Dear Members.

We are still in lockdown and have reached our 6th Newsletter, hope you are all continuing to keep safe and well.
I am sorry to start this week with a bit of a grouch but, the intention of the newsletter was to keep us all in touch while unable to meet as we usually do.
As you can appreciate, it takes a lot of time and effort by very few members to put the newsletter together. It has been very disappointing that we have not had feedback of any kind from most of you.
If you do read this newsletter, can you please let us know you have received it, with any comments including whether you think it is worth continuing.
We look forward to hearing from you all.

Phil and Nigel

Please email all submissions to  or





With the forthcoming feature in Hornby Magazine, I thought it might be opportune to revive the last article in Railway Modeller of May 2006. 

To view the article click the picture of Middleton-in-Teesdale Station below.



We are not permitted to publish Hornby Magazine's pictures of Middleton until they have appeared in the magazine, but here is a small taster. This is just a small part of the complete picture.



More information on Middleton-in-Teesdale can also be found HERE.





The Trials of a Heritage Railway Cleaner


Saturday 7th September 2002. Another 6.00 start for the ‘Pink’ timetable. This was a five train service and sometimes, as today, there was a second crew rostered for the afternoon.  Arriving at 5.50 in the dark for the first time I found Phil the fireman in the mess room. We then went to 92 Squadron as this was on the pit and found Terry the driver. The wood was wet and took some time to light but eventually all was well. We cleaned the wheels etc. whilst Terry oiled round and by 9.00 we were more or less ready.

It was at this point that someone from the guards side announced that they needed the Mk1 coaches for a guards training session and therefore we would have to use the continental set. Now 92 Squadron only has vacuum brakes and to use the continental air braked coaches we would have to light up the J94. This had no fire box doors which had been removed for repair. The only other alternative was the Polish 0-8-0T which no one was sure was OK to use from an engineering point of view (or ownership either!).

This meant that I couldn’t clean the ash pit out not that I was complaining. It was eventually decided that one Mk1 from the rake of six would be used for the guards training together with the brake 2nd  belonging to the B1 society which was parked in the yard. This involved one of the class 14’s propelling this to Yarwell to run round and then back to Wansford to take one Mk 1 off of the rake. You should have seen the clearance between the coach with the class14 and 92 Squadron as they ran past to exit the yard. Fag paper and all that!

The class 14 with two coaches went behind the home signal at the Yarwell end of the station and 92 Squadron came off shed and reversed back onto the now five Mk 1’s in platform 2. The class 14 then propelled the 2 Mk1’s into platform 1. Jacko the ops. Manager then asked Terry why he had not gone behind the home signal before reversing onto the coaches which is how it should have been following the rules. To do this would have been impossible as the class 14 was there anyway but fortunately Terry (or rather Phil) had rung the signalman for permission for the manoeuvrer.

An uneventful run to Yarwell and Peterborough and back to Wansford followed with me changing tokens at Orton Mere successfully in both directions. I must have been improving! On the second trip we had a guy with a foot plate pass join us and Phil gave me a go at firing for the whole round trip. Apart from the experience it also saved me from coupling and uncoupling, changing points etc.

The last part today was to Yarwell and back where we handed over to the afternoon crew apart, from Terry who stayed on all day. Phil and I broke up some wood and put it in the dry on the Swedish B class loco ready for the Sunday crew which I hope they appreciated. So that was it for the day and I signed off at 2.30.







I bought my Austin 7 in May 2003, the idea being to restore her before use. The problem was I enjoyed using the car so much that I decided to drive in the summer months and then work on her in the winter. So, steadily she improved year by year. I still wasn't satisfied that she was good enough and the work I had done more than 10 years before was starting to deteriorate, so in the end I decided a full body off rebuild was the only way forward and would preserve the car for years to come. Fortunately, by this time we had restored the big Austin 12, so I had that to use whilst the 7 was off the road.
The car is an Austin Seven Pearl Cabriolet that cost £128 new in 1935. The Pearl is the cabriolet version of the more well know Ruby saloon, the other jewel being the Opal 2 seater.  I purchased her from an elderly lady who used it to tow a trailer that held her easel and painting equipment, she would travel around Suffolk painted landscapes. 
A sign on the dashboard still shows the original supplier as J.J.Jone - Shrewsbury - Telephone 3097


For pictures of the restoration click HERE.





The idea for this mini layout came about some years ago during a discussion at the model railway club about new layouts with a difference. Something other than the usual Great Western branch line terminus. The thought was for an all but derelict station on a branch line on it’s last days before closure. Something typical of the Beeching era.

Nothing was ever started at the club but I took the idea away and drew out some ideas – derelict station building, burnt out signal box, remains of a good yard now partly used as a supermarket and car park etc. The outline plan was for a 6ft by 2ft board or so.  I even had a name worked out – Theend which is contrived from ‘The end’ which is what the branch line was looking at.



