My O Gauge Journal on
 Modelling the GWR

A personal Journey

Constructing a model railway based on a bygone age

To keep up with all the new developments go to the projects page and pick the most recent year date to see what I am undertaking. The current plan is to rebuild the railway in its new home. More on this in the 2021 section of the projects page.

Time for a change. The railway is to be dismantled in preparation for a house move. This is a great opportunity to remodel my railway. I have been able to rescue all the points and some of the track/ All the electrics are safe as well. It also gives me the opportunity to re image the whole railway in a new setting.

For the first time I've been looking into the use of Radio Control for one of my locos. Also started a 'small' project into Gauge 1. Both available on the projects page.

Check out the projects page for the latest news

Post Telford: another Loco kit, (Mogul), lots of other stuff! check out the projects page for details.

A signalling issue has come to light which I'm now addressing. The full story is up on the Projects page.

With the bits left over from the two kits used to create the match truck I put together some sort of fruit van. Obviously, created to carry some rare exotic fruits.

Here it is with paint finish and transfers awaiting buffers!

For the Latest updates on the Block signalling project Click here

D&S Brake down Crane match truck completed.

Peckett 0-6-0 Mercian kit has been completed but has running issues. The chassis is made up of very thin gauge brass and twists easily, even with the rotation of the axles and this makes for unreliable running. A pity as the body makes up into a nice example of the type. Also the con rods could do with being two part to aid flexibility when running on uneven track.


Update on the Peckett shown above. Currently working with the supplier to modify the chassis and con rods. Click here to see how it progresses.

Latest acquisition for my Hornby Dublo collection was the West Country Dorchester. Not cheap but a fine example of the loco.

The bell system currently uses a standard dc bell with the continuous ring altered to give a single ring, but changes in temperature have made the 6 bells on the four stations not work correctly. Therefore I have made arrangements to convert all the bells to using AC ringers on a DC supply. Thus will provide a single ring without making any changes to the bell adjustments. The project page has mote details.

Further upgrade developments to the signalling on the railway are still underway, see the projects page for more information.

Depicting the 40s and 50s on a railway is not always easy but how could I resist the talents of Detailed Miniatures in providing me with a platoon of Home Guard! Perhaps you can recognise some of the characters on parade. Click for a larger image. See also the projects page.

A start on the Brake down Crane has finally begun. Starting with the match truck for it. Click here to see the progress being made.

Peckett X2 now completed but there appears to be issues with the decoder not the pickup arrangement click here to see the progress being made.


Added lights to the signal boxes:
This is a slow development. But most buildings will have lighting of some sort added as time goes by. My favoured option is to use strip LED lighting on a ribbon. The sort you can cut with scissors to an appropriate length.

Still awaiting two more signal boxes to complete the necessary coverage provided by the signals and points in the four areas of my railway.

Preservation extras: recent visits to several, (some local), preserved railways. One privately owned the others part of preserved lines in Mid Suffolk and the UK.

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway was lucky to have the cast from a local drama group based in Stowmarket who will perform The Railway Children in August, (full details in the slideshow below) and Mangaps is the Jolly families mega collection of all things railway connected and has to be seen to be believed and lives near Burnham on Crouch! The Severn Valley Railway starts from Kidderminster and heads north and is due to extend for another quarter of a mile, whilst The Llangollen Railway a 10 miles long volunteer-run heritage railway in Denbighshire, North Wales, operates between Llangollen and Corwen. Finally, but not least for now my driving experience on the East Lancs Railway driving an LMS Crab.

 Click here to see:

 The Mid Suffolk Light Railway 


The Severn Valley Railway

Llangollen Railway

East Lancs Railway

My visit to Poland over a decade ago to drive locomotives on the Polish Railway is accessed from the Menu at the top of this page under 'Poland'.

2017 is here with some major changes due on the horizon. Check out the projects page for the latest developments. Click here for a quick look at places along the line. There are 12 cats living on or near the railway. See if you can spot any. All images are pre telegraph pole days. I will update once the last signals are in place and working.

The DCC control system I use has been upgraded and added to, click here to see how.

The latest project concerns signalling the railway. As I'm not a fan of building signals I plumped for PECO easy to build ones. I also combined these with an experiment into block signalling by making up a self contained consul that would house the three major components of it. The project page has all the info.

