Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Engineering rotation

As the BGLR locomotive fleet gets bigger (though the layout doesn't) we've had to adjust our rotation policy to give more locos a go. We've decided to rotate the position of engineering train motive power, the Motorbahnwagen will share the duties with one of the shunter fleet every six months. Ruby thus has taken over this duty and is likely to continue until the Spring, then the Motorbahnwagen will return until the Autumn when it is likely Tango will take over.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Bear

Time for a new loco! In the Summer we tried to get the green version of the Roco electric but the order fell through (and got Tango instead). To be honest it was the brown version of the electric I wanted more anyway so it was good to wait until it was available. The Bear (as it obviously will be known as it has teddy bears on it!) arrived today. Once running in is complete it will look good pulling it's rake of matching coaches. Ruby will go into the reserve fleet in a few days, at the start of 2019 Jam will return to the layout so both electrics will then be working alongside each other.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Scenery progress

After some blank weeks I finally got on with some scenery on the layout! The platform of the tram stop is taking shape, and one side now has a wall to stop passengers falling on the tracks below. I've also done some more ballasting.

Monday, August 27, 2018

More advertising

More photos of the Birches Green advertising, including an advert board on the platform.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The scourge

The scourge of advertising has hit Birches Green! Some adverts have been added to the side of the tram viaduct. Unfortunately I didn't realise they were East Germany (DDR) adverts when i bought them (the photo on the website was tiny) but oh well... it adds to the hipster feel of the BGLR.

Coach upgrade

Things have been quiet on the BGLR lately mostly due to the Summer heat, though there has been some running of trains. Today the Driving coach had it's long planned upgrade, it now has a few passengers inside it and a coupler has been added to the nose end to improve operational flexibility.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Tram siding

The tramway has gained a short siding, this will be to store the unpowered tram for now but maybe in future some other vehicle? It might soon be time to fix the tram track down.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Tram 2.0

A second tram has arrived at the BGLR, however this one is not likely to be in use any time soon as it is unpowered! Very nice it is though, a possible future project will be to fit a power bogie but for now it is likely to be just a static part of the tramline. In other news Growler has now gone off into reserve, it will be back next year.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

New coach

Things have been a bit slow on the BGLR lately but we received a new coach today, the seventh in the fleet. The new coach is similar to coach C, another fine Roco product, and also has some first class accommodation for the BGLR's richer patrons!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

New loco

After a slight delay we have a new loco! Originally we were going to get a Roco electric but that purchase fell through, so instead we have got a Minitrains Ns2f. We wanted a non-Liliput loco to widen the "gene pool" a bit. "Tango" (temporary name unless we can't think of anything better) runs great. Despite being tiny it is relatively quite heavy and thus can handle a decent sized freight train easily.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Black Beauty close-up

Close-up of Black Beauty working a train near the station. Liliput have done a very fine job on the model.

The bridge

The sides of the bridge have now been clad in the same stone texture as the back scene wall. More work will also be done on the two pillars once the sides are in place. Once the bridge is looking fine then we can begin building the tram stop which will be it!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

New wagon

Its been quiet on the railway over the last week though yesterday a new wagon (a Roco double bogie open wagon) arrived, purchased in a shop too which is very novel. The first HOe stock i've ever not purchased online infact. Anyway i now have three Roco double-bogie wagons so must put them into a train.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Into reserve

Percy performed it's final duty bringing two wagons into the backscene and then went into reserve, joining Jam and Maria in the reserve fleet (in reality a big box). Spare rolling stock has also been put away as the backscene was becoming a bit crowded. Percy will return in about six months and will likely alternate with Ruby as the layout shunter. In other news one of the goods sidings has been relaid with the remaining HOe track and the spare catchpoint.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Old and new

Black Beauty has continued it's proving testing and will be handed over to the Operations Dept. by the Integration & Testing Dept this weekend. It is running well, of course the technology is pretty well proven. After all it is the same loco type as Falcon and Growler - the former being the oldest loco on the layout with over five years service now!

