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, May 21, 2009

Hornby Dublo - 2 Track Engine Shed

I have accrued quite a few buildings for the set over the years, but only one of them counts as a genuine Hornby Dublo...... at least that's what I believe at the moment.

When Hornby launched Dublo in 1938 (sadly, Mr Hornby didn't make the debut party, having gone underground by this time....... was that a sick joke or what?) - the buildings and accessories were made from wood. Hand crafted! This was shortly replaced by diecast, which was considerably easier to mass produce.

1959 saw the introduction of plastic and the engine shed was the first item to receive the oil-based treatment. and it just so happens that this is what I have for you today!

For a well used plastic building celebrating its 50th birthday, it's in pretty good nick. If I make it to 50 with only a couple of lugs missing and a loose window, I shall be mightily pleased.

There was a minor hiccough when 2-rail Dublo was introduced, in that the buildings were designed for the extra height created by the thick 3 rail track. I don't think there were too many complaints and the range of buildings soon included lower platforms for 2-rail coaches. Least-ways, no-one sued for breaking a leg whilst stepping off a train.


Did you know that every single second of every single day, more than 15,000 disposable nappies (diapers for the uninitiated) are thrown away. That's considerably more than 1.3 billion plastic nappies, each wrapped in its own plastic bag and transported by fleets of trucks to landfill sites around the world, every single day! ....and China and India are being targeted by the manufacturers as we speak.

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Now, I hope you're sitting down right now (...well, they must be if they're reading this, bonehead!) ....Guess what? Yep, it's boxed. Take a look at this and then go and change your underwear:

That's worth locking yourself in the bathroom for isn't it? You don't see many boxed buildings floating around.

I have many other buildings, but they are mostly home-built or Airfix models, that do not like being boxed, moved or in anyway touched. They break easily.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trix Locomotive 80020 - Hot Snot!

Hot snot? - I am not altogether sure that is an appropriate term for this family blog, let alone a suitable metaphor for the locomotive, but all school boys worth their salt know everything there is to know about snot, so let's not play 'parenting' (you know that game, where you pretend to be shocked at something your child says or does, even though you have become far ruder and more gross than he?).

There is another more appropriate metaphor, that the Canadians have amended to their peculiar sensitivities as 'shoot off a silver shovel', but then they allow the whole family to use the word 'frig' knowing full well that this is just a sanitized version of the more commonly used, but vulgar term, which I decline to use here, cos' I would be banned by some of the parental control mechanisms on the Internet.

Parental control? That's a laugh! Mothers not allowing their little babies to watch the horrors widely shown on the daily news, but then plonking them in front of an animated video with all manner of gore and violence......and subjecting them to all manner of chemical and biological poisoning by feeding them trash and taking them to doctors to receive potentized chemical bombardment and............

Sorry about that...... I forgot to take my medication this morning!

Whilst browsing the net I came across this excellent book, which is a must-have for all model rail enthusiasts. Covering loads of the technical details and some devices of which I hadn't even heard of to make train operations more realistic and entertaining.
Click Here to

Anyway, what we 'ave for your delectation today my luvlie's is another treat from Trix. I don't know nuffink' about it and can't find nuffink' about it either!

0-6-0 Locomotive #80020. Made in black molded plastic and the fastest thing on 3-rails. Scaletically (I just made that up), 80020 is too fast, but that doesn't stop little boys from having fun. Turn the controller up full and it will derail on any curve and even the slightest irregularity in the fish plates.

The plastic allows it to bounce though, so it is in good condition, despite the treatment I remember giving it 35 years (or more) ago. How long?

If you happen to know anything about the history of the original Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) engine or even the date of manufacture of the Trix model, I should like to hear from you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Class 5600/6600 Collett 0-6-2 Tank Engine

How in the blazes did Trix get in on the scene? Oi! Will someone lock that back door – all kinds of riff-raff are sneaking in here!

For some strange reason two Trix locomotives wound up in this collection. The first one shown here is in abominable condition. She’s lost her bogey (euch!) and someone (not me!) has taken a chipping hammer to the paintwork.

Trix, Class 5600 Collett 0-6-2 Tank Locomotive, No. 6664 in British Railways lined green livery

The Class 5600 Tank Locomotive was the design of Charlie Collett, who presumably was a steam fanatic like Mr Gresley and my Dad, who was actually a boiler maker on the steam locomotives. The first of the 5600 series came into service in 1924 and the last one removed from mainline service with British Rail in 1965. You have to assume therefore, that it was a pretty good engine!

