Up the Ouse Valley Line

So a few weeks ago Tarring Neville was at the Brighton MRC show. Its a fairly small show and has a nice friendly atmosphere. The layout ran well although the one Cobalt motor on the layout sounds like its going to pack up soon so I’ll be removing it and replacing it with a simple rod and microswitch instead. My friend Richard came along had a nice little Terrier with him which we gave a run.

Opposite us at the show was Peter Bossom’s 3mm layout ” Thunders Hill”. It, like Herstmonceux, is based on the Ouse Valley line but set in 1936-38. Its a layout that I have only seen pictures of so was really pleased to see it in the flesh. Thunders Hill is actually a road near Chiddingly and if Peter’s station had been built it would of been the next along the line from Herstmonceux.



More information about Peters layout can be found here


Cream Tea anyone?

In just under 2 weeks Herstmonceux will be heading down to Devon for the Exe Model Railway Society show. Although I have been focused on getting Tarring Neville finished I have also been working on a few new things for Herstmonceux which will hopefully ready for the show.IMG_4064

For a while now my Birdcage set has been 2/3s finished and when run at a couple of shows its pinched the composite coach from the SECR Pull-Push set. I finally got the sets composite built and its currently waiting on some transfers and then the whole set needs weathering.
Something else that has been on the “to do” list is another Pull-Push set. Last year I received a new Cuckoo line book and I mentioned that one picture was very interesting. This picture showed a ex-LBSCR Pull-Push set and a D3 tank at Hailsham. The D3 turned out to be the one that I have modelled..

Being at Hailsham it puts it very close to Herstmonceux and the possibility that it might of turned up on the Ouse valley line… So luckily for me that nice guy Mr Roxey produces a kit of the LBSCR Pull-Push set. This is also just waiting on some transfers and some weathering and I will stick some pictures up when it’s finished.
With these two new sets a new timetable was needed to fit them in so hopefully I’ll get this finished ready for Exeter. Chris has also worked on a rake on mineral wagons to run in the new timetable as a diverted Kent coal train and I have tried to fit in a few more unusual workings that would of been seen in the area.

Bringing Up the Rear


This post has come about for 2 reasons. The main reason is the brake van pictured above and the other I’ll get to later.
Now the brake van pictured above is a SECR 20t 6 wheeled goods brake van diagram 1558. 40 were built in 1898 that had one open and one enclosed balcony. These were later rebuilt and had different framing on each end compared to the 50 later 1910 design that had two enclosed ends from new. Most passed into BR ownership but were withdrawn between 1949 and 1960. One has survived and is based at the KESR.
The model I have was picked up cheap at the Manchester show in December and I originally thought it was a Falcon Brassworks kit going by the weight of it. It wasn’t until I got it home and was trying to take the EM gauge wheels out to replace that I found out otherwise! As the second set of wheels came out the body came off in my hand. To my surprise the body was made of plasticard with the underframe made of brass with each axle sprung and sprung buffers. Who ever scratchbuilt it did a cracking job and going by the box it came in its pretty old. All I have done to it is put it back together with a set of OO wheels and repainted the ends. It runs real well and that’s probably down to the amount of weight in it and sprung axles.


The other reason for this entry was a post I picked up on during the usual frothfest before the Bachmann announcement at the begin of the month. The poster was hoping for a SECR Dance hall brake van to be produced RTR. What is this new trend of people waiting around for RTR stuff??
And if people really really wanted one of these brake vans then there are already options. For starters you have the Cambrian plastic kit which isn’t hard to build. If you really want to push the boat out you can go for the London Road Models brass kit. I have built 3 Dance hall brake vans, 2 are Cambrian kits built as different examples and the other is old 51L brass kit (the one on the left below). IMG_4102

I haven’t got anything against people wanting stuff produced RTR, most of my other brake vans are modified RTR but without the kit built vans there would be less variety on my layout and I would of built more kits if the RTR models weren’t available. Some of the other brake vans I have include 3 SR25t Pill-box vans. 1 is a Cambrian kit and the other 2 are Bachmann.IMG_4108IMG_4109

There is also a detailed Hornby LBSCR 20t brake van which I am hoping to do another of soon.IMG_4111

I have a Queen Mary brake van as well but don’t tend to use it much at shows and I must get round to building a Marc models SECR 20t Ballast plough brake van to the engineers rake. There are also a couple of BR and a LMS brake van just to mix it up a little.
So back to the guy wanting a RTR Dance Hall brake van. The usual retort on forums from those wanting everything RTR when asked why they don’t try a kit is they can’t, don’t have the skills, don’t have the time etc. Well I would argue that the 10-15 minutes spent frothing and wishing on forums could be spent trying to build a kit and gaining the skills needed. That brings the argument down to can’t and as my Nan always said “there is no such word as can’t”. I usually stop reading after that because its all been said before. The name calling starts with words like elitist, rivet counter and finescale being thrown around. Once the word finescale is said the media experts start mocking from afar although they are only too happy for everyone to buy what ever magazine they might be in this month when it suits. Its all rather tiresome and usual ends up with someone saying they were “only  joking” to try and save face. IMG_4040

Anyway I think I’ll stick to building kits instead of waiting around. Its usually quicker and adds more variety. Variety is important to me and with Herstmonceux I’ve tried to model a area and era with the stock to match and part of it is to be different to make it interesting, not only for me but for people that see the layout at shows. I could fill the layout with all the latest RTR items, but the layout wouldn’t be the same and in my opinion it would lose its character and essence.


