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James Makin
Wells Green TMD

On My Workbench Archive, July - August 2007


Thursday 23rd August 2007

The 'Big Ladder' progresses*

*Warning: Images contain scenes of extremely blobby soldering, those of a sensitive disposition may need to look away now!

Slowly but surely, the large gantry is progressing with more and more bits of brass 'L' shape being added to create what you see above. The photographs show the two sides of what will be the main horizontal part of the gantry, with each section measuring 288mm in length and 16mm in height. There are 120 soldered joints across the two side pieces - which initially seemed daunting but once I'd got into the 'swing' of things then it felt almost like a production line, cutting and then quickly soldering the brass pieces together.

I am quite amazed by the fact that during the entire construction so far, I have not (yet) managed to seriously burn myself!!

The next task is to now attach both sides together to make a square-box construction, and this will require another hundred or so soldered joints too!

On My Mp3:Rihanna - Shut Up And Drive



Saturday 18th August 2007

Out and about: Clapham Junction

Last Sunday was my birthday so I treated myself to a quick trip up to Clapham Junction, despite still having an enormous hangover from the night before and not having arrived back home until nearly 4am!

It's been a while since I last spent time at the station and provided me with an excellent opportunity to photograph the ever-expanding SWT 'Desiro' fleet with plenty of the newer '450/1' subclass passing in front of the lens during the day. There were even a couple of freights travelling through to break up the never ending barrage of multiple units as well!

The Gatwick Express 'Juniper' fleet had changed colours since I last visited in 2005, with the original white Gat Ex and blue 'Continental Airlines' advertising liveries being swept away and replaced with Delta 'Big Apple' livery. Although the units received the new scheme a while back, this is the first time I have got round to actually photographing the Junipers in the 'new' livery!

This grainy photograph is in fact one of the afternoon's 'exciting moments' with 66184 leading a ballast train through Clapham Junction. Sadly at this point a 12-coach 'Electrostar' formation pulled into the station meaning I was forced to grab a quick shot of the loco before it disappeared behind the units - and what you see above is a hugely blown-up section of an image which mainly contains bits of other EMU's!

It was nice to see the original South West Trains livery surviving on a few of the class 455 fleet, with 5864 leaving Clapham heading towards Waterloo.

The '450's really are beautiful trains, and I used up over 200 photographs just on this type of unit in the four hours I stood at the station. With several Clapham Junction visits in the last three years and numerous other photography excursions I am close to achieving my ambition of having an image of every class member!

And finally...

...this particular sighting made the whole day worth it!

377104 is not just any old Southern 'Electrostar' but the last one I 'needed' to see to 'complete the set' as it were! Having spent two years commuting to university by train enabled me to see the '377' units and 'get haulage' (sad, I know!) as soon as they worked their first service trains. However, 377104 was subjected to several bouts of accident damage shortly after outshopping from Derby and so hardly ever worked a train until more recently when it was finally returned to service. Buying the car etc meant that my regular train travel ended leaving 377104 being the missing unit not underlined in the stock book!

Not any more - I can now sleep easy at night feeling satisfied that I'd finally 'got the unit' - I'd read in magazines that some even considered the unit 'jinxed'(!) and did wonder whether the unit would be involved in another accident sometime soon, meaning I would never complete my '377's!!

On My Mp3: Mutya Buena & Groove Armada - Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control)


Friday 10th August 2007

The 'Big Ladder'

Today I have been mostly working on this!

Although it perhaps bears an uncanny resemblance to a Gauge 1 scale ladder, it is in fact one of the main sides for the new isolating OHLE gantry which will end up outside the main depot building! I've got one more of these to build, which will then be connected together by further bits of 'L' shape brass to make a square-box construction.

On My Mp3:Busface feat. Mademoiselle E.B. - Circles (Just My Good Time)


Sunday 5th August 2007

The last exhibition of the Summer!

A small show at West Wittering, Sussex marked the last show of the Summer season, the next one being at Uckfield on October 20/21 2007. I managed to get lost on the way to West Wittering too - and realised I had ended up in Selsey at the time I'd agreed to meet up with helpers Pete Hollman and John Holmes!

As the catenary is somewhat, err, destroyed in places(!) we just stuck to running the diesels, and the odd steam locomotive during the day!

John Holmes brought along his brand new Bachmann Brush Type 4, D1500 in two-tone BR Green. The lighting on the front headcode panel was quite nice to look at!

Pete Hollman also brought along a few goodies, in the form of Hornby grey 60077 Canisp making a debut appearance on Wells Green TMD before renumbering - if he can make his mind up on whether to go for a BR sector livery or a big yellow EWS sticker plastered over the side! Bachmann's 66407 can also be seen tucked away next to the 'tug' in the shed.

