Thursday, 14 November 2019

Upside down Union Jack dilemma

As the normal flag waving and bluster that normally accompanies elections starts off in the United Kingdom, I have noticed that there is an increasing tendency to use incorrect Union Jacks. So this is a quick post to remind everyone about how to display the national flag.
First off is the name, as you might have noticed i have used the term "Union Jack," and that is perfectly acceptable. There is a growing sentiment both in media, so called academics, politicians and the general populace that the term "Union Jack" only applies to the flag on a ship and that "Union Flag" should be used to describe the flag on land. This is a myth, and despite the publication by the Flag Institute that dispels it, is one that is still commonly believed. Both terms "Union Jack" and "Union Flag" are perfectly acceptable names on both land and sea.
You don't really need to know that to display the flag correct but I thought I'd add it in while I was at it. First you need to understand the symbols on the flag. The Union Jack is of course a flag of flags. Displaying the English Cross of St George, Scottish Cross of St Andrew and Irish Cross of St Patrick.
You will notice that the red diagonals of St Patrick's Cross are not symmetrical. This is because the flag is a heraldic design and this way they do not obscure the white cross of St Andrew. In heraldry the description of how symbols are depicted is called a blazon and the blazon for the Union Flag is:
"the Union Flag shall be Azure, the Crosses Saltires of St. Andrew and St. Patrick Quarterly per Saltire, counterchanged Argent and Gules; the latter fimbriated of the Second, surmounted by the Cross of St. George of the Third, fimbriated as the Saltire"
This clearly states that the Crosses of St Andrew sits above that of St Patrick and the design is counter changed meaning that it is the opposite on the other end of the flag, the side farthest  from the pole, which when depicted on paper or on a screen is generally to the viewers right.
If the flag is symmetrical as that one that appeared in this report from the metro is then it is not upside down but completely the wrong design which is arguably worse. 
So now we know how to fly the flag the right way up, I think that I should also highlight the fact that the version of the flag generally in use is the version approved by the Royal Navy. You might notice that the blazon state that the edging (fimbration) of the Cross of St George is to be the same the St Patrick's Saltire (X cross), however in the most common variant of the flag not only is the edging wider it is the size of the red saltire and its edging put together. In fairness the diagram that accompanied the blazon did depict the flag like this however the Navy said it was for easier identification at sea. 
The only flags that I am aware that strictly adhere to the blazon are the ceremonial flags of the Army, compare the above and below pictures:
Not that the above any of the two above images are wrong, the top one is just adhering to Naval specifications. However on both flags the saltire crosses are not symmetrical.  

Friday, 25 October 2019

New/Old station in Londonderry

The long awaited new railway station in Londonderry has arrived. I say new station however that new station in in the Victorian building which housed the station that was replaced by the station which the new station has replaced. Confused yet? Then I'll briefly explain the history.
The railway history of Londonderry is quite long as you would expect for a city that once boasted four termini plus extensive docks railways, so I am only focusing in on one station.

