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James Makin
Wells Green TMD

On My Workbench Archive, May - June 2006


Wednesday 28th June 2006

66010 displays its red tail lights while shunting CDAs on Goonhilly Parkway.

Just a quick picture of my old layout Goonhilly Parkway. Roughly based on both Lostwithiel and St Blazey, Cornwall it features a two platform through station, with a bay platform added for operational variety as well as a part finished model of china clay dries and associated buildings. Built over six years ago, the layout occupied much of my time prior to Wells Green TMD's construction beginning in August 2002.

With much progress on Wells Green, interest waned somewhat until the Lenz set 100 was fitted to the old layout to test out what it can do. The purchase of a South West Digital sound decoder for 66010 (above) led to a renewed interest in the layout, meaning I could finally recreate a scene viewed from a holiday in 2002, of 66010 shunting and then powering away from Lostwithiel on a long rake of CDA's!


Tuesday 27th June 2006

Night Photography

I've finally got round to putting some pictures on here showing the depot at night, using some of my favourite images. Some of the results are quite surprising, a few pictures seem to have a certain atmosphere about them, so I've showcased several on a new page - imaginatively named Night Shots!


Sunday 25th June 2006

A quick photo above showing the newly-remotored 90027 Allerton T&RS Depot Quality Approved back in service on Wells Green TMD. It has been suggested in Rail Magazine that the aforementioned 90027 will become one of the First Scotrail liveried '90's - meaning it will unfortunately lose its attractive Trainload Distribution livery.

90027 is just one of a small handful of 90s still carrying the livery, so this was very sad news.

Currently on the workbench is the Virgin liveried 86231 Starlight Express, re-entering the works for a Heljan class 33 mechanism to be fitted. I've managed to fill the chassis with Liquid Lead and capped it with plasticard, ready for the can motor to be mounted on top. Meanwhile the bogie towers are now undergoing work to transplant them into the Hornby '86' sideframes.

This re-motoring lark is becoming quite addictive - the more locomotives I convert, the more I'm reminded how bad the rest of the Hornby fleet is!


Tuesday 20th June 2006

DEMU SCAG Out and About

Yesterday was the planned 'meet' of the DEMU Solent and Coastway Area Group, the plan being to meet up in the evening at 'The Victory' pub, Southampton.

Andy Jupe ('Ginge') suggested that, to get more value from my rail fare, we should meet up earlier and travel to nearby Eastleigh for an afternoon's photography at the station. A very good time was had, the most trouble being our equipment itself!

Despite the 131 tonne black-and-orange thing in front of him, Ginge (above) is actually photographing a rake of YEA and JZA rail relaying wagons in the train behind!

Both Ginge's laptop and camera was running low on batteries, making it difficult to free up space on his memory cards to take more photos (of 'Sea Urchins'!), whilst I was fighting the familiar long-running battle with the camera of "shall I use my last photos on this unit or wait until something else comes along".

Above: This was an interesting addition to Eastleigh yard pilot 09024!

Meanwhile below, one can clearly see the mark on the bodyside above the nameplate (velcro for the curtain?), presumably left by 66540's relatively recent naming ceremony.

Having recorded as much of the afternoon's trains as was physically possible, Ginge and I returned to Southampton to meet up with fellow SCAG members Kevin Prince and John Dedman at the Victory pub. However, to our complete surprise it was found the Victory was no more - now being redeveloped into flats, I believe.

Following this shock, we then headed off to Southampton Maritime depot to view a small selection of the Freightliner locomotive fleet at rest, while photographing essential container terminal details - should we ever have the inclination to model one!


Thursday 15th June 2006

Latest on the workbench is a recreation of the Virgin Cross Country 47807 The Lion of Vienna, using the Heljan model as a basis. Quite a straightforward project, just adding Shawplan etched roof grilles bufferbeam and cab detailing, as well as repainting the roof for a more 'weathered' look.

It's always been my plan to model many more of the ILRA-pooled VXC class 47s, so far having managed 47810 Porterbrook, 47829 and 47831 Bolton Wanderer. Five years ago I repainted a Lima '47' as 47817 The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, but because of the poor running qualities of the model, there are plans to replace this loco with a Heljan base model in the near future.


Tuesday 13th June 2006

A busy day at Wells Green TMD

I've recently finished another Heljan 'Hymek' motor conversion on my Hornby class 90s - this time Railfreight Triple Grey liveried 90027 Allerton T&RS Depot Quality Approved.

Having never properly explained how I carried out the first conversion on 90022 Freightconnection either, it appeared now would be a good time to do so. However, I felt it was more appropriate to explain using annotated photographs - rather than just writing a mini-essay on the subject which could be tricky to follow.

