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November 2014 edition now available

The November 2014 edition of New Irish Lines should now have arrived through the letterboxes and email inboxes of all subscribers. We hope you enjoy reading it.

November 2014


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Editorial: November 2012

Alan O’Rourke


I sometimes find myself buying books for the completeness of my library, advertised as having some Irish material, but often very disappointing: a chapter or two, which says little, or merely cribs both text and illustrations from earlier books. But, I recently hit lucky with a volume on mono-rails by Adrian Garner*. The book is substantial: 288 pages, lavishly illustrated with photographs, facsimiles of sketches; and scale engineering drawings. I suspect it is the result of years, if not decades of painstaking research, with extensive reference lists showing good use of the primary sources, often contemporary scientific journals and newspapers. For the Irish content, there is a detailed chapter on the Listowel & Ballybunion. This line already has several books to itself, but Adrian provides some new material, with drawings of nearly all the rolling stock, more detailed and to larger scale reproduction than those already published. There are also some extra pictures of the coaches, but I suspect these represent skilful enlargements from the National Library of Ireland’s glass plates rather than a previously unknown hoard of negatives.

But, I was tempted to read the rest of the book, and was well-rewarded. Early on, Adrian attempts to classify mono-rails: he gets as far as four types: post-and-rail; A-frame (as used on the Ballybunion line); bicycle (see below); and suspended from an overhead guide. However, the sheer fecundity of nineteenth century inventors means he has to fall back on a catch all “unique” category for a whole host of other odd and eccentric systems. It seems there was a never ending supply of ideas for mono-rails, but to paraphrase Dr Johnson, the good parts of these were rarely new and the original parts rarely worked! Some of the lines ran foul of legislation, which specified maximum or minimum gauge, since a mono-rail, by definition, has no gauge! The Boynton Bicycle systems had a vertical gauge of between nine and fifteen feet, measured between the ground level guide rail and an upper rail on which small balancing wheels ran. In practice of course, except for lines suspended from above, most “mono-rails” required more than one point of support to maintain balance.

Many systems never got beyond a few drawings and a patent registration; others existed only as scale model or short demonstration lines. The few which were built rarely provided more than a few years of public service. In Adrian’s terms, they were ”technically successful” (i.e. they did at least work), but financial failures, or in modern language they were effective but not efficacious. The Ballybunion line, in spite of its failure to generate a profit, was remarkably long-lived. The only line in the book which has lasted longer is the Wuppertal system in Germany, still thriving today. One can only assume that the mechanical advantages offered by the use of smooth wheel on smooth rail, and the economy of using a single rail system, powered this diversity of ideas, but that once the pneumatic tyre and the internal combustion engine arrived, the idea had had its day.

The basic motto of mono-rail designers seems to have been: “Originality before practicality!” this extended to propulsion where all sort of muscle and mechanical drives (and in one case a hot-air balloon!) were proposed, including electrical motors from the Daft [sic] Electric Light Company of New Jersey, founded by one Leo Daft. The illustration from side on often look like a fairly orthodox engine and coaches, but the head on or plan views show just how elongated and etiolated the machines were, maybe another version of the old joke about Harcourt Street station having length but no width. Although many were proposed as purely local street tramway type systems, there were grandiose plans for high-speed (up to 150 mph) inter-urban lines. Many of the illustrations are from contemporary journals, often of the “artist’s impression” variety, and some of these are a bizarre mix of the Victorian and futuristic, producing a sort of Dan Dare meets HG Wells life in the twenty-first century panorama. One of the oddest is Captain Meig’s elevated mono-rail, one of the relatively more successful design which did get as far as a one mile demonstration line. A rather conjectural picture shows what this might have looked like if Boston had ever sanctioned a commercial version: space age cylindrical carriages, but a smoking chimney and serious men in top hats and frock coats in the cab. I have a feeling the Steam Punk gang would love this!

