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Update Pages - May to August 2011




This is a plan of the new EM gauge layout 'Lesney Park' being built in Brisbane, Australia, by Keith Trueman. It will be based on 1970s British prototype practice, with the rolling stock providing regional variations on its location.

A class 73 Electro-diesel is in the works at present, receiving additional detailing, and will be finished in BR blue livery.

A view showing the Shawplan replacement etched brass cooling fan.....

..... and other roof detail, as part of the ex-Lima upgrade.

A Heljan class 33 with additional detail fitted, and replacement Ultrascale EM gauge wheels fitted. This and the class 73 featured above will definately give a Southern Region feel to the layout at present, but other regions will be represented by future rolling stock projects.

The first of the baseboards, constructed mainly from plywood, with softwood sandwich pieces giving additional strength to the construction.

A view showing both the scenic section baseboards, giving a total area of 10' X 2'.

The underside of the baseboards, showing them butted and bolted together.....

.... and the supporting leg assemblies which allow quick and easy assembly and dismantling.

In addition to the scenic section, a traverser will be located off-scene.

Simple nylon rollers run on aluminium angle sections.

A view showing the standalone fiddle yard board, and a HO scale Australian based layout in the background. For further details of previous layouts and rolling stock, please click here.

Ballasting trials taking place, using Woodland Scenics ballast.



Class 52 D1059 ‘Western Empire’ is shown nearing completion. Based on the Heljan product, this model will hopefully make a first show appearance on Canada Road at Expo EM later this month.

Another view of D1059, showing the other side. The loco is modelled in 1975 condition, with weathered paintwork typical of the type in their final years. ‘Empire was the first of the class that I saw, and revives good memories of a journey to Bristol that year in search of the prototype HST. As a teenager inspired by all things new and modern the quest was successful, but seeing several Westerns during the day saw me returning north to Manchester far more interested in things old and soon to be history!

A close-up of the cab on D1059. The Heljan model has been reworked above the windscreens and in the marker lamp/headcode/lamp bracket details to better capture the character of the original. It is planned to have a feature section on the changes made within a later web update.

Fellow class member 1010 ‘Western Campaigner’ is also being modelled. This loco was one I encountered more than once during my few visits to Western territory and was kept in better external condition until eventual preservation. Campaigner was unusual for having the ‘D’ removed from the cabside plates under the BR numbering policy of 1968. Fox name/number plates have been fitted, and a small ball-end diamond burr on a minidrill was used to carefully grind the ‘D’ off the 4mm scale versions before re-touching with satin black enamel.

The recent release of true-scale Class 24/25 fan grills by Extreme Etchings has allowed the Canada Road collection of the type to be improved. Two-tone green D7659 is pictured with this work in progress.

A second view shows the model after completion of the fan and grill modification.

A close-up of another modified Class 25 model shows the precision three-ply assembly of the grill to reproduce the vertical slats of the prototype design.

Extreme Etchings have also recently produced a true-scale fan/grill for the 4mm models of the Brush type 2 Class 31. This is shown to good effect after being fitted on the Lima-based model of D5683. The fineness of the mesh is again remarkable for a 1:76 scale reproduction.

A rarely pictured Canada Road loco is Class 24 24 081, which was converted from a Hornby Class 25 many years ago. This model was on the work bench recently to have an etched fan/grill fitted, and also has a Hornby 5-pole ringfield motor conversion for improved running.

A recent visitor to the bench has been this C Bolster VB after a load securing chain came adrift. The model is based on the Bachmann/Mainline GWR-pattern product, but has been adapted to the late-style BR build. This makes use of the Cambrian kit for cast-steel bogies, and has changed bolsters, buffers, and brake details. The rolled steel beam load is made from plastic sections, finished with a blend of matt grey and silver metallic enamels



A Brush type 2 rests at Hornsey Road, awaiting its next turn of duty. This was mainly a photo opportunity to catch the setting sunlight on the oily ballast.

Work continues in developing the area around the back of the locomotive depot, with the stores area, water tower, and boiler house starting to take shape. The headshunt template is in place, so some track construction can take place soon.

