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


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Taking Life Seriously

I poke fun at everyone and everything - usually I have myself at the top of the list to take the rap. Religion is my favourite target, train spotters come a close second and then everything and everyone else is bundled together in the third class humour carriage. but I just have to share with you something I found, which, for some bizarre reason I cannot mock or ridicule! It has to be a first.

I am struck dumb.

.....and then along came 'Norm'

Norm is about as square as you can get. He lives in a world of his own creation. there is no God but Norm in his world. And Norm has grabbed railway modeling under the arms and hoisted her onto a platform so high, it's hard to see anything for the clouds.

Take a look at this Norms Railway

If I were to build a psychological profile for Norm, he would be about 58 years old and single. He probably dabbled in marriage when he was 19, but found that he loved trains better than girls. He is disillusioned with the world as it is, but fortified with an imagination so vivid, he set aside time in order to build a better place.

His bathroom is immaculate, his bed is always neatly made, his fridge is showroom condition and NOTHING is out of date amongst its contents.... actually, that cream cheese looks a bit peaky! He doesn't eat much or even particularly healthy food, does Norm. He shops on Tuesdays, laundry..... well, enough of Norm's personal habits.

How am I doing Norm?

His artwork and modeling are FANTASTIC! He's not puritanical by any means, he likes things to look as they would in 'real' life and if that means squirting some weathering paint on his locomotives and shoveling dirt in the wagons then so be it. The windows on the buildings are designer smeared and there's even authentic dog's mess beside the rails in the sidings.

Here's Norm's blog and I am very happy to provide inbound links for him to bump his blog up in the search engines.

This website here probably won't elevate you to Norm's standard, but it's pretty good nonetheless.

Thanks Norm. I am humbled and out of respect for your work I shall spend an entire day without partaking of ANY self-flagellation.

Thumbs up! (I even resisted the temptation to steal his photographs).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Loading Guage - Mind Your Head

The loading gauge is defined as - The profile above the rail tracks through which a rail vehicle must pass. According to other sources the loading gauge is the profile of the train and the structure gauge is the size and profile of tunnels, bridges and doors through which the train must pass.

Therefore, the loading gauge MUST be smaller than the structure gauge. Sounds good on paper, but add 'human' to the equation and the results are sometimes very messy!

For the really macabre amongst our readers, there are some really scary photos of train wrecks at DarkRoastBlend


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The greatest problem for modern rail logistics is that international shipping containers come in numerous different sizes. Logically, an 8' tall container might sound safer than a 9'6" container, but when placed on the wrong type of truck bed, the results can be disastrous.

Hornby Dublo was very careful to ensure that Mum didn't have to worry about little Johnny getting stuck under a bridge. In fact HD were always keen to represent in their catalogues precisely how their trains should be played with:

Just for your own safety then, this set comes complete with two BOXED loading gauges! In this instance, a loading gauge is a bar suspended over the rail, beneath which a train should be able to pass without banging its head. Kinda simple stuff really, providing the bar is set at the right height!

The dingly dangly things are still intact and they have never been abused! ....well perhaps once, when I tried to get a kitten on the well wagon....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Worlds Worst Train Accident

If you are in any doubt as to who is in charge of this planet, a look at the worst train accidents on record should be enough to remind you that Mother Nature, The Great Universe or just plain Ol' God is actually at the helm.

In December 2004 a new world record was set for the number of people killed in one rail accident. The death toll for the 'Queen of the Sea' accident in Sri Lanka is estimated at 1700, knocking spots off the previous record (if I allow myself to be so glib) held by Bihar, India when a cyclone blew a train off a bridge into the Bagmati river, killing 800 passengers.


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What could possibly have caused such a monstrous accident? A wave. A tsunami in fact. A 20 foot wall of sea water (and all the debris that such a wall can carry) jumped out the sea and swept through the jungle in time to meet the 9am from Colombo, ironically called 'Queen of the Sea'.