*Garner A (2011) Monorails of the Nineteenth Century Lydney: Lightmoor Press

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Editorial: November 2009

Alan O’Rourke

What is the ideal design for a model railway layout? I suspect that there are as many answers as there are modellers, both active and armchair, and that for most, design is constrained by available space. But what if we narrow the question down to general types, rather than down to the position of each point and siding? To adapt Dean Swift’s terminology, maybe we can divide modellers into two camps: the Endists and the Rounabouters. The first group tend to be the purists, championing end-to-end layouts, on the grounds that “real” trains go from somewhere to somewhere else, and disparaging the circuit as a glorified train-set oval. The second group can retort that most end-to-end lines provide very limited runs and operating potential. Both camps are of course subdivided, and although the classical Endist design is the terminus-fiddle yard, with the hidden sidings representing the other 99.9% of the prototype network, with more space one can develop refinements like intermediate stations or even an independent branch. Some modellers will favour a through station, with fiddle yards at each end, especially if they have a very long, thin space, such as the top of bookcases. However, at this stage some two thirds of the layout may be hidden behind back-scenes, and a neater solution may be for the “snake” to swallow its tail, producing a continuous line, with one set of hidden loops at the back. Indeed, this is a common exhibition layout, but rather than tail-chasing, most operate with a sequence of alternating clockwise and anti-clockwise services.

In the early model railway press, a fair amount of space was devoted to layout designs, and at one stage, I think the old Model Railway News offered its readers a guinea for any of their ideas it published. Three things strike you about these designs of fifty years or more ago.

First, they set out to invert the old Euclidean rule about a line being the shortest distance between two points, by deliberately devising the longest run in a restricted space, typically six or eight feet by four feet. The resulting “point to point” design was often a sort of spiral, with the two termini close, or even adjacent, but possibly on different levels, and the train completed a sort of two-twist cork screw to get between them. Other variants were the “out and back” where a reverse loop (assuming you knew how to wire such a device), or a line diagonally across the circuit, allowed a train to leave the terminus in one direction, and come back pointing the opposite way. Incidentally, although in full size practice true circuits are limited to such oddities as the Circle Line, there are a number of “out and back” loops, such as the Cathcart suburban line and the North Kent. Another common design, was a circuit with a junction and a terminus, possibly high level over the fiddle yard, or if space permitted two termini, with the junctions arranged do that a train could run from one to the other, with as many runs round the circuit as the operator desired, plus “short” working (on many of these designs very short workings) between terminal and junction stations. Similarly, the classic end-to-end scheme can be twisted unto L and U configurations to fit specific sites.

The second observation is that many of these schemes were quite complex, in terms of laying out curves, calculating gradients and building embankments and bridges, to carry one line over another. Edward Beal produced a very sophisticated design in the Railway Modeller for May 1950, which packed a 00 system, incorporating a terminus, medium sized locomotive depot, out-and-back circuit, reverse loop, passing station and intermediate sidings to a factory, into 12’ x 8’ folding baseboard. Which brings me to the final point: although occasionally the magazines might feature a layout of the month which was derived from an earlier published plan, these projects rarely progressed from paper to construction. I suspect that the designs, however sophisticated and tempting they might look in terms of operation, were just too daunting in civil engineering terms for most modellers who stuck to their orthodox terminus-fiddle yard or circuit layouts.

Alan O’Rourke


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Table of Contents: November 2008

November 2008

Editorial – Alan O’Rourke
GNR Hopper Wagons and Plough Vans – Alan O’Rourke
Lineside Details: GSR and CIE Tubular Post Signals – Alan O’Rourke
UTA MED Three-Car Diesel Train – Jeremy Fletcher
“Nearly Irish” – Colm Flanagan
The TDR Three-Plank Wagon Kit – Paul Titmuss
Fond Memories – A Moyner
Building BCDR Diesel No. 2 – Dennis Bates
Station Survey: Abbeyfeale – Alan O’Rourke
CIE Four-Wheeled Bulk Cement Wagons – Robert Drysdale
Scratchbuilding a CIE Cement Bubble – Des Sullivan
Christmas Quiz
Locomotive Portrait: CB&SCR B4 Locomotive – Graham Bridle
News & Views
Book Reviews

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News and Views

Peter Swift writes from Derby, with more information following last time’s editorial:

You suggest that Bonds had moved out of London during the war. They were certainly still in Euston Road when I was at University in London in the early 1960s, on the south side of Euston Road near the top of Tottenham Court Road. They may have started the Midhurst premises during the war and then retreated to it again in the 1970’s when London prices drove them out. Re the “oldest model making company” title, I think Bassett Lowke win the British title but there were certainly earlier ones in Germany. As Historical Model Railway Society (HMRS) Archivist, I have access to a wide collection of material including model company catalogues* in the HMRS collection, and also working and public timetables, as well as many other working instructions etc for the railways, which are listed in the open access part of the HMRS website hmrs.org.uk. Unfortunately, there are not many Irish items.

