Last weekend I was attending the Festival of British Railway Modelling held at Doncaster racecourse organised by Warners the publishers of BRM Magazine, and spent the weekend as part of the operating crew of the High Wycombe and District MRS large ’00’ layout Hinton Parva.Hinton Parva represents a very busy junction station on a Joint Midland/Eastern north-south line. The “Branch” purports to be a cross-country line bringing Southern and Western trains from the south-west. As well as the usual “mainline” movements, there is a goods yard constantly shuffling wagons for the pick up goods trains, and a motive Power Depot which has to receive, service, prepare and dispatch locos for the stopping branch express trains, all of which require a loco change. We operate a varied, late 1950s, steam/early diesel schedule with a wide range of stock from modern detailed RTR and a large sprinkling of quality kit and scratch built locos and coaches. Not many layouts feature two Garratts (one an LMS and the other the sole LNER machine) hauling 60 wagon trains or an ex LNER W1 or 10001,10201,10800 and prototype diesels / gas turbines. The loco roster for an exhibition is nearly 50 locos, and they all make a running appearance.
Another unusual feature is the working semaphore signals, 37 working arms at the last count. Apart from the aesthetic value of the signals, they also provide drivers with their only means of indications of what they are supposed to do, truly prototypical.
The layout is large at 32ft x 12ft, and maximum use is made of this size to provide a running spectacle for the viewers. The complete sequence takes some 50 to 60 minutes and involves about 90 mainline movements, trains in, trains running through, trains starting. Hornby, have increased the number of shows they are having a presence at this year and I took the opportunity to run and photograph on Hinton Parva, courtesy of Hornby, one of the first of the product batch their new original style Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’. This is an advance version with the main production batch due to arrive at retailers during March. These locomotives have a 5 pole motor with flywheel and plenty of adhesion weight and hauled an 8 coach rake of Hornby, Pullman cars with plenty of power in reserve. It should be noted that in the pictures to the left she has been taken straight out of the box and the detailing pack containing front steps and cylinder drain cocks etc have not been fitted. I am also pleased to confirm that the lettering shading has been corrected from the livery sample to be black as it should be. As I advised in my Talking Stock #35 post back in December about the imminent Hornby Merchant Navy releases R3435 No. 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ is in the condition between when introduced in September 1941; with the ‘widows peak’ style front end without smoke deflectors but with the opening around the chimney and the slot in the front face above the smokebox; and when she was painted in wartime black livery in May 1943. The next batch of ex London & South Western 0415 class Adams radial tanks have now arrived with the retailers including R3422 number 3125 in SR wartime black with ‘Sunshine’ lettering. this means that for once to suit my modelling period I do not have to repaint and/or renumber an RTR Southern release (although I do have an R3334 ex 30582 with Drummond boiler ready to become 3520 also on SR black with Sunshine lettering as she ran between March 1945 and March 1948). Number 3125 is in the condition she ran between October 1944 when she regained an Adams boiler and March 1949 when she was repainted in British Railways lined black livery. The other recent Hornby, Adams radial release is R3423 as number 30583 also with a an Adams boiler in British Railways lined black with late crest that she gained in early 1959. Also now available for Southern Region modellers wishing to enhance or renumber the H Class tanks being released by Hornby later this year are etched smoke box door number plates from 247 Developments. Recently under the new ownership of Brian Mosby, an excellent modeller himself whom I have known for some time, 247 Developments has produced the full range of H Class numbers (except 31264 and 31312 which never gained the BR number!) The etching is of a high standard and will be welcome addition to the 247 Developments range for any Southern Region modeller.