A closer view of the stores siding alongside the maintenance shed. Balsa wood was glued firmly and flat onto the plywood trackbed, and C&L plastic chairs have been fused to the balsa wood using 'Plastic Weld'.




John Harvey's class 125 DMU project has reached the body painting stage. This DMBS has been converted from the Lima high-density model, with corrected passenger window behind driving cab.

The exhaust pipes on the ends were very prominent, as these units did not have gangway connections. The pipe will require a 3rd bracket before being fitted for good.

The DTS in green livery with small yellow panels. The brake section of the original bodyshell has been removed, and a passenger section spliced in its place.

The TS centre car, which needed the most alteration to window sizes and positions.



This view shows the area around the back of the depot. The water tower has been scratchbuilt from styrene to fit into the lower area around the headshunt. Beyond that is the boiler house and fuel oil tanks, with a modified Bachmann building providing administration for the site.

With the multi-storey office block removed from the foreground, it affords a better view of the depot, showing the concrete road surfaces laid and weathered. Other scenic detail has been added, and addition of colour to the various structures starts to bring the area to life.

Most of the buildings are still removable at this stage, allowing access to difficult areas. Now that the infrastructure is in place, a start can be made on constructing the trackwork.

A modified Wiking forklift truck about to enter the stores area through a pair of rubber doors...... don't forget to sound that horn Matey!!



One of my favourite classes of loco - a 24/1 seen shortly after the application of its blue and yellow paintwork.

A much modified Bachmann class 24/1, utilising the cabs from a Hornby class 25, and plenty of other detail to boot.

Now showing the loco in grey primer. This is a loco I wanted to model, and believe the extra work with the transplanted cabs is worth it to get the profiles right.

Numbered and detailed, it now awaits the weathering stage and fitting of glazing.

This class 26 is based on the Heljan model, and is at the same stage as the class24/1.

.... and a much modified and detailed class 29, rebuilt from a Hornby model.



A Brush type 4 waits in the up goods loop at Shenston Road with a rake of empty coke hoppers returning from Pensnett to Llantrisant. It was more common to find the diesel brake tender behind the locomotive during this period, as forward visibility from certain classes (Peaks & class 37s) made 'SPADS' more likely when stopping at signals.

The Pensnett branded coke wagons had deeper chutes under the hoppers, and were easily identified by the markings painted on the wagon sides.

In the 1970s some of these wagons were formed into TOPS pool 7071, made up from the later design of hopper body with no raves.

The one and only vacuum braked example.... it must have been a bit of a squeeze getting to the brake cylinder!

Although this rake of wagons were built many years ago utilising the now obsolete 3H plastic kit, there has been some recent interest in the Pensnett versions. There are still a few more unbuilt kits on the shelf which I hope to get around to building soon.

Whilst Kier had his camera out, the opportunity was taken to phot a few other items of rolling stock, starting with this scratchbuilt diesel brake tender. These were constructed at BR workshops from redundant coaching stock, and many used Gresley bogies. These were filled with concrete to act as ballast weight.

Here's another one built many years ago, and utilises a coach roof for the top profile, just like the prototypes were built. Although very common in the 1960s to asist with the braking of unfitted trains, a few examples lasted in service until the early 1980s.

Using a 'fitted head' on many freight trains reduced the need for brake tenders, and by the 1980s virtually all trains had fitted brakes, apart from a handful of departmental stock. This is another scratchbuilt diesel brake tender, and was regularly seen on the Eastwell Ironstone Co layout.

A BR(W) permanant way crane, using the Airfix / Dapol plastic kit as a basis, and a Hornby steam tender chassis for the running gear. The bogie bolster A is used as a runner, and tool boxes made from plasticard.

A Ruston PWM shunter built from the Impetus kit. Originally built and finished in yellow livery, it was back-dated into green livery for Shenston Road.

There were a total of 5 of these shunters assigned for PW work on the western region of BR.

Having recently built a few more of the Chivers MDV kits, they are seen here being marshalled at BSC Shenston exchange sidings.




A recent second hand purchase of a Bachmann Warship in original green livery provided the mechanism needed to improve the running qualities of my reworked Mainline model of 821 ‘Greyhound’ circa 1970. In this view the parts involved are shown, with the bogie sideframes already widened for EM gauge.

