The Collection - The Disease

Dear Marjorie - My husband is 46 years old and spends most of his time playing with toy trains. He doesn't pay any attention to me these days.

Dear M - You have my deepest sympathy! Unfortunately, this condition is well known and is usually terminal. Very few people ever fully recover. However, you can turn this situation to your advantage! Trainaholics are so oblivious to their surroundings that you can bring as many men back to the house as you want - your man will never know!

Whatever you do though, don't get rid of your train fanatic - they are notoriously good at paying the bills! Blessings

When I first read this letter in a women's magazine I was shocked, devastated, mortified........

It took me a while to comprehend the truth in these words, but I am determined to 'clean up' my act.

No more trains!

The disease started .......... continue reading my incredibly boring history


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More Rolling Stock - Box Vans

Hornby Dublo Box Vans

....actually, like the low-siders, there are a few impostors amongst the box wagons.

12T Box van - N182153 - Hornby Dublo - The Genuine Article

First on the catwalk today is a tasty dish from the North Esst N182153. A 12 ton box van with all metal construction. Of course in the real world, you know, the one you see when you look out of the window? .... well out there in the big boys world the box vans were wooden sided.

I briefly poked my head into the stuffy offices of the rolling stock know-it-all's and, through the shifting cloud of cigarette smoke and the consequential tear-streamed eyes, I ridiculously asked a few questions about the history of this type of wagon. If you understand just one thing that I have written on this blog so far, believe me when I say that, if you find the history of the construction of rail goods wagons even vaguely interesting, then you need professional help!

Take a look at this website It deserves an award, though for what I am at a loss.

I was lucky to come away with the one tiny piece of sanity I had set aside especially to be able to find the post office to draw my old age pension.

The sides would have been made from 1 x 6 boards, coachbolted .....yaaawwwnnnn.. into place with either an internal steel skeleton. The original exo-skeletons were found to rot very quickly. zzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZ

This one has slight bit of corrosion on the corner of the roof where a bit of paint has chipped. If you borrow my magnifying glass here____ you can just make it out in the top left corner.

Ignoring the slight imperfections, it has the saving grace of noisy metal wheels. sigh...

Next ladies and gentlemen..... that reminds me - can anyone tell me if there is such a creature as a woman who takes an interest in Hornby Dublo trains? I have yet to encounter one and, well..... my wife doesn't understand me - you know how the story goes! I am only interested to know. No other reason. You know how trains have been a yang dominion since the Victorians drove sex into the closet.

Discretion is my watch-word, I need not add But did anyway. It's ok, my wife has long since stopped reading this blog.

I think!

Did I lose the thread somewhere?

Box Wagon B757051 - Hornby Dublo

Plastic body dates this one to almost within my lifetime. Here you will notice, if you look carefully, the exo-skeleton that I mentioned earlier (I recommend that you take notes if you cannot remember things too well) is clearly visible in this fine example of plastic moulding. The plastic construction certainly enabled greater detail to be included in the models.

The roof is a little scuffed, but it looks incredibly authentic... and that's the whole point isn't it?

10 Ton Fish Van - 168975

When messr's Hornby, Dublo and co. came up with this idea, they were appealing to the 'Little Schoolboy within'. The thought of stinky fish and entrails and gore, ripe in the summer heat of an enclosed rail wagon is enough to excite the most ancient and wise of men to revert to boyhood.

This all metal vehicle has sealed doors for long life smell retention and even a cardboard box containing a little tube of authentic 'whife d'halibut' to squirt in the wagon's air vent.

That was a wee jokie - OK? The air vent is actually sealed.

Metal wheels. Condition very nice.

You naughty little box fetishists will also note the condition of the cardboard is unsullied! Enjoy.

Trackmaster Box Van - 86203

Where this unusal specimen was found i do not know, but it has a colleague in the high sided department too.

The roof is warped - You see! I warned you about too much plastic and how it warps in the sun...but you don't listen to me. Oh no...

The roof is warped (I just said that, didn't I?) and more importantly, the couplings are incompat..EEE..bLe, as my wonderful french teacher, Mr Michel Thomas, would say. Incidentally, if you ever want to learn a European language, chug down to your local library and get a copy of Michel Thomas on CD. I learned more in half an hour with him than I learned in 5 years of French lessons at school. A vocabulary of 3000 French words in 30 minutes, he promises the listener and damn me if he didn't accomplish just that!

