Monday, 9 January 2012

S'no Time like the Present.

So far, the winter has been pretty mild, but the Garden Railway authorities do not wish to be caught unawares! So it was that a snowplough was bought on the surplus market, and after servicing was immediately sent on a gauging run between the viaduct and the tunnel.

An 8F runs up Quarry Bank with the snowplough, freshly serviced in preparation for the winter snows.

The snowplough is one of the fine models produced by Flangeway ( However, as I anticipate using it on real snow if we get the "right sort of snow", I added extra weight to bring it up to a more stable 108g.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Nuclear Winter

Today was unusually warm and dry, to the extent that even the lawn was dew-free. An ideal day, then, for a mid-winter check of the garden railway. I didn't have too much time, so only the section from the viaduct to the tunnel received the attention of the track-cleaning rubber and (for the quarry turnout) the WD40 and toothbrush. A short train was then summoned to run up and down a few times. It ran well, but did bring to light one fault; some of the rail joints around the tunnel didn't get electrical jumpers soldered across them before the winter set in, and after a few months of corrosion, the rail joiner is no longer providing electrical contact. Another job for the Spring.

A BRCW type 2 (/Crompton / class 33) powers past the quarry with a
mildly anachronistic Hinckley Point - Sellafield nuclear flask train.

Another useful job done today was to upload some 1960s pictures to Flickr: "On Shed" at, and "Industrial Railways" at

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Mineries Halt

At last the platform is starting to look its part, now that the fencing is complete and the whole thing undercoated. As always, the photograph highlights the shortcomings; the posts are far from vertical, there's still a lot of detail painting and weathering to do, the track is still not ballasted and fish-plated, and the engine's weathering has some missed bits. I'm pleased with the general effect though, if not the rate of progress!

W.R. 0-6-0 no. 3210 coasts to a halt at Mineries with the 13.22 Priddy -
Masbury Junction, on an Autumn day in 1964.
... and the next day, the fencing and platform edge have been painted. I still haven't steeled myself to have another go at fitting the fishplates so that I can get on with the ballasting and then the rest of the scenery. I have however printed a more appropriate backdrop!

The DMU in the next picture is an old Lima unit from my son's train set. He bought it second-hand at a swapmeet about 15 years ago, with his own saved-up money. The headboard, fixed temporarily in place with Blutack, was made with the help of Paint Shop Pro from a picture of a Birmingham suburban "special" I helped organise many years ago.

Following the success of their 1968 excursion around Birmingham, the BUTS's
 next project was to run a similar train over some closed and freight-only routes
in Somerset. The train is seen returning along the branch from Priddy, which at
 that time still served the quarries at the St. Cuthberts and Waldegrave Mineries.

In the Spring of 1964, a "borrowed" 8F returns from the Mineries quarry sidings with a ballast train.

The quarry shunter "Penelope Jane" ventures out onto BR metals.

Out of interest, here is the original headboard on the 1968 Birmingham University Transport Society's train in the closed station at Redditch.

The 1968 BUTS special at Redditch.