On Her Majesties Civil Service!

On the 9th & 10th November, we exhibited the layout at the Spalding exhibition. The show appeared to be very well attended and we received some nice comments from visitors and fellow exhibitors. We were lucky enough to be in the small room which, although decorated like a tarts parlour (or so I am told) was cooler and more spaced out, although the operators still have the sounds of American sound chips ringing in their ears.  

Having had the luxury of 4 operators at our recent visit to the Taunton show, unfortunately we were down to 2 operators for this show. Despite asking our usual reserves (albeit at late notice) by 5pm Thursday, we were planning to do the show as the dynamic duo! – excluding capes. We will let you decide who’s who!  Batman-and-Robin

Maybe it’s more like this!!.

batman 2

7.45pm – Thursday 7th November – the reason for the title of this entry steps up to the plate to form a trio for the weekend.

007-Legends-600x300International Man of Mystery – Bertie ‘Bond’ Austin offers to join us to assist for the weekend. After a couple of minutes training and only a gentle warning for speeding, Bertie was quickly in the zone and operating the layout like he has done it for years.  Bertie, thanks for your help over the weekend, it was really appreciated.


Lager boys 1 – 0 Beer Bellies

beer belly

On Saturday night, we enjoyed an enjoyable evening with the Shawplan chaps, the highlight of the evening seeing grown men cry because they had to drink the amber nectar rather than that natural stuff that makes you fart.    You would have thought they were made to drink bleach – poor boys!!!.

New stock for this show included 4 new locos to accompany some of the new train formations that we debuted at our previous shows.

271013 002

Class 31 417 Severn Valley Railway complements our new short ballast train – subtly weathered



271013 004Class 47 373 in triple grey to run on our Norsk Hydro train


271013 005Class 47 971 in large logo livery combines with our inspection saloon






271013 008

Class 47 541 & 461 in versions of Scot Rail liveries to provide motive power for a range of trains.





The Spalding show was the last exhibition for the layout for 2013. We are looking forward to our next show in March 2014, but in the meantime we have a chance to work on new projects and stock.

Thanks for reading,


Dave, Alex & Paul.



Last weekend (26th & 27th October 2013 for those reading this later) we were invited to Railex Taunton (also dubbed the Taunton Eat-A-Thon by the team) organised by the Somerset Railway Modellers Club. The show was really busy over the two days with some nice layouts on display. the layout was very well received as we havn’t ventured down to the southwest previously. This show we were joined by fellow club member Steve (known as Ramrig to people on RMweb) who helped out throughout the weekend.The show was thoroughly enjoyable, with the catering reaching almost legendary status for an exhibition (although the after effects of a double helping of cauliflower cheese made the air in the van chewy on the way home) – other shows have a lot to live up to on this front. Thanks to all the SRMC members for making us feel really welcome. 

The title of this blog update relates to an episode whilst loading the van on friday morning. to operate a tail lift you press a button to go up, one to go down and if you want to stop at any point, you just take your finger off the button. Ever wondered what goes on in peoples heads – I have!!!. One of our operators (wearing his tail lift operating clothes!) struggled a bit with this complex set of controls and whilst holding the button to raise the tail lift decided to shout STOP STOP STOP at the top of his voice and then realised afterwards that he had his own finger on the button!! 

This show saw a few new items on the layout. We have been working on some of these items for a long time  and it was good to finally get the on the layout. Attached are a few pictures of the items.

271013 002 No these are not LIMA! – whilst it may just look like a sprayed up lima PCA, it is actually a heavily converted PCA . The ends have been re-profiled and tapered (honest) and new walkways and additional hatches have been added to the tops. New transfers and a good dose of weathering  complete the models.


Another new model was the 2 car parcels unit – converted from the DC Kits 114 model, the unit is in the distinctive parcels red livery – Now this is complete, we assume one of the retailers will decide to make a model of one.

Class 114 parcels unit

Class 114 parcels unit

 Also new to Farkham was our Overhead Line train. Unfortunately timed to coincide with the southern pride models kit – this are definitely not the southern pride kits. Based upon record photos taken of the train formation at Portobello, Edinburgh, the train is based upon 4 heavily converted Bachmann MK1s with new roof and ends and lots of etched brass / stainless steel attachments. They are painted in the traditional engineers olive-green and lightly weathered. The 5th vehicle in the train is the cable drum carrier which is a  scratch built chassis with etched mesh floor and etched cable drum holders.

The OLE train

The OLE train

IMG_8152 IMG_8150    

 This completes our update from Taunton. We are out again on the 9th & 10th november at the Spalding Show, which we are really looking forward to. Hopefully we will see some of our friends to share a LAGER with.

