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  1. 2 points
    This is ABSOLUTELY true. Very well said indeed. When I started out, Hornby did a cheap little 0.4.0T, which depending on whether you wanted a red, green or blue one was called "Polly", "Nellie" or "Connie". It was actually a very nice little thing, very comparable with the better standards of the day and not as toy-like as some of its imitators ten and twenty years later. In my late teens, Irish-themed layouts were impossible without scratch building every single solitary thing, so mine was BR. I decided to add a few details to it and paint in In lined BR black as a shunter. It looked very well indeed in that guise - so entry level doesn't even need to mean "toy". Things like that are badly needed. Cheap to buy, but reasonable looking. And - sufficiently reasonable looking that if the child becomes a serious modelller they can still make something out of it later on if they want.
  2. 2 points
    A young fella (11 years old) came to the house to see my layout, he's into model trains and has a few hornby starter sets. Starter sets range between €80-150, which means he has to wait for birthdays/christmas before he can add to his own layout. I could tell he was frustrated, he can't fish for bargains on ebay the way we can. If basic wagons in blister packs were widely and cheaply available (€5-10), basic 0-4-0's €20, A bo-bo €30 - they could be bought with pocket money by young fellas on a weekly/monthly basis - which keeps the interest in the hobby going. Hornby recently sold a continental lima shunter for £25 and a bo-bo for £30 and they sold out, which means there is a demand for cheap entry level products. The high fidelity stuff is amazing but without entry level stuff there will be no hobby in the future.
  3. 2 points
    It's probably worth posting a pile of details relating to the history and development of, at the very least, the sort of wooden stock built between 1880 and 1925, and still seen in traffic well into the 1960s, and some cases '70s. I don't think I've too much to do today, so I'll put something together later if it's likely to be of interest. The last six wheeled vehicles in use were last used in 1963, though not technically withdrawn until a year later. The last gas lit and / or non-corridor stock in use was withdrawn in 1974; coincidentally by both NIR and CIE in the same year - therefore, most if the VERY last old wooden beasts managed to overlap "Supertrains" by two years. CIEs last were old GSWR veterans, some of former suburban origin, some main line. NIR's last were of GNR and NCC origin - mostly the latter. NIR held onto a couple of elderly vehicles even longer, as they had no logo-hauled stock to speak of other than the Enterprise. GNR brake third 114, now a rotting mush at Whitehead, was the last GNR coach in their iconic brown livery. It was never repainted green when it entered CIE ownership, being repainted directly into black'n'tan in 1967. Ex NCC third 526 and ex GNR K15 727 were the very last wooden carriages of any sort in passenger traffic - both surviving, miraculously, as railcar intermediates into the EIGHTIES! 526, in maroon and light grey, ended its days as an MED intermediate. What a contrast with the noisy, fume-filled tin cans either side of it, with deep wooden-framed red upholstery and a very comfortable ride! I last travelled in it, I think, in 1981. 727 ended its days in the modern maroon and blue as an intermediate in a 70 class set. It was taken to Whitehead for preservation, but along with sister GNR coach 595 (a brake standard withdrawn by NIR in 1974) a combination of north Antrim weather (the RPSI had NO carriage shed at all then!), poor quality wood (built in war years) and lack of cover, both rotted and fell to bits before the Society could do anything with them.
  4. 2 points
    RATIO 48FT COACH. This coach was built to be a GSWR look a like. The ends were rounded at the bottom so this was cut off and a new piece added in.
  5. 1 point
    PRE-GROUPING AND GSR COACHES IN THE CIE ERA FOR MODELLERS The purpose of this article is to provide a brief summary of the types of wooden stock to be seen on the CIE system between 1950 and 1975. I’ll do it in two parts. This bit gives a bit of background to the wooden bodied vehicles still very much alive and well into the black’n’tan era, and in a few cases just past the “Supertrain” era. A few wooden bodied bogies of ex-GSWR origin could be seen alongside Mk 2 air-con “Supertrain” coaches for an overlap period of barely 2 years, 1972-4. The next instalment will concentrate on what Ratio / Hornby or other vehicles can be approximated to some of the actual types in existence in the post-1955, i.e. diesel era. Prepare yourself, what follows is a dry dusty and long winded piece; I did say I’d little else to do today! I’ll do the second bit over the next few days. I hope that it is of interest. Particularly with younger modellers in mind (to me, that’s anyone under forty!), it is important firstly to bear in mind how the average train on the average railway differed in times past. With the growing popularity of the “grey’n’green era” (1945-62) and the “black’n’tan era” (1962-72), it is easy for those seeking accuracy to see the past through the eyes of the present. Since the “Supertrain era” (1972-87), plus more modern times, it is the norm for a passenger or goods train to comprise a long line of a single type of vehicle. The opposite was the case almost from the dawn of the railway age. Many layouts today have this feature because today it IS accurate – it is prototypical. But in creating accurately a scene from any time prior to 1975 or so, even a long train could barely have two vehicles alike. Today, different types of trains have different couplings, different