An Ex-Bin With A View

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Today is Valentines Day and I have missed the offering of card, flowers and box of chocs.


In order to maintain harmony I suggested we go for a meal and to my surprise Ann agreed. An even greater surprise was in store, Ann selected The Dog at just after 12.15pm. I was going to suggest the full “English” wine, steak, mushrooms, tomatoes and all the trimmings,

She fancied steak and kidney pie with a coke on the side and I was a little surprised. We walked to The Dog and ordered and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was, simple fare but well cooked and tasty.


Well, that is how I wound up in The Dog at dinner time hoping to see one or two freight trains out of the lounge window, in between the express units and local trains. What came to be was a rare treat. In 60-75 minutes I saw the following:

66748        Infrastructure (assorted)

66617        Intermodal

66069        Empty infrastructure trucks (medium sided)

66116        Empty coal bogie hoppers

66704        Intermodal

66068        Vans

66421        Intermodal (Tesco)

66770        Ballast (large bogie hoppers) 66770 had a very dirty front; the stone dust had                

                        obliterated the livery and roof colour.

70011        Cement train

While all these came trundling through (note above) the regular express and local services continued to run, so I take my hat off to the controllers at Saltley (I think).

A Topical Thought

I haven’t been down to the station or the pub for a while and probably shall not for quite a longer while. No doubt you have read of the latest gift from the Chinese Peoples Republic which is sweeping the globe, it’s been in all the papers. We (Ann and I) are self-isolating, being of the target generation for this particular nasty. Personally, I think Boris is trying do away with the more experienced railway modellers to stop the pension monies being spent on “frivolities” things and to remove the older generation to improve his figures and chances of saying the NHS can cope despite Tory inspired vicious cuts and “starvation” funding.

Standing figure of a diver clad in copper helmet, heavy canvas diving suit, with gloves, chest weight and weighted bootsSee the source imageSee the source image

Any road up, I have thought things through carefully and was lucky enough to find an old self-isolating suit in the garden shed. (left is a picture during testing to see if it was still sound). As you can see it is in quite good condition and worked very well. Yes you can see the Tame behind me and yes it has risen substantially during the recent storms. Testing revealed one or two problems however. A trip to the village for groceries proved difficult and required the purchase of a further 800 yards of piping. Travelling the distance between our house the pub and shops was time consuming and very tiring, most importantly, consuming my pint required the purchase of a further short length of pipe of a narrower gauge, and fitting required the drilling of a hole in the helmet just below the face mask and sealing with silicone (available from your local hardware store. I must stop watching US U-tube). Further, the speed of travel is greatly reduced and crossing the road produced considerable cacophony from other road users, while the trailing hose suffered considerable punishment. After purchasing a loaf and some milk I returned home to find that I was, by that time, flagging somewhat. As you can see I was a little fatigued by the experience (see below & right, also note again that the Tame has risen).

Self-isolating suits appear to come in many designs (below are two examples) I personally prefer the boots lighter and little racier, but the colour range is limited; is grey or buff a good fashion choice?

I would also recommend changing the gloves provided for a pair of latex ones for  manipulation can be a problem if delicate work is required. Also, around the house these suits can be cumbersome and I would strongly recommend reinforcing some of the more delicate furniture if use is to be extensive.

It has come to my attention that a number of our more unscrupulous entrepreneurs have acquired what they

describe as “HEAVY DUTY” isolation suits which are actually war surplus or ex-scientific cast-offs. These suits could at best be problematical and in some cases, you don’t know where they have been or to what stresses they have been subjected while there! Imagine being in one for many hours..Ugh!  Using this type of isolation suit should only be attempted under strict expert supervision, while making sure you have 6” thick floorboards and are followed everywhere by a medium sized crane.

I hope this article has been of help in the dangerous and trying times ahead and given the  crowds seen our local supermarket and their conduct it may be as well to have a heavy duty suit in reserve.

Keep smiling, we can take it, don’t panic, keep calm and carry on, blame Boris, send rude letters to the Times about the Chinese etc ….etc.

Best Wishes MPT

Have You Ever……

Come across something which refutes everything which has previously been told!

Well I have now, I ask that you look below to the picture from the Bourne End to Marlow branch at sometime in the 1950s I should imagine. The shot looks as though it was taken from next to the Thames, somewhere around “Spade Oak” I should think. At this point a single 14xx with one autocoach usually was working itself into a frenzy along the flat section of track. The max speed limit on the branch was I think 25mph??? Given some of performances I witnessed I think the crews passed that before they left the end of the platform. Those tiny little 0-4-2s could GO!

Anyway, I was always taught that the 14xx/48xx had very limited pulling power and that their limit was usually two autocoaches with the loco trapped between them pulling and pushing at the same time. I thought this was true given that they were so small and light, only had 4 driving wheels, therefore adhesion had to be of a fairly low order.

While creating the piece on the potential Bourne End model and rummaging on the net for inspiration I found this…………

1 autocoach

7 wagons +

If the picture is resized (up) it can be seen that the end of the train is not in sight and even the fairly large “toad” brake-van, which must have been in situ, is not in the picture, how long can it be?

Finally a warning