Seal of the L&CR
featuring the arms of Coleraine
The Londonderry & Coleraine Railway Company (L&CR) opened its first station in Londonderry's waterside area in December 1852, although the line would no be completed until July the following year (until then trains from Derry terminated at Limavady Junction).
 Around this time there were other railway lines being founded in Ulster. The Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine & Portrush Junction (BBC&PJ) Railway being the  L&CR's closest neighbour at the Coleraine end, who in 1859 built a bridge over the River Bann to link to the L&CR station in Coleraine. in 1860 The Belfast & Ballymena Railway merged with the BBC&PJ to form the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway (BNCR). By 1871 the BNCR had bought the L&CR giving trains from Londonderry the ability to run to Belfast and Portrush as well as the places in between which is more or less the system operated today. The BNCR rebuilt the L&CR Londonderry Waterside terminus in 1874 commissioning John Lanyon to build an impressive dressed Sandstone structure and that company's initials are still carved into the clock tower. No known records of the original L&CR station survive
Initials of the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway in the clock tower
The station included a booking hall, waiting rooms and offices with a large indoor platform area with two platforms and a "run around" in the centre. There was also a goods yard, turntable and water crane facilities to top up the tenders and tanks of steam locomotives (in later years diesel storage tanks would also be include). The station also included living accommodation for staff. Plus a duel gauge railway that linked it to the city's other three termini and the docks via the lower deck of the Carlise Bridge over the River Foyle. It was quite an extensive site considering it was at the bottom of a hill sandwiched between the buildings of the waterside and river.
View down platforms showing the extensive space to the right for sideings and
where the link to Craigavon Bridge was. It also gives a good impression of how
the station sat between the raised urban environment on the left of the picture and
the river to the right. This picture is of a steam excursion on 1 September 1979 after
the closure of Londonderry's other stations hence no 'Waterside' suffix on the sign. The
Loco No 186 is a Railway Preservation Society of Ireland engine
Copyright William Adams shared under Creative Commons Licence
The station and the railway it served would change ownership many times. Operating under the titile of Northern Counties Committee under the Midland Railway, London Midland & Scottish Railway and UK Railway Executive, until the Northern Ireland government purchased the NCC in 1948 and running it through the Ulster Transport Authority and from 1967 through Northern Ireland Railways which is currently a subsidiarity of  the government owned Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company which trades under the brand of Translink.
Another Platform view on a miserable June day in 1979 showing better the actual
station canopy. Damage from the 1975 bomb visible on the windows. 80 class DMU
number 94 awaits departure with the 1440 service to Belfast Central
Copyright The Carlisle Kid shared under Creative Commons Licence 
Another photo from 23 June 1979. Looking north down the platform from under
the canopy. This picture gives an excellent view of the canopy and how one side of
it was open. This would later be enclosed.
The DMU in the distance is 94 from the previous picture.
The train to the right is an old UTA Multi Purpose Diesel (MPD) Railcar.
Copyright The Carlisle Kid shared under Creative Commons Licence
The station continued in use as Londonderry Waterside station. It was at a somewhat disadvantage to Derry's other stations as it was on the Waterside (east bank of the river), whereas the other mainline terminus Londonderry Foyle Road was on the City Side (west bank of the river) and was hence more convenient to both the city centre and the docks.  The narrow gauge station of Londonderry Victoria Raod was also on the waterside but even this was right beside the rail wagon exchange of the Craigavon Bridge (which replaced the Carlise Bridge in 1933, and is still in use although the lower deck is now used by road vehicles) However despite this it managed to out live the other termini in Londonderry to become the city's sole railway station. Although after the closures of the other stations the Waterside suffix was dropped from the station's name it continues to be known locally as the Waterside Station, other local names for it have been the Midland Station and the Northern Counties Station in reference to the companies which operated it.
Turn around from the previous picture and we see MPD  units 539 & 61. These
were built bu the UTA in 1959 reusing the bodies of 1933 built coaches. This waste not
want not attitude was an Ulster railway tradition and helped prolonged the lives of many lines
Another view of the canopy and the wall. Sadly the booking hall was destroyed in the 1975 bomb
the shed behind the train serving as the ticket office
Copyright The Carlisle Kid shared under Creative Commons Licence
The station was targeted twice by terrorists during the troubles being bombed in 1972 and again in 1975. While damage suffered from the first bomb was relatively light although it destroyed the tea room, the station was not so lucky after the second bomb. It would eventually prompt its abandonment and closure. It destroyed much of the entrance and centre of the building including the staff accommodation and Ticket Office and Waiting Rooms following this tickets had to be purchased from a shed at the end of the platform. The last resident of the accommodation at waterside station was North West Manager Alec Esdale, living quarters would never again feature in any of Derry's railway stations.
View of the station May 1979 showing the extent of the bomb damage
Copyright Albert Bridge shared under Creative Commons Licence
The make shift ticket office used from 1975 to 1980
Copyright The Carlisle Kid shared under Creative Commons Licence

