Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Garden Railway Expands!

Couple of days later than planned, it is done (almost). It took two of us (me and dad) 6 hours to complete but its been worth it.

The first job was the remove the turf from the section of garden. Surprisingly easy to do but still took a long time.

Next, we put down the weed proof membrane onto the ground. Something I didn't do on the existing railway and boy, do I regret not doing it!

Next, the fun stuff starts. Ballasting! First pass took 12 bags of gravel with the second pass taking another 3. The membrane got trimmed as well at this point.

First track then went down. 45mm gauge first as its easier to lay. LGB track was used thoughout and unsurprisingly was down in minutes. First time I've had 45mm gauge out in about 5 years!

Now the track that will see the most use, The 32mm! Passing loop is long enough for a Brazil and two WHR coaches (Note, WHR not FR) which should be good. Only one joint needs trimming but the weather turned awful at that point so.... that can wait for another day. The track also needs packing but I suspect that will have to wait until better weather so I can get a loco out and start to test it all!

Safe to say I'm happy with the progress. I'm out of 32mm track now plus the parents want to see it bedded in before approving stage 2 so that's for another day.



Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Garden Railway resurfaces!

After a long discussion with the landlords, it's finally happened! A permanent line has appeared in my garden. Only about 22ft long at the moment but will grow to 30ft on Saturday with further growth potentially following in the new year if it beds in enough and the parents are still happy.

First job, go and buy a load of Ballast. Phase 1 used 6 bags and I have 4 more in stock for phase 2/3 if it ever happens.

Ballast down and in place. Taken just before it was packed (aka stood on)

Track all laid and tamped. Ready for running (and yes, the trains do fit under the slab)

The kinds of shots that are now possible. Leader shown at the end of the line. That's SO much better compared to the rotten planks the line was on before.

Overall, I'm very happy with the end result and I'm looking forward to getting it finished and test trains run on Saturday! That and finally being able to dispose of the rotten boards the line used to live on!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

More On30 Work

After a period of nothing happening, work has slowly restarted on the On30. 3 new locos have been ordered as well as a couple of flat cars. I'm happy with the purchases especially at the prices I paid. I've also started the first stage of a series of projects I really want to do!

Firstly, the new motive power. 2 Modern 4-4-0s have been ordered (1's already here) and another inside Framed Forney. That takes the Forney total to 6 with plans for another 2. The new arrival will take the identity of Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Number 8. However, this leaves an issue. I already have a Number 8. Not anymore I don't! With a quick headlight change as well as reattaching the steam generator, it's become Bridgton and Saco River Number 6! Why swap them over? Simple. The new engine has Air tanks. The current loco doesn't. A simple headlight and bunker swap will see a modern Sandy River Number 8 compared to the previous early version.

The entire existing Motive Power Fleet with the new 4-4-0.

However, the 4-4-0 won't be staying like it is for long. On Facebook, there is an amazing conversion for the Modern 4-4-0 to give it a Maine Two Foot Outline by cutting down the tender and changing the cab. With a suitable cab on the way (hopefully), I've started work on my own version! Doesn't look like much at the moment but it's a start. Not bad for someone who rarely chops up ready to run!

The overall Loco

The Cutdown Tender. Needs a new rear section on the coal bunker plus tidying up/painting but it's getting there! Maybe needs a tool box as well but I'll have to check the prototypes for that.

Rolling Stock wise, I've had two new flat cars, as well as 4 18ft Cars, arrive which now completes my rolling stock collection. I only ever wanted a small fleet of stock (If I try to have one of everything, it's going to get expensive and I just can't afford it!). In time, maybe I'll get some other items but there are only three items on the list that really appeal. A Bachmann Excursion Car, another Bachmann Pulpwood Wagon and a Mount Blue Models Excursion car.

The layout showing the entire rolling stock fleet.

The 3 Pulpwood/Flat Cars. In time, I want another pulpwood car but it's finding one at the right price!

The 6 18ft Cars. 3 Gondolas, 2 Box Cars and 1 Tank Car.

During a nice long Saturday not having to worry about work, I've also started getting bits for the next big project. Something you don't see very often in On30 is the bigger Sandy River 2-6-2+T tender engines they had. To my knowledge, there's only been one kit (a very good one at that), I think a couple of RTR and that's it. So I'm making my own! I will at this point point out, it's not my original idea. It's an idea myself and Max Brayne have been bouncing between the pair of us and I'm making happen! Using 3D printing as well as a range of other bits I'm planning to make 3 (if the budget allows), Sandy River Numbers 16, 18 and 23. I would do Sandy River Number 24 but that's the obvious choice!