The Infrastructure Dept. meanwhile has completed the underlay for the tramline, something more permanent can be laid now.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Black Beauty

A new loco arrived today, and the first new mainline loco since Jam, presenting D15 Black Beauty. What a splendid looking locomotive! D15 is a sister loco to Falcon and Growler. Once running in is complete it is likely Percy will go into reserve.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A running session

All of the active fleet got a run out today before the engineering department took charge of the line, well its a Bank Holiday after all!
Ruby with a light freight

Percy hauls the new van 
Falcon is still on push-pull duties

Growler with the express

Playtime over!

OO test

Now the tram line is in place I did wonder of my OO stock (which has been in storage since the early 1990s) still worked. So why not try it? The Class 25 worked fine after a little coaxing! OO will not be returning to the layout anytime soon but its good to know there is a reserve fleet just in case...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

New bogie van

It has been awhile since any new rolling stock arrived on the BGLR, well here is a bogie van and very nice it is too! We plan at least two new locomotives this year so watch this space...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

An anniversary and the tram line extension completed

It is a year to the day since i finished the original board for the BGLR and ran the first test train (behind the Falcon of course). I still hadn't finalised the eventual track layout as can be seen from the photo below. There was a month or so of experimentation before i started sticking any track down.

And today the board has been extended a little. A short board (in reality a shelf) has been appended to the main board to allow for the tramline to be completed. Next step will be to lay some kind of underlay over the track boards so the joins are hidden!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tramway track laid

New track for the tramway was procured today, though there are a couple of extra pieces needed to finish off. Some test runs of the tram were made and it ran pretty well. The track will not be stuck down yet as some underlay is needed along the bridge and new board first.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Progress on the tramway extension

The board extension has been made ready for (possibly just phase one) of the tramway. The board extension is on top of the back scene and thus also gives stored stock a bit of protection i suppose! I need some new track for the extension, i've been doing tests with some of my old OO track but its pretty life expired!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Percy running

Not much running on the BGLR lately, just some extended runs for Percy. After Maria's problems we are a bit paranoid about our other two Liliput shunters though Percy seems to be running fine.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Single coach

The BGLR usually runs single coach trains due to the small size of the station, plus if the rostered loco is Ruby one coach is all it can pull!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Planning for the tramway

Today has seen some minor adjustments to the bridge ready for the future tramway extension. There will need to be a board extension which will be above the back-scene storage siding. I've been testing it out with some of my ancient Hornby OO track though i'll probably buy new track for the tram line.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

An anniversary approaches

At the end of this month will be the 5th anniversary of our return to the world of model railways when Falcon, the two Zillertalbahn coaches and some track arrived. We've come a long way since. The Birches Green Light Railway is the third generation layout which was "born" in the Spring of 2017.

Rotation policy

The railway has been a bit quiet at the start of 2018 though there has been some extended running for Ruby which is settling in pretty well though does have the pulling power of a light breeze. Falcon is running well after its six months rest. We thought it would be a good idea to explain our rotation policy.

The railway is only really big enough to host four locos "on rail" at any one time. There are enough sidings for six though it would make operation ridiculously complicated - a bit too much like sokoban. Therefore we have four locos in operation, the engineering trolly is kept on isolated rails in the back scene apart from when its running and one loco is kept in reserve. Falcon was the first to be put in reserve and currently Jam is having a rest. In 6 months Jam will return and one of the other locos (probably Growler) will take its leave.

Now as we get more locos it may be that the rotation policy will have to be amended with it happening more frequently, more locos being put into storage and rest periods being shorter but we will address that when needed.

Friday, January 12, 2018


We use a catchpoint as a cheap and easy way of isolating the end of a siding. Currently only the station storage siding has this, Grower is shown below after arriving with a train. We do have another catchpoint which will likely be added to one of the goods sidings when they are relaid later in the year.