According to records, about 1500 tickets were sold for the journey, but in typical Asian style, the train gathered a couple of hundred free-loaders, who clung to the sides and roof. Maybe G*D was a ticket collector in a previous life! Just a thought.

Is that what's known as blasphemy? It's OK, I can confess all of my wordly sins in good time and still catch the slow train to heaven. If that fails, I have it on good authority that St Peter is open to a bit of bribery - fond of the yellow metal I understand! It might be worth noting that most of the passengers were Buddhist, just in case you thought the Catholics, Jews and Muslims were the bad guys!

1700 people were on board the Queen of the Sea and only a handful survived. Don't let that put you off train travel though. It's still one of the safest modes of transport ever devised by man. That's a crass statement! Put another way, it's one of the most inefficient methods of killing people ever devised.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Buffer Stops Here

3 Rail Buffer Stops

Buffer stops are supposed to prevent trains from rolling off the end of a track. There isn't much I can say about them really, except don't ram them with the 2.45 Bristol Express Train! Buffer stops are not designed to stop a train - OK?

However! If you are really bored ....and I mean REALLY bored, then there is a thrilling article for you to read at Wiley Interscience

I have stolen an extract from it to entice you:

........ application of multibody dynamics to the determination of global physical behavior patterns that mimic traditional empirical laws. The main idea is to sift out such patterns from virtual experiments carried out with a simulation package. The concrete investigation in this setting is the dynamics of trains colliding onto buffer stops. Using a rigid-body model with nonlinear couplers featuring hysteresis, it is shown that, for typical train constellations, the highest load at the buffer stops is almost independent of the number of coaches, and that the value and the location of the maximum force within the train does not increase from a particular train length on. These results are compared with traditional formulas for dimensioning of buffer stops used in rail-vehicle industry.

The author could fill an evening or two with riveting conversation, I am quite sure!

Wikipedia has the usual assortment of fact and fiction, but the following picture shows a Frenchman using buffer stops to stop his train:

There are some other interesting shots of buffers designed to stop trains travelling at speeds of 15km/h, but I wouldn't want to be holding a cup of British Rail coffee during impact!

Hornby Dublo designed some really nice buffers though, but if you try the 15km/h test, you will most likely find the buffer remains attached to the rail and the baseboard breaks away from the wall.

This set includes 8 buffer stops, 6 of which are boxed!


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The green box cost 1/4 for the pair of stops, but the blue box cost 2/2 (that's 2 shillings and tuppence for the earlier post about money). That's inflation for you. It must have been Harold Wilson at the helm!

Corrrrr! - Juicy boxes or what?

They have all been used and if you click on the images you can see a detailed view of the minute scars they bear. Nothing is missing from them though and they are all absolutely guaranteed to stop a train with ten carriages traveling at 15km/h within 3 feet.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

HIgh Sided Wagons

Let's cut the chin-wagging for a bit and slap some pictures in the scrapbook for you. I have rambled on quite a lot about rolling stock already and have spent far too much time working myself into a state of frothy excitation over the supposed contents of the trucks. Here then is a quick (relatively) look at high-sider's in the box:

NE 12T High Sided Wagon #404844

Green, no scratches or dents, metal wheels ....YES!, only a tiny bit of British weathering has adjusted the condition of this vehicle.

12T High Sided Wagon #M608344

Similar to the one above, but in a lovely grey tone ...? with realistic markings on the printed tin. What can I say? I'm trying to make it sound attractive! Oh - of course, it's genuine hornby dublo!

It's slightly more weathered than the green one and has a sticky mark where a decal was once peeled off. It'll come off, but I leave it on for authenticity sake. hmm?

Metal wheels! and someone (perhaps me) has added a few fake metal drums for cargo. I know some purists don't allow their rolling stock to carry anything that was not supplied by the manufacturer. Freaks! Weirdo's!