A new station was opened next to the old in 1980. The old station was fully enclosed and used for storage for some years before being sold by the railway. Since then it mostly lay empty although it did have brief periods of use. I remember it being used as a furniture shop. During this time the platforms were filled in with concrete.
The new station featured an island platform at the end of a square building which included a ticket office and small waiting room. It was very much a station built to reflect the decline of the railway and although there were a couple of sidings the track capacity was very much reduced. The people of Londonderry were never really satisfied with the station. Although it might have been apt for the dwindling passenger numbers when it was built, it was very much a cold looking and functional building, with next to no attractive features, with many saying the platform canopy resembled an upside down egg box. Hardly a befitting way to enter Northern Ireland's Second City!
The 1980s built station
Although unattractive as it was it served the city and the railway as well as it was designed to until traffic on the line once again began to pick up with the dawn of the new millennium. With growing public, political and infrastructure pressure Translink upgraded the line, some sections of track were upgraded with continuous welded rail in 2013, later a passing loop was added at Bellarena the next station from Derry to enable an hourly service in each direction. Before that at Londonderry if you missed the train you would have to wait at least two hours.
view from the platform of the 1980s built station.
The clock tower of the old station can be seen to the right
The net phase was a station refurbishment. Translink gave the public a choice. They could refurbish the 1980s building, repurchase and renovate the old Victorian station or build a new station further up the line by the relatively new foot bridge over the Foyle known as the peace bridge. In fairness from an operational view the latter might have been preferable giving closer and more convenient access to the city centre and the Translink bus depot via the Peace Bridge.
However in the consultation the people of Londonderry (myself included) voted by about 60% to renovate the old waterside station. That renovation began in 2018 and as well as renovating the Victorian building included track and signalling work and building new platforms. There are two platforms which unlike the original station are completely outside one running down the side of the building. They are much longer than the previous station with the intention to cater to longer trains not just NI Railways trains but also steam train excursions and rail tours like the Belmond Grand Hibernian. The track includes a run around which should help facilitate these trains. A tea room has returned to the building as well as a shop. The waiting area is spacious and artistic, with reminders of the city's railway heritage and local points of interest.
A clock that tells the time

the renovated frontage

view of the ticket office on the left with waiting area beyond

where the opening for the track and platforms once was, there
is now a window gazing onto the platforms

One of the installations celebrating the rail heritage
Note the Great Northern did not owned the Foyle Road station
Not mentioned is the company that did, the Northern Counties Committee! 

Looking South. Platform entrance on the right.
This photo offers a view of the canopy and brickwork

The tea room to the left of the south entrance

A 4000 class DMU stabled in the sideing

The old 1980s station is set to be demolished and form part of the road area of the station which is not only to serve as a train station but a regional "Transport Hub" with bus connections too.
While it might not be a restoration it is certainly a new lease of life and one that sees the building serving as a railway station which is the function it was built for

Friday, 20 September 2019

Britain's other navy

HMC Seeker might look like a vessel of the Royal Navy however this is not so
as evidenced by the fact she is wearing a blue ensign and not the white ensign
The United States Coast Guard is sometimes thought of as a sort of second navy for the USA. Although often regarded as a Search & Rescue organisation it is also a law enforcement organisation and protecting American waters from smugglers, piracy and other criminality as well as being an official branch of the armed forces. The United Kingdom in contrast does not quite have an equivalent. The UK does have Her Majesty's Coastguard which is a safety and search & rescue authority and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary which is a fleet of civilian maned vessels owned by the Ministry of Defence. However its already considered a branch of the Naval Service and its role is to support Britain's interests and Armed Forces logistically rather than conduct naval activities such as intercepting and boarding vessels. In regard to law enforcement the vessels of the Border Protection Squadron of the Home Office's Border Force is Britain's other navy.
The vessels of the Border Force trace their history back to various revenue and customs cutters (a cutter originally being a term for a sailing vessel designed for speed rather than capacity) in the 18th Century to tackle illegal smuggling. The Border Force fleet acknowledges this history calling their vessels cutters to this day; the prefix before the name of Border Force vessels is HMC meaning "Her Majesty's Cutter".

Cutters are principally to board ships suspected of illegally breaching Britain's borders e.g. smuggling which could mean everything from smuggling in French beer to avoid tax to more serious crimes such as drug smuggling or human trafficking, and are at sea 24/7 as explained in this video produced for the Royal Yachting Association.

