Sunday 31 March 2019

Project 085

Last year was not a good year for model building, just four kits were completed! A fifth was started but wasn't finished before it got too cold in the house extension where I build my models. Finally Project #085, a Mitsubishi Zero, has been completed. Hopefully I can complete more than four models this year. The golden year was 2012 when I finished sixteen!

Saturday 30 March 2019


Budbrooke is a small parish near to Warwick, and in particular Warwick Parkway station. I went this morning mostly to have a look at the lovely old church which i've seen many times from a passing train. Budbrooke and the adjoining village of Hampton Magna seem nice places to live and ideally situated next to the railway and Grand Union Canal (Hatton Locks is nearby). You can see my photos here.

Thursday 28 March 2019

BGLR : Signal of intent

This week the BGLR has gained some signals, from a Busch kit bought a few weeks ago. The signals are inert and so are just for show but give a nice extra touch to the layout. I've built four signals and one ground signal though there are enough parts in the kit for double that, however four plus one should be sufficient for a small layout like the BGLR.

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Churches (30) : St Mary Magdalene, Bridgnorth

The parish church of Bridgnorth, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene, was designed by Thomas Telford in the Decorated style and built in the early 1790s. It replaced an earlier church that dated back to the thirteenth century. Unusually the church is aligned North-South, to take advantage of the vista from East Castle Street, and not West-East as is more usual.

The church has doric columns externally with ionic columns internally. The tower, which is more Gothic than other parts of the church, is to the North.

Monday 25 March 2019


There is something so appealing about a British seaside town off-season, all a bit grim and run down, waiting for the return of families and children when the weather picks up. Southend-on-Sea was like that on Saturday, quite a contrast to when I went last Summer when it was very busy, especially on the pier. On this mid-March day the pier was rather desolate and empty, though it also meant it was easier to take photos of the Southend Pier Railway which is probably my favourite railway system of all.

You can see photos of the pier railway here and photos of Southend in general (mostly the pier and one of the railway stations) here.

Sunday 24 March 2019


On the second day of my trip to London I headed out to Essex and returned to Southend-on-Sea. We'll cover that in another post but I had the time to also head a little down the coast and visit Leigh-on-Sea. This is a lovely little fishing village and also had an art gallery and cafe that has one of the cars from the Southend Pier Railway in it, so of course the best cafe in the world. Or at least Essex. You can see my Leigh-on-Sea photos here.

Saturday 23 March 2019

Down to the Big Smoke

On Friday I headed down to London for a two day trip and my first of 2019. I had a special dinner to attend in the evening but before that I did some whizzing around on London's extensive railway network. I concentrated on the Northern City Line and the Docklands Light Railway around Canary Wharf. You can see my photos here.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

BGLR : Return of the Trolley

The Motor Trolly has returned to the BGLR from the reserve fleet and will share engineering and departmental duties with Ruby. In a few weeks Bear will leave the layout and be replaced by Growler as the fleet rotation continues.

We are also looking into buying some new rolling stock soon.

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Churches (29) : St Michael & All Angels, Beaconsfield

St Michael & All Angels is an early twentieth century church built in the New Town area of Beaconsfield. The Old Town of Beaconsfield has existed since at least the early Norman period but the New Town was built about a mile to the North of the original town at the end of the nineteenth century when the railway reached Beaconsfield.

St Michael & All Angels was built in 1914 [1] though because of the First World War original plans for the church including a spire and sanctuary were never realised. A nave and aisles were built in Kentish ragstone in the Decorated style.

A sanctuary was finally built in the 1950s and a lady chapel in the 1960s.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner, Buckinghamshire (Penguin, 1960) p. 62

Monday 18 March 2019

Hello again to Henley-in-Arden

Yesterday I visited Barnt Green for the first time in a number of years, today I did the same to Henley-in-Arden which I last visited way back in 2012. My first visit was memorable as I made the mistake of climbing the hill that overlooks the town not thinking that as it was muddy it might be tricky coming down again. I slipped and fell in my arse in the mud! Luckily there were no mishaps this time.

Some things haven't changed, some buildings haven't changed much in the town since the Middle Ages to be honest, but the station has changed a bit since my last visit so it was good to update my images. You can see my Henley-in-Arden photos here.

