Getting down to business at last


I’ve been off work this week which has allowed me to finally get properly to grips with the long procession of models requiring enhancement.
This week that has meant some top-end 1960s-era mainline power. First pair out the door into today’s early spring daylight were A2s No 60530 and 60535, both in 1965 condition.’535 is for a friend and is essentially straight from the box Bachmann.
Every other loco you’ll see today has been upgraded with LMS cast buffers and vacuum pipes in the case of 60530.






Next was a Class 40, again in mid ’60s garb (EE Type 4, more properly in that era, I suppose), in a typical condition for that era when diesels were beginning to dominate and with their own dedicated depots, cleaning and maintenance was less problematic than earlier in the decade. D369 has had the benefit of LMS buffers replacing the factory item. This in fact was done back in late 2014 but she had then languished awaiting the call to EM conversion that ultimately never came, but we know that story now, don’t we..?



Last but not least for today was my current favourite ‘big engine’ of the pack. Hornby’s latest take on the LMS ‘Duchess’, No 46256, Sir William Stanier FRS. In spite of dark mutterings from some quarters about the fixed rear truck, this is certainly the finest yet take on these, the finest examples of UK ‘Big Steam’ and worthy of the prototype.

Once again I have traded the original buffers for more substantial castings from LMS. They really do enhance the front end in my opinion and if you can summon up the minerals to do the surgery it’s worth the effort.

I’d like to fit a shorter drawbar for a closer loco-tender coupling and add a crew but, otherwise I’m pleased with the model as it comes. I’ve portrayed the loco during her last 3-4 years of service and she has a work-stained but still cared-for appearance.

This one provided the most enjoyment this week and I really must find a layout somewhere in the area to run it on!


All in all, there’s been a bit of interesting stuff going on here this week. I have a couple of smaller models to be getting on with next, more typical of bread and butter Scottish operations in the 1960s. Tomorrow, however I’m going to consider some of the very positive developments this year offers for the Scottish modelling scene.

Musically, there’s a rich crop of new, interesting material passing my way at the moment including new-to-me Australian band, Lowtide.  Their latest album Southern Mind has been on repeat this week. Theirs is a rich, layered soundscape that reminds me a bit of the Cocteau Twins. Being a sucker for bass, the fact they use two bass players has sold me considerably!

Alibi is my current stand out track, with that marvellous bass line that takes me back to my ‘goth phase’ thirty years ago!

LOWTIDE – SOUTHERN MIND (Opposite Number release OPPONO6CD)


Summer evening’s walk

Seeing as it was such a good evening, I decided to give Abi an extra walk and spontaneously picked the path from Lyneside Station to Fauldmoor Crossing. This was the true racing ground of the Waverley Route as it got into its stride out of Carlisle, past Harker and trains could attain high speeds before slowing for Longtown.

Lyneside Station was the turnback and daytime stabling point for the Parkside/Harker workers trains and is today a very attractive private dwelling. The lower floor of the signal box still exists and in fact the upper level survived into the 1990s before succumbing to time and the elements.
On a beautiful evening such as the one just past it was wonderful to imagine being here fifty or sixty years ago watching trains pass.
Although the top of the formation has been heavily skimmed in places, there are many relics still in existence such as ballast boxes and signal runners and even what looks like a gradient post!


Just north of the station the route crosses the river Lyne and though the viaduct decking was dismantled after this section closed in September 1970, the path conversion has resulted in a wooden footbridge being constructed and supported on the old buttresses and piers. These piers have certainly been subject to renovation and repair during their railway service and this work is much in evidence from blue brickwork among the original stone to the heavy rail bracing round the central pier. You can still see the channel and steel pad where the original plate sides rested. Also in evidence was a massive accumulation of driftwood that must have piled up during the extreme rain we experienced here on the 18th of May. Further north is a cattle creep which Abi inspected on the way back.



After an hour we were back at Lyneside after our walk lineside!
By now the sun was about setting but the light was making both the red sandstone of the station and the red bark of the attendant Scots Pines glow with a warm richness that is one of the attributes that makes Pinus Sylvestris my favourite tree!



An evening well spent and it was easy to imagine an A2 or similar racing north on a rake of coaches, the whole ensemble glowing in the low sun!