Friday 24 May 2013


Click to enlarge
Today I'm packing up and getting ready for Railex this weekend, for which will be Polbrook Gurney's first outing.

Here's an un messed about snap of the right hand side of the layout and the brewery at the back of the Pedant and Armchair on Polbrook Gurney is working hard by the look of things, I just hope they're not using the orange iron pyrites stained water which will have been pumped out of the mine.
If you cannot get to Railex to see the layout, it will be at Larkrail on Sat 20 July and Model Rail Live 21/22 September

Follow the build of this layout in Model Rail magazine

Sunday 19 May 2013

Polbrook Gurney Colliery update: history

Templecombe's ex-GWR Pannier tank No. 4631 is captured near the colliery weighbridge through a long lens in 1961. Until 1833 this area used to be a canal basin, it was later drained and laid as a 2ft 8 inch gauge dramway, and the canal tunnel seen in the background could be used for railway purposes.

In later years when the GWR (Binegar, Nettlebridge Holcombe and Vobster Light Railway) came though 20 or so feet lower than the colliery railway on the right, the whole location was transformed which included replacing the narrow gauge with the British standard gauge of 4ft 1 inch. There were rumours that some silly gauge of 4ft 8 an a half might be adopted, this never happened of course.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Polbrook Gurney Colliery Update - running trains!

Polbrook Gurney Colliery: this afternoon was spent running trains to see how it would all work.

I decided to add a couple of extra isolation sections to make the operation more flexible and interesting. Not relying on fishplates for electrical continuity makes this easy because it's just a matter of splicing in a toggle switch into the sub baseboard electrical circuit which provides the electrical continuity between sections of track. A 5 minute job.

This high level view is roughly what a 6 foot high operator will see from the front, the curved backscene and bright even built-in illumination being great for photography like this.

I'll be covering the above in detail, along with the construction of the new buildings and scenics in forthcoming Model Rail magazines issues.

Saturday 11 May 2013

Polbrook Gurney Colliery Update - weighbridge

Polbrook Gurney Colliery update: Today I'm building a weighbridge, a common feature was the splitting of the line to allow trains to pass through without using the weighbridge. A hut which would have contained the measuring apparatus needs to be built, and will go top left of the split track. Here's a prototype example, though my control hut will be more rustic and smaller and be partially set back into the undergrowth.

Friday 10 May 2013

Model Rail June 2013 (issue 183)

Model Rail June '13 (183) main contents:
On sale from 16 May

FREE Workbench supplement on model buildings

Model Rail Live announcement - new venue.
N gauge Dapol Class 22
N gauge Bachmann Farish Class 70
Hornby GWR big tank locos
2-8-0T/2-8-2T factfile and history.

Horsted Keynes 'OO'
Crynant colliery 'OO'
Brookford 'O' SR light railway
Polbrook Gurney colliery - next stages of construction
London Underground layout ideas

OHLE catenary. Supertest and Dapol mast installation
Improving AC electric locos
Gilbert Barnatt's Peterborough layout - further thoughts

12-page London Underground modelling guide

Exhibition Diary and all the regulars

Gilbert Barnatt's Peterborough layout - further thoughts

Horsted Keynes 'OO'

Brookford 'O' SR light railway

Chris Nevard's Polbrook Gurney colliery - next stages of construction

Thursday 9 May 2013

Pestle and Mortar

Polbrook Gurney Colliery Update:

With RAILEX just 2 weeks away finishing touches are taking place, starting with the the screen area behind the loco which was given a good dusting of real coal (found near Shillingstone on he former SDJR) which had been ground up with the kitchen pestle and mortar and then sieved into place with the kitchen sieve (don't tell my wife). The whole lot was then spayed with diluted PVA (white glue) to fix into place. Then when the above was dry, the track was cleaned and I gave the layout a really good run using a wide range of locos, ensuring that there was no stalling or jerkiness caused by the track or incorrect back to backs. A few spots needed the paint removing from the inside of the rail heads.

The shot here is unmanipulated, and shows to advantage of the high warp around backscene a real bonus for photography. Note the narrow gauge tramway above one of the fiddle yard exit points.

See this layout for real at RAILEX 25/26 May
Follow the build of this layout in Model Rail magazine -

Saturday 4 May 2013

Polbrook Gurney Colliery Update: engine winding house

Click to enlarge
A few extra hours were grabbed today unexpectedly which means that I've managed to pull the replacement of the engine winding house forward to before Railex which is just 3 weeks away.

This one has shades of Ludlows Colliery in the centre of the Radstock.

As usual time is the limitation and will always dictate how much time I can dedicate to a project, but I can always go back at a later stage as needed. Apart from the chimney which is a previous bit of slap dash messing about, this is about 4 hours work with foamcore, various plastic sheets and a little Das. I've since started on the roof since grabbing this snap on the mobile; which despite limited time is going to be individual slates applied from small overlapping squares of junkmail. Tthe shiny finish of such being ideal for taking paint; today the junk mail donour was some irrelevant PAYE material which we keep being sent.

Follow at detailed construction of Polbrook Gurney Colliery in Model Rail magazine.