There are other ways of doing a similar conversion to a '90' - others have successfully used Bachmann 'Warships' to good effect, perhaps producing a more sturdy model than this method, as the original metal chassis is chopped up and retained. The bogies then screw into this, as they would have done before but with cosmetic sideframes instead.

This method however, uses the entire original class 90 bogie mouldings as integral parts of the new loco, with the Heljan 'Hymek' bogie towers transplanted into it. To begin with, you need to strip the Ringfield motor and dummy bogie from the model, and cut away the plastic cross-brace over the dummy bogie.

After this, measure the bottom of the Heljan bogie towers and cut out the appropriate size of plastic from the Hornby bogie mouldings, allowing a nice fit with the Heljan towers. The Hornby metal weight was removed to be replaced with liquid lead, leaving plenty of space to fit the motor.

Finally, everything was wired together and it should work (in theory!). You may need to experiment with the length of the cam shafts - for me I've found that 26mm of the brass tubing is good, with the Heljan plastic shafts protruding 3-4mm out either side of this. Otherwise you may find the wide tubing gets caught in certain moving parts, but this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Why use not just use 1.5mm brass tubing instead of 2.5mm and 1mm inside that? Well I did try - but because of the thickness of the brass, it proved difficult to source tubing to the correct diameter from modelmakers' tool shops. No doubt there are more specialist suppliers out there, but at the time I did not have the patience! Plus I already had large quantities of the required sizes so that was the extra incentive!

It may seem unnecessary to be fiddling about with the parts of locos nobody even sees, but in the long run it is worth the time and cost, you get an enormous improvement in running qualities over the old Ringfield motors, making the locos a pleasure to drive!


Tuesday 6th June 2006

This website has now been running for a year, I'd just like to say a big 'thank you' to everyone who has ever taken the time to look through the pages and anyone who emailed the nice comments too! The site has been host to over 23,000 visitors since it was set up last June and I've been amazed at some of the feedback I've received when attending exhibitions as well.

Last weekend was the 2006 DEMU Showcase at Burton on Trent, heralding the annual pilgrimage to the town to check out the latest high quality layouts appearing at the UK's premier exhibition for D&E modellers.

Naturally, such a trip presents a fantastic opportunity for those to take pictures of the trains that people who live in the Midlands find boring. Ever wondered why when you're browsing Fotopic sites and nearly all the pics of Central Trains class 158s and 170s have June dates on them? That's because of DEMU Showcase!

Being no different, here is my small selection to add to the pot.

I was particularly looking forward to Showcase this year as I'd been booked to do a weathering demonstration, so had to lug all my modelling kit, models and clothing up from Worthing to Burton, travelling on six different trains and still allowing time for photography too!

Things started very well indeed - on the Friday lunchtime I managed to photograph the VSOE at Hove, Sussex with 67003 on the front, before continuing on my journey.

Having changed trains at Kings Cross Thameslink onwards to London St Pancras presented another good opportunity to sample more Midland Mainline 'Meridian' haulage - with 222002 performing the duty on the 15.55 service to Nottingham, changing at Leicester. On arrival, I was greeted by the fantastic sight of 47145 Myrddin Emrys and 47355 Avocet passing with a Network Rail test train, unfortunately the camera was still packed in my bag at the time though!

At Derby things started to hot up, it was obvious the Blue Pullman had earlier rolled into town, with 31602 coupled up to the stock, whilst 47709 and 47712 was stabled in the yard just outside the station. Tatty 170106 was then boarded for the final trip to Burton.

On arrival at the town hall, Burton on Trent, it was nice to meet up with everyone, particularly the Hanging Hill crew, who were conveniently staying at the same Holiday Inn as myself - meaning I could easily 'blag' a lift!

Friday evening brought a fantastic opportunity to go for a curry with twelve other DEMU members, including Clive "curry and chips" Mortimore from Essex, Andi Dell and Sheena Bucknall, Rich Pedder, Sunil Rodger, Jon Hall, Alan Monk, Paul Wilkinson, Simon Harding and many others. Thanks for making me feel so welcome!

On Saturday, I was able to do a little bit of modelling, and a lot of chatting! It was nice to have so much interest in how I weather my rolling stock, and hopefully I've managed to encourage others to follow the straight forward steps to making RTR stock a little bit dirtier and more realistic.

Saturday night was another curry evening, this time with 30 other DEMU members. Almost the entire first floor of Balti Tower, Burton was filled with train folk - I wonder what the locals must think!

This year DEMU Showcase was staged for two days, and it was nice to have longer to look at all the superb quality layouts on display, such as Wibdenshaw, for example. With Jim Smith Wright's Almwch and Clive's Hanging Hill next to each other, on the Sunday you could hear the DCC sound decoders even before you entered the room to see the layouts such was the quantity of chipped locos!

