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Update Pages - September to December 2011

Including information on the Heljan class 23 Baby Deltic wheels / chassis.




Having just arrived at the goods loops at Shenston Road, green liveried 03128 trundled by with a brake van in tow. This is the latest offering from Bachmann, and a easy conversion to EM gauge by Paul James, and detailing and weathering by myself.

A few minutes later, Brush 4 number 1665 heads south with the empty Leathers Chemical tanks on their way back to Avonmouth.

These distinctive tank wagons have been scratchbuilt, with fax-paper cores used for the correct barrel diameter.

With the BSC Shenston Works in the background, a train conveying 2 molten steel carrying wagons gets ready to leave the loop hauled by a pair of English Electric type 3 locomotives.

Fast forward into the early 1980s era, and a class 47 (ViTrains) is seen heading north with a rake of BDA bogie bolster wagons (Bachmann), loaded with steel pipes from the Birmingham area.

Just to the north of the station, this class 108 DMU works a service to Birmingham Snow Hill (Bachmann / Modelzone product).



Update on Lesney Park - The 2 nearest sidings will be hidden under the scenery at the rear of the layout, and are fed from the traverser. The sidings are 1200mm long, and will help free up some parking space on the traverser.

A simple wooden block with foam rubber attached, is located at the end of the hidden sidings to cushion the stock when propelled back for storage.

Back on to the scenic part of the layout where the branch line goes off-scene. A tunnel mouth has been constructed from embossed brick card, but has since become redundant due to a change of construction materials.

The new 5ft retaining wall uses Slaters brick embossed plastic sheet, which runs alongside the branch line. Multiple units will traverse the single line into the tunnel, and once out of sight will terminate for the run back. This yo-yo working, will add extra interest on the layout when things are momentarily quiet in the yard.

The wall is affixed to a foamcore backing sheet for additional strength. This view sees a class 33 with ballast wagons in tow, and the redundant tunnel mouth in the background. Capping stones will also be added, along with walling at street level.



A Cravens unit emerges from the 'cut and cover' tracks at Hornsey and crosses the flyover with a suburban service to Welwyn Garden City, as an express bound for Kings Cross descends the incline and around the curve into the tunnel below.

Recent scenic work includes the addition of lineside vegetation and track ballasting. The retaining walls still require further attention, which will include a mortar wash and final weathering with the airbrush, whilst the ground cover will be suplemented with additional weeds and patches of foliage.

Deltics 9017 'The Durham Light Infantry' and 9020 'Nimbus' pose at Hornsey Road MPD. These 2 visiting Bachmann locos by Greg Brookes are from the Shenston Road fleet.

Perhaps some kind of industrial action may explain why over a quarter of the Deltic fleet is on shed? From left to right can be seen 55011 (Pete Johnson's Wibdenshaw regular), 9002, 9017, 9012, 9009 and 9020.




Here's the makings of a Trans-Pennine buffet car, which will boost the class 124 up to a 6 car rake in time for the Warley MRC exhibition at the NEC in November. Based on a Bachmann restaurant car, the relevant windows have been filled in, and positions marked for cutting out. To be finished in blue/grey livery, it will depict the 6 car set (circa 1975), just before the buffet cars were withdrawn from service.

In addition to coaching stock modifications, I have converted this Lima class 31 to run on Hornby 'Railroad' motor bogies, and an in-depth article on the procedure can be found in the Gallery / Projects section of the website.

Having worked out of Kings Cross on this class of locomotive, Finsbury Park's 31409 was a favourite of mine, and it's seen here waiting to take ECS to the carriage sidings at Hornsey in 1981.



A start has been made on the trackwork at the north end of the layout, built from copperclad sleeper strip and bullhead rail. This method lacks the close-up detail of my previous pointwork projects, but forms a part of the bigger picture, featuring a section of the GN line out of Kings Cross. The construction time has also been a major factor, with the combined 2 points and diamond crossing taking me less than 10 hours to build and wire up. The trailing point and catch point in the foreground was built by Paul James, and forms part of the down goods loop.

This view shows the geometry of the station throat drawn out on a piece of plywood, consisting of a scissors crossover and double slip. Ballasting of the main lines has commenced in the background, courtesy of Greg Brookes.

With the diamond part of the crossover complete, work continues with the frog construction and stock rails of the interlaced pointwork. The sleepers will be cut to length when the whole assembly is complete.

My preferred method is to cut and form the crossing vee in situ', with the angle being determined by the alignment, rather than being constructed separately and then fitted.

The 'straight bits' being fitted.

Nearly finished - showing the double ended blades in place, with the gap in the sleepers waiting for the sleeper/tiebar assemblies.

