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Model Railway Express News Bulletin 01 September 2014


Another day, another loco

By Phil Parker

Bachmann's announcement of a Coal Tank (see News) will hopefully go some way to appeasing those who were disappointed at the lack of new products promised in July.

Add to this the Large Atlantic revealed at the end of July and we can't really claim to be short of models can we?

Have Your Say

Having your say - Mon 1st September 2014

By Phil Parker

Model Shops

In answer to your question on Friday regarding the model shops I mentioned, whilst John Dutfield and Kernow Model Rail Centre are well known and very-much active, the other shops are no longer with us.
In the case of Models (City) in Liverpool Street Arcade it suffered a fire and closed.  Some of the salvaged stock was purchased by the business that eventually became Hadley Hobbies but its name escapes me for the moment.
Of the other businesses I believe the most common factor was retirement of the proprietors.  Whilst Roomes Stores in Upminster still exists part of the operation in their original building was sold but the Furniture Department remained with the family firm on the opposite side of the road.  The site that housed the Toy Department was subsequently occupied by Marks and Spencer.
Frank Spence


By strange co-incidence I've recently found some old negatives that include two pictures I took during the last week ACE supplies were open.

I'd started going there around 1973-4 I think and I think they closed in the early 1980s. Thought they might be of interest.

Bernard Taylor

Editor: Brilliant photos. Thanks for sharing them - now I want a time machine to go and pay this shop a visit.


Lately there have been a few stories about model shops, I would personally like to see more shops but I don’t think that will happen as more seem to close than open.

A recent experience I had with trying to buy a engine (not a current stock item now sold out by manufacturer) from a shop in the Blackpool area (Cleveleys) was at best a complete waste of time this might explain why some are closing.

I tried text messages and e-mails. The text messages were totally ignored and when I eventually got a reply by e-mail the person was most unhelpful and near on rude even after I tried explaining that I could not phone the shop as I am deaf.

So, what you have is a modeller wanting to buy/spend money and a retailer who couldn’t be bothered. Life is hard enough when you are disabled, but unhelpful retailers we don’t need. The shop is not close, hence the attempts with electronic communication. The shop in question will not be getting my custom or money now, so I am now looking else where for what I wanted even if I have to pay more for it a helpful retailer is worth a great deal to me.

Alan Hall    

Editor: Any recommendations for Alan?


Re: Mikron Models Taunton. Rod Allcock says that "I was put off ever going to the shop by the self-obsessed attitude of the young guy from the shop"

I have visited the shop only once, in April this year. I really enjoyed the visit.

I bought a second hand Bachamnn 22XX which was tested for me by 'the young guy from the shop' he spotted the tender filler cap was missing and found another model for me, tested that and it was duly purchased. I also bought two unboxed Collett coaches to go with it and he went to some trouble finding a suitable box and packing them well for the journey back up north.

Whilst I was there I noted a very well stocked shop and although it was early on a Monday morning other customers came in. One chap had an O gauge loco in a purpose built wooden box, he told me he had made it and painted it but didn't trust himself to do the weathering and said that 'the young guy from the shop' was the best.

Steven Oakden


Shunting passenger trains

Regarding shunting of passenger trains, I was reminded of an incident i witnessed a few years ago at a famous preserved railway.

I had been watching a fairly long  train pull into the station. The last coach was standing adrift of the platform, and the front corridor coach door of the rear coach was about level with the bottom of platform ramp.

As I turned away I heard  a loud thump, and when I turned around an elderly lady was lying at the bottom of the platform ramp. It transpired she thought the door she exited was level with the platform proper. Having had some experience with casualties I found that amazingly she was not seriously hurt.

When I walked back to the front of the train there was ample track for the train to have stopped further forward. It may be that this is connected with the reluctance of Railways to shunt with passengers on board and I assume there were very strict operating procedures in these circumstances
Alan Willesden


An old tale from the Eastern Empire:

Franz Josef, King of Hungary and Emperor of Austria, was taking lunch on board the royal train whilst travelling between Buda-Pest and Vienna.  Lunch was a spicy goulash and the King ate a large plateful.  On crossing the border into Austria, the Emperor suddenly felt severe indigestion.

The remedy was simple; reverse the train back into Hungary for an immediate cure.  A dish of goulash, far too spicy for the Emperor of Austria, was just right for the King of Hungary.

Chris Patrick


Bachmann BR livery Inspection Saloon

I collected my most expensive coach, so far, on Friday and what gem. Bachmann have made a superb job of this Inspection Saloon and despite the price I would fully recommend it to any 00 modeller. It does not matter what size layout you have as this coach would be at home on any. Excellent.
Talking of Bachmann did anyone else watch the recent free DVD from BRM (also available on YouTube) where the very "officious" Ben Jones interviews David Harrhaus and wonder if Ben is vying to be the new "Jeremy Paxman"!

