Category Archives: News

Br (SR) Class 73 conversion

The latest conversion from Ray

Another unusual loco to my SR fleet.A Hornby Class 73 electro-diesel. It`s got a home produced p/up assembly consisting of a 6mm wide x 5 thou brass strip with drawing pin heads for the collectors. All these locos being DCC ready have to be rewired to operate on 3 rail correctly. The pics should help show it was done.

And a video of it running

HD Layout 2020

So as promised

I was surprised how slowly you had to run the trains to make the action look remotely sensible.

Joining the small bits together was easy as was cutting out bits I didn’t want although the final video is a bit jerky moving from one section of the track to the other,

This is a total overview of the layout and features the two neverwas locos of the previous two posts plus running on the small inner circuit the Dinky Toys 0-4-0T  although the Duchess of Atholl also gets a look in. The Dinky Toys loco is a metal bodied push along with a Triang/Hornby chassis converted to 3 rail. Goes very well

Looking at other videos I need to get closer to the action so perhaps if there is another that will be the way forward.

No commentary just the lovely rattling noise.

Another neverwas

Here we have an N2 which I repainted badly and added a LNER sticker but do you notice the differences

Well the person who made this body took a standard N2 and cut out the boiler completely including the filled in bit that joins the bottom of the boiler to the front wheel splashers. He then fabricated a new boiler, adding new safety valves direct into the boiler (unlike the original which has the safety valves on a circular plinth) added a new dome but left the foundation ring on display and what looks like an original chimney. He then added a Westinghouse air pump just in front of the side tank. There was now a gap under the boiler between it and the chassis frame just like the prototype. He then painted it in red primer and then added fine handrails. Oh yes and he added a vent to the cab roof and put coal in the bunker.

So it looked like this

Sorry about the picture quality but it was taken back in 2005 but you get the drift. I bought it from Mike King a friend and dealer who lived in Christchurch just as you see it.

Now he (could it really have been a she) had spent a lot of time producing the body and to make it effective it had to use an early horseshoe magnet chassis as this enabled the gap under the boiler to be seen. The later N2 chassis would have had part of the motor visible.

So when I bought it had an early chassis with green wheels on one side and black on the other. it hardly ran but it did. So why after spending so much time and effort on the body 

  1. He didn’t paint it
  2. He put it on such a crappy chassis

Anyway it stood in a siding on my layout for many years

I had improved the running by switching to a neo horseshoe magnet but the running was no more than acceptable.

As the number of locos on the layout increased leaving this in a siding with little or no running became a problem. So I did a quick and nasty matt black paint job, added an LNER sticker and installed a new armature and low behold it became a standard N2 excellent runner. Why did it take all that time

So there we have it. A unique (surely no one else would have gone to all that trouble with the body) Neverwas N2 which runs well but has a mismatched chassis and a terrible paint job.

And a final question did an N2 ever have a Westinghouse air pump? I am off to Google to search their images


Neverwas or Neverwazza

Perhaps my definitions are wrong but as there is less to do now that we are in lockdown lets discuss.

My definition was that a Neverwas is a model railway engine that is not a model of an actual prototype. It could also be called generic or freelance. In the very early days these were common many of the Hornby 0 gauge range came under this definition. Then there were the HD 0-6-2T models discussed in the last post. HD also did the Atholl fitted with a cowcatcher and light and liveried as a Canadian Pacific loco although it never resembled anything that they ran.

Triang did the dock shunter and the continental range with no reference to an actual prototype. Trix did an american engine which seemed to have no prototype.

So if that was a Neverwas then the term Neverwazza was applied to HD derived engines which were planned to be made by HD as described in Michael Fosters book, those could have been made and those that should have been made. Like for instance the Black Five shown here with a Castle chassis and wheels, 8F outside motion and a 8F tender with the 3 rail pick ups. It could have an 8f body as the black 5 and 8F were very similar but .this one has a Graham Farish body. Now that to me is a Neverwazza.

