About the blog

My simple philosophy is to be a modeller of railways there needs to be a model railway. It doesn't matter if it is a loft or an Ikea box, there has to be a railway, otherwise we are mere collectors of things in boxes.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Upgraded 40t Ballast Hoppers

 Four of these have lain, unused, for a couple of years in a forgotten box. Now, they have a purpose - to represent a short train of ballast wagons running on the D&E. The green 'tinge' is a reflection from the overhead lighting, in reality, they are black.

They began life as Lima 'Sealions' but received a repaint, new lettering and the correct size RP25 wheels from Modellbahn-Radsatz
The oversized couplings are due for replacement by Kadees.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Sunday morning fun

 My partner of almost fifty years is much better than I in every way, she suggested that removing all the stock and giving the layout a good clean would be beneficial to both the layout and myself. Of course, she was correct.

But where to store all the stock, there isn't much, just six trains comprising 45+ wagons, 12 coaches and six locos. Easy for locos, there is a purpose built Really Useful Box with a foam lining but putting all the stock back in their original boxes - what about the kit built wagons?

Then a light bulb moment - Warley Stock Boxes from Modellers Mecca in Brum - four should be enough. And four duly arrived and they are the business even though a bit baffling but the online instructions are good. One tip, a dozen clothes pegs came in handy for holding the cardboard whilst the PVA sets hard - glue does help.


For 1:76 twenty smaller wagons per layer with five coaches per layer and two layers per box.

With all the extra storage space, I can justify building more wagons.

Cost about £10.50 per box post free.

Brighton's little bruiser

Buying a Bachmann E4 was not so much an issue as choosing a suitable loco for working the goods on Beaminster Road. 

Currently* on Beaminster Road there is a choice of an 700 or an N class, all other locos are nominally passenger types (the Southern tended not to differentiate) but an 0-6-2t would be useful as a banker on the hills. 

E1/R no. 32135 banking a train up the half-mile of 1-in-36 from Exeter St Davids to Exeter Central. Ben Brooksbank

The Southern did rebuild ten elderly surplus exLBSC E1 with a trailing pony truck from the N class for use West of Exeter as the E1/R therefore the use of the exLBSC E4 that was surplus to requirements on the central division was no real surprise.

The E4 class of "radial tanks" were powerful for their size and were stalwarts of local passenger, freight and branch work for more than fifty years. Seventy-five members of the class were built by Brighton Works between December 1897 and September 1903.  

Here is one moving 50+ wagons between Newhaven and Lewes - it is completely flat though... 

E4 32496 at Newhaven Marine 1954

Other classes that were considered include the Urie tanks G16 and H16, Maunsell Z and W but these were busy in the London area during the immediate post-war period. The other Southern class that was in use in the West Country was the M7, these were employed to bank out of Ilfracombe on the North Devon coast, however they were well past their best and anyone who can recall their performance on the Parkstone bank will understand.

*The 0395 is a long way from completion


Thursday, 17 September 2020

What if the Dorchester and Exeter had existed........the locos

The smaller locos

 In order to understand what may have been used on the D&E during its final years in BR ownership, it is worth looking at what locos were allocated to sheds of Dorset and South Devon in the 50s. 

 A trawl of the internet reveals some interesting allocations at Dorset, for example exLBSC E4 32558 Easleigh 71A spent time at Dorchester. It can only be speculated that it was employed on banking duties from Weymouth but it was not the only E4 to find itself allocated west of Eastleigh.

Here is exLBSC E4 32506 employed as the station pilot at Salisbury in the mid 50s.