In addition to the signals I've started to put telegraph poles in as well. More on that in the projects page.

Treated myself to some exceptional railway folk from Detailed Miniatures. The couple on the left are from Preiser though, (maybe a little too large scale wise), the station master checking his watch is a Detailed miniatures figure, more on the projects page.

First though another collection of folk for the railway. Always a welcome present and this time included a number of cats! It ranges from wood cutters to home workers hanging out the washing!

Also some work on the Hornby Dublo 3 rail railway I have collected. Click here to see the updates.

So what's new for 2016?

Peckett 0-6-0 Mercian kit has been started. I don't propose to give a blow by blow account of this loco. The chassis is done and the body started. Look out for it on the project pages.



The Castle Class Locomotive is completed and painting and lining done.

Check out my projects page for the latest developments.

Some major works on the Hornby Dublo 3 rail railway has taken place. The newest development is a new mainline passenger station. I've put this together so that I can investigate the signalling in much the same way as I did as shown below using rotary switches. But this time I will need feather lights as well to show available routes to and from the station. But first I have to get the building and track in the right place. Click here to see how that progresses.

Well my ZTC 505 has been upgraded! (March 2016).

Added more rolling stock and locos to my Hornby Dublo working collection and re designed the control panels for it. Click here to view the new bits. Also Click here to see the planning projects for developing the layout

Finally, for 2015 the gas works had the added attraction of not just a smoking chimney but a wagon tippler, fully working and this can be found on the projects page of my journal. I chose to look at the Arduino and stepper motors to do the work of controlling it and for me it was a solid introduction into the electronics and C programming world. Here is a video taster of it: click here to find out more.


But there was one more aspect to build to complete the cycle of coal from the coal mine to the gas works. That was to make a hopper in the coal mine building roof. This meant that an exercise on mining the coal, transporting it to the tar and coke works and thence to the gas works could now be made. See What's New below for more on that.

After the mail coach project came the slip coach project. Its documented story can be found on the Projects page. It was a second investigation into how servos could be made to control actions on the railway. There is a Youtube video of the last slip coach in action, to see it click here. My first drop off is shown below.


The mail train passes the ground apparatus in February 2015. A DCC controlled coach with lights and sounds and independently controlled nets and traductors. Because of the nature of the control for the coach, its preferable to have one person driving the engine and another in charge of the coach so as to avoid collisions with line side objects!



Layout update, (July 2015): click on any of the four pictures below to see a larger version. I am changing some of the layout and this is reflected in the images below.


This site has been put together for my own benefit and to act as a personal diary of events and a 'how to' in my modelling hobby, but if you happen across it you are welcome to browse. I put stuff here as a record of how I build kits and create new structures creatively in support of my hobby. If you need to contact me re anything here please do so, my email address is As the site is now quite large and continues to grow I have put a search facility in the top menu on each page. It will find anything I have done with regard to track and scenery, kit building, electronics, O gauge and 00 gauge with Hornby, or you can browse through my indexes in the project page or below.

I also have a video channel on Google whish is accessed from here: Google+

If you are a regular visitor, as it is constantly being added to, Press f5 to make sure you have the most up to date

A bit of history
When I first got into O gauge I built a diesel railcar from a Mega kit. I had been a 00 modeller for some years but a house move and a larger space being available meant that I could move into the realm of 7mm. For some time the traction unit of the Diesel Railcar was the bane of my life. It had a sound chip and DCC control but always stalled just after start-up. Although there is one real lifer at Didcot that's been refurbished the sound for my model is of a DMU and although not totally accurate, its acceptable. I spent time working on producing a motorised bogey for it and glad to say, that has now reached a satisfactory conclusion. Click here for an update on what I did.

What's New (also look on the projects page)

To find almost anything on this site use the Search facility at the top of this page

The Hornby Dublo 3 rail layout has had a Spring clean. Three new locos are taking up residence there as well as improved signalling and control panel work. Find out more on the Projects page.

After the Wagon Tippler project, came the connection to the coalmine to cycle coal from one to the other. This meant re-sculpting the coal mine building roof and adding a hopper to fill wagons.

