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Model Railway Express News Bulletin 24 October 2014


Another box ticked

By Phil Parker

Well, last day of my trip and I've managed to ride on a Hong Kong tramcar.

I've been to the tramway museum at Crich many times but actually riding a double-deck tram in the middle of a city is something else and provides the only chance I'll have to experience something once so common in Britain. Of course, things have changed. The trams are single-ended. You enter at the back and pay on exit at the front. Mind you, at $2.30HK a trip, roughly 22p in the UK, the prices haven't!

All being well, by the time I'm putting the next issue together, I'll be back home. Normal service will then be resumed. In the meantime, the letters page isn't too short. More to the point, if you haven't voted in the poll yet - it's time to get on to it.

Have a good weekend.

Have Your Say

Having your say - Fri 24th October 2014

By Phil Parker

LNER Locos

I fully agree with the sentiments expressed by Simon AC Martin (Wednesday) about the J6, J50 and A2/3. I would add the A2/1 and A2/2 locos.
Some months back, I queried why the A2 variants didn’t seem to have the same level of popularity as other LNER pacifics, but there was little or no response; if I recall correctly, it was just Simon who commented! These locos, together with the J6 and J50, are vital elements of the ECML scene and much wider.
If you haven’t yet voted in The Wishlist Poll 2014, please check these out in the LNER Locos category of The Guide (which you will see highlighted when you click on the link below).
Brian Macdermott


SAC Martin's comments highlighting the need for more local LNER locomotives rather than their express mainline cousins are well made.

The Poll Team previously identified many such LNER locomotives back in 2011, and we now have the D11 4-4-0, J11 0-6-0, and O1 2-8-0 delivered, with D16 4-4-0, J15 0-6-0, K1 2-6-0, O2 2-8-0, C1 4-4-2, Q6 0-8-0 in preparation. The case for LNER 0-6-0s always raises a number of plausible contenders with considerable areas of operations, many eras, and some such as a J21 0-6-0 and J27 0-6-0 are still with us in preservation.

Tank locomotives do appear to be omitted in the list above, and the A5 4-6-2T, G5 0-4-4T, and N7 0-6-2T would be worthy options. However, we should also still not forget the potential of the B16 4-6-0, as a mixed traffic locomotive seen as far a-field as Edinburgh, Woodford Halse on the Great Central, and North London.

I recall that the Poll Team suggested about twenty-four LNER locomotives, and it would seem that nine or so are somewhere on the production line. I'm sure that there will be others, but thirty-eight percent in three years isn't that bad.
Mike Leonard


Steve Mann is correct to say that there has, for decades, been a bit of an obsession with LNER group large engines, at the expense of smaller and arguably more useful models. Trix, Hornby & Bachmann have, understandably perhaps, offered A4s, as the Binns Road people did before them. The A3, usually Flying Scotsman, has also been about for many years, supplemented in the last decade or so by the A1, A2 & V2. Only the Hornby interpretation of a B12, and the B17 came near to secondary passenger types.  

At the other end of the scale we have only the Hornby, later Airfix, N2, Hornby's somewhat poor by modern standards J83 and lima's J50, J94 and J72, none of which were seen often, or at all, in East Anglia.  

Unfortunately Steves' view that the J6 could be seen over most of the ex LNER area is not correct. They were not seen east of Peterborugh except possibly and very occasionally, on the M & GN, nor much North of Doncaster.

The fairly recent D11 & J11 assist the GCR modellers, seeking smaller types and the J6 would please many GNR devotees.   We now have B1, O1, K3 & O4 types, V1s and L1s and we should thank the manufacturers for these. We also have the J39, a very useful type. We still lack a modern 0-6-0T model for use south of the Humber (the J72 was only briefly deployed there). The J94 was found in that area, but only in penny numbers and not in East Anglia. The GCR did not really have an 0-6-0T type, but surely a J69 is overdue, with its wide spread across England & Scotland, including with the MOD. I have 3 J50s (about the same number as were deployed in East Anglia, at Norwich). One is a kit, one a re-painted Lima and the third a much improved Lima. Not as quiet as modern models, but they have good running at slow speeds and with a little TLC look the biz.  

