Electric Light Omnibus (Bus garage, Montague Place, Brighton, UK)

Always something fascinating in this excellent blog, whether it’s transport heritage, architecture or industrial design that floats your boat.

The Beauty of Transport

After a while, you start noticing old transport buildings, even when they’re no longer in their original use. There you are, walking down the street, when you notice out of the corner of your eye something that looks transport-y. And most of the time, when you research it later, you find out that the building has indeed had a transport-related earlier life. So it is with this week’s building. It’s still being used in a transport-related way, as a car garage. This is 25 Montague Place, Brighton.

25 Montague Place, Brighton. Photo by Hassocks5489 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons On consideration, it quickly becomes apparent that car maintenance can’t have been its original use. It’s clearly too old. The shaped parapet gable at the peak of the main (western) elevation, and the Venetian window (three parts with an arch over the central section) suggest a building which…

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Watering a dead plant.


Today, I reached a conclusion in my modelling activities following a frustrating attempt to replace a motor on a part-built kit chassis. It finally dawned on me that I was no longer getting anything like the enjoyment I once did from the hobby. I considered the various themes in my collection, postwar BR, 1970s industrial, Scottish Pre-group and 1980s Scotrail.

All are of interest, but the postwar era and industrial and some of the pre-group was to EM. Since I moved to EM in 2013, I had acquired much new good quality RTR that would be needing conversion to EM – a fact I found increasingly daunting, given the good running qualities and the finesse of much new output. Given some of the problems and potential difficulties in conversion I was struggling to get motivated. You only have to look at the finite clearances on Hornby’s recent Peckett W6 saddle tank to see the potential difficulties. Clearly it would be a very similar situation with the new 14″ Barclay keenly awaited from Hattons. I looked to the rather lovely Heljan Class 05 shunter in my display case with its excellent running and jackshaft cranks and had to admit that the likelihood of my getting comparable running qualities from it post conversion were as likely as BBC Scotland rediscovering professional journalism. And of course, in what hints at being a vintage year for those who model Scotland, an NB ‘C’/ (LNER J36) 0-6-0 has just been announced and there’s a strong possibilty that the long-spoken-of Dapol NBL Type 2 may finally appear within this solar traverse.

It all means a bigger pile of models to convert and when even the otherwise excellent Bachmann Porthole and Thompson coaches require complete bogie replacement for EM it is increasingly obvious that the Law of Diminishing Returns is increasingly applying in my sphere of modelling. The process of converting stock begins to overshadow everything, draining energy and distracting from the acquisition of other skills and wider enjoyment of my modelling. And of course there were the wheels themselves; you have a choice of user friendly but chunky Markits, Gibsons with finesse but fragility and occasional QC issues and frankly the worst crankpins ever made and finally, the admittedly excellent Ultrascale with an attendant six-month wait.

I would require the ability to re-generate like a Timelord were I to stand any chance of doing all this. Additionally, factors involving track came into play with the advent of high quality bullhead pointwork from Peco

Once the conclusion was reached that five years of toil had delivered precisely hee haw*, the final decision was easy; I am abandoning EM and returning to OO. That OO Finescale can be made to look as good as the more prototypical gauge widths is conclusively demonstrated by my own ScRSG’s Alloa layout. The moment I made that decision was a liberating one and I can already feel enthusiasm returning. Most of the converted rolling stock can be returned to OO by simply re-setting the back to back on the wheelsets. Some converted RTR can readily be put back to OO with replacement parts from the manufacturers.
All this will free up time again to do the kind of modelling activities where my true talents really lie.

As a much valued friend put it today when I was having a rant via text;

“James Watt didn’t paint the Mona Lisa.
Cuneo didn’t design the Forth Railway Bridge.
Leonardo da Vinci was just a freak!”

Aye, play to your strengths is the message and that’s what I’m going back to now so watch out; this blog will be getting noticeably busier in the coming weeks.

And if you are feeling all Calvinist and nailing your colours firmly to the EM mast there will be lots of Gibson, Penbits and Brassmasters goodies up for sale shortly too!

Finally; you know that I often like to add a musical footnote to my posts and this week I’ve obtained two CDs that have immediately really etched themselves into my consciousness, having hardly been off the player all week.

The first is Four Tet’s New Energy (appropriately, given the nature of this post!)
The posted track is ‘Two thousand and seventeen’. It’s a track that seems well suited to night driving and in fact I first heard it on 6Music’s playlist back in September, resulting in it becoming a bit of an earworm during a week of late shifts driving a near empty bus through Carlisle’s darkened streets!

The second is Ride’s Weather Diaries. Ride were around in the 1990s but largely escaped my attention though on the strength of this album I’m tempted to investigate their back catalogue. The posted track, ‘Pulsar, doesn’t in fact appear on the album but it’s a worthy statement of intent for the album’s content.

I recommend both Albums.
Four Tet – New Energy on Text Records TEXT046
Ride – Weather Diaries on Wichita Recordings WEBB510CD



*’Hee Haw – Rhyming slang; a polite Scottish euphemism for ‘f*** all’…

Wedgewood Green…

A day late but here is the A4 I mentioned. A re-brand and weathering exercise to produce 60006 Sir Ralph Wedgewood during the last phase of her service in 1964 when based at Ferryhill depot in Aberdeen.
During this time she operated the famous three-hour expresses between Aberdeen and Glasgow Buchanan St.

Sorry about the quality of the shots but given the lack of daylight and frequently dreadful weather in these parts in early January, outdoor photos are tricky to get. Still, I hope they give you an impression of the well-maintained finish.


