Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Vintage Digital

It’s Tuesday morning at Combwich as the 8.35am from Evercreech Junction via Highbridge arrives. 3206 can be seen to the right shunting the yard. 

This early digital photograph dates from around 2003 and was taken on an HP Photosmart 945, which at the smallest aperture gave the most incredible depth of field. When the camera was released 19 years ago, it was cutting edge, with what was then a whopping 5.3 million pixels. It lasted to around 2007 before making a strange pop and expiring. It most likely now graces exported landfill somewhere in Asia after futile attempts to fix it. 

Monday, 16 May 2022

Before Colour Was Invented

It’s monochrome Monday at Hemyock, the day of the week when all colour is removed. It can be a hazardous day, because green and red lights look the same and can cause dangerous confusion on the roads and railways. This is why semaphore signals were used on the railways in the olden days, we simply had to look at the angle of such rather than colour. Busy road junctions were often policed by a chap (or a chapess) wearing big white gloves to direct traffic. But we didn’t know any different back then, unless one was really rich and could see in colour or lived in the USA where everything has always been in colour.

Hemyock was unusual, in that it had no signalling due to the ‘one engine in steam’ (or diesel if you can afford it) status of the line. This by the way, is the main reason for the location being a popular choice with railway modellers, for they don’t need to mess about with pesky signals that are a pain in the whotsit to get to work - okay, I made that bit up.

Anyway here we are at the terminus, as old ‘sad eyes’ runs around its recent arrival of milk tanks destined for the creamery in the distance. Norman and Barry look on, and are keen for Tuesday when colour is to be invented.

As always, click, swipe, tap, lick, wiggle or whatever you do to enlarge. 

Help me to make tomorrow’s post a colour one www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Coal Mines Have Talent

Terry Tuttle Thomas Smythe hosts the very first ‘Coal Mines Have Talent’ competition, that’s our favourite smarmy chap stood on the engine announcing the next act. And here we have the The Railway Guards’ Barbershop Sing & Dance Troupe from nearby Midsomer Norton about to perform their short set. Liz & Margo have been invited as celebrity royal judges for this inaugural event. Somehow or other Nasal Nigel has managed to get on to the ‘stage’, that’s him in the sticky green bus-spotter flasher-mac (it has special pockets with holes on the inside to allow him to adjust himself surreptitiously in public) on the right. Secretly he’s thinking of entering the competition next year with a bus-spotter flasher-mac dance troupe. The thought of that is pretty horrific to be honest, for Coal Mines Have Talent we all know is a family show. 

As always, click, swipe, tap, lick, wiggle or whatever you do to enlarge. Secure your spot in Nigel’s dance troupe next year www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Saturday, 14 May 2022

New Diesel

It's the first day of diesel operation on the Hemyock line, and Derek is a little less than impressed with the replacement for the trusty former GWR 0-4-2 tank engine that worked the line until yesterday. But instant starting would at least get rid of the super early shift to light the fire to build up steam.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Devon Knows

It’s a hazy light overcast morning in rose tinted rural Devon. Arthritic Arthur builds up courage to swing the water filler pipe around to Clive stood on the engine. As usual Clive is looking at his wretched notebook. He’s always looking at it, and is so absorbed he’s often blissfully unaware of the world around him. Poor old Arthur suffers with his arthritis, but he won’t let it get in the way, especially now he’s dating local award winning custard maker Nelly Nibbles who is a good 25 years younger that him. But she keeps him active stirring pots of finest custard for various competitions, with tonight being the highlight of the East Devon & District Custard & Cottage Cheese Society’s annual gala at The Half Moon. How Arthur will keep up after a full shift on the railway, Devon knows. 

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Model Rail 300

Model Rail issue 300 is out today. Lots in it from me including a feature on wagon weathering using easy to source paint and simple easy techniques. The cover was particularly fun to photograph. https://www.greatmagazines.co.uk/model-rail-june-2022

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Sea Ageing

Down by the canal, Colin is trying out a cunning plan to replicate ‘sea ageing’ with the latest batch of illicitly produced ‘brandy’. The main problem is that they have a whole tank wagon of the stuff to ‘age’, the aforementioned wagon lurking behind the engine masquerading as a petrochemical tank. More wooden casks will be needed, and certainly more boats, or even a ship to carry out the task. As usual all the usual suspects gather around to advise, but will no doubt soon come to the conclusion that they might as well pop a few casks on the veranda of a rough riding old brake van, the effect will be much the same. But with sulphurous sooty air creating its own unique character instead of the more traditional salty air. 

As usual, pinch, tap, swipe, click, or whatever you have to do to zoom in. And  if you like this post, you can help to buy more casks here www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Monday, 9 May 2022

Birmingham Screwdriver

Monday morning deep in The Forest of Dean, and Eric & Ernie check over unreliable 13 which has appeared to make a new squeaky grinding sound in addition to the other 23 squeaky grinding sounds. Things should be okay after a few tweaks with Ernie’s new Birmingham screwdriver. He has quite a collection from bull nosed through to sledge, the latter being his choice of tool today - it also being his latest precision instrument. 