*Peter has kindly provided me with a list of these, some undated, but going back to 1912, and including other pioneers such as the Leeds Model Co and Mills Brothers. If anyone wants more details, they can contact Peter at: archivist@hmrs.org


Amsies Models have recently added vinyl overlays for Irish mark 2 coaches to their N and 00 ranges. More designs will follow if sales show there is a demand for these products. Amsies Models, 1 Burgundy Gardens, Burnt Mills, Basildon, Essex SS13 1NP Tel: 01268 470712 Mobile: 07534 211694 E-mail: paul.amestoy@blueyonder.co.uk Website: http://www.amsiesmodels.co.uk/index.htm


Patrick O’Sullivan sends the following notes on these overlays:  
These are a new venture into the world of model railway for Paul and Victoria Amsie, and cover coaches in 4mm, 3.5mm and N-Gauge/2mm. with various liveries to suit ready-to-run vehicles.   The overlays can be produced in any livery regardles of how complicated it is, and made to suit the customer’s donor coach.  The finished colours are in good, strong colours and look superb.  Any Irish coach livery can be provided to suit the customer’s requirements, in any of the standard scales, i.e. 4mm, 3.5mm, 2mm, and N-Gauge, and with the required livery, and running numbers etc. The vinyl overlays are best suited to modern flat sided vehicles, having said that there is no reason that they could not be adopted for raised sided coaches, if one is prepared to file off the raised detail, stick on the self-adhesive vinyl overlay and then glue on pre-painted strips. This seems to be a big break through in the world of model railways, especially for those of us who model Irish rolling stock.  I have no doubt  that, while this is a new product, it will transform railway modelling.  Having seen this product first hand, I have no doubt that with a bit of forward thinking that overlays for  Irish private owner wagons could be produced. Paul is going to forward me some samples to review, and once I have done this I will post my findings and include a copy for the next editon of New Irish Lines. A full demonstration of the technique of vinyl overlays with photographs is available on Paul’s website at  http://www.amsiesmodels.co.uk 

Patrick has also come across a new photographic collection, and is at present sifting through the Irish section: Transport Treasury,  Logie Shannoch, Drumrossie, Insch, Aberdeenshire AB52 6LJ Tel: 01464-820717 Mobile: 07867 645410 E-mail: info@transporttreasury.co.uk Website: http://www.transporttreasury.co.uk/ 


David White (Whiteeno@aol.com)  writes from Scotland:
Perth Model Railway Club to go Irish: The members of Perth Model Railway Club (Scotland) have decided to commission two new model railway layouts. One of the two new layouts to be built by the members of Club will be an Irish model railway. The Club made their decision to have something different after they viewed a range of Irish rolling stock owned by David White who lives in nearby Newburgh, Fife. David owns a variety of Irish rolling stock allowing him to run trains from 1945 through to today. The building of this new layout will commence in July 2008, its first showing is expected to be at the Perth 2009 Exhibition. Would any Irish Club be interested in exhibiting at Perth in 2009?


Ciarán Cooney (e-mail: harcourtstation@gmail.com) writes:
I was photographing some West Clare Railway stations a few weeks ago, and I photographed one at Blackweir, which strangely featured some pre-1950s style road signs. I recall in the newsletter you sent me a while ago an article written by a modeller, Doncha Cronin, regarding these type of road signs, and whether any were in existence today. I just thought I should inform you as he and possibly others may find the photos of use  which I took. You can view them on this link on the website: http://eiretrains.com/Photo_Gallery/B/Blackweir/A&Bindex.html


These two pictures from Tony Hewitt (hewittht@tiscali.co.uk) show a model of Schull & Skibereen Railway no. 4 which he has built from various woods, ranging from 1mm plywood upwards. The wheels are made from ash, two varieties of mahogany and cocktail sticks Smaller components are turned on a lathe, and there are some brass parts for the cow-catcher and smoke-box fittings. The builder tells me he became a grandfather while building the model, and the latest addition to his family also rejoices in the name Erin!


