Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sherwood Forest Railway - An O9 Modeller Trip Out

Due to various factors trips out to miniature railways have limited been in their number this year, so the chance to pop along to our local line was greeted with open arms yesterday.  First opened in 2000 as an added attraction within the Sherwood Forest Farm Park, the railways owners, the Colley family, were faced with a challenging situation late in 2010 when the farm park owners decided to close to the public to concentrate on farming.  Having decided to go ahead as a stand-alone attraction, the railway has carried as many passengers in 2011 as last season, and plans are afoot to develop the attraction over future years.

Motive power is largely provided by the two Keith Hardy built 0-4-0STs 'Smokey Joe' and 'Pet', the latter of which was in service on our visit.  Both should be running on August bank holiday weekend.

Yours Truly after a trip on the footplate of 'Pet'
 One of the fascinations of the railway for me is the continued use and restoration of the coaching stock built by 'Minirail' for the Longleat Railway in the 1960s.  This stock was certainly a product of it's time, but has proven to be solid and comfortable at many homes, the operational fleet at Sherwood Forest has come via Rhyl/Tal-y-Cafyn and Brocklands in Devon.  Four more sets of components, recovered from and donated by the Lappa Valley Railway are stored awaiting future use.  O9 Modeller is proud to have played a small part in their discovery and a general interest in their wellbeing from the Colleys!

The latest Minirail restoration at the SFR
With a charming rural location and friendly reception, the Sherwood Forest Railway makes a wonderful trip out, as well as the railway there are children's play areas, picnic tables and hot and cold drinks, ice creams etc served from the ticket office.  For more details of running times please see the railway website and for all the latest information the railway's Facebook page.

Rural charm at the SFR
From an O9 Modeller point of view, our friend Pioneer was spotted at the end of the line, apparently she has had a run this season and a small amount of
work done to the mechanics...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Misterton Fen Tramway - Really the End...

I've mentioned the Misterton Fen Tramway before - here in fact.  This micro O9 layout got started but never hit the mark, and today saw the demise of it's second incarnation as a end-to-end version.

As the rails were soldered at the joiners I had to carefully heat these up to remove the plain track from the turnout, but before I did a quick photo was in order:

After a short while, with all joints unsoldered, track started to be lifted, no doubt due to be recovered on a seaside miniature railway somewhere!  All electrics, switches, plugs etc have also been recovered for re-use.  In fact the board itself is now stored back in the same place it had been, with thoughts of how it might be used in the future (the distant future I hasten to add!).

Although theoretically part of my great sort out to enable use of the railway cupboard as a workbench location, it hasn't actually made any more space but gave a strange satisfaction I had done something, just as I achieved a few days ago when I stuck new axleboxes to a 4mm scale kit-built van prior to sale!

Finding what can be disposed of and sold is a tricky one.  I have to remind myself it is about the space not the money (useful though that is).  Interestingly I have found that most of the things that are going belong to a period some time ago, or have been bought very recently during my indecisive years.  Not a lot of 7mm scale material has been identified yet, however I have had to make a decision that O14 will have to wait for a long time so I have put up for sale a job lot of parts I had stashed away, in the form of a track starter kit, turnout levers, built skip wagon and a bonus of a Phoenix figure.

Edit in response to Skylon's question.... it would have looked something like this:

Monday, 8 August 2011

Secrets of the Railway Cupboard Part 2 - The Big Secret!

Two months ago I let readers of the blog into my railway cupboard, which quite frankly, despite all my hard work painting it, looked more than a little untidy once refilled.  However, two months ago now seems like a very long time ago... Life has changed.

A fortnight ago my wife announced that there will be a new arrival in the Peake household in the first quarter of 2012 (and no, not from Hornby).  Yes, we are expecting a baby!  Due to this there has to be a major re-organisation of our "living quarters" and the original, mark 1 plans for a railway room/study have been dusted off, typex applied and 'Nursery' added instead.  Of course this has a major impact on my intended scheme for an alcove based desk and possible test track above.  Indeed, the alcove itself will be no more as the chimney breast will have give way to make more space in the bedroom.

And it will be a bedroom only, no space really for model trains.  Or will there...?

Plans are afoot to re-organise the Railway Cupboard to provide some additional shelving (white) and a built-in but lift-out workbench (yellow).  Granted, there will have to be some ruthless clearing out of the "someday and maybe" projects, and all those things on the shelves that shouldn't be will have to go elsewhere, but there is a chance it could work.  Things have to change whatever happens, time and pennies will be in short supply in the months/years to come so a carefully planned approach is required.  I'm still working on that...

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The ones that got away... No. 4 'Pandora' (Mk1)

Now where were we?  I'm not sure where the last month has gone, so my apologies for the lack of blog entries. Some big changes are afoot which I won't go into yet, but watch this space...

Fourth in my series of locos that never quite made it is, quite frankly, scraping the barrel somewhat, but I came across this picture this afternoon and thought I might as well share it.  Before 'Pandora', the 2-6-2T loco that runs on 'Shifting Sands', was built, the same chassis was to have been host to a steam outline locomotive based very loosely on the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway rebuilds of Severn-Lamb 'Rio Grande' locomotives.  These tall, thin, low boilered machines were used in the early years of the CCLR operation between 1991 and 1995.

Rebuilding a Bachmann US 0-6-0 body got me this far:

The idea was to complete the locomotive as a 2-6-0 with large rear overhang, which would just about pass on a steam outline machine with no boiler/firebox to worry about.  I have dug into my archives to find a drawing of the whole loco:

Maybe it is an idea I might revisit one day?