Further stock updates to follow at this show.

 Thanks for reading.




End of Season Review

Its been quite a while since our last outing in february with the layout but the team has been busy during this time working on some challenging and interesting new items of stock ready for our visit to the Taunton and Spalding exhibitions in a few months time.

During this time we have also written a couple of articles about the Layout and stock.

The layout has appeared in the spring issue (MR181) of Model Rail and the photos by taken by Chris Nevard were really great (You truly can polish a Turd!).MR181_Cover

Heres are a pic taken by Chris which has had some cloud cover added.

“Its a dull day in the Yard”.

Farkham, photographed for Model Rail 6 November 2012

We have also recently had an article published about our model of the RM74 Ballast Cleaner in the Railway Modeller (issue July 2013).

With quill and ink pushed to one side for a while at least, work has recommenced on working through our list of new stock for the layout. The list is split (unequally and unfairly) into short and longer term projects, our only headache being which stock to remove from the layout to make way for the new stuff. 

A recent sort through of stock has seen at least 5 of our older train formations consigned to the store cupboard. This means that in the last 3 years nearly 50% of the stock on the layout has changed.

Heres a taster of things to come! – CAN YOU TELL WHAT IT IS YET!



We are struggling to tell and we are building the thing!!!!!!

Weekend at the Races!

No this is not a reference to the horse meet crisis sweeping Europe, on the weekend of 9th & 10th Feb 2013 we exhibited Farkham at the BRM Doncaster show. The show was very busy and All had a great time. Little Steve joined us on Friday night and threw a few shapes on the dance floor late on to impress the ladies.

Little Steve in action

Little Steve in Action

As mentioned in our previous post, we had been working hard on new stock for the Doncaster show and managed to get several new wagons and train formations completed in time for their debut. Below are some pictures of these wagons and a brief description of each type.

A Cargowaggon Holdall Van

This wagon is a scratchbuilt model of the 1987 built Hold-All ferry vans whcih ran throught the UK transporting all sorts of goods.





Flat Sided Polybulk

The new wagon on the right was inspired by a photo in the book “Freight Train Formations”. This is a scratchbuilt model of a slab sided Polybulk, heavily weathered with new logos showing through old liveries.



Structure Flex Wagon


Based upon the Cambrian BAA wagon, the Structure Flex wagon is a a curtain sided cover added to the top of the flat wagon. This model fits perfectly in one of our steel trains



Croxton and Garry Wagon

The Croxton and Garry TUA wagon was used to carry Chalk Sluury for making paper and is one of four wagons of this type to be built. It is a heavy conversion of a TTA wagon with new ends being the most obvious feature.





The PAB wagon is scratchbuilt model of a lime wagon which was used to transport Lime from quarries to steelworks. The heavy weathering adds another dimesion to the model.





New to Farkham was a rake of PTA Iron Ore tippler wagons. these are scratchbuilt wagons coupled together with kadee type buckeye couplings to represent the rotating buckeyes used as part of the unloading process, the distintive orange end indicating the rotating coupling position.   



 Good for the Roses!

norsk curtainThe following three pictures show the new wagon types for our Norsk Hydro Fertiliser train. Each wagon is scratchbuilt, the first (right) is the curtain sided variant which was normally seen mixed in with the more common solid sided wagons seen below.


norsk plainnorsk 

 Green Fingers


Also new to the layout was a model of the Agrevo Weedkilling Train whcih is top and tailed by the two class 20/9s picturesd above. 20903 is pictured to the right adorned with the fantastic Extreme Etchings (retooled) nameplate ‘Alison’.

Being hauled by these distintive locos are 3 number TTA water tank wagons and 4 heavily converted MK1s which have had windows infilled and new roller doors added. Completed in the distinctive Green livery with white stripe (thanks to Phil Eames for advice and an excellent BRM article) , they have been sublty weathered with a light spray around the business end of the train.

99907 99908


So this completes our update on the layout for now. As we now have a few months off before our next show at Taunton in October, the team has now started work on several new items of stock. It is becoming difficult to decide which trains to drop from the sequence to enable new ones to be added. Look out for the new stock on the layout in October or on the blog after the show.

Thanks for reading.

And then there were 2

“How hard can it be, we’ll be fine” I said. 

On the   10th & 11th November, we took the layout to the Hull show, unfortunately one of the tem had to work that weekend and therefore this meant that despite trying to find a replacement from within our wider group, just tow of us took the layout to the show. With some assistance with loading and unloading the van at the club and a bit of help at the show, it is definitely something that we do not wish to repeat. To say it was knackering was an understatement – What i hear you cry “just playing trains knackering – get a real job”, well yes  all that is true but it was!. Operating two main lines, shunting in a goods yard and changing trains round in the fiddle yards all on ones own (over lunch – 10m mins fr some people and an hour for others (after they have changed into their dining clothes that is!!!) is not an easy task. One question from a visitor and its carnage (should that be trainage?).