North Thames Gas 12T High Sided Truck - #357260

Ignoring the fact that it's an imposter made by Lima Trains and ignoring the fact that the coupling is incompatible with Hornby Dublo and ignoring the fact that it's the only Lima item in the set, push your prejudices aside and put your hands together for this lovely little MINT CONDITION truck! Never before rolled on the rails and still in it's box, which is a little scruffy on the corners, but that's because it's modern cheap rubbish cardboard.

It also cost 17p (as in 'pee'), so that makes it an early 1970's vintage.

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Let's have another Hornby article:

LMS High Sided Coal Wagon with Genuine plastic anthracite coal insert! - #608344

What was wrong with the designers at Meccano? Couldn't they even think of a different number to paint on the side of a rail truck? Why does this wagon bear the same number as the grey one, yet it has London Midland & Scottish as its registered owner?

It's nice - ok? It has a few very minor scuffs - it's been played with - alright? That number thing has really put me a in a bad mood.

The box is fantastic - even I got the hots when I saw it! I feel better already.

Lock yourself in a cupboard with that one for a while then!

Last and most certainly the least, comes the the other Trackmaster thingymejig from Pyramid Toys mentioned in a previous post.

NE #83610 High Sided Truck by Trackmaster

Good quality card in a dull yellow colour - carefully peel open the little flap at one end and out pops one of the earliest plastic high sided wagons ever made!

Pyramid Toys was bought out by Rovex in 1951, because they wanted to get into the toy train market. Therefore this dates to pre-1951. Rovex traded as Tri-ang. Eventually all the model railway manufacturers would buy each other out and all would be called Hornby and nobody would know who owned what or who made what, but nobody would care anymore because they finally realized that somehow they had lost Hornby Dublo and that was the only train set that was worth playing with!

The last I heard, the executives had formed a cardboard box sniffing society and meet in a potting shed on Thursday evenings somewhere in Purley.

Here it is:

Nice heh? Decent condition too. Shame it's not a Dublo! Of course, the more astute readers of thisblog might notice that the box has a picture of a Box Van on the side. Don't let minor details like that destroy your life ok?

There. I think I stayed fairly well on track with this post and didn't tread on too many toes along the way.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mallard 60022 - A4 Class 4-6-2 Locomotive

60022 Mallard – A4 Gresley Class Locomotive

Pop along to The National Railway Museum in York and you will find one of the centre pieces of the magnificent display is this massive chunk of iron called ‘Mallard’. If you are awake at the time, you might also notice that it’s a different colour and bears a different serial number to this model.

The Class A4 locomotive, including Mallard, was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, built at Doncaster Works by LNER in the 1930’s and released onto the rails in 1938, whence, at just 5 months old, she set about establishing the world rail speed record.

Designed to pull passenger trains at speeds up to 100mph, the Gresley class was the first to make use of a wind tunnel to improve aerodynamics (a 3 year old could have managed that without a wind tunnel!). Anyway, she was shoved onto the East Coast Mainline, pointed downhill and let loose to set a stunning 126mph steam-powered record. Scary stuff for a 70 foot smoking iron ramrod weighing in at over 165 tons! Unfortunately, she stubbed her toe (big end bearing) before she could make it back to the celebrations arranged at Kings Cross and she limped to Peterborough with a blanket over her head. ‘Ivatt Alantic’ was sent to kings Cross instead and photographs of the Mallard handed out to the press, hoping that no-one would notice the difference. Apparently, the ruse worked!

When Mallard roared for the crowds in 1938 she was decorated with a pretty paint called ‘Garter Blue’, the same colour that the Queen prefers to hold up her stockings and those of a few of her knights (she hands them out as pressies to ‘the favoured’ ones). She was also numbered 4468 (Mallard – not the Queen of England). In 1942 she was toned down to ‘Wartime Black’ (both Mallard and Her Majesty, who was a motor mechanic in the army – honestly!). After a couple of minor alterations she was restored (we are talking about the steam engine again now) to Garter Blue in 1948 for the Locomotive Exchange Trials and renumbered ‘22’.


