Friday, December 23, 2016

New loco

A new loco has arrived at Knell Lane and it is the first of the new "expanded period" stock. A Class 86 electric locomotive in Rail Express livery in fact so this puts it at the end of the British Rail period. The intention is for this loco to become the "flagship" of the fleet alongside the CEP. It certainly looks the part.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Its been a bit quiet on the model kit front but actually i have been making one more kit this year... Project #073 is the first helicopter and is an Agusta A109. I need to get this finished by the end of the year as the table i build my kits on is needed for Xmas dinner. I should get it finished, just the painting to finish off...

Knell Lane signalbox

The latest addition to Knell Lane is a signalbox (at last!) A nice PECO kit. It also has 2 people inside and some signs on the wall, just don't look too closely as you'll see they are in German. Its not an anti-Brexit protest just all i had available honest!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

2017 will be the year of change

2017 will be a bit year of change for Knell Lane, not only will the layout be replaced by a brand new one (as mentioned elsewhere) i'm also going to change the era the layout operates in. Currently the era is about 1968-72 but this will change to 1968-92. This will encompass most of the British Rail era and will open up a lot more possibilities for new stock and liveries.

Now of course this will not be very "authentic" but Knell Lane is supposed to be fun not a rivet counter paradise. Anyway i bet you can't wait to see the Class 22 haul a train of coaches in Regional Railways livery!

Thursday, December 1, 2016


More new arrivals which came today. Now this is a little odd but its a Pullman coach (it was a bargain!) It may look a bit incongruous on the layout but we'll find a use for it, special ECS workings perhaps. It adds a bit of colour and variety to the coaching stock fleet too.

As we said in the previous post we loved the Railfreight tube wagon so much we bought another! Also bought today was another lorry and a signal box kit.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New arrivals

While planning continues for Project #1004 we still have #1002 and #1003 to look after too! A few weeks ago a new wagon for Knell Lane arrived. A Railfreight open wagon. I love this wagon so much i've ordered another one...

Also arriving at Knell Lane a couple of British Rail vehicles. A crew van and a flatbed lorry.

Finally for Mausstadt a new platform shelter. This replaces the station building i was trying to repurpose as it was just too big for the space available.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Project #1004

Next year i am going to remake the Knell Lane N gauge layout with a new board, a new concept and new track (the existing layout re-used the track from Eskalon and its getting a bit worn). This will be Project #1004 and will be Knell Lane 2.0. I'm thinking of moving away from loops and having a "U" shaped layout with a back scene and a terminus station. Until then the existing Knell Lane (Project #1002) is running fine. The Lima 31 looks good on the storage siding though its a shame it doesn't seem to be able to get it running well enough to use. I am thinking of removing the engine from one of the Lima 31s and using it as a "dummy" loco for double headers.

Mausstadt scenery

I've made a start on the "green" area of the Mausstadt layout. It will be mainly to add a bit of depth (or the illusion there of anyway). Already its starting to look ok though i need to add some more layers to the scenery. I'm also looking again at the station, i think the building is just a little bit too large so i need to think about something else.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Mausstadt progress

The new HOe layout is coming along well, a "stone" wall is now being erected over the foamboard backing. I'm trying to layer it with scenery to add to the illusion the layout is bigger than it really is. A platform for the station has also been built, also out of foamboard. Its been wrapped in newspaper and will be painted of course! As can be seen the back scene is now pretty well hidden though some more work needs to be done on the tunnel mouth.

Before the newspaper was added

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Coach and bread

Some new arrivals at Knell Lane, a new coach so the loco hauled service can now be 3 carriages long and also a bread van. We've also got a little tractor. Not much is happening on the layout apart from some running.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

New loco!

Right time for Knell Lane to return to the spotlight! A new loco has arrived and its another Class 22. The one i bought earlier in the year is the best runner on the layout so hopefully this one (which is in BR blue this time) will turn out just as good. There will probably be another new piece of powered rolling stock at Christmas, maybe a Class 121 DMU or another loco... not sure yet.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Introducing Mausstadt

The new HOe layout is to be called Mausstadt which literally means "Mouse City" in German. I thought it was apt as the layout is so tiny. There was some good progress yesterday with the ballast mat going down and the electrics were completed including the back scene line. I'm still tinkering with the track arrangement but i think i'm pretty much there.

Friday, October 7, 2016

New layout is go!