electrics, different corridor gangways (unless IE have sealed them over with tin foil). In the very recent past, EVERY vehicle on EVERY line, originating with EVERY company, had EXACTLY the same couplings. There was no such thing as “you can’t couple this to that” until the 1970s, when we find that Cravens or laminates can’t be mixed with Mk 2’s in traffic as the corridor connections weren’t compatible, and NIR’s 80s and Castles* weren’t compatible unless one was hauling the other dead. (* They were never called “450”s, still less “thumpers”, when in use!) So, during the black’n’tan and grey’n’green eras and before, if accuracy is the goal, we need to rethink entirely what’s on our layout. Instead of the common theme of trains of a number of identical vehicles – a “rake” of this and a “rake” of that – hauled by a variety of engines, it’s the other way round. Most lines had only one or two different types of loco, but rarely had two wagons or carriages behind them that were the same! So many GSWR branches rarely saw anything but J15s, thus a model would have half a dozen of them and nothing else, but no two carriages alike. Against all of this background, we might look at the bewildering array of carriages types, ages and origins pre-1970, or more so pre-1960. This is what the following will attempt to unravel. In 1925 all companies whose lines were entirely within the Irish Free State would amalgamate into the GSR. This excluded lines within the 26 counties which had a cross border element: the LLSR, CDR, SLNCR, DNGR and of course above all the GNR. Some of these companies were tiny, and possessed no stock of their own, being worked by a neighbour. Others (e.g. the Waterford & Tramore) had only a few vehicles, whereas the overwhelming majority of the GSR’s coaching stock was previously owned by the DSER, MGWR and GSWR. The distinctive curved-ended stock of the erstwhile WLWR was by now already included in GSWR stock, following their earlier takeover of that concern. The CBSCR had a reasonable stock of elderly relics of their own. There’s a lot more to the overall story than this, but suffice to say, as far as the modeller is concerned, what was still running in the 1950s onwards is probably of most interest. The purpose of this tome is to illustrate what is possible to represent in varying degrees of accuracy, at the top end of which is obviously a total scratchbuild from original plans. Many existing kits can be made to look like many prototypes – and there’s practically a prototype for everything. Carriages were built in small batches – often, as one-offs or a pair or trio. Take the “Pullmans” for example – they are not known to have ever run in one train, so a “rake” of them, possibly suitable for Britain, was most certainly not the case here. Instead, they’d put one on each of several trains. The rest of the train – anything and everything. Firstly, the design features. The Midland, like the GSWR, had two distinctive roof profiles, in each case the older “flat” (low curved) and the later “elliptical” (high curved). Each company had a distinct profile for the higher version, the MGWR one being somewhat flatter on top. Window heights and shapes, and door handle designs, gave away the company origin too. DSER stock had its own window design, but was often characterised by a visibly wider chassis, and a high-pitched curved roof. Midland stock was distinguished by windows with square bottom corners and curved top corners. WLWR stock usually had curved-in ends, like the English Midland Railway; the WLWR being the only Irish company to include this design feature. After CIE took over in 1945, they inherited a motley collection of museum pieces. Apart from the “Bredins” (as we now know them) or “steels” as they were then known, it was basically the same ageing stock inherited twenty years earlier by the GSR. However, from 1951, CIE started building their own stock (very much modelled on the “Bredins”) and this led to increasing withdrawal of the older types, the average age of which was now about forty five years. By 1950, most DSER types had been withdrawn. By 1955, only 19 ex-WLWR vehicles survived. These included the only six bogie vehicles that company ever owned – two each of thirds, composites and brake composites, all 48ft long. That’s 192mm body length in 00 scale. By 1959/60, only 7 were on the books. PASSENGER CARRYING BOGIE In traffic 1955 In traffic 1970 GSWR GSWR (Ex WLWR) 188 6 26 0 MGWR 16 0 DSER Unknown - few 0 CBSCR 4 (see note below) 0 PASSENGER CARRYING 6 WHEEL GSWR GSWR (Ex WLWR) 82 13 0 0 MGWR 68 0 DSER Unknown – possibly nil 0 CBSCR 2 0 NON PASSENGER CARRYING BOGIE GSWR GSWR (Ex WLWR) 15 0 7 at least, possibly 11 0 MGWR 0 as far as known 0 DSER 0 as far as known 0 CBSCR 0 0 NON PASSENGER CARRYING 6 WHEEL GSWR 63 1* GSWR (Ex WLWR) 0 as far as known 0 MGWR Some in use but number unknown 0 CBSCR Possibly 1 0 *This was the last six-wheeled vehicle ever to operate in traffic with CIE. It was No. 79, dating from 1887. The last passenger carrying six-wheeled coaches were withdrawn officially in 1964, but were last used in 1963. It is believed that the last ever use of one of these was an ex-MGWR example in which a party of Cork area IRRS members travelled from Glanmire Road to Albert Quay and back in that summer. Mail vans are not included. Several ex-GSWR mail vans were in use a few years longer in the 1970s. For the West Cork system, nineteen vehicles were on the books in 1955, though most would be withdrawn in 1957. By 1959 / 60, four remained. Two were six-wheeled, one being of interest in having its origin on the LLSR before it had been converted to narrow gauge. The other two were very short bogies, 37ft and 48ft long. These non-standard products of the West Cork’s workshops at Albert Quay were for the