The current fleet consists of about eleven vessels which vary in size from the 20m RIB Coastal Patrol Vessel like that shown in the above clip to the Telkk√§-class Cutter. The total crew compliment across the fleet numbers roughly 120 Border Force officers spread across fleet who normally rotate between spending two weeks on duty and two weeks off duty. This way there are at least five fully operational cutters on duty around the UK at anyone time.
The vessels of the Border Protection Squadron usually operate in the waters around the United Kingdom however they can and have been spent further afield. In 2015 for example HMC Protector and Seeker were deployed alongside Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary and other European Customs, Coast Guard and Naval vessels in the Mediterranean to assist in the Migrant Crisis, for this the normal crew compliment was bolstered with a detachment of Royal Marines. Whilst there the two ships helped rescue 1650 refugees and apprehended 26 people traffickers.  As this interview by the Gibraltar Broadcast Corporation details

Boarder Force vessels sail under blue ensign as defines ships in state service sometimes defaced with the badge of the Boarder Protection Squadron.
ensign worn by some Border Force vessels
The badge features a red roundel with the text "Border Protection Squadron" within this badge is a red portcullis on a blue and white wavy field. The badge is ensigned with the St Edward's Crown. This badge is often displayed on the superstructure or cabin of cutters and offshore patrol vessels, although formally the variant of the Royal Coat of Arms used by the Home Office was used in the latter role and this might still be the case on some cutters. Traditionally customs cutters flew a distinguishing pennant. Although such decorations were the sole right of a ship at war the Admiralty turned a blind eye to this providing they were distinct from Royal Navy pennants. I am not sure if Border Force cutters continue this tradition however I have noted in some clips and images that some cutters seem to have a pennant like flag flying from the jackstaff.
The Border Force Fleet is as follows:

UKBF 42m Customs Cutter

These vessels are a variant of the Damen Stan 4207 Patrol Vessel built by the Dutch Damen Group which has provided similar vessels for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Jamaican Defence Force, Mexican Navy and Venezuelan Navy among others. Damen's design includes the ability for an emplaced cannon and while at first sight it appears that the Boarder Force vessels of this class also feature one, it is in fact a water cannon. Border Force personnel are not armed with firearms, but can call on ships and personnel of the Royal Navy and National Crime Agency for firearms support. These cutters are 42 metres long hence the class name. The ships of this class are:

HMC Seeker

HMC Seeker in Belfast Lough in 2009
Attribution: Albert Bridge, Wikimedia Commons
The oldest cutter in current service Seeker was built in 2001 for what was then HM Customs & Excise later HM Revenue & Customs whose fleet was later absorbed into the UK Border Agency in 2008 which in turn gave way to Border Force in 2013.
As such she has sailed under atleast three varients of the blue ensign and had three diferent prefixes before her name; HMRC "Her Majesty's Revenue Cutter" HMCC "Her Majesty's Customs Cutter" and latterly simply HMC. Seeker was one of two Border Force ships sent to the Mediterranean to take part in Operation Triton.

HMC Searcher in Weymouth in 2016
Attribution: Richard Symonds, Wikimedia Commons

HMC Searcher 

Built in 2002 for what was then HM Customs & Excise which became HM Revenue & Customs in 2005 and transferred to the Border Agency in 2008. This fleet was inherited by Border Force when the former was dissolved in 2013. Like her sister Searcher has had the same changes of prefix, colours and livery.

HMC Vigilant

HMC Seeker outside Weymouth
Attribution: Brian Burnell, Wikimedia Commons
Vigilant is the latest of a number of vessels of British revenue services to bear the name. The first HMRC Vigilant being built in 1901 followed followed in 1921 when the former HMS Esther was acquired and renamed, This vessel was the sole official customs cutter in service in UK waters in the 1920s. The last Vigilant before this bearer of the name was aquired in 1947 and like her predessor was a former warship, HMS Benbecula and has the distinction of having the first ever live outside TV broadcast from a ship being made on her in 1950. 
The current Vigilant was built in 2004 for HM Customs & Excise and has the same history as her class sisters.

