Monthly Archives: June 2013

Model Railways – About Gauge One

About Gauge One

ianskingandrogervsscotsmanpasseachotherbothwithsurplussteamIan’s King and Roger V’s Scotsman pass each other – Both with surplus steam!

Gauge One requires a track gauge of 1¾ inches (44.45mm) which is generally referred to as 45mm. In practice this means Gauge One models are from one to two feet in length (300mm to 600mm); 50% longer than O gauge models and 50% shorter than “3 ½ inch”. This in-between position means the hobby is influenced by both model railways and model engineering; at its best it takes the concern for prototypical system accuracy of the former and the authenticity of the latter.

Traditionally, enjoying the hobby of model railways means taking pleasure in the construction of a working diorama: either a scale replica of a real railway or a creation of the imagination. To this end, participants lay lines, adapt or scratchbuild models, and construct scenery as well as operate their layout.

tonysbritanniaradiocontrolledandmethsfiredpullshisrakeofmaunsellcoachesontotheviaductTony’s Britannia – radio controlled and meths fired – pulls his rake of Maunsell coaches onto the viaduct

The generous model proportions of Gauge One compared to N, OO/HO and O gauges requires a different approach. Space is usually at a premium, especially for an indoor continuous loop to suit live steam. The usual minimum radius is 10 feet (3 metres), although be assured that many models will make it round a 2 metre radius and note both radii are very tight by full-size standards. However, when viewed from the inside of a tight curve as is usual, the appearance is surprisingly palatable and the absolute distances involved serve to somehow soften the effect. Line length varies from around 20 metres up to an astonishing 300 metres in one well known garden which features gentle curves with radii of 20 feet (6m) and above.

Trains are generally run at table height rather than at ground level and on that premise there are two schools of thought with respect to the look of the line. Some prefer “Track” meaning bare sleepers on an unfinished surface such as felt-covered plywood which is then held up by scaffolding poles. Others choose a “Ladies Line”, in which trains pass over support- hiding hedges, glide over elegant bridges and run atop grassy embankments; all combined with suitably sized plants such as dwarf fir trees or alpine flowers. When effected judiciously, it’s a delight.

Ready-made Gauge One track including points and crossovers is available from many suppliers, while numbers of Newsletter and Journal articles have been written on line construction methods. Lineside structures are used sparingly in Gauge One, indeed none at all is realistic; a mile equates to 180 feet or so !

Railway models form the heart of the pastime. The sheer size of models means modelling form and function is the norm. Many locomotives, particular models of recent origin, show superb exterior detail, while genuinely steam-powered cranks, rodding and valves furnish some engines with additional integrity. Open the hot-to-touch blower and steam gushes from the chimney; leave her waiting and the safety valve fizzes, ease open the regulator and with a hiss and a chuff the pistons push the rods which turn her cranks which turn her wheels!

ianskingmakesafineshowalongthebackstraightIan’s King makes a fine show along the back straight

A surprisingly large selection is available new and, for the patient, secondhand. The last decade has seen existing manufacturers such as: Aster, Barratt, J&M, the Finescale Locomotive Co and Peter Rogers added to by newer firms such as Accucraft, Finescale Brass, Northern Fine Scale, Golden Age and the Gauge 1 Model Co. Inevitably, marques and models vary as to size, complexity, price and arguably, quality. Compare the exciting entry-level Accucraft B4 to the magnificent new Aster 241P, for example.

Reading this, you might think that the way to Gauge One “Cooldom” is to invest the kids’ inheritance in some Gauge One RTR “bling”. Indeed, this will guarantee popularity at the trade-supported AGM and Spring Meeting. Away from these venues, it’s not that easy as for the most part standing in Gauge One is obtained from scratch and kit-built creations as well as adapting factory models. Inviting others to your line and skilled driving helps too!