All that pointwork was making my eyes go funny, so a change was required in the shape of some bridge construction instead. Built from SE Finecast embossed plastic brick, and styrene sheet/strip. The class 08 shunter is about to go on shed, and the tracks below head off towards East London, with the GN lines out of sight in the cutting below.



The unpainted wagons pictured on the August update were finished in time for Hartburn’s appearance at the Shipley show. This Dia 1/103 mineral of riveted construction was finished as B26248 to a photograph dating from 1965.

Dia 1/108 B84198, one of the most common design of 16 tonner, modelled as it appeared in the early sixties.

E290529 is the ex-LNER wagon, in a livery based on a photograph from 1963 when a panel replacement had been finished in grey paint of a slightly darker shade.

The last of the quartet is B9774 a slope sided mineral to Dia 1/100 also based on a 1963 photograph. The four-digit ‘B’ numbers used by BR tended to be on wagon types eliminated by the mid-1970s and I never caught up with one in traffic.

The other new wagon model for Shipley was ex-LNER van E243462. Although this was a kit-bash of a Parkside plank-ended van kit, I now realise the steel-ended Dia 116 type is available in kit form within the Parkside range and also r-t-r from Bachmann……!

Also new for Hartburn was Class 24/1 ‘D5149’ based on the Hornby class 25 model. A 5-pole ringfield motor, and the excellent Brassmasters resin underframe tank group have been fitted. The loco livery is modelled to a photograph from the early 1960s taken not long after the addition of the yellow warning panels.

Another Sulzer type 2 which did a few turns on Hartburn was D7659, a Hornby conversion originally done back in the 1980s, but recently fitted with a new roof fan grill.

A few other Canada Road wagons suitable for the early 1960s. B490130 is the LNER derived Highfit of BR Dia 1/041, modelled using the Ian Kirk kit and loaded with a Parkside BD container.

M289483, an ex-LMS 22t double bolster, is from the Parkside range. The livery is based on a 1962 picture.

Inspired by the Shipley show, a couple more wagon models are underway, aiming to be ready for Hartburn’s next showing at Rochdale in November. An old Airfix kit has been used for this Dia 1/108 mineral, modelled with the main side door open as if the village coal merchant has recently been bagging some of his order. In those times revenue wagons were frequently treated as storage bunkers by coal distributors in a way which would be unthinkable in these days of fleet utilisation metrics and rolling stock reduction.

In keeping with the Eastern region setting of Hartburn a new brake van of the final LNER pattern, which became BR Dia 1/500, is being adapted from an old Airfix kit. Changes are required to the roof, footboards, and lamp brackets to produce this variant. The challenge of getting the paint to hide the bright red plastic is still to come!




The Hornsey Broadway baseboards have been packed away, and the associated bits of layout and stock shelved for the moment. This view shows a trio of Bachmann Deltics awaiting finishing off, alongside a Heljan 'Kestrel'. Wibdenshaw has been set-up in its place, and a list of maintenance tasks will be drawn up in preparation of the NEC Birmingham (Warley MRC) exhibition.

A selection of first generation DMUs in the storage yard, consisting of class 101, 103, 104, 105, 108, 110, 111, 123 & 124, all representative of the mid-1970s era. The long and tedious 'wheel & track cleaning' program has started, and applies to every item of rolling stock (over 2,500 wheels to inspect and clean).

Trackwork is vacuum cleaned and then polished with a dry cotton cloth, whilst oxydised areas are tackled with very fine abrasive papers. Rotating attachments are fitted to a Dapol track cleaning vehicle to reach difficult areas and in tunnels, propelled by a high geared loco for more revs/inch. All non powered axles are inspected, and dirty deposits removed from the wheels with a knifeblade. A Trix brass-wire cleaner gives the loco driven wheels a clean and also tests for the effectiveness of each electrical pickup. The whole process is quarantined, so that only cleaned stock is put on cleaned track.

Whilst getting the layout prepared, the opportunity was taken to get a few snaps. A typical workaday scene on Sunbridge Road sees various PTE & NBC buses go about their business. A few yards ahead will afford a view of the station throat, and the opportunity to jot down a few numbers!

A class 111 DMU prepares for its journey to Leeds, whilst a class 08 shunts a rake of CCT vehicles in the parcels bay. A mixed freight rattles through the station, and the obligatory bus poses on the road overbridge.

Despite the decline of trip freight working in the 1970s, the goods depot at Wibdenshaw still justifies the use of a class 03 shunter with complementary match truck. An array of wagons and brake vans litter the sidings, but the days are numbered for this type of railway operation.

40128 waits at the signal approaching Wibdenshaw station, with a Bradford Foster Square to Manchester Red Bank parcels train.