Sunday 17 March 2019

Back to Barnt Green

A number of years ago, after a few months of working in Worcester and commuting by train every day, my interest in railways was reawakened. It had lain dormant for a number of years, though I did read the occasional magazine to keep reasonably up to date, but the spark was back and so now it was time to start making trips on a train to take some photos! The very first trip I made was to Barnt Green, and today I returned to update my photos.

I also had a walk around the village which is near to the Lickey Hills. It is a nice area just inside Worcestershire. You can see today's photos here.

Wednesday 13 March 2019

BGLR : Short form

This week on the BGLR I have been experimenting with shorter passenger trains. Apart from the philosophical question about whether a single carriage constitutes a "train" or not some of these shorter trains have been tried and work out pretty well. The push-pull unit is a single coach of course though as it's quite a bit longer it doesn't look quite as modest as a single Roco coach as shown below.

The BGLR is a small layout so shorter trains are the norm anyway, a single coach train is a perfect length. Obviously one day I'd love a much bigger layout and have lengthy trains of six or more coaches but until then...

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Churches (28) : St Peter & St Paul, Godalming

The Church of St Peter & St Paul is the parish church of the Surrey town of Godalming. A church has stood on the site, in a meadow next to the river Wey, since the ninth century with the current church being a re-building in the twelfth century. Some remnants of the earlier Saxon church survive especially the Eastern nave and around the base of the tower.

The church has North and South aisles either side of the nave and North and South chapels either side of the chancel [1].

The church gained it's spire in the thirteenth century plus North and South chapels were added. Further changes occurred in the following centuries including a lengthening of the nave and a widening of the aisles in the nineteenth century.

The church was built from Bargate stone rubble with hard chalk and Bath stone in later additions.

[1] "Parishes: Godalming." A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Ed. H E Malden. London: Victoria County History, 1911. 24-42. British History Online. Web. 12 March 2019.

Sunday 10 March 2019

Long Eaton

Yesterday I headed up to Long Eaton in Derbyshire. I had a walk along the Erewash Canal which terminates at Long Eaton when it meets the river Trent. The Erewash thus joins the select group of canals which I have visited both ends (the other end of the canal is in Langley Mill). Though most of the canal has yet to be walked by me, hopefully i can explore more of it in future. You can see my photos of the canal here.

Wednesday 6 March 2019

BGLR : The BGLR setting

So where exactly is the Birches Green Light Railway set? It is not actually prototypical to Birches Green in the UK which has no railways (well the Birmingham-Leicester line might just scrape the edge depending on where you draw the ward boundaries).

When I re-started railway modelling several years ago I went for HOe narrow gauge and rolling stock from the Austrian Zillertalbahn railway. Later on I got rolling stock from other Austrian narrow gauge railways, and some German wagons. I've also got an East German locomotive. So I suppose Birches Green could be some kind of preserved narrow gauge railway somewhere in Austria. It doesn't really matter, the main point is to enjoy what you are doing. Seeing lovely locos like Maggie and the Falcon pass by makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Churches (27) : St Nicholas, Great Kimble

The church of St Nicholas in Great Kimble dates back to the twelfth century originally being a simple church with a nave and a small chancel. The font is of the Aylesbury type and dates from around 1190. Arcades were added in the following century.

The chancel was enlarged in the fourteenth century. The tower and clerestory were also added in the fourteenth century. The church was rebuilt in the late 1870s giving it the current flint exterior [1].

St Nicholas' proximity to the Prime Minister's official residence at Chequers means that the odd leader has signed it's visitor book over the years.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner, Buckinghamshire (Penguin, 1960) p. 144

Sunday 3 March 2019

Raised bed 2.0

It has taken me a long time to get around to actually planting anything in the second raised bed but finally four perennials and a small conifer have been put in. I'll probably add three more plants in a few weeks. This raised bed will be a memorial garden for those we have lost and will be kept nice and neat unlike the other raised bed which has been taken over a bit by the rosemary and lavender!

Saturday 2 March 2019

Unexpected Malvern

My plan today was to go to Colwall but due to an emergency services incident by the railway near Ledbury my train was stopped at Malvern. I decided to visit Malvern instead instead of waiting for a rail replacement bus! I alighted at Malvern Link and walked up to Great Malvern. It is a lovely town, a spa town of course, with some beautiful churches including the priory. You can see my photos here.