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Flat Earthers will like this….


Another scene in the making with the naughty little people. Every time I point a camera at them they freeze. I pop out of the room and they carry on whatever they’re up to. To any Flat Earth Club members looking at this post, this is what the edge of the Earth looks like. 

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Knitted Swimming Trunks

It’s Saturday morning high up on Mendip, and a few lengths of rail are about to be deposited for a track replacement session. Later, single line operation could mean a few delays, but nothing will stop the Pines Express.  Shortly this busy train will be passing through with beige clad dowdy holiday makers destined for their spring break in Bournemouth. Once there, many will be playing bingo or sitting on the beach with a bottle of warm flat brown ale and head protected with a knotted handkerchief. Mother will be keen for her late middle aged still-living-at-home boys to try out their newly knitted swimming trunks. Such wonderful times. 

Friday, 6 May 2022

Chuff Chuff

Front and rear end Friday. Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse is photographed here trying to converse with Terry the tank engine. Terry only knows how to speak chuff chuff. Derek & Clive try the be translators, but with little success I fear. 

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Mystery Train

Another scene from that strange miniature parallel universe of 1950s little England. Farmer Piles looks on at what appears to be a former Midland loco with a single ex Southern Railway coach and a couple of milk tanks arriving at Hemyock. Deep in former GWR territory, this is a most unusual sight, and one that will almost certainly play havoc with many an enthusiasts’ inner Nasal Nigel. But if we look across at the platform, we see Barry Bullhead from the Ministry of Misery, Shamus O’Flatbottom, Derek, Clive and Beryl, so something dodgy must be afoot. Upon further investigation it would appear that the train is from the creamery at Bason Bridge, with the tank wagons being destined for the creamery here Hemyock just out of shot to the right. But why this wagon exchange? Any thoughts? 

Monday, 2 May 2022

Welded Rail

Monochrome Monday. At an unknown location, possibly somewhere along the Thames Valley, a short passenger train catches the evening light in the early 1960s. Note the long welded rails. Such permanent way inspired PECO to produce their popular flexitrack. 

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Gaylord Grip

Down at the engine shed, new boy Gaylord Grip joins the shed crew. He’s a staggering 6ft 13 inches and has an equally huge character, with plenty of yarns about his days working as pro boxer in the East End of that there London. Being from near the Thames, there isn’t anything he doesn’t know about pickled whelks, jellied eels and knuckle sandwiches. Nervously, Colin has his feet over a crate of moonshine spiked bottled farmhouse cider from Mrs Miggins farm. He’s doing his best to hide the contents with his tiny size 6 boots, being sure that Gaylord Grip is capable of downing the whole contents in under 30 seconds and will want to practice fisticuffs.
As always, flick, tap, bash, wiggle or whatever you have to do to zoom in. And if you really like it, help Colin to hire a bodyguard www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Somerset Snail Culinary Society

Saturday morning at Polbrook Gurney, as the Frome to Bath via Chilcompton service slows. Barry Bullhead and Deliberating Derek are heading for a lunch meeting in nearby Nettlebridge, they’re both key members of the Somerset Snail Culinary Society. Cooked snails are actually a thing up on Mendip - true! Bungalow Bert is daydreaming about gnomes, a miniature working windmill and that garden railway he wants to build for his recently purchased retirement dwelling. Doug is trying to chat to Clive, but as usual Clive on his latest notepad. He never gets off the darn thing, so rude. And finally outside The Pedant & Armchair waiting for it open, Comical Ned (with the funny shaped head) has a date with Beryl. Ahhhh, bless. 

As always, flick, tap, bash, wiggle or whatever you have to do to zoom in. And if you really like it, I’d love a Saturday pint www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Friday, 29 April 2022

Warm Hands

With warm hands deep inside his special heated pockets, Nasal Nigel enjoys the warmth of his bus-spotter green flasher-mac whilst watching the 9am goods from Frome trundle between the pub and the colliery. Mother will be pleased.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

China White

Clad in dandy high vis, former estate agents Toby and Timothy plan their next TikTok video, as trainspotters’ champion 37422 rumbles past with a bulk trainload of finest China white destined for that there London.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022


Wednesday morning, and here we have the 09.35 to Evercreech departure. A scene on my Combwich layout that I started around 1981. Apart from 15 years or so when it was stored and wrapped up in my parent’s attic, it’s been in my possession ever since. It’s much modified and enlarged since its original incarnation, but the track is original. The soldered construction is a little dated now, but it very much has stood the test of time (and no, I’m not going to relay it). Only tie bars for the point blades being replaced maybe 20 years ago. 

As the layout has evolved it’s had several names, it was initially called Churchstanton, then Stogursey, and finally Combwich when I resurrected the layout around 1999 from its polythene wrapped incarnation. 

Combwich never had a railway, but in my make-believe world it grew in to a town which warranted a railway, an extension of the SDJR from Highbridge. A ridiculous idea, but that’s half the fun of the parallel universe. 

