top of page


  New readers start here  

April 23rd - the finish, for now

The shuttle unit is back and on its best behaviour (another switch problem, probably my cack-handedness). The project is now nominally finished. Always tweaks to do of course, but what is really required is an appreciative, not to say awe-struck, audience at the Railway.

Not going to happen for a while unfortunately. Love those pliers though.

March 22nd - the shuttle, again

A rather frustrating time recently, with the shuttle unit playing up when let loose on the layout. Not stopping where it should was diagnosed as a faulty reed switch, promptly replaced by Geoff Garside, tech guru of Timpdon Electronics.

However further playing of the up variety has resulted in the unit being returned to Geoff, for a severe talking-to on its responsibilities as a quality customer-focussed model railway gadget. Hopefully it will see the error of its ways and come back ready and willing to take up its assigned duties, with no more prevarication.

The other frustration is the coronavirus, which means that even with a fully-compliant shuttle there is no West Lancs Light Railway to show it off at (at which to show it off?).

Patience is a virtue apparently, and I will have to be especially virtuous and like many other people just sit it out until better times arrive.

February 10th - the shuttle

Storm Ciara was a good opportunity to hunker down and do some serious loco work. 

The body was finished in Honda Grey and the Timpdon shuttle gear fitted. After much studying of the instructions the wiring was eventually completed and a successful test firing carried out.

The final stage  will be calibration of the magnet positions on the layout, with a full load of coaches. Waiting on weather, as they say.

IMG_0243 copy_Fotor-S.jpg

February 7th - the motion

A significant milestone in the loco build - a working chassis.

To repeat what is fast becoming an over-used word, it was more than a bit fiddly, with several false starts and 'now what's happened?' moments.

Fortunately the system was well enough engineered to cope with my assembly technique, and operation with only 4 AAA batteries seems feasible.

February 4th - the real wheels

IMG_0228 copy_Fotor-M.jpg
IMG_0229 copy_Fotor-M.jpg

One more detail to the shed and on to the loco build. 60+ components for the drive gear, some very tiny and very loseable.

February 1st - more finishing touches

IMG_0223 copy_Fotor-M.jpg
IMG_0224 copy_Fotor-M.jpg

Spoke too soon about things to do. Some bags of coal and boxes of kindling have appeared.

IMG_0214 copy_Fotor-Th.jpg

January 29th - the finishing touches

IMG_0215 copy_Fotor-Th.jpg
IMG_0210 copy_Fotor-Th.jpg
IMG_0214 copy_Fotor-Th.jpg
IMG_0209 copy_Fotor-Th.jpg
IMG_0213 copy_Fotor-Th.jpg
IMG_0207 copy_Fotor-Th.jpg
IMG_0212 copy_Fotor-Th.jpg
IMG_0206 copy_Fotor-Th.jpg

Yet more fiddly detail, which adds interest and is one of the more enjoyable aspects of modelling. Two more seats means two more people required, or to be exact one-and-a-half, as I just happened to have a spare head lying around.

Starting to run out of things to do on the model itself, need to crack on with the diesel loco.

January 28th - the roof

IMG_0202 copy_Fotor-M.jpg

Recycling at its best - the bean tins are cut open, straightened and tacked into place. And a cunning plan has surfaced to take the shine off them, namely covering with a damp cloth impregnated with a vinegar and salt solution. How that works remains to be seen.

January 23rd - the jobs are ticked off

The tea party is now present and correct, and good progress has been made with the shed roof. Further roofing work will await accelerated corrosion of selected bean tins.

Off-camera, the two coaches have been painted and varnished, and a start has been made on solvent-gluing external detail to the NCB loco.

Wood has been acquired for the support legs, to remove reliance on locally-provided tables, which can vary in provenance. Also Ms eBay has come up with some rather smart green fabric to curtain off the lower sections.

IMG_0192 copy_Fotor-L.jpg
IMG_0180 copy_Fotor-L.jpg

January 18th - the scenery

More fiddling, this time to complete the ballasting on both boards and add some assorted varieties of grass and mud.

The points now have operating levers and connecting bars, and two people have reappeared, plus a loco and driver.


The other three staff members are waiting for the paint to dry on their new tea mugs

- the original set are somewhere about, but it was quicker to just replace them.