At Telford 2015 (click here to view cameos)
I purchased some grass pieces and cereal crops along with tree making equipment from Railway trees. A great way to add detail to the layout as shown here:

Yard Lights on the Wallington Park Engine shed
4 yard lights from All Components at £5.95 each. I removed the ladders.

A new Halt at Longhampton Bridge
Passengers could not make a connection on the main station to other stops along the way made by the local trains so a new Halt was built to accommodate these local services.

Loksound programmer
Just purchased the programmer to give myself more control over programming my locos. The old XP laptop I use to control it with its software keeps loosing connection through the USB port. To get over this I reset the programmer via the cable.

The uncoupling issue
I've taken possession of some Kaydee couplers. I don't know anything about such things so there will be a learning journey here. Click here to find out what happens

Wagon Tippler for the gas works
No gas works would be complete without the coal crusher and wagon tippler, at least mine won't so here's my starting place for a distant project. Click here to see what I'm up to.

The new Gas works Retort House
This was something I needed to add into the new position of the gas works. PLM supplied the casts for the building and to see how it progresses Click here.

Ok smarty pants, how do you uncouple and couple up your wagons in the brewery? Answer: wait til I've finished the Slip coach project the answer lies with its proposed coupling arrangement. Click the link below in slip coach technology.

Slip coach technology
A favourite with the GWR and something I've wanted to try for some time. having succeeded with the TPO I now intend to take this on as my next challenge. Click here to see how this unfolds.

Running the railway as a railway
Having sorted out what extra buildings will be needed to supply products for the railway, (see below),  I've started to look into how this can be organised. Click here to see how that progresses but it may prove to be a long process.

Timetabling the railway
I have made some investigations into how I might time table the running of the railway. This has brought to light, (amongst other things), that sources of grain for the brewery do not exist. Therefore, I propose in the first instance, to build an extension off the tar works to a brewery grain store, (not sure if that would happen in reality though). To see how this progresses click here.

Just purchased one. I have been using it to traverse my railway. Click here to see some of the results.

Hornby Dublo Railway project
I've started a DMU conversion. Click here to see how it progresses. Click here to see the rest of the Hornby stuff.

Three new projects for 2015. Go to the projects page to find out more

Important Youtube option
All the videos have been updated on this site so that suggested sites do not appear at the end of each video.

Amazing! a 3 link coupler/uncoupler
For less than £5 I have a simple yet effective device that can couple up or uncouple 3 link coupled stock. The LED light is very bright and makes it easy to see what you are aiming at, the simple hook is made from a brass rod soldered to a rolled 'ring' that is a push fit over the light. The torch is a Rolson and widely available. Click the image to see a larger version.

The TPO coach is now in the paint shop and to facilitate the use of this coach the road bridge just outside Longhampton Bridge Station has had major surgery. The central column has been narrowed and the span across the mainline has been lengthened.

The TPO ground equipment has been positioned. The track around it has been altered and re-laid. This has meant a reorganisation of the coal route and storage on the railway. Subsequently an engine shed has been re-sited at Wallington Park to allow for two big storage sidings at the approaches to the coaling stage.

The brewery roof has now been finished

Policing the railway
A police box, squad car, van and a couple of policemen are destined to be on the beat around the railway.

Gauge O Guild Telford 2014
Its been a couple of years since I last went to the Gauge O exhibition and show at Telford. So this year it was a must for me. The number of trade stands was very welcome and I always have a shopping list and pre order specifics for the hobby if I can. Keeping this hobby alive is becoming ever more important particularly as a lot of the traders who have been supporting us for many years are now looking towards retirement and selling on their business. I found an increasing number of traders in this frame of mind which is worrying as prospective purchasers of small businesses are not easy to find . Some of course were finding the occasion of little profit and were considering not coming again. I know that other venues have had the same issues. Is it not important to support our model supplies people in the same way that we support them and the hobby? Its not enough just to pop in for a chat and not purchase something, you will be killing off our hobby by just doing so and some of the very small businesses contribute important components to our hobby. lets keep it alive with our support.

Match truck from Meteor Models
urchased to finish off the breakdown consist as the crane over shoots its body and needs a second match truck to allow it to be connected to a workmen's coach. As featured on the kit building page accessed from the top menu.

TPO project:
check it out from my Projects page accessed from the top menu.

