RITES OF PASSAGE FOR A MODEL RAILWAY - 20: DETAILING, The Ace in the Pack

'The devil's in the detail...'

I'm sure Dougie wouldn't mind a NELPG member using this fine image of our K1 2-6-0 62005 - This is her on the way to the West Highland in early BR livery with the 'cycling lion' . NELPG acquired her from Viscount Garnock
I'm sure Dougie wouldn't mind a NELPG member using this fine image of our K1 2-6-0 62005 - This is her on the way to the West Highland in early BR livery with the 'cycling lion' . NELPG acquired her from Viscount Garnock | Source
Here is K1 2005 under NELPG ownership in her earlier LNER livery at Grosmont Shed (home base) - image by Ben Brooksbank - Hornby brought out their 4mm version between November 2014 and January 2015
Here is K1 2005 under NELPG ownership in her earlier LNER livery at Grosmont Shed (home base) - image by Ben Brooksbank - Hornby brought out their 4mm version between November 2014 and January 2015 | Source
This is the Bachmann Gresley V2 2-6-2, built in the 1930s for the Green Arrow express freight service, the real thing became the stalwart of WWII, 'the engines that won the war' used on heavy troop trains and war freights - this is 4771 Green Arrow
This is the Bachmann Gresley V2 2-6-2, built in the 1930s for the Green Arrow express freight service, the real thing became the stalwart of WWII, 'the engines that won the war' used on heavy troop trains and war freights - this is 4771 Green Arrow | Source
On the Great Eastern an express 4-4-0 was built in the days before the GER turned to the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement for express locos - Hornby brought out their 'Claud' this year
On the Great Eastern an express 4-4-0 was built in the days before the GER turned to the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement for express locos - Hornby brought out their 'Claud' this year | Source

Lamps: loco, brake van and other

B1 4-6-0 showing its lamp code on a Class C/4 working at Northallerton high level station - see below, 'BR lamp codes'
B1 4-6-0 showing its lamp code on a Class C/4 working at Northallerton high level station - see below, 'BR lamp codes'
A pair of locos awaits the 'off'' , the one on the left has an express passenger  - on the right is a stopping train - how do we know this? See below
A pair of locos awaits the 'off'' , the one on the left has an express passenger - on the right is a stopping train - how do we know this? See below
Some of the many B R loco lamp codes for heading trains, 'piloting' (train driver didn't sign for diversion route he didn't know), in charge of a brake van, another locomotive (in 'tandem') or running 'light engine (solo).
Some of the many B R loco lamp codes for heading trains, 'piloting' (train driver didn't sign for diversion route he didn't know), in charge of a brake van, another locomotive (in 'tandem') or running 'light engine (solo).
A J27 brings a Class K Freight, Mineral or Ballast train stopping at intermediate stations into a country station; from 1960 Class 9 Pick-up Branch Freight, Mineral or Ballast train
A J27 brings a Class K Freight, Mineral or Ballast train stopping at intermediate stations into a country station; from 1960 Class 9 Pick-up Branch Freight, Mineral or Ballast train
A locomotive running tender-first on the Great Central Railway at Rothley - locomotives carried lamp brackets front and rear for all eventualities
A locomotive running tender-first on the Great Central Railway at Rothley - locomotives carried lamp brackets front and rear for all eventualities
Southern Merchant Navy class with Disc code instead of lamps. These were used also on the Great Eastern section of B R
Southern Merchant Navy class with Disc code instead of lamps. These were used also on the Great Eastern section of B R
LNER Class A3 with Up Tees-Tyne Pullman leaving York under Holgate Bridge - express headlamp code
LNER Class A3 with Up Tees-Tyne Pullman leaving York under Holgate Bridge - express headlamp code
A fitted brakevan with three tail lamps - brake van lamp codes indicated to following drivers what type of freight working was ahead .
A fitted brakevan with three tail lamps - brake van lamp codes indicated to following drivers what type of freight working was ahead .
The guard on this preserved GW brakevan places the lamp on its bracket prior to running
The guard on this preserved GW brakevan places the lamp on its bracket prior to running
Midland van at Llangollen takes passengers on brakevan rides - different companies had different usage until 'Grouping' in 1923
Midland van at Llangollen takes passengers on brakevan rides - different companies had different usage until 'Grouping' in 1923
Tail end of an ex-SR 'Queen Mary' brakevan with triple lamp code
Tail end of an ex-SR 'Queen Mary' brakevan with triple lamp code
LMS 'Stove' 6-wheel passenger brakevan with tail lamp (usually oil burning until 1970s)
LMS 'Stove' 6-wheel passenger brakevan with tail lamp (usually oil burning until 1970s)

The best way of running your (period) model railway is to study the way the real thing worked.

