My stock is a mix of ready-to-run from a number of different manufacturers, including quite a bit of original Hornby Dublo and Airfix kits. I particularly cherish a Blue Pullman set and an APT set.
The fleet is a mix of Hornby Dublo, Triang, Hornby, Lima, Bachmann, and Airfix. I have the following:
Hughes-Stanier Crab 5MT 2-6-0
Fowler 4F 0-6-0
Fowler-Stanier 7P Rebuilt Scot
Stanier 7P Patriot
Stanier 6P Jubilee
Stanier 7/8P Duchess of Montrose
Ivatt 2MT 2-6-0
Fowler 3F Jinty
Stanier 8F 2-8-0
BR Standard 7MT Britannia Vulcan
BR Standard 4MT 2-6-4T
Greasley A3 Flying Scotsman
Thomas the Tank Engine
Toby the Tram Engine
English Electric Deltic Crepello
Brush Type 4
BR Sulzer Type 4 (Peak)
Brush Type 2 (A1A)
English Electric Type 1
Drewry 0-6-0 Shunter
BR Standard 350hp Shunters
Advanced Passenger Train
I have deliberately avoided referring to TOPS classifications since British Rail only bought the system in 1968 and renumbering didn’t start until 1972.
As would be expected for a layout set in the 1960s, the majority of my engine fleet is steam. Duchess of Montrose was included in my first Christmas trainset but went in part-exchange for a load of 2-rail stuff a few years later. My father took advantage of the concessionary part-exchange scheme Meccano Ltd offered to encourage people to convert to their new 2-rail system, I remember that I was not particularly impressed to receive Crepello in exchange! I bought this Duchess many years later in a wave of nostalgia and converted it to 2-rail running. The Deltics served duty on the East Coast Main Line out of Kings Cross throughout their life so I’m exercising modelling licence by allowing Crepello the occasional visit up the Midland main line. Britannia 70024 Vulcan was in charge of my last mainline steam-hauled train ride from Derby to York in the autumn of 1967. I worked a six-week summer job at Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd (now simply Brush Traction) at Loughborough in 1967 at the time they were building the Type 4s. I remember seeing them being built on the production line in the factory and then parked all over the works site awaiting delivery, looking very smart in their immaculate two-tone green paintwork. I did own a Hornby Dublo English Electric Type 1 B0-B0 but became aware of its short-comings as a scale model, so I replaced it with a couple of the Bachmann models and sold my old Hornby Dublo model on eBay. No locomotive collection would be complete without a Jubilee or two and I picked up others at various times on eBay.
• More here ...
The original Midland Blue Pullman trains entered service on 4th July 1960 between Manchester and London St Pancras and they were withdrawn on 15th July 1966 following the completion of the electrification of the WCML route from London Euston to Manchester. They were then transferred to join the Western Region sets where they continued in service until May 1973. I remember seeing the Midland Pullman calling at Loughborough station one day and I have a somewhat blurred black and white photograph I took on my first box camera of it passing through the station one evening at full speed.
The Triang model was based on the Western power cars (2nd class seating) and a first class parlour car which was common to both Western and Midland sets. Rosebud Kitmaster produced kits of the three Midland Pullman vehicle types and these occasionally come up for sale on eBay, most often made-up but occasionally unmade examples are offered. With a deal of patience it would have been possible to collect a complete set but I decided that that was not the route to follow. Much of the value of an unmade kit is as a collector’s item and they attract serious money, built examples are often badly made or “play worn” and would need work to bring them to a reasonable standard. Of course, a complete train set would have to be either all Triang or all Kitmaster, it would not be acceptable to mix and match.
• More here ...
Strictly speaking, I should not be running this train on my layout as it is 20 years too late and the Midland Main Line isn’t electrified, but this is my railway and I will run what I want. I fell in love with the train when I first saw it and was so sad that it failed through lack of investment and political cold feet. My model is based on the configuration in use for the trial running in 1984, during which time I travelled on the train from London Euston to Glasgow.