Pete's Hornby '08' was also given the role of yard shunter on the day, and the loco coped remarkably well despite the tight insulfrog pointwork on the layout - Wells Green will one day get it's own dedicated loco based on one of the prototype '08's allocated to Crewe IEMD.

The rather nice Heljan Class 33/1 in Fragonset livery also appeared on the layout for the first time, another one of Pete's diverse fleet! His 9F 2-10-0 steam locomotive 92220 'Evening Star' also appeared as well, so it was safe to say we had quite a lot of fun seeing how many new 'guest' locomotives we could get on the layout that day!

Operating the layout from the front is rather interesting and gives a new perspective on things, as well as allowing the operator to interact more with the public at a show. There is a little 'cubbyhole' at the front of the layout between the fiddle yard and scenic board, and being just the right size for a Lenz set 100 handset, it has now found a new use!

On My Mp3:Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend


Tuesday 31st July 2007

Lydd Rail 10th Anniversary Show

It's that time of year again, and Paul Wade's 'Lydd Rail' event took place at his home in Kent, gathering together lots of modellers, layouts and a whole bath-full of beers for everyone to drink!

Arriving on the Friday afternoon to a number of people saying "I recognise that car!" I set about unpacking the layout and setting things up ready for the weekend. Friday evening food was the annual 'Spag Bog' provided by Phil Eames and his helpers, and we were all allocated our beds. Last year I was allocated to the 'White House' outside, but this year was instead nestled amongst some of Paul's models, sleeping at his workbench along with Pete Degnan, Keith Wright and Simon Bendall!

I think I was quite lucky though - out in the 'White House', Mike Cubberley, Dave Tailby, Andy Jupe and Martyn Read were holding their own farting competition, as we all found out when the topic came up at breakfast the next morning - I can only imagine but Mike must have blown the competitors away (literally!).

The six layouts present in the garage included Steve Farmer's Parkhouse, Dave Tailby's Saxlingham, George Ansell's Lydd on Sea, Ernie Puddick's Beeding Sidings, Wells Green TMD, and of course Paul Wade's Tonbridge West Yard. Keith Wright can be seen operating his demonstration track above, he was later given a surprise award for this 'layout' - which is now called Anglia Bridge!

Steve Farmer's micro layout Parkhouse has considerably expanded since last year, and now has its own nameboard!

There were quite a few notable pieces of visiting stock to grace the rails of Wells Green TMD, including Jim Smith-Wright's lovely 87009 City of Birmingham - which is gauged to P4(!)...

...as well as Sean Williams' truly astonishing departmental Class 150 - which is an extremely rebuilt Dapol model, not only featuring a staggering amount of detail but with a top quality paint and weathering finish too!

Mark Waters' 08460 also spent a long time shunting in the yard at Wells Green TMD. Mark's model features some rather impressive DCC lighting and definitely looked at home on the layout! Not shown is the pair of GNER class 43 HST Power Cars that were also running, complete with soundchips fitted!

As a change from the Saturday-afternoon Lydd Games (loco smashing!) instead there was a visit to see Chris Barrow's preserved Class 37, 'Dutch'-liveried 37254 at Sellindge Steam Centre nearby.

With most of the cars blocked in at Paul's house, everyone squeezed into five cars for a convoy to the Steam Centre, myself and Andy Jupe were up front being driven by Barrie Swann, providing a nice opportunity to photograph the accompanying convoy! No prizes for guessing which is Philip Sutton's car hehe!

And here's everybody eagerly abandoning the vehicles ready to dive into the second-hand stall set up by the people at the centre, flogging lots of old railway related books, models, and odd bits of railwayana...

...which of course I couldn't resist! It was one of those impulse purchases which you don't quite think through but you know 'one day that'll come in handy'...sort of!

At just £7 for the pair though I had nothing to complain about, the only problem was I hadn't actually thought about how to transport the things back to Paul's (and back home again) before handing over the cash! Fortunately Barrie Swann kindly agreed to transport the sign back to Paul's and much to my relief the signs also still fitted in the Focus along with Wells Green TMD, phew!

It was rather odd seeing a '37' from ground level - they never seemed quite as imposing when viewed from platform level!

We were all allowed to clamber inside the loco, and I managed to take some rather nice internal photographs of the cooling fan and passageway, although I know there's no way I'll ever need these images for modelling purposes!

Here's Rich Pedder clearly enjoying himself sitting in the driving seat of 37254, whilst below, one can only wonder what Mike Cubberley has done to surprise Sunil Rodger!

The Saturday evening barbeque took place with top chefs Barrie S, Mike C and Philip Sutton burning, sorry, cooking large quantities of varying animals to keep everyone happy, while Keith Wright's-mother's American Lime Pie was served. This is a very rare product specially imported into Kent from East Anglia once a year to satisfy an increasingly rowdy bunch of modellers who go wild at the very mention of the delicacy.

