New Hornby Dublo Layout & B12s

After rather long absence, I’ve decided to try and start writing again. But now not just specifically Scouting, although that is still an active part of my life (I just ran out of stuff to say!), but going back to what I originally did, write about what is interesting to me or on my mind.

So today we start back with model railways.

I’ve intended to set up a small Hornby Dublo 3 rail layout for a while now as I have been adding to my collection, but not really had anywhere to run the trains.
I had a small oval of track that I made a long time ago which was 2 and 3 rail convertible, but the glue on the centre rail was failing so it was time to do something!
I decided to extend the board as much as I could in the space available and the video shows the results, from the original board, to the extensions to running and a few modifications.
You’ll see some of my locos along with my full collection of N2s (including 2 of my Dad’s). One of these has been restored and repainted, the 2 GWR ones have been repainted (not by me) and one is on a much later chassis than it should be.
They all run, a bit more oiling and dusting is needed, but a couple, including the pre war N2, need re-magnetizing.

The second video is of three of my (Triang) Hornby B12s running together.
The first is the original model from the early 1960s (mine’s a hybrid 60s & 70s version), rather nicely detailed for me by my uncle.
The second is the late 1990s Hornby version, which was the original one, slightly updated and now made in China.
The last one is the rather nice, current, modern, highly detailed version.
I must admit to the 1st one being my favourite, because it was specially detailed for me! Still runs very well for something that is around 40 years old!

An Old Scouting Postcard

A while back I borrowed an album of old postcards from my Uncle He has some postcards of the area where I (and he used to) live, as I wanted to copy them. Amongst these I found a postcard that I’d actually found for him many years ago.

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It’s a postcard produced by the North Staffordshire Railway to promote the little narrow gauge Leek and Manifold Light Railway which used to run through the Staffordshire Moorlands. Railways often produced these type of postcards to show the beauty of the areas through which their railways travelled. If you click on the image you will get a larger version and you can see the beauty of the landscape. However, notice the two figures. Yes, they’re Scouts, and  in the old traditional uniform from when Scouting started. This would be because the postcard was issued before 1923 when the North Staffordshire Railway ceased to exist.

Of course it’s interesting to think that Scouts were walking in that area over 90 years ago and still do to this day. If you area ever around North Staffordshire, I would highly recommend a visit.

The rail fan in me also loves this film of the Leek and Manifold Railway before it closed!

All Change Please

As I’ve been blogging more and more, I’ve noticed that the majority of my posts have been Scout related. And as the people who have been good enough to link to me from their blogs are also Scout related, it made me think that the majority of them aren’t all that interested in me waffling on about trains etc (correct me if I’m wrong someone).

So I’ve decided to spin off the non Scouting bits to Nick’s Other Ramblings Blog and keep this on just for Scouts. All the previous content will stay in place here and the other categories will survive as well and I may duplicate some posts on both. But generally non Scouting related stuff will be on number 2.

Lets just hope I can cope with two!


40 Years Ago Today….

The last main line passenger train to be hauled by a steam locomotive was run in the UK. Well not quite technically, as many others have run since, but it was the last one run by, organised by and with locomotives and stock owned by British Railways.

There was a re run yesterday, which included one of the original locos (Oliver Cromwell) on the same route.

Photography is now Banned (Apparently)!

There seems to be an increasing trend that people who take photographs of landscapes, buildings, transport and general everyday scenes are now considered potential terrorists or paedophiles.

There was a story in the media this week of a chap who was getting abuse for taking photos of buses! This is despite the fact he’s done it in all innocence for many, many years.

It’s quite common to read in the train mags of officious jobsworths stopping people taking pictures of trains on stations as it’s against ‘regulations’ or a ‘health and safety issue’. This is despite Network Rail issuing clear guidelines that say it’s not a problem as long as the rules are followed. Mind, I read the other day that a Train Operating Company had employed someone to do work for them which involved taking photographs on their stations, but when he went to do his job the station staff banned him from doing so! Again ‘health and safety’. Great own goal that I think!