There are a number of features to look into, aside from tracklaying, scenery, rolling stock and motive power. Membership of a railway association could help with particulars of timetables, locomotive rosters and shedding, branch or main-line working, signalling diagrams. Everyone specialises in something or has a particular skill-range.

For one thing there are still railway documents available that demonstrate the mode of operation for various classes of train from securing a royal train (I had a schedule issued to a Mr Kneeshaw at a Teesside depot detailing the clamping of points across the junction at Picton in 1960 when Queen Elizabeth II visited the County Durham new towns of Aycliffe and Peterlee after the birth of Prince Andrew, including instruction to Jim Brodie, the driver of K1 62005 whose duty it was to provide overnight heating for the Royal Train).to the down-gradient approach to a junction with a mineral working from a colliery, and what to do if your train fouls the junction - by over-running the pointwork because the load is too great to halt the loco on the gradient.

There are telegraph codes - believe me, some exhibitors go as far as following the bell telegraph codes for each specific type of train - and lamp codes. Well, anyone can follow them. It's just a business of knowing the train classifications by the positioning of the lamps above the buffers and smokebox door on steam engines..? Or is it? Who knows the lamp positions of a Class C,1950/Class 4,1960 Express Freight Livestock working, or Class E/6 partly fitted with not less than four vacuum-braked vehicles connected by vacuum brake to the engine? Best time to find out is before you take your layout to the exhibition... But then, if you're not exhibiting, don't you want to know how you could make the running more interesting?

The book RAILWAY OPERATION FOR THE MODELLER by Bob Essery(published by Midland 2003, ISBN 1-85780-168-7) takes you through Setting the Scene, Passenger Trains and Stations (two separate chapters), Shunting and Train Movement amongst others. In terms of reference it's a gem of a book! Bob Essery is an authority on railway operation and wagons and is well known for his series of books on Midland Wagons amongst others. Here is a welter of information just waiting to be 'soaked up', with black and white images, diagrams and extracts of working regulations that add up to a more interesting few hours operating your layout. I'm not advocating going as far as putting on a railwayman's cap, blowing a silver whistle and waving a green flag before you see off your train, but closing the crossing gates, 'pulling off signals' for your traffic to continue on its way at the right time and running your engine around its train in the sifings might go a long way to enriching the experience. It's your model, you take it as far as you want.

With the October, 2007 issue of BRM came a supplement titled 'Freight Trains for the Modeller', showing in the centre pages different train formations with their 1950 and 1960 classifications, running instructions and lamp codes. There are also lamps to add to the rear of brake vans (our version of the 'caboose', generally four-wheeled, but the Southern Railway had bogie brake vans known as 'Queen Marys'), and other dual-direction lamps to fit to un-fitted (grey) brake vans. These have a clear 'jewel' to face forward and a red one to face to the rear on either outer side of the van.

All these measures were taken in earlier years to ensure safe running of passenger and freight trains, and 'light engine running' or just plain 'engine with brakevan' - even locos in tandem, perhaps one pulling a 'dead' engine. There are many options to consider, and examples of different running cases can be seen on DVD or Video. I have a batch of video cassettes in the Marsden Rail, Steam Archive and Ron Goult video series of locations in Yorkshire and the North East that show the way trains ran in that region. I also have a number of DVD's including The Complete Regional Guide to the Railways of Britain, Volume 7 North East (modern), Moors Steam Endeavour (North Yorkshire Moors Railway and Whitby) and the Glory Days of Steam in two volumes showing the North East and North West in all its grime and glory. A short DVD that was produced by British Railway Modelling that came with one of the issues is 'Tetleys Mills' (and you thought they only did beer and tea!).

These pages might serve to motivate you on those long winter evenings or rainy summer days. There's plenty to read, see and pore through in these twenty "RITES OF PASSAGE..." Hub pages. Lots of images from various sources to get those 'creative juices' going, diagrams to whet your appetite and short histories in part one! Hopefully they've been a help to you, if not a source of information that you might not have known in the first place. There is a web-site, www.rmweb.co.uk owned by Warners, the publishers of British Railway Modelling and organisers of various country-wide model railway exhibitions. For my money all the publications I've introduced are worthwhile buying or borrowing.

I've included a few images of my own vehicles, sprinkled sparingly amongst other images, just to show I know what I'm 'talking' about here. Certainly I've turned the air blue when model-making. I'm told by others longer in the 'business' that it's par for the course. Don't forget there are others doing this, involved in creating model railways at different skill levels. There are some who are happy beavering away, with multitudes of photographs scattered around their work desks to show exactly how many rivet heads there were on either side of an A1 4-6-2 Doncaster-built tender. Others are happy to take a model out of a box and watch it hurtle around a track on a piece of board 8'X6'. You get what you want and pay for. There are many levels of involvement between, many model railway building societies and associations from Gauge O Guild to Z Gauge. Model Railway Forum. In 4mm scale modelling there are several societies, starting from the most demanding Scalefour Society through EM Gauge Society to Double-O Gauge Association, who promote higher standards in OO Gauge railway modelling and have links with the proprietary model builders such as Bachmann, Dapol and Hornby.

