A slight error in the estimate or buy a new calculator?

Report in Live Rail Feb 2017 (Journal of the Southern Electric Group)

“The Department for Transport has discovered that the £20 M originally allocated was far from adequate, so is providing £300 M for improving the resilience of the Southern & Thameslink network.”

That is an error in the “estimate” of £280 M- ( 1400% ).

Anybody dismissed, shot at dawn or hung from a lamp- post- course not- the taxpayer will provide!

We should count ourselves lucky we have Network Rail..

The new Amtrak station at Niagara Falls, which reportedly took 17 years to complete and cost $43 million, will open on December 6… Timetable News European Rail Timetable Editorial December 2016






The press & railway terminology

Unfortunately on the extremely rare instances of railway accidents without or with fatalities,  press & TV reporters seem unable to use the correct vocabulary for railway related items.

They borrow terms related to motoring- the … came off on a sharp corner- rather than a curve in the track. Then the most inappropriate- “the …. skidded or swerved off the track”.

The term train tracks or rail tracks (that’s like saying rail rails!) seems to have crept into common usage, rather than the more correct railway tracks.

I’ve heard ballast referred to as shingle or gravel, the list goes on…. confusion between locomotives, carriages and multiple units.

Obviously we have reached an era when interest in transport systems  in ones youth, other than cars, passed the reporters by.

We won’t mention their lack of knowledge of railway safety systems or acknowledgement of the rarity of railway accidents & fatalities when compared to  motoring.

and some of them call themselves transport correspondents..

Hattons shop in Smithdown Road closes, but continues in Montague Road

Smithdown Road has been the home of Hattons, the countrys largest model railway retailer,since the 1940’s.  Just under 70 years

The road became as famous to railway modellers as Penny Lane did to Bettles fans & Binns Road of Meccano fame. (Both were close by)

Hattons & Smithdown Road became known to me first from adverts in Meccano Magazine & later from a school friend who went to Liverpool University & had a flat over Hattons!

I visited Smithdown Road once during a business trip to Liverpool in the late 70’s or early 80’s. Very basic with stock piled floor to ceiling & a copy of the latest issue of Railway Modeller hung from a substantial timber counter. (Hattons adverts even then ran to several pages in the RM & was used as the shop catalogue!)

The move has been apparently planned for some time, but has been hastened by the state of the building. They’re moving to their recently opened “distribution centre” 17 Montague Road, WA8 8FZ.

Initially there will be a temporary premises , but in April the permanent shop will be opened.

One by one all these famous model railway addresses are going. Charing Cross Road (Hamblings), London Bridge Stn Approach (Alan, Brett Cannon) & High Holborn (Bassett Lowke) & soon Hornby will be gone from Margate completely- the last to go, their visitor centre.


Ian Allan the “inventor” of train spotting dies aged 93

The man who thought up and published the ABC books of engine numbers, the bible of schoolboy railway enthusiasts from 1943, has died.

Hard to imagine now, but in the 40’s and 50’s railway platforms were crowded with young boys, youths and men attempting to “cop” (get the number of ) every engine that passed through a particular station, or every one of a particular class of loco or any combination. All were clutching their copy of Ian Allan’s latest ABC, a pencil and a 1d platform ticket + an OXO tin (“this tin makes an ideal lunchbox”) of sandwiches and home-made cake prepared by Mum.

Never before or since could an all embracing hobby cost so little and be enjoyed by so many.

Of course it led these spotters on to – model railways, railway travel, volunteering on the burgeoning railway heritage sector, railway photography, railway history and many to employment in the railway industry. Ian Allan’s company published books and magazines that covered all these interests plus equivalents covering buses, trams, aircraft, lorries and cars.

I, and hundreds of thousands of my generation, am immensely grateful to Ian Allan for  giving us a lifetime of hobbies full of interest and fun. RIP

HOBBY NEWS Kadee coupler co-inventor dies

Model Railroader has announced that Dale Edwards Senior, inventor with his twin brother Keith,  of what became known as the Kadee coupler,died 19th September aged 93.

His twin brother pre-deceased him.

Kadee was started in 1945 by the twin brothers, creating the first operating model knuckle coupler.

Dale has been credited with assisting in the development of more than 40 patents related to model railroad products.


Yamanouchi Oshika for sale on Ebay

Following the layouts appearance at Rotarail 2014 at Fareham College the layout has been offered for sale, without stock.



The layout has given us a lot of pleasure (and backache) and has raised the club’s profile

We hope we can find a good home for it.

Yamanouchi Oshika at Rotarail 2014

What is almost certain to be Y-O’s last public display, went off pretty well at Rotarail 2014. Minor electrical problems kept us on our toes, but the visitors – particularly one young boy,were captivated by the layout.

It could have been a sad occasion but it was an enjoyable  day at a well organised, friendly show.

For the writer it was good to have long chats with old colleagues from Fareham and South Hants clubs who were also exhibiting at the show.

The following picture- featured on the N Gauge Forum, was taken by Neal Mansell – whom we thank for permission to use on this site


Fareham 2014 Ben R, Bob Rn Tony B
Fareham 2014 with Yamanouchi Oshika final public appearance
Ben R, Bob R Tony B  (Graham A and Reg P out of shot) Picture by Neal Mansell

The crew comprised Ben, Bob, Graham , Reg and for the morning Matt-+yours truly. Thanks to them all for a long but enjoyable day.

Thanks to Nick for finding still and movies plus links and permissions

Also a short YouTube video  of the layout operating at Rotarail 2014

There are also other Y-O outings on this page