Work on the Hornby Dublo railway
Redistribution of the wiring that has got out of hand is being handled here

New cattle pen is re-sited with an access road
Having built another cattle pen and created a cattle wagon to deliver cattle to it. I realised that most vehicles would not be able to access it. So I had to find some way to get a road connected with it. This is what I came up with.

Plan of the layout
The images have all been updated to take in the changes made over the last six months

The Station Canopies
Having completed the canopies, (see also the projects section), There were improvements to be made to the station buildings with the addition of an extra waiting room on the main building, a newspaper kiosk and yet another Gents Victorian toilet. Along with fencing to complete the area. Click here to see the full story

Advent additions
Every year my other half provides a little light relief for the railway by investing in the people and animals that inhabit the railway through the large Advent calendar we have. Mary the farmers wife, (as seen below) has been given three geese and in the distance you can see a fox loitering by the hen house.

Reading Show Autumn 2013
As usual a good venue and a lot to see. busy and not the place to stand about in small groups 'chatting' as seems to be the norm so you can't get to stands easily to buy stuff - isn't that why we go??. I'm thinking that its going to be the reason why I never go to garden centres on a Monday!!!!! However, some really interesting stuff in laser cut wood, precision models by Lee Marsh and Masterpiece models and 3D printing, (still in its infancy).

Adding to the Hornby Dublo layout
Go into the forum and find the item on the above. there is a link in there that takes you to information on my layout or click here to go directly to the  right page..

Adding a Forum
There's a new item in the top menu of the home page that connects with a forum page. Give it try.

Sister site
My other hobby is photography and I have just set up a site to celebrate this. I will have railway items on there as well but more than not from the 'real' world rather than the one I create here. To access it click here.

Kit Building
As I've built quite a few kits now, I've decided to keep this information in future in a section all of its own. A page with details of what occurs in the process of kit building can be found by clicking here.

I hate it. Its back bending work, it takes ages and I have to be in the right frame of mind to do it. BUT, I have completed the last two sections of mainline track that required it. I have used medium ballast the type that PECO sell, but I obtain mine from Holt Model Railways. I can buy it in large quantities and it is just the same as the PECO stuff.

Increasing stock in the coke works
Having purchased two more coal hoppers from EMKDE I have set about making one up. As these would be battered and uncared for because of the environment they had work in I am making them up with that in mind.

Improving DCC control through the use of a computer
I had used a Lenz system for some time on my old 00 layout several years ago and sold it all off when upsizing to O gauge. Using a larger scale meant upgrading the DCC system to run an increase in amperes. Click here to see how this has developed.

Updating the 4th area of the layout
Having put in a new siding in the Longhampton Bridge station I have decided to move the engine shed from its present position near Longhampton holt and put it at the other end of the station platform. This will entail altering the track and inserting another point to give access to the engine shed. The result will look better and be more prototypical and give that siding at the back of the halt a new lease of life. Click here to see how that is achieved.

Unwelcome visitor
Finally got round to fixing the hole left by a visiting mouse back in the winter.

Updated Plan
Click on Plan in the top menu to access an updated map of the layout and some up to date images reflecting what I've done recently.

Alterations to Longhampton Bridge station platform
A new bay is to be constructed to allow the steam railcar to terminate at this station. Click here to see how this progresses

My first diesel shapes up.

I purchased a Ruston 0-6-0 Diesel kit from Mercian models at reading and that's now underway. Go to projects or click the image below to see how it progresses.

Those chickens finally got a house to live in
Thanks to Duncans models and the Reading show this weekend. My chickens now have a place to keep out of the local foxes way!

Interesting reading material
I came across this book: HOLDING THE LINE, How Britain's Railways were saved by Richard Faulkner and Chris Austin.

Beeching was really just one of a number of flies in the proverbial ointment.
Added to this, having just read Spy Princess by Shrabani Basu and watched the second episode of ITVs Foyles War where both of these make reference to a government department known as SOE and its clumsiness and incompetence in all its forms. I now have a clear understanding of why the world is like it is. The connection between all three of course is the control by government on our country, our heritage and our future, ( I leave you to make your own observations with regard to how helpful politics and politicians can be - this is not the place, but my goodness is it any wonder our dearly beloved railways are like they are today. This of course does not apply to my railway which is booming, profitable and popular! Finally, another book worthy of a read is this:

where would we be without our dearly beloveds?

