The thing about writing a new blog is you want to see if anyone actually looks at it. So I was rather excited to see if someone had actually looked at the humble beginnings of my new blog.
I couldn’t quite believe it. Visitors from the UK, USA and Australia! That’s quite cool and amazing to think that someone, somewhere in another part of the world could be looking at my modelling efforts.
Well thank you whoever you are and please come back and visit again!
Hi! Welcome to my new blog. This is a new adventure for me as I’ve never ever showed my modelling off like this before. I was lucky enough to have my last layout – an N Gauge BR blue era layout – featured in Model Rail a year or so ago, however, I did not write the full text for this feature and the magazine made a conscious effort to avoid talking about how various parts of this layout were built, primarily because this has been done and continues to be done in so many monthly model railway articles.
In the last year or so, I have formed very important relationships with two fellow O gauge modellers, Graham Minshull and Kelvin Barnes.
I had seen Kelvin’s layouts for many years on the local exhibition circuit where I lived and always felt that they were head and shoulders above anything else on offer. They were not the biggest, but the quality of the layouts and the detail on every part of them including the engines and stock surpassed anything around. Quite simply, they were stunning.
It was only a year or so ago that this interest in his layouts developed into a more meaningful relationship after he was kind enough to acknowledge some of my abilities as represented in the George Street magazine article. This lead on to me being invited to help him operate one of his layouts at a local exhibition. Kelvin’s layouts are always in demand and was keen to accept my offer of help with the operation of his layouts. I loved his layouts so jumped at the chance to play trains with like-minded people. What a dream!
Kelvin has an excellent blog: https://kelvinsrailways.com and this is by no means a competition. If it was, I would lose because the quality of his work is incredible and his site is well established. It was however, Kelvin who encouraged me to start a blog to show off my talents and show some of my work off to a wider audience. So welcome to this blog. It doesn’t have a lot of content yet. However, it will grow and it will include more features on my layout and it’s stock and how the building of my layout is coming along.
On Saturday 10 March, I went with my friend Graham Minshull to the Norfolk Railway Society Show at Poringland, Norwich. We should have been joined by our good friend Kelvin Barnes – a stunning modeller – and long-term member of the Norfolk model railway exhibition circuit. However, he was too poorly to be with us and was missed by us and many of his friends who know him in Norwich.
We were showing one of Kelvin’s layouts – Merlin’s Lane, a BR Blue era engine depot using DCC power and engines with sound.
Here are a few pictures from that day. The exhibition also featured the odd item of rolling stock belonging to Graham and myself as well as items from Kelvin,
I will continue to post pictures of these Kelvin’s’ layouts as we travel across Norfolk and Suffolk. If you do see us, come over and say hello. I’m the young one!
When I started to add track and scenery to the baseboards that became George Street II, my N Gauge BR Blue era layout, I soon realised that this was going to be my biggest modelling project to date and I wanted it be really good. My previous incarnation of George Street – a small terminus, had been successful in many respects. I had learned some new card building skills as well welcoming DCC with a tentative hand. The layout was changed from DC to digital during its lifetime to improve its functionality and it certainly got plenty of praise from forums such as the NGF. However, its operation was limited still and it was very ‘square’ – an issue I had spoken about frequently on the couple of forums I participated in. Another layout would have to come along. And so George Street II grew up from many sketches to a large continuous run layout. As it developed from bare boards to a fully scenic layout, I was constantly amazed by how many people liked the layout on the N gauge forums. I was even more surprised and delighted when I realised it had caught the eye of modeller and photographer Chris Nevard. After a lot of preparation and sleepless nights finishing many little cameos and scenic sections, the layout was photographed and had its moment of fame in February 2017 when it graced the pages of Model Rail.
A Class 101 pulls away from George Street – my old N Gauge layout
I guess I fell for the charms of the Dapol 08 shunter like many people and the seeds were sown. A chat with SWMBO soon established that there was no way two layouts could exist in the garage, which, should have a car in it. Or so I was told!
And so with a deep breath, I decided that my layout, George Street II, should be broken up. I had no problems with N gauge modelling, in fact it was and has been getting better year after year. However, in hindsight, I should have made George Street II sectional. Its baseboards certainly allowed for that at the start, but foolishly I laid track across the boards and left it un-cut and as the scenery got added, that too, became larger and larger and it became one unmovable layout. There was no way it could be sold off so the tools came out and George Street II was broken up.