A hard man is our "Ben".

John Cherry


Hornby P2

I visited the Monk Bar Model Shop in York today last week on a brief sojourn away from Chatham. They had received their first Hornby Railroad P2s the previous day.

What an impressive model for the price. Obviously there are many simplifications of the detailing and livery but Cock o’ the North still had great presence on the track. Apparently the super detailed models should be in the shop in the next fortnight and some readers will be distressed to hear that the sound-fitted version will not be far behind.

The Railroad model will no doubt attract its share of criticism from those who regret the compromises that keep it affordable. Nevertheless my twelve-year old self would have been saving hard for this magnificent beast. Let’s hope it has the same effect on today’s youngsters. I am keeping my fingers crossed that sales will be so good that the Bugatti-nosed version will follow soon.

Richard Simmons


LMR 1F No 41879

This locomotive was at 21A Saltley in the early/mid 1950's and then at 22A/82E Bristol Barrow Road 1957 - 60 period.
Does any MREmag reader know of a photograph of this loco, or anyone spot this loco and can remember if it was an open cab version or closed? I suspect it was an open cab but so far cannot locate a photograph.
John Cherry


Platform edges

Has any reader got an easy/simple way to paint a white stripe along platform edges? I model Southern 1945 in 00 so white edging is a must but with about 25 feet of edging I don't really fancy spending hours with a tiny brush - unless I have to!

Alan Wickens


Shinkansens in Tokyo video

A fascinating video of Shinkansen trains at Tokyo station. Brings back many memories!

Now, perhaps to explain a few things that might puzzle viewers who have not been to Japan.
There were shots of what I'll call a 'Red' set and a 'Green' set coupled together leaving and entering the station. These sets are run by JR East Region. The 'Green' set is an 'Hayabusa' (Falcon), which runs on the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo up to Aomori, right at the far eastern end of the main Island, Honshu.The Tohoku Shinkansen is JR East's main line, but they also operate two other routes by what are called 'Mini Shinkansen' sets.

These two routes are the Yamagata and Akita  Shinkansens. These are the routes over which the 'Red' sets operate. The Yamagata route junctions with the Tohoku line at Fukushima and runs through Yamagata and on to Shinjo, the Akita junctions off at Morioka and runs to Akita.
These two routes were originally of the usual Japanese 3'-6" gauge, but were converted to standard gauge, and probably with some tinkering of the curves and cants to allow higher speed running than in the 3'-6" days. These speeds are not of the order of the standard Shinkansen routes, but are significantly higher than attainable on the 3'-6" gauge.
As the normal standard gauge Shinkansen cars are just over 11 feet wide, much too wide for these mini Shinkansen routes, the mini Shinkansen sets are only the standard JR width of 9'-6". Thus when the two types of sets are running on the Tohoku Line, the doors on the Mini shinkansen sets are quite some distance away from the platform edge. To overcome this, these sets have retractable steps that fold out  to cover the gaps. On towards the end of the video, where a coupled pair of sets are running into the station, the retractable steps on the 'Red' set can be seen extending.
Now, there has been comments about 'shunting' operations with loaded passenger cars. These mini Shinkansens provide an interesting example of this type of operation.
On the down run. the mini Shinkansen is coupled ahead of the Hayabusa, both carrying passengers, and on arrival say at Fukushima, the mini Shinkansen uncouples and moves off onto the Yamagata route and on to Shinjo, then the Hayabusa resume its journey to Aomori. On the up journey, the Hayabusa  runs into Fukushima and halts there, then the mini Shinkansen come in off the Yamagata line, draws slowly up to the Hayabusa and couples up, then the combined train moves off towards Tokyo. Hayabusa leading, mini Shinkansen trailing.  This operation is done without requiring the passengers to leave either train, and requires something under two minutes to execute.

To simplify this explanation, I have used the terms 'Hayabusa' and mini Shinkansen. There are a number of other named trains that carry out these manouvers, but this explanation will serve for all of those.
And just for a foot note, although the term 'Shinkansen' is used to describe these high speed trains, it actually only refers to the system itself, 'Shin' means new. 'Kan' is trunk, 'Sen' is line, so 'Shinkansen' really in true translation means 'New trunk line', and the trains themselves should be called 'Shinkansen trains', but no-one perhaps apart from the JR people themselves use this terminology.

Bill Pearce


Western Region Pullmans

Can I thank John Cherry for establishing the facts about the make-up of the Western Region Pullman sets. It’s fascinating that standard carriages, produced to be economic and available for a wide range of services, should be turned out in a livery that limited their utility in this way. Perhaps it is no more surprising than maintaining the ageing Pullman fleet in the first place, come to think of it, but what a happy reminder of a time when the accountants had not driven variety and interest out of our railway system.

Richard Simmons


Holiday Photos - Switzerland

These holiday snaps are a bit long in the tooth but I hope they will still be of interest.