As yet unnamed but the new HOe layout is starting to take shape after today's delivery of a new controller and a pile of track. Here you can see one of the early tests with Falcon (of course!) The track hasn't been stuck down yet as the arrangement is still being worked on. So Knell Lane doesn't feel left out a new N gauge loco is also on the way...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Project #072

Project #072 the Skyhawk is nearly complete now, just the varnish to go. As an experiment in using acrylic instead of enamel paints its been interesting. I think enamel is still better though white paint enamel is about as weedy as white acrylic.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Board #2 in place

Board #2 has been finished and is now in place, though it wasn't plain sailing. Although i measured everything up beforehand i forgot to take into account how un-straight all the walls are in my house! The gap between the opposing walls is slightly narrower next to the window than it is a few centimetres away. The board just fits, and indeed is such a tight fit my original plan to put in wall brackets has changed as it doesn't really need them, resting nicely atop too bookcases and wedged in tight!

I've put down some OO track for clearance and testing though i am thinking than plan A which was for HOe is more realistic. I need more track for that though... and a new controller however pretty much everything else i already have. If i did go for OO it would need to be a tiny MPD or engineering siding layout and all of my OO stock (if it still works) would be a bit incongruous. So i think HOe is a more affordable option. The beauty of my new board construction is though that the layout sits atop a foam board layer stapled to the hardboard below. So in theory it would be pretty easy to reuse the board at some stage.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Project #072 is a Douglas Skyhawk and is coming along well. I am using acrylic paints for the first time with this model not enamel. It seems ok so far so i may switch over to acrylics as my enamels get used up.

Layout #2

I built the board for the second layout today, it is an end-to-end board which will fit under the window. Construction was similar to Knell Lane, a wood frame but i used hardboard instead of MDF for the top (mostly because i had some available which was the right width). I'm thinking of having a layer of foam board on top of this which will be what the layout will sit on.

Now for the big surprise, i think i might go OO with this new layout. I quite fancy an MPD or engineering yard layout with the back line being behind a screen and being the fiddle yard. I still have some work to do on the board anyway but we might be able to start developing something pretty soon. Here my Class 73 and a NSE coach have been used for size testing. I'm not sure if any of my legacy OO fleet will actually run anymore though i guess we'll just have to see.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Knell Lane has some signals at last, 2 colour light signals have been added to the station, a semaphore is currently under construction and will be added later. Now the colour signals do actually work though i haven't wired them up for now...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Playing around with slow-mo!

I've been playing around with the slow-motion video mode on my smart phone, the results are quite cool. Here is the CEP passing through the level crossing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Project #071, a Fokker DVII, has now been completed and is looking pretty good. It is only my 4th model kit project of the year though there have been quite a few kits and other modelling done on the railway and time is not an infinite resource... I will do at least 1 more this year though not sure what yet as none of my pending projects appeal so i'll have to go and buy something else!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Decision made

It has been decided to just run one of the Lima 31s, with the other being used for spares. The better runner has been chosen which as a bonus has working couplings. The body shell and part of the bogie has been transferred from the other 31 so far, the electric pickup wires to the engine have also been replaced. This is how it ran before the work began so hopefully there will be an improvement...

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Both Lima 31s have had traction tyres fitted now and run a lot better. Still some work to do but hopefully they will both play a part in operations on Knell Lane.

Evening freight

The entire current active freight fleet in one train!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bill and Ben

We've delved into eBay for the latest locomotive purchases and bought 2 old Lima Class 31s. Now they are very crude compared to modern locos though they do both work however they wheel spin like crazy and some new traction tyres are needed. Hopefully one can become a regular loco on the layout or at the very least give me some experience in modifying and improving rolling stock. Something i don't really want to do to my new stuff, especially the locos, as they are just too nice straight out of the box. The 2 31s are identical (so one will need renumbering at some stage) and i call them Bill and Ben!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

New stuff!

Some new "toys" arrived on Friday. Two new wagons including this rather lovely Grampus, the extra Kadee couplers i needed to make the full switch, and a signal kit.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Coupling up

While the default N gauge couplings work fine in general operation they do have a drawback i have found on curved track where its difficult to uncouple or recouple stock. Now this is a bit of a problem as my MPD solely consists of curved sidings! I've therefore begun a trial with Kadee/knuckle couplers which i had 4 of. Now i can't use these universally as some stock (most of the wagons) do not have NEM sockets and can't easily change their couplers without surgery which a) i don't want to do and b) the knuckle couplers arn't cheap and i can't afford to change everything!