If, as has been previously ascertained, some 15+ extra locomotives were needed to service the D&E, then some may not have been existing types allocated to either Dorchester or Exmouth Junction due to a lack of suitable motive power.
The hills of West Dorset

The view show a relatively benign topography but the route would have been challenging especially as it traverses the Dorset Downs between Askerswell and Dorchester. Even if it attempted to follow the few valleys, the east-west line would have had to cross a number of obstacles on the route. The use of a banker may have been a preferred solution unfortunately there was a paucity of suitable locos but the central division did have a surplus of suitable locos - the exLBSC E4. Possibly speculate that a trio of E4s were shared by Exmouth Junction and Dorchester for the task of pushing the heavier trains over the D&E.

Bachmann's E4 34-079

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Long lost locos - 3

Some progress,

A few more bits have arrived; the tender from the OOworks K10 together with myriad small items to improve the appearance of the D15 however other key items are still awaited from suppliers.

A new RoadRunnerCompact from High Level with large coreless motor was recommended on RMweb and an example has arrived.

No further progress will be made until the remaining items have arrived, it is frustrating but no point in rushing.
On order:-
Backhead and smokebox door
Etched smokebox number
Mainframes and coupling rods
To be ordered when a reliable supplier is found:-
 Decals for loco number

Thursday, 10 September 2020

A van for Beaminster Road

The LMS 12 Ton ventilated goods van, Diagram No. D1828/D1829 were built between 1929 and 1930 by a number of different builders and manufactures for use by the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company.

 This example is a Cambrian model

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Bournemouth Belle painting

I have no idea of the true origin of this image, it was found whilst clearing the 20+ year accumulation of junk but it is is in good condition.

It is the Bournemouth Belle hauled by 35013 Blue Funnel Line, painted by Cuthbert (Chip) Hamilton Ellis 1909-1987. The location is unknown but the presence of third rail suggests east of Pirbright Junction. 

Monday, 31 August 2020

What if the Dorchester and Exeter had existed........

 Further extrapolation of the D&E scenario, having established that it may have required about 15 locos to work the line plus others passing through, which classes would have been used?  The timeframe predates its decline and closure by BR(W) in the early 60s therefore any locos would have been of Southern origin.

Which would have found employment on the line, perhaps treat the locos as local traffic and through traffic.

Local traffic
In the early 50s, Dorchester had 02s, a few 4-4-0s and 0-6-0s notably Bulleids Q1s amongst them whilst Exmouth Junction had short framed M7s 0415s, 02s, E1Rs, Ns, a few 4-4-0s, Urie 4-6-0s and BLPs.

At both sheds the locos were fully employed on their existing duties but the Southern would have stretched their resources as much as possible. Therefore the fifteen needed for the D&E may have simply been drawn from existing stock but the sheds may have hung on to locos longer rather than send them for scrap. The  ideal all-purpose locos for local services between Exeter and Bournemouth would have been their resident 4-4-0s plus a couple of 0-6-0s for pickup goods.

The two sheds had a few 4-4-0s, notably K10s, S11s, T9s and a L12 plus 700s, presumably some of these may have lasted that much longer with 30119 (see below) amongst them. I doubt if any of the central division exLSWR would have headed out west to cover the shortfall, it is more likely that whatever was already allocated just lasted that bit longer.

The pride of Dorchester 30119 - the SR Royal locomotive

BUT, there is always an exception. One odd factoid found in Bradley, Swift and Wiki was  the D15 was employed on the Plymouth-Brighton turn, quite an achievement for a 4-4-0. They were finally usurped by the arrival of BLPs* in the late 40s. If, the D&E retained its diversionary status for both goods and limited stop passenger services, Plymouth-Brighton could well have been routed through Bournemouth, moreover a D15 could have been retained for this train. This may have resulted in a brace of D15 allocated to EJ or more likely Dorchester.

OOworks D15

The D15 was not short of steam, economical on fuel and water and good route availability, perhaps if routed via the D&E, it would have handed the train over to a Brighton H2 at Bournemouth?

Through traffic
Generally anything that travelled down to Exeter could appear on the D&E as it had been upgraded in the 30s in preparation for wartime traffic.

