Breaking Ground - Finescale - of a sort

michael mott

Western Thunderer
What a delightful set of pictures of the youngsters working the line. I loved this comment.
"But it is a real train Grandad!" he indignantly replied!

He is quite right of course!!

And this one
Doh! Now what have you gone and done?
That will now soon appear on Michael’s electro punk thread
No worries I already have a number of pictures of that one there are some interesting pictures of it in the museum with the electrical components exposed. It is on my list but I am a GWR fan really, and have finally got around to doing something about that.

Again thanks for the updates of the "real railway" I am enjoying it immensely.


Tom Insole

Western Thunderer

What can I say about today more than the many photos can explain more! So much joy and enjoyment from the little branch line today and all the many visitors who had a go today!
Dad driving.jpg
Let's start with the gaffer on his little loco!
There are a few of him I took today including an artistic one of dad reversing back towards the station.
Crossing the points.jpg
Scarlett did well at driving down the line (once she'd started mastering the controls.. We did a lot of the driving for her due to her little loco derailing and not quite getting the slowly opening the regulator on Wren). She still had a good few rides!
Its a race.jpg
there was quite a few games of chase/race along the length of the line.. Here's one of Scarlett on her and Grandad following behind. Not sure if dad heard her saying quite a few times "c'mon grandad, Come on...".
Stoking the fire.jpg
Here we see the kiddies checking the fire was doing okay!
Dad reversing artistic.jpg
Something a bit "arty" taken as dad reverses back toward the station.
ME on Wren.jpg
and of course I had to set up the tripod to capture myself having a go...

Once all the fun was had and everyone was thoroughly exhausted there was only one thing left to do....
End of day wipe down.jpg
Dad's kept all his training from working his way up the ranks from cleaner to driver!


Peter Insole

Western Thunderer
Thanks Michael and Tony for your kind comments, and to Tom, Glenn, Rich and Owain ("Mr. O.") for all your help and supplying some super pics too!

Seeing just how much pleasure the little (albeit incomplete) railway gives is an immeasurable joy. I only got a fleeting chance for a couple of goes on the regulator myself, (apologies for the naughty gnomish appearance!) but was more than content to step back and watch all the fun! I am also relieved to report that despite the absolute pounding that the loco and track took in the intense heat of yesterday afternoon, everything worked faultlessly!

Young Mr. T., is now repeatedly asking me about making a start on the station! He is insisting that he wants to help with the design and build, (in an unprompted and quite coincidental parallel with Michael's grandson!) so this Grandad's awkward priority of completing the permanent way first is almost certain to fail under the pressure?!

"On Saturday..?" he queried.

Oh dear, how can I possibly resist...??!



That will require knowledge of said driver’s hat size.
Would 6 1/2 be too loose to start with?
I must admit Im not sure what size 6 1/2 is, Luckily it's easy enough to mesure and find correct size funny enough the subject of grace top hat has been a conversation I have had with dad I should imagine I shall have to do several sizes so whenever there's a driver change they can be adorned with an appropriate hat

Peter Insole

Western Thunderer
Thanks for posting that great "Train ferry" pic Dave!

It turns out that Mr. O., purchased his "mattock" for a particular purpose - and that wasn't actually for the benefit of the railway!!

When he first dug a hole for his garden pond, he discovered to his horror that just a few inches below the lovely rich topsoil was an extremely hard, undisturbed "natural" clay. The stuff is like concrete, and an ordinary spade just wouldn't cut into it! Having a nearby "Field Maple" tree spreading it's roots across the site didn't exactly help much either. Poor boy, the effort really did him in, and he had to give up and settle for a puddle instead!!
This summer, the liner sprung a leak, allowing the contents to run out into to the boundary between the soil layers. Some weeks ago I suggested to him that if he could dig deeper and then spread and compact the arising clay around the edges up to the surface, the pond should not (in theory) require a liner at all?! A greater depth would also be perfect for wildlife - especially things with voracious appetites that would merrily munch on the millions of gnat larvae that proliferate in there!!

