Thursday, 27 September 2012


It's an afternoon in early September, and everything is quiet at the lineside above Stoke Gurney. Suddenly, the silence is broken by the sound of a train appearing out of a cutting, its two locomotives working hard against the stiff 1 in 50 gradient. This is one of the last holiday trains of the season, bringing families from the midlands to south coast resorts. The sound reaches a crescendo as the train crosses the viaduct and whistles a warning for the short cutting to the quarry siding.

A double-headed holiday train climbs the 1 in 50 over the viaduct.
After a stretch of level track through the station, the two locos dig their heels in again for the final 1 in 50 climb past the quarry to the tunnel and the summit.

The two engines thunder up the quarry bank with their train.
As the train passes, the loco crews can be seen on their footplates, the fireman of the pilot engine still working hard to maintain a good head of steam. His work is nearly over though; after the tunnel, it's mainly downhill until they reach their destination.

The fireman of the pilot engine is working hard to keep a good fire
Another burst on the whistle , and the train disappears into the tunnel. Silence returns to the valley.
In reality, this was a test of some new facilities on the garden railway. The name Stoke Gurney was made up as I wrote, and will probably never be used again. The two engines did pull the train up the bank however, as can be seen at
My reasons for the running session were:
  • To try the DCC controller in the garden after receiving a replacement power supply unit.
  • To test on something longer than the workbench test track these two ancient engines after fitting DCC decoders. The train engine was an Airfix model, bought by my father in the 1970s or early 80s. The pilot engine was a Hornby model bought through ebay as a wreck, the necessary repairs including new cab steps and a replacement mechanism salvaged from another Airfix 4F.
  • To try double-heading with DCC control and its new power supply. I didn't mess around with "consisting"; the two engines were driven with two independent "throttles" on a single ipad screen using the "iThrottle" application.
  • .. and while I was at it, to enjoy the sight of the train snaking up the reverse curves, over the viaduct, and through the tunnel, and record it for future reference.

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