Catching Up…

I’ve been a lazy blogger.

A lot has happened since my last post.  Since the work on the final bits of carpentry to finish off the baseboards I’ve been busy sorting out some stock for the layout, but we’ll come to that in a bit.

I’ve been off to Wales to play trains again.  This time not on the Ffestiniog, although that did have a small cameo role.  On this occasion the main railway of choice was the Welsh Highland, more specifically my first run over the completed line from Porthmadog to Caernarfon and back.  It was a family weekend away as it was just before my birthday.

On the Saturday I was treated to a guided trip around Boston Lodge, more on that in a future blog post on an unconnected theme.   On the way back from dropping the women folk off at Portmeirion I noticed an FR train standing in the station so I thought I’d take a look before heading to the other end of the Cob for my tour.   It was my two favourite FR locos, Lyd and Taliesin with a private charter.

I’ve seen Lyd three times now, the first at the L&B gala where she was in plain black, then locked away in the loco shed at Boston Lodge over Vintage Weekend where I was unable to get a proper look at her in Southern livery.  So this was essential the first time I’d seen here ‘complete’, and she looked superb! As I’ve mentioned before I used to volunteer on the L&B in the early days with my late father, and the Manning Wardles really played a part in fostering my love for all things narrow gauge.

It’s so nice to see a real one, even if it’s not an original.

Anyway, back to the WHR.

I’ve always had a bit of a ‘thing’ for the WHR.  I think it’s partly to do with it’s chequered history, the NWNGR era, the incomplete bits of bridge sat in the middle of the Aberglaslyn Pass, the failed electric railway proposals etc.  Plus the original stock has a certain purposeful appearance yet still looks elegant – Beddgelert is the perfect example of this to my mind.

On the Sunday we spent an entire day on the train, leaving Port at a smidgin before 11:00 and not returning back there until around 17:00! Brilliant.  Our loco was NGG16 no. 87, and Cricceth Castle was also on shunting duty.

We were treated to a smattering of snow the night before which made for some fantastic views as we progressed through the flatter areas outside Porthmadog and headed through the Aberglaslyn Pass.  When we got past Beddgelert and on towards Rhyd Ddu the views were superb!

Now an NGG16 isn’t a small loco, and it wasn’t exactly busy, being the extreme tail end of February half term, but it was having to work really hard leaving Beddgelert to get the train up to speed.  It’s nice to have a line such as this to see big machinery really working for a living.  It really made me think of the long grades that could have been on the HLR which are actually steeper and longer than those of the WHR.

There are more photos from the trip here, including some from Blodge.

Finally catching up on modelling (which I should really post more of on here!) I’ve been busy stock building.  The HLR now has a rake of carriages almost complete, and has 10 goods vans in the works.

The vans are those produced by Parkside Dundas to represent the Tralee and Dingle stock.  The ones in the image are; (L to R) covered goods van, covered goods/cattle van, covered goods van, butter van.  I have 10 of these in total to build, consisting of a mixture of all of these types.  The kits are really nice to assemble, and for those of you with a penchant for larger 009, or even more prototypical 0012 then given them a go if you haven’t already!

Now for the carriages, more Ratiobashes.

I’m aiming to have these 6 completed and in operation at Narrow Gauge South in mid April.  They’ve progressed a little more since this photo was taken with the addition of steps, vacuum pipes and acetylene generators on the end panels.

In the future I’ll endeavour to adopt more of a ‘little and often’ approach to the blog to avoid this sort of rushed garbled ‘catch up’ type of post.

Finally, I drew the trackplan for the next HLR layout, Broadford… oh dear!

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