Recent writings on Irish railways include:Anonymous (2008) Red Line: longer trams, shorter line Tramways & Urban Transit 71(848): 294, 295 [news paragraph and photograph]

Anonymous (2008) TRAM Power proposes trams for Galway Tramways & Urban Transit 71(848): 296 [news paragraph]

Pulling N (2008) LUAS gets to The Point Tramways & Urban Transit 71(846); 216-7 (June) [includes photos of work at Sandyford]

Pulling N (2008) Dublin Expansion Tramways & Urban Transit 71(850): 376 [LUAS extension]Heritage Rail May-June 2008 CDR goes for Barnesmore

Jones B, Fearn D (2008) Ireland on the move. Rail no. 596: 46-52 (July 16-29

Flanagan C (2008) The Green Pullman Railway Modeller 59: 489 (July) [00 gauge model]For any one trying to find items listed in the IRRS bibliographies from  Linkline magazine, try the following website: http://www.businessandfinance.ie/client-publishing/ClientPublishingNewsletter.htm

For any N-gauge Irish modellers, there are now alternative and complementary group on MSN and Yahoo, so you can join in the debate whatever your preference for on-line groups:


Other potentially useful websites are:Ernie’s Irish Railway Photos: http://erniesirishrailwayphotos.fotopic.net/Irish station photographs: http://eiretrains.com/Stations_index.htmIrish  Model Railways: http://www.irishrailwaymodels.com/


Following Doncha Cronin’s picture of an Italian version of the CIE G-class (May issue, p.26 ), it seems that there may have been an Iberian branch of the family as well. I took the above photo at the railway museum at Gijon, in Northern Spain earlier this year: the museum has a fascinating collection of broad and narrow gauge and industrial equipment and is well worth a visit. This machine is Deutz no. 57706, built 1964, type B, DH, 140HP 20tons weight, eight cylinders, and it shunted private sidings in the nearby Trubia armaments factories. It runs on the Spanish broad gauge of 5’ 6” (1670mm).


Following Doncha Cronin’s picture of an Italian version of the CIE G-class (May issue, p.26 ), it seems that there may have been an Iberian branch of the family as well. I took the above photo at the railway museum at Gijon, in Northern Spain earlier this year: the museum has a fascinating collection of broad and narrow gauge and industrial equipment and is well worth a visit. This machine is Deutz no. 57706, built 1964, type B, DH, 140HP 20tons weight, eight cylinders, and it shunted private sidings in the nearby Trubia armaments factories. It runs on the Spanish broad gauge of 5’ 6” (1670mm). Foxrock Models first two kits for the Cork, Blackrock & Passage Railway brake van and open goods wagon are both now available (see may issue, p. 29). Both kits are also suitable for use in CIE days on the CLR section. The resin bodies and etched underframes are very well produced, and there is an excellent detailed instruction sheet including prototype information, and these should prove ideal modelling projects for the lengthening winter evenings for Irish narrow gauge modellers. The brake van kit costs £17 and the open wagon £15, both inclusive of postage there is a 10% discount on multiples of five kits.  Orders should be sent to Simon de Souza at: Foxrock Models, 7 Ennerdale Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 7HH (e-mail: simon.desouza@btinternet.com), cheques payable to “Simon de  Souza.” Simon has plans for future kits for  the Cavan and Leitrim open wagon and  milk-van/brake van, but clearly investing the time in producing these will depend on sales for the first two kits showing that this is a viable market.


A group has formed with the objective of opening a preserved 5′ 3″ gauge line in the Republic of Ireland. Some of you may recall that in a previous editorial, I posed the question of which former lines might support such a scheme. For further details see:  http://www.heritagerailway.ie/index.html


Alistair Rolfe of No Nonsense Kits has re-introduced the cast ends for the GNR(I) AEC railcars (at £7-50 per pair) and cosmetic bogie sides (at £4-00 for four bogie sides i.e. enough for one vehicle, but will need an etched frame to produce a running bogie) from the old MTK moulds. The ends seem closer to the later CIE push-pull versions of these vehicles, but can be cleaned up to the original GNR form. It appears that these components complement the Worsley etches for these vehicles, and the cast ends may be easier to use than shaping the ends from the etched parts, although the inner end was (we think!) flat  and may be easier to make from brass than to clean up the MTK casting, which was copied from the GW Collett suburban Bow-end (without steps). However, Alistair can supply these at £5 per pair if bought with the cab fronts. Most of the MTK Irish locos are currently being re-tooled, as a mixture of etchings and castings. They should be re-released over the next few years and NNK is developing a six-wheel mechanism which will provide the correct wheelbase for the larger locos. For four-wheel bogies they suggest Black Beetles. All kits will be suitable for 21mmgauge. The MTK Irish coach kits were usually aluminium body shells with cast ends, though the Park Royals, and Mk.II air-conditioned stock were etched. The Dart was also etched, with cast ends, though much of the tooling is a bit too rough to re-use. Unfortunately it is not practical (or viable) to produce short runs of aluminium-bodied kits, while the tooling for the etched body shells is very scruffy. It is not expensive to replace the artwork for the etchings, but if re-drawing it would make sense to get everything right. So, at present Alistair trying to gather information on the rolling stock, with a view to releasing complete kits, but there are some technical limitations to what can be done for the moment. He hopes to expand his machine-tool range  to produce pre-formed body shells to the correct dimension, but this depends on a number of things, including finance and any specific demands from modellers may push specific items up the  priority  “to do”  list!

