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After the show and what next?

David Holman


The main problem with the Chatham Show is that however fired up with new ideas/new toys one might be, it generally represents the start of the summer too & that is never a productive time for model making for me. When I was working full time in education, the summer term was always the most manic & we not so much reached the holidays as fell off work into the welcome stupor of a bit of R&R. These days, we try to go on holiday before the schools break up – simply because it is cheaper and since returning, the weather has not been conducive to being in the workshop with a hot soldering iron. Not that I’m complaining of course.

So, not a great deal going on, though time away from actual modelling can be a good time to do a bit of thinking – especially the ‘what next?’ variety. And here lies the thing. Arigna Town is nominally finished as a model, but hopefully has a busy exhibition schedule ahead of it, so it is a case of keeping things going and creating new interest in model making.

The first/next stage is approaching completion, in the form of a new fiddle yard. The same size as the previous one, but it has seven parallel tracks instead of 4 curved ones and slides on double ended drawer runners. It also pivots, enabling the whole thing to rotate 360 degrees, like the mark one version. A write up and pictures will appear in the layout section in a couple of weeks & it was certainly an interesting challenge.

However, with seven tracks, I will have the space to build some new stock. Not wanting to mess around with the geography & history of my fictitious line, the options I’ve come up with are as follows:

• Track 1 will have space for Railcar B and Railbus 2b, but also room for another railbus eventually, so one of the earlier versions may get built

• Tracks 2 – 4 will have the current trains – mixed, goods and coal. However, the coal wagons will be supplemented by a rake of empties. This means I can then run the ‘mine branch’ will its own engines: hence a chance to raid the Tyrconnel range.

• Track 5 will be able to hold a short ‘Paddy Train’ – either converted vans or perhaps the Tyrconnel 24’ six wheelers, plus the J26. I envisage the latter will arrive with a train of coal empties, which will be picked up by the mine engine [maybe St Mologa or one of the other T&C engines or even a Sentinel]. The J26 will disappear light engine, maybe to shunt the yard at the new power station on Lough Allen. Later the mine engine will return with loaded wagons and the previous sequence repeated the other way round.

• Track 6 is currently reserved for a full cattle train for which ‘Large Tank’ Sir Henry will be built

• Track 7 is ear-marked for an excursion train. Imagine my delight therefore when I read in the latest ‘New Irish lines’ that Tyrconnel have a G2 2-4-0 planned! Do I detect the hand of our ‘Mayner’ here? A rake of six wheelers would complement the loco nicely. My only slight concern is whether a G2 would fit on my turntable, but am assuming the wheelbase should come in at under the 42’ diameter. Perhaps someone can let me know?

So, plenty to do and though there a no deadlines as such, I am certainly expecting the new fiddle yard to be available for the layout’s next outing at Uckfield in October and would hope there will be at least one new train by the time York comes round next Easter


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It seems to be more co-incidence than anything else that Tyrconnel and myself started work on a G2 luckily we work in two different scales. Though Tyrconnel range is becoming increasingly tempting as I am searching for a 14BA nut and a crankpin bush that fell on the carpet.


A G2 would be a very tight fit on your turntable 47' 1½" over buffers 34' 8¼ engine and tender wheelbase. The Midland/GSR would have probably used a Standard Goods J18/19 or possibly a H Class J6 for long distance coal traffic with a J26 or possibly the ex Fenit Hunslet 0-6-0ST 299 for the Arigna Valley shunt. The GSR used J15s sometimes with the leading rods removed on sharply curved Castlecomer Branch which served Deerpark mine in the Leinster coalfield.

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Looks like I may have to move the turntable buffers back when I build a G2. It will just fit [the deck is 40'] and as I've always envisaged the branch as a 'joint' line [MGW for coal, SLNCR the rest], then in my imagination an occasional excursion train [maybe to Knock or Galway] is not out of the question.

There are indeed many delights in the Tyrconnel range & am surprised no one appears to have done the Timoleague & Courtmacsherry tramway in 7mm scale - virtually the entire stock is there.

As for 14BA bolts, reminds me of the first engine I built with outside valvegear. It was the excellent Vulcan 016.5 kit of the Sierra Leone Hunslet 2-6-2T that runs on the Welshpool & Llanfair. All of the valve gear was fixed with 14BA nuts and bolts & am sure there are still one or two lodged in the carpet...

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