Meccano kept very up to date with their locos and by the time that they would have been able to make it the engine had been replaced the Standard 5MT and Trix were making that so they would not have bothered with an old LMS derived Black Five – but they should have done.


the HRCA  have a section on their forum which is titled Neverwas and includes just about everything that is not pure HD and of course the 0-6-2T and Canadian Pacific are pure HD locos even if they are not a model of a prototype. so they don’t apply to this section unless they are repaints. So this section includes newbuilds that HD never made,  repaints, coversions and includes carriages etc which have been repainted

So the HRCA officially has zero acceptance of the term Neverwazza

So my Gresley V1/3 is a Neverwas by their defintion – so no change there then.

I bought a Neverwas

I am not a railway enthusiast. I was never a train spotter in fact I had no interest in trains until I resurrected my childhood dublo in my 60’s and started playing with trains again.  Bu that is by the way but of interest as you read on.

The Neverwas  is not a Neverwazza or a conversion it is an engine which does not really represent a prototype.

In fact it was all started by Meccano when they first introduced Hornby Dublo back in 1938. They introduced the A4 “Sir Nigel Gresley”  which was definitely based on the prototype and four  0-6-2 tank engines. 

One of these was an LNER version which every one at the time said was a model of an N2, but HD never admitted to it, The LMS and SR versions used the same body and had no prototype locomotive anywhere near the same. HD altered the body for the GWR version but even this had no obvious prototype.

Thus HD introduced 3 neverwas locos which had no prototype and never admited to the N2 until after the war when they liveried it into BR and gave it a definitive N2 running number. 

So to the current, Ebay listed a 3 rail V1/3 2-6-2 by McGowan models, Re the first paragraph I had no idea what a V1/3 was but Google knows. It was a Greasley 2-6-2T 3 cylinder tank engine with Walschaerts outside valve gear and McGowan made the body for a Triang chassis which included the cylinders and the motion.

This is the BR version which must have come much later but the outside cylinders and motionn are obvious. Although as the motion was to come off a BR standard 2-6-2 there would have been no guarantee they they would line correctly or that he wheels would have been the correct scale size. Anyway,

The ebay version was this:

Other photos showed that it was an HD 0-6-2T chassis with an added front bogie. No outside cylinders and no valve gear.

The body looked in good shape and with an 0-6-2T chassis it should be an excellent runner and at the price – why not

So it was a neverwas – the body might look like the prototype but not the running gear but the hope would be that it was a good runner.

The first thing you do when a new loco arrives is put it on the track and see how it runs – they never run well but that  is where you start.

This one startered off at speed altough noisy but derailed its bogie within a foot and its pony at the first curve – not a runner then. The body under the tender had a hook at the rear which extended into the body and stopped the pony wheels from moving freely – cut off and filed down so that the pony moved freely and did not derail. But the bogie was a different matter. Nicely made with an accurate attachment to the chassis but with no weight it moved in all directions. This loco had been produced by a bodger and I was there to continue that, 

The bogie was a simple open topped box with a rivet at the bottom holding the connector in place, which was not firm and allowed it to waggle sideways. In these circumstances the bodgers bible says try something temporary first before getting out the soldering iron. So bluetack was pushed into the box making sure not to foul the axle. Much better but still jumped off at the slightest imperfection (points or X crossing). More bluetack plus two small slithers of lead sheeting pushed into it to add weight all done without fouling the axle movement. Result is an absolute succes running tender first, no movement off the rails, no derailing many circuits with no problems, Not sure I want to try it chimney first as this might be too much of a test, Anyway tank engines were meant to run tender first.


So now we have a neverwas bodged V1/3 with an inside motion that now runs very well as it has an N2 chassis – bit of a winner if you are a HD runner and not a railway enthusiast/rivet counter.

The body was well made and well preserved with no marks so looks good. Conclusion – good runner, good looking engine shame about the originality but who will ever know. Don’t you tell them.

