Monday, 31 August 2015


Ratio kits built and improved.

Quite a bit of carriage modelling has been going on in the Dent Workshops over the past few weekends, with a new book project well under way. Happily, this has meant that some of the kits that I've been hoarding for years are finally seeing the light of day. I can't remember how long I've had these Ratio Midland Railway carriage kits, but probably not as long as some of the others. Indeed, I've just dug out a Southern Pride Mk1 Pullman car that I started work on 11 years ago but never finished - but that's another story.

These kits, though the moulds have been in use for donkeys years, are still pretty good. The underframe parts needed quite a bit of cleaning up before assembly and much of the under floor equipment has been replaced with scratch built fittings. The body, too, has received some extra work, with the gas lighting pipe and brake end bits 'n' bobs installed from brass wire and strip.

Great fun - just need to get them painted now...

Monday, 24 August 2015


More views of Lisburn Farm as the engineers trains continue to rumble through.

Viewed from beneath the road overbridge, the platform and booking office of Lisburn Farm station continue to look forlorn and overgrown, although everything remains in relatively good order. Hopefully, the authorities will see sense and quickly get the line back up and running before decay sets in and it becomes too expensive to resurrect regular services. Maybe whoever 'liberated' the station nameboard can also be persuaded to return it if the line is reprieved?

This beautiful etched gate is from the Studio Scale Models range, adding a touch of class to the repainted Hornby Skaledale dry stone walling sections.

Friday, 21 August 2015


Heljan 4-wheeler takes to the rails.

As mentioned in the previous post, a Heljan Park Royal railbus has come my way and is now pootling up and down the Lingley Green branch on route learning duties. As yet, no passengers have been carried and, in this view, the driver and guard have popped off up the lane to the village inn for a refreshment break. With no other traffic timetabled for the branch today, they can afford to take their time...

Read a full review of the new Heljan railbus in the latest issue of Model Rail magazine (MR213), out next week.

Thursday, 20 August 2015


Will the new low-cost diesel passenger service prevent closure? 

Prior to a possible reinstatement of regular passenger services, BR has been running trials over the Lingley Green branch, using a Park Royal 4-wheel railbus. With a bit of luck and enough public support, it should help to keep the line open for the time being. Especially as Mossop's Motors have been struggling to get the local corporation to pay for some road and bridge improvements to allow its new buses to reach this rural backwater. Let's hope that BR can seize the initiative...

Incidentally, the railbus is a motorised Dapol plastic kit. However, I've just managed to obtain one of the lovely new Heljan RTR versions and this is currently undergoing DCC conversion and an interior upgrade. I doubt I'll be adding too many passengers yet, though. We'll have to wait and see how the trials go.

Saturday, 8 August 2015


Demolition train makes an ominous sight.

The stillness of the countryside is disturbed by the gentle humming and whirring of an English Electric 350hp diesel, as it enters the remains of Lisburn Farm station. The engineers' wagons are loaded with spoil, sleepers and assorted bits of scrap railway infrastructure. The Home signal post has already lost its arm and the telegraph wires have been cut, while the station has lost its signs and name boards.

There's still a van in the old goods shed, however, and the small factory is still working, so there's a chance that freight traffic may carry on in the short term. Maybe one of those new fangled diesel railcars will stimulate more in the way of passenger traffic from this remote, rural location? Or will Mossop's Motors snaffle the market day custom with their new Leyland Tiger Cub bus?

You can see how the overgrown look was created in the next issue of Model Rail magazine (MR213), out on August 27th.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Mini layout finally receives the scenic treatment.

Started some time ago - and recently converted to digital control (see the latest issue of Model Rail magazine - MR212) - this tiny OO gauge layout has been waiting patiently for the scenic work to be carried out. As well as this being my first proper foray into DCC, I decided to stay with the pioneering spirit and make use of an electrostatic grass tool for the first time. There's still quite a bit more work to do - it's all a bit too green and uniform at the moment - but I'm getting there.

I think BR will have to run a weed-killing train before too long. Either that or a demolition train..?

Monday, 3 August 2015


Newspaper van conversion under way.

I've been slowly creating an authentic array of 1980s era newspaper and parcel vans, mostly by means of re-branding various Mk1 BGs. However, I've been after a couple of special GUV newspaper conversions, so some drastic surgery has been required. In order to allow the movement of sorting staff throughout the train whilst en route, a number of GUVs had new ends installed, complete with gangways and a toilet compartment. Mirroring the real things, I've grafted new whitemetal ends (Comet) onto this Bachmann GUV and made a few other alterations to the roof and sides, most notably the cutting of an extra window aperture for the WC (the nearest to the end in the above view).

Now ready for priming and painting, I'm looking forward to seeing this vehicle in a shabby version of British Rail blue. Combined with the rest of my stock, it should help bring back memories of the once plentiful newspaper traffic emanating from Manchester Red Bank sidings...