Merry Manchester

So the MMRS Christmas show has come and gone and Herstmonceux is back home in Sussex packed away till March. First of all I would like to thank the MMRS for looking after us all weekend from the warm welcome on the Friday afternoon till thanking us for coming when we left on the Sunday evening. They had a army of members willing to help everyone unload on the Friday and then helping people load again on the Sunday evening.
For us the weekend started on the Thursday with the packing of the van ready for an early start on Friday. Everything was double and triple checked,  if I forgot something it was a rather a long way to come back to get!
Friday morning Anastasia and I left Sussex to go pick up Chris and after a good trip we arrived in Manchester just after 1.30pm. With the help from the MMRS members we must of had the van unloaded in under 10 minutes! This left us to leisurely set up and my Dad turned up just as we’d finished!


Now I’ve not been to many shows where the view behind the layout is like this…..


Saturday morning the show opened and was very busy early on. We found out later that they’d had 700 people through the door in the first hour which was pretty good going. Everything seemed to be going smoothly up until lunch time when we had our first ever fault with the layout. I’m still not really sure what was wrong. One of the controllers failed and was quickly replaced but it had caused a short in the goods yard which I couldn’t seem to trace. At this point I was fearing that we would only be able to run stuff through the station but after about 15 minutes it decided to start working again. Strange, very strange! Lack of tea?

On the Saturday evening after the show the MMRS had a social gathering where all exhibitors and traders could have a good chin wag, drink tea, eat cake and sandwiches plus the Exhibition co-ordinator and Chairman both spoke thanking everyone for coming and how the first day had been a great success. Better than the tea and sandwiches was Herstmonceux being awarded “Best in show” as chosen by the MMRS members! This is a great honour for me and I feel rather privileged to have my layouts name along side the others on the cup that go all the way back to 1949.


After the MMRS social we had been invited to another across town in the splendid Marble Arch pub. If you’re ever in the city its well worth a visit as a part from a good pint the pub itself is full of character. Afterwards our trip back to the hotel involved a ride out of Piccadilly. As Chris has already mentioned on his blog I got rather excited about a ride on a old Class 142 Pacer which I also got some stick for admitting it at the show the next day.



Before the show opened on Sunday I managed to get a few pictures of the SR Moguls that we had running over the weekend. This includes one of my K classes, an N class, the new N1 and my Dads U and U1 classes. I’ll post more about these at a later date.

Sunday the show was still pretty busy but I had more of a chance to go and have a look around. The stand out layout for me was Tollesbury Quay. Martin Stringer’s 7mm layout is based on the Kelvedon and Tollesbury Light Railway and really is a lovely piece of modelling. This layout has given me some ideas for a small layout before I build Herstmonceux’s replacement. Another layout I enjoyed was Calderwood based on the L&Y with some nicely built 4mm stock.
At the end of the show the help from the MMRS members getting the layout back to the van was really appreciated after a long weekend and the drive back to Sussex on the Monday wasn’t too bad either. I really enjoyed my first trip north with the layout and even picked up a few more invites. Of course none of this would happen without the help of Anastasia, Chris and my Dad and I would also like to thank Tom for his guest help. Hopefully he enjoyed it as much as we did. Thanks again to MMRS for a brilliant weekend and I look forward to coming to the show again in the future.



Don’t let it snow…

In 5 days time Herstmonceux will be on it way up to Manchester for The Christmas Model Railway Show . This will be the furthest I’ve taken the layout so far and I must say I’m really looking forward to it.
Andy Coopers New Hey will be at its last show before moving on to a new owner. It’ll be good to see his layout again, the first time was at Manchester show some 6 years ago!

At this show Herstmonceux will have a new operator as my friend Tom Foster is coming to help myself and some of the usual crew for the weekend. Hopefully he’ll get a good taster of whats to come when he finishes his Cwm Prysor layout.
The loco roster has had some new locos added to it. I finally got round to respraying my Hornby Schools into BR black and renamed and numbered it 30930 Radley. I picked this one as I have pictures of it around the area and it has some rather usual lining compared to others.
I have detailed a Hornby E2 with extra pipe work, lamp irons etc and also tried to convert a Hornby Terrier into something more like a A1x. This had the front footplate sandboxes cut off and new splashers added. The last loco I have been working on is a N1 and this has involved converting a Bachmann N. The cab and front end were replaced with extra parts out of a DJH kit. The cylinders took a bit of work and its not 100% but looks the part. Please excuse the poor picture. Hopefully you can make out the extras that have been added. I will try and get some better pictures put up after the weekend.

I’ve also managed to finish off a few coach projects. The restriction set now has 2 brake coaches. The set is made up from cutting the sides off Hornby Maunsells and filing the ends down slightly to narrow them ready for gluing on the Branchline conversion sides.

I’ve also been working on a Maunsell Nondescript Brake Saloon. This is again a Hornby coach with sides cut off but with Bill Bedford sides attached and I will post some pictures when its finished.

So bar a few more bits of packing to do and a good clean of the layout, Herstmonceux is ready for its trip. I’m sure it’ll be a cracking weekend and please do come say hello if you are at the show.