The couplings can be replaced of course, but the one saving grace of this beast is the ....cardboard box?

Last in this field is another creation from the Playcraft crib.

(Playcraft P6571) 10T Box Wagon W2910

There is something not quite right with this one, although I am sure the designer researched or at least tottered down to the freight yard to copy one. It's a long wheelbase which, when scaled up, would make it about 45' as opposed to the standard 33 foot trucks that became the standard of the century. Yet the stated weight is only 10 tons.

The slatted sides would indicate that this wagon was probably designed for livestock, yet the inscription on the side clearly says FRUIT and PASSENGERS. This wagon is equipped with electric lights, so it's not an old design. Perhaps it was used for the quasi-legitimate immigration trade across European borders. I heard a story about one person who stowed away in an empty freezer wagon. When he realized he was locked inside the cold store, he froze to death. The refrigeration unit hadn't been switched on as the wagon was empty. Such is the power of the mind eh?

The doors slide smoothly on fancy French runners. The red lights come on at the tail end. There isn't a mark on it. Like the other Playcraft (Jouef) items, it does have the original box, but .....the modern boxes just don't make the grade for me ....shakes head despondently...

More coming soon....

Monday, March 30, 2009

Low Sided Wagons

Sometimes I have to work for a living and sometimes I work for love and occasionally I find time to post on my blogs!

Low Sided Wagons

Over the years my train set has accrued some impostors amongst the rolling stock. Some have been built from kits, most notably Airfix kits and others have been inherited, purchased or otherwise purloined from other sources. One or two items could be described as rather tacky, so any Hornby Dublo purists reading this will have to close their eyes occasionally or have a handful of sedatives nearby.

21T Single Bolster 8920022 (genuine HD)

This wagon bears a few of the minor scars expected from use in a busy railway, but is intact and undamaged. Plastic wheels dates this truck as post '58.

SNCF Low Sided Bogie (Juoef/Playcraft impostor!)

Quite how this one came into being I don't recall, but it's plastic construction, non-Hornby Dublo coupling and French National Railways logo make a it a bit of a mismatch. Maybe it can be swapped at an international model railway swap-shop!

Generally in good nick. Nothing broken or bent and no paint to scratch.

30T Bogie Bolster M720550

Here's a strange thing (If you find this at all interesting, you can be classed as a sad git like me!)...... This is a genuine Dublo bogie bolster wagon in a Trix Twin box bogie bolster box! What do you make of that?

Once again, it's in good condition barring the few paint wounds. No damage or dents. Lovely metal wheels - feel that quali'y Sir!

Low Sided Wagon with cable Drums - M486

Here's the genuine article! A low-sider complete with cable drums AND in a very nice piece of cardboard. You won't find better than this to idle away a winter's evening in the loft!..... maybe you would, but your private loft-life is your own business.

A few minor chips and a slight wrinkle on the cable drum covers is all that can be classed as imperfect with this little beauty. Metal wheels too and just look at that boX!

To finish off with we have another couple of all plastic objets d'art.

STVA Car Transporter and Low Bed Bogie Wagon (Jouef/Playcraft)

The car transporter supports a handful of delightfully nasty little plastic cars that would put any christmas cracker or cereal packet novelty manufacturer to shame.

Although STVA is a French company, it also operates a fleet in Italy, Spain and the UK, by far the biggest overland car transport company in Europe, with some 4000 rail cars and 700 road transporters. The company began operations in 1950 and until the car manufacturers were sucked down the toilet bowl in the recent 'economic crisis' (don't get me started on this one), STVA was carrying something like 2.7 million plastic cars every year.

The second wagon is a low bed bogie wagon carrying a replica transformer (it's not live so you can't electrocute yourself! - no safety issues here..... except, of course, that the small parts may be swallowed so don't put them in your mouth, OK? and whilst on the subject, don't put your dog in the microwave to dry....)

These two Jouef wagons have the Dublo coupling so they can be trained...... if you so desire.

Plastic, unscratched, complete - what more can I say about them?

Let me root around for some more delectable Dublo truffles.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tank Wagons - Very Aufentic!

Authentic... that's probably the best way to describe these wagons. This means they are best categorized by their scruffiness. Presumably in the real world, new tank wagons are pre-scratched and beaten to make them fit in with the rest of the train. Have YOU ever seen a shiny, new tank wagon on the rails? I thought not!

