All posts by tony

Early 2017 News

Looking at my posts I have written nothing since May last year, That seems unbeleivable but then I have had no new trains since then. The slogan for this site used to be “more track, more trains” but I have run out of track so there have been no more trains. On my layout all engines and rolling stock has to be on the rails and ready to run at any time, nothing in boxes or under the counter, so when you run out of rails you are stymied unless you have a breakdown.

In the meantime I have serviced and repaired a couple of 2-6-4T’s to keep them running OK and I also bought another 0-6-0T to be 3 railed and put under another body but this is still in the “to do” box.

However my Hornby Black 5 3 rail conversion has once again succumbed to tender drive problems and is unable to pull anything but itself which could probably be solved by some new tyres but there was an opportunity to replace it. Luckily there was a Trix Standard 5 available with “scale” wheels, allowing it to run on HD track. on Ebay and a successful bid was made. It arrived today. It is in very good plus condition, runs well, pulls a good load and is a very good addition to the fleet

Many years ago I had one of these but it had a handbuilt chassis with a Triang Motor and a very knacked motion. It finally ended its running when the drive gear wore out and the motor just spun. I always fancied another and now I have one.

This continues my Southern theme on the layout as the Standard 5’s replaced the Southern King Arthur class locomotives with some of them even being renamed as King Arthur’s. The Trix one has no name and as it is the original number 73001 is unlikely to have run on Southern metals but close…..

When buying Trix engines for HD track you have to make sure that they have “scale wheels” becaise the normal cheese cutter wheels will not run through the points of HD track.

I have now attached my Trix Southern coaches to this engine and it looks great – I will take some more pictures.



New on the Layout

I have added yet another 2-6-4T this time one is repainted as GWR. Its a fictitious livery but looks great and Wrenn did make one.


The green is very well done but the paint on the smokebox could be improved but it looks OK from the normal viewing distance


The other loco is a Graham Farish into which I have inserted a HD 0-6-0T chassis which of course is converted to three rail. The chassis needed a bit of hacksawing to get it in the body but then fits well. I still have the original chassis but will need to replace the plastic sprocket which has literally worn away – common with these locos.


The GWR loco in the background is a small Prairie tank made by Lima which I have had for some time.

All three are very good runners


Trix Twin Tales


Surprisingly I have forgotten to record the purchase of a Trix Twin (TT) 0-6-2T tank loco earlier in the year. Now buying TT locos is a tricky business. Pre war and early post war were 14 volt AC which, like Marklin will run on HD track but won’t reverse but , more importantly, they all  had large flanges on their wheels and will not run through HD points. In 1957 they moved to 12 Volt but still has “cheese cutter” wheels. However they then started producing “scale” wheels which can be used on HD track with points. They also seem to have made “convertible” wheels but what they are exactly I am not sure.


I bought my loco from Steve White, , who offered it at a very fair price and gave me excellent support.


The loco is the Trix equivalent of 3 rail but nowhere near the same as HD. The wheels are insulated, the loco picks up power from two side pick ups and returns it through the centre pick up. Getting the side pick ups to run through HD points took a lot of careful adjustments but was finally successful. This engine therefore has 3 pick-ups and this extra friction does restrict it’s load carrying capability but it is a good smooth runner with a couple of carriages or a short goods.

The second picture clearly shows the outrider pick-ups.


I am basically a Southern man and I like green BR(SR) carriages but these are so expensive. Boxed they go for £70 plus and unboxed still fetch £40 plus. I do have a 3 carriage rake of them pulled by my Dorchester but more would be nice and that is where Trix comes into play. They make some very nicely detailed BR(SR) green carriages, which of course have peco coupling and therefore fully compatible with HD.


 They have plastic sides rather than the tinprint of the HD ones but do match the Pullmans which were all plastic.


They also make a Buffet car which fits in nicely. My buffet car has had it’s bogies replaced with HD ones but I fail to see the reason. The original bogies on all the other carriages run smoothly through points, reverse with no problems into sidings so why bother to change them as all it does is make the carriage run a little higher.

The really good news is that this rake of 2 composite and one 1st/brake cost me £20 plus £4,99 postage as a “Buy it Now” and they were in very good, unboxed condition and look great running behind my Schools class and 2-6-4MT’s both in black and Southern Green. They are obviously incorrect as Southern carriages but they are welcome on my layout – the colour counts.

