-out through Allt Breabaig which was very wet with snow melt. Even the path had assumed the role of a small burn!
A sight for tired feet – Loch a’ Bhracin at the end of the walk at dusk. Only half a mile to go to reach the car!
November 1, 2016
A recent trip to East Dunbartonshire to photograph a layout for BRM offered the chance of an hour or two of photography at Bowling station – a favourite location of mine. Located on the North Clyde route to Helensburgh, the station sees a fair procession of electric trains on various services – or would have done on this particular Saturday (22.10.16) if someone had not dug up the track with some dirty great yellow machines.
Hornby R600 straights left beside the platforms. Now, where are the rail joiners?
Okay, an hour to kill before my next assignment and no trains between Helensburgh, Balloch and Dalmuir…where next?
I relocated to Drumchapel station on the Dalmuir – Anniesland loop to find a steady procession of Class 318s and Class 320 EMUs running singly and in pairs between Dalmuir and Airdrie/Larkhall. On good days, freight bound for Glen Douglas and Fort William will also use this line, together with service trains for the West Highland line.
It was unlikely that I would see anything as exotic as an MoD working on this visit. Nonetheless, I find suburban railways fascinating and the North Clyde lines are among my favourite suburban railways. In the hour at Drumchapel, I photographed a goodly number of the ScotRail Class 320 fleet together with the odd Class 318 – enough to keep me occupied.