P&P to the UK is £2 for orders up to £20, 10% thereafter. P&P to Eire is a little more, and will be advised on ordering. No Nonsense Kits now has a PayPal account, and can accept on-line payments: this should save the cost of Sterling bank drafts etc. for customers in the Republic. Otherwise, payment is by cheques or Postal Orders,  crossed, payable to “No Nonsense Kits.” Contact details: No Nonsense  Kits, PO Box 1009, Cardiff CF23 7YB Tel. 029 2031 7212 E-mail:  nnk.website@ntlworld.com Website: http://www.nnkits.co.uk/


Worsley’s latest etchings are for the Schull & Skibereen Railway: http://www.worsleyworks.com. Etched sides for the GSR Pullman cars are expected shortly.


Denis Bates writes from Aberystwyth with further information on two items in the last issue: 

GNR (I) Drovers’ vans: I’ve actually made a model of No.3, using the photo of 1957, and the line drawings, which I got from Tony Miles. Interesting that the doors say “drovers” although there are no side windows, nor the pot lamps on the roof. Does the inscription mean that they were still being used for drovers at that date? The differences between the two are interesting also. No.3 has wooden frames, and the outside vertical pillars extend down over the solebars. Nos.97 and 98 have steel frames, and the bodies are wider. Tare weight is greater at 15T. 

UTA rail tractor: I have vague memories of one of these. I think it was actually built on a coach bogie, and didn’t have a “cab”. I think it was also used for a “goods train” – pulling a single wagon of coal from Queen’s Quay to Hollywood for a coal merchant based in the goods yard. I was in Sullivan Upper School there at the time. 

[from Bill Scott’s new book on NCC locos, p. 165, it seems that when NCC railcar no. 2, built 1934, was withdrawn in 1954, the chassis and engines were used to make two of these tractors. Ed]


Another supplier of card kits for Irish narrow gauge wagon bodies is Hamlin Industries, 79 Harlington Road, Hillingdon, Middlesex UB8 3HY 

Web-site:  http://www.hamlinindustries.com/


I am grateful to our member Jim Fogarty for the following more direct link to the An Post die-cast models, and specifically the Morris LD150: 


In addition to his gazetteer mentioned on p. 32 of the May issue, Ralph Rawlinson now also has produced A ‘Register of Closed Railways’ which is on line at: http://www.closedlines.free-online.co.uk/index.htm


As many will know, the very useful SSM range of kits and components has been in limbo for some time, but we now have good news from our member Des Sullivan:

SSM under New Ownership
I am delighted to formally announce that I have taken over Studio Scale Models from Paul Green as of last July.  A big thank you is owed to Paul as he has been most supportive and understanding in helping to get a handle on the various elements of the business.  The entire range will be re-released, with all instructions revised and updated (over time), fully sprung buffers on the larger engine kits and transfer packs comprising of numbering, lining and crests or icons as appropriate. Some of the models will not be available right away (T2, SG and brake van) as I need to get moulds remade for some of the castings, but I will be accepting pre-orders for these.  Prices will be finalised in the weeks to come. The full range is as follows:

GSWR/GSR/CIE J15 0-6-0 tender engine
GNR(I) S class 4-4-0 tender engine
GNR(I) SG class 0-6-0 tender engine
GNR(I) T2 4-4-2T
MGWR E class/CIE J26 0-6-0T

GSWR six-wheeled five coach set
GNR(I)/CIE K15 open third bogie coach
GNR(I)/CIE L12 bogie brake third coach

GNR(I)/CIE 20-ton brake van
GSWR/GSR/CIE convertible wagon
MGWR/CIE convertible wagon

GNR(I)/CIE 57′ or 60′ coach underframe
GNR(I)/CIE elliptical coach roof
GNR(I)/CIE coach castings pack
GNR(I) fishbelly bogie sides
Etched W-irons and brake gear

Contact me on dezsullivan@eircom.net or write to me at: 5 Radharc na hInse, Ballybeg, Ennis, Co. Clare.


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