HMC Valiant

HMC Valiant entering Malta's Grand Harbour in March 2018
Attribution: Estormiz, Wikimedia Commons
 Launched in 2004 Valiant is the last ships of the UKBF 42m Customs Cutter class to be built. The ships history mirrors that of her classmates but has the distinction of conducting the single largest seizure of Class A Drugs in the United Kingdom. this happened on 23rd April 2015 when along with the HMS Somerset she intercepted the Tanzanian flagged tug 'Hamal' in the North Sea 100 miles off Aberdeen, and seized over three tones of cocaine.

Telkka Class Cutter

Border Force operates one vessel of this class and that is the HMC Protector. Protector originally named Tavi was built in 2002 for the Finnish Border Guard. She served the Finnish until 2013 when she was acquired by the British Border Force to replace the ageing HMC Sentinel which was withdrawn from service. She was commissioned and named HMC Protector in 2014 as this Home Office video shows:

Protector along with Seeker were deployed on Operation Triton in 2015 helping rescue 1650 refuges. 

20m RIB Coastal Patrol Vessel

Current stats show that Border Force operates around six 20 metre RIBs these smaller vessels are not designed to stay at sea like the larger cutters but operate out of smaller ports and harbours of which the British coast has many. There are eight vessels of this class were acquired post 2015 and bought from BP suggesting their purchase was in response to a shortage of small vessels with the ability to respond to upsurge of migrants attempting to enter UK illegally by crossing the English channel in small boats. Information is not readily available on all these vessels but we know through vessels appearing on and names mentioned in news reports that there are atleast six named vessels. There are Her Majesty's Coastal Patrol Vessels Active, Alert, Eagle, Nimrod, Hunter and Speedwell. All were built by Holyhead Marine. Information available on the following vessels: 

HMCPV Active

Built in 2006 she saw service with BP as a rescue boat operating in conjunction with a larger offshore support vessel. She was initially named 'David' and was acquired by Border Force in 2016


HMCPV Nimrod in Underfall Yard Britol
Attribution: Keir Gravil, Wikimedia Commons 
Eagle originally named Ian was an autonomous Rescue and Recovery craft opertated by BP. Built in 2006 she supported BP projects in the North Sea. She operated as a daughter vessel of a larger offshore support vessel acting as mother ship. Acquired by Border Force and renamed Eagle in 2016.

HMCPV Nimrod

Nimrod was originally named Euan and like her sisters was one eight rescue boats bought from BP. She entered service in with Border Force in 2016.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Locomotives of Shelvetop Shed

I haven't done a model railway post in a while so I thought I'd make one on the motive power I generally use on my micro shunting layout. Most of these are in line with the setting of the layout being the twilight of steam on British Railways, although there are some that don't strictly tigh in with this. Not all pictures of the locos show them n my layout but some are feature them on the larger club layout which I am member of.

Diesel Locomotives 

Most of the locos are steam however its not exclusively as there was diesel traction at work in the 1950s & 60s alongside steam. I've started with diesel as I have less of them compared to steam engines.

Dock Shunters

I have two old Tri-ang 0-4-0 dock shunters. These are great little machines that are not actually modeled on any real loco but are a generic shunter, that is entirely built on around a power bogie from the Tri-ang transcontinental sets from the 1950s. Tri-angs power 1950s power bogie/motor were/are really simple and reliable. I got my first dock shunter from ebay at a price of £6.70 and it was listed as a non runner, more out of curiosity than anything else. After I cleaned it up a bit and put it on a circle of track I quickly built it went like a rocket. After that I went back on ebay and bought the second one for £12. A little bit more expensive but still pretty cheap. The only criticism I have is they have older wheels with bigger flanges so they are more prone to derailing on my newer points, there are replacement more modern wheels for them out there but I am yet to obtain any. 

Class 06

This particular model is the Hornby Collectors Club model of 2008 (there are quite a few collectors club models) hence the Midland Pullman livery. I am yet to receive this years model which is also a class 06 in yellow Network Rail livery. Note that none of these liveries were ever carried by real class 06s, but thats what many people like about Collector Club models. The real class 06 were built by Barclay from 1958 to 1960 with 8 cylinder Gardner Diesel engines and were mainly used on the Scottish Region of British Railways. 