A blog on building a model of the West Lancs carriage shed.

January 14th - the big push

Lots of fiddly woodwork added, ready for the tin roof to go on. Beginning to look the part don't you think?

IMG_0173 copy_Fotor-L.jpg

January 11th - growing the structure

IMG_0167 copy_Fotor-L.jpg

The left side and extension walls are up, and a start made on the roof supports, secured with a combination of filler and glue. The flickering back light is already irritating.

January 4th - the panels

IMG_0158 copy_Fotor-L.jpg

The holiday season has been put to good use, with all but one of the wall panels and doors complete and ready for installation (spot the odd one out). Big decision looming on how to get them all vertical and rigid.

December 20th - the walls

IMG_0060 copy_Fotor-L.jpg

At last the building proper gets under way, with the first of the wall panels going in. I decided prefabrication was the easiest way, ensuring all the glue was set first of course.

December 12th - the electrics

IMG_0020 copy_heic-L.jpg

Some cable knitting today, with multicoloured wires and four LEDs, one flashing to represent a failing light, overdue for an electrician's TLC.


Also did a trial laying of some scale ballast, held in place with PVA glue.

IMG_0157 copy_Fotor-L.jpg

December 10th - the doorway

IMG_0016 copy_heic-L.jpg

Back to the cool of the workshed. The cement floor has been laid, using wall filler, and the doorway assembly cautiously erected into place.


Painting of the coaches is also underway, using a similar colour scheme to the West Lancs prototypes.

December 4th - the locomotive

Alf build 1 copy_heic-L.jpg

Some dining-table modelling on a chilly winter's day, and yes India was great, thank you for asking.


The loco is a PDF Models kit of the NCB loco Alf, which will form the motive power for the shuttle, assuming all the electronics will fit.

November 7th - the workers

20191106_183859 copy-L.jpg

The figures are by Motley Miniatures, with tea mugs courtesy of the Lego Group. Any resemblance to current members is entirely coincidental.


There will now be a short intermission whilst I visit the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, and other eastern delights.

October 30th - the layout

20191031_131749 copy-L.jpg

A publicity photo for the newsletter, showing the shed's foundations and the end wall and doors, the latter rather precariously propped in position. I may need more pliers.

October 20th - the track

20191020_112321 copy.jpg

With the baseboard boxes complete, much playing about with point angles and track lengths produced the layout shown in the photo.

The shed will go where the coaches/brake van are, with the train running back and forth from there to the left hand end of the track.

Also shown are the wired-up shuttle unit and the first part of the building, the left-hand door.

October 12th - the baseboard

Rather than make my own baseboards, I decided to use Grainge and Hodder plywood kits, which make up into light, strong box sections.


Two 1200 x 400mm units would be big enough for the shed, a point and a length of track, and still fit in the car.

20191010_115715 500px.jpg

As you can see, the first job is naming of parts. Laser-cutting means it all fits together fairly easily, with a bit of encouragement from a rubber mallet, size medium. Wood glue keeps the structure solid.

October 11th - the plan

20191010_202533 500px.jpg

Proper modellers do a lot of research and draft a comprehensive plan, with drawings, photos and the like. So far I've just taken a lot of photos of the shed and had a bit of a think.


Rather than a static model it would seem more interesting to have some movement of a train in and out of the shed, operated perhaps by an electronic shuttle unit.

And lo, Fosworks (previously Timpdon) have such a unit, which looks just what is needed. It uses reed switches on the train and magnets on the track to control movement.


October 10th 2019 - the beginning

It seemed a good idea at the time. The Railway's carriage shed is a heritage item of some note, one of the early buildings erected to house rolling stock.


Currently it shelters two coaches, the brake van and some of the diesels.

20190929_161129 500px.jpg

It's starting to show its age, and will need replacement in the years to come. So now seems a good time to try making a model. The chosen scale is 1:19, which is the same as the live steam layouts which inhabit the engine shed on gala days.


I (your humble webmaster) was tempted to model it in 'as is' condition, complete with missing/split boards and elegant lean. Eventually however I decided to keep it simple, and go for the 'early years' look, with some rust and faded paintwork but otherwise in fair nick.

bottom of page