Having said all of that, the show went well and seemed busy for most of the day. We were lucky enough to win a trophy for the best modern image item/layout which was great.

New on the layout this month was a new loco 37351 in old railfreight red stripe. This loco is due to pull a rake of PTA ore wagons when they are complete.

Hopefully they will be ready for our next show which is the BRM event in Doncaster in February 2013.

If we get our collective fingers out, we are hoping that there will be a few more items to add to the stock for then as well, it just depends upon how much booze we have.

Last of the Summer Swine

This blog entry revolves around our visit on the weekend of 27/28th October to the Holmfirth model railway show. For those that didn’t realise the old TV programme ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ was filmed in this small but pretty town. So having packed the layout into the van on friday afternoon, the three of us travelled north into Yorkshire. Whilst the conversation in the van covered the usual topics – Hairstyles (hardly), trains and Ford Mondeos ….yawn, yawn, there was absolutely no need to decide upon who would be Compo, Clegg or Foggy.

(I will leave it up to the reader to decide!).

So that explains half of the tile of this blog, but why Swine – Two reasons spring to mind as I write this note.

Firstly, someone (Foggy) is the latest recipient of the Farkham “Ham-Fisted buffoon Award”. This award has been presented for supreme clumsiness where the winner managed to rip a hole in the side of a brand new, just finished scratch built curtain sided wagon.


Fortunately, the damage was not too extensive and was repairable, the only thing left in tatters is someones reputation. 

So on to the second reason, As we were staying over at the show in Holmfirth, we were put up in a B&B only 100 yards from the venue. It was, clean, friendly and cosy, especially for 3 of us in a family room, fortunately there were enough beds to go round!!. After a few beers and a curry on friday night, we returned to the digs and turned in for the night. After a few minutes, Alex and Paul realised that they must have left Dave behind somewhere and mistakenly returned with a snorting and wheezing prize pig as the snoring noises could not have possibly been generated by a human being.Even after breaking out the sets of emergency earplugs for just such an occassion, it still felt like sleeping in a cave with a slumbering Grizzly Bear. When morning came, the noise disappeared and Dave had returned, saying he had a great nights sleep and was ready for a day of playing trains – lucky for some. 


The show itself was relatively small but had some decent layouts and a very friendly atmosphere from the members and visitors and we all had a great time. We had been working hard in the time between our last show and this one to get some new stock completed. Whilst we didn’t get everything done that we wanted to, here are some pictures of our latest new additions that appeared on the layout at this exhibition.

This Wagon is a conversion of the Lima model. the roof has been replaced with flatter pitched profile, the chassis has been modified with new etched lattices and the bogies replaced with correct profile white metal bogies. The sides were wiped clean of detail and new doors and locking bars fitted. Painting, Decals and weathering complete the model.

Running within our Speedlink coal trip working is a model fo the Russell Containerised Coal wagon. There are several variants of the wagon to model and this model reflects the ribbed sided variant. The body sits on top of an open framed 20’9″ chassis which can be just seen in the photo. 



To complement our other variants of CO2 tanks running on the layout, a third model has been added to the fleet. This is a scratch built wagon and is one that we have been hoping to do for a long time. Clearly the biggest challenge in making this model was the ribs around the end. The final result looks great and is complemented by the heavy weathering to the body underside.


The next two photos show two of the three new curtain sided Powell Duffryn steel wagons. The wagons were scratch built and sit on white metal Appleby bogies. Artwork and transfers to the sides show the two liveries that were carried in the period modelled.

The second photo of the Powell Duffryn wagons shows the other livery and end configuration. This wagon, compared to the wagon above has the tarpaulin wrapped around the ends. All three wagons form part of one of our steel trains on the layout.


This wagon is a conversion of the Bachmann TEA wagon to create bogie LPG tanks.The model has been lengthened, the walkways have been removed and holes have been filled and sanded down. New manways at each end and the sliding hatches on the sides have been produced using special stainless steel etches. To complement the 4 tanks above, 4 of the four-wheeled LPG tanks were also made. Again using the Bachmann TTA model, a similar process was used. Once the white paint had been applied, a multitude of home-made transfers were added, along with the orange stripe around the centre. Subtle weathering completed the models.



So that completes our entry for this month. Our next outing is to Hull Show on the 9th & 10th November. Whether we get chance to complete any more stock before then, only time will tell.