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When British Railways found themselves in possession of Mallard, they slapped a dark blue coat on her and renumbered her 60022. Not quite finally, on the 4th July 1949 she was camouflaged in Brunswick Green and this remained her drab attire until 1963 when she was pulled from active service and handed over to the museum for restoration. Knowing restorers, they wouldn’t sleep until they had scrubbed every last drop of green and black from her and found the perfect shade of Garter blue (a night time raid on Queenie’s knicker drawer availed them of a sample. Police apprehended the man on the roof of Buckingham Palace, but not before he had tied the garter to a stolen palace gate key and thrown it over the fence to a tall man in dark glasses, wearing a black suit and a Parker with a faux furry hood).

You don’t believe me do you? Search you now, the bowels of the BBC news archives for the man on the roof of Buckingham Palace and tell me I’m wrong! least that was the tale I was told in the 'Wheel Tappers & Shunters' pub and they are more honest than bankers!

So now she sits, snug, but unfired, in the halls of York museum, awaiting your awe at her size and smell . (yes, we are still with Mallard).

So, back to business, you lucky Dublo’ers get the crappy green version! with 60022 stuck on a high nose belfry and that should, if you have been paying any attention to anything I’ve said, give you a clue to her date of manufacture.

Hornby Dublo produced a model of Sir Nigel Gresley in the garter blue as one of their very first locomotives in 1938 and the body of one of these has found its way into my collection. Someone has roughly attempted a re-paint job, but that’s not much good without wheels. In any case, you get a free Sir Nigel Gresley body with every Mallard you buy from me!

The tender looks like it has been in a fire! The coal has melted and warped. That might explain the rest of the missing parts too.

Mallard is gorgeous. Virtually spotless and in the ORIGINAL box.....which is not quite so spotless. The box has a bit of 16th century cellotape wrapped around it and has seen better days.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Braking The Slow Train

Brake Vans (also known as Guards Vans)

Slow freight trains literally dragged their brake vans behind them to keep the train linkage under tension. Essentially defunct now, the brake van once served a major role in containing the terrifying spectre of rail disasters. Unfortunately, the demon of rail-borne accidents had his wicked way a great many times before the idea of braking was given serious consideration.

George Westinghouse – the unheralded hero of safe train travel

George was the man that worked out that train brakes still needed to be applied even if everything else failed. This same system (modified) is used in heavy goods vehicles, buses and trains the world over.

The basic principle is devastatingly simple – when the engine is running, air pressure is built up in a compressor that is used to remove the brake shoes from the wheels, when the brake lever is released. If power is lost or a leak develops in the braking system, then the brakes are automatically applied. A fool-proof safety system.

Actually, this simplistic view of train braking is too simple and a much more controllable system was designed ensuring that the brakes were not applied too suddenly, with dramatic consequences – to learn more about how air brakes work read

….but it wasn’t always like that! In days of yore when men were men and women twice as hairy (this could be the beginning of a little ditty –suggestions for the next line on a postcard please!) … All manner of scary tactics were applied to make a train stop in a controlled manner.

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The first efforts involved:

Steam pressure from the boiler was reversed through the drive chain forcing the wheels to turn backwards. This frequently ended in mechancial damage!

The engine driver leaning down hard on a lever that pushed a bloc of metal onto one of the locomotives driving wheels.

The lever was eventually replaced with a threaded rod and control wheel that could be turned to gradually apply the pressure.

A system of chains linking the carriages was tried for a while that enabled the same handle to apply brake shoes to each carriage in the train.

The super-hero braking system involved a man leaping from carriage roof to carriage roof (in days before concertina corridor connections or vestibules) and applying a brake handle on each carriage when given the signal to do so using a coded blast on the train’s whistle. Needless to say the trains frequently arrived at their destination minus the brakeman! Called 'Cooning the Buggy' by those in the trade, it would tend to indicate that it was the domain of the black skinned, still suffering the torment of racial abuse/unofficial slavery in the mid 19th century America, where this practice was prevalent.

