Thursday 30 June 2022

Mystery Mailing and Matford Models

Once Upon A Time ...

The dedicated trainspotter of yesteryear was generally equipped with pencil, notebook and his "Combine". fbb's (above) cost ten shillings and six pence, a small pocket-money fortune for the callow youth. For those unaware, the pocket-sized volume listed every British Railways locomotive arranged by marque and number. The tradition was that you underlined the number when you "copped" the engine.
And you got the "namers" as well!
In case you wondered, the above pictures are from he interwebnet - fbb never "opped" as many Eastern Region locos as are underlined here. But find memories, none the less!

... But Now:-

But today there are far fewer locos and much much more information. This book popped through the letter box at fbb mansions and fbb really doesn't know why - maybe it was an offer consequent upon taking out a new subscription for Modern Railways.
It is what we must now call a "bookazine" with 148 pages which includes covers.
It is packed with information, so much so that there are three columns of closely spaced abbreviations used in the text.
Essentially you need to refer to these abbreviations to unravel the meat of the book which is a list of every diesel and electric loco operated on Britain's Railways with: date of building, renaming and/or re-engineering, date of disposal/scrapping (and by whom) plus present location if still extant.
It is too wide a list for a blogged extract but one example will suffice to explain its scope. fbb will quote the info as it reads left to right across the A4 printed page.
D1666 was renumbered as follows:-
47081  02/74
47606  02/84
47842  01/90
47606  02/93
47778  11/93

The loco was named:-
Odin  03/65 to 07/90
Irresistible 07/93 to 10/02
Duke of Edinburgh's Award 11/03 to 03/04

Built at:-
BRC - British Rail Crewe Works

In Service:-
03/65 to 02/94

Cut up:
European Metal Reprocessing, Kingsbury

Of course the "Combine" did not list deceased engines! What is quite sobering it to tot up the number of locos in each class and then look at today's much diminished railway.

You can even look up, for older locos, what its number is now and what it was before the TOPS computerised system was introduced.
There is even a list of pre-nationalisation numbers and their BR successor.
HST power cars are treated as locomotives ...
... and there is a good smattering of photos throughout the esoterica! Kestrel is there ...
... as is the byais for a slightly inaccurate model from Hornby.
If you are interested in such detail or even if you are starting off on the British Railway Anorak Study Course ...
... this publication is ideal for whiling away winter evenings (and some summer ones as well). Published by Key (publishers of Modern Railways) at £9.99 but on offer from the publishers at a fiver.

Matford Models
Folk may know the Matford Centre as a place where you might buy or sell your livestock ...
... but on Saturday 25th inst it was the home of the Exe Valley Model Railway Club's annual exhibition returning after the obligatory Covid gap.
They had hosed the floor down! 

fbb started his visit with lunch ...
... of steak and kidney pie, roast potatoes, peas and a cardboard cuppa. This fortified the old man for his perambulations.

Because not all our blog readers are convulsed with excitement about matters model railway, fbb will slip in snippets over the next few days. The aim of these mini reports will be to show things slightly out of the ordinary.

There weren't many!

Most layouts were "end to end", lacking the continuous runs of tail chasing trains familiar in fbb's youth. But there were a few like that.
It was good to see trains tunning round in circles rather than waiting for the operators to send a realistic train at realistic speed some 12 feet along a layout. Sometimes realism can be a bit tedious however detailed it may be.

There was a good O gauge layout which was designed to watch the trains go by. The sound of a train clattering over the rail joints is very satisfying in the larger scale. Sadly, fbb failed to attempt a bit of video due to memory problems. The lack of memory was not on the phone but in fbb's head.

He forgot!
There is more and more O gauge stuff available now in ready-to-run form, so, if you (or your club) had got the money and thee space, a layout in the "senior scale" is much easier to create.

Apparently no one was injured - except perhaps the diver's pride, but the situation is a little "unfortunate".

 Next Playing Catch-Up blog : Friday 1st July 


  1. Andrew Kleissner30 June 2022 at 08:12

    Ouch! But how do you know there was a diver in the car?

  2. With 5 renumberings in 4 years, modern stock lacks the permanence of steam locos in the Combine. That's why many of us Old School Numbersnatchers gave up the habit in the diesel era.

  3. Blimey, the 'combined volume' from Ian Allen. Always a Christmas present. Then two years later it was suddenly more intersting to collect girls' numbers. Impossible to Imagine in the 1960s that Ian Allen would ever cease to exist, but they eventually did close...