Earlier this month I announced my new little timesaving / timewasting project Canute Road Quay. Last weekend I took the opportunity to visit the excellent Scaleforum exhibition and collect from Tim Horn the kit of laser cut parts for the 4ft x 1ft main baseboard for this project. Tim classifies this design as a ‘Scenic/Photo plank board’ which includes the rear and side backscenes boards and top fascia.

The Tim Horn baseboard after just a couple of hours of assembly

The Tim Horn baseboard after just a couple of hours of assembly

This is the first time that I have used Tim’s laser cut board components and all I can say is ‘wow’ and that I totally recommend them. Tim can supply his baseboards with either with MDF or birch ply tops, the later being my chosen option. The quality and fit of each of the components is excellent and results in a very simple assembly using only wood glue, a small number of screws and a few clamps. Including allowing time for glue to cure between stages assembly was completed without rushing in a few hours last Sunday.

The eft hand end of the baseboard including the cut out for the exit to the 'fiddle yard'

The left hand end of the baseboard including the cut out for the exit to the ‘fiddle yard’

It certainly makes things easier for someone like me whom carpentry is not really my thing. The result is a totally square, robust, lightweight, professional looking baseboard assembly, that now awaits a coat of white primer, including the underneath, to seal it all around,  followed by a matt black top coat coat to the front, side and rear fascias. Tim also includes a single piece 3mm ply fascia to go on to the front to cover all the tab joints, giving a totally smooth final finish, which I have yet to affix.

A sneaky peak of things to come with the trackwork being positioned along with a couple of the buildings.

A sneaky peak of things to come with the trackwork being initially positioned along with a couple of the buildings.

I have taken the opportunity prior to painting to cut the trackwork to size to allow for holes to be drilled in the correct places for the point motors (As on Fisherton Sarum I will be using Cobalt slow acting point motors), and track feed / point frog droppers etc. The well thought out design of the Tim Horn baseframes include cuts outs at the top of the baseframe cross members for cable runs etc.

I also took the opportunity to discuss with the Tim the possibility of obtaining a small 1ft x 1ft cantilever section for the left hand end ‘fiddle yard’ to support the off scene cassette. Due to the fact that I intend to utilise the 12″ locomotive cassette from Fisherton Sarum (along with a small number of other items such as the transformer box) the top surface of this section needs to be 4mm lower than the main board to ensure the rail and cassette heights line up. As it happens I am not the first the first ask Tim for such a board and in fact he had one on display that uses the same modular construction concept as the main board, to ensure it matches and aligns correctly, but allows him to change the final top height, during the cutting process to suit a customers needs depending on the type of cassettes they are using.  The back of this board will match the rear of the main board and I will add some simple supports to be able to hold a number of the cassettes out of the way. This ‘fiddle yard’ board has now been duly ordered. The front face of this section will also contain the switches for the point motors, track sections (yes I am still DC control) and the uncloupler push buttons.

So the next step is the priming and painting of the baseboard…


Today, via their Engine Shed blog, Hornby have announced that they are to produce the ex SECR / SR Wainwright H class 0-4-4 tank as part of their 2017 range. The blog post also includes images of the first 3D Stereolithography printed samples showing the excellent progress that they have made so far. Ever since they posted a teaser picture some time ago on their Engine Shed blog and social media, taken on the roof whilst photographing and measuring the only surviving member of the class, number 1263, on the Bluebell Railway the rumours have been circulating; although I have been fortunate to know it was being worked on for some time now.

My model of H class number 1522 buit from a South Eastern Finecast white metal kit

My model of H class number 1522 buit from a South Eastern Finecast white metal kit

The first 64 of the eventual 66 members of the class were first introduced by Wainwright of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway between November 1904 and 1909. The final two members of the class were eventually built under the auspices of Maunsell in 1915! They first appeared in Wainwright’s fully lined dark green livery followed by by Maunsell’s plain dark green livery, then the wartime dull grey livery up until 1923. In Southern Railway days they were in lined olive green which gave way to Bulleid black under wartime conditions and eventually British Railways lined black.

Although in a spurious malachite green livery, this is my very early attempt at producing an H Class tank using an much cut about Wrenn R 0-6-0T as the starting point, but is one of the 15 with the flat sided bunker

Although in a spurious malachite green livery, this is my very early attempt at producing an H Class tank using an much cut about Wrenn R1 0-6-0T as the starting point, but is one of the 15 with the flat sided bunker

All but two members of the class (numbers 1264 & 1312 due to cracked frames) entered British Railways service with withdrawals taking place initially between 1951 and 1953 as a result of the spread of electrification and the remainder between 1959 and 1964.  A large number of the class were fitted with standard SR air control Pull Push gear from 1949 onwards to replace some of the aging D3, R &  R1 0-4-4 tanks. There were a number of slight differences within the class such as steam and Westinghouse braked versions, slight variations in coal and water capacities, while fifteen of the class had straight sided rather than flare topped coal bunkers.

