Saturday, 29 October 2011

Weathering Private Owner Mineral Wagons 1

The weathering for these wagons is inspired by Martyn Welch's techniques in The Art of Weathering by Wild Swan, but I take away things that don't work so well in 4mm, and add others that I think work better.

Basically these four wagons are Bachmann PO mineral wagons, which I have just re-wheeled and weathered to taste and adding a real coal load To finish them off in the interim.

Top plank weathered to make it look like it was replaced, painted, but no work done on the lettering. I probably should add a post war patch to the bottom left corner of the body, as all the PO mineral wagons were taken under the care of the Government.

Two versions of the same model here. The one above having coke rails, and the one below does not.

The wagon above is a blag, as all I've done is remove one numeral from the number to renumber it, which given I did absolutely no research on this makes this a fictitious wagon livery. Last, but not least, another coke wagon.

As you can all see I've not replaced the tension lock couplings on any of these yet. This will happen in due course i.e: as and when I can be bothered, or am bothered by them,. However, given that they spent the last three years on my shelf I think this shows how little effort I have put into I prioritising this goal. However, my plan is to replace all the tension locks with Sprat & Winkle couplings in due course.



The genesis of this blog lays in the past when I was posting to the old RMweb forum. However, the old version of RMweb had to be archived and all my threads became locked as a result. To me this seemed like a lot of hard work ended up becoming inaccessible to general readers of the forum.

This event, and my health issues that sprang up at around the same time, meant that I rather fell off the end of the internet-model railway/railroad-world.

So my plan is to reinstate all the stuff I wrote for RMweb as post on my blog here. However, I will also be taking the opportunity to add and revise the various projects as I do so, because even though my modelling has been much reduced over the last three years, I find that I have made stuff that has advanced things along.

I will hopefully be adding new and better pictures where I can, and also doing a step-by-step account of various projects as it takes my fancy. I'm also planning on revisiting the Southern 25t Pillbox brake van project that is up on the CLAG website with a comparison between my original Cambrian kit rebuild, the new Cambrian kit and of course the up and coming Bachmann model due real soon now. Perhaps around Xmas if we are lucky.

And as you can see no two blog entries alike so far...

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The West London Joint Railway

Teasing Torments  

My first introduction to this line came from reading the section on the West London Railway in the book “London's Disused Stations Volume 5: The London & South Western Railway” by J. E. Connor, published by Connor & Butler Ltd.

Here I discovered that the West London Extension Line was built with L&NWR buildings, GWR track and signaling, but that for some odd reason or another the Chelsea & Fulham station had a GWR signal box. The West London Extension Railway was formed to take the West London Railway across the Thames. It was financed by both the London & North Western, and the Great Western Railways, who had a one third share each, while the London & South Western and the London, Brighton & South Coast Railways each took a sixth of share each interest in the venture. After the Grouping in 1923, the Southern Railway inherited a one third share from its two precursors. After reading this I thought to myself that this would make an ideal line to model as it would have all the advantages of having three of the four Group railways running trains over any layout one built.

At this time I imagined it would be a little bit like the Holborn Viaduct branch. How wrong I was.

Further reading came from the reference in the first book I read to H. V. Borley & R. W. Kidner’s book, “The West London Railway and the WLER” published by The Oakwood Press. This book gives a brief overview of the history of the line and really left me wanting to know more after tantalizing me with little snippets like; the line was six miles long with 11 junctions.

I then bought a second hand copy of “The West London Joint Railways” by J. B. Atkinson, by Ian Allen Ltd., which was published in 1984. This book is the most substantial work about the West London Line, but it focuses pretty much on Addison Rd., and the services to Kensington Olympia. This means that there is little description of any of the other stations and their operational details. However, the WLJR had up to 184 train movements every day, with lots of transfer freights across the river, with through passenger trains and local traffic too.