For those who don't know what they look like, here are database entries of all 3 from the internet. Found through google and not my data!:-  
  • SR&RL No.16:- http://www.narrowgauge.iform.com.au/srrl-16.html
  • SR&RL No.18:- http://www.narrowgauge.iform.com.au/srrl-18.html
  • SR&RL No.23:- http://www.narrowgauge.iform.com.au/srrl-23.html

As long as they look fairly close, I'll be just fine with that. I've got 3 chassis on order for them based around the Hornby International HL2104 outside framed Diesel chassis (Thanks again to Max for pointing them out!) as well as 6 Forney Pony Trucks to help guide them around the corners. Tenders are undecided, I was going to use Bachmann RTR cut down appropriately but the cost rules that out! If I end up making my own, I'll need to get some suitable bogies although Number 23 already has some ex-coach bogies waiting for it!

Not a bad update really, just need to sort out the new locos when they arrive, paint as required as well as finish work on the first 4-4-0! Plenty to do. Then there's a second 4-4-0 to modify as well......



Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Restoring a Layout

After sitting on the windowsill for nearly 2 years without any use/work, I finally decided to get the OO/009 layout running again. It, fortunately, didn't need much work for the OO. Only needed track cleaning, dust removing and cobwebs removing then it started to work again!

The 009, however, was another matter. Back in the day, I had a fleet of 009 engines that all ran on DCC. Now, most of the fleet have been sold one. Hence as well as the other work, it needed converting from DCC to DC. An easy task you'd think. Nope. The way the layout sits on the windowsill, getting underneath it to remove something from the main wiring is a nightmare. Fortunately, two little tugs pulled the track feeds off the main DCC power bus with ease. One quick rewire later, now the 009 runs on DC. Seeing as it's the only 009 section of track I now have, running it on DC is probably for the best/involves the least risk.

The overall layout

The newly DCed 009 section. Now working better than it did on DCC!

The Main Station area. Not bad for effectively a glorified inglenook with coaches!

The 4 stars of the current Passenger Fleet. Bachmann 4575, Bachmann E4 and Oxford Rail Adams Radial. Other locos do see use from time to time.

The two current 009 stars. A pair of until now unrun. Now running nicely.

When you need bigger engines, these 2 and the C class tend to get used. The fact they're both sound fitted has nothing to do with it. Honest!

What needs doing, the back of the layout needs tidying up as well as sorting out an engine shed for the 009. Then its Backscenes, detailing and sorting out the fencing as well.

It's getting there is the phrase I'd use. Now, onto the next one (the N gauge test track/009 running in area). Then I should have 3 working indoor layouts (On30, OO/009 and N) plus the 'outdoor'. Outdoor in inverted commas because it needs some serious work to sort out track issues.

Hopefully, there won't be too long a gap until the next post!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Its been a while!

So this is out of date just a little bit.........

A lot has happened over the last 16 months. Layouts have gone, Layouts have been started. I'll sum up the major changes below:-


  • Majority of the 009 Collection has been sold off
  • Blaencwm has been scrapped after electrics have been recovered
  • Micro Maine V1 has been Scrapped
  • O gauge Layout  has been Scrapped
  • LT Underground Layout has been scrapped
  • On30 Fleet has been focused on one particular location. Bigger Tender Engines have been sold.
  • Larger items of O gauge stock has been sold off.


  • Micro Maine V2 has been started
  • Trio of On30 Forneys have appeared with others to follow.
  • New 6ft by 2ft N gauge layout for just running trains
  • Lots of 16mm

There's been some rationalization because even I've realized I can only support multiple gauges for so long before something has to give. With a new job and at times a unpredictable income, the mass collection has been thinned down with priority placed on the projects that bring me genuine enjoyment. Long gone are the days of modelling massive 009 Trains behind massive engines, now taking its place are Medium sized Tank engines with 4-5 vehicle trains. Admittedly, its a larger scale so the lengths are staying the same but its more manageable size and price wise.

The current list of projects is now one of four:-

  • Micro Maine Version 2 - On30 - 8ft by 9 inches. DCC using a fleet of On30 0-4-4RT and 2-4-4T Forneys mainly based on Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad Prototypes.
  • BR Mainline - N Gauge - 6ft by 2ft. DC controlled using a fleet of Dapol and Farish Ready to Run stock based on British Railways Southern and Western Region prototypes 
  • Billington Road - OO9/OO - 5ft something by 2ft. DCC for OO and DC for 009. Modern Day preservation in the South of England using a fleet of Hornby, Bachmann and Heljan Ready to Run stock.
  • Bowaters - SM32/16mm - Unknown by 6 inches. Live Steam in the garden using a fleet of Bowaters Steam Engines all built by Accucraft with rolling stock designed and produced by myself.
Its easier to maintain 4 Layouts rather than the 7+ I was before. Before people start to wonder, I'm keeping the rest of my 009 and O gauge fleets. The items I'm keeping I either like or have personal reasons for keeping. Plus you never know if in the future you'll have the room for lots of layouts!

To end the post, I'll finish off with some pictures of Micro Maine V2. Its progressing nicely and who knows what will happen next with it........

Until next time......