fighting procrastination fifteen minutes at a time

Tag: Reference (Page 1 of 2)

Looping Levisham

Walking it off

Ok I am the worlds worst blogger! A bit like the rural branch lines of yesteryear. Where I train may come by and then nothing for hours maybe days. Which nicely segues into the topic of todays post. This Saturday gone I went for a walk along the North Yorks Moors Railway line. Following the route from Pickering to Levisham Station.

This is something I had been thinking about doing for such a long time. I even brought a leaflet about walks along the railway. But never followed through on them. hmm maybe a pattern there?! But now with the help of the OS Maps app and the relevant maps for the area, I could plan a route with no friction. I have long loved maps and can happily spend hours pouring over them to see the changing terrain and the funny place names.

I have started collecting maps for some walks I have always wanted to do. Not necessarily walks by railways. But the more I think about it there are loads of walks that I could do along railway lines that are not too far from me. But I get side tracked.

So Saturday.. I had been thinking about doing a walk that took in the whole route of the NYMR and at 21.85 miles I thought that might just be too far for me in one go. So I decided to split the walk up into smaller chunks. With maybe a ride back down the Dale on a steam train. However looking at the map I could see that I could do a route to Levisham that was about 6 miles and the around another 6 miles home to Pickering. Being a bank holiday weekend, I knew that I needed to get there early if there was any chance to park reasonably. I also want to park in the Station car park as then the money would go to them. So setting off at some ungodly hour was required. It was bliss sailing up the roads with little or no traffic to a Sun drenched Pickering. The first order of business was to watch the first train (09:20 ) set off. It is early in the season and although it was a bank holiday the station was pretty quiet. I had expected more activity, but it was nice not having to be jostled around in order to get some imagery. I am not a proper photographer and on the whole more interested in the moving picture. But I think we have all been places where shall we say the more involved enthusiasts seem will stop at nothing to get “their” shot or footage. As the last coach rolled out of view thoughts turned to breakfast. So we pottered into town. It’s been a long time since I have been in Pickering and forgotten pretty much everything about it. However after a few moments we scoped out an open cafe that did some really good bacon sarnies and good coffee. Fuelled up there was nothing left to do than to set off walking.

The Journey

Leaving Pickering we followed the road out to New Bridge level crossing. From there you dive off through a quarry. I wasn’t sure if it was active. Further on an M.O.D approved firing range marked the start of a pretty steep climb along a ridge. I must admit that I’m not good at heights and had to employ ninja breathing habits to reach safer ground. But once at the top, the track opened out into a very big field and wide open skies. Some typical NYM terrain followed, with rolling hills and 360deg views.

Arriving at the picturesque village of Arncliffe on Newton where everything seemed to be asleep from the previous nights revelry, well at least in my head it was. We followed through to the far end where the path started to fall away. What I hadn’t picked up from the map was the compacted contour lines. Reaching the point where I had happily traced the route, I was now confronted with what felt like a shear drop of a couple of hundred feet. There was no way that was going to be an option so out came the map and with a sigh of relief, an alternative route found to arrive at the same point some hundred feet below. Looking up I’m not overly sure that I would have climbed up it. I am better at going up than down! With a short walk down to level ground although in wet conditions would have been “interesting”.

We arrived into Levisham Station with a couple of minutes to spare for the impending northbound train. I hadn’t really planned it to be that way but in the back of my mind, if we did arrive at 12:20 then we would get to see two trains if we took an hours lunch break. So once the quietness returned we sat down to a fine cuppa tea and our sandwiches. The kiosk at Levisham does some pretty fine cakes. Just like the ones I remembered from childhood village fetes/events where the village halls were decked out with a grand spread! Once fed and watered we were ready for the journey home. After an initial climb up the side of the valley, it was a gently amble down to around half way back. At which point we came across some adept chickens. When they saw us they set off with purpose and got to the footbridge that had a gate on it but nimbly hopped around it and then headed for the local farm yard. I complimented Farmer on his ninja chickens. Crossing over the line and before another climb up I took some pics of a railway cottage that oozed so much NER character and the sight of a station that disappeared not long after the line opened. 

I’ll go on a bit of a digression. There were so many modelling dioramas that I could have recorded. From the buildings at Levisham, to signals out in the countryside. The little bridges the line crosses and the becks that flow the water off the moors. There’s just so much. Then my mind wanders and there is a bit of a battle between what I am seeing now and what it would have been like when the line was active. Yes I know the two things couldn’t be further apart, but in my mind there is a link there. The fact that the purpose has changed for the line, life still goes on around it. The fact it was saved doesn’t lessen the purpose of the railway. I want to return to document some of the things that interest me. But that will have to wait for another day.

