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Wisbech & Upwell doodles


Been doodling around with track plans for the Wisbech & Upwell tramway, home to GER tram engines and latterly O4 shunters with side skirts over the motion.

It all started with Iain Rice’s ‘Creating Cameo Layouts’ book, where I was looking at the little ‘Fen Drove’ layout, only 7.5′ long in 4mm scale.  Simple, but offering plenty of operation, and a possible 4′ cameo layout in ‘N’.

But I then went back to Hawkins & Reeve’s book, ‘The Wisbech and Upwell Tramway’ to look at some of the track layouts along the line.  Both Elm Bridge and Boyce’s Bridge Depots, intermediate stations on the line, would make good, if minimalistic, layouts.  There are few buildings and plenty of fen.  I see both depots as the focus of simple, 4′ diameter, circular layout.  The real line is straight on both sides of the curved depot, but a little modeller’s license would…

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#Southernfail: There’s no need to cancel night trains

Driver only at night asking for trouble

Inside Croydon

Suspicions mount over the true reason behind Southern withdrawing overnight trains from Victoria to East Croydon, as our transport correspondent JEREMY CLACKSON reports

You can get a Tube to Blackfriars, claim Southern. Except the Circle and District line shuts down at midnight

There has never been any real need to cancel all though-the-night train services between Victoria and East Croydon, as Southern has claimed, according to a Freedom of Information request submitted by an ill-served rail passenger.

According to the latest timetable, for operations from December, Southern has failed to reinstate the after-midnight rail services out of Victoria, serving East Croydon and stations to Brighton. This may confirm many suspicions that the suspension of these services is more to do with the dispute over driver-only trains, and very little to do with “essential” engineering work, as the operators claim.

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Ex-teaching assistant Bashford lands Cabinet Office job

Inside Croydon

Town Hall reporter KEN LEE on the Croydon councillor who has risen without trace

Anyone who aspires to this country being run by anything that might resemble a meritocracy may be saddened to learn that the “politically restricted” job which Croydon councillor Sara Bashford has just landed is in the high-powered Cabinet Office.

Sara Bashford: the newly appointed Cabinet Office civil servant’s skills include handing out T-shirts

This appointment represents a meteoric rise for the sometime teaching assistant, and comes just three months after Gavin Barwell somehow wangled the job of chief of staff to the interim Prime Minister, Theresa May.

The two Downing Street appointments may not be coincidental.

Until June, Bashford had a job working as a constituency office assistant in Croydon Central for Tory MP Barwell. There, her onerous duties included answering the telephone, counting paper clips and handing out free T-shirts. She may have also done…

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Council leader forced to resign over critical Ofsted report

Inside Croydon

WALTER CRONXITE reports on another local government Carr crash over failures to provide adequate social services

The pressure is mounting this weekend on Tony Newman, the Labour leader of Croydon Council, over his and council officials’ response to the highly critical Ofsted report on the borough’s children’s services department.

Under pressure: Tony Newman

Newman will come under fire in the Town Hall chamber on Monday when the full council holds an extraordinary meeting over probably the greatest crisis for the council since the 2011 riots.

And Newman’s position will not have been made any stronger after news from neighbouring Bromley, where his counterpart as leader of that council, Stephen Carr, handed in his resignation yesterday over similarly troubling issues arising from a critical Ofsted report into that council’s social services.

Conservative-run Bromley had its Ofsted inspection of its children services department in April last year. The findings were as dire…

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Croydon Tories take their revenge on Fisher over #WadGate

Inside Croydon

There was blood on the shag pile at Croydon Tory HQ over selections for next May’s local elections. Political editor WALTER CRONXITE reports on the high casualty rate among some of the council’s one-time big beasts

Out for the count: Mike Fisher on election night in 2014. He won’t have to stay up so late next May

Mike Fisher, until 2014 the leader of Croydon Council, will not be standing for re-election as a councillor next May. It seems that Croydon’s Tories de-selected Fisher, in effect punishing him for his part in the #Wadgate scandal at the Town Hall three years ago.

Among the other notable, front-bench departures from the Tory ranks revealed in an announcement today is Phil Thomas, Fisher’s long-time Town Hall enforcer, and Sara Bashford, the current deputy leader of the Conservatives on the council. Like Fisher, Thomas is also thought to have been de-selected.

The local…

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ESNG Exhibition 2018 and beyond….