Myself I sort of 'fall between two chairs', where I demand better skills from myself but my achievements fall just short of the ideal. I enjoy doing it, don't get me wrong, but those fiddly little bits! The signals got me nearly climbing up the wall, especially the bit with making them work, cutting wire, bending, painting the arms etc. I've still got some parts for when I get round to finishing the shed area. I have to psych myself up to it, believe me! But it'd got to be done, hasn't it. Getting somebody else to do it costs... Arms and legs come into the equation!

Happy railway/railroad modelling, and remember... Careful with those tools!

Should you wish to add lamps to your locomotives and brakevans the product is Springside Models, the source to look for is Wizard Models, PO Box 70, Barton upon Humber (close to the A15/M180 in northern Lincolnshire), DN18 5XY - phone 01652 635885/ www.wizardmodels.co.uk the choice is wide with different regional loco lamp variations and brakevan types in different scales including DA6/5 4mm Guards Van Lamps (clear to front, red to rear) for the outer brackets.

Harton Gill (P4 18.83) - Carshalton & Sutton MRC

The raised North Eastern Railway signal cabin on the layout with diesel and brakevan
The raised North Eastern Railway signal cabin on the layout with diesel and brakevan | Source
The layout track design looks complicated, although every move is 'orchestrated' - I saw this layout at close quarters at the East London Finescale Exhibition
The layout track design looks complicated, although every move is 'orchestrated' - I saw this layout at close quarters at the East London Finescale Exhibition | Source
Bird's-eye view of the cement works on the Harton Gill layout
Bird's-eye view of the cement works on the Harton Gill layout | Source
'Ground-level' view of the cement works, detailed industrial site with second generation British Railways cement wagons at rear
'Ground-level' view of the cement works, detailed industrial site with second generation British Railways cement wagons at rear | Source

Harton Gill presented by Carshalton & Sutton MRC (Surrey)

An inspirational layout I saw at the East Ham MRC's East London Finescale exhibition at the weekend (2/3 November, 2013) was Harton Gill. The write-up in the exhibition guide tells us,

"Although everything on the layout should be prototypical for the southern Tyneside area in our chosen time period of the late 1960s, nonetheless Harton Gill is a fictional location, I've always believed that this is the way to do a model railway: every detail looking as though it belongs, but no need to try to copy a real place. Thus we have in the foreground an overhead electrified private line [*National Coal Board, NCB] connecting the colliery to some imaginary staithes (sic) off to the left, just like the real-life Harton electrified line. At the back of the layout we have a British Railways North-East Region branch to a cement works, with engines and traffic appropriate to such a place. In the middle is a short passenger line terminating at a halt, with a DMU shuttle service [*a kit-built Cravens two-car set]. The timescale allows us to run a mixture of steam and early diesels, in both green and blue as well as the dedicated colliery electrics. The latest additions here are a Tyneside Bo-Bo electric [loco] operating off the third rail, and the EPB [*Southern Region] parcels car which ran on Tyneside for a while. Track is handbuilt entirely from C&L components with a few home-made modifications for tiebars and to strengthen crossing units, and I have to say that I am completely satisfied with it. It goes together quickly and when built carefully, it runs successfully. The buildings are all scratchbuilt from plasticard (with the exception of the colliery headframe which is a brass Wrightscale kit) to fit their locations amongst the tracks".

*[additions to the narrative are mine]

What attracted me was the range of mineral wagons, which included a number of the Dave Bradwell 13 ton, 14 ton and 16 ton Shildon-built hoppers based on an early North Eastern steel hopper design. I have bought a couple of them an await delivery. There will be images to join the others on the appropriate 'RITES OF PASSAGE...' page.

Martyn Welch's book shows you how to bring your railway models spring to life. Straight from the box or modelled as instructed, there's still something missing, isn't there. Grease, brake dust, track dust, smoke - even the diesels threw out clouds of it when they were gunned into motion - and rust.

It's all there, how to achieve it, with what materials. You're still sat there? Come on...