Garage and forge 16/4/2013
Chris at Invertrain has now got together my order for the above which will be specials of his garage kit. This means that my blacksmith etc will soon have a place to live. click here to see how this progresses and how to utilise limited space.

Purple Bob building kits 18/3/2013
I've just been completing a series of card kits from the above. Only has an eBay presence at the moment but easy to find there. The kits are in card and come as a terraced house a corner shop and a pub. They all make up really well and through careful choice of colours really look the part. Click here to see more of these kits. The picture at the top of this page shows the high Street at the back of the station which is made up entirely of these kits. You can click on it to get a clearer view.

A shunters pole?

I've just purchased a combined pentorch and shunters pole from LMS, (

And it works, just like the real thing. Suitable anywhere three link coupling is involved. Click the image above for a larger view.

Whilst the snow takes over our lives
Set about designing a loco hoist and repair building behind the loco shed. Click here to see how that progresses.

After Christmas:
As promised to myself, all the clockwork stuff that I acquired for Christmas has now gone to hopefully better homes.
The telephone kiosk and post boxes have been finished and sited, (all from Langley Miniature Models). And they are already in use as shown here. But may end up at different stations!

Reliving my childhood:
When I was about 6, (back in the 50s), I had Hornby Dublo 3 rail train sets for Christmas and for which I built a layout on a 6ft x 3ft base. That was the start of this lifelong interest in steam power. But sadly my parents sold off all the Hornby stuff and it was gone forever. However I have been collecting what i remember to be the two sets i had, (Duchess of Montrose and a goods). I now have them and will be creating a large run round in my office. Yes i know the clockwork stuff is here waiting to cause havoc on Christmas day afternoon, but that will all be sold off after Christmas. Click Here and Watch this space as they say!

Advent gifts:
Well how do you get your other half to contribute to your favourite hobby? Simple you suggest that the layout will require populating with people and animals and other small sundries. Result, in my advent calendar days there have been a blacksmith and a couple of post boxes. A range of country folk and wayside workers are also making a bid under the Christmas tree. Now I need to create a forge and acquire a hen house!

Turntable modification:
The Wallington park control box now has its own controls for the turntable. I used a simple potentiometer switch out of an old Hornby controller, (you can see the red control knob it came with in place on the panel), and  dpdt switch wired for reversing the supply to the table.

Mouse update: 05/12/2012
I regret to inform you that the railway police informed me that a successful conclusion to the mouse problem has been reached. The trap and Camembert taster worked last night.

The railway police were called to the outskirts of the mine early this morning to investigate strange goings on near the over bridge. One of the lorries carrying a load of wood beams had mysteriously backed down the embankment crashing into the station fencing narrowly missing the station building. fortunately no one was injured. On closer inspection it was noticed that a cave had been excavated on the other side of the over bridge, probably by a giant mouse rarely seen in these parts. See image below for more information. Click on the image for a larger version. At this time of year its not unusual for wildlife to take refuge inside and an investigation is now under way to try and catch the little blighter(s). As you can see the railway police have come up with a large trap. There has been more activity this weekend as we have been away.

Water cranes at last being completed and painted.

Started to include adverts on walls and after painting, station fencing.

At last I've put a backdrop around the entire layout and what a difference it makes. The importance of such a thing cannot be underestimated as it gives depth and credence to your work. I constructed mine from compilations of images from the internet and the use of Microsoft publisher to print  'banner' of the integrated images. You can see some of them by clicking here.

All the panel work and upgrades on the turnouts has now been completed and after a couple of 'blow outs' which meant replacing some LEDs affected, it all works well.

The point switch indicators are in the process of being completed. its strange how you forget some things were unfinished, like no micro switches on 4 turnouts spread around the layout and 2 turnouts still in use out of the box that will need their live frog polarity controlling. So that all needs to be finished so that the LEDs in the control panels will all work properly. This is the largest one now completed:

The above will also require a fair amount of under baseboard wiring which will add to the maze already there. Good for the back though. I really missed solder splashes on the face and the use of muscles I had forgotten I had!

