Thursday, April 21, 2022

 Narrow Gauge South 2022

A bit of an advert for those of you looking for something to do this coming Saturday 23rd April 2022.

Wessex Narrow Gauge Modellers present Narrow Gauge South 2022, almost certainly the UK's largest specialist narrow gauge model railway exhibition back after the enforced cancellation in 2020. Over thirty layouts in a variety of scale/gauge combinations, specialist trade support and the 009 Society AGM.

Full details and downloadable show guide can be found at Narrow Gauge South

Saturday, April 9, 2022

 Ryedown Lane 'on tour'.

Life seems to have been full on of late ( a bit too much so if I'm honest) and opportunities for actual railway modelling have been thin on the ground, although an FR coach kit and and a couple of standard gauge wagons are nearing completion.

However, the first weekend in March saw Ryedown Lane make an appearance at my local exhibition in Romsey along with two other layouts from Wessex Narrow Gauge Modellers.

                                    Ryedown Lane before the doors opened on Saturday morning.

It was great to be exhibiting again and lovely to meet so many friends. Many thanks to fellow WNGM members Steve and Jerry who helped me over the weekend.

                                     A typical Wessex Light Railway passenger train trundles through Winterbourne Road.

Rather less typical is this splendid railcar, inspired by the North Eastern Railway Petrol Electric Autocars, brought along by its creator and fellow WNGM member Tim Couling.

The next couple of weeks will be busy as WMGM prepare to stage Narrow Gauge South on 23rd April. Having had to cancel the event two years ago, it will be a great pleasure to meet up with fellow narrow gauge enthusiasts in Eastleigh. Full details can be found on our website at Narrow Gauge South  

Friday, February 4, 2022

 Locomotives and rolling stock - Part 4

It's been a while since I did a proper Ryedown Lane post and even longer since I last wrote about the rolling stock so thought it was high time that I posted on that  popular theme. I'll get back to locomotives at a later date but today I'll describe some of the goods wagons that see regular use on the layout.

The Wessex Light Railway is a common carrier light railway and is inspired by a variety of real lines both narrow and standard gauge. Although the lines operated by Colonel Stephens have always been the main influence, other minor railways have had some influence and this is shown in the proliferation of Welshpool & Llanfair wagons that form the bulk of the goods stock. Seen in the opening picture is a typical WLR goods train consisting of a couple of W&L open wagon, a van and brake van. The background story is that the WLR acquired its original goods stock from R & Y Pickering at the same time as the W&L was being equipped.

In reality these wagons are built from the excellent range of kits produced under the Nine Lines brand. At the time of writing these are sadly no longer available, which is a great shame as they are spot on the for the type of operation that the layout portrays. I'd also like to build a few more. Above is a selection of the open wagons. I've built a number of these in various permutations of livery, lettering and numbers from the three versions of the wagons that were available as kits.

Three W&L vans are used on the layout, again finished in slightly different variations of the livery. In more recent times I've supplemented the W&L wagons with a few different types to add some variety. These include a couple of curved end Southwold wagons (again from Nine Lines) which despite being used on a 3ft gauge line are actually about the same size as the W&L wagons. For some reason I don't have any pictures of these in operation.

Many narrow gauge railways took advantage of the availability of large amounts of war surplus ex WDLR rolling stock in the 1920s to supplement their stock or to replace warn out vehicles. I've assumed that the Wessex Light Railway was no different and added various D and E class bogie wagons (built from Dundas kits)
to its roster at the same time that it acquired the Motor Rail Simplex petrol tractor.

Just to round off this time, I've built a number of Glyn Valley Tramway 4 ton wagons (Dundas kits) over the years, originally for use on my micro layout Wintoncester Water Works. These see occasional use on Ryedown Lane, as seen here being hustled through Winterbourne Road by the small Bagnall Pixie (more about which in a future blog). Bringing up the rear is the WLR's other brake van, built from the Dundas kit for the Welsh Highland Railway vehicle, which will have to suffice until I can source another Nine Lines W&L brake van kit.