Hornby produced a minimum-formation 5-car set and the vehicles were good scale models. They were also very amenable to being converted to create a full articulated set. I acquired the models as two boxed sets and enough spare parts for four additional vehicles to make up a complete half-set from Blackwells of Hawkwell when they were selling them off as surplus in 1987. Twenty-two years later, I picked up enough extra vehicles on eBay to make up a full 12+2 car train. I have two pairs of driving trailers sporting the alternative liveries produced by Hornby who followed British Rail’s developments to find the right look.
• More here ...
During the 1950s and 1960s, British Railways trialled a number of diesel multiple units broadly based upon standard coaching stock and it would be reasonable to expect to see these plying the line in my area. I picked up two secondhand Triang sets to represent BR’s trials but soon became dissatisfied with the crude design of the models. We take for granted these days such features as flush glazing, complete underframe detail, exhaust pipes and so on, and decided I needed to budget for replacing them with something better. I successfully sold both sets on eBay.
• More here ...
I have assembled my passenger coaching stock in fixed rakes, each with a guard’s brake. The majority of coaches are internally lit, switched through a decoder located in the guard’s compartment. I can therefore switch the coach lights on and off without having to worry about which locomotive it’s attached to and a second function call switches the tail lamp fitted to the coach end.
I picked up a set of four Graham Farish Pullman cars on eBay and then, later, picked up a set of three almost mint original Hornby Dublo Pullman cars, which put the Graham Farish models in the shade. These will make an occasional appearance behind my Deltic. The originals would have run on one of the services out of Kings Cross but I choose to think that they could have been used for excursion services on other routes, including the Midland Main Line.
I have a substantial fleet of original Hornby Dublo Super Detail goods wagons which still compare reasonably well at normal viewing distances to modern-day vehicles. Everything is in context with everything else and so nothing looks out of place.
In the days before the continuous brake was universal, guard’s brake vans on unfitted freight trains were required to carry a marker lamp each side showing red to the rear and white to the front. These were in addition to the normal red tail lamp carried by every train. The driver and fireman were required to look back at suitable intervals to check their train and, after dark, they had to identify a dim, flickering oil lamp on the side of the guard’s van. A lamp was placed on both sides so that at least one could always be seen whichever way the track curved.
Track and structures maintenance is one of those largely unseen activities but, since I’m a Railway Civil Engineer, it was a large part of my work. I have a few interesting Civil Engineer’s Department wagons around the system plus a scratch-built track recording trolley. As yet, I have no tamping or lining machines.
• More here ...
I had started out with the Simplex auto coupler as used by Hornby Dublo and the majority of my fleet is equipped with that to this day. More recent acquisitions came with the now standard tension lock coupler which, to my eyes, looks so crude in comparison. The Simplex is also much more amenable to hand shunting which is so often an essential part of fiddle yard operation. I like to be able to run my trains and to shunt and marshal them so I wanted an auto coupler of some type, I do not have the patience (or the eyesight) to manage 3-link or similar scale systems.
Wheel standards are important because they directly affect the track standards. We have come a long way since the early Triang steamroller wheels that clobber the chairs on finescale track but we have a plethora of standards in use today. What is more, some modern ready-to-run rolling stock won’t run happily through some of the turnouts made by one of the more popular manufacturers in the UK.
I have a substantial fleet of Hornby Dublo wagons and coaches with their original wheelsets which will define my starting point and which will also affect the track standards I will need to adopt. However, I have read that plastic wheels tend to attract dirt far more quickly than metal wheels which then transfers to the rails. If this proves to be true, I may end up having to re-wheel my stock in any case.
As well as interior lighting for the passenger coaches, I have fitted head and tail lights to the majority of the fleet. For my multiple units, these are automatically switched according to the direction of travel, but not for my engines. I have equipped some of my driving cabs with lights that can be selected by a function call. • More here ...
Before I converted to DCC, I had designed an electronic control circuit for directional running lights. This switched direction when the controller was moved in the appropriate direction before the train itself moved, and stayed on for several minutes when stationary and without power thanks to a large capacitor. For a bit of fun, I equipped some of my driving cabs with lights that came on in the leading end when the train came to a stand. All passenger coaching stock was internally lit and similarly maintained.
• Train Control • Index • Beyond the Lineside •