I’m afraid the gap between updates has been longer than anticipated; for the first couple of weeks it was a simple case of lots of work and little free time,  but the last couple of weeks or so I’ve been feeling pretty grotty.   Now at last I’m  slowly beginning to feel human again!

Some answers to the questions on MICA liveries posed in the previous post are still being worked through so I’ll leave the next part of that series for the time being, at least until I have some firm data to share.

Graham’s son, Peter has offered to make a 3D mockup of  the Angel Lane  loco depot in SketchUp, so I hope to share that with you soon.  This will help ensure 99% of practical and compositional issues have been sorted before butchering a single lump of ply for the layout support framework. I’m moving away from the term ‘baseboard’ as I’m not sure it applies in the time-honoured sense of the word if the plans I have bear practical application. Time will tell if it’s little more than flim-flam on my part or a an inspired decision.  Oi, who just said ‘flim-flam’?  One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be far removed from ‘2″ x 1″ softwood built in the usual way with Sundeala on top to take track pins’ …

This 3D model has prompted much badgering about information on the area around about the GE loco yard, dimensions of various bits of civil engineering and architecture and such like, so a new sketch of has been made and will be uploaded with some commentary soon.

Just before turning a sickly shade of green around the gills I began to make some inroads into my Shelf Queens – half completed models intended for Basilica Fields. Construction on these models was put into abeyance for various reasons from insufficient prototype information to lack of parts, and all sorts of excuses in between. Once I’m up and running again I’ll be finishing some of these off, in particular those items of stock which have a direct relevance to the loco yard area.

With that in mind, I’m starting a new series on GE open wagons which will begin in the next post. Much of the text for this series was drafted during long hours sat in hospital waiting rooms over the last couple of years, so it’s just a case of reigning in the verbose verbiage and rummaging through the endless photo albums for suitable piccies.

Taking a brief intermission, this email* is doing the rounds, and I thought some of you might be interested.

*Edit: I now see it was taken from Leon Daniels’ blog.

Last night we carried out a test designed to demonstrate the feasibility of running a steam locomotive on the London Underground for its 150th anniversary in 2013.

Locomotive Met no 1 and the Metropolitan first class ‘Jubilee’ coach 353 are currently being restored and fundraising is underway. Restoration of both vehicles is progressing and the London Transport Museum is overseeing both the fundraising and the restoration projects.

To have a working steam locomotive on the Underground presents significant challenges and last night after end of traffic a special train undertook some proving runs. Beattie 30587 was the steam locomotive used. It is owned by the National Railway Museum and was built in 1874. It was coupled to 1923 Metropolitan Electric loco ‘Sarah Siddons’ which provided a viewing platform, and between two battery locomotives and wagons carrying water and coal.

It left Lillie Bridge depot after 0100 and ran from Earl’s Court at 0135 via the District line to Edgware Road. After a stop it then proceeded to Baker Street. At Baker Street the loco was run with protracted steam venting whilst heat and smoke levels in the station were tested. Later it shunted east to west and ran back to Edgware Road. Other trains – composed of S stock and C77 stock – ran around the steam loco train testing the effect on passing trains. With the tests complete the train ran back to Lillie Bridge via Earl’s Court.

All went very well. But the sight and sound of a steam locomotive on the Underground was pure magic. It is, of course some 40 years since there was any steam propulsion on the Underground and then of course for engineering/permanent way reasons. The last passenger train hauled by steam here was in 1905. A truly historic night out!

Another video added:

Happy New Year to all of the readers of this journal. Many thanks to all of you who have commented on the posts, and who have responded with much useful information both on here and privately. I’m also very pleased that the content has helped so many of you in your own researches. The stats helper monkeys have prepared a 2011 annual report and I thought this might be an interesting diversion for about 30 seconds or so…

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Queen, Limehouse. June 1897.

This blog has been up and running for one year today! To be honest I never expected it to turn out as it has, and wondered if I’d last even a month with it…

This time last year I’d have expected to have the baseboards built by now and be well on the way to having much of the track down. Neither has happened for the simple reason that I also never expected to spend much of last year, and most of this year thus far, sitting in hospital wards with one of my daughters. With that in mind, I never expected I’d have schedule a post to publish at a future date (this post was written and set for publishing three days in advance) just in case I wasn’t here to do it.

At the time of writing this blog has had 12,538 all-time views (2,800 in 2011 already), with December 30th 2010 as the busiest day with 237 views. Search engines bring in a good number of visitors, recurring themes being obvious things like Smithfield, LBSCR, Great Eastern, Sondes, Metropolitan, etc, and referrals come in from a large number of railway and modelling sites and blogs, many of which appear in the sidebar – James Wells’ Eastmoor being the largest referrer of them all. There are also some strange referring sites (for example lindsaylohanblog and petbookreviews…) and some very dubious dating sites referring here too. Blimey.

Anyway, this time next year I should have the baseboards built and the track laid. I know that for a fact ‘cos someone else is building the track for me, and they’ll soon be writing a few posts about the trials and tribulations of researching the Permanent Way of the Metropolitan Railway and its widened lines, and the construction of it in ScaleSeven.

Anyway, a celebratory photo for the blog’s birthday. Taken at the Queens beerhouse in Rhodeswell Road, Limehouse, the VR in coloured lamps on the first floor and a date of June 1897 gives the game away: Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Nothing like a good knees’ up in the East End!

Pass the jellied eels…

Part of the big historical background to Basilica Fields has now been uploaded and can be found in the navigation bar above, or by simply clicking here.

I sent the original copy over to Mike Bootman for proofreading and comments, and he returned a completely re-written document fleshed out with some fantastic ideas which dovetailed perfectly with both my plans and the real historical record. I’ve only made a couple of small changes to his final draft reflecting updates to the evolution of Basilica Fields in the intervening five months or so since he penned it. History can be re-written!

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