So another runner added to the loco roster but with no room in the sidings one of the poor runners had to stand down. Last year I bought an Airfix 4F converted to 3 rail running. It was cheap looked nice and seemed to be well converted with an HD pickup but it was a tender drive and I should have reconsidered as tender drives often don’t work well on HD track. On arrival it worked fine but would not pull the skin off of a rice pudding. One Trix coach was its maximum. I cleaned the tyres thoroughly but it didn’t make much difference. So that is the one to go at the moment. I will probably try a new set of tyres just to see if it will improve but for the moment it is in the “to do” box. Shame really because it does look the part

Tomlinson Park

Paul Thompson has been around 3 rail for many years and in fact painted, extremely well, my BR green 2-6-4T 80135. Here are some of his videos on Tomlinson Park his 3 rail layout.  He also has a garden railway and takes great videos of that as well.

2018 – 80th Anniversary of Hornby Dublo

 2018 was the 80th Anniversary of the introduction of Hornby Dublo by Meccano. The HRCA produced a special commemorative  edition of the The Hornby Railway Collector. However if you are not a member you can access the original article in The Meccano Magazine here – scroll down to page 554 and then to 572 for more information. Beware – once on this site you may never leave as there is so much of historical interest in these old magazines.

One of my favourite HD experts, Ron Dodds, has also celebrated the anniversary with a series of videos on his Mercia layout and they can all be seen here:

Trix Britannia

A bit difficult to understand but the Trix Britannia has been my only railway purchase this year and I haven’t mantioned it – until now.

In very good unboxed condition. Initial running had its problems as the tender had a tendency to derail. This was identified as a tender wobble caused by the rear wheel set. Many efforts to correct this has failed as I think the the axle hanger must be either out of line or damaged. Swiching axles did not improve the situation so it wasn’t the axle itself. In the end I used a couple of mini neo magnets attached to the coupling screw which drags the tender toward the centre rail and stops the derailments. This mod was thanks to an article on the HRCA forum which used them for a similar but different problem.

This loco now sits on shed with the Trix Standard 5

Two very attractive locos with excellent valve gear, a high level of detail and although not to the same scale as HD look great running around the track especially behind the Trix carriages, Excellent additions to any rail operation.

Richard’s Update

Here’s my latest spray painting attempts! My friend Martin gave me some VERY rusty damaged tank wagons to see what I could do with them. Here’s the result.

The Shell Electrical Oils one came about because Modelmaster had no transfers for Shell Lubricating Oil left. So tried that instead. 

For The buff/beige Esso ones I discovered Fox Transfers do a bogie esso blue/red transfer which meant I could tackle two short tanks. Very difficult for me – the letters for the Esso bit were only attached with thin strip at the top and bottom of the letters so I found them much harder to settle into right place, but in the end they worked out ok.

Made an error using Revell enamel varnish though when doing the brown shell electrical oil tank. I have read somewhere you can hide the transfer film by putting on a coat off clear gloss and then a coat of Matt. I found the Matt started to “bubble” the paint. I had to smooth everything out with linen cloth and white scuff sponge which had done the trick. I’ve not had a major problem before though, so I think I will use an acrylic varnish next time. But apparently some acrylic varnishes can dissolve transfers! 

Anyway, my friend Martin, old hand at this sort of thing, always uses Testers Dullcote spray varnish with no problems, so that’s what I’ll do next time.

Converting a kit built J39

Thought I’d send you photos of my Kit built J39 I rescued which now runs pretty well ( with a few tweaks) on my dublo 3 rail layout. The alterations were done by retired friend Martin who is a restoration expert!

First job was to change wheels. It had Romford wheels which were replaced with N2 non bushed ones, the centres unflanged so as to get round curves. The tender centre wheel flanges were also filed down for same reason.

The chassis and motor were an old Triang jinty R52? Martin first made a plastic insulating plate with sockets for Dublo standard 3 rail pickup but this didn’t work – despite all sorts of adjustments, the pickup mechanism was too low down and fouled track and points etc. So we went back to your pictures of conversions, and took Train Society’s  Damian Moss’s advice about  using envelope fasteners. 

This time, Martin replaced plastic insulation strip with piece  copper insulated board, attached to chassis with nylon bolts. 

Finally, he used brass strips soldered to board and envelope fasteners and with some tweaking to get improvised “shoes” to connect with rails, my J39 works well!

Martin was pleased too as he’d never done anything like this before, so many thanks for your pictures which helped a lot!