Many thanks to those of you who have taken the trouble to get in touch, it's very gratifying to know that this blog and the layout are appreciated.

Friday, December 24, 2021


December update (3)

Mainline steam again... Bath & Bristol Christmas Express, 7th December 

                                                            44871 at Bristol Temple Meads.

I received an early Christmas surprise a few weeks ago. My wife presented me with a booking for the Railway Touring Company’s steam hauled Bath & Bristol Christmas Express scheduled for 7th December and hauled by ‘new build’ Peppercorn Pacific ‘Tornado’. A pick up and set down at Basingstoke meant that it was  easily doable, with no need for the early starts and late finishes that such trips can often entail.

Having travelled on mainline steam trips on and off for around forty odd years I can vouch for the fact that these things rarely go completely as planned. This one was no different with first the replacement of ‘Tornado’ with Black Five 44871 (Tornado having been withdrawn from service early for an overhaul) and then the change of the outbound pick up from Basingstoke to the water stop at Winchfield.

Much as a trip behind Tornado would have bene nice, I really didn’t mind the opportunity to get a decent run behind the Black Five. 44871 is not exactly a stranger when it comes to mainline trips, having previously travelled behind it on the West Highland line ‘Jacobite’ service in 2011 and on a railtour to Penzance in 2010 when it double headed with 70013 Oliver Cromwell. It certainly looked the part on a rake of West Coast Railway's maroon Mk1s and sounded great.

                                                 Ready for departure from Bristol TM in the early evening.

Britain was battered by Storm Barra on 7th December and a tree down on the track near Warminster resulted in service disruptions with trains being held at Salisbury. We were held for some time at Laverstock Junction before crawling into the booked water stop in the city. We were held at platform four for some time, eventually getting away an hour behind schedule. 44871 put in a good performance for the run to Bath but of course there was no way to recover that sort of time and arrival at Bristol was still an hour adrift. Despite concerns about there being insufficient time to service the locomotive we were no more than a minute or two late leaving Bristol in the evening for the return leg and a splendid run was had back to Basingstoke arriving pretty much on time.

                        44871 departs Basingstoke on the run back to London Victoria in the evning.

It was wonderful to be back on the mainline behind steam traction again.

Thursday, December 23, 2021


December update (2)

WNGM Open Day, 4th December

                                          Kerr Stuart diesel with a short coal train shunts the coal store siding.

Wessex Narrow Gauge Modellers (WNGM) staged  an open day at Colehill in Wimborne on Saturday 4th December. These little members day type events are a particular trade mark of  009 Society area groups, being a lot less formal and much more light-hearted than a traditional exhibition. I was asked to attend, not with Ryedown Lane this time but with Wintoncester Water Works, the 009 micro that I built and exhibited in the early 2000s. This hasn’t been seen at an exhibition since Narrow Gauge South West in 2012, having had only a bit of use as a test track at WNGM monthly meetings in the intervening nine years.

Bagnall 0-4-0ST waits for its next duty.

A test session a few weeks beforehand revealed that Wintoncester was still in working condition, needing only a bit of a clean to prepare it for display. I also took the opportunity to do some minor scenic improvements by installing a couple of new trees and adding some static grass in a few key areas (static grass had not even made an appearance when the layout was first built).

I’ll do a blog post specifically about Wintoncester Water Works and its origins at a later date. For now, here are a few pictures of comings and goings on the day in question.

A little end of day light hearted fun (OK, silliness!) as two Mini Class 33's pose on Wintoncester Water Works.


December Update (1)

Ffestiniog Railway Bygones Weekend, October 8th - 10th 

Apologies for the lack of blog posts in recent months. It seems that with more and more events going on I have had less and less time to write about things let alone do very much in the way of modelling. By way of compensation, I’ll post about a few of the railway related things that I’ve done since the Farnham 009 Open Day in August.

In fact nothing much railway related happened at all until October when I ventured up to North Wales for the Ffestiniog Railway’s Bygone Weekend from the 8th to 10th.

                                        Prince at Porthmadog early on Saturday morning.