But people in the real world have been taken in, several years ago I received an email from a resident of Combwich saying that they know where the station used to be. I didn’t reply, for I didn’t want to spoil their joy. And whilst the layout is completely fiction, the last bit is completely true.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Duels & Zimmer Frames

It’s a lovely late April morning at Combwich, as the 9.30 to Bridgwater and the 9.35 to Evercreech Junction via Highbridge prepare to depart. These services are usually quiet, the earlier trains carrying the few commuters, for in the old days people tended to live close to their employment. Passengers on these later no doubt soon to be axed services are mostly shoppers and old folk out on a jolly, walking stick and zimmer frame duels very much a thing after consuming too much rough farmhouse cider. 

Saturday, 23 April 2022

St George & Prize Cabbage

Every St George’s Day, Nasal Nigel swaps his trusty sticky green bus-spotter flasher-mac for a brown suit. It dates from his office days working for a company that manufactured sprocket holes for 16 and 35mm film. Every Friday the boss allowed the minions to ‘dress down’, Nigel confusing this with ‘dress brown’. Next to the gates is our loveable little chap (well, mother loves him anyway) chatting to Daphne Dando the crossing keeper about her prize cabbage. Daphne is a keen gardener, and between trains attends her vegetable patch, giving it much love and attention growing runner beans, sprouts, carrots, hemp, cabbages, weed, magic mushrooms and marijuana. The latter of allegedly being very popular in nearby Glastonbury. 

As always, click, swipe, tap, lick, wiggle or whatever you do to enlarge. Buy me a magic mushroom to keep the nonsense flowing www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Friday, 22 April 2022

Pipe Organs & Spam Fritters

It’s front end Friday again. Little Peter Peckett pushes his wagons under the colliery loading screen. Once loaded it might be a slight struggle pulling the wagons forward up the steep grade. But Peter Peckett and his partner in crime Noddy Nobhob make a great team, extracting every bit of power from their tiny engine. On days off, Peter Peckett plays his full sized pipe organ literally built into his ‘two up-two down’. It’s taken him 20 years to build it from plumbing spares and old engine boiler tubes. Noddy Nobhob, on his time off is building a huge website in his garden shed for his dead spider collection using those woven nylon string bags oranges come in. Noddy also collects model buses and loves a sunday fry up with spam fritters and mushy peas garnished with a whole raw sliced onion. Much to everyone’s surprise, Peter Peckett and Noddy Nobhob are currently single, but are actively seeking free and single ladies for fun nights in and maybe marriage. A working pulse not necessary. 

Thursday, 21 April 2022

The Man From the Ministry

It’s a lovely sunrise at Combwich West (not many know that Combwich has 2 stations, but that’s a story for another day), as the first train of the day departs. To the left we see lights are on at The Thong & Flasher, well that’s what the locals call it anyway. The pub has 2 letting rooms, they’re popular with crab fishing types and trainspotters, also Cindy Proper-Job the landlady attracts a certain type of customer. As our train trundles over the crossing, we note that the lights are on in the loco shed office. It looks Barry Bullhead’s powder blue Morris Minor is parked outside (he wanted a Vauxhall Cresta as a company car really). Barry, the former time and motion man from the Ministry of Misery has just started his new position under the infamous Dr Beeching. We all know what that might mean for the railway. The good people of Combwich have been expecting Barry Bullhead’s visit for some time, and have been putting clothing shop display dummies on all the trains to give the appearance of more passengers than there really are. It’s hoped that Barry won’t actually want to travel on any of the services, shop dummies aren’t exactly known for their conversational skills. Fingers crossed. 

As always, click, swipe, tap, lick, wiggle or whatever you do to enlarge. 

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Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Andrew & Barclay

Andrew and Barclay are chatting to the engine crew, favourite subject being  beer and OO gauge checkrail flangeway clearances. Poor old Dave is desperate for the loo, and wishes they’d hurry up and move the engine nearer to the water tower so he can fill the tank. Spotting the crate of beer at their feet, Dave moves it closer to the water tower. Magically Andrew, Barclay and the engine follow. Result.

As previously seen in my regular spot in Model Rail magazine. 

Sunday, 17 April 2022


Sunday morning, and Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe finds his beloved Triumph ‘babe-catcher’ balanced on some ale casks. The cad and bounder finally gets comeuppance for his regular cheating ways which are often at the expense of those closest to him. Many of our regulars have come to witness the amusing spectacle. Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe (aka TTTS) demands the crane is used to lift his pride and joy off, but despite bribery with a crate of out of date bottled beer, the key for the crane has gone missing. TTTS will have to try harder if he wants a favourable result. From left to right… Derek would like to borrow TTTS’s ‘babe-catcher’ next weekend. Dennis (on the loco) wants a nice new shiny diesel. Doug wants a new shovel. Arthritic Arthur wants a new hip. Comical Ned (with the funny shaped head) would like a date with a lady who doesn’t come with a puncture repair kit. Clive would like a new notebook (he’s always on the darn thing and he’s been after an upgrade for ages). And finally, Nasal Nigel wants some well-soiled latex gloves, we’ll leave that bit there…. 

As always, tap, click or pinch, or whatever you do to zoom in. 

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