Hornby have announced their intention to initially in 2017 to produce three versions: SECR full lined green, Southern olive green (subject to confirmation) and early emblem BR liveries; along with a fourth BR late crest variant in a train pack with two Maunsell 6xx series Pull Push coaches.
Final details and actual locomotive numbers etc will be further revealed in due course, and posted on this blog when available, however the Hornby design team have advised me that they are tooling to accommodate steam and Westinghouse braked versions, flat and flared bunker sides along with those fitted with air control pull push gear.

This will no doubt be a popular release and very useful for modellers of the Eastern and Central sections of the Southern Railway rather then the Western Section which has already recently been well catered for by Hornby with their M7, N15, S15, T9 and 700 class releases.

A number of factors have led to me considering the possibility of producing a simple and small shunting puzzle layout to keep me entertained, be able to operate at home and possibly exhibit without the need for such a large operating crew and logistics.

Firstly, I do not have the space to have Fisherton Sarum completely set up at home, one of the disadvantages of owning a small 600 year old brick and flint cottage in the Chiltern Hills, or indeed the space to build any of the other two layouts, Hawkhurst in Kent and Lydford Junction in Devon, that I have been pondering over, researching and planing for many years (indeed in the case of Hawkhurst I have already built much of the rolling stock and some of the buildings, more on this in future posts on this blog perhaps).
Secondly, the arrival of the excellent Model Rail Magazine commissioned USA Tanks, and already having a kit built Adams B4, got me thinking about knocking up a quick dock / quayside type scene, but obviously not based directly on a specific Southampton Dock location, I did mention earlier my issue with space… Hence the name of Canute Road Quay to maintain a Southampton’ish identity.

I have often enjoyed operating (‘playing with’) shunting puzzle layouts that have been created by fellow High Wycombe and District MRS member Ron North usually based on the classic ‘Inglenook’ design these type of layouts can be fun to operate as well as not taking up much space. For Canute Road Quay I have decided that I have approximately 4ft x 1ft of space in which I can fit an adaptation of the slightly larger than the ‘Inglenook’ puzzle the ‘Timesaver’. This includes the addition of a small run around loop.


I am also allowing for the top left line to exit through to a hidden single cassette (utilising the same foot long locomotive cassettes that I use on Fisherton Sarum)  to allow for more operation and stock changing. The very front edge of the layout will be modelled as a dockside wall and the siding at the top right will be a small loco shed albeit single road and in semi low relief, being a sub shed of, and a similar look to the one actually at Southampton Docks.

Work in progress on USA Tank $64 in early British Railways livery, 68 and also 72 in pre full SR modified condition, although I need to add cab side windows. All await wesathering

Work in progress on USA Tanks,  s64 in early 1948 livery, 68 and also 72 in pre full SR modified condition, although I need to add cab side windows. All await weathering

The other two shorter sidings / headshunts will be just about able to hold 3 off box vans and a small shunting loco such the USA Tank or Adams B4. I will on the whole be remaining in my usual 1946 to 1949 Southern Railway time period; but will allow for the occasional change in era/area (perhaps the odd industrial loco)!

I will use a Tim Horn laser cut baseframe to result in a professional looking letter box type presentation with a built in front lighting pelmet.
Buildings, for simplicity and quickness will be a mixture of modified Ready-to-Plonk resin low relief type warehouses as the backdrop at the left hand rear, some laser cut versions for the buildings  acting as scenic breaks towards the front a at least one scratchbuilt such as the engine shed. Trackwork will be a mixture of open sleepered and inset track as seen around such docks / quays to give some variety to the surfaces.

As procurement of track, baseframe and some of the buildings has already commenced watch this space for more updates…


Canute Road Quay #tease

Coming soon… a timesaver variation.. watch this space…

Any guesses?

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am an active member of the South Western Circle, the historical Society for those interested in primarily the London & South Western Railway  but also its successors the Southern Railway and also the Southern Region of British Railways, Western Sections. You may also have possibly read my dedicated page on the Circle here.

lswr03One of the strengths of the Circle are its five informative meetings a year, where a mix of speakers give illustrated talks on subjects of South Western interest. The next meeting is this Saturday, 10th September, in Exeter. This meeting in fact has two presentations: Firstly by guest Phil Collins (no not the Genesis one) on appropriately ‘Exeter Queen Street’; and secondly by Circle committee member Peter Swift titled ‘Reflections on Alan Cooper photographs’.