Now he has the appropriate tool, Mr. O., is only waiting for his "Flag Iris" plants to finish flowering before wading in! Although his plans are for something much grander than what went before, I'm not so sure they quite run to a full blown canal though..??


Peter Insole

Western Thunderer
I am always disappointed at the degree of ambivalence that trees generate. Many people appreciate them, and some even recognise their vital environmental value, but most seem to get decidedly twitchy about having anything green that grows over six feet tall anywhere near their own properties!
Please believe me, I do hear and can understand the various issues, but am sadly convinced that apart from any obvious, direct risk factors, all other considerations are more simply a matter of opinion?! I do wish folk might learn to be a bit more tolerant, especially of indigenous species, and be prepared to leave the wretched trees alone?!

My heart sinks every time I hear a chain saw.

Now having made my own opinion abundantly clear, I will now confess that I have something of a problem:


Almost forty years ago, when we first moved into our little terraced, Suffolk town house, the attached "gardens" were still open allotment grounds with the boundaries of individual plots mostly unmarked and informal. There were a couple of old boys that shared working ours and some others on either side. Although they didn't pay rent, we enjoyed a generous share of their produce in lieu - and I saw no reason to change those agreeable arrangements for the time being! Sadly, several new "first time buyers" purchasing neighbouring properties did not share my relaxed view however, and the diggers were quickly evicted. The last man declared he was fed up as it was "no longer worth his while traipsing halfway across town just to do yours"! Before he left, he showed me a stump next to the tumble-down shed where an old elder tree had been growing and annoying him with it's spreading roots. He said that after cutting the tree down to the ground he had tried to dig it out, but the hard clay subsoil had completely defeated him.
"Good luck if you want to take the garden on yourself as you'll find all the b****y roots still in there - but at least they're dead... I gave it a soaking in poison as well!"
Following his departure I took the opportunity to build myself a studio and workshop on the site of the original tool shed - taking care to avoid the awkward stump. Barely a year later, and to my utter amazement, the rotting tree stump began to sprout healthy looking shoots! I decided to leave it - reasoning that after so much torture, it had earned it's right to survive?!

So I let it be.

The concrete foundation pad that will be Mr. T's "station" is all that remains of that much missed studio, but the elder has thrived - rather too much so!

I did some research on the subject of Elder trees, and discovered that by consensus, they can live up to sixty years. I have also noticed that ours is not only notably taller than average, there is some worrying evidence that the beast is weakening in places. As a result of it's near demise, the tree doesn't have a single, main, vertical trunk, but several radial and frighteningly non perpendicular ones! If any or either of them fail in the near future, their sheer weight could do some terrible damage?!

Before even considering starting work on the station, I thought it would be wise to consult with and request the assistance of Mr. O.?!


I never, ever thought that I would be directly, or indeed even willingly responsible for the sound of one of those wretched, petrol driven chain saws...?

During a break, I felt just brave enough for a last opportunity to take a caterpillar's eye view on the (securely tied!) scaffold tower!


Bit by bit, down the boughs fell...


Rather a lot of it ended up in our next door neighbour's garden... but at least in a controlled manner!


While I really regret having to do this dreadful thing, and particularly at the wrong time of year in terms of the eco system, I can now at least take comfort knowing that everyone will be reasonably safe when enjoying themselves on the railway.

I can now start clearing and preparing the site in earnest - although I will sorely miss the most welcome shade that the old giant provided us.

"Perchance it is not dead.." though? We have left quite a bit of foliage on the lower trunks, so hopefully she may yet return?!

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Allen M

Western Thunderer
"Perchance it is not dead.." though? We have left quite a bit of foliage on the lower trunks, so hopefully she may yet return?!
Hello Pete
It may well grow quicker and stronger than ever. My late paternal grandfather spent his whole life in country skills, hedging, ditching, fencing, pruning, etc and he stated the best way to make a tree grow was to cut it back. A similar thing as pruning & dead-heading flowers.