So if i do decide to go with knuckle couplers, which seem to work great at coupling and recouping on curves, i will operate a mixture of knuckle and default couplings. It could be split like this:

Locomotives / Coaching Stock - knuckle
Multiple Units / Wagons - default

I will of course need 2-3 wagons as translator vehicles with different couplers at each end. I think it will be doable from both an operational and financial point of view though i shall continue trials for a few more days before deciding for good. Here we see the Class 22 and the CCV coupled up with the knuckle couplings.

Property portfolio

After quite a delay, mostly caused by the small fact of binning the old layout and starting from scratch, i've completed the 2 N gauge building kits i had outstanding. I've also taken my paint brush to the original 2 houses. They are all looking pretty good now...Here we see 2 house blocks, some shops and 2 lineside huts which will be put on the MPD (or maybe 1 there and 1 in the station area).

Saturday, August 6, 2016

(Not) Swift job

I suppose its humorous that Project #070 took a long time to complete when it was a Supermarine Swift. Well its all done now, not quite the best model i've done but not bad. Now to do some buildings for the model railway...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Multiple unit fest

All 3 of our multiple units lined up at Knell Lane buffers. The 122 seems OK now, the derailing problem might be caused by one of the bogies catching on the body not the coupling. A bit of wriggling seems to have solved it for now.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


The whole point of the Class 122 dummy was to allow for trains like this...

Monday, August 1, 2016

New DMU!

We welcomed some new rolling stock to the layout today, a Class 122 DMU. However there was something different about this DMU, although the lights came on there was no movement. Its an unpowered dummy in other words! The 122 DMU will be used as hauled stock to augment the (powered) DMU and also to re-enact stock transfers. The 122 looks great though has a problem with derailments but that looks like being caused by the coupler snagging on the buffers. By bending the coupling downwards slightly it seems to fix the problem though i still have more tests to perform.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Scenery progress

Yesterday i laid down a mass of pink gravel or tarmac around the station (providing a kind of "road" around the station. The centre part of the layout will be given a bit of a patchwork of pink and ballast and maybe some of the remaining ballast mat too. Then we can place buildings atop it...

Fish van

Latest piece of rolling stock to arrive is this SPV Fish Van, although our one depicts it in its later years when it was used for parcels traffic especially in the Southern Region.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Next step for HOe

The Falcon had a test run on the Knell Lane layout earlier today, just a couple of circuits to make sure the main loop is still suitable for HOe locomotive running in. Maybe some of the bushes alongside the track are a little close but the mighty Falcon made it around OK. Current plans are for a small end-to-end layout for HOe with the loop of the N gauge Knell Lane layout available for extended running to keep the locos in good shape.

I was having a look around at what rolling stock is available in HOe to augment the fleet in future (next year at the earliest) and this little montage i made shows there are some interesting options available old and new.

Ballasting done!

The ballasting (apart from maybe a bit of touching up here and there) is all done now. Attention can now be turned to the centre of the layout where a little village will be built up.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


The MPD is pretty much done, just the long siding needs a bit more ballast. The station is next and then all the ballasting is largely done. Then we can start operating trains again and also think about the scenery in the centre.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Populating the platform

The Permanent Way Department is busy ballasting the track on New Knell Lane, over half of it is done now and its looking fine. Meanwhile the Infrastructure Department has begun populating the platforms for the new station.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

New loco

Its time we had a new loco, and here it is! The Class 22 has always been a type i have liked (though i've never seen a real one - none exist now!) even back in the Hornby OO days of my childhood. Now i finally have one, in Dapol N gauge.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Scenery progress

New Knell Lane (as it will be called from now on) is progressing nicely. Most of the track is fixed down (just waiting for a replacement point before i fix down the last 2 sidings as the one in situ is a bit dodgy) and new platforms for the station have arrived. I've also made a start on the scenery. I'm not using the ballast mat as the base anymore though will be using it for roads. I'm using grass mats again but with "proper" ballast. So far looks pretty good.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Test run

Most of the track has been fixed down now... so why get the stock on there and start testing?!

Friday, June 10, 2016


It is 30 years since the creation of Network South East, so i thought i would give my OO gauge NSE coaches an airing. One day maybe my OO stock can have a new layout to run on, but not just yet. I need a bigger room, and a bigger house!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Its a right old fix

In the past i've always nailed track down with little pins, this goes back to my old OO days which is simply how it was done (apparently). Nailing track down is a lot harder with N gauge though not impossible. The issue is always getting the track back up at a later stage without damaging it, which quite frankly i suck at.

With New Knell Lane i'm trying something different. I'm using PVA glue to fix the track down. A trial a few weeks ago seemed to work pretty well so hopefully this will work on the new layout. But if it doesn't work and i'll can just go back to nailing it down... but fingers crossed.