There is a need for longer trains, and the station is constrained at the north end by a tunnel ...
Northampton correspondent and long-term chum Alan has also returned to Railway Modelling after a substantial number of years break. He has chosen to develop a layout based on narrow gauge practice; he has always been smitten by the Great Little Railways of Wales.
So a picture arrives of his latest locomotive purchase ...
The Norwegian diocese of Sodor was formed in 1154, covering the Hebrides and the other islands along the west coast of Scotland. The name in the original Norse was Suðreyjar (Sudreys or "southern isles"), in contrast to the Norðreyjar, the "northern isles" of Orkney and Shetland. The Isle of Man was included in with these southern isles.
So the Isle of Man was actually part of "Sodor" and the name "Man" was unnecessary. Now the rest of the Hebrides come under a separate administration so "Sodor" is now meaningless.
But when the Rev Wilbert Awdry started writing his "Thomas" stories, he recreated Sodor and its complex of railways as the fictional geographical location for his tales.
Skarloey (together with colleague Rheneas) worked the Island's narrow gauge line (coloured red on the map above). The engine is based on "Talyllyn" ...
The model is interesting (honest - it is!). It is manufactured by Bachmann USA to HOn9 standards . That means 3.5 mm to the foot running on N gauge track. If this were a UK model is would be 4mm to the foot. Because it is a narrow gauge loco and they are often of widely varied sizes in reality, the difference really doesn't matter.
It is not distributed in the UK and has to be imported.
fbb is too polite to ask Alan how much he had to cough up for his model ...
Nah! Too complicated/expensive.
Word is slowly getting out that all the proposed timetable changes due in December are to be deferred until May 2019.
This is at the diktat of DaFT, The Department for Transport. (Ahem? Aren't we supposed to have a privatised, commercial railway system in this country? Stop that tittering!)
This is what has appeared on the (First) South Western Railway web site.
Update on timetable changes for December 2018
Since before we started the South Western Railway franchise, we have been preparing for a major timetable change in December 2018 to provide customers with access to additional services and extra capacity throughout the day
We are therefore disappointed that we will not be implementing any changes to the December 2018 timetable and instead rolling over the May 2018 timetable.
They mean "to" May 2019.
Preparations to deliver the extra services, capacity improvements and reduced journey times started well before we took over the SWR franchise and will continue as we are determined to deliver what our customers and stakeholders expect
We are mindful of the disruption to customers that happened with other major timetable changes elsewhere in May 2018 and despite SWRS ...
They mean "SWR's"
... desire to deliver the increased capacity and extra services as soon as possible to customers, it has been decided at a national level that a period of stability is needed.
Even without timetable changes we will be seeking to confirm plans as to how the 90 additional Class 442 ...
... vehicles which are presently being refurbished, can be progressively introduced into service in the existing timetable to allow other trains to be cascaded elsewhere on our network As part of the refurbishment of the Class 444/450 fleets ...
... we will also be delivering an increase in standard class seating capacity through internal reconfiguration of these vehicles which will progressively increase capacity through to Spring 2019
Will the commuters understand the "class" numbers? White ones and blue ones is how fbb remembers them!
We will continue to work with Network Rail, the Department for Transport and insight from customers and stakeholders to implement the changes to our future timetables and ensure maximum benefit with minimal disruption to our customers.
This is, apparently, a Nationwide policy, not just South Western Railway.