Fortunately, the Police were not needed this time, although there was uproar when it was discovered that Rich Pedder's slice was noticeably larger than the other pieces handed out.

Perhaps Paul Wade might want to consider investing in some proper crowd-control barriers and some form of machinery to ensure the pie slices remain of a consistent size to avoid any problems in the future - even installing double doors in the kitchen and a ramp to make the high-speed rush from driveway to kitchen a bit less hazardous?

Dutch-resident Michel van den Hof actually travelled to the UK specially for Lydd Rail, and kindly brought his model of 40445, in BR Large Logo blue livery - which looks extremely impressive in the colour scheme!

As well as his Class 40, Michel also exported a selection of his home-country's drinks for sampling for those willing to risk it! Rich Pedder, Paul Wade, Pete Degnan and Keith Wright were amongst those brave enough to try Michel's "colour-coded" spirits, and it was suggested that the various liquids would be perhaps more useful for cleaning track, as opposed to drinking!

Richard Dockerill then persuaded Michel to have some English beer, to which Michel exclaimed that it wasn't strong enough - unsurprising when you consider the Dutch "colour-coded" drinks were around 35% proof!

Following the bacon sandwiches on Sunday morning, it felt a good time to restart the Tonbridge West Yard operating session myself, Rich Pedder and Martyn Read had enjoyed the night before - and here we can see a rather sunburnt and hung-over Rich in charge of a postal train on the outer track.

Sunday lunch consisted of Ernie Puddick's "Indian Arsewarmer" curry which was gratefully received by all, although it has been agreed that next year's lunch will have some form of Thai theme!

With the show coming to a close and people starting to leave, Mike Cubberley decided to make a grand exit and took much pride in churning up the gravel driveway in his silver Focus - and here we can see Michel van den Hof attempting to remedy the situation. As Paul (right) is redeveloping the garage area in the coming months, he could even consider installing a tarmac-covered drag strip, and perhaps some 'rumble strips' around the curve into the grass at the back of the driveway!

All in all, a very good weekend, I can't wait to return again next year's event with refurbished facilities!

On My Mp3:MIKA - Love Today



Wednesday 25th July 2007

A good grilling!

The latest work involves fitting those etched grilles onto the roof of 90019 Penny Black, during the on-going detailing and remotoring project. Having only managed to find enough time to do the grilles in the last week, I think that this loco is going to be 'in the works' for some time yet!

On the upside however, another package of brass strip has arrived from Eileen's Emporium (can just be seen in the background), enabling me to continue with the catenary remodelling, so it's not all bad!

Coming up this weekend is the informal 'Lydd Rail' exhibition organised by Paul Wade, and I've been asked to take the layout along with me, so this should be quite interesting seeing others having a good play with Wells Green! Hopefully I will also come back with a 'nice' selection of photos for everyone's enjoyment!!

On My Mp3:Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Get Over You



Tuesday 17th July 2007

More 'diversification'!

Yes, yet another week goes by and up pop some images of an entirely different project to the previous week!

I sometimes do get bored easily, and this model of 90019 Penny Black is slowly taking shape in between time spent working on the beginnings of the new OHLE. The ironic thing is that even if I get the urge to spend all my spare modelling time working on the loco, I won't be able to run it because Wells Green TMD has no overhead wiring! So I better get back to the electrification then..!

This project has actually been rumbling on for a long while now, with 90019 first appearing on the OMWB pages around July 2005! With the RES paint scheme having been in place for over two years, it was time to dig it out of the cupboard and apply some roof detailing. Work included correcting the triangular boxes on the '90' and adding those curvy 'wings' behind the cab roof and replicate some of the seams in the sheet metal roofing while the plasticard was out.

The plastic Hornby grilles in the roof have also been removed ready for their 'barbeque griddle'-style etched replacements!!

On My Mp3:Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Today The Sun's On Us



Monday 9th July 2007

The wiring comes down!

For a long while now the Wells Green OHLE has been overdue a replacement with more finescale materials and a slightly better alignment of gantries to better suit the track layout. Part of the upgrade also includes a new isolating gantry to be added just outside the shed building, with the original three gantries moving further along the layout. Built from etched brass kits, the gantries were constructed in a slight rush before the DEMU Showcase exhibition in June 2005 and have not been touched since!

Therefore quite a bit of work needed to be done to take these gantry kits apart and straighten these out, in addition to refining the registration arm details and creating new, more accurate insulators during the process too. Naturally the most fun part of this project is the demolition stage to clear the current OHLE!

It didn't take long really, with the bolts below the baseboard loosened, one end just lifted out, easy! However the end closest to the camera was rather buried in scenic products and wouldn't budge - hence the gantry gave way at one of the soldered joints!