The Art of Weathering

Finally some views of Thoraldby, a tip for detailing

Unnamed class B1 4-6-0 61339 passes Ayton Row Station (closed to passengers) with a short train of fish vans, several ex-LNER wooden-bodied, as many BR-built steel-bodied.  Viewed at the 'occupation crossing' with the goods depot in the foreground
Unnamed class B1 4-6-0 61339 passes Ayton Row Station (closed to passengers) with a short train of fish vans, several ex-LNER wooden-bodied, as many BR-built steel-bodied. Viewed at the 'occupation crossing' with the goods depot in the foreground | Source
61339 again, this time with a pair of ex-LNER horse boxes in BR livery - viewed the opposite direction - with a pigeon/parcels van bringing up the rear at the tunnel mouth
61339 again, this time with a pair of ex-LNER horse boxes in BR livery - viewed the opposite direction - with a pigeon/parcels van bringing up the rear at the tunnel mouth | Source
The real McCoy, Class B1 61264 at Grosmont on the NYMR, 'shipshape and Bristol fashion'. She was never preciously - in LNER/ BR days - allocated to a shed in the North East.
The real McCoy, Class B1 61264 at Grosmont on the NYMR, 'shipshape and Bristol fashion'. She was never preciously - in LNER/ BR days - allocated to a shed in the North East. | Source
The cab of 61264 in early BR livery - note the red and cream lining around the edge of the lower cab panel, RA represents route availability and '5' had a wide range of countryside and main line routes the class could be allocated for us on
The cab of 61264 in early BR livery - note the red and cream lining around the edge of the lower cab panel, RA represents route availability and '5' had a wide range of countryside and main line routes the class could be allocated for us on | Source
Bachmann Riddles' ex-War Department 2-8-0 seen over the roof of a grounded and overgrown canvas roofed van body  - you can just about make out the fireman on the far side of the cab, the driver with his back to you,
Bachmann Riddles' ex-War Department 2-8-0 seen over the roof of a grounded and overgrown canvas roofed van body - you can just about make out the fireman on the far side of the cab, the driver with his back to you, | Source

In the top picture here are a few BR road vehicles. Seated on an old delivery trailer - nearest - see a couple of drivers talking during a break between deliveries. The station platform has been achieved with rubble 'infill' to save money on stone surfacing at a wayside station of little economic importance.

The tree in the foreground is a twig from the open land nearby (Wanstead Flats), part covered in green foliage (ground) cover to look like ivy. The provender store (Ratio kit) at the left advertises BOCM cattle feed. Next to that is one of three huts in a Wills' kit advertised as 'Grotty huts and privy'. The other buildings are elsewhere. The occupation crossing gates are Ratio, hinged with plastic mountings to the posts either side of the track. Fencing is unnecessary this side for obvious reasons (common sense being the main factor).

Behind the train is the 'scratch-built' station office & waiting room with outside Gents WC (Ladies is inside) and modified Hornby 'Skaledale' platform cabin beside the over-bridge (scenic break). Vegetation at the back is a mixture of scatter, natural and fibre-based foliage bought from various sources including 4D on Leeman street, London E1.

Lower picture shows the view to the tunnel, with propietary fogman's hut on the left by the portal (rubber moulding) and on the right a Ratio kit-built ganger's hut. The field rises sharply to the portal cap, with telegraph poles climbing on the left (Ratio plastic mouldings).

The goods depot road leads (left) behind the closed passenger platform to the main road, to the right is the horse dock (out of sight) now for loading packing crates, and the provender store you see in the first view. The semi-distant signal at the end of the disused platform guards the coal depot siding beyond the tunnel. Before the tunnel the track crosses a moorland beck over a Wills' occupation bridge (replacement for an earlier bridge, probably washed away in winter/spring storms).

Bottom, one of Robert Riddles' War Department 2-8-0 locomotives bought by the LNER after WWII and renumbered in British Railways' days to 90446 of Newport (51B) shed near Middlesbrough. (Bachmann model, modified with Jackson screw couplings and lost wax brass vacuum pipes, weathered).

How's this for 'atmosphere'? The 'shed ghost' (written up in the DOGA Journal Autumn 2012) and the 4-wheeled ex-LNER Tool van (conversion  of Slater's NER 'Birdcage' Brake, DOGA Journal Summer 2012)
How's this for 'atmosphere'? The 'shed ghost' (written up in the DOGA Journal Autumn 2012) and the 4-wheeled ex-LNER Tool van (conversion of Slater's NER 'Birdcage' Brake, DOGA Journal Summer 2012) | Source
You can almost smell the creosote in this view of Whitby's shed yard with these two, one of Whitby's four Class J24's standing idle behind 69864, one of seven Whitby Class A8  4-6-2 tank loco's converted by Gresley from Raven's Class H1 4-4-4
You can almost smell the creosote in this view of Whitby's shed yard with these two, one of Whitby's four Class J24's standing idle behind 69864, one of seven Whitby Class A8 4-6-2 tank loco's converted by Gresley from Raven's Class H1 4-4-4

British Railways steam. The newly nationalised railways inherited locomotives and stock that had been in service at the turn of the 20th Century from perhaps two dozen smaller companies that had been grouped after WWI, and gone through WWII's privations. Lack of proper maintenance, cleaning and spare parts affected British railways. State control was the hope for the future, better working conditions and pay for staff and workforce alike, new equipment, new stock, new engines. The last steam engine built for British Railways at Swindon in 1955 was class 9F 'Evening Star', now preserved. She ran with locomotives built as far back as 1890 and most of her class went for scrap in the early 1960s in a mad dash for modernisation..

