1216 More limited progress


December again saw little progress on any of our railways, but there are a few charity shop related railway items to report.


The British Heart Foundation ebay shop had some terrific model railway items in the past few weeks: some Hornby Dublo, a Bachmann class 108 (and we thought about bidding for it), as well as a few interesting job lots of associated OO items. Of interest, there was one lot of G scale items, and two separate n gauge lots – a Farish Pullman and a Farish suburban set with a Prairie and two maroon mk 1 compartment coaches.


Lima 9006, Airfix 2D, Hornby and Lima 2A/B/C coaches. Our knowledge does not include an explanation of the destination for reporting number 1G09.

The charity shop where we work had a donation of some of our surplus. There was a Lima Deltic, four Mk2 coaches, a Hornby TRUB and a small number of Hornby wagons. We also finally placed Lizzie out for sale, and as the Deltic and the wagons and the Mk2s sold within days, the wagons eventually went, so Lizzie ended up with the TRUB, all alone … .

We couldn’t leave her there. We bought Lizzie. She’s ELMLR now.


Nearest to the camera – recently purchased Lone Star OOO, with some of our previously acquired Lone Star at the back. Notice the condition, as in the station roofs.

Elsewhere we found some Lone Star OOO, which to be fair, had seen better days. We acquired the lot with the idea of cleaning and repainting some of the items as they will inhabit our Irish n gauge ‘museum’ – there is a 2-6-4 that although a BR Standard, will represent a UT ‘Jeep’, another Jinty (as there were Jinty style locos on the NCC and we already have one) and a class 08 style shunter. CIE had a small fleet of Mirrlees-engined 0-6-0 shunters, all of which were scrapped long ago. They will all be static exhibits, and some of the Lone Star platforms will be cleaned, primed and repainted to serve on the railway.


One local charity shop had some O gauge. It appeared to be hand-built.


We finally attacked our Thomas the Tank engine and fitted a replacement front buffer-beam. We removed some of the platform with the idea of converting the station into a through station in the Great Central style, but then we ran out of energy.


No progress. The track outside seems to be in reasonable condition, but the timber platform and baseboard although in reasonable condition, show that some form of timber treatment is required. It survived another frost.


We also finished the written part of the companion site, the tribute to the former Little Melton Light Railway.



Big Big Hymek. The track is plastic.

To remind ourselves of the greater size and presence of O gauge, we placed some track and ran the car boot sale acquired Triang ‘Big Big’ Hymek out for a run on Christmas Day. It is battery powered and only 6 volts. Our running session was brief. Like us, ran out of energy.


And so, we suggest, there is plenty of charity shop model railway items around, if you can find out where to look, are patient and lucky.

The ELMLR and company blog will take a rest over the rest of the winter. Hopefully we might have something running by Easter and will report on it.


Here are some pictures of other items sold this year.

DCC fitted Hornby Jinty, sold much earlier in 2016.
Set of Bachmann wagons, sold in late Spring 2016.
Original Omnibus – we had a few of these and similar this year.
A reminder of the summer and how we started. Stepney arrives at the stops with part of a B set.

1116 Letting nature takes its course

Report from N gauge Ireland.

From last time, we left the two boards outside with all three point springs covered in petroleum jelly. After a month, there had been some heavy rain, frosts and a mixture of dry and wet atmosphere. The petroleum jelly remained intact, the track had lost its shine and thus would need treatment from the PCB cleaner, but the wood of the board and of the platform looked too damp. These will need wood treatment before we build anything substantial.

After ten days. Frost and animal debris.

Furthermore the wooden board did not dry quickly enough, remaining moist. We suspected this; we now need to test whether a treated board would possess greater resilience to rain and how quickly it would dry, such as if we would need to mop up any water or if it would drain naturally, even with a moist atmosphere.

Light frost on points and on the petroleum jelly covering.

We recognise that we need to cover those areas of any layout that possess points. Longer stretches of plain track could remain uncovered. We could use old roofing felt as a cover for the timber, and track laid on top. The disadvantage of that is how it looks and if it has small flakes of stone: from experience these can interfere with OO gauge, let alone N gauge mechanisms.

Glue a hard plastic block underneath two sleepers and then pin the middle of it.

We also need a better means of fixing track – Peco N gauge sleepers are quite narrow, but the Peco track pin looks to be too thin and probably steel, and might not endure outdoors. Examples of other manufacturers’ track in our possession have slightly overscale width sleepers which can take a wider steel – or even brass – nail. We haven’t checked the width of Peco ‘crazy’ track yet, as we don’t have any. Our idea is to glue plastic between two sleepers and fix the nail into the plastic.

We think we know what track layout to pursue, but now it’s deciding now to wire it, finding the wood and testing means of point operation. We ought to make a class 80 unit first, and the repository of model railway magazines here located a splendid series making one in OO  gauge, and the internet found some N gauge Ireland too.

Charity Shop OO gauge.

There’s been next to no progress. We monitored the web auction sites for OO items, and there has been some interesting stuff, but we haven’t bid yet. There have been plenty of small light railway style steam locos, other Lizzie examples, and in one job lot a loco which would not be out of place in Scotland, a class 25. There was another class 29, but ideally we’d like some N gauge.

We still have not repaired Stepney’s buffer. We have some useful tubing from lollies that we had for our SU2C fundraising, so they should help with providing a shank. Neither have we made a normal smokebox door for the loco. We also have not amended the 06’s buffers to ovals, we have not tried our 155 again to see why it ‘sat down’ in September.

Our shop did extremely well for SU2C. Next to no credit due to this blogger, though.