It was at this point that I found a map of Chelsea Basin circa 1916 with six tracks in the book“West London Line: Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction” by V. Mitchell & K. Smith, published by the Middleton Press. The Mitchell & Smith book is a collection of captioned snapshots with some maps. The map of Chelsea Basin showed a reasonable size yard with two triple track sidings, which split to go either side of the canal basin. It even had some of those turntable things for wagons. Inspiration indeed.

However, being a Southern Railway and fan of all things Bulleid, I want to run my models of West Country, Battle of Britain and Merchant Navy class Pacific’s, which means I'm going to be modelling  the 1945/47 period (later revised to 1947/49 as this was a transitional period for liveries that would allow for the greatest number of choices for paint scheme variations). Unfortunately, I then found out that Chelsea Basin had by this time become a 23 track yard, which made it a rather impractical proposition to model.

Finally I found some really good photographs of trains on, or leaving the WLJR in “Southern Railway Reflections. The London Area’, by T. Gough published by Silver Link Publishing Ltd. This was useful for me as it gave me a very good idea of what the train consists looked like, and the typical locomotives that could be seen on the line.

It appeared that the LMS used a nice selection of 4Fs, Super Ds, Fowler 7Fs etc. Whereas the Southern, while Terrier tank locomotives were thin on the ground (I have a model of one I would like to run),  appears to have routinely run Bulleid Pacific’s along the line, along with Q1s, and class W 2-6-4Ts etc. However, it really amused me to find that the GWR was limited to running all its freight trains with Pannier tanks.

So, I was sold on the line as the basis for a layout I could build, even if my initial expectations of what this line was like turned out to be wrong and that in fact it really was a mainline route around the outskirts of London for all North to South traffic. One other very nice thing though is that I live close to the line and actually travel along it when I go and see friends in South London, and it is fascinating to see how the line has changed from the time of steam to the modern electric services that run today.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad

Illustration from Street Railway Journal showing a map of the P&SR route.

Some Prototype Background

The Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railway began life in 1903, as a small electric interurban line connecting its namesake towns via Sebastopol, in Sonoma County California. The P&SR was approximately 31 miles long and it served the farms and local industries, of what was at the time, a rural area.

The P&SR had an interesting corporate history, being renamed the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad in 1918, because it was unable to honour its financial commitments. After a prolonged period of ICC investigations instituted by the Western Pacific, and control over the P&SR was gained by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1932. The new management promptly abandoned passenger service and concentrated on the electric powered freight. After World War 2 the overhead plant was considered so worn out that it needed replacement and the P&SR was dieselized in 1947. This was done using a pair of GE 44 tonners. Service declined during the late fifties and the remnants of the P&SR were finally abandoned in 1984.

The three main towns that the P&SR served were Petaluma, Sebastopol and Santa Rosa. Petaluma was the home of the system and it has some very modelgenic wharfside trackage, a steamboat connection and some major industries. Sebastopol was in the middle and this was where the mainline and branchline split. The former going North to Forestville, while the latter went East to Santa Rosa.

Connecting Railroads

Prior to the consolidation of the steam railroads the P&SR planned to play off its competitors, one against the other. However, due to the "Great Earthquake" of 1906 and the subsequent amalgamation of these steam powered competitors this didn't work out. For approximately the first 25 years there were only two connecting and competing steam railroads, which were:

Northwestern Pacific

Formed 1907 by SP & ATSF, it became a wholly owned SP subsidiary from 1929. Went through Santa Rosa via Petaluma from the South and Fulton from the North. A branchline also went to Sebastopol, which means that the NWP had three interchanges with the P&SR.

Southern Pacific

Ran into Santa Rosa from Sonoma on the "Valley of the Moon" branch from 1888 to 1934. After the SP depot was burnt down the interchange to the NWP was moved to Schellville. While the P&SR tracks crossed in Santa Rosa there was no direct interchange between the two lines.

After the depot burnt down and the SP abandoned the line, traders could used the NWP or P&SR to ship there merchandise. By this time though both were owned by the SP, so it was a bit of a "Hobson's" choice really.