Exhibition planning is well under way for the ESNG 2018 exhibition, and the first flyers are out….

Layouts on show will include:

  • ESNG N-mod/N-club modular layout
  • West Sussex group N-mod modular layout
  • Forrestone (UK modern)
  • Freshwater (2mm finescale IOW)
  • City Basin Goods (BR Western Region)
  • Maxwell (UK)
  • St Elizabeth Street (UK modern)
  • Berry Town (UK, BR era)
  • Fichtelbergbahn (Germany, Nm)
  • Kato racetrack (Japan)

I’m pleased to have a 2mm finescale layout on show, and Duncan’s large Nm layout is also a new venture.  Both are part of the 2mm/N family, so I think they will add interest and variety to the show,

Trade will include:

  • BH Enterprises
  • NScaleCH
  • Invicta
  • JB Modelworld
  • Ian Grace
  • Club shop

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to use St Joseph’s School in 2019.  So we are going to hold a joint show with N Gauge Forum.  We’ve had initial discussions with Chris who runs the…

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Class 71 memories


Some of my earliest railway memories are seeing the ‘Golden Arrow’ as I was coming home to lunch from infants school.  In those days, it was steam-hauled, a 4-6-2 ‘Britannia’ and Pullmans to follow.  Some years later, my first solo train spotting expeditions were to the same spot, but in the early evening after school.  If I timed it right I could spot the return run of the ‘Golden Arrow’ back from  Dover to London Victoria.  No Britannia, though, but the train was still Pullmans and headed by a Class 71 electric locomotive.

Despite their rather plain appearance, the Class 71 has always been a firm favourite of mine.  After the demise of the Golden Arrow, a train journey up to London past Hither Green yard and depot would usually turn up one or two locomotives.  They survived to carry the BR blue livery, but having only electical third rail power…

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Old Oak Common 111 #2


There were more steam locomotives on display than I expected, and that were in the original published list.  BR ‘Britannia’ Pacific’s are a personal favourite.  When I was returning to primary school after lunch, I often used to see the ‘Golden Arrow’ with a Britannia on the front.  ‘Oliver Cromwell’ was one locomotive on the final railtour before the end of steam in the UK.

I love the cork on the oil-box.  Another high-tech solution for steam….

Also present was ‘Tornado’, the replica A1 class Pacific.

In contrast, a modest ex-GWR pannier tank, that could be found anywhere from London to Birmingham to Wales to Penzance.

The 1500 class were built in 1949 in British Railway days, and were a most atypical Pannier, with outside cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, a very short wheelbase, and virtually no footplate.  They spent much of their short, 10-year, life on empty stock workings out of…

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The Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894.


Stephen Liddell

As a species we can be a pretty gloomy bunch.  Capable of brilliance but just as likely incapable of seeing almost the blinding obvious.

These days we are seemingly doomed on a whole host of issues.  Climate change, the break down of civil cohesion, over population, mass immigration on a biblical scale.  Pollution, Brexit pretty much every thing really.  We may as well give up now.

This isn’t a new phenomena, we have always been doomed for as far back as history goes.  Almost without exception, nothing is ever as bad as first imagined and the doom laden naysayers generally base their assumption on the constant that nothing else will change.   These predictions don’t have to be negative, plenty of less doom-laden ideas seem laughable such as the idea that the world would only ever need a handful of computers.


Perhaps it is because making such predictions requires a certain…

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Can I have a P please. Hatton’s annouce an ex SECR P Class 0-6-0T and Andrew Barclay 0-4-0T saddle tank in 00

GrahamMuz: Fisherton Sarum & Canute Road Quay

Merseyside based model retailer and commissioner Hatton’s have announced today two new exclusive locomotives to their range. The one of most interest for followers of this blog will no doubt be the diminutive ex South Eastern and Chatham Railway, Wainwright P class 0-6-0T.

The 1st running Engineering Prototype (EP) of the Hatton’s ex SECR P class. Picture courtesy and copyright A York

The P class locomotives were small both in size and numerically as only eight were built, there were a also number of differences between the members of the class during their lifetime.
The first two members of the class introduced in February 1909 numbers 753/556/1556/31556 and 754/557/1557/31557 had 4 and half inch taller cabs and side tanks than the remaining six members that were built in February and July 1910. Although only a small difference in height it is defiantly noticeable on the front face of the locomotive.

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