So if you want cost effective and very smart, good running carriages I don’t think that you can go wrong. I have all I want so you won’t be outbidding me at least.


Richard’s Layout 2

Some more pics from my layout.

Barnstaple 3 rail conversion
Barnstaple 3 rail conversion

Barnstaple showing how 2 rail wire pickup trapped under insulation block to deinsulate  wheels.

IMG_0902I hand painted the LMS N2 tank myself, using flat brush and thinned Humbrol  enamel, mixed to get right shade! Transfers courtesy of Dennis Williams.


Gaiety body with R1 chassis
Gaiety body with R1 chassis

The GWR pannier was a scrap JVM body on a shortened r1 chassis. Brass Cab side Number plates by Geoff Burton of Kings Cross plates.

Amazing the expertise people have which helps guys like me!

Richard’s Layout

Got my Barnstaple working fine now – thanks to you and all your step by step advice!
Here’s a few shots of my layout – it is 8 x5 ft, based on a plan I found in an old HRCA mag.

Barnstaple 3 rail
Barnstaple 3 rail

The LMS N2 tank I did as a renovation attempt on a scrap body, the Silver King I had as a

N2 Repaint
N2 Repaint

boy and still goes fine, the Farish Prairie was dublo wheeled and 3 railed for me by Dennis,

Duchess of Montrose
Duchess of Montrose

dublo surgeon. Runs ok but very noisy!

Silver King
Silver King

Have found great pleasure in fixing old models, usually not too bad as so well made in first place!
Many thanks

David M’s Layout

I received an email from David M about his layout and I asked him to send some pictures.

So here are his pictures and the letter he sent to accompany them

“I have enclosed a few shots of my model railway that is still not completed after 27 years. We are Hornby Dublo 3 rail as I have always been impressed with the sheer heft of the locos and diecast rolling stock. A chap at a car boot sale in 1988 advised me to go to Maroway at Sheffield after I looked at some Dublo he was selling. There I found a few Wrenn 3 rail points and the owner, Mark Weaver, found a box of 12 yards of track labelled with a Sheffield address and postmarked 1956. I bought the lot.

I decided on a single track branch line that would enable me to use my limited stock of track to layout long sidings. This we aare fiddle yard to fiddle yard with a station area along one side for shunting etc.

Elmton is a very small village over Bolsover way. I chose the name as I liked the sound of it. My partner and I visited a few years ago and had a meal in the pub. The Landlord was tickled pink that it was also the name of my little railway”.

The pictures follow  – click on a picture to get the full sized version

Goods shed and station pilot with Engineers siding at the back
Goods shed and station pilot with Engineers siding at the back
Elmton LMS Station building
Elmton LMS Station building
View looking South
View looking South
View looking North
View looking North
Station and Goods Area
Station and Goods Area
Hoods shed and Hish Street above
Hoods shed and Hish Street above
David on the control panel and the phone
David on the control panel and the phone
Engine shed with mainline disappearing into the distance
Engine shed with mainline disappearing into the distance
Overview of Station area
Overview of Station area
Road overbridge with engineering works above
Road overbridge with engineering works above


Bo-Bo – an update

The saga of the Bo-Bo was in a previous post which after a lot of work was still running and stopping erratically. Well so was someone elses on the HRCA forum. One improvement suggestion was to check that the pick up sleeve was flush in the pick up mount as if it wasn’t then the pick up at its lowest position would still be a little high. Off came the body for a check. Lo and behold that was exactly the position – the top of the pick up sleeve was showing when you lifted up the plunger. A sharp thump with hammer on screwdriver positioned on the sleeve pushed it down perfectly.

Onto the track, Excellent running everywhere over points, X crossings and bends. It is still not the best running Bo-Bo I have but it will easily pull 10 wagons at a realistic speed.

Thanks to the HRCA forum I now have a good runner.

Now what’s my next maintenance job.,



New Computer

What’s that got to with Hornby Dublo?

Well I need a computer to write this and you need a computer to read it so I just thought that I would add some thoughts on my new one.

I had my first laptop in 1992, a Toshiba T 1200, which had 2 floppy disks one for the programme and one for the data. Many happy hours with Lotus 123 and Wordperfect as this was a business machine and no games were ever played on it. The most excitement was a programme called Sideways which enabled Lotus 123 to go sideways (Landscape) and thus allow more columns.

It started with MS DOS and progressed through all of the Windows programmes as each laptop was replaced with another. I have always had laptops not just because they are portable but because there is not a myriad of wires and connections – all so simple and  easy to set up.