Posters, clocks, lamps, timetables etc

Look at any station, wayside or main line, and what do you see? Go on, take a really good look. Ignore what's going on at track level, ignore the signals, passengers (we've covered them elsewhere). Look at the platform lighting. Is it gas, oil or electric? Look at the timetable and poster boards. Things have changed drastically here in Britain in the past half-century besides motive power, passenger and freight conveyance, signalling etc.

At big stations in cities or towns train indicators are electronic, computer-generated messages pop up and tannoy messages tell you all manner of things including staff announcements. Poster boards are electronic as well, posters divided in strips and attached to slats or triangular bars that spin round. There also traditional paper posters and notices, signs pointing to facilities, signs that tell you not to enter staff offices and so on. Take a step down in sophistication and look at a branch station. You might see an electronic train indicator but mostly you're aware of being 'out of town'. Some country stations - especially on preserved lines - take you back in time to when computers were science fiction. Oil or gas lamps are lit at dusk by a (volunteer) porter. In many country districts the last train was around 8pm, on preserved lines usually about an hour earlier ("Haven't you got a home to got to?").

Posters give a period feel on preserved lines, warning: 'careless talk costs lives' or 'walls have ears' (and some wag might have scrawled under that: 'and very nice pork sausages'). Everything tends to be 'low tech' on country branch line stations. Timetable and small poster boards adorn station fronts and platforms. Local country shows are advertised - just about every village has its own show, with livestock prizes, tombola, beer tent, pet's corner, sheepdog trials and so forth. Go through local papers or online and reduce advertisements on photostat machines to resemble posters.

Lamps, train indicators, posters and poster boards are available through divers sources such as Hornby, Bachmann Branch Line, Tiny Signs, Sankey Scenics or Trackside Signs. You can find most of these and more in the trade pages of railway modelling magazines or on trade stands at exhibitions. These last two have very good ranges of posters, timetables and notices. See below.

Clocks can be etched brass complete with elaborate scrolling for large stations or small castings of the wall mounted case clock variety for branch line stations. Some day some clever character will come along and make a minute working version, but until then... Langley Miniature Models produce good castings that only need the flash filed down, Modeller's Choice (John Piper Design) produce etched brass frets for ornate clock faces, pub signs and weather vanes.in one packet, P O Box 3230 Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B75 6ST, - check the model press for web address/phone number (worth looking for)...

Here's a D49 'Hunt' entering Thoraldby's passenger platform on her way down the branch with a stopping train how much detailing you put into your modelling is for you to decide, depending on your priorities
Here's a D49 'Hunt' entering Thoraldby's passenger platform on her way down the branch with a stopping train how much detailing you put into your modelling is for you to decide, depending on your priorities | Source
Ex-LMS classes cross at Thoraldby. 'Black 5'  4-6-0 runs up light engine with 4MT 2-6-0 'Flying Pig' returning empty freight stock
Ex-LMS classes cross at Thoraldby. 'Black 5' 4-6-0 runs up light engine with 4MT 2-6-0 'Flying Pig' returning empty freight stock | Source
Ex-LNER 4-plank open sits on the crane road with an open DX-type container (not strictly to the rule book, but at least it couldn't fall off the wagon)
Ex-LNER 4-plank open sits on the crane road with an open DX-type container (not strictly to the rule book, but at least it couldn't fall off the wagon) | Source

Loco and rolling stock detailing and numbering

Detail is also obvious on your locomotives and rolling stock. There are many suppliers of transfers and decals in this field as well, usually available by mail order direct from the manufacturer, often at trade stands and generally advertised (as with other detailing above) in magazine trade pages.

A few very good quality ranges can be found through Fox Transfers, Modelmaster (see links below), and HMRS (Historical Model Railway Society) Transfers as well as wagon labels from Hollar Models. Modelmaster decals and Hollar labels are available through the Parkside Dundas 'Modelmaster' catalogue. HMRS Transfers can be found through trade stands or dealers advertised in railway modelling magazines.

Bob Essery's experience with railway modelling and research into the real thing merge in this book to let modellers add realism to their hobby. Let your models act out an episode of history as they really worked, take a look into these pages and marvel at the variety of options available

Railway Operation for the Modeller

Video and DVD Guide to Railway Running

The list here chiefly applies to the LNER and British Railways' North Eastern Region (later Eastern).