Class 08

One could not have a layout set in the UK centred around shunting and not have an example of the most numerous class of British locomotive ever produced. The prototype of this class of Diesel electric 0-6-0 was built in 1952 although the early origins of this type of loco design date from the 1930s. Between 1952 & 62 just under 1000 were built with around 100 still at work on the national network or private industrial sidings. This particular model was from my childhood Hornby 'battle zone' set but with a replacement body from ebay in gree British Railways livery of the 1950s&60s.

Limia Diesel shunter

As is typical with the Lima products sold in the UK they are totally unauthentic based on North American or Continental European designs rather than British. However that does not put me off as I think freelance models give you more room to be creative without violating authenticity to much. As such I repainted and this into a Ministry of Defence livery similar to that seen on the locomotives working in the large depots that have internal rail systems like that at Bicester or the at military docks like Marchwood. Why the military livery? No reason really other than I thought it would be a bit different and thus bit more interesting. 

Class 33

Introduced in the early 1960s on the Southern Region of British Railways the class 33 were initially intended for passenger train and express work, but could be found doing all sorts of jobs throughout the network. Like quite a lot of my model railway stuff I got this second hand off ebay. It was actually pretty hard to find a relatively cheap one in the early green livery rather than the corporate blue livery applied in the 70s and 80s. This Lima model might not be as detailed 
as other manufactures (I picked out some of the details such as the vent grills myself as they weren't painted separately) but you get what you pay for and when you weight these engines down you get a pretty decent runner. Although I have noticed the tires seem to come off this engine a bit but thats not really a big problem. This is still a cheap engine that can just about fit on my headshunt and I don't think it looks out of place shunting.

Collectors Club locos

And so now we move onto steam engines starting with those I have received each year when I choose to renew my membership of the Hornby Collectors Club. The each year hornby make a new model on an 0-4-0 chassis specially for the club members. As such some of these can be highly collectable if not entirely authentic.  

D Class industrial tank engine

This was my first collectors club loco, which was the club loco for 2005 I think. Unique as its in Southern Railway green. The D class (a term which is rarely used by Hornby when cataloging these) was first introduced by Hornby in the early 1990s. Initially based on the real locos that worked on an Ironworks in Wales. Since then however it has sort of been the go to design by Hornby for small industrial tank engines and been produced in a variety of unauthentic or fictional liveries. 

Class 0F Pug

The club model for 2006 the year of HM the Queen's 80th birthday. So to celebrate this the club model of that year was adorned in the Royal Claret livery used on the royal train with the running number of 80 and the name "Queen Elizabeth II" below the royal cypher. The locomotive for that year was an 0F class 0-4-0ST.

Holden Tank engine 101

The club model for 2007 a model of the experimental Holden tank engine in British Railways green livery with the early 'unicycling lion' emblem on the side tank. The original engine was a one off experiment by the Great Western Railway chief engineer James Holden. Originally built to test the concept of burning oil rather than coal, an experiment that evidently proved fruitless as the loco was converted to coal burning and used as a shunter at Swindon works until withdraw and scrapped in 1911. Like the D Class Hornby have adopted the design as standard 0-4-0T shunter/industrial loco and produced them in a variety of non authentic (such as this one) and fictional liveries. 

Freelance 0-4-0 tank engine

The Club model for the Diamond Jubilee year of 2012. Like the 2006 model it is in Royal Claret livery with the royal cypher and name "Queen Elizabeth II" however with the appropriate number of 60 and silver lining. 
The tank engine here is not based on any real locomotive (freelance) but in fact is Hornby re-using the moulds for the Thomas the Tank Engine sets of the early 1990s. I actually had one of these sets (still do in fact although it boxed away) and they put thomas on their 0-4-0 chassis probably for cost reasons (despite the book & TV character being based on an E2 0-6-0T!).