A similar super-human system required a brakeman to jump off the train and run along aside the train throwing the brake levers. I imagine that the designer of this system also ran slave ships from the Ivory Coast to replenish the broken brakemen!

Another braking system that was very short-lived used steam from the boiler to apply pressure to the brake shoes on the carriages. Unfortunately, the steam rapidly cooled and condensed and proved extremely ineffective.

The Brake Van

Before the Westinghouse air brake system came into being in 1869 and for many ensuing years, whilst new carriages and wagons were built and existing railway stock upgraded, the brake van was employed on freight trains throughout Britain, Australia and several other countries.

The brake van was attached to the very back of the train and constituted little more than a very heavy box containing a large brake wheel that the brakeman or guard would turn to apply the brakes, thus slowing the train from the back end at the same time as the locomotive brakes were applied. Not the most effective braking system ever designed and the train was limited to a top speed of around 25mph. Freight trains were considerably heavier and more cumbersome than passenger trains.

Occasionally the brake van was modified to carry mail bags or other light goods and more often than not a drunken brakeman!

Brake or Guard vans, as they were often referred to, continued in use in Britain until the mid 1980’s although all new rolling stock manufactured before then employed a Westinghouse or similar braking system.

In earlier days the guards van would often keep the brake partially applied throughout a journey, to prevent the loose wagon couplings from jerking and snapping off and to prevent the highly dangerous shunting effect that lead to many derailments.

This Hornby Dublo outfit contains several brake wagons representing the earlier braking tasks and more recent guard duties.

Hornby Dublo Brake Wagons 178717 and E178717

Both of the above wagons are from the golden days of early Dublo. All-metal construction didn't weather quite as well as the more modern plastic versions and both have slight roof damage. Although they both bear the same serial number, one van has a grey roof and a chimney (to keep the guard warm), the white roofed wagon was presumably used in summer to prevent the poor chap from cooking in his box! Both guards vans have very slight paint chips, but otherwise intact, unbroken and sound great on the rails with their lovely metal wheels!

Note the 20T weight tag - almost double the usual freight wagon weight.

Super-Detail Molded Plastic Guards Vans 730973 and 730012

Brake van 730973 and van 730012 are identical except in colour and both are boxed and in immaculate condition. The Super-detail plastic molding dates them to the post '58 era. The larger size also reveals them to be more advanced wagons than their predecessors with the open foot plates. Probably, they carried mail in these wagons.

Train Wreck

Quite where this one came from I don't know, but it isn't a Dublo truck - the wheels do not fall off Hornby Dublo trucks! I used it in a display with a crane in a siding. In any case, it's a dead brake van.

What's next on the agenda? Let's go back to the box and have a look!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The First Steam Locomotive

The Alternative History of Steam

Although an American, John Fitch, was the first person to build a working steam powered rail locomotive, the idea fell flat on its face soon after its launch in 1784. Americans were too attached to their horses to let a machine move them around. "It jus' ain't manly ye hear"

Ten years later a Scotsman by the name of Murdoch built a steam powered locomotive, but his design was built for the roads and eventually paved the way for the steam revolution in Britain.

In 1804 Richard Trevithick managed to coax his own steam locomotive along a tramline in 'The Valleys' of South Wales...... never to be heard of again.

Eventually George Stephenson and his son Robert ... and perhaps one or three other people came up with a better design for the steam producing boiler and bolting it to a steel carriage, entered it into a competition to find the best locomotive to pull the first ever train service in the world. The 'Rocket' won the race without any real competition.

George and Robert Stephenson's 12mph 'Rocket'

The Rainhill Trials

The trials were established to find the best vehicle to run a regular passenger service between two major industrial cities in Northern England - Liverpool and Manchester. Steam power wasn't a condition of the trials, which took place over a five day period starting on the 6th October 1829, but it was certainly the only contender.