Tenmille and Wagon and Carriage have a large range of kits and inevitably there are a host of small suppliers such as Just the Ticket, Wallsall Model Industries. Slaters Plastikard and Orion. It has to be admitted that compared to O gauge, the range is limited and scratchbuilding is often required complete a train. Choose your materials: plasticard, wood, metal or even paper and then source fiddly bits such as roof ventilators or brake gear from suppliers.

alankeepscontrolofhisduchessassherunsthroughthestationareaAlan keeps control of his Duchess as she runs through the station area

Building live steam locomotives is both a science and an art. Fortunately the Association has several publications for sale on this topic, with parts for the Project, Dee and now ARMIG available from third party suppliers. If you have not done this before then you would be well advised to make acquaintance, via G1MRA, of an experienced builder to guide you. Alternatively, purchase an Aster kit or for the more ambitious, a Barrett or Keith Cousins kit, where the parts have been made for you.

The secondhand route should not be forgotten, dealers such as Wagon and Carriage, Rushford Barn Models and TMS Models carry a fair range. Auction houses specialising toy sales are worth a visit: Vectis, Specialist Auction Services as well as regional houses (often listed on and not forgetting that armchair modelling favourite ebay; check out Modellbau/Modelleisenbahn/Spur 1, on in particular. Be warned: minor fettling to an all-out re-build may be needed.

rogervsscotsmanpassingthroughthestationareaRoger v’s Scotsman passing through the station area


More Canal News Waterway Museums and Attractions Celebrate Historic First Anniversary

  More Canal News

Waterway Museums and Attractions Celebrate Historic First Anniversary

Ellesmere Museum

Waterway Watch

To mark its first anniversary the Canal & River Trust is opening the doors to its three museums; National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port; Gloucester Waterways Museum and The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne for free, and offering visitors to Standedge Visitor Centre in Yorkshire free 30-minute boat trips into Britain’s longest canal tunnel.

In July 2012 the Canal & River Trust took over responsibility for 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales. The transfer of the waterways from state control to the voluntary sector was the largest of its kind ever to happen in this country.

Gloucester Museum

The Canal & River Trust’s, Head of Museums and Attractions, Debbie Lumb, said: “The creation of the Canal & River Trust was an historic event in the life of the waterways and we are opening the museum doors for free so people can come and find out more about the important, but often hidden story, of our canals and rivers.

“The canals are wonderful working pieces of our nation’s heritage. It’s amazing to think that when we walk along the towpath we are still enjoying the hard work of thousands of men and women who created the canals over 250 years ago.”

Stoke Bruerne Museum

Special Events include:

Gloucester Waterways Museum will be offering free entry to visitors on Sunday 30th June.

The National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port will be offering free entry to visitors on Tuesday 2 July

The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne will be offering free entry to visitors on Tuesday 2 July

Free 30-minute boat trips will be available from Standedge Visitor Centre on Tuesday 2 July

On 2 Julyvisitors to Anderton Boat Liftwho purchase a hot drink will be offered a slice of birthday cake

to help celebrate the first birthday of the charity.

The doors at Ellesmere Port will reopen to visitors on the 9 July, when the Trust’s Annual Meeting will be hosted by the National Waterways Museum.

To make 9 July an extra special day, entry to the museum will again be free so visitors can take advantage of seeing the museum putting on a real show – with special art workshops, archives open, engines running in the Power Hall, guided tours of the museum and a rare chance to take a behind the scenes tour of the Heritage Boatyard.

Standedge Visitor centre


Forthcoming Attractions – National Railway Museum The Great Gathering 3 – 17 July

National Railway Museum

The Great Gathering

3 – 17 July

2013_06130029  We’re nearly a week away from the start of our Mallard 75 celebrations as the nation prepares to mark Mallard’s world steam speed record. The support for this event has been absolutely amazing with people sharing images, poems and even songs dedicated to the world’s fastest ever steam loco. Two out of six A4 locos are on display in our Great Hall whilst a further three wait in the wings. Sir Nigel Gresley and Union of South Africa have both arrived at our museum and sit in our North Yard as they are prepared for display around our Turntable. The star of the show, Mallard, is also out of view being prepared for its grand entrance next Wednesday. As well as the chance to see all of Gresley’s surviving A4s make sure you book your place onto one of our curator talks. These will be free but ticketed events where our team of experts delve deeper into aspects of the Mallard 75 story.