We also sold an ‘EFE’ lorry. I had my eyes on it, but thankfully someone else bought it first. We’ve had two good railway books donated recently, with some photographs of local interest: one of those books sold the next day.

Winter weather and other work commitments makes garden railway work less likely, but we may write something around Christmas. Please have a look at the Little Melton site if you can, as ‘Recreational Railways’ placed a priority on completing that work, and there’s a Christmas based recollection on there from 10th December.


Our picture this week is to show what we’d do with a spare class 25: we converted a Hornby class 25 to a class 24/1 by inserting a cut out along the cantrail, and by filing down the warning horns alongside the headcode box, and then adding some filler inside. It’s yet to be re-numbered, but we also performed surgery to simulate the cabside recess to hold a token catcher. Here it is alongside our 33 to 26 conversion, with two freight trains. These are simulating near simultaneous departures of Scotland to the south goods trains, with short wheel base Hornby wagons. Most of these we donated to the charity shop to sell. There will be another release of such wagons to the shop in time for Christmas.


Similarly such a conversion can regress a Hornby class 25 to a class 25/0 as well. Yes, I know the 24 has an express passenger reporting number.

0916 The ELMLR by gaslight

Harvest moon, just after close of play.

This month

  • After dusk
  • What else is out there online?


The weather in early September was so good, that one evening, the ELMLR once again laid some temporary track and the existing portable work-in-progress, and had a short running session, using a gas light and some tea light candle lanterns bought from the shop.

We also used our already owned items that were nearly identical to items spotted on the online charity shop sites: a Triang Hornby B12 in LNER green and a Hornby class 29, although ours was blue, not the green one seen online (although we have one, and a friend bought me another blue one). We also found our green Triang pannier tank, and ‘Thomas’, ‘Stepney’, Lizzie and my nephew’s 06 (we just like the 06 and it was ‘donated’ to the railway) also came out to play.

06 in BR blue arrives, passing the B12

Coaching stock was Lima mk1s in maroon (same colour as the Airfix 12 wheel diner we sold) and some Triang Thompsons (once I saw a boxed Hornby Gresley coach for sale in a charity shop, and the Thompsons are of similar construction to Triang mk1s).

The mainline shuttle was our class 142, as the class 153 ‘sat down’ on us. We can’t really adhere to our charity shop trains on the mainline, as there’s just enough room for a multiple unit train, and we’ve yet to see one for sale, although with a 37, 47 and two mk2Ds appearing online, we might create a top-n-tail multiple unit substitute, as there are between Norwich and Yarmouth.

The 06 has been repainted into 1970s BR blue, but is as yet un-numbered, and yet to have the wasp stripes added to the cab. We will probably paint these, so it will take ages, although we could buy transfers. (The 05 is a work in progress, the acrylic rail blue over yellow plastic became faded green, and we like it.)

Stepney awaits permission to back away, 142 idles in the mainline platform. Lit by a gas powered camping light.

We had two hours running in daylight, then we lit our candles and lamp (the former gave a dim glow, the latter was as if the sun turned up adjacent to the station). ‘Stepney’ and the pannier tank re-enacted a chapter from a book.

Although the evening wasn’t as much fun as the August running session, at least we found additional faults with the existing layout and certain locos, and also the tea light candle holders don’t emit enough light. All of these can be resolved.

Tea lights in lanterns – not as good as we hoped.

We packed up at 8pm, with the harvest moon rising in the east. The next day, it rained heavily, as if to say playtime is over.

But we have the pictures for the poorer weather!


This month past, among the items seen, included a Triang shunter (the 08 without outside cranks), Triang Hall (as Lord Westwood) with three mk1s, a Lima class 60 with ten Hornby MGR wagons (HAA), a Thomas set and four steel / SAA type / bolster wagons. There were also sets including a red Triang ‘Nelly’ 0-4-0 tank loco, and a fairly early Hornby class 37 on a passenger and mail working set.

This means that October should have an interesting gala! We no longer have any big coal wagons, but the 60 on a two coach train will look interesting … we have all of the above, and although the 08 is inaccurate, there is at least one 0-6-0 diesel shunter that could be modelled from it.


It’s fine the ELMLR talking about what’s out there, but we ought to buy something. We commit to acquiring a charity shop item of rolling stock within twelve months: it must comply with the idea of a light railway, and be something that we don’t have.

We also noted that some preservation societies have online shops and charitable status. This leads to a dilemma about whether the idea of our layout is to support general charities, or to include specific railway charities. The initial idea was for items that you might find in a charity shop, and so, with apologies to preservationists, we will continue this policy.

Left: Stepney and our green Triang pannier approach the station. Right: the black Triang open cab pannier sold by the shop earlier this year, one of the coaches is a Graham Farish B set coach also sold in the spring.

We were also given a few items of OO gauge accessories that the shop couldn’t sell (a few bits of assorted and incomplete plastic kits and a buffer stop), for which we made a donation. They will be useful on the winter project. Some second hand modelling magazines came our way, with some excellent work within, so we have hints from those who’ve already completed splendid working micro layouts. We have two fruit boxes, some track, rolling stock – if only we had the energy. This means we have two projects: the temporary outdoor OO and the winter project indoor micro-layout and maybe a third quick project … .

0716 Little Progress


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.

Little Orchard Railway open day

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.

ELMLR notes:

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.

wheel cleaning

‘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.

Princess Elizabeth – Triang, 1960s.

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.

Queen Mary, Hornby, late 1980s

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.

Our Hymek, our 150, our class 25.

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.