sharply curved Courtmacsherry branch, where such relics lived on because newer coaches were too long for the curves. None strayed into the non-Cork world, thus models of these are only historically appropriate on a West Cork-based layout. Almost every Irish company had 30ft as their standard length for six-wheeled coaches, including the GSWR, DSER, WLWR and MGWR. So a 30ft scale chassis would be a good thing to have available even as a kit. That’s 120mm body length. The BCDR was different with several longer variations. Vehicles of ex-GSWR and WLWR origin just had their number inherited from GSWR days. Ex-MGWR carriages had “M” added, thus MGWR No. 124 was now 124M, while ex-Bandon stock had “B”, and DSER stock “D” after their numbers. Construction of some of the very first coaches technically introduced by the GSR had been started by the GSWR, and their “architecture” would be continued for several years – thus the very few coaches completed by the GSR are identical in design to GSWR types. Only after the “steels” came in, did a distinct GSR style emerge – very closely like the English LMS, whose lined maroon livery Inchicore would copy almost exactly from 1933. Early CIE types introduced 1951-3 would be similar to these “Bredins”, with the later “laminates” built between 1956 and 1959 being developments of these. I have not included details above of ex-GNR types which came into CIE stock in 1958. That's for another day. And then we’re off into the era of the Cravens, and after that it all went downhill fast as we stopped building, and started importing standard BR tin cans....... The Supertrain era is born! And jhb171achill slips into a coma; too old to hear new chimes, as yer man said. It has been decreed; all trains forever hence will have a standard rake of exactly the same type of vehicle, for ever and ever, amen. And they all lived happily ever after. Now finish yer cocoa. JB 060118
  6. 1 point
    I don't think that it's just the older generation that will be left in the hobby. Yes there has been a decline but I see quite a lot of newcomers coming into the hobby. About 60% of my customers are new to the hobby and a large portion are recently retired that have always wanted to get into the hobby. I also see quite a lot of young people, I sell a lot of 6 x 4 baseboards particularly coming up to Christmas. Ten 6 x 4 baseboards went out this Christmas. The hobby has changed direction on the way people shop and communicate. Facebook has changed this and I get a lot of my business through Facebook. Facebook groups are getting very popular too. Pat made a very good point about promoting the hobby, the club's in Ireland don't do enough to promote the hobby to the younger generation. North Down club are very proactive in promoting their show in Bangor in April, they use a Facebook promotional campaign and invite all the local schools to take part in a colouring competition. Prizes are donated by Bachmann and BT. They also bring a layout to a shopping centre on the weeks leading up to a show and collect money for charity while promoting the hobby.
  7. 1 point
    i’m thinking ahead a bit but I have to scratchbuild a bridge over a river that was just outside the Market Branch in Omagh. I plan on raising my track bed all round by at least 50-60mm to allow two road bridges. The bridge on the other hand may need more of a drop. Is the solution to raise the trackbed and drop below the baseboard frame?
  8. 1 point
    I think we already know, Noel. While there are still train sets available at reasonable prices & in a variety of themes, railway modelling is mostly the preserve of the older generation. Add in the fact that a 4mm scale locomotive can cost well over £150 and one can see why a disposable income certainly helps too. The rise of electronic games, computers etc means that a model railway has not been top of the list to Santa for quite a few years. Another issue is the 'throw away/ephemeral nature of many toys and games. For example, one of these days, I am going to weaken and buy a small radio controlled helicopter for 20 quid or so, but I also know that after a couple of hours I will be bored with it - assuming it doesn't break beforehand. In my primary headteacher days [late 90s -early 00s] I used to like asking the kids what they had got for Christmas. One assembly, I had to actually ask if any of them had got any toys, because all the answers involved computers, Xboxes, clothes & music players. Paints, crayons & cuddly toys were in similar short supply. Like the rest of my teaching career, the school was in a tough area and though rarely short of material goods, the kids did not all get the adult attention they needed at home. The ones that did, really stood out, because they were SO much easier to work with. However, the benefits of model railways don't stop in childhood. There is a growing amount of anecdotal evidence that railway modeller are significantly less likely to develop dementia, because the hobby keeps the brain active. High blood pressure, resorting to drink, excessive bad language etc another matter of course!
  9. 1 point
    Hi Here are a few photos of a set of Coupling & Connecting Rods for a Gauge 1 GNRi Class VS, fresh off the bench. They were machined from mild steel EN8 flats & sheet, the coupling rod axle centres is 103mm, I thought I'd photo them up against my trusty Gauge 00 171 for scale comp. The tapered route in the connecting rods was a bit of a task, it required a jig to allow the rod to swing a bit to allow cutting the taper route in the mill. Little lengths of .8mm NS wire are loctite-ed in a drilled hole to imitate the plug on the oil boxes on top of rods- ready now for their owner and I look forward to seeing them run...... Eoin
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