There is No Tory Government and Scotland is already Independent.

I have pondered Barrheadboy’s thoughts myself on a daily basis for some time now.

Barrhead Boy

I am fortunate enough to live in a beautiful house in an idyllic location of the world,halfway between Barcelona and Tarragona in Catalonia,it is a lovely villa 1 1/2 kil. up in the hills with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean.

I have this very unusual vista which all of the visitors to our home have seen and been as amazed as I am every day when I look down from my terrace towards the sea.

You see we have an optical illusion,I think it is something to do with the curvature of the earth that makes it look as if the sea is actually above my home, not over 1km below me,I call it my tsunami.

The first time I noticed it, it really did take me by surprise,it was one of those WTF Moments?

Today,like every other day,I will take my cup of coffee first thing in the…

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Happy New Year


Well, there’s another year away. Arguably the weirdest year I’ve yet experienced in my 53 years on this planet although not a particularly bad one in a personal sense.

Politically, satire has become redundant as both the UK and US regimes expose both their incompetence, corruption and blatant hypocrisy despite having almost complete control of conventional media.

Thank goodness then for online sources such as The Canary and Wings over Scotland who consistently incur the ire of the state/oligarch media by showing their servile, self-serving hacks what real journalists can do when they apply thoroughness and moral courage to the profession.

2018 is shaping up to be a very interesting year in the field of Scottish, European and UK politics and there are signs that it could be one of the most significant years in a long time given events in Catalonia, and with the ongoing slow-motion car crash of Brexit.

But there are many better qualified than me to comment on such things.

After a year where I changed jobs and spent seven months in a full time shift working environment driving buses it’s time to get back to a healthier lifestyle again.
One thing that I learned early on in that period was that after nearly three years away from both full time and shift-working, it was taking a physical toll and having had health problems in the immediate period after retiring from my old profession I could see the warning signs.
Given that I didn’t really need to work full time I decided to go back to part time since my employer was accommodating of such options and from November that’s what I’ve been doing.
After a few weeks readjusting and having almost fought my way through the part of the year that I traditionally find hardest, I’m limbering up to get the best out of my new roster. In winter I normally get hit quite severely with SAD but this year I decided to try a vitamin D3 supplement and I’ve really noticed a positive difference. I’m the words of the good friend who recommended it from personal experience; “It’s the difference between night and day!”
My shift pattern involves working three days each week and the structure of the 6-week roster means that every third week, the rest days run back to back, giving me either seven or eight consecutive rest days every third week.
Right now at a very low energy time of year it allows me a sort of ‘hibernation’ period which helps a lot.

Once spring comes round I will truly see the real benefit of the roster and I’ll be able to get all the things needing done to the house and garden under way.

I was just getting into this in the spring when I started on the buses but when I started tiring from the shifts the effort stalled.
Catching up will get under way soon though!

But what about the modelling?
Well I started some low key stuff more or less once I got back on part time.

Today though being Ne’erday I had time on my hands and I decided to start as I mean to go on!

This involved a couple of hours back in ‘the kennel working on an A4 for my friend and a couple of wagons that had been hanging around the place like Ruth Davidson at a potential photo opportunity.

One was a Bachmann TTA which is part of my OO gauge 1980s collection. Just a bit of nostalgia to provide a bit of a fun counterpoint to my EM fine scale stuff.
The second wagon is a Bachmann BR standard Grain wagon.
This one is intended as part of the available exhibition fleet for the likes of Culreoch and Wharfeside, should they one day hit the road as well as being for whatever personal steam/transition era project I eventually create.
It’s an effortless task to replace the Bachmann wheel sets with Gibson EM 3-holers.
I also replaced the slightly emaciated buffers with LMS castings that make a significant difference.
Eventually it’ll have Spratt and Winkle couplings added but I’m awaiting a tutorial from a friend before I set about those.
It was a nice, well-spent afternoon working on these, particularly the Grain as it took quite a few passes before I was happy with the overall well knocked-about finish. Ultimately it just evolved until I was happy with it.

The A4 I’m working on still needs a couple of finishing touches so I’ll keep that for tomorrow along with something much bigger…

Cheers, happy new year and it’s good to be back!

Transitions 2.0


It’s been some time since I posted anything of my own up here. The truth is that I’ve been too busy with work on a full time basis.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoy the work but the shifts can be long and tiring on the roster I currently work. The high levels of concentration required on the job mean that by the time evening comes around and you’ve finally got home, you’ve walked the dog and had something to eat, there really isn’t much energy left for creative activity.

In truth I’ve done next to no modelling since April for these very reasons. The only exception over that time was during my leave period in July and it was during that time that I took stock and decided that it would be better to revert to part time working in the interest of balancing up work and all the other aspects of life that also matter. It had been two and a half years since I had last worked full time and shift work and my body has been reminding me of that in no uncertain terms. Abi’s recent health issues were another reinforcing part of the argument so when I returned to work after my break I enquired about going part time. The request was duly noted and though I had to await a suitable opening in the part time roster, one has now presented itself and I should be making the transition back to part time within the next three weeks or so.

I’m looking forward to this step down in gear immensely, not least as the opportunity for increased modelling activity and a return to a healthier lifestyle beckons.

One  result of my new profession was an increased interest in heritage buses and I unexpectedly found myself amassing a small collection of miniatures which are now seriously pressing the rail contingent in my other wall cabinet into the corner!