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....thank you for that little word for the would-be hippies - back to trains:

Mainly used for hauling coal from the pit heads of Wales (I am not calling the Welsh ‘pit-heads’ by the way …..although I knew a few who would fit that description quite well!) to the docks and factories and power stations.


Water Capacity – 1900 gals
Coal Capacity – 3.75 tons
Boiler Pressure – 200psi
Weight – 62 to 69 tons (depending on who you believe), plus the fireman’s lunch box
Tractive Effort – 25,800lbs
Drivers Inside Leg – 24inches

Charles Collett was the Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Great Western Railways (GWR) and he it was, who thunked up this great little mover and shaker of a tank engine to replace the small and inefficient ‘coal rats’.

Two hundred of them were built between 1924 and 1928 and they ended up in all manner of jobs in many locations around the UK. As far as I know, nine of these engines have been saved from the scrap yard and I think five are in active service including this little baby at Swanage ‘6695’.

If you want a ride on one then I highly recommend the Swanage Railway Museum. Take a long weekend and some old clothes and get thoroughly sooty and sweaty amongst this great collection of steam trains and associated ironwork.

For some strange reason the engines were numbered 5600 to 5699 and 6600 to 6699. One must assume, must one, that the 6600 series were slightly modified from the 5600 series. The later series being about 1 ton heavier.

Here’s another one of those photo’s kindly stolen from Wikipedia, which is a great source of information, but not always trusted to be 100% accurate!

'6664' in the flesh!

As for the Trix model of ‘6664’ it is designed to run on 3 rail and does perfectly well on the Dublo track even though the electrics were wired somewhat differently.

Of course, this trix, 5600 Tank loco does not come with a box. I’m sorry, but the quality of red Trix boxes is nowhere near the Hornby Dublo standard. Half the weight, cheap wood pulp and ….well, that’s why there’s no box. Nothing to do with the verminous creature who took the chipping hammer to the locomotive!

Now then, the other Trix Twin loco is a different scuttle of coal entirely…..

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Watering the Engine

Steam engines didn't just burn a huge pile of coal, they also sucked up and vented a massive volume of water. When a Coronation Class loco decided to 'lay down some rubber, man' ...hmmm? she could spew out as much as 45 gallons of vaporized water per mile of track. A little 0-6-0 tank, shunting stock in the yard, on the other hand might run for a whole shift on 50 or 60 gallons.

45 gallons per mile meant that the Ol' Duchess locomotive needed to carry a huge volume of water just to make it to Bill's mothers'! 5000 gallons of water plus 10 tons of coal makes for a pretty big tender and that wouldn't actually get her very far. She needed to take on water several times during a run from Liverpool Street to Edinburgh (does the Edinburgh train leave from Liverpool Street station?).

Bring on the Water Crane. (This is where it get's boring and anorak-ish)

Water cranes were often situated at railway stations so that the loco could refuel whilst stationery. The water crane was essentially a ginormous standpipe capable of dumping up to 10 cubic meters of water per minute into a tank. That would make filling the bath a bit quicker eh?

There. That's it. That's all you ever wanted to know about water cranes. If you really want to see one, I have it on good authority that the new Bullring/Moorhouse Station shopping center in Birmingham has one on display.

Water cranes weren't the only method of watering the engine, the alternative method of scooping it from a chute in the track bed, whilst on the move, was great fun for kids who liked getting wet. It wouldn't suit the environmentalists these days though. Maybe I will write more about that when I am less hungry. It must be time for a scooby snack!

Hornby Dublo's water crane with real moving arm! .....and a beautiful cardboard box in a rich deep blue colour:

I suppose I could explain that the water crane was usually fed from a header tank perched on the highest available rooftop or failing that from a guessed it! ....a water tower! The greater the 'head' (for you Yanks, that's the vertical distance between the water level and the spout. I pick on the Americans, because they don't generally know anything about header tanks. The oomph behind the water tap in the average American household water supply is usually generated by a pressure tank, whereas the British preferred to place water storage tanks in their roof spaces to freeze in in the winter (character building you know) and also (poor grammar to use 'and' in conjunction with 'also') for drowning rats and mice and harboring all kinds of diseases. It also causes that delightfully British lack of shower power. sigh!

Here's Hornby Dublo's attempt at a water tank. It appears to be modeled on the powder pink tank on the Swanage line, although the Hornby designer was a little more crusty and couldn't bring himself to use powder pink for a boys toy I think it falls a little below the usual standard. It could have been modeled on one of the more ornate versions.

It's in good nick, but alas and alack - NO BOX!