As with last year’s similar event, this was a scaled down, covid secure, version of the usual Autumn vintage weekend
with dedicated services to Tan y Bwlch, Blaenau Ffestiniog and also to Beddgelert on the Welsh Highland. The accompanying images show a little of what went on.

On the Sunday I joined the special inspection train for Diamond Jubilee Appeal supporters. An early start from Porthmadog saw the train hauled by Upnor Castle as far as Boston Lodge, where were able to see the latest developments, inspect the nearly completed New Large Carriage Shed and hear the news that the railway’s bid to the National Lottery heritage Fund had been successful.

Lyd with Supporters train at Boston Lodge.

On leaving Boston Lodge the train, now hauled by Lyd took us first to Blaenau then back down the line to a stop at the south end of the Moelwyn Tunnel. Here we detrained to attend the official dedication ceremony to mark the completion of the new stone portals for the tunnel. Effectively this ceremony, performed by FR president Mike Schuman and local MP Liz Saville-Roberts, also marked the completion of the deviation project of the late 1960s and 1970s. Reading about the exploits of the deviationists as I was growing up in the 1970s I could never have imagined that I might one day be present at an event to mark the completion of the project.

                                                    Dedication ceremony at Moelwyn Tunnel.

The train then ran to Beddgelert, pausing briefly at Pen Cob to swap the motive power for NG/G16 No 87. A really enjoyable and memorable weekend.

NG/G16 87 at Beddgelert with the Supporters train.

Monday, August 16, 2021

 Making an exhibition of ourselves!

Farnham MRC 009 Open day, 15th August 2021

Heavily involved in operating the layout solo I took very few pictures and didn't manage to get round the other exhibits. Here we see the KS diesel engaged in some shunting at Ryedown Lane.

Model railway exhibitions are back on the calendar. Yes, after months of cancellations and postponements,  shows are starting to happen again. In particular we're seeing a few of the smaller, specialist, open day type events such as last weekend's 009 Society Wiltshire Group open day in Pewsey. I was unable to attend that event but I'd  already been invited to take Ryedown Lane to the Farnham MRC's first 009 section open day in Wrecclesham this weekend. I was very much looking forward to the day and I wasn't disappointed.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of exhibiting at small specialist 009 shows is the camaraderie of fellow modellers and the frequent temporary loans of locomotives and rolling stock. Julien Webb form the 009 Society West Midlands group turned up with this beautifully finished Avonside 0-4-0T (Dave Malton designed 3d print on a Bachman Percy N gauge chassis) which spent much of the day on shed or pottering up and down with every longer trains.

Having spent a good part of the previous couple of weeks cleaning and testing the layout and stock I was hopeful that everything would go well and I'm pleased to say that the layout performed well was just me that was rusty having not exhibited the layout since April of 2019.

                                                     KS 'Skylark' tank 'Alfred' on the passenger service.

It was a small event with five invited layouts (Matt Keen's wonderful Garreg Wen, John Wilkes' Coleford, Somewhere in France by Peter Capon, and three layouts from Wessex Narrow Gauge Modellers in the shape of John Thorn's River Crane Mill, Iain Morrisons's Kaninchenbau together with my own layout) plus the Farnham Group's impressive modular system and Dave Harrington's 'Whimsy'. I have to confess that I was so engrossed in operating Ryedown Lane on my own that I didn't manage to actually see any of the other exhibits properly (other than for the briefest looks at River Crane Mill and Kaninchenbau before the doors opened).

Silliness often descends towards the end of a show (in fact it tends to reign on my layout  most of the time if I'm honest) as illustrated by the appearance of the mini Crompton 33 009 late yesterday.

Other than the sheer delight of actually operating my layout as it is supposed to be the main thing about the show was once again being able to meet, chat and joke with like minded modellers. Ryedown Lane even received a visit from visiting motive power, an 009 exhibition tradition that I always enjoy.

Well done Farnham MRC and many thanks for the invitation.

  Narrow Gauge South 2022 A bit of an advert for those of you looking for something to do this coming Saturday 23rd April 2022. Wessex Narro...