First up is the Swiss Schynige Platte Bahn’s vintage train in 2006, featuring Brown Boveri electric No. 12 of 1914. Interesting to think that, just as we entered the First World War almost entirely dependent on the steam loco, the Swiss were equipping their mountain railways with electric traction.

Secondly, Ballenberg Dampfbahn HG 4.3 2-6-0T No. 208 on shed at Interlaken, Switzerland. Produced by SLM for the SBB to be used on the Brünigbahn in 1912, and transferred to the Bernese Oberland Bahn after electrification of the former line in 1941-2. This photo was taken in 2006 but you couldn’t take it now, as the shed and much of the Dampfbahn’s rolling stock were destroyed in a massive fire in November 2013. Although this isn’t a technically perfect shot, it is interesting because of how it came to be taken. I was standing on the platform at Interlaken, waiting for a train, and noticed a path leading from the platform’s end to a shed with an interesting looking coach outside it. There weren’t any signs saying “No Entry” so I went to take a look. There wasn’t a soul in sight. I went into the shed to inquire and found No. 208 all on her own. Nobody showed up and, in the end, I had to leave to catch my train. On the one hand, what a refreshing degree of trust to leave such a valuable artefact unattended. On the other hand, maybe that’s why they had the fire.

You can see how fire-damaged No. 208 looks now and find out how to contribute to the restoration of the depot and rolling stock here:

And finally, a PW worker on the Wengernalpbahn at Wengen. Can you get any more Swiss than this?

Richard Simmons


In the mid-80s, I took my wife and two young sons to Switzerland and made – amongst other train journeys – one from Montreux to Spiez and return, mostly on the Montreux Oberland Bahn (MOB).
On the return at Zweisimmen (a terminus for the MOB), I left the family on the waiting train and went to a nearby platform to take a photograph. It was at least 15 minutes to departure, so I had plenty of time…or so I thought!
I was just taking the photo when a driver entered the cab and performed the usual brake tests – more than a tad early I remember thinking to myself. Then, a whistle blew and the train started to accelerate out of the station. I wasn’t able to attract the attention of the driver, but the guard was by now leaning out of his open compartment doors (as seen in the photo). This area is German-speaking and, fortunately, I speak a little of the language; I quickly explained the predicament as my family sped past leaning from the windows with their eyes and mouths wide open, wondering where they were headed! I had all the tickets!
The guard was quick to reassure me that it was a simply ‘a positioning move’ and that they would be back in a few minutes – which, to the relief of my family – they were! The photo shows the train coming back in to the station.

Brian Macdermott


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Bachmann to produce a Webb Coal Tank

By Phil Parker

During the annual Bachmann Collectors Club event at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, Bachmann have announced that they are to produce a OO Scale Webb Coal Tank (0-6-2T) locomotive.

300 locomotives were built by the London & North Western Railway at Crewe Works between 1881 and 1897 and were originally built for working heavy mineral trains particularly in South Wales and Cumberland. They became mixed traffic engines and many found employment on passenger trains with vacuum brakes and carriage heating equipment subsequently fitted to the entire fleet in the early days of 20th Century.

At the Grouping in 1923 all but 6 locomotives passed to the London Midland & Scottish Railway, the first withdrawal having taken place in 1921. 64 of the Class passed into British Railways ownership on Nationalisation of the railways in January 1948.

The last of the Class (No. 58926) was withdrawn from Pontypool in 1958 but fortunately was saved after an appeal. After spells in various locations including Penrhyn Castle near Bangor and the now closed Dinting Railway Centre, the preserved example is now resident on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway where it is in the custody of the Bahamas Locomotive Society.

Dennis Lovett, Public Relations Manager at Bachmann Europe said “we are delighted to announce that as part of the Bachmann Branchline OO range, we are to produce a model of the Webb Coal Tank locomotive, which is today the engine allocated to us for hauling our special train over the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. The Research & Development for this model has been completed and the research package is currently with our parent company, Kader ready for work to start on the tooling late this year. We are grateful to the custodians of the sole remaining example, The Bahamas Locomotive Society, and to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway for assistance in bringing this project to fruition”.

Three versions of the model are being produced initially. These will be;

35-050 No. 1054 in LNWR plain black livery
35-051 No. 7841 in LMS black livery
35-052 No. 58900 in BR black livery

The model is expected to be available in around 18 months time.

Hints and Tips

Hints & Tips No.873 - A Washing line as a detail

By Charles Beckman

A realistic washing line would have to be a single strand from a piece of flexible wire - rather fragile, but then, it's not going to be subjected to the kind of battering that catenary has to take. A little white (modern nylon) or tan (older hemp) paint, then bend the tabs of your aluminium foil washing over it.

Anybody feel up to modeling clothespegs in OO or HO scale?

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