Can you smell fish? – No its Deep-Heat!!!

On the 6th & 7th October 2012, we exhibited Farkham at our own clubs local show in Mickleover Community Centre, adjacent to our club rooms. The show was very well attended this year due to increased local publicity and proved to be a great success. It also gave our club members the oportunity to see Farkham in action. For us, the show was quite a novelty as it was not the usual mix of hangovers, lack of sleep and intensive running of trains, although we did manage a curry on friday night and the usual saturday morning after effects  followed – “Is someone wearing Deep-Heat?”.

Due to the close proximity of the Blyth show that we attended in August, a photo shoot for the layout by Rail Express (for a future article – yet to be written!) in early september and recent hectic work commitments, only a couple of new items of rolling stock managed to make their debuts at this show :

 Above is a Cambrian Sturgeon Kit with loaded track panels, painted in the early engineers livery. The Second wagon to feature is another Cambrian kit – a Salmon, again fitted with track panels but in the later yellow striped livery. Hopefully this weight of the trackwork will prevent the wagon bowing!!

With the Huddersfield Exhibition only a couple of weeks away and the Hull show in Early November, we are frantically working on several new items of stock which we hope will be available for these shows, our only problem now is fitting them into the fiddle yards!!. We will post some photos when they are finished.

OMG – We cant believe it !!!!

On the weekend of 25th & 26th August 2012, we exhibited Farkham at the Railex – NE show in Blyth. The show had a good mix of trade and layouts including the excellent ‘Diesels in the Duchy’ and ‘Blackmill’. It was great to see Mick, Spike, Nobby and the team again and enjoy a few beers over the weekend. 

Finally arriving on the layout for this show was the much talked about and eagerly anticipated (“we thought we would be dead before we saw these!”) Cawoods Containerised coal PFA wagons.

The model is a DC kits product based uppon the 1986 Standard Wagon built 2 axle conflat. The kits were not easy to construct and as you can imagine the transfers were even more difficult to apply, but with a combination of patience and sublte weathering, the 14 wagon train adds a new dimension to the layout and looks great. Its a rake that is not commonly seen on exhibition layouts.

Also making its debut at Blyth show was class 31,number 31283 in its distinctive rail blue with large numbers livery and is based upon the Hornby model which has been fully detailed, repainted and carefully weathered based upon reference photos. The loco was seen hauling the departmental train over the weekend, replacing a BR General liveried class 37, adding a little more vairety to the stock on display.

The new stock fitted in well on the layout and has give us food for thought on other stock that we want to add, although we have run out of fiddle yard space and are now having to take out other stock that ideally we would otherwise like to run.

Watch this space for the next new items which we hope to have on the layout when we attend the Huddersfield exhibition in October 2012.


July 2012 – Freight Stock Updates

Here are some pictures of new additions to the freight stock on Farkham which made their first outings at the Middlesborough Show in May 2012.

The first wagon is a model of a Blackadder POA scrap wagon, depicting the 1989 built 46 tonne variant of the 1987 built 51 tonne wagon which 51L models produce as a kit which is coincidentally seen partly on the left of the picture.

The wagon is scratchbuilt from plastic sheet and strip and utilises whitemetal axleboxes, brass ladderstrip and brass brake levers. Painting, lining and the obligitory heavy weathering complete the wagon and it now sits comfortably within the scrap train on the layout.

Blackadder POA

 Continuing with the scrap theme, we have also completed the building of another variant of the POA. This model depicts one of the first batch of 20 POA wagons numbered (RLS 5901-5920). They were built in 1982 and whilst they were more robust that the prototype wagon (RLS5900), the later versions of the POA were strengthend still further to provide increased resistance to damage. The wagon is made of with a brass body to keep the sides thin and provide strength. This is overlaid with thin plastic profiled sides. The heavy weathering on the wagon is very prototypical and looks great. The wagons either side of the POA on the photo are a scratchbuilt PXA and a bachmann POA.


The third and final wagon to debut at Middlesborough Show was a modified PCA cement wagon. 15 of these wagons were built by Procor in 1984. They were used on dedicated service routes up until 1993 when the were stored before being reintorduced by EWS in 1999. The model is a conversion of the standard PCA model produced by Hornby. It was stripped of  surface detail, the ends were cut off and reset vertically and then the central depression was filled with Isopon car body filler which was subsequently sanded and smoothed to meet the required profile. Painting and transfers completed the model and the wagon adds a bit more variety to one of the speedlink trains.


With the approach of the Railex NE show towards the end of  August 2012, we are working on a few new models which we hope to have finished ready for action in Blyth. Details to follow in future posts.