0-6-0 locomotives

The most common type of steam loco wheel arrangement generally used for short and medium distance goods trains. I have two locomotives of this wheel arrangement which are along with the 33 the largest locos om the layout. 

Fowler 4F 

This is an old airfix model I bought of ebay for under £20 and is a descent runner. In fact the only problem I have with it is the couplings. It is only fitted for one coupling at the rear and this was a small interlocking type with a very small hook. However this did not interact well with my peco uncoupling ramps, and the fitting has proved difficult to replace with the larger interlock type which work better on my layout. I have resolved to glueing a new coupling which works but is by no means the ideal solution. The 4Fs were the workhorses of the London Midland & Scottish Railway being built from 1921 as the Midland Railway class 4 goods. Batches built by the LMS after 1924 had some minor improvements such as mechanical lubricators. 

J15 Goods Loco

The most numerous class of locomotive ever to run in Ireland north or south. Built by the Great Southern & Western Railway between 1866 and 1903 making it the oldest type of real life loco used on the layout. They continued in use up to the end of steam traction on the railways of the Republic of Ireland in 1963. Following nationalisation in the republic they were found throughout the network doing everything from the goods trains they were designed for to branch line passenger trains and yard shunting. This loco is a scratch built/kit bashed model built  on the chassis and using the motor of a Tri-ang Jinty.

0-6-0T locomotives

Yes the "T" really makes all the difference as it denotes a tank engine. Unsurprising being a shunting layout most of the motive power is by tank engines. 0-6-0Ts were by far the favoured wheel arrangement for shunting engines in Great Britain a legacy still seen today by continued use of the Class 08 and other classes that are derived from it.


The Fowler 3Fs to use the official classification were built by the London Midland & Scottish Railway between 1924 and 1931, although the Jinty was really the final refinement of a design originating the 19th Century. Through various modifications, upgrades changes and other improvements gave the Midland Railway and later the LMS a large family of relatively similar class culminating with the Jinties.The Jinties were intended from the start for shunting and light branch line work, for which they were ideally suited which is unsurprising given they were a modern 'for the time' take on a tried and tested design. 
My first Jinty in late British Railways livery is a Hornby product bought second hand. I had the horrifying prospect of damaging the wire on top of the motor one day when removing the body for cleaning but fortunately it was nothing a little solder couldn't fix.  
The Jinties were not only found on the LMS but also on LMS owned or partly owned lines like the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway. My second one is in Northern Counties Committee livery and is an example of two that were regauged and sent to the LMS owned lines in Northern Ireland. It was a limited edition produced by Bachmann (and is I have to say more detailed than my  Hornby one but was also more pricey). 

J72 tank engine

Think of this as the east coast version of a Jinty. Kinda like the Jinty this is a 19th Century design however unlike the Jinty it was not really modified or upgraded (guess that means Jinties are west coast versions of J72s? ;-)) in fact they have the distinction of being produced pre grouping (pre 1924) post grouping and post nationalisation (post 1947) in virtually unchanged batches. Designed by Wilson Worsdell for the North Eastern Railway in 1898 and classified as E1, the J72 classification being received when they passed into London North Eastern Railway (LNER) ownership. This model is an old Mainline Models bought second hand and although noisy is a good runner. Painted in the unofficial British Railways branding used just after nationalisation on many goods, shunting and branchline engines due to a shortage of transfers of the "Unicycling" Lion emblem. Many retained this lettering well into the 1950s not receiving the new emblem until they required a visit to the works.

Pannier Tank 

An icon of the Great Western Railway, that companies earliest pannier tanks were originally saddle tanks but when the GWR upgraded these with belpaire fireboxes this required the removal of the top of the tank leaving two stradling the boiler on each side. Crews and staff favoured pannier tanks to conventional side tanks as they provided easier access to key areas. They were used for shunting and branchline work This class of pannier tank is a 5700 class which although not the final refinement were the most iconic and among the last to be withdrawn by British Railways in 1966. although some sold on by British Railways soldiered on shunting on National Coal Board collieries and even the London Underground. The last not being withdrawn by London Transport until 1971 (making them the last standard gauge steam locos to be withdrawn on the British mainland accepting private lines). This example in early British Railways livery was produced by Bachmann.