As everything is being unsoldered anyway it isn't too much of a problem, and actually made the demolition process a bit more exciting!

Here we can still see the old registration arms attached to the sectional Sommerfeldt wires in their original places, but with no gantry to attach to!

On My Mp3:Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch


Thursday 5th July 2007

Finally finished!

The model bus project commissioned by Phil Clarke for the Erith MRC's Warmington has finally reached completion after a long time 'in the works', having been partially repainted and with 'Worthing' advertising transfers, new destination panels, company lettering and the addition of numberplates.

Some slightly cracked glazing was replaced and the model given a final coating of Railmatch matt varnish and now it's all ready to go back on the Warmington layout again!

I promise that's the last of the road vehicles being featured on this site (for now at least!), so back to more rail-related modelling next time, including some lovely Wells Green TMD OHLE demolition pictures coming up in the near future!

On My Mp3:Cascada - Truly, Madly, Deeply


Sunday 1st July 2007

As promised, here's a selection of images from last Friday's trip to Didcot Parkway which, as usual provided a huge range of HSTs, Voyagers and 'Networker' Turbos to see, along with a few surprises too!

Things got off to a good start, upon entering the station and climbing up the steps to Platforms 4/5 I was greeted by this enormous blue beast!

Something also interesting to note on the '60' is a replacement roof panel, just to the left of the EWS sticker - presumably taken from a stored Triple Grey example, with the roof and lighter grey colour on the 'shoulder' standing out somewhat!

Numerous Virgin services thunder past on the Didcot avoiding line, here we can see 221138 Thor Heyerdahl heading in the Oxford direction. The greenery has grown considerably since I last visited the station almost to the extent that it starts to obscure the bogies and underframe of the subject matter in your photographs!

I never thought I'd say it but the former Thames Train's '166's now look rather snazzy decked out in the FGW 'Neon' livery, definitely an improvement over the rebranded TT white 'First Great Western Local' livery mess that was predominant on the fleet when I last ventured up this way.

Freightliner's 66504 made a welcome appearance at the head of a container train, I have a soft spot for the loco as I once owned a Lima model of '504, long since sold though. However, it's always nice to see the real thing for the first time! Something I couldn't help but notice, was the large damages to its bodyside at one end, interesting stuff!

Slightly later on, a number of enthusiasts including myself were busy photographing what appeared to be an ex-works FGW HST set moving slowly down the avoiding line in the London direction. Then all of a sudden another enthusiast shouts out 'thirty three' so we all turned round just in time to snatch some quick photos of 33202 in Fragonset livery, on a swift West-bound light engine movement. So it's not the best photo but I would have missed the '33' otherwise so I am very thankful to the enthusiast whoever you were!!

Although EWS may be sending their '66's abroad and reactivating more class 60s according to the magazines, I was only ever going to see two 'Tug's that day, and the second being 60042 The Hundred of Hoo on an MOD working in the early afternoon. I love taking side-on pictures of nameplates but what made me laugh was the words 'GM FREE' scrawled on in the dirt below the running number!

DRS's 37510 looked extremely smart traversing the Oxford line light engine, it is easy to get lots of modelling ideas when out 'on location' of which nothing ever comes to fruition, but I just love the idea of recreating this machine, what with the Bachmann re-tooled '37' having just been released. Must keep telling myself 'NO'!

I've waited a surprisingly long time to get myself some of my own side on pictures of a UIC II compliant low-emission class 66. In the past I always find the loco in question was stabled in a difficult place to obtain a good enough image of the 'void' where the fuel tank has been shortened compared to that of an old '66', but now I'm happy as I don't have to borrow other people's images! The locomotive is Freightliner's 66594 NYK Spirit of Kyoto.

Now, contrary to what my photographs show, Didcot is not always a total hive of activity, and there are indeed boring times of day when not a lot is happening to say the least, and you find yourself examining the stabled locomotives in close detail! At one point in the afternoon I found myself staring at the bogies on EWS' 66157. I couldn't help but think something looked 'odd' until I noticed that there are different styles of wheel sets used on the bogie on only one end of the loco. As you can see, the right-most wheel appears to be the standard 'flat' faced style, the centre one is rather curvy, and the one on the left almost seems 'angular' compared to the centre one!

Forgive me if this is well known about but I've never spotted this before - the other 66s stabled next to the loco appeared to all have the standard 'flat' faced wheels which makes things more intriguing!

Locomotives came and went throughout the day and the most seen at once were the four '66's shown here. People often complain about the current railway scene being boring, and I can see why - however I happen to like the 'Shed's so everything's good for me!

About a minute after this photo was taken the heavens opened and I then sought shelter under the station roof, despite being quite sun burnt!

On My Mp3:Sophie Ellis-Bextor - I Won't Change You


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