The videos (some of them anyway):-

Railways of the North East in Retrospect - Vol 1, The East Coast Mainline, It's Arteries, North East Freight and Goods (The Ron Goult Collection), Oakwood Video Library 4 [PO Box 122 Headington, Oxford, OX3 8LU, 01865 874080]: - I met Ron some years ago at a model railway exhibition when he still owned the loco kit making business called Little Engines. A real enthusiast, it shows in this presentation with an exhaustive investigation into the origins of the East Coast Main Line (for example; did you know you had to go to Euston to catch a train for York in the early days?) A powerful reminder of how the north East of England was the cradle of the public railway phenomenon - although not of steam operated railways per se, that belongs to the Cornish mine engineer Richard Trevithick;

Railways of the North East in Retrospect - Vol 2, Cleveland and the Dales (The Ron Goult Collectiion), Oakwood Video Library 6:- Ron looked closely at railways on Teesside (his and my own stamping ground) and in the Dales, from Northallerton and Darlington westward to Ripon, Hawes and Richmond. He includes a section on a brakevan tour of the South Tees area with a look at Eston's station, which was behind where I lived for about ten years at 26 Ayton Crescent - separated from the Co-op Coal Yard by a wire fence. Now it's all built up (see my Hub WALK THE MOOR);

East Yorkshire Steam, Cine-Rail Archive Series [PO Box 10, Birkenshaw, Bradford, BD11 2BQ, www.railwayvideos.com]: A bit of a misnomer this, because the routes filmed were in the North Riding. Still a good nostalgic look at Ryedale, the North Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Coast routes between Scarborough and Whitby. The Pickering-Grosmont section was reinstated as the North Yorkshire Moors Railway back in the mid-1970s after about ten years in 'mothballs', but the coast routes north and south of Whitby were lost, as well as around the Vale of Pickering - worth a look if only to see what you're missing!;

The North East, Steam World Archive Series Vol 14, Tele-Rail, 2003 [9a New Street, Carnforth, LA5 9BX]:- A look first at the British Railways N.E. region, its lines, loco sheds, notable locations and loco classes. Some good detail shots for modellers of locos, locations, passenger, freight and mineral stock. A worthy look at traffic sources;

Steam North of York, B & R Video Productions Vol 36 ['Sundorne', Cross Houses, Shrewsbury, SY5 6JJ, Tel 01743 761276]: York, centre of operations for George Hudson's York & North Midland Railway and Great North of England Railway (latterly York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway) before absorption into the North Eastern Railway empire that centred on York from 1854 along with the Leeds Northern Railway (formerly Leeds & Thirsk Railway). A look at industry, 'King Coal', prestige passenger workings and the branch lines. Powerful imagery in British Railways days;

Along L N E R Lines No1, B & R Video Productions Vol 55: Here you see the whole gamut of the East Coast Main Line in British Railways days from Kings Cross with 'excursions' to Tyne Dock, Ryhope and Bedlington - footplate views, brakevan rides and lineside;

Darlington and the North East (1961-1967)

(The Marsden Rail footage is available on dvd - see Cineral contact details below**)

I met Michael Marsden a long time ago at an A1 Locomotive Covenantors' meeting (nothing to do with religion or main roads, we were subscribers to the building of the steam loco 60163 'TORNADO') when he was about to start his own business of producing and distributing his video collection, made from his 8mm recordings around the country. Lots of shots of local lines, some prestige expresses that ran on the avoiding lines around the outside of the station, black and white views of Darlington Loco works and Darlington shed (51A). See the wide-ranging classes of express, mineral, local passenger and express freight locomotives, as well as the early Metro-Cammell DMU's that ranged between Bishop Auckland to the west, Saltburn, Whitby and Scarborough to the east and south-east;

Brakevan to Whitby, (1962-1966), Marsden Rail: Fancy a bone-shaking ride in a poorly-heated brakevan in winter, poking a camera out of the window with your hands freezing? Michael did it in the days before the Pickering-Whitby branch was lopped off early in 1965 from Grosmont southward. There is also the line from Pilmoor (just east of the ECML) via Gilling to Helmsley and across via Amotherby to Malton. The last part follows the 1888 Whitby-Scarborough branch in a Metro-Cammell DMU before closure in January, 1965, with the approach to Ravenscar (Peak) looking across Robin Hood's Bay - no proof he ever came here, let alone existed!;

Harrogate & District, (1959-1967), Marsden Rail: Harrogate, Ripon, Northallerton... The southern/central section of the Leeds Northern Eailway's mainline that was used until the mid-1960s as the alternative when the ECML was closed between Northallerton, Thirsk and York for engineering work at weekends*. A sequence is also shown of Prince Philip's arrival near Ripon on the Royal Train in 1966 (before closure throughout) on his way to one of the military bases in the area. Again a wide variety of motive power and stock, including the Queen of Scots Pullman from Leeds to Edinburgh via Harrogate, Ripon and Northallerton. More locations no longer reached by rail;