Another Victorian design that lasted to near the end of steam, although I am not quite sure how as they were limited by there small size to pu it lightly, they were in the lowest power classification for British Railways standard gauge locomotives. They were built by Brighton Works between 1872 and 1880 for South & South East London commuter trains. They were well suited being light and fast. However this helped grow the suburbs of the metropolis that meant more people commuting into the city which meant heavier trains which the Terriers were unsuited for, so in a way a victim of their own success. Even before the 20th Century they were being deployed on other duties across South England, mainly shunting and running on branch line that were lightly laid and unsuitable for heavier more powerful locos, they famously worked the railway on the Isle of Wight. This superbly detailed model in lined British Railways livery with the early emblem is by Dapol.


On top of the 0-6-0 tank engines there are a number of 0-4-0 tanks that aren't Hornby Collector Club models. 0-4-0Ts were popular on many industrial lines which has sharp curves which 0-6-0Ts might have found difficult.

0F 0-4-0ST 'pugs'

Built by the Caledonian Railway between 1885 and 1908 as the 264 Class specifically for shunting. The term 'pug' being a nickname for a Scottish industrial saddle tank loco.
Many continued working through LMS and then British Railways ownership. It was the LMS who classed them as 0F.
They remained in use doing the same job until the last was withdrawn in 1962.
They were known to often run with homemade tenders as their bunkers did not have a great coal capacity to put it mildly.
These have been part of the Hornby range since 1983 with the appearance of Smokey Joe.
This model has continued as part of the Hornby range to present and proved to be very popular being their best selling locomotive. It was inspired by an old Glasgow engine in the twilight of steam that had the nickname chalked onto the side of its tanks.
Of the four I own (one already mentioned) two are 'Smokey Joes' however one of these has been repainted weatherd and had the early 'unicycling' lion emblem of British Railways applied onto the side of the tanks, in order to conform more with photos of the real 0F 56025.
The other is in the original Caledonian blue livery.

D Class

Another example of Hornby's go to design for an industrial tank engine, accept it is modeled on a real D class. One of the earlier batches of D Classes from the 1990s modeled on a Dowlais Iron Works loco from South Wales. The real life loco was built by the Iron Works in 1907 and actually named in 1911 in honour of a visit by the King who actually named the engine personally. The D class are unusual for industrial 0-4-0Ts as they have some mainline engine characteristics most noticeably belpaire fireboxes. 

Limia Switcher

Like most of Lima's forays into the British market this model in unauthentic to anything on the UK railway and is based on tank engines built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). However it was a cheap buy and a descent runner. So I have kit bashed it a little bit to try and angliscise it a bit so it looks like a freelance imported industrial tank engine (which is supported by the very short wheelbase). 

Other locomotives

These two engines are not locomotives that run on the layout but nonetheless might still be seen on it.


Ajax is a narrow gauge (009) 0-6-0ST that was bought for my first attempt at a proper layout which was a narrow gauge halt. Bought off ebay it has never worked and sat to the side until shelvetop shed came along and I found I had a LOMAC loader wagon with no load. So I decided to put Ajax on it as if it was being transported to or from the workshops. 

Lost engine

I had made a mistake when applying the backscene to the layout and was left with a gap between the base and the beginning of the backscene. Fortunately it was behind the shed and could only be seen from a certain angle. I came across this non motorised airfix kit of a Class 21 pug from the 1970s with parts missing and though if I built it with some extreme weathering to look abandoned for scrap it would fill that gap nicly. Due to its nature it was only £0.99 so I snapped it up. There were indeed some important parts missing such as one side of the chassis but that did not bother me as it did not impact what I intended for it in fact it helped a bit. I built it not even using all the parts, leaving the roof off to make it look more abandoned and scattering some others about the layout as 'spare' parts. The buffers I used on the Limia tank engine. So I built painted and roughed it up a bit and now although it can only be seen at a certain angle hides the gap in scenery perfectly. As it can only be seen at a certain angle I call it the lost engine and it adds a bit of interest to the layout when I invite people viewing it to see if they can spot it.