MallardTwo “streaks”

LNER built A4 No. 4496 (BR No. 60008) “Dwight D Eisenhower” sits in the National Railway Museum with sister A4 4458 “Mallard”.   Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved] © Copyright TheTurfBurner and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Canal News – Chesterfield Canal Festival

Canal News

Chesterfield Canal Festival

Chesterfield cana;


Staveley Town Basin

 29 – 30 Jun 2013
11:00 am – 5:00 pm

A host of attractions and activities promise to make the Chesterfield Canal Festival go with a swing.

Lots of attractions have been lined up for this 2-day canal extravaganza. There will be music and dance all day both in the huge entertainment marquee and outside. The Raptor Foundation will be doing flying displays and there will be a fun Dog Show. Children can have a trip on a miniature train plus lots of other rides. You can expect dozens of stalls of every type, food and drink and a Real Ale bar. There will be a major concert featuring the Swing Commanders on the Saturday night.

The Festival is combining with Open Days at Barrow Hill Roundhouse where you can have a ride behind a steam train and see the only surviving working turntable in the country. The two sites are only a mile apart and will be linked by a free vintage bus service.

The Chesterfield Canal Trust will have all three of its tripboats in operation. Two of these boats will be brought by truck from the Nottinghamshire end of the canal and lowered in by crane. Enterprising narrowboat owners are welcome to use this crane to put their own boat on the canal and cruise a waterway which would otherwise be inaccessible. Don’t worry, the crane will be back to get them out again!

Chesterfield Canal Festival Ashley DaceChesterfield Canal – Bluebank Lock  Looking east along the canal.

The Chesterfield canal is a 46 mile long navigable channel from the Derbyshire town of Chesterfield to the River Trent, passing through Staveley, Shireoaks, Worksop and Retford. The sections between West Stockwith junction on the Trent and Kiveton Park near Rotherham and from Staveley to just short of Chesterfield are navigable. The 10 miles from Norwood tunnel to Staveley are disused, Norwood tunnel has partly collapsed. The Chesterfield Canal trust plan to restore this section, but it requires a major diversion around Killamarsh.

The route is a typical James Brindley contour canal. An application was made to Parliament and the Act of Parliament received the Royal Assent on 28 March 1771. The canal was a success when it opened in 1777, however the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway opened a parallel line in 1849. The last commercial traffic was in 1908.  © Copyright Ashley Dace and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.



Some Early Lines – Great North of Scotland Railway

Some Early Lines

Great North of Scotland Railway

Strathspey 1The last of the Great North of Scotland 4-4-0s was No.62277 Gordon Highlander, nick named ‘The Soldier’.  Before being retired for preservation and resorted to its original green livery, No.62277 spent its remaining days in regular service working the goods between Keith and Elgin, and over the Speyside branch. – Photo: W.J.V.Anderson

Dates of operation 1854–1922

Successor London and North Eastern Railway

Track gauge  4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)  Length 334 miles (538 km)

Headquarters Aberdeen

The Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR/GNoSR) was one of the smaller Scottish railways before the grouping, operating in the far north-east of the country. It was formed in 1845 and received its Parliamentary approval on 26 June 1846, following over two years of local meetings. The GNoSR’s eventual area encompassed the three Scottish counties of Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Moray, with short lengths of line in Inverness-shire and Kincardineshire. The railway operated its main line between Aberdeen and Elgin via Keith. There were connections westward with the Highland Railway at Boat of Garten, Elgin, Keith and Portessie and southward with the Caledonian Railway and North British Railway at Aberdeen, where the three shared a station.

In 1921 the railway comprised 334 miles (538 km) of line, the company’s capital was £7 million, had headquarters at 89 Guild Street in Aberdeen and works at Inverurie. The company also owned hotels in some of the towns and resorts served by its stations. In the early 20th century it also developed a network of feeder bus services. In 1923 it was absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway as its Northern Scottish area. Although the line had several branches its remoteness has resulted in only its main line remaining today.

