‘Off Season’ + ExpoNG 2012

June? June!? JUNE!?? Wow, it’s been a while since I added a blog post… Then again, not much has happened over the summer, as I’ve mentioned here before, railway modelling is more of a winter hobby for me so not much happens during summer.

Having said that, I have added another loco to the fleet, a Five79 (ex Chivers Finelines) Tralee & Dingle Hunslet 2-6-0T.  The body is a whitemetal kit and is designed for either the Graham Farish Black 5 or 4MT (I think) chassis, but I put mine on the GWR large prairie as I had one waiting for a use.

The kit built as intended with a few extra details added. The green goo is a new filler I’ve used which has the most disturbing safety warnings on any product I’ve ever read, but it works well. The rivets are transfers from Archer Fine Transfers in America.

The pony had some alterations made to it as the Prairie chassis sits slightly further back than those the kit was designed for. The whitemetal kit components and the Farish pony were both used to create something slightly longer.

A staple was used to make a new hook for the front coupling which was mounted to the pony. This enables it to pivot with the pony on curves and hopefully decrease chances of derailments occurring due to the long front overhang on these locos.

After a blast with Halfords grey primer the Citadel Colour paints were brought out to give it a coat of NBR livery. I still need to add lining and plates, but it’s getting there and will provide a nice chunky tank loco to use on the layout.

Another thing that’s happened since the last blog post is that we had a holiday to Sri Lanka.  We didn’t get to see much narrow gauge, but there were traces, and we passed through places where both the Kelani Valley Railway and the Uda Pusselawa Railway operated.  The broad gauge line from Colombo to Badulla has quite a narrow gauge feel to it, it’s slow and winds its way through the hills as it climbs into tea country.

Kandy station having just got off the train from Colombo. The first carriage is 1st class and operated by a private company called ExpoRail – very welcome air conditioning!

Trains pass at Rozelle station

Hill train to Peradeniya


Hill train to Peradeniya

The rather overgrown yard at Nanu Oya, the end of our journey but not the end of the line to Badulla. The Uda Pusselawa Railway used to terminate here.

Which probably explains the presence of this narrow gauge van now being used as a store in the yard.

At one hotel we stayed at, the Heritance Tea Factory, they have an old 2’6″ gauge carriage from the Kelani Valley Railway which is now a restaurant where up to around 16 people can have a 7 course meal.  I booked this for my wife and I and we had a very enjoyable evening there.

Allegedly TCK 6685 is the highest restaurant in Sri Lanka.

I’ll add a YouTube video of the broad gauge hill trains to this post in due course – if you’re interested check back in a few days.

A thoroughly enjoyable trip, we hope to return in  a few years when they have a new much improved national railway museum which will showcase some of the narrow gauge stock that still exists.

So that almost brings us up to date, I say almost as today was ExpoNG at Swanley.

A great show, as always, and some lovely layouts on display.  I was particularly pleased as two of my favourites won the main awards.

Castle Wharf Kendal (009) – Reinier Hendriksen Trophy

The End of The Line (o14/7mm standard gauge) – David Lloyd Trophy

It was also really nice to see some of P.D. Hancock’s Craig and Mertonford Railway stock in the 009 Society Showcase.



Having met Dick Van Beek and seen some of his stock during my trip to Valkenburg in 2010 it was great to see Dick’s layout Vroonen in the flesh, a really nice Dutch town scene.





I came away from ExpoNG a little poorer and with a few more modelling projects to work on which will, of course, feature on here in due course – including one that ties back into the Sri Lanka trip, more on that at the relevant time.


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