The meeting is being held at the The Mint Methodist Church, in Rowe Hall, Fore St, Exeter. EX4 3AT, starting at 1.30pm  and last until approximately 4pm. Attendance is also open to non members is free of charge, refreshments are available along with the Circle Sales Stand of all the latest LSWR / SR / BR(s) related books and publications at discounted prices. Directions on how to find the venue can be found here.

If you are one the more South Western based readers of this blog or fancy a trip that way you would be more than welcome to spend a a pleasant and informative afternoon in the company of like minded people.

For further details of the South Western Circle visit their website here and they can be found on Twitter via @LSWR_SWC

This months picture…

Fisherton Sarum by Graham Muspratt. Photographed for Model Rail, 13 February 2013

Drummond T14 class No. 30461, built from a NuCast kit, is turned at Fisherton Sarum whilst Bulleid Merchant Navy class 21C14 ‘Nederland Line’ built from a Millholme kit, heads to London with the up Devon Belle having taken over the train at Wilton.

Originally announced back in April 2012 the SR USA 0-6-0T Tank commissioned by Model Rail Magazine has now arrived. The gestation period although appears long, due to a number of factors including switching the manufacture from Dapol to Bachmann, researching and checking all the variation differences but boy has been worth the wait, I am also pleased to have been able to play a small part in this process.

Model Rail USA Tank MR-102 No 68

Model Rail USA Tank MR-102 No 68

MR-104 No 30064 in Lined Green livery Picture copyright and courtesy A York

MR-104 No 30064 in Lined Green livery Picture copyright and courtesy A York

A rear 3/4 view of No 68

A rear 3/4 view of No 68

Model Rail Magazine originally announced 4 variations:

  • MR-101 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery
  • MR-102  number 68 in Southern Black livery with Sunshine lettering
  • MR-103 number 30069 in BR Black livery with early emblem
  • MR-104 number 30064 in BR Lined Malachite Green livery with late crest (Sold Out).
    They later also added a further six versions:
  • MR-105 number 300 in Longmoor Military Railway blue
  • MR-106 number 30071 in BR Black livery with late crest and weathered finish
  • MR-108 number 72 in Keighley & Worth Valley Golden Ochre livery
  • MR-109 number 30067 in BR Black livery with Late Crest
  • MR-110 number DS237 “Maunsell” in BR Departmental Green livery

To a certain extent it is the number of variations being produced and the tooling differences required to cover them that has added to the complexity and time taken to produce the models. I am now the proud owner of two MR-102s one will stay as number 68 and the other will become s64 with British Railways in Southern ‘Sunshine’ style lettering on the tanks. The models have captured the looks and  fine details extremely well including; a multitude of separately applied hand rails and pipework, a detailed cab interior, well applied cab glazing.

The other side of No 68

The other side of No 68

The chassis with its fine and complex looking walschaerts valve gear is powered by a powerful and well geared 5 Pole Motor giving excellent performance with pick ups on all wheels. The die cast chassis gives a weighty feel and ensures good haulage capability.
The Bachmann and Model Rail Magazine team have managed to incorporate all the slight variations that existed between the relatively small members of the class that includes cab window styles, coal bunkers, steps, cab ventilators, handrails, pipe runs, smokebox doors and lamp irons etc. (although there has of course to be a compromise in some cases such as with smokebox door U shaped hand rails being present and single not twin lubricators on 30064).

A further view of 30064 picture copyright and courtesy A York

A further view of 30064 picture copyright and courtesy A York

An excellent new style of information sheet is included with the model, which I believe is to become standard with future Bachmann releases, also shows the positions of the additional detail items included with the model for owners to fit such as buffer beam pipes etc.

If you have have not ordered yours yet, then do so here, although I know MR-104 has already sold out and I am pretty sure others will do so soon! 

As a comparison MR-101 in original 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery and condition

As a comparison MR-101 in original 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery and condition

The Southern Railway purchased 14 (plus one extra for spares) of these powerful, short wheel based locomotives from the United States Army Transportation Corps in 1946 for use within Southampton Docks. They were modified at at Eastleigh works to suit SR use including: adding steam heating, vacuum ejectors, sliding cab windows and larger front square windows, additional lamp irons and steps and new cylinder drain cocks. Once the locomotives started to enter traffic, large roof-top ventilators were fitted, British regulators to replace the US-style pull-out one,  extended coal bunkers, separate steam and vacuum brake controls and wooden tip-up seats. Six of the class were later transferred to departmental stock and could be found at locations such Guildford shed and Meldon Quarry. They were eventually replaced at Southampton by the Class 07 diesel shunters. Withdrawal of the class took place between 1964 and 1967. A number have entered preservation.



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