Now retired I am in my home office and a laptop was not essential so I decided to go for a big screen All in One. I have never been into Apple although most of my family are so decided to stick with Windows but the one essential was a matte screen. My home office is a small conservatory type room with full glass on 3 sides and the reflections on a glossy screen are unacceptable and if I have a big screen I want to look at it not touch it so a mouse and keyboard is fine with me.

But to find an AIO with a matte screen. Rule out all of the iMacs (they will run Windows), rule out all with touch screens as these have an extra layer of glass for the touch making them very susceptible to glare and there is not many left. In the end I chose an MSI 24 inch All In One with a matte screen. The screen is full HD and full matte and has already proven its worth with bright winter sun not giving any problems – Winner.

Its fast, i7 processor, 128 GB SSD and 1TB HDD and a separate graphics chip for excellent iPlayer and You Tube watching but it came with Windows 8 which I was nervous about.

It is currently running W 8.1 Update 1 and with a few tweaks (easily available from websites) it is in my opinion better than the W7 which was and still is running on the old laptop which has been set up in the railway shed. So if you are a mouse person rather than touch don’t be afraid of Windows 8 just make sure that it has all of the updates and you will be totally at home and you never even have to see the Metro screen.

And my dublo pictures look really good an a big screen in full HD.




Stanier 2-6-4T

Initial running of this loco was fairly slow. Oiling etc did not improve matters much and the amps needle on the controller was showing 0.9 amps – too high for HD.

But I have done some more running and the amps are now down to 0.4 – much better – surely this is not a new loco being run in after some 50 odd years, possible as the pickups on the loco look very clean and little sign of running. Speed and pulling power is improving as well. A good addition to the fleet.

Picture of the 2 cylinder Stanier with the 3 cylinder version both by Wills Finecast on a HD chassis. The dreadful pink lining has been removedIMG_3308

Bo-Bo running problem

Thanks to Ron Dodd’s videos I am taking more interest in the mechanical side of my engines. I had a poor running Bo-Bo which on investigation seemed to need new brushes as they were very worn. New brushes were fitted nothing else was touched.

On test, upside down with crocodile clips attached to the pick up and earth it ran smoothly. I let it run for about 10 minutes to bed in the new brushes.

Put it on a straight bit of track and off it went but stopped dead at the first curve, push it and it starts but stops almost immediately. Pushing it around the half circle it came to the straight and off it went but after about 4 lengths it stopped again. Reversing the direction of the engine made no difference. Pick ups were cleaned including the inner sliding mech with a cotton bud and neither seem to be sticking at all.

All wiring checked and the earth was resoldered as it looked flimsy. Engine still runs without any problems on test bed.

There is no sparking that I can see when the engine stops.

As explained when on test upside down the engine runs perfectly but won’t run on the track around curves or even on some straight bits.

I set up a small test track with two curves and a straight. Cleaned the track and checked it with an N2 – track OK. Then the Bo-Bo stutters then stops. I left the front bogie on the track with its pick up and lifted the rear bogie to the side of the track and it ran well but when I moved the front bogie a little it stopped.

My theory is that the insulating washer on the front pick up which is very loose and when the bogie moves it produces a dead short as the pick up washer touches the chassis. So I need to remove the pickup and replace the washer although I will have to make one up from some plastic. The questions are – is this likely and how do I remove the plunger pick up to replace the washer? Is it in Ron’s videos?

This theory explains the upside down running as the insulating washer and the connector would not be able to touch the chassis.

More testing has indicated that my pet theory might well be wrong.

Engine on track, controller on – no movement. With screw driver put pressure on front bogie pick up piston – motor starts running. Take pressure off motor stops.

Seems that the pickup is not making contact with the third rail. Might still have to dismantle the pick up but will try cleaning etc.

White spirit and a cotton bud cleaned the pickups and they now drop down the full extent.

I then remembered that I had fitted a Neo magnet as well as new brushes. If things can be put in 2 ways I usually choose the wrong way first. So the Neo was taken out and turned round – it looked square to me but I turned it round anyway.

Net result is that the engine can now complete a circuit of the track without stopping. What was the Neo doing to make it keep stopping? It was one that was specially supplied for a Bo-Bo.

Final conclusion after all this work, including new tyres is that the engine runs no better than before and still hesitates occasionally just as before.

Put it down to experience