A detail view showing the wheelsets (Ultrascale ‘eco’ wheels and axles, fitted with the Bachmann spur gear) and sideframes. The sideframes have been cut down the middle with a razor saw before being widened by about 2mm using plasticard infills. The white panel is an 80 thou stiffener for which space exists inside the moulding. The notches filed into the sides of the moulding to accommodate the wheel bosses can also be seen.

The completed EM chassis ready for mating to the bodyshell. I chose to re-use the old Mainline underframe moulding, as the Bachmann re-working of the model was clearly based around adapted Mainline mould tools, making for a relatively simple conversion of the tray to accept the cast centre-motor block.

During Canada Road’s recent appearance at Expo EM in Bracknell the later BR style iron ore hopper was spotted running on the Mostyn layout. When it turned out it was now available as a kit from 51L the chance of a new wagon type for my layout was impossible to resist. In this view the model of the diagram 1/163 wagon begins to take shape using a combination of resin, whitemetal, and brass parts. It will be finished in a late 1960s appearance, to run with other ore wagons of the earlier riveted design.

Also appearing at Expo EM was Mike Anson’s excellent ‘Western Road Depot’ P4 layout. Despite the gauge mismatch the opportunity for some ‘on shed’ pictures of the Canada Road diesel hydraulic fleet was too good to miss. With Mike’s kind permission here are some views to rekindle memories of the early 1970s on the western region of BR. Photos Ian Manderson.

A general view across the depot yard, with the newly finished model of D1059 ‘Western Empire’ in the foreground. Behind it is Hornby adaptation Class 22 D6333 amongst other typical locomotives of the period.

Hymeks were much in evidence. In this view class members D7005 and 7076 are stabled on adjacent roads.

A detail view of green survivor D7005, a loco which was never to receive blue livery before final breaking.

A final view to finish the visit. With D1059 Western Empire and a Class 14 looking very much at home in the typically western region architecture of the servicing shed and water tower.



The GN Cravens project (based on the Bachmann model) is almost complete, and a visit to Roy Jackson's 'Retford' layout in June brought about the opportunity to photograph some of the units. Six of the vehicles are seen here leaving the station on a northbound charter service.

The excursion is seen again later in the day as it re-joins the ECML, having travelled from Sheffield on the GC route and the short spur from Whisker Hill Junction.

J27 number 65860 coasts into the exchange sidings at Canada Road on a local trip working. The loco has seen better days, but she still holds a good head of steam as Fireman Manderson will testify. This kit loco was built and weathered by Pete Johnson, and features in the archive 'update' pages. The photo has been enhanced using Paint Shop Pro, adding a bit of sky, steam and smoke. (Ian Manderson / Kier Hardy).




The finishing touches have been put to the Cravens project, and they are now earning their keep on the GN suburban services out of Kings Cross. Based on the Bachmann model, they have been de-classified to second class throughout, although if you're lucky, you'll be able to sit in the ex-first class seating in the DMS!

Other detail work includes fitting exhaust pipes to the roof (above guards compartment), 2 character headcode boxes, trip cock fittings for working the Widened Lines, and sooty black roofs and associated weathering. To add a bit of variety, replacement numbers are applied and windscreen wipers are parked in different positions.

On to the work bench come a trio of Deltics. Based on the Bachmann model, they have been converted to EM gauge using Romford/Jackson 14mm wheels, and the chassis lowered by approx' 1mm on the top of the gear towers. Etched nickel silver hatches by Extreme Etchings have been fitted to the number 1 ends, and although the fire break receptacles are misplaced, I can live with this inacuracy. Other body and detailing work includes scribing the sandbox covers onto the bodysides and nose ends, as seen here on 9009 'Alycidon'.

Here's Gateshead's 9002 'The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry' modelled to a photograph of it in a filthy condition in 1971..... At least the London racehorses were kept a bit cleaner! The awful plastic buffers have been replaced with Hornby class 31 buffers (available as spare parts from Abbiegails), and the model still requires bufferbeam detail and ETH boxes fitting.

A Sunday afternoon at Hornsey Road depot finds the 3 locomotives at rest. Even at the relatively young age of 10, they had numerous detail differences, one example being the kick plates below the cab doors. An interesting point is that none of the Deltics carried electrification flashes until the early 1970s, yet it seemed to be the norm' on other classes many years prior.