The two new projects pictured last month are now finished, and made their debut on Hartburn at the recent Rochdale show in November. A ray of autumn sunshine lights up B175854, a standard Dia 1/108 mineral of welded construction. It has been modelled with typical 1960s markings, and the side door open as if unloading is in progress.

E310795 is the ex-LNER brake van shown before in red plastic. Adapted from the Airfix kit, finishing touches have included glazing, doorway safety bars, and a BR-pattern lamp on one of the brackets.

Two for the price of one! Based on a photograph from 1973, the Dia 2/748 Weltrol MX has been finished as B901021, with a de-railment recovery as a load. The wagon is a conversion of the GWR ‘Crocodile H’ OO gauge model, while the 24,5T mineral body is from the Parkside kit. Damaged wagon bodies are often pictured as loads on Lowmacs and bogie well wagons in the BR era, but mostly loaded the right way up…..

The underside detail for the mineral required a visit to view a preserved wagon - and braving the nettles and brambles that were growing beneath it! Whether the W-irons and V-hangers broke away in the accident, or were cut away to keep the load within gauge is hard to say, but the picture shows only the four springs remaining. Despite the small numbers of BR Weltrols originally built, many are still existing due to their general usefulness on preserved lines. This model made its debut on Wibdenshaw at the November 2011 NEC (Warley) show.

Also making progress is the 51L kit of the BR Dia 1/163 ore hopper, which is now ready for painting. The kit has a resin casting for the main body tub, with detailing parts in a mix of whitemetal and etched brass. Although requiring care to assemble, the finished underframe is superbly detailed. I have chosen to substitute plastic plate-front axleboxes to match my selected prototype, and have also added worksplates and routecard holders in the same material. The slanted support stanchions at each end appear too narrow as supplied, so these have been re-made in plastic to match photographs. An example of the vacuum fitted version of this design survives at the Ribble Railway in Preston.

A new loco seen in use on Wibdenshaw is 40 179, pictured in progress OMWB many months ago but now finally completed. The Class 40 is modelled as it would have appeared after a run through the washer plant in 1975 when shedded at Healey Mills. Based on the old Lima ‘OO’ product, frost and fan grill details have been added from the Extreme Etchings range. The conversion to EM has made use of Ultrascale wheelsets, with several extra pick-ups added using 0,45 nickel silver wire.

The re-work of Mainline Warship class 821 ‘Greyhound’ was also completed this month. The finished loco is pictured with the Bachmann chassis and etched fan grills installed. The EM wheelsets were again by Ultrascale, and really look the part next to the re-spaced brake gear. With much improved running qualities, this model should now see more frequent use on Canada Road.




The recently completed stone wall which will form the abutment for the station building and roadway above. It is constructed from a wooden former, coated with a thin layer of plaster, then the stone courses scribed in place once dry. A variety of different colours were applied, and washes of thinned paint to create the effect. The scribing technique for stone work I have so far trialled has proven to be a success, finally, if though troublesome. I am no expert in things 'modelling masonry' subjects. In fact I have only ever built a single chimney stack which was for the roof of a wooden station building structure (Loch layout) so am totally new to this art. This has also been the reason for the hold-up of progress on Lesney Park lately, as I wanted to be sure that I could succeed in all these areas first.

A view looking down the yard towards the station area, showing the trackwork built so far, and showing the location of the hidden sidings (top left), which are accessed from the off-scene traverser.

I am well into the platform structure now and just about ready to surface its top, and laminate the platform faces. Another change which this area illustrates is dispensing with the road vehicle access which was on the original layout plan, and depicted to enter and exit under the road bridge precinct. This was in reality too narrow for two way traffic as it would have been, so the entrance is now shifted to a gate flanked by high brick walls at the side of the layout.

Looking in the other direction towards the yard - Some good has come about with the changes to the design, in that a locomotive refuge siding has now been installed in the place of the former road access. This comfortably holds any BR diesel type, hence the rather strange looking angular box construction within the parcels platform area.

The angled box will be finished as an earthen filled abutment that is overgrown with weeds and grasses.

As well as finishing the parcels platform, there’s also the track ballasting and ground surface under the road bridge to be finished and detailed before the road bridge can be properly installed above.

Note that the loading bay apron is sheeted with the foam core card. The elevation it provides from the rest of the railway yard level, is to raise the height for loading road vehicles. The Thames Trader is posed only to illustrate this, as it predates the 'TOPS' era.

Showing the abutments in place on the layout.....

.... and what it looks like with the bridge decking fitted.



A series of views of possibly the most time-consuming wagon model I’ve ever built……During research for my scratchbuilt BR standard grain hoppers completed in 2007 a similar, but different, steel hopper wagon appeared in several photographs. These were the ex-GWR Dia V25 ‘Grano’ of which just 12 were built in 1935, yet some remained in regular use well into the 1970s.

