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    Modelling trains, boats and planes, fishing, any outdoor activities

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  1. I work away from home so have 2 modelling areas. The layout in the attic at home and a desk in my accommodation at work. The layout started by accident. I had just completed my second tour of Afghanistan and had a then new MM 201 and nowhere to run it. The intention was a small 8x4 just to run it and a couple of the MK 2s. Instead I ended up getting carried away and converted part of the attic and built a pear shaped layout. It's pear shaped because it's wider at one end than it is at the other and not because I made a hames of it. Maybe getting carried away was therapy after 4 hectic years including 2 tours in Helmand, 2 arduous promotion courses and 2 stints in Kenya. I remember working late one night putting the floor in, not realising the time and looking at my phone at 2 in the morning with several messages wishing me a Happy New Year. The layout is based on various places around Ireland, the station is Tullamore. Town/canal scene is Mullingar. A scenic scene from the Kerry line. I'm hindered by working away from home. I fly home every 2 weeks for a weekend but don't always get a chance to work on the layout. When I do get longer leave and drive home I make far more progress. My desk at work has a Bachmann MK1 being converted to a weedspray coach alongside a 1/72 Hobbyboss HH60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter. With the current situation I can't go home as we're on standby to help locally but it does mean I have more time to work on ongoing projects such as the weedspray coach. Being a "key worker" I do have slightly more freedom but I'm not ripping the arse out of it. I'm happy to get back to my room and carry on with my modelling. It was slightly awkward earlier when one of the lads upstairs had a "friend" over. I can safely say from the noises I was hearing they weren't practising social distancing. This called for my radio to be turned up. I rarely take pics of my progress but defo have to change this in future.
  2. I saw one very similar earlier in Darlington whilst waiting to pick my mate up. It was more of a grey colour and didn't have the yellow front. It was a Trans pennine Express service from Newcastle to Liverpool, not that you could tell. No destination boards, no signs on the side as some do and the completely anonymous livery could belong to anyone going anywhere. Luckily for those travelling to Liverpool, Darlington is well staffed and the announcements are regular and there are screens everywhere.
  3. While investment in additional fleet is to be welcomed, I can't help but think IE could utilise their existing fleet better. I was travelling on the 19:15 Connolly to Sligo last Friday. The fact that this is the last train is in itself ridicules. It was absolutely packed with people crammed in the gangways. It was a 4 carriage unit. We had to wait in Mullingar for the Sligo to Connolly to pass. It was an 8 carriage unit and there was nobody on it, just a few in the first couple of carriages. Surely the second unit of 4 could be better used on the Connolly to Sligo where the capacity is needed. Even if they sent the 8 car unit as far as Mullingar then split it with the front 4 carrying on to Sligo leaving the rear 4 to return to Dublin if needed. The train is less busy from Mullingar on. This happens in the UK with no issues. Maybe I'm over simplifying things.
  4. Seeing these pics I was inspired to recreate the scene on my own work in progress layout. I took these last time I was home 2 weeks ago and then forgot my camera when I went back to work. There is no 1/72 AW139 yet (hint hint IRM if you want to diversify ) so I had to use my EC135 instead.
  5. I was hoping that'd be the basis for the new livery. Ah well. I do hope they leave the Rugby planes as they are as well as the retro livery. I've been on all bar one of the A320s in the last 5 years, EI-GAL is the last one. Cillian Murphy was a regular on the Manchester Dublin flight last year as was Amy Huberman. I've also seen Roy Keane and Paul Scholls.
  6. Public perception does have an impact. British Airways had to get rid of their hideous tail designs from the mid 90's due to the publics reaction. The same when Air India got rid of their window design, there was a public outcry and they had to amend the new design to keep the window outline. I was speaking to a member of the ground staff as I boarded one of the newly painted aircraft in Dublin 2 weeks ago and although he liked the design he did say the majority of the publics reaction has been negative. To me and a lot of other people it is a source of national pride seeing the big green aircraft in a foreign airport. It's like a piece of home. Maybe I have a different outlook having lived and worked abroad for so long. Painting them white with a token green tail is like the national Rugby or Football teams switching to white but saying it's fine because they have green socks.
