Wrack and Ruin

A mid-life crisis in narrow gauge

Back From the Dead (Again)

“By March 2020, it had become apparent that the little loved and much neglected Rhach & Rhwyn Railway was once more almost moribund. The track was mostly overgrown and still showing the effects of leaf fall from the previous autumn, with several breaks in the rail and indeed the total absence of a running line for one short stretch. In the works mouldered the half-assembled bodywork of the line’s sole premier standard carriage, along with the chassis only for a small diesel Simplex engine, both untouched since the revival almost three years previously. This had taken place when it became apparent that the original Company management was a useless, lazy incompetent. Unfortunately, it turned out that the new management was very much of the same stock. With a(nother) new management team in place, could the line strike it third time lucky and reverse its terminal decline?”
- J. O. K. Boyd, Least Interesting Narrow Gauge Railways Of Obscure Wales, Vol. 9

Kate Out of the Gate

Yesterday I completed the IP Engineering ‘Kate’ diesel locomotive kit. It feels like it’s been going on for months but in fact it’s only been four weeks since the last blog post describing the start. There was however a longeur in the middle where I did little other than adding another coat of paint every evening when I had a spare half hour. (I hate painting, or rather I don’t mind painting itself - which is quite therapeutic as you smother grey primer with green/red/black - but I hate waiting for it to dry.)

Kate Takes Shape

The IP Engineering ‘Kate’ Pressfix kit arrived last week, along with a bottle of MEK solvent, so I started putting it together this weekend. The good news is, it’s a lot more straightforward, quicker and less excessively gluey to construct than messing around with whitemetal and epoxy.

So Simple It’s Simplex

It took a while to get through all the domestic tasks on Sunday morning, but eventually I was able to return to the IP Engineering Plate Frame Simplex kit I started last week. And once I got down to work, I was glued to it.

A Question of Character

Nantlle is the featured line in this month’s Garden Rail magazine (which incidentally I was impressed to see is now available again in WH Smiths for the first time in years, hopefully a sign of rude health following the new ownership). It’s a really lovely line, based on modern FR/WHR practice and set amongst some beautiful scenic work. Really quite… disheartening inspiring.

Breaking Eggs

I should have guessed it was a bad day when the pancakes went wrong. For some reason, a tradition has evolved of having American-style pancakes for breakfast on Sundays in our household. My youngest Junior Research Assistant always mixes the batter, usually with practiced ease, but yesterday the egg simply smashed into fragments, with yolk and pieces of shell dripping off her hand into the bowl. Whisking the batter, I managed to splatter a fair amount around the worktop and floor. Then I burnt the pancakes - not just the first batch but two further ones.

A Narrow Swerve From Extinction

I came here to write a mea culpa for neglecting the Rhach & Rhwyn over the past few years, only to discover that I’d been neglecting the blog even longer! (How long? Well, I just had to trawl right back through the archive to the first post to remember how I’d spelled Rhach & Rhwyn.) Occasional weekend services recommenced in the garden just the other day, after actual effort was expended in rescuing it from dereliction. So let me bring things back up to date.

Running In

20100418-112155_shrp Services recommenced on the R&R this weekend. Initial running problems were resolved by a) regluing the gear on to the driving axle of the loco to stop it slipping and b) fettling the curve under the cutting, which appears to have been undermined and pushed up by soil creep from the embankment, creating an apparently insurmountable gradient. Once this was done, we managed a non-stop service of several circuits.