Dare I say it. Last year about this time it was a diversion into Z gauge. That finished amicably with someone purchasing my foray into that diversion. So this year I'm going Retro. Same gauge but harking back to the 50s and clockwork. Just to revisit my childhood, (which also included Hornby Double O and the Duchess of Montrose, but more of that next year maybe). This is real on the floor stuff carpet fluff and all. Click here to see how that progresses.   

As my site is ever growing, finding stuff here becomes more of an issue so I've put up a search engine page to help you find the bits you need. Click here to use it. You can also get to the search page from the index at the top of this page.

To go with the signalling I've purchased a set of plastic panel boxes or consuls as they are known from Rapid Electronics Ltd They are much better than the card boxes I made earlier and I have enough to complete the upgrade. Click here to see how that progresses.

I'm concerned that there is almost a complete lack of signalling on my layout and because of its design there should be a system that connects the panel lights to the signals to make operation much more realistic, (not necessarily prototypical as that would involve a huge amount of work).  Therefore I have purchased a couple of Tortoise slow motion switch machines to experiment with. To see how this develops click here.

For some time I've had a JLTRT 0-6-2 tank loco waiting in the wings to be built. Well its started. To find out more click here.

Just completed a hopper wagon from EMKDE. Now ready for painting etc.

This is an all brass model with some white metal fittings. A lot of soldering but makes up into a fine model. Compared to the Parkside kit it takes a lot longer to make. Will sit alongside the Parkside one that has now been rusted as shown here.

Messed up the front page with a revolving map image but deleted it as it was nothing to support what i do here! So much for experimenting with your web site. Good job I keep a complete backup of the site in an external place!!

Need some blokes to drive my lorries so 10 have been employed and will be fitted after painting.

Ordered some more hair from Treemendous to finish off the hedging on the over bridge of the coal mine. Still work to do on the coal mine and new buildings and a weigh bridge are on their way from Invertrain.

A couple of vans have been completed for the brewery. The standard LMS vans from Parkside Dundas were chosen, (there are also specific beer wagons available from the as well but the LMS Ventilated Van-Corrugated Ends (Diag. D1832A) was the one I chose as it comes with Beer transfers).

Started the loco for the coal mine. A Berkley 0-4-0 from Mercian models. To see how that has developed and some pointers on getting it right click here.

The brewery area has thrown up a couple of issues one of which is how to produce stylised transfers for PO wagons. Click here to see how I developed an idea for creating PO transfers using special ink jet paper.

I am now looking at the other corner of the layout. Similarly unfinished and in need of completion. This will be my next project. First the road area and landscaping need to be considered as it is just a black flat area. Click here to see how that progresses.

Finally started the County from David Andrews I bought 2 years ago. Having made the City of Truro by him some time ago, I also bought the County loco to make an early version of a County. Here it is in its present state, more on its construction as it proceeds in the projects area.

Just purchased a number of vehicles for the industrial complex. Several tankers from the Corgi classics range at 1:43 scale. Also a fire engine, (see the projects page) and fire crew to suit. The drivers and firemen are on their way, but it will be some time before they find themselves behind the wheel of their respective vehicles!

The industrial complex is now near completion. The gas holder has been a while in the making as it needed so much organising as far as detail was concerned. Using the whipping twine greatly accelerated it construction and after an initial paint of grey with a green top coat its now in the airbrushing stage before fitting the mock railing for the platforms and stairs.
That having been completed it now looks like this. The gas holder is now awaiting weathering, the storage tanks have been sprayed a metallic finish and also await weathering. All the component parts have now arrived and been put in place. There just remains to insert some piping detail.

The projects page holds all the sections I'm developing or have developed over the past three years. You can access it from the menu at the top or bottom of each main page on this website. I've just added a video taken from an iPad that shows the current state of play on the layout here. This I will update and replace as the site progresses.

I've upgraded all the pages on this site to look the same, also any videos that are here will now come from my uTube account and will load quicker and be available to Apple users as well. Incidentally, if you have an iPad and you click the reader button in the address window on it you should see everything as if it were in a book.

I am also a member of the Gauge O Guild.
General Information:

You can contact me through my email in the Contact section above.

Use the links at the top of this page to visit other parts of the site. As they are added to and extended on a regular basis, keep coming back to see what develops.

Click the bin below to view the working environment I have to build and maintain the railway