On mentioning it to friends as a possible project I quickly found out that the type had been the subject of a ‘K’s whitemetal kit many years ago. Neil Ripley generously donated a kit, and things seemed to be well underway…… but on closer study it turned out to be rather coarse scale, with strapping too thick and detail rather basic – and the weight would probably have caused problems amongst my generally lighter wagon models. Eventually I hit on the idea of creating a resin mould tool off a slightly re-worked whitemetal bodyside – to allow press-mouldings in plasticard to be made. After some trial and error the right oven temperature and method were found, and I got a set of useable panels in 80 thou black plastic. These were then the basis for a complex jigsaw of plastic and brass. Scalelink etched strapping was used over a roof laminated from more 80 thou and filed to shape. The underframe was adapted mostly from Parkside parts, with 51L etched brake levers. Missing rivets were added Geoff Kent style, one-by-one, using tiny cut off pieces of stretched sprue.

The finished result is shown with the basic livery applied. W42316 is pictured by Paul Bartlett in 1976, complete with boxed-style markings, and must have been one of the last survivors of the type.

Final weathering saw the model completed in time to run amongst the grain hopper rake on Wibdenshaw at the recent Warley show, where it added useful variety to the train formation…… and was spotted by at least a few wagon enthusiasts.

LNER brake van E157811 is one of Ian Manderson’s Hartburn wagons which recently received a slight make-over OMWB. The model was a bargain buy of a ready-built Parkside kit, and has been finished in a typical early-60s appearance.

A second Hartburn wagon recently on the bench has been this Bachmann LNER Dia 116 Van. The factory applied weathering has been toned-down just a little to blend better with other stock on the layout.

The BR Dia 1/163 ore hopper from the 51L kit has now gained its basic livery and is ready for weathering. The markings are a mix taken from transfer sheets by Fox, Modelmasters, and MTK, the latter being over 30 years old!

A new loco for the fleet is this Heljan Class 33/2. The bodyshell is pictured after the glazing has been re-set more flush in the frames, and basic roof weathering applied. 33 201 was the first of the sub-type I saw - in July 1977 - when it dropped onto the front of my ‘Merrymaker’ excursion from Stockport to Folkestone at Willesden Junction to replace the 25Kv electric.



BR(W) green liveried 03128, recently converted to EM gauge using the existing Bachmann wheelsets, and is seen shunting the yard at Shenston Road.

Heljan Brush type 4 number 1665 heads a northbound freight, whilst sister loco 47091 waits in platform 2 with an excursion.



The partially dismantled Heljan D5909, surrounded by a few loose bits and pieces. The loco arrived on the work bench after a lengthy journey from China, and it was evident that one or two of the 'factory fitted' parts needed putting back on - and that's before it came out of the box! The other parts were checked over with some superglue on a cocktail stick, to make sure nothing else fell off, and the directional lighting units were unplugged and removed, as they look unrealistic when lit. I was puzzled by the 2 body coloured etched brass pieces which came in a separate pack with the tension-lock couplings, until one of the diagonal cross braces on the large side grill came off during handling of the body. It amuses me to think of the hunreds of detached fuel tanks which will come off in your hand, whilst trying to remove the body from the chassis. After the trial of removing, I shaved down the retaining pips (which are located inside the body), for ease next time around.

My preference for wheel conversion is by using 14mm Romford Jackson coach wheels, with the pinpoints removed. Give or take a few thou', they are the right size for the model (the prototype being 3ft 7ins diameter). I have found the flanges are a lot more 'crisp' than the Heljan wheel, so better suited to EM gauge trackwork. The gear just slides off the old axle, and onto the new one with relative ease. The result is a very rigid arrangement, with good electrical contact on the back of the solid brass wheel. Whilst the axle keep-plate was off, the opportunity was taken to remove the tension-lock coupling box, and allow a front cross-beam to be fitted to the bogies.

The chemical blackening can be removed with a knife blade whilst cleaning (running upturned), and allows for greater reliability during the running-in period. The perforated cross-beam was fitted to the front of the bogie, and a piece of black plasticard was fitted to the inner end next to the tanks. I don't see the need to remove the bogie side frames in the future, so the whole assembly is glued together, and still allows removal of the keep-plate and wheels (if required).

Turning to the body - It looks like a Baby Deltic to me, although I feel there are certain areas that can be easily improved upon - in particular the headcode characters. I managed to pick up a set of replacement headcodes from the Howes stand at the recent Warley (NEC) exhibition, and will show them fitted on the next update. I have added a page in the 'prototype' section of the website, outlining a brief history of the Baby Deltics, liveries and dates in service.

May to August 2011
  January to April 2012