*Not N15s which could not traverse Meldon Viaduct.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Long lost locos -2

A day soaking in Dettol has removed almost every trace of paint, the stubborn bits will need something more drastic followed by a good srub with a mild household abrasive/detergent mix and a soak in warm water.

Very few bits fell off in the process and they were all saved for the rebuild. 

Some nice brass clack valves are on order from Markits.
 The next candidates for soak and scrub are the chassis and bogie.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Long lost locos -1

This Bec D15 arrived in the post, not the worst example that I have encountered but a rebuild is required.

The list of problems needs to be created but it looks OK, thankfully the six-wheel tender from the OOworks K10 is spare.

Stripping down reveals the motordrive - 5-pole X04 type

A reasonable loco, maybe just strip the paint with Dettol, complete the details and repaint?

Strangely satisfying - with overtones of George Joseph Smith

At least it will smell clean.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Mixed Traffic Small Hopper, T14 and T9

Rather nice images of passenger locos on mixed traffic workings. The first is K10 389 on the cusp of BR(S) in 1948 on a breakdown or enginnering train. 

 Not a very good image but it does explain the way that the Southern regarded the actual use of its motive power.
T14 443, near Vauxhall on a train of empties bound for the West Country withdrawn 1949 The chimney is the Doulton pottery works demolished in 1950 - Ben Brooksbank

 Finally, a short van train hauled by T9 30285 narrow cab with watercart as it ascends Branksome bank - Ben Brooksbank

Plumbing nightmare

Help needed, if I am to suceed as a steely eyed bodger, some difficult jobs need to be addressed - how to create 90degree unions in external boiler pipework like this nightmare:- 

Soon, maybe, an 0395 will need some rather delicate plumbing and I haven't a clue except I do know that butt joints, even in copper wire, are not sensible.
Any ideas?
Stay Safe

Friday, 7 August 2020

Bristol back home

At last, the Bristol is back.

Fox Decals with correct route blinds for Beaminster, just needs mirrors to complete, pleased as punch.

Herring and Dogfish

The Rumney Models Herring is finally complete and what a palaver. No room for any choice of coupling other than scale, the wheel clearances are critical and it needs weight.

Shown with the Heljan Dogfish as a size comparison because it is wee.

However it is a delight to look at although why it is on Beaminster Road is a mystery better suited to the SDJR.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

I am not a serial collector

A confession, I am not a serial collector, my loco cupboard contains just enough to run Beaminster Road and ‘MicroPlank’  which is less than double figures. 

Definitely not for sale
Moreover, I have a hankering for small prototypes with tall chimneys, big domes and not much else hence Beaminster Road has a preponderance of Adams and Drummond locos with two notable exceptions, a poorly N 31860 and a wondrous N15 Sir Meliagrance. I am unapologetic about the presence of the N15, they were used and shedded at Dorchester and Exmouth Junction during the 40s and 50s.
All the passenger stock is pre-BR, my thanks to Hornby for their far-sighted approach but I remain loyal to the Bachmann blood and custard Bulleids that are contemporaries of the limping N.

The same sentiments apply to the goods stock, all short and mostly vans except the contentious Lima 40t ballast hoppers that are the sole task of the N.

Why all this nostalgia? Well, it is a simple philosophy, that may or not be correct, which suggests that despite the fixation of modellers with ‘bigguns’  they didn’t tend to end up on branchlines, instead after being displaced by modern locos, they tended to remain on the mainlines and be used on secondary services before withdrawl as their weight prevented their use on secondary lines. These lines, such as the D&E, tended to be worked by lighter, smaller types until they too were replaced by more of the same or the line was simply closed by BR(W)  The locos on the D&E were chosen from actual allocation of appropriate types to Exmouth Junction or Dorchester.