Power of the Thompson and Peppercorn Pacifics, Transport Video Publishing, [PO Box 229, Wheathampstead, AL4 8SD, 01582 833807]: The drawbacks and improvements by Edward Thompson, the successor to Sir Nigel Gresley, on extant locomtotive classes and new classes from 1941 to 1946 when he retired, including the controversial re-build of Gresley's 'flagship' 'Great Northern' A1 to A1/1. He was succeeded by Arthur Peppercorn in 1946, with some loco-motives rebuilt back again, and Thompson's A1 and A2 classes modified with spectacular results and economies achieved (which was what Thompson had intended, but not quite pulled off). The B1 Class 4-6-0, many early ones named after antelopes was Thompson's crowning achievement, with about as many built as William Stanier's Class 5 4-6-0, the 'Black Fives'. His L1 2-6-4 tank loco class was only successful in the more level London area, although a number were allocated to the North East (four at 51A Darlington, six at 51D Middlesbrough);

North Yorkshire Moors Railway, The Reader's Digest Steam Lovers Collection, Reader's Digest Association, West Ferry Circus, E14 4HE: A history of the line proposed by George Hudson and built by the railway pioneer George Stephenson in the mid-1830s, to closure in 1965 and re-opening in 1975 - a variety of scenes and locomotives, guest and own fleet - as a shareholder of the railway, I'd say this video did its job well to promote the line, witness the masses of steam fans and other enthusiasts who turn up for events!;

The Classics - British Transport Films Collection, Volume 1, released through the British Film Institute from stock collected through the 1950s and 1960s. The sequences not only show steam by also early diesels and the newly-built wagon sorting yards (that were ultimately fated with the introduction of block train workings), 1. Elizabethan Express, the newly-created non-stop London Kings Cross-Edinburgh Waverley prestige passenger train(1954), 2. Snowdrift at Bleath Gill, showing how a pick-up goods train was halted in mid-winter by a drift near Stainmore Summit and its subsequent rescue by a snow-plough gang, 3. Train Time shows the organisation in the early years of British Railways' freight, mineral and passenger workings with 'conferencing' by phone and head-to-head meetings between various departmental bosses to hash out time-tabling, 4. Forward to First Principles (1966) begins with a college class and lecturer on the Cromford & High Peak Railway in Derbyshire, discussing the principles of freight organisation, going on to the newly-built yards and finishing with the merry-go-round trains in the West Riding (South) Yorkshire coalfields;

Behind the Scenes (on the Right Track), Fast Line/Telerail, Carnforth: LNER Activities in the 1930s and 1940s include limestone quarrying (for ballast chips) in North Yorkshire, ballast production from slag at Lackenby Works, main line maintenance and sleeper creosoting as well as the testing of new concrete sleeper designs;

North Eastern Revival, the story of the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group, NELPG: the video shows their locomotives, K1 62005, J27 65894, Q6 63395, Q7 901 (LNER livery, belongs to the National Railway Museum, cared for and run by NELPG) and J27 69023 (formerly 'Joem') as they came into their care. A2 'Blue Peter' was run by NELPG but since the death of its owner and his family's indecision on her future she has been a static exhibit at Barrow Hill in the Midlands. The film traces the 'careers' of their locomotives in BR days, their restoration (including 'Blue Peter' 60532) tasks allotted and visits to other lines;

The Wensleydale Railway Re-Born, Kingfisher Productions [Dalesmade Centre, Watershed Mill, Settle, BD24 9LR, 0870 747 2983]: Archive film of the last special passenger workings before closure in 1954, the first volunteer working parties on the line, opening day July 4th, 2003 and much more. More nostalgia and a re-awakening! Worth a visit any day, with great scenery - again, I would say that as I'm a shareholder of this railway as well. I have travelled the line from Leeming Bar to Leyburn (not quite enough time to do the line to Redmire and look around) and I'm also a Wensleydale Railway Association member;

The Wensleydale Railway, produced by the Wensleydale Railway plc, www.wensleydalerailway.com, a follow-up to the video above, share offer taster for prospective stakeholders. Check out the website and drool at the scenery!;

The Ian Allan History of Britain's Railways, 1. The Cradle of Railways, W H Smith Exclusive Video/Ian Allan SBS Video, (as I've already mentioned above, this is not strictly true, just the cradle of public railways): Looking at the Stockton & Darlington Railway and the Peases' ownership of early public railways in the region, Locomotion No1, followed by later icons such as 'Flying Scotsman', 'Mallard' and the later high-speed Class 91 on the ECML. A fair 'grounding' for beginners, or historic overview as an introduction to the region's rail transport solutions.