Assuming they appear, the J15 & D16 will provide a real boost for East Anglians (as well as the lost counties of Essex and Lincs). Bachmann have also turned their minds to smaller, older prototypes, its just a pity that they are not Eastern types.  

Bring on the 'Buckjumper'.  

Dudley Jones


The Duke

I stand corrected. 71000 clearly did make one appearance in Glasgow, but as far as I am concerned, it did not visit again. I checked with some of my old spotter friends and none of us can recall seeing 71000. However my guess is that it was sent as 'try out' for WCML duty and was probably rejected by Polmadie for being non-standard and frankly not any better (at that time, when it was still regarded as 'weak') than the trustworthy LMS 4-6-2's of which they had an adequate fleet.

Scottish sheds were very leery of odd-balls, and attempts to foist  locos from other regions on them. The SR WC pacific sent to Scotland in 1951 for a try out on the Highland line was sent home with a 'Thanks, but no thanks' message. The people at St Rollox works took one look underneath at the oil bath where the valve gear lived, and their comments are not printable here. It didn't do very well anyway compared to the ubiquitous Black 5's which dominated that line.

This episode was suppressed for political reasons and only those of us who were around at the time knew about it. In any case the last thing the Highland section needed was a loco known for being 'light on its feet'. It has taken preservation to bring 71000 to the performance level it was intended to possess.

Alistair Wright


I believe I read somewhere that 71000's usual diagram(s) took it to Perth.  Hence the paucity of sightings at Galsgow.
John Godfrey


Loco Steps

I'm with Dudley Jones & our esteemed editor. A sprue of assorted steps would be a real boon. Perhaps produced with 3D printing. The bonus here  that being a softish resin they could be easily shaped...

Peter Rich


A fret of steps for LNER locos is advertised as available from 52f models.

Ian Grant


A bit more on Sleepers

Brian says that things have changed in thirty years, but I doubt that this is likely to produce more buyers for what are specialised vehicles like Sleepers which ran only in rakes and mostly at night. An accurate sleeper rake BTW needs to include four or possibly five different diagrams and needs to total about ten vehicles.

My 12 wheel kits were still available up until two years ago when I sold the '5522' business. The only RTR 12 wheeler ever produced was the Dapol (wasn't it Mainline originally?) LMS D1718 Dining car. As this had serious modifications to make it go round first radius curves it was never going to meet the aspirations of today's box openers.

Some etched kits sold well, the LMS D1692 TO (which would sell in dozens if anyone ever did it RTR) was a case in point. I sold it, and variants, successfully for years. Why neither of the Big Two have ever essayed that coach, which was the largest class of passenger carriage ever produced in the UK (800+), is baffling.

One series that did well was my Midland clerestory coaches, something which took me by surprise. I did the first one as a one off special commission expecting to sell only two at most. That one took off, and 8 more en suite MR diagrams followed it, including amazingly, 12 wheel MR dining cars. I think well over 200 kits for MR stock were delivered.

I accept that kit building is not going to be everyone's solution but if you want a decent variety (and authentic) range of any company's stock you just have to build kits. I am tired of seeing the same old LMS coaches trundling round at exhibitions (often with the same numbers!). The new Hornby and Bachmann LMS corridors only scratch the surface of what was seen in real life. If you can't show at least a representative collection of stock you are just playing trains, not modelling.

The recent appearance of the LMS Inspection Saloon is probably another example of pandering to the collector's market. These Saloons were rarely seen out on the line. Track inspections were done at weekends, and only once every two years in any given location. Not much point in having one on your layout then. The new RTR one is very nice, but is still not a patch on the etched one which had been available till recently since 1984.

I think I have said previously on here that the hobby has now divided into two distinct parts - the modellers and the box openers. I don't mind that, but we need to be aware that this is the case when dreaming up wish lists. My wish list is also my 'to-do' list.

Alistair Wright


10201 etc

In response to Dudley Jones (Wednesday), Nos.10201/2/3 are not in the 00 Wishlist Poll 2014 as they have been announced by Kernow (link below). They are, however, listed in the N Poll. Bulleid’s Leader is listed in both.
Brian Macdermott (on behalf of The Poll Team)


Delivery delays

It is always interesting to read comments about extended delivery times for models from British modellers. A recent post mentioned a Hornby model being delayed until March 2015.