That was all some time ago and it was only at the start of the current lock down with my existing layout Swanborough only needing some finishing touches that I thought about what to do next.  So the idea was resurrected and I wandered into the garage to look for suitable piece of wood for a base board. There I found a board hidden away in a corner that hadn’t seen the light of day for many years. I scratched my head and then remembered that it had been used for a small quarry layout built many years ago and long since scrapped. Although I had been looking for something larger I decided that a ready made board would be a head start.



The board needed new back and sides etc. and cleaning and painting so this took a couple days to complete. The original scheme for the layout would of course have to be amended to take account of the much smaller board but I worked out that I could include most of the original ideas. As it was going to be difficult to buy anything other than by mail order I intended to use things that I already had as much as possible. For example the signal box which is a Metcalfe kit was found incomplete and damaged in a box. Some of the parts were missing so it is used as if it had been set on fire.



Obviously there wasn’t much track to be laid and once that was completed the platforms were built. The second platform has no track as that has been lifted when the passing loop was removed. The bridge at the far end is in need of repair and the track has been cut back short if it. There is a wooden support under the bridge to strengthen it.



The station building has been boarded up but the local vandals have broken open the front doors leaving glass on the floor. The footbridge is of course now out of use and boarded to prevent anyone from trying to cross the unsafe structure. It is looking a little the worse for wear. The signal box has been set on fire by the vandals and the end of the box is scorched and the steps burnt away.



In the remains of the goods yard a double slip has been left by the track lifting gang. I saw something similar many years ago at Finchley Central on the Northern Line. North of the station next to the Mill Hill East branch was a small goods yard which consisted of a point off of the branch with a double slip providing two sidings and a head shunt. The yard had not been used for many years and one day all of the track was lifted apart from the double slip which presumably was harder to recover than the plain track which could easily be loaded onto a flat truck. It disappeared sometime later.



An abandoned brake van sits derelict in the former head shunt. A loading gauge stands forlornly over a lifted track and the remains of a signal stands without arms stands abandoned, presumably not worth the trouble of recovering.

The remaining service consists of a two hourly DMU but occasionally may be replaced with a GWR rail car or even an auto train.

There is still more work to do on the scenery and some of it may have to wait until I can visit a model shop. Until then --------







Answers next week.


1.   What nickname was given to the Shinkansen high-speed trains of Japan because of their appearance and speed?

2.   The BBC documentary Great British Railway Journeys often refers to an 1840's copy of which guide? And who presents the series?

3.   Can you name the busiest railway stations in the following cities: (a) Bristol, (b) Edinburgh, (c) London, and (d) Birmingham?

4.   Which two cities did the original Orient Express run between?

5.   The UK's longest direct rail service runs between which two locations?

6.   In 1830, which locomotive built by George Stephenson became the first ever commercial train and reached a then record speed of 30 mph?

7.   The Red Arrow is a famous overnight sleeper train in which country? And can you tell us the two cities it connects?

8.   Opened in 2001, name the highest railway in the United Kingdom?

9.   Track 61 is a private railway platform underneath which New York building, linking it to Grand Central Station?

10.               Which train officially became the first steam locomotive to reach 100 miles per hour in 1934?

11.               The short story The Signal Man was partly derived from whose personal experiences of the 1865 Staplehurst rail crash?

12.               In which James Bond film does much of the action takes place on the Orient Express?





Answers to last weeks quiz.


  1. Bad news for Napoleon - Waterloo          
  2. Bigger than big - Wapping
  3. Alpine dwelling – Swiss Cottage
  4. It’s falling down - London Bridge
  5. Weapon store - Arsenal
  6. Trumpeting New York thoroughfare – Tooting Broadway
  7. Stop here for the men’s singles and doubles - Wimbledon
  8. Nobleman captured – Earls Court
  9. Limit of 1760 yards - Mile End
  10. The longest reign - Victoria
  11. A bear - Paddington
  12. Patella’s lair – Neasden (Knees Den)
  13. Red rose entrance – Lancaster Gate
  14. In hop county – Kentish Town
  15. Ballet and vegetables here – Covent Garden
  16. Heavenly messenger - Angel
  17. Irate monarch – King’s Cross
  18.  Where the money is - Bank
  19. Where blackboard materials are grown – Chalk Farm
  20. There’s one on Merseyside – Liverpool Street
  21. Royal route - Queensway
  22. Oriental pig meat – East Ham
  23. Elementary my dear Watson – Baker Street
  24. A television school – Grange Hill
  25. You won’t find acrobats at this university – Oxford Circus
  26. Sounds like the Bard was born here - Stratford
  27. Do rabbits live in this thoroughfare – Warren Street
  28. Half a crown from Golders Green – Finchley Central
  29. Mad dogs stop here - Barking
  30. Big gun road – Cannon Street