The trials were set to run on a very short length of track and it was stipulated that the engines had some means of stopping, just in case the operators hadn't considered that aspect.

The Rules (abbreviated version)

1. The locomotive must be weighed (cold and empty) and a load would then be assigned to the train of three times its weight. The operator had to guess how much fuel and water he would need for firing the boiler plus 35 miles of travel on the rails. He was then provided with this fuel and water and the time was measured for the fireman to build a head of steam.

2. The tender carrying the fuel and water for the locomotive was included in the load assigned to each engine. Engines carrying the fuel and water on the locomotive would receive a discount from their load. (they thought of everything eh?)

3. The locomotive must be pushed to the start line by hand - WHAT?? and then once the boiler reaches a pressure of 50psi it can take off (that is if the boiler didn't blow up before hand)

4. The track was one and three quarter miles long. One eighth of a mile at each end would be allowed for building up speed AND for stopping (quite important that on a straight piece of track), thus the timing would be taken over one and a half miles each way.

5. The engine had to reach a speed of ten miles per hour.

I would like to take brief interlude here to expand upon more recent developments in technology that are ridiculed, because they are not sufficiently powerful .....YET. After 100 years the steam engine was replaced by the internal combustion engine and not long after the engine was designed, someone had the bright idea of splitting water down into its constituent elements of hydrogen and oxygen and using this to fuel the engine. Such a vehicle was running in 1937.

Now ask yourself why you are still spending a fortune on hydrocarbon fuel?
Why we allow billions of tonnes of toxic fumes to be released into the atmosphere.... and fall back down again - let's not forget!
Why millions of people have been killed and mutilated through countless, pointless wars (often launched with a different excuse for public consumption) and why the global economy has been (so far) based upon the value of oil?

Water fuel engines are in their infancy. they have a long way to go and some people already have cars that run on nothing but water (and very little of that!).

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eeeerrrrrrr.....where was I?

Ruel Number 6. That's not how you spell rule!

Once more from the top:

Number 6. The locomotive shall make ten trips (equal to the distance from Liverpool to Manchester - thirty five miles. She will then be refueled and pushed back to the start line where she will make another ten trips, representing the return trip. What? You want to go BACK to Liverpool?

Number 7. The locomotive and driver have to survive the journey.

Sadly, they didn't include passengers and bystanders in the rules and Stephenson's Rocket, having won the trials promptly squashed the Member of Parliament for Liverpool at Parkside station during the inauguration run the following year.

Out of ten entries in the trials only five made it to the starting line. Does not augur well methinks!

The first entry 'Cycloped' failed, when the horse that powered the engine by walking on a moving belt, fell through the bottom of the machine. Eeh! Uur! Cycloped wasn't seriously injured, but went on to further misery when George Orwell got hold of him on Animal Farm and handed him over to the pigs for some serious abuse.

The second entry 'Perseverance' was damaged en route to the trials. Rumour has it, it fell off the back of the cart. Just a thought here - what mode of transport do you use to transport a steam locomotive when their are no rails OR roads ....or trucks or planes or EVEN slaves? It was repaired in time for the fifth day, but couldn't overtake the snails on the grass verge, so got back on the M1 and drove home again in a snot, causing untold damage to fences and property along the route. The police gave chase on penny-farthing bicycles, but couldn't catch him.

Number three was 'Sans Pareil' - when you choose a name like that you should make sure you mean it! It blew a cylinder and failed to finish, but it did actually go on to work for a couple of years.

The fourth engine was a demon. At 28mph it knocked spots off the competition... for a few minutes at least. Mechanical failures dogged this one to the grave, but the design was good, just poor quality iron!

Thus, at an average of 12mph, the rocket won by default, earning five hundred pounds prize money and going on to form the basis of what so many people fell in love with in subsequent years.