1 & 2The Great North built a branch from its most easterly terminus at Fraserborough to the little town of St. Combs.  The LNER imported some Great Eastern ‘F4’ class 2-4-2 tanks to work the service and these stayed until well into BR days, when they were replaced by Class ‘2’ 2-6-0s.  As the line is unfenced for a considerable part of its length, engines are fitted with ‘cowcatchers’.  Nos. 67151 and 67157 make their way towards St. Combs near Golf Course Halt in August 1950.  (C. Lawson Kerr

Establishment and construction

In 1845 the Great North of Scotland Railway was formed to build a railway from Aberdeen to Inverness. The proposed 1081⁄4-mile (174 km) route, which needed few major engineering works, followed the River Don to Inverurie, via Huntly and Keith to a crossing of the River Spey, and then to Elgin and along the coast via Nairn to Inverness. Branch lines to Banff, Portsoy, Garmouth and Burghead would total 301⁄2 miles (49 km). At the same time the Perth & Inverness Railway proposed a more direct route south from Inverness to Perth across the Grampian Mountains, and the Aberdeen, Banff & Elgin Railway proposed a route that followed the coast to better serve the Banffshire and Morayshire fishing ports. The Aberdeen, Banff & Elgin failed to raise funds, and the Perth & Inverness Railway was rejected by parliament because the railway would be at altitudes that approached 1,500 feet (460 m) and needed steep gradients. The Great North of Scotland Railway Act received Royal Assent on 26 June 1846.

Two years later the railway mania bubble burst and no investors could be found. At meeting in November 1849, the company estimated that whereas approximately £650 thousand was needed for a double track railway from Aberdeen to Inverness, only £375 thousand was needed for a single track railway from Kittybrewster, 11⁄2 miles (2.4 km) from Aberdeen, to Keith, half way to Inverness. The meeting recommended that the bridges and works would be wide enough for a second track when this was needed. Construction began in November 1852, albeit to Huntly, 121⁄2 miles (20 km) short of Keith, with William Cubitt as engineer. The following winter was severe, delaying work. Between Inverurie and Aberdeen the line took over the Aberdeenshire Canal, and the sale of the canal to the railway company became complex as it was necessary to settle the claims of each shareholder individually.

Strathspey 2The Speyside branch train from Boat of Garten terminated at Craigellachie.  No.62275 Sir David Stewart pauses for refreshment at the shed before being turned for the journey back over the single line with the afternoon train. – Photo: J.D.Mills


After an inspection by the Board of Trade in September 1854, the railway opened to goods on 12 September and approval for the carriage of passengers was given two days later. The railway was officially opened on 19 September, two locomotives hauling twenty-five carriages with at least 400 passengers left Kittybrewster at 11 am. The number of passengers had grown to about 650 by the time the train arrived to a celebration at Huntly at 1:12 pm. Public services began the following day.

The railway was single track with passing loops at the terminii and at Kintore, Inverurie and Insch; the loop at Kittybrewster was clear of the platform to allow the locomotive to run round the carriages and push them into the station. Initially there were three passenger services a day taking two hours for the 39 miles (63 km). A daily goods train took up to 3 hours 40 minutes, the goods to Aberdeen also carrying passengers and mail. Two classes of accommodation were provided, fares being 1 3⁄4 d a mile for first class and 1 1⁄4 d for third; on one train a day in each direction it was possible to travel for the statutory fare of 1 d a mile. Although these fares and the charges for the transportation of goods were considered high, they were not reduced for thirty years.

Strathspey 3Pickersgill-designed ‘D41’ class 4-4-0 No. 62248, late of the Great North of Scotland Railway, leaves Craigellachie with the afternoon goods for the Highland line at Boat of Garten.  The line to the right of the picture is a siding and the track is single for the whole journey, closely following the windings of the River Spey, as it threads its was between the hills of Cromdale.  Many of the wagons will probably be dropped off at various distillery sidings en route.  (W.J.V.Anderson

Narrow Gauge – Bickington Steam Railway

Bickington Steam Railway

Trago MillsNewton Abbot, Miniature Railway at Trago Mills

The railway gives a real value for money ride as it tours the whole complex.  © Copyright Neil Kennedy and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Technical – Track length 11⁄2 mi (2.4 km)

Track gauge – 10 1⁄4 in (260 mm)

Located at Trago Mills Regional Shopping Centre, Newton Abbot, the 10 1⁄4 in (260 mm) minimum gauge Bickington Steam Railway was opened in 1988, using equipment recovered from the Suffolk Wildlife Park, which itself was taken from Rudyard Lake. It was built by Brian Nicholson, the headmaster of Waterhouses School in Staffordshire. Waterhouses was the junction for the Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway. After being thwarted in an attempt to rebuild a portion of the Leek and Manifold Valley railway, Nicholson moved his railway, via Rudyard Lake and Suffolk, to Trago Mills.