Cheers and Stay Safe

Sunday, 19 July 2020

K10 class on a goods

83 years ago to the day, Hugh Casserly captured SR 382 K10 class on a goods pickup at Verwood on the SDJR on 19th July 1937. It shows the versatility of the small hoppers, not as well known as Drummond's T9s but useful work horses that managed (just) to be renumbered by BR(S)

This image highlights an issue, my K10 30382 has a six wheel tender, moreover the above is the only image of 382 that I can find.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Ryall Military Railway - a short history

Ryall Military Railway

The hamlet of Ryall is situated roughly 1km to the south of what was Beaminster Road station on the Dorchester & Exeter Railway. It was here that a small military training camp was established in 1914 for local regiments. 

King George the Fifth on a visit to Ryall Camp to inspect the Royal Loamshire Regiment

Initially there was no connecting railway involved in the construction of the accomodation huts at Ryall, the civil engineering company of Stuart & Co. were specialists in the building military camps. Due to the extreme rural nature of the lanes, construction of a light railway from Beaminster Road station was deemed essential and approved by A.W. Szlumper, the LSWR chief engineer at Waterloo in early 1915, the railway was soon finished and opened for inspection on 15th October 1915 after Lt.Col. Drewitt had approved it on behalf of the War Department. 

Due to the topography, the line was not easily worked and required the services of an Adams 0415, hired from the LSWR and a Peckett B2 'Westminster'.

424 in 1915 

Peckett Westmister
Post-1918, the line survived to serve the strategic store established on the site but the line was placed on 'care and maintenance' with but one locomotive - Westminster. In early '39 the onset of hostilities brought new life to the line with the addition of a Fowler 0-4-0DM until it was transferred to West Moors Defence Fuels. 

After nationalisation of the railways, the remaining the Peckett was sold into industrial use and all traffic to the line was by BR locos, normally one of Dorchester's 700 or 0395 on light goods.

Friday, 3 July 2020

The Sunday Engineering train - 2

After almost a year some progress, the Herring is complete and lettered, the Dogfish has been re-lettered whilst both will be weathered.

The etched Herring was a challenging build, only finescale wheels will fit, no allowance for autocouplings and no space for hidden ballast. Neither was it a particularly free runner however tweaking solved the problems. My thanks to Mike and Neil.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Small Hopper - 1

The forty strong class exLSWR K10 were known as ‘small hoppers’ due to their inability to maintain team pressure on long journeys (only suitable for short hops), they were built, initially for mainline use but soon downgraded to secondary services and mixed traffic workings.

They lasted until the early 50s, only 30382 received its BR number but with Southern on the tender, their final livery was plain black with Bulleid sunshine lettering. The last loco withdrawn was 30389 in July 1951 from Yeovil Town shed.

In 2019. OO works offered examples including a bogus BR livery.

Prototype images Wikipedia and Mike Morant

 380 Eastleigh awaiting the torch

 139 at Feltham 1947
 The OO Works model is good but needs upgrading in terms of detail, this will be featured in later posts.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Adams 0395 in 4mm - 2

At the start of the month I started thinking about a final loco for Beaminster Road - an exLSWR Adams 0395 seemed to be a perfect choice as Chris at Golden Arrow Productions offered a kit. The problem has been accumulating the bits.

This is the parts list:-

Loco and Tender Body kit - Golden Arrow Productions
Loco chassis exLMS 4F LCP6  - Comet
Wheels - 5ft 0in 16 spoke WH205 exLMS 4F   - Markit
Axles -  MRAX/OO - Markit
Crankpins - RM2 - Markit
Tender wheels - 4ft 0in MRJ16S - Markit
Tender 2mm i/d tophat bearings - Alan Gibson
Handrail knobs - Alan Gibson

Coreless motor and Gearbox - Road Runner Plus 60:1 - High Level

Various Adams boiler fittings and other details - hopefully from Brassmasters.

Adams injectors and lamp irons from Brassmasters

Finally, a huge thank you to Alan Hartshorne at Wizard Models for supplying most of the stuff.