Binari for Summer 2017 arrives

Binari the Italian Railways Society Journal arrived today- always a good read.

The Society is reaching its 30th Anniversary and there is an interesting layout competition for the 2018 AGM which I am tempted to enter.

On the rear cover is a photo of Manarola* railway station on the north west coast of Italy, between Genoa and Pisa. Its location has some similarities with Dawlish on the Devon coast of S.W. England, but has a more dramatic  location with the railway line better protected from the sea!

(Manarola* is a small town, a frazione of the commune of Riomaggiore, in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, northern Italy. It is the second smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists.)

I tried an Italian model shop..


The Italian Railway Society magazine Binari  recently recommended an Italian model shop – TechnoModel  of Livorno (on the western coast of Italy)

Just before Christmas I went onto their site (in Italian) and noticed they had a pretty special offer on an Italian HO diesel railcar set (DC) by Os.kar at above 30% off. I have a bit of a thing about  railcars so in a spate of pre- Christmas bonhomie I placed an order. There was an added bonus of no postage charge! A note from Fed Ex followed a few days later (27th December) to say the parcel had been collected and should arrive on January 4th or 5th

Parcel dispatched from Livorno Italy 27th December Espresso FedEx  actually arrived today-29th December (am)

In comparison-A British outline item pre-ordered back in 2012, which I had not un-naturally forgotten all about, was dispatched first class on the 24th December from Cornwall  also arrived today but  pm…. (of course the pre-delivery period was not the fault of the shop just what happens with Chinese manufacturing)

If your into continental HO I would recommend  Tecnomodel on the basis of this experience. I also use a German shop from Detmold who also give excellent service with comparable delivery periods.

If continental model shops provide good service at affordable prices then I would suggest that you use them while you can. Being in Europe does bring some advantages…



Koln Trip

The Liphook club made its latest (3rd?) biannual trip to the International Model Railway Show recently. Travelling out on Wednesday 16th November with an early start from from Liphook at 06.04. A total of 6 were in the party including one “other half” and a non-member (me)

We had a pleasant two hour lay over in Brussels using a taxi out & back to the centre of town where beer & chips were consumed.

We reached Koln around 4.00 pm local time with a short walk to our hotel.

Visited exhibition on the Thursday, followed by a trip to a local model shop. On Friday some returned to the exhibition; I got an all day tram ticket and travelled for 5 hours or so on mainly street running parts of the system plus a trip to Bonn & back by two different routes.

All evenings were spent sampling a different restaurant with different local beers.

Return departure  on Saturday 19th just before midday, with arrival at Liphook just gone 18.00hrs. (Eurostar  was a re-conditioned set)

Good trip with pleasant company. Perhaps one more time in 2018?


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


Perhaps not quite with the spirit of Brexit- we add links to major European & some world railway systems

We have a wide interest in world railways in the club, so continuing our outward look, links to most major European railway passenger operators have recently been added. Also US & Canada- Amtrak & Via Rail.

We have included Ireland & Northern Ireland .

To follow Japanese, Russian, Czech & Polish systems ?

It is interesting to note that  the UK is the only country in the list of links that has a fully fragmented passenger & freight train operating structure.

A British trait perhaps to be different.. (despite the evidence?)