Whilst near Farwath, heard a train chuff by but couldn’t see it so it was noted that there were a couple of suitable places to view either side of where we were. So up we went and pretty much away from the line and out into open country again. It was pretty much all downhill back to New Bridge Signal Box where we had cross about 4 hours before. Again unplanned! As we crossed the line the buzzers went off and signalman prepared to swap line tokens. There was train booked out of Pickering at 4pm and we waited around to see if it would turn up. But both being tired and thirsty we decided to leave our last glimpse of trains to another day. Coasting back into Pickering with the sense of a wonderful day and walk, but happy for it to be over. We arrived back at the car thinking “Right, lets look at the next section.

I know there has been no modelling harmed in the making of this post. But it sparked off the mojo that for far to long has been missing. It was just the tonic I needed. I also realise that my interest is not the model, or the trains, it’s actually the whole picture and that I can’t experience it as it was is what drives me and I guess every railway modeller to do what we do.

Until next time..

Only the name has been changed

New RhB Forum
#134 Swiss RhB Forum

Not much activity to report this week. Things are grinding on in this NatPandemic2.0 or what ever it is. I’m rather losing track of the days, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel as the long winter nights are receding making way for spring. Hopefully.

So the purpose of this post is to mention a new forum for people who are interested in the Swiss Meter Gauge RhB Railway. This was after the closure of the previous forum, rather suddenly. Anyway it was a while since I logged in and its a shame that all the info and pictures people put in over the years., and some of the people on there who were/are RhB staff

So click here if you want to join in

A note to End On.

#132 Llanymynech Lime Kilns. copyright Ordance Survey.

After a chat with a friend earlier this afternoon, talk came round to a discussion we had last year at the beginning of the COVID19 lockdown and was based around a heritage centre not too far from his home town. But what sparked my imagination was the intersection of boundaries.

Let me explain this a bit. The boundaries I talk about are both between land and water, standard and narrow, and nations. So in this small space of land, there is so much to model. It covers just about every one of my interests when it comes to narrow gauge. Those being rough and ready rails, canals, offloading and a bit of standard gauge thrown in for good measure. The other interesting fact about this location is that the boundary between England and Wales runs down the middle of the road in the village of Llanmynech and ran between the inclines that ran up to the lime quarries.

This is a project to be filed for another day, but I love stumbling across out of the way gems and noodling plans out of the landscape. Looking into the history of the location conjures up a very different picture of the landscape today. Once again StreetView helps research the remote location. The internet machine turns up so much information so that one can start to get an idea of how the proposition could be brought into reality. I think like a lot of these ideas I stretch and bend the truth but then I am not trying to remodel history, just taking parts of it to create a cameo. Something that will fit in my small spaces but will be of interest.

So a bit of Googling shows some background to the area and location to model. Flipping back to previous run-bys shows a better picture of the main wharf that would be modelled.

This second picture shows the view from the quarry looking down towards Llanymynech village and canal. It gives some colour to the monotone maps that give the operational detail. If we can ever get out of this motionless state, I will once again visit my friends in Wales and scope out this fascinating slice of the past industrial history.

I like the fact that this lends it’s self to an end on layout which is pretty unusual as most if not all are side to side. The fact that it combines several interests is just a bonus. This needs more research but is filed away for that rainy day.

Until the next one…

Thwap on the mat

Model Railway Journal Magazine. #281
#130 Thwap on the mat MRJ 281

Look what arrived on the doormat this morning. I really thought that I had run the course of my subscription of the MRJ. But the joy of receiving this package of goodness on this day of freezing rain and general gloominess is one small pleasure in ones rather dull existence. I have to say that there is little that I am necessarily interested in but once again I enjoy reading about the methods and authors of these articles. However I did really enjoy Geoff Forster’s ‘Designs for Bleddfa Raad’ in O Scale. Also John Chick’s ‘My Brain Trains’ bring an interesting slant to modern layout control.

Then there is another one of my addictions that needs feeding on the opposite page from the contents page. Which is “Unconsidered Trifles” from Wild Swan books and I have always enjoyed Geoff Kent’s output.

So once again more food for thought from the great people at Cygnet Magazines. Now where’s my cheque book to extend my subscription for another four issues!

Until the next one…

Bouncing Box

In keeping with the small scale of operations at 15minmod towers, I was served up this great little video and two things sprang to mind. 1) Now that Unit would make a great little model; due to its size and uniformity. 2) at 3:13:00 there is a great little cameo layout idea. I have long thought that these little spots lend themselves to my restrictive space for modelling and the focus it allows is way more important to me. I never can resist the chance to noodle a bit and although it probably wouldn’t be that interesting in reality all these little scrappy are gathered together for patching together in a glorious multi faceted quilt of a railway.

Plan 25433989.23

So filing away for future ideas, I am lead to think that in these times of shortage, but an abundance of time it would be an ideal little 3D modelling project. Not having a 3d Printer won’t stop the fun of designing the build and yes I know there are places you can get things printed but as I try to stay focused on my current project when the mind wanders a craves sometimes different this is what I might turn to. The thought did also cross my mind about trying to create this in etched metal, as there are a number of variants of this that would lend well to filling out a sheet of nickel silver or Brass


Until next time..

