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the Dorking Garden Railway

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First trains of the year About time too, I hear some say.  Well, up till now the weather hasn't been great this year, and there's always real life which conspires to get in the way of running tra

A bluebell railway Pictures from yesterday's running session.  First, the Black 5 on Foxdale Bank:     The same stretch of track, here with a Jubilee and 10 bogies:

Mick, You're very welcome.  That is just to say a big Thank You on behalf of all the contributors and visitors to this superb website which you have diligently maintained over so many years to pr

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The Cornish china clay traffic

Here are some photos taken on the Western Region in the late 1950s at a location in Cornwall probably near St Austell.  A nicely-weathered Prairie tank engine sorts empty china clay wagons at the junction before they are picked up by a better-groomed Small Prairie and taken back up the branch towards the works for another load.  At its height, Cornwall was producing half the world's supply of kaolin, which is used for ceramics, paper and other products. 

Thanks to Julian for bringing all the superb GW assets yesterday, including those fine signals.  Somehow I had the idea that Cornwall was famous for its treacle mines, but they must be somewhere else. 

Postscript: Having just checked the Wikipedia entry on Treacle Mining (yes, really), although there are mentions of treacle mines in many English counties, it seems Cornwall is not one of them.  My mistake.















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Cornish Pastures

After working an express down to Plymouth, Castle Class No. 5043 ‘Earl of Mount Edgcumbe’ of Old Oak Common (81A) retired to Laira shed (83D) for servicing and repairs to a damaged smoke-box dart. A smart turn-round on these tasks provided the Laira shedmaster with the opportunity to allocate this locomotive to a special duty, taking a large party from various local Sunday Schools back to Newquay after an outing.

The first photograph shows No. 5043 easing down towards Laira Junction, where it will turn on the triangle.




The next two images show No.5043 passing through the north end of the yards at St Blazey, before making an assault on the long climb up to Luxulyan, some of it at 1 in 37. In the yard an unidentified 45xx (but possibly visiting No.4570) is shunting china clay empties.









The last photograph shows No.5043 and its train approaching Luxulyan.









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Final helping of Cornish

68xx Grange class 4-6-0, No.6869 ‘Resolven Grange’, of Penzance shed (83G) brings an empty stock working down from Newquay into St Blazey. The first vehicle is a Siphon G.




Meanwhile, a 45xx (again probably No.4570), is still busy in the yard marshalling china clay empties.










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Doesn't it ever rain down there? How come you're always taking photo's of trains while we're sitting under persistent rain clouds?

Great photo's Andrew and a nice mix of rolling stock to boot. My favourite is the wide view of 5043 with the backdrop of ivy and the ground cover in the foreground - it makes a brilliant setting.

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Thank you, Mick.  Just to set the record straight on 'the sunny south', the runnng session for all all those Cornish pictures was in fact rained off by late afternoon, and I don't think we've seen the sun since.  So you don't need to feel hard done by.  But you might consider a treacle mine to fill up those empty wagons on your loft layout...

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I think I'll 'stick' with coal thank you Andrew and hopefully it won't be too long before I'm loading some of the empty wagons up. Rain again all day here so it's just as well that I've revisited the attic layout.

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You're very welcome.  That is just to say a big Thank You on behalf of all the contributors and visitors to this superb website which you have diligently maintained over so many years to provide so much enjoyment and encouragement to people interested in model railways.  Long may it, and you, continue!  Happy Christmas, and a Happy New Decade,





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Catching up

As I've not been able to post any new photos here for a while, here are some older ones (well, 2018 anyway) which haven't been shown before, of the Black 5 in sunny weather.














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At last

It's been a long wait for a day of good weather that was also convenient for a running session, but today seemed like a good opportunity to test run the Caledonian Single locomotive and coaches acquired a couple of months ago.









I knew I should have tested the Single indoors first!  In fact she wouldn't turn a wheel today, so all those photos are just posed.  Will have to try some indoor TLC.


So then it was on with the trusty BR Standard 4MT which is always reliable.  Here, it is passing Throstlebeck signalbox with a few vans.



Coming off Foxdale Bank, with Sycamore Cottage in the background



and, with a couple more vans added on, bowling along Bamboo Curtain Straight



Despite last night's frost, everywhere was still very wet from the recent rain, and fortunately this trespasser was spotted and ejected before any damage was done:





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And about time too! It's good to see some more photos Andrew. The Caledonian Single looks well so it's a shame it wasn't playing game today. Hopefully you'll get it sorted out without too much trouble.

There always seems to be one particular loco that each of us feels we can rely on - yours being the Standard 4MT while I always revert to my trusty 26024. I've become so attached that it's even made the move up into the attic with me to carry on its track cleaning duties.

Regarding your unwelcomed visitor it seems that the weather was particularly favourable for them today as I had to clear several away from the paths.

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Another Black 5

One of Santa's deliveries this year was another Black 5 for my collection.  This one is by BigJigs, not Hornby, and I hope my grandson will let me run it on his layout:




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Lovely photo Andrew (yours isn't too bad either!) I think these have to be one of the most attractive steam loco's and I can offer no excuse for not having a model of one.

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Just to keep things ticking over...

while not much has happened in the garden, here are a couple of photos from 2017.  Looks like I only had black and white film in the camera that day!







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A fabulous FREMO day

Yesterday I was privileged to be able to help out the British FREMO section as they ran a layout operating session in Sussex. This modular approach to HO layouts uses the FREMO specification which is extremely popular among our European neighbours. It means anyone can build compatible modules which can be combined into an ambitious layout for a running day, or as this was, a weekend.

For each get-together, someone has to mastermind designing the layout from all the modules on offer. Then, rolling stock is added to the mix, everything is zapped off for further magic by the FREMO HQ collective in Germany, and the end product is an operating timetable complete with driver instructions for each train and signalling instructions for each station master.  The layout is properly signalled, and trains have to be offered and accepted by phone between stations before a signal is pulled Off and a train can move.

The British guys have decided to specialise in 1960s and ‘70s German outline rolling stock and layout modules. The photos here show the mix of modules which is possible, varying from non-scenic (or not-yet-scenic) to highly detailed.

Here's the fiddle yard at one end of the layout with the trains for the 'day' all ready to roll.



With a suitable school hall to set things up in, this provides a brilliant experience in running a railway, whether (like me) as a driver of a succession of trains throughout the day, or as a signalling stationmaster.



This shows a stationmaster on the left with his timetable and, on the right, the driver's instructions for a particular train.



Some of the detailing was amazing and captured atmosphere really well:



The contingent from Crawley Model Railway Society had brought along perhaps a dozen modules featuring their superbly detailed Nordhausen station, approach sidings and loco shed yard, all of which are fantastically detailed and looked authentically German.



It’s worth pointing out that these are usually private events held for the benefit of those involved. They’re not suitable for the public attending as the layout is unprotected and designed primarily for access by the operators. 

It was great fun, and I'm very grateful to Geoff and the group for inviting me along for the day.















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