Mainline running through Hornsey Broadway allows the opportunity to run-in and test rolling stock, and this view shows a brace of Brush type 2 locos heading for the depot, with a suburban DMU passing below. The retaining walls have been painted grey with initial weathering, and a start has been made on ballsting the tracks.

A rush hour scene at Hornsey, as a Brush 2 hauled rake of suburban coaches races a Cravens set towards Kings Cross. Now that the retaining walls are in place, final weathering and detailing will hopefully portray the grimy environments of the Great Northern lines.



Construction of the pointwork for Lesney Park is at an advanced stage, and here is one of the C&L point kits shown almost completed. Several sleepers have been replaced with copperclad strip to keep the gauge within tolerance, and provide additional strength. It has previously been found that 'all plastic' construction of the pointwork can result in warping, as particular solvents can affect the integrity of the sleepers.

A gap between the bottom of the rail and the top of the copperclad sleeper has been maintained (using brass panel pins), so that the cosmetic chairs can easily be spliced and glued to the rail at the correct height. The insulating gaps in the middle of the sleepers will be filled and painted in due course.

The operational tie-bar is disguised as a sleeper, to ensure robust operation and longevity of the point, and is a tried and tested method which has been used on all the pointwork on Wibdenshaw. Plastic chairs are glued to the rail sides with just enough clearance to allow the sleeper to slide underneath, and plastic rod is glued between the point blades to represent the prototypical tie-bars for cosmetic purposes.



This month has seen a few projects based on bargain buys from show visits. Most of these will be finished in an early sixties appearance with steam-era operation on Hartburn or Canada Road in mind. First up is a standard Dia 1/108 welded 16 ton mineral wagon from the old Airfix kit. MJT W-irons have been fitted, as have improved drop door hinges and plate front axleboxes. For a little variation one of the top doors has been modelled open, as occasionally shown in pictures of coal trains from that period.

An ex-LNER riveted 16 tonner made using the Cambrian kit. Some of the ‘E’ prefix number sequence carried by these wagons was also used with a ‘B’ prefix for 1/108 welded minerals which must have risked some confusion in the record keeping of the time.

Another riveted 16 tonner, but this one will be finished as a ‘B’ numbered Dia 1/103, despite being originally built for and registered by the LNER.

A regular sight in steam-era coal trains was the odd slope-sided 16T mineral amongst the vertical sided wagons. This BR Dia 1/100 mineral wagon is being modelled using the Parkside kit of the type.

This ex-LNER ventilated van to Dia 116 is based on the earlier all-timber version with RCH underframe as per the Parkside kit. I have done a bit of conversion work by fitting pressed-steel ends cut from a Dapol bodyshell and LNER style brake gear from the Parkside LNER Conflat. The model still requires rain strips and couplings before painting begins.

This wagon project with the 1970s decade more in mind, is a BR Weltrol MV to Dia 2/748. Just eight of these specialist wagons were built at Swindon works and they were a larger younger cousin of the GWR ‘Crocodile H’ available ready to run in OO from Mainline/Bachmann. The ‘MV’ requires 18mm to be spliced into the middle of the well, and adjustments to the buffers, axle boxes, and riveting. The length has been increased using stretchers of 80 thou plasticard for strength, and finer plastic grades for the detailing. As the wagon will be modelled loaded it was not necessary to fully detail the interior.

Underside view of the Weltrol MV showing the added section.

Finally a loco project for the Hartburn layout. This early sixties era Class 24/1 (converted Hornby body) already had a Craftsman detailing kit fitted and a nicely weathered livery applied. OMWB it has had the detailing of the marker lights and cab front doors improved a little, Extreme Etchings fan/grill set fitted, and flush glazing all around. It will be finished as long-time Gateshead allocated D5149.



'Hornby Railroad' motor bogies adapted and fitted into a Lima class 31 chassis to go under white stripe liveried 31409. A double motor-bogied Lima chassis is seen behind, in preparation for another class 31 project, along with a recent Bachmann Deltic acquisition.

January to April 2011
  September to December 2011