It would actually be interesting to hear form anyone who used to take chipping hammer to the new tanks and then spray them with oily mud.

Anyway, I digressed. Again. I must be hell to live with!

Here are some photos of wagons not so fresh off the Hornby Dublo production line

A Couple of Pics of the Hornby Dublo Power Ethyl Tank Wagon

Condition - many small scratches, but no structural damage nor any parts bent or missing.

Two Photographs of the Hornby Dublo Esso Tank Wagon

Condition - Slightly better than the Power Ethyl wagon. Nothing severe or structural. Certification for carrying dangerous goods shouldn't be a problem.

I have taken shots from both sides of the tanks so you can see how evenly the scruffiness has been distributed. The following Royal Daylight tank even comes in it original protective box, which is (choke..) in such delightful condition! Not so Mr Royal Daylight though. As you can see this little baby is showing signs of too many years in a nice damp English house. A little corrosion has broken out on the ends (authentic).

Hornby Dublo Royal Daylight Tank Wagon

Condition - some corrosion at the ends. Some minor scrathces (very similar to scratches in case you weren't learnt that in skool) Nuffink structural wrong wiv it.

The set also features two assembled plastic Airfix kits of the Esso tank wagon. One of them is 'distressed' shall we say. the other is quite reasonable. Both wagons should be left to rot in a siding on your layout though. Even though they have been weighted, they don't travel well and they don't make any track noise.

Two Airfix Esso Tank Wagons

All in all, not a good representation of the Hornby Dublo fleet. We shall make amends though!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hornby Dublo Class 4 Standard Tank Loco

Whilst we are on the subject of the 80000 series tank locomotives, two of them were running on my own layout, though strangely enough, they were both numbered 80054. It had crossed my mind to renumber one of them, but then it wouldn't have been authentic Hornby Dublo...... would it?

Look at that.. Only 69/6 when new! Hopefully, if you were paying attention in earlier posts you can work out how much that is in new money!


This is a really good example in excellent nick. Even the box is in very nice condition. .....corrrrr!

The HD Class 4 standard tank loco was first introduced in 1954 and was continued by Wrenn when they took over the tooling in 1964. The Wrenn products were all re-tooled to include the word 'Wrenn' on the underside of the rolling stock and locomotives (strange idea that?).

I can confirm that the real 80000 engines didn't have any name stamped underneath.

Let's have another look at that lovely cardboard box now -

I just tried unsuccessfully to find the origin of the word 'box'. Apparently, it's of Germanic descent, as is half of the English language. The other half is French derived, of course, remnants from when the Celts invaded Ireland and Wales and set about the natives with their bagpipes. Nothing remains of the French now except a bundle of unintelligible languages - Cornish, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, none of whom can understand a single word any other Celt says with the exception of whiskey. The third half of the language is that merciless French we were all taught in school!

August is a good time to visit scotland as many of the pipe players have gone away to Brittany for the annual tartan bag squeezing contest in Lorient.

Actually, ignore my jests! Pack your bags and head to Lorient instead of Scotland. The music and festivities are terrific PLUS there are fewer midges and excellent wine!

I will settle for box being of Chinese origin. Someone help me here?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Class 4 Tank Locomotive

I have dug up some interesting information about the Class 4 Standard Tank locomotive like the one in the EDG18 train set:

Driving Wheel: diameter 5ft 8in (6ft 9in for a Coronation Class)
Pony and Trailing Wheels: diameter 3ft
Length: 44ft 9 7/8in
Weight: 86 tons 13 cwt (that's about half the weight of a Duchess)
Water Capacity: 2,000gals
Cylinders: 18in x 28in
Boiler Pressure: 225lb sq in
Tractive Effort: 25,100lb compared to about 40,000lb for the Coronation Class (Duchesses of Atholl and Montrose for instance)
Coal Capacity: 3.5 tons

Rail transport is still about the most efficient means of transporting large volume goods and passengers available to humans with the exception of teleporting.

Some meaningless figures just stolen from Wikipedia - the font of utterly useless information:

Kj Energy Used per Tonne-kilometer
Class 1 Railroads 246
Domestic Waterbourne 370
Heavy Trucks 2,426
Air freight (approx) 6,900

Take the train - You know it makes sense!

Photos of locomotive 80078 kindly stolen from