The DVD's: (not as many of these... yet):

The Glory Days of Steam - East Coast Main Line to Scotland, Go Entertain Ltd, 2008, (57 mins): Main line steam in glorious colour, warts and all! Features include 'Main Line Steam', 'Notable Locations', 'Steam on Shed' and 'Steam Loco classes'. A look at the route and region in the late 1950s to mid-1960s with drool-inducing images of Classes A1, A2, A3, A4 and a welter of different freight locomotives from 0-6-0's to 2-8-0's and 2-10-0's (9F's on heavy freight, what else?);

The Glory Days of Steam - Lancashire & Yorkshire, Go Entertain Ltd, 2008 (56 mins): Both sides of the Pennines working west to east from the Lancaster area to Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield with the obligatory 'Royal Scots', 'Black Fives', 'Patriots', 'Jubilees' , 8F's, 9F's in the North-West to ex-LNER Classes A3, V2, B1 and Q6. Great accompaniment to the DVD above;

Moors Steam Endeavour - The story of the Whitby-Pickering Railway, produced for the NYMR Volunteer Association by Trevor Widdison, www.northyorkshiremoorsrailway.com, e-mail: customerservices@nymrfsnet.co.uk : A clever introduction to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway by the narrator dressed in the style of a Whitby fisherman on his way around town, leading to Whitby Town Station, a history of George Hudson's meeting with George Stephenson (can't get away from these two in this part of the country)! Great scenery and local views at Goathland (Aidensfield in 'Heartbeat'), Levisham and Pickering with a view down at the NYMR from the castle. Great value, with an available sequence of steam motive power at work without commentary;

Steam Spotlight - North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group, GB Productions [ph 0115 9524800]: Similar to the Video, slightly different treatment of their locomotives with sequences of the engines on different preserved lines including the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (K&WVR), Great Central Railway (GCR) and North Norfolk Railway. There is the sequence of 60532 at Durham when her motion was horrendously wrecked during running on a special tour, and afterward when the loco was restored, 'running better than before'. See also the K1 on the 'Jacobite' on the west Highland line to Mallaig, with its unique concrete viaduct;

Tornado, A Legend is Born - the inside story of Britain's brand new main line steam locomotive produced by volunteers of the A1 Locomotive Trust with boiler produced at Meiningen in eastern Germany. A run-through of the other 49 members of Peppercorn's A1 Pacific class from the late 1940s, many built at Darlington Works not far from the workshop near North Road Station where 60263 was completed;

And now for something completely different:

The Complete Regional Guide to the Railways of Britain Vol 7: North East, Telerail, 1996: A range of diesel classes based in the North East between Tyneside and Selby... with a quick look at the NYMR - well, what else, a whiff of steam and creosote in amongst the diesel fumes?


*I was told of a train from Newcastle via Sunderland on the Leeds Northern that was diverted via Middlesbrough, Battersby and Grosmont to Malton and York - you read that right! It was headed by a Gateshead A1 Pacific and 'piloted' by a tank loco, with three reversals between Eaglescliffe and Malton. There is no alternative now. Just suffer in silence as the Edinburgh-Kings Cross Inter-city 225 'inches' through the contra-scheme section between Darlington and York.

**For a complete list of Marsden Rail dvd's visit Cinerail's web site, www.railwayvideos.com,

ph. 0161 653 3233; Fax: 0161 880 2406; E-mail info@cinerail.com

Just make sure he doesn't get near your model railway - he'd probably find a way of closing it down! (Dr Richard Beeching with his report THE RE-SHAPING OF BRITAIN'S RAILWAYS)
Just make sure he doesn't get near your model railway - he'd probably find a way of closing it down! (Dr Richard Beeching with his report THE RE-SHAPING OF BRITAIN'S RAILWAYS)

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Comments 4 comments

UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

alan, I'm not a model railroader but I enjoyed your article, including the pictures. I've always been partial to British trains anyway. Over here in Iowa, I'd have to drive 60 miles just to get to a passenger train. Voted up and interesting.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Thanks UnnamedHarald. That's why air transport took off in the US (pardon the pun). It's almost that bad in parts of Britain these days, certainly in Scotland and Northern Ireland. You're lucky you didn't have a bad winter, or even driving could have turned nightmarish! By the way, where did the 'handle' come from?


UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

It's an old gaming name. I got tired of being taken to task for not assigning my character a name and always showing up as "Unnamed Soldier", so I called myself Unnamed Harald just to get everyone off my back. Not sure where the "Harold" part came from-- but I wanted it more "nordic", hence "Harald". I have no idea why I stuck with it for my online presence.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

It adds an amount of gravitas. Keep it. As you've probably noticed there are quite a few Haralds on the historic pages I've 'rustled up'. Harold was also Norse, the later Danish version introduced by Knut for his second son, Harold 'Harefoot', and used again by Earl Godwin for his second son. The name became popular in England in the 1920s and 1930s again (remember Steptoe & Son?)

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