Some of this information was stolen from Wikipedia other information I found in a guidebook to the London Science Museum and other information i just made up to make it more interesting. That's how history is made!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's Only The Postman...

Hornby Dublo TPO Royal Mail Van Set

If you haven't seen the film 'Iris' then you wouldn't understand my occasional reference to 'it's only the postman'. Run along now to your local video shop (my local is 2 1/2 hours drive away!) and rent the film. Grab a box of kleenex and a glass of wine and watch the funny/sad moments as God slowly lowers Judi Dench into the viscid vat of Alzheimer's disease.

The film lacks the continuity of the heart string tugs that another director might provide, but offers several gluteal glimpses of the callipygian Kate Winslet.... which almost makes up for it! (actually it's worth watching just for Kate Winslet skinny dipping)

Since watching the film, my wife has adopted the phrase 'it's only the postman' to refer to the more distracted and forgetful moments in our lives.

Watch the film - you'll understand then! Jim Broadbent's performance is terrific.

As for the Royal Mail set - this falls a little short of perfect too (the actors performances were ALL brilliant by the way, it's the direction and editing that is below par) .... A few parts are missing like the mail bags and it has, most obviously, seen better days. I picked it up at Beattie's model train Mecca in London one day, when I was ....ooooh, just a tadpole. I pretended that Phil Collins had already boarded the train before I got to it and made off with the mail sacks. Now THAT is a superb film! 'Buster'. Phil Collins as Buster in the Great Train Robbery remake.

The coach has a few minor scratches and the rail is bit rough looking too, but it's an all metal version (sintered steel wheels). The switch is included as is the familiar blue and white striped box, which also bears the scars of a careless young brat. It looks like part of the mail bag exchanger mechnism is missing too.

I am making it out to be worse than it is though - i wouldn't have bought it if it had been trash.

Have another look:

All-in-all a nice addition to the set.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bulk Grain Wagon - B885040 (genuine Hornby Dublo)

Here's another from the plastic age ....what was that song about the plastic age "living in the plastic age, doo doo do doo doo do doo"?

The grey bulk grain carrier B885040 was the very first Hornby Dublo 'super detail' model wagon to roll out of the Liverpool factory in 1958, when they retooled for plastic molding.

(they sang with really weird electronic voices - either that or they were from another planet)

Most of these wagons have gathered dust over the years. Yes, I know I should have made my wife dust them more frequently, but at 12 years old I wasn't very demonstrative. I haven't scrubbed them with any kind of fluid, merely flicked over them with a paint brush (no paint - OF COURSE! duh! Oh - I do so dislike that sound....It's SO American!)

No damage and no paint to chip. Kissable in fact.

Buggles!! Living in the plastic age! circa 1979. Hey, the old grey matter hasn't deserted me entirely.

It's only the postman! what?

Refrigerated Box Van - W59850

White Refrigerated Box Van - W59850

This is a bit of a strange item, though I can't think why. It just is - ok?

The all plastic body on a 'Mazac' base (you'll have to read my Feb 19th post 'Hornby Dublo - The Alternative Story' to learn more about Mazac) and plastic wheels drops this baby into the post '58 era.

When Wrenn took over the tools from Tri-ang in 1968, they obviously thought it was such a nifty truck that they continued production, although they slapped a decal on the side saying 'Eskimo' and a picture of a rather non-PC personage wrapped up in seal skin. This caught on more than the Dublo version for I rarely see any of the original HD models floating around.

I have already thrown in my story of the chap who froze in a refrigerated truck, even though it wasn't cold inside, so I won't tell it again here.

Did I?

Here she is:

Not bad looking. A few very minor scuffs and the black wire thingys have become a little bent through vandalism and bad driving. Otherwise she is ready to roll.

Why does the word fridge have a 'D' in it and refrigerate doesn't? ...I think we should blame the Americans once more. Sins of their fathers and all that....