Browny biege-y chocolatey

#124 GWR Colours

In pondering the colour of the Yard Office I am building, I have been wrestling with the locations that I could draw on. I initially settled on the Scottish region light blue, only really because I like the colour. But the more I thought about it I realised that I couldn’t bring myself to anger the gods of fidelity so relocated my intentions to the west of London and so therefore in God’s Wonderful Railway (Great Western Railway, to the uninitiated)

I then came across this site with its mine of knowledge on Stone 1, Stone 2 etc. Now that I have the location I have no choice but to go chocolate and cream!

Passing time on

Just a short messive from the 15minute modelling headquarters. Attempting to help other departments the authorities have decreed that funds must be found and in looking through the draughty back room store house my collection of Finescale Railway Modelling Review magazines peeked out of a pile. Now normally I would in the good family traditions not think twice about relinquishing some thing from the hoard, specially not something so seemingly valuable. But needs must when the devil rides and so it has come to pass that I am going to pass on these excellent three issues and short lived production run to another soul.

Just in case you fancied a peek you can find them here

Autumnal colour

Continuing the Swiss theme I just love the Swiss meter gauge lines and the diversity of these lines in the modern age where the motor vehicle seems to be king. The compactness of the locations and the street running fascinate. I particularly like the autumnal? tints in the video and the unusual time of year that’s no often captured.

But in this day and age we should all have more meter gauge lines in our lives..

Library Lookup

My Railway Related Bookshelf

Whist sitting at my desk thinking about all things modelling and also the complexity of creating things to put out on the world wide web my attention was distracted by a book peeking out of my bookshelf. Yet another one of those great ideas at the time that didn’t follow through to an actual product. Then my thoughts drifted to what else was in the bookshelf and what have I not looked at in some time, well in reality a long time.

I know it might just be me but I rarely “just get” books out of my shelf, but that’s changed now with the lock down. In this age of digital media I realised that I have long moved away from the printed word. I remember the days that I would look forward to getting the latest edition of Railway Modeller from our local newsagents on the Saturday after it came out, as this was the time I could make it to the town that stocked the magazine. But the joy in getting home and disappearing off to my bedroom to lose myself in little imaginary worlds for a brief moment in time has been forgotten, at least for me. I am sure there are many out there who have the contrary view and spend significant amounts of time and money building their collections. But for me part of the process is getting something for the immediate joy of reading. Then follows the putting in a place on a shelf and the distancing from the mind, probably, possibly for years.

The fact that I haven’t had this opportunity since I was that yoof sitting in his bedroom, sitting in front of these books now brings back the joy of that moment. Each book and magazine has a memory attached, sometimes it was the getting of it or sometimes the memory of reading it.

I could have way more books, way way more books in these shelves, but I have managed to keep my choices to things that are in my core interests. For me it would be way too easy to load up on a whole range of subjects that would keep me busy probably for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong its not that I don’t go down other paths elsewhere but on the whole this is all digital and takes up no physical space. In this age of pretty much everything being in some form on line, with a large amount of it not being or never having been in publication. With also the possibility of asking questions on related forums, there really is no stone that can’t be unturned.

As someone who has spent the majority of there life in motion, and with few places where I had time or space to spread these physical roots it has been both a blessing and a curse. But now I am actually happy I hadn’t accumulated a huge library as most of it would probably have been jettisoned anyway. What’s more of interest to me is distilling my knowledge of the particular subject I’m interested in. Building up archives that I have access to anywhere is more important to me now than having an impressive bookshelf(s). I now circulate books brought on a whim that either don’t fit with my core interests or that replicates information. On the whole I have managed to train out random compulsive purchasing, but occasionally one gets through! I have to say that the Wild Swan Modelling Series is my Achilles keel and have pretty much brought every book in this series, even if it doesn’t necessarily fit my modelling influences and skills.

Speaking of Wild Swan I received the last issue, which after some (fomo?) I couldnt remember when my subscription ran out and like a fool when the mag turned up did my civic duty and bunged the envelope into the recycle. Unbeknownst to me the final edition is printed on the label, who knew?! I kind of admire their complete lack of desire to enter the 21st century and the operations dept is an endless source of amusement for many. But in this time of seclusion I opted for the patience approach and crossed fingers that it would turn up at some point. Thankfully that is what happened and I am now signed up for another four issues, which is all they are offering at this current time. But four is better than non of this wonderful publication.

These mags are the only I buy now. Apart from an occasional purchase of other mainstream mags this is the only one I actively collect. Also the only one that I don’t slash n scan pretty much after purchasing. I have been known to occasionally leaf through one in a idle moment. I have recently started building an index of the mags I have, yes I know there is already one out there, but I like to have something that I have access to at all times and can quickly look for something of interest.

So for the time being I am revisiting some old paper friends and pondering if there are more I need or want to add to them.

Until next time..

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