There have been a considerable number of updates and revisions to pages during 2020, some in part to the covid pandemic but others due to a change in direction; decreasing the number of exhibition type layouts and the abandoning of several projects.

This will continue into 2021 -So it pays to visit regularly!

Liphook U3A- Building a Model Railway Group – Latest News

The group has now completed 6 sessions with some success but there are problems with  regular attendance, the format and number of members

Attendance – there is no real answer to this. There can be no compulsion -you can’t make people attend, but we can make it an “I don’t want to miss it” session and the more members we have the less vulnerable the group is to very low numbers attending a particular session.

Format– The current members want to have more active participation in modelling and this will tried in the first session of 2018 on 17th January. Dioramas will probably figure highly in this.

Recruitment of members. I have started placing pieces in local social media sites drawing attention to the group and the value of the group to those wanting to build a model railway for a grandchild, following the gift of a train set at Christmas. The Liphook U3A Open Day in March 2018 will also be targeted for a display of the groups first layout East Hants Link- I shall be negotiating with the Liphook U3A  committee on this shortly.

In the longer term, I haven’t given up on forming some sort of “alliance” with  the Liphook & District Model Railway Club, which could be beneficial to both, as I do not believe we are in competition with  each other for members. I would also like to expand the role of this website and the Milland Valley Railway series of Facebook pages in following progress on projects.

Railway Children Charity- the group has made regular small donations at each session to this charity, which looks after homeless children living in and around railway stations in India , East Africa and the UK. We are well on the way to donating £70 over a 12 month period.

Light rail letter in “Petersfield Post” links reality & model

Under the heading “Light rail scheme would work here” the “Post” published today my “Letter to the editor” regarding the “lack of serious efforts to make the Bordon- Bentley scheme a reality” in support of a previous letter by a Michael Huber of Lindford published last week.

Attention was drawn to the much more active light rail scene in Europe and the apparent lack of knowledge by the UK populace on what modern light rail is. This is particularly true in the South of England where except for Croydon there is no light rail scheme development.

To give locals an idea of what a modern system might look like, mention was made of the East Hants Link N scale layout under construction as part of the Liphook U3A Building a Model Railway Group

Society magazines recently received

French Railways Society

For the last 40 years known as the SNCF Society, but apparently some thought the SNCF organisation was somewhat “devalued” and that the interests of the members was more accurately represented by the new name.

That aside, the quality of the magazines content is thankfully unchanged and as always a “good read”  covering the modern scene, memories of earlier times and of layouts/modelling.

N Gauge Journal

I am a very new member of this society which is 50 years old this year. I joined because of my involvement in the Liphook U3A Building a Model Railway Group and the need to build a small  tramway layout in this scale.

Fortuitously the latest issue contains an article about the availability of N gauge trams and covers the main Japanese makers of same in 1:150 scale. It seems I am well up to speed on this, but I need to read the article in more depth.

Again a potential good read.


N scale added to the list of interests

With the ordering of an N scale tram for the proposed East Hants Link tram layout, I have also joined the N Gauge Society and received a hefty pack of information.  I like the look of their proposed diesel shunter  which would be very useful as a works shunter for the tram maintenance works at Whitehill/Bordon.

I have also been looking at the availability of various items to model modern Liphook  & Bentley stations.

Carter Paterson

Last Sunday I picked up  from Wessex Wagons stand at the Uckfield Show some OO wagons and an O gauge coal wagon.

The OO wagons included a Carter Paterson container on an SR flat.

It is quite amazing how few models of CP’s fleet you see on model railways set up to the 40’s & 50’s. Their lorries were seen on every street delivering & collecting goods & parcels- I believe they were THE parcel carrier in those days & had been owned by the “big four” railway companies from 1933, although the company dated back to 1860. For most of their existence they acted as parcel agents for  railway companies.

After the railways and road transport nationalisation in 1948, they were progressively absorbed into British Road Services.

They were also associated closely with a breed of dog- the Jack Russell terrier. To cut down on pilfering from the rear of their delivery/collection lorries they had a large number of these canine “employees”. The dogs spent their working lives bedded down with the parcels in the rear area of the covered lorry. Wobetide any light fingered opportunist who placed his hand inside this area. The breed are very territorial & have extremely sharp teeth. The company gave proper provision for their welfare & feeding & were probably lodged with the drivers family when not working!

I have personal knowledge of the breed- they are the most loyal & active dogs imaginable and in the past were used to flush out or kill fox cubs in their lair  or hunt rats. They do however make wonderful house dogs and are great characters full of spirit!

Would make a wonderful High Street scene on a layout, with the open back lorry- often just a canvas curtain and a little terrier looking out.

Third Spanish rail trip renews interest in Spanish themed layout

I have just returned from a holiday in Estepona mainly to play boule (petanque) with local ex pat teams & a local club in Gibraltar.

Although the main U3A boule group travelled out  and back by air via  Malaga, I travelled by train  from London to Paris, Paris to Barcelona (overnight stay) Barcelona to Malaga, then bus to our hotel in Estepona.

This added two days to the holiday- I left a day earlier and got back a day later.

Previously I have done a similar trip to Estepona (2012) going via  a Paris to Madrid sleeper- a service suspended a few weeks later. A trip in 2014 to Altea was via Barcelona (overnight stay) and Alicante, then on the local light rail (tram line) virtually to the door of the hotel.

I have been a member of the Iberian Railways Society for a number of years, but I am no expert on the system.

I have toyed with the idea of a small HO scale layout- firstly a “what if” layout situated in Gibraltar – connected to the Spanish system. In the end I decided this was a bit too politically charged!!

On the recent trip I renewed my interest in a layout- this time a “what if” layout situated in Estepona. The town has a very interesting and historic town centre with surroundings hugely expanded in all the recent economic boom times- mostly to quite a good standard with lots of well thought out landscaping.

Luckily Spain has a number of model railway manufacturers the leading one being Electrotren owned by Hornby.

So watch out for developments on the layout blogs