  7. I parked there 2 hours ago having landed from Manchester. In fact the pic looks like it was taken from where we parked. Is parked the right word? Cars park, ships dock. What do planes do? 🤫
  8. I used to deliver to Gilligan's in my old job back in the early 00s. Used to love going there and looking at the old station and trackbed while the driver was settling the bill.
  9. I might make sense from a business perspective and being interchangeable with other IAG airlines but I believe they have got it totally wrong. They have totally misjudged what the publics reaction will be. The comments on their social media pages are mostly negative. I watched the live unveiling and when they lifted the curtain I was horrified. I fly home every second weekend and when the incoming flight lands it's instantly recognisable even from the other end of the airport as it taxis to the gate in Manchester. Sounds corny but it's like a little piece of home. The new livery wont be, it'll just be like every other bland boring aircraft there.
  10. Has anyone seen the new Aer Lingus livery yet? I just watched the unveiling and was horrified. All white with a token green tail, a carbon copy of QANTAS with different colours. They should get a refund from whatever design company they used to inflict that abomination on us. Can you tell I'm not a fan 😂😂
  11. As promised, some pics I took today. When a train is coming, between 60 and 90 seconds a bell rings and the light goes red. Then the gates close. The gates are designed so if you do get caught crossing there is a pen where you can wait safely for the train to pass. It is single track in the pictures as our local station here is an Island but there are double track ones and closer to Perth, stations where it crosses 4 tracks. I understand peoples reluctance to have people crossing at track level. Surely though it makes sense, if operated safely, rather than building towers with lift-shafts and the maintenance that that entails. I can't speak for the rest of Australia or New Zealand as I haven't been (NZ is top of my list to visit) but in Perth the railway is well fenced off with 5ft fences near stations and 6ft fence topped with barbed wire away from stations. The majority of the suburban lines in Perth are Narrow Gauge but there are standard Gauge lines the run over east and to the Port at Fremantle and Kwinana. In some places these are dual gauge and I have included a shot taken from a pedestrian crossing in Fremantle
  12. In the Irish Times letters page this morning a reader has complained about wheelchair access at Irish Rail stations. He mentions a few stations where the lifts are out of order preventing access to the opposite platform. I am currently on holidays in Australia and have been using the TransPerth system fairly regularly. Here, instead of footbridges or lifts the have track level pedestrian crossings. These work in the same way as vehicle crossings, bells and lights come on as a train approaches then gates shut to prevent access onto the track. I'm going into Perth shortly and will take a picture in case my description isn't clear. Surely this is a more cost effective way of providing wheelchair access not to mention being more reliable. The trains run every 20 minutes here in either direction with no issues. I'm thinking for stations like my own local at Dromad where trains cross in the evening or Edgeworthstown where they cross more regularly. In some cases the slope on the platforms may have to be shallower but that should be an easy task. Maybe I'm over simplifying but it just seems obvious to me
  13. This morning the first direct flight from Australia to the UK landed in Heathrow. Operated by QANTAS as QF9 from Perth. A 17 hour journey, the second longest after Doha to Auckland. Having family over in Perth I have been 3 times. Although 17 hours is a long time I would prefer this to the hassle of changing and waiting on other flights. I am hoping to go again later this year and hope to use this flight. The 787 is a beautiful aircraft and I have a model of the 800 version nearing completion. I'm tempted to get the 900 version and do it in QANTAS colours following today. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/first-non-stop-flight-between-australia-and-uk-lands-1.3439575
  14. Thanks lads. I didn't think we'd have something as big due to the lack of heavy snow we get. I lived near Inverness for a year and can remember trying to get down the A9 in a blizzard or passing Aviemore on the train in summer and still being able to see snow on the mountains.
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