Spare a thought for modellers down under. We do not have the choice that the British modellers have, and some diesels we are waiting for were announced and paid for over six years ago. One could possibly be here December, and the other one who knows. These basic diesels, without sound or DCC are costing the Australian Modeller AUS$300.00 with a GST of 10%, while a nice Bachmann diesel  with DCC & sound costs in the UK costs approx AUS$220.00 with a VAT of 16%.

Les Fordham


Abbey Road

I too went to the Great Electric Train Show at Gaydon, it conveniently combined my other hobby of classic cars as well. I was very impressed with Abbey Road. Being a Northener I am not too familiar with the London Underground system and I was quite surprised at just how much variety in rolling stock there is. The 3D printed rolling stock being used on the layout just shows how this technique of modelling is progressing, it certainly does seem to be the future.
David Rhodes


Underground Testing

Mention of Widmerpool brings back happy memories for me as I attended the AA training school at the Hall in the early 1970's.   I couldn't see any 3rd rail in the photograph, I presume there is one in view of the amount of testing done there in recent years.
Peter Gomm



Quite a number of years ago, Hornby did a model of the XPT. I imagine it was basically an HST in a different livery (I think it was red). I did come across one at a swapmeet a little while ago. I can’t remember exactly what the vendor wanted for it, but I think it was over £100. My memory may be wrong here, but did it only have a power car at one end, or was that another unusual model (for the UK market) that Hornby did at the same time?

David Rhodes


Crawley Signal Box Open Day

This coming Saturday, the 25th, the Crawley Signal Box Preservation Society is holding an open day at the ex LBSCR box which is located at the top of Crawley High Street by the level crossing. The box will be open from 10.00 till 4.00, admission is free, though donations towards the upkeep of the box would be appreciated. All are welcome to have a look round and maybe pull a lever or two.

John Simmonds


Join in the discussion - send an e-mail to:

In the case of e-mails published in MREmag, individual responses from the editor are not usually sent unless there is an issue to be raised or answered. Our thanks to all those who contributed their thoughts, questions and answers which develop the topics covered above. A special thanks to Pat Hammond, Brian Macdermott, and Trevor Gibbs for their regular features.

 If you have suggestions for the model manufacturers to consider, or if there is anything else you would like to discuss within the British railway modelling and collecting subject base of this magazine, please send me an e-mail, giving your ‘first’ name and surname (no pseudonym please) to Please read the Notes for Contributors and keep your postings to a reasonable limit, as well as being positive, polite and definitely not libellous.

Anonymous comments cannot be published. Your contributions will be edited for readability and acceptability within the unbiased policy of the magazine. Care will be taken not to alter the views expressed but they remain those of the writer of the e-mail and are not necessarily shared by the Editor.

Any photographs supplied for use must have been taken by you, or you have copyright clearance for MREmag to use them.

Event information is reported as supplied and taken in good faith. If you are planning to travel a long distance, you are advised to check the website or contact the organiser to make sure everything is going ahead.

Remember! The manufacturers are our friends - not our enemies. They read this magazine and so, when you comment on their products, you are talking directly to them. Choose your words carefully as you would with a friend.


WYCRAIL Exhibition on Saturday 1st November

By Phil Parker

This year’s WYCRAIL ’14 exhibition will once again, take place at the now established, larger and bigher venue of The Cressex Community School, Holmers Lane, High Wycombe, Bucks HP12 4UD on Saturday 1st November.

WYCRAIL ‘14 will have 28 high quality and inspirational model railway layouts, of British, North American and Continental outline and in a wide range of scales and gauges including 2mm finescale, N, 3mm, 00, H0, EM, P4, 0 and narrow gauges.