The P&SR had several nicknames, ranging from the "juice line", "juicer" to the "poor & stingy". This should give you some idea of the change of attitude towards the company and the level of investment in the railroad's infrastructure. I became interested in this quirky little line through family connections to the area. Remember though, traction is juicy! Finally, there was incident that made P&SR and Santa Rosa famous, the "Battle of Sebastopol Avenue" in 1904. 


Borden, S. T., 1960. Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad. San Mateo, CA. The Western Railroader.
Demoro, H. W., 1986. California's Electric Railways. Glendale, CA. Interurban Press Special 100.
Demoro, H. W., Sappers, V. J., 1992. Rails to San Francisco Bay. New York. Quadrant Press.
Dickinson, A. Bray. , et al 1967. Narrow Gauge to the Redwoods. Corona del Mar. Trans-Anglo Books.
Duke, D., 2000. Electric Railways Around San Fransisco Bay. San Marino. Golden West Books
Gross, J., 1987. The Trolley and Interurban Directory. New York. Gross Publications.
Fickworth, A. A., 1992. California Railroads. San Marino. Golden West Books.
Heig, A., 1987. History of Petaluma - A California River Town. Scottwall Associates.
Hilton & Due's, 1960. The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford University Press.
Kneiss, G. H., 1956. Redwood Railways. Berkeley, CA. Howell-North.
LeBaron, G., Mitchell, J., 1993. Santa Rosa: a 20th Century town. Santa Rosa, CA. Historia, Ltd.
Stindt, F. A. , Dunscomb, G. L., 1964. NWP Railroad, Vol. 1. Kelseyville, CA. Fred A. Stindt.
Stindt, F. A., 1985. NWP Railroad, Vol. 2: 1964 to 1984. Kelseyville, CA. Fred A. Stindt.
Trimble, P. C., 1977. Interurban Railways of the Bay Area. Fresno, CA. Valley Publishers.
Wilson, S. Sonoma County. The River of Time. Sun Valley CA. American Historical Press.

Welcome Manifesto

Welcome to my first post of my blog about my interest British railway and American railroad model making. The title comes from Dr. Robert Churchward the author of Those Beautiful Daylight 4-8-4's. In it he mentions that Lima Locomotive works described building railroad locomotives as "no two alike", which I thought was apt for a model maker as I know that I strive to make variants of the same piece of equipment, all be it a freight car/wagon, locomotive, railway carriage/passenger car.

See what I did there. Yep, I'm bi-lingual, and will no doubt freely mix my terminology depending on whether I'm writing about North American railroads, or British railways.  However, I reserve the right to make mistakes and live with them.

So this blog will have posts about the models I've made in the past, drawn from my old RMWeb forum posts and new stuff about what I'm doing now. I've not been that active for the last couple of years due to health problems, but things have settled down and my passion for the hobby has been renewed now that I don't feel as ill as I have all the time. So what to expect?

I have eclectic interests and tastes.

American railroad wise and I will be posting stuff about the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railway/Railroad that use to run in Northern California. I also have a passion for West Coast Southern Pacific Daylight locomotives, and I love the East Coast New York Central System Hudson, Mohawk and Niagara locomotives too. However, my current North America interest is centered around electric traction lines of the Chicago area. In particular the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee, the Chicago South Shore & South Bend and the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroads, which were all electric lines that were built up under the auspices of Samuel Insull.

British railways are dominated by my love for all thing Bulleid and his work on the Southern Railway especially his Pacific locomotives. However, saying that, I have found myself modelling a joint line that was owned by the London Midland & Scottish, Great Western and Southern Railways; the West London Line which was in two parts, the original West London Railway and then extended later with the building of the West London Extension Line. So I have had to bite the bullet and learn all about Great Western track for this project, which is on par with me as a New York Central fan having to run my locomotives over Pennsylvania Railroad track.

Anyway, enough of the manifesto, more modelling stuff to come.