Things are quiet on the ELMLR front this month. Instead we’ve been working and making a few visits, and developing the companion blog about the Little Melton Light Railway. This latter item is a labour of love, paying tribute to a now long closed miniature railway. Please visit the site, and see what fun can be had with a proper light railway, with proper miniature trains and lots of people.
Since the last blog entry, we visited a local G scale garden railway. This opens just once a year, and had a good turnout of people. The G scale trains had sound units, and were American outline, but also required clean track for electrical contact.
We were reminded of two things from that visit: we need ballast for our track if we want to make it look right, and also of the importance of clean track. Electrical conductivity is vital for an OO gauge outdoors layout, but the G scale track cleaner looks much more robust than the PCB cleaners we used on previous outdoor layouts. This is no recommendation, as we haven’t tried one yet.
We were fortunate to visit the open day of the ‘Little Orchard Railway’. This 7¼” line in a garden came about after the closure of another garden line, the ‘Willow Wood Light Railway’. Sadly our visit was on the final open day, but it was a delight to see Rex and his volunteers. We wish Rex and family well with their new endeavours.
We also travelled to visit the Mid Hants Railway and also the National Tramway Museum at Crich. Our Crich visit suggests the tempting idea to have an overhead power supply, even if only cosmetic, for the ELMLR. It’s a pipe-dream, as it would be an additional cost and hindrance for a temporary line. On our other travels we also caught sight of HS1, the Channel Tunnel rail link, but only saw glimpses of the roofs of Javelins and Electrostars.
Currently we are maintaining a late 1960s vintage Triang Princess Elizabeth – this was the only loco from the donations to the charity shop which needed a bit more tlc. When we compare it to the more modern Hornby Princess Coronation we sold, we can see how Hornby models developed between the 1960s and 1980s. ‘Queen Mary’ sold within a day or so of being put out for sale, but before we could display it, it required a full service of the motor. Hopefully someone will love ‘Lizzie’ too.
‘Lizzie’ required the PCB (printed circuit board cleaner) ‘sponge’ to remove the grime from the wheels. Applying a little power allowed the wheels to turn a fraction, so that every part of the wheels that collect power form the track could be cleaned. Only then did we allow ‘Lizzie’ a short up and down on the existing layout. There is no front tension lock coupling, as Princess Royals would rarely require to haul loads running tender first. If we added a replacement, it would be a simple loop without the hook, as the original model coupling would be the overscale Triang tension lock.
For a prototype note, ‘Lizzie’ came first, whereas ‘Mary’ was a slightly later development of the Princess Royal class, a Princess Coronation, and both locos were London Midland and Scottish Railway company machines, both built at Crewe works, both designed by William Stanier. You can find out much more detail from the internet, but our shop had a copy of O S Nock’s A History of the LMS, volume 2, “The Record Breaking ‘Thirties”, with a cover picture of one of the streamliners departing Euston. This book included pictures of the real Mary and Lizzie.
The shop also received a few model road vehicles that would just about, or would be fine, on OO gauge layouts. The ELMLR has enough buses and other vehicles at the moment.
As the ELMLR work is under-developed this month, here are two archive pictures: the upper picture is from the spring of this year, showing our Hymek testing the job lot of Triang coaches, Hornby track and Triang wagons that the shop received, with our own Dapol class 150 to give a modern contrast. In contrast, the lower one is from our first garden railway in the 1980s, with a Hornby class 25 (still got that one) with a short ‘liner train between the fictional towns of Dolpston and Ipstoft.
For some reason, and probably long before we saw ‘Monty Python’, this class 25 was given the name ‘Gumby’. We think it might be a mis-remembering of the name of the tank loco ‘Gunby’ at the Stour Valley Railway, and some vague recollection of a clip of Python long, long before we were old enough to see the programme.