I used to enjoy standing on a station for hours on end taking snaps of the passing trains, but now I’m quite reluctant to do so. Having said that, I’m less likely to do so as things are more boring these days!

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A class 501 EMU at Gospel Oak taken around 1982 and a class 86 entering Stoke station around 1980

So there we go, two photos I took many years ago, when photos could still be taken without suspicion!

In fact, things have now got so silly that the MP Austin Mitchell has now tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament about this issue.

Etruria’s Gone!

Well not the whole area, but the remains of the station. Thanks to the Dft‘s shortsightedness another bit of public transport in North Staffordshire bites the dust! Only about 9 more to go and then we will have no more stations!

Well to be fair, Wedgwood, Blarlaston, Stone and Norton Bridge are all effectively closed as no trains actually stop there, just buses! Stone is pretty safe, but the others aren’t. Angry

Comfort on Trains

Last week we went down to Paignton in Devon for a couple of days. Travelling down on the train we went via Reading, which is an odd way to go as it’s a greater distance but cheaper! Anyway, to get to Reading we travelled on a CrossCountry Voyager and from Reading on a First Great Western HST.

The difference between the the 6(ish) year old Voyager and the 30(ish) year old HST is amazing. First of all the MK3 coach is a lot quieter as there isn’t a 750hp diesel engine underneath your feet. As there is no engine under the floor there is also no vibration and rattles! There is also more space for the passenger and more seats 8 coaches as opposed to 4! Shame Virgin didn’t think about this when they bought them!

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The view from the train at Dawlish!

It’s also interesting to note that First Great Western are using the HSTs in a dual role as an express from London to Exeter and then as a local from Exeter to Paignton! Interesting way to do things! Shame they’ve had to start using the ‘Nodding Donkeys’ again!

It was a cold weekend with a bitter wind coming off the sea, but we had fun.

BETT & St. Pancras

Yesterday I managed to go to see the BETT show at Olympia in London. BETT is one of the largest educational IT shows in the world. We could have spent our IT budget very quickly there! In fact there is so much to see it is slightly overwhelming!

On the way back to Euston, we stopped off to see St. Pancras station.

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The photo is poor as it was taken against glass with my phone! The station is fantastic and is really worth a look!

Longport Station Is Improved

Happy New Year – better late than never!

Between Christmas and New Year, I went to Llandudno for the day. Carol was working late so I thought a day out to North Wales would be nice as I haven't been for a while, especially on the train. When I got to Longport, I noticed that arrival and departure boards had been installed, along with a PA and CCTV.

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These were the improvements that were paid for by Stoke City Council and not Central Trains who operated the station at the time. Still it is nice to see some investment in the station.

As to Llandudno, well it was nice to be there, but it was absolutely chucking it down with rain and I got soaked!!!

Goodbye 2007

As 2007 closes, time to look back at the year. Only positive and good things I think, there’s too much doom and gloom around already!

2007 has seen a number of centenaries both personal to me and personal to everyone else.

My Mum’s parents were both born in 1907. It’s hard to think of them as being 100, although Grandma nearly made it to 92!

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Grandma’s 75th birthday.

Mr. William Thomas Vickers and Mrs. Alice Irene Vickers

I could have got into real trouble for announcing to the world that Grandma’s first name was Alice! It’s a shame Grandad never got to see all the computer and interweb stuff as he would have been fascinated. The first radio (wireless) he had, he built himself!

Newcastle (Staffs and District) Camera Club was 100. Grandad and Mum were / are members and they had an exhibition to mark their centenary. Mum had a couple of here photos displayed.

Of course, one of the big events of the year was the Scout Centenary. Looking back at some of my scribblings from 2007 and looking at my Scout Group’s web site you can see some of the things we did. I think my highlight was restarting the Scout Troop after 18 months and investing the new Leader and new Scouts at our District’s Centenary camp.

The other two personal highlights were finally seeing Paul McCartney live and actually driving a real locomotive – albeit up and down the yard at Cheddleton a couple of times!

Goodbye 2007 and hello 2008.