Also extremely impressive was the array of 7mm scale diesels, not only fitted with sound decoders but smoke units, clagging away over the weekend. A certain Rfd liveried '47' has almost tempted me to go 'O' Gauge!

Andy Jupe "Ginge" operates my 66951 on Hanging Hill in DCC mode, on the Sunday at Showcase.


Monday 22nd May 2006

Bashing more POAs...

It's been a while since I last got round to ruining some perfectly decent Bachmann wagons, so I thought I'd have a go at recreating MKA 'Limpet' 390270, which is in original ARC livery with a faded yellow stripe on top.

Work so far undertaken includes moving some of the reinforcing beams to a different position - 390270 has an even rib arrangement, with complicated ends, whereas my only Bachmann wagon in the ARC livery happened to be the earlier uneven rib design.
For some reason, just buying and repainting a Bachy POA with the correct rib spacing seemed too easy - my brain seems to ensure that all my modelling projects are always unnecessarily long and drawn out!

The next things to do will be cutting out the two panels in the body, and adding the reinforcing bars below. I guess the main work will actually be the underframe - which will feature miles and miles of bent wire etc added, before being weathered.

Hopefully this is of some interest to someone - I know it sounds very simple, but I'm frequently asked how I model some of my wagons, so rather than just showing pictures of the finished result, over the next few weeks or so I hope to show 390270 progressing.


Saturday 20th May 2006

I've just got back from a thoroughly enjoyable day at the Roding Valley MRG's exhibition in Leytonstone, which was a brilliant opportunity to play trains, meet others and take some nice pictures as well!

Regular viewers of either the layout or the website will notice the new electrification flashes on the side of the curtain warning; 'Danger of Death, do not touch the layout'!

Lenz set 100 DCC equipment is now being installed - finally, after much waiting, Wells Green TMD has gone DCC!

As the saying goes "a picture is worth a thousand words", I'll shut up now and instead leave you to look at some of the images I managed to capture earlier today.

60029 Clitheroe Castle made its exhibition debut at the Leytonstone show.

60029 Clitheroe Castle and 66042 Lafarge Buddon Wood.

Sunday 14th May 2006

92029 Dante and 92026 Britten stabled outside the depot.

The results of a late evening 'photoshoot' yesterday are shown here, the subjects being the two recently completed class 92s, with an unexpectedly pleasing 'yellowy' effect to the images, caused by only using artificial light!

Below, 92029 Dante awaits its next turn of duty.

Cheshire Police are busy investigating the dumped body and have yet to notice the children trespassing on the railway behind them!

Wells Green TMD will be at the Roding Valley Model Railway Group's annual exhibition next week, Saturday 20th May at Leytonstone Methodist Church, London, please pop by and say 'hello' if you are planning to come along.

More details about the show can be found on the Roding Valley MRG website including a list of the 17 layouts attending. DEMU will also have a stand at the event, so the exhibition promises to be an enjoyable day out for the D&E modeller.

Incidentally, this will be the last exhibition that the layout is attending using traditional DC power, with DCC being installed straight afterwards. Together with the use of sound-chipped locomotives will mean at future exhibitions you'll hear Wells Green TMD before you get to see it!

So even more reason to come along next Saturday - your last opportunity to hear those section switches clicking!

Sunday 7th May 2006


Work on the two class 92s (92026/029) has progressed substantially since the last website update, and are now ready for final weathering to be carried out, so they debut at the Leytonstone exhibition on May 20th. Meanwhile, I decided to renumber another one of my Hornby '60's - this time as 60029 Clitheroe Castle/Castle Cement, a loco which I had been planning to model for a number of years now.

Originally, it was planned to use an old Lima model as the basis, but time has overtaken me and now the Hornby model is available, it is astonishing to think that what would once have been a major super-detailing, re-motoring, lighting, repainting and weathering job is now just a simple renumbering process. Thank you Hornby!

Not a lot of people seem to be out taking photos of the 'Electrostar' fleet at the moment - perhaps as now the 'Slammer's are gone - there is nothing 'worthy' left to photograph? Considering that Electrostars and Desiros will be the main unit designs in the South East for the next 30 years or so, it seems important to me that we should enjoy what we've got and go out & take lots of photos!

Determined to be different, last Thursday I set out on another trip to capture more of the units on their mundane work, this time going to Hove. Despite getting sunburnt and lots of strange looks from passengers, I had a very fun morning photographing dozens and dozens of class 377s and the odd '450'.

Has someone fed any birds with laxative to produce such a mess?

377422's driver has actually just washed the windscreen, leaving streaks of wiper fluid running all the way down the front fairing, which would make an unusual model!

The guard looking out the window was presumably thinking "What's that idiot doing photographing a 170!"

One of the SWT 450s rolls into Hove station with a Basingstoke - Brighton service. These are lovely trains, although the nice ambience is spoilt by the ear-piercing door opening alarm.


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