Layout highlights include: the delightful 2mm finescale ‘Tucking Mill’, Welsh narrow gauge in 009 with ‘That Dam Railway , pre nationalisation Southern Steam with Fisherton Sarum in 00, ‘Georgemas Junction’ based on the real location in Scotland in 00, ‘Diesels in the Duchy’ recreating, in EM gauge, St Blazey during the 1980’s Sectorisation period, ‘Fourgig East’ in 0 guage and bringing a North American flavour in HO. ‘Galatia, KS’.

Full trade support will be present ranging from tools, kits, electronic components to R-T-R models and books.

Once again the Society has teamed up with the West Wales Wagon Works and commissioned a limited edition wagon based on a local coal merchant ‘Chesham and Wycombe Co-operative Coal Merchants’. The model that will be available at the show is based the Dapol 10t open wagon.

The venue is conveniently close to the M40 Junction 4 and the free vintage bus service will once again be operated between Wycombe Railway Station (Chiltern Line), Wycombe Town Centre and the and the nearby free Cressex (Cinema) Park and Ride to the Cressex Community School.

Further information and details can be found on the Societies website at

Hints and Tips

Hints & Tips No.897 - Layout Animation Ideas Part 3

By Charles Beckman

Implied movement that is not such as a Traffic accident or stop, Vehicles waiting for the pilot car where the road is running one-lane, Ceremonies where people stand still such as an Outdoor wedding, medal award or school graduation and Passengers waiting for their train(s).

While it would be nice to recreate every action seen in the full scale world, realistically it isn't possible. So we have to choose which things to animate and which things to leave static or to leave out altogether. A display layout could/should have more, at least some operated by pushbuttons on the fascia.

TV Highlights of the Week

TV Highlights for Next Week

By Brian Macdermott

Sunday 26 October

BBC1, 20.00-21.00. Antiques Roadshow. Includes a look at a train set that hasn’t seen the light of day for 70 years.

Tea Break

Time for A Nice Cup of Tea on the Tehachapi Loop

By Brian Macdermott

You can’t say that MREmag doesn’t keep you up-to-date with modern technology…we have recently discussed 3D printing and now – for the first time in the Tea Break series – I can show you a video filmed from a drone!

The videographer has done a superb job here in portraying the area around the Tehachapi Loop (California) to splendid effect. If you are thinking of visiting the loop, please make sure you investigate the publicly accessible viewpoints – there are not as many as this video might have you think. Many of the vehicles shown are on private land.

The towns of Tehachapi and Bakersfield are not far away and they have all the mod-cons you could want if you wish to stay in the area.

OK….have a change this week and brew yourself some coffee, get some doughnuts and enjoy this beautifully-filmed aerial view of the loop!


Scottish Main Lines - Berwick to Drem

By Roger Darsley & Dennis Lovett

Publisher: Middleton Press, Easebourne Lane, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9AZ

ISBN: 978 1 908174 64 2

Pages: 96

Illustrations: 207 illustrations including 30 maps, elevations and track plans.

Date: August 2014

Cover: Hardback

Size: 240x170mm portrait

Price: £17.95

Index: Contents page

The book follows the North British Railway (NBR) line to Berwick which would eventually join up with a line from Newcastle to become the second cross border main line between England and Scotland - the East Coast Main Line (ECML). It was on 4th July 1844 that an Act of Parliament gave authority to the NBR for the line southwards to Berwick to be built and it opened on 22nd June 1846. The Newcastle & Berwick Railway opened to Tweedmouth on 1st July 1847 and a temporary bridge across the Tweed connected the two lines on the 10th October 1848 - to be replaced by the Royal Border Bridge in the Summer of 1850.

The book follows the line NNE from Berwick to Burnmouth, where it turns inland to follow the Eye Water Valley through Reston to Grantshouse. After passing through the Penmanshiel Tunnel, the line returns to the coast at Cockburnspath and follows it past the Lafarge Oxwellmains cement works to Dunbar. There it turns west to East Linton and on to Drem. Also included in the book are the surviving branch off the line to North Berwick and the former branch to the small holiday resort and harbour at Eyemouth.

The book’s 30 maps are almost all from early Ordnance Survey sheets and show each station and junction. There are the usual timetables and facsimiles of tickets used along the route. The black and white photographs show the line and its infrastructure at various times in its history.

Reviewed by Pat Hammond

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