Riverside Station, Trago MillsRiverside Station, Trago Mills

A narrow gauge railway with steam hauled trains is one of the attractions within the popular Trago Mills shopping complex.  © Copyright Richard Dorrell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Originally the railway was a 1 mile (1.6 km) double loop around two lakes with one station, ‘Trago Central’, but in 2006 the railway grew over 1⁄2 miles (805 m), with an extension taking it to Trago’s front car park. A three-track terminus and turntable was built and named the ‘Riverside Station’. A third station was added in 2008, located at the far end of the Trago site on one of the original sections of line; this was named ‘Goose Glen Halt’. This was constructed in the hope that shoppers would use the ride to return to their vehicles, a near half-mile uphill walk from the main shopping complex.

Santa's Diese;Diesel hauled train – Trago Mills

A two loco service for trips to Santa’s Grotto. The line has both steam and diesel miniature locomotives. The diesel was sharing with the US style steam locomotive No. 24.  © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Over a section of this line, the railway climbs one of the steepest inclines for any non rack railway in the UK. The railway is a member of Britains Great Little Railways

Min Rly Taking waterMiniature railway, Trago Mills

An excellent live steam experience with a two mile run, three stations, lots of scenery and a hop-on hop-off all day ticket is £2. Very popular on this particular day. The loco is one four steam engines – No.24 Sandy River 2-6-2 tender engine based on the Sandy River and Rangley Lakes railway in New England. Built by Clarkson, Vere & Nicholson and completed in 1991. See – Link  © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1908 – ‘Pacific’ Great Western Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1908 – ‘Pacific’

Great Western Railway 

The Great BearThe engine as running in 1920.

This famous engine, No. 111 ‘The Great Bear’, was the sole representative of its class.  It was for many years the only main line ‘Pacific’ in the country, and although this type was later extensively used by the LMS, LNER and Southern Railways, it was never revived on the GWR.  It was the most powerful engine in the country in its day, but owing to its weight had to be restricted to  the main line between London and Bristol, and that was probably the reason why the class was never multiplied.  In 1924 it was rebuilt as a 4-6-0 of the ‘Castle’ class, and renamed ‘Viscount Churchill’.  In this form it lasted until 1953.

Driving wheels – 6’ 8½”,  Cylinders (4) 15”x 26”,  Pressure – 225 lb.,  Tractive effort – 29430 lb.,  Weight – 97¼ tons

Viscount Churchill

Chasewater Wetland Walk

Chasewater Wetland Walk

Lichfield District Council

WQetland Walk pic

A new wetland walk launches at Chasewater County Park.

Thanks to funding from Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Grant, Lichfield District Council’s countryside team has recently finished work on a new wetland walk at Chasewater Country Park.

The two-year project has seen the creation of a new route through a section of the park’s precious wetland habitat. This includes a series of footpaths and boardwalks which allow visitors to access the country park’s most sensitive and beautiful habitats, while preventing walkers from inadvertently damaging the rare and delicate plants that grow in the wetland.

The footpath has been constructed with stone that has been scientifically screened to make sure chemicals will not leach into the soil of the Chasewater heaths and damage the plants growing there.

The new route will also allow the countryside team to corral Chasewater’s grazing cattle herd through the wetland without damaging the special habitat.

Councillor Ian Pritchard, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Development Services, said: “As a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it’s our responsibility to conserve this endangered habitat, and I am delighted the wetland walk has been completed. I hope lots of visitors will enjoy the new route through the wetland.”


Brownhills Town and Canal Festivals

Brownhills Town and Canal Festivals.

242 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Summer& Autumn 2001 From the Board Room

242 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News – Summer& Autumn 2001

From the Board Room

Board Room 1Pic to Church StBoard Room 2Pic SP CentreBoard Room 3December 1989 Sentinel 2