edited August 8 in Layout Showcase
 An OO fan since 1966, when I was literally in short pants, Electrotren has slowly been blended to the mix present upon the OO British layout, "Henley." The reality is that most of my North American compadres do not distinguish between the UK and the Continent, Spain, Italy, France...all the same if it has buffers. So it is that some Electrotren pieces and one Lima Italian State Railways piece have found their way into British Henley. I really do have a great fondness for Electrotren; the pieces are unique, pleasantly detailed, and surprisingly rugged. 
  I had been posting different titles for each entry, but as I do these little videos, for my own amusement, on a rather regular basis, I've grouped them under one heading: "Henley." There are a few more Continental pieces I'd like to acquire from Reynauld's. 

Moving Brits and Twigs

In this video, my beloved Electrotren olive oil amphorae wagons have a nice run. Also, I am delighted with Jouef covered wagon, sporting SNFC (what's dat??) and lastly, a most splendid find: an Electrotren faggot wagon. What? Did I write "faggot?" Well, yes, bundles of sticks are known as faggots. What on Earth did you think I meant??? The title is slightly less jarring, excuse the pun, than "Moving Brits and Faggots," isn't it? The fact that this video corresponds with the UK's LGBQT Day, or week, or month, or whatever, is merely a coincidence, however alarming.



  • Ship Your Ship on British Rail

    More wonderful Electrotren, and the delightful Lima SNFC picked up from the Chinese Amazon, Ali Baba, for a song. A wonderful
    sturdy model with pizza cutter flanges, in the Triang tradition. Loving the Electrotren wagon loaded with "Cristal." That is a touch of the ironic, no? Sending cristal by rail wagon with its buffers and bumps? The fertilizer wagon, also an Electrotren product, brings to mind bags of onions. As well as a fascination for prehistoric man, I am equally smitten with the history of Ancient Egypt,
    the inspiration for this video. I think guy wires should be added to the statue to steady its journey.

  • edited August 8

    Nessie's Worst Fear

    Again, the Nessie Metaphor, the Loch Ness Monster standing in for Covid. The LNM does not appear in this video, but rather the variant, which in this case is represented by the snake photo bomb. In this video, what could be worse than Covid? A variant.
    The Pacific, by Trix, is an older model. I am delighted in that it runs so well, and the clearly, by virtue of the adjustable brass pick ups, that this piece was made to be an heirloom. It will be around long after I have gone to the Great Train Set in the Sky.

  • edited August 8

    Whistling in the Dark

    Again, another photo bomb, in reference to the false sense of safety brought on that Covid, aka Nessie, has been conquered. Regrettably, as any virus worth its salt will do, it will mutate. In this case from a LNM to a snake, photo bomb. BTW, I do not intentionally wreck model trains, but if something happens then I will build the story line around it. In this case, an outtake found new use.
    The discerning Continental modeler will recognize that the coaches are all by Electrotren; some RN and some French National Railways.

  • edited August 8

    Escape to the Hills of Scotland

    Some more Electrotren coaches. The bug metaphor stands in for Covid, as it crawls out of the Triang mail coach. In past epidemics, light Yellow Fever, it was not uncommon for denizens to leave the city's plagues and into the countryside to try to evade the pestilence.

  • BR42BR42 Auburn

    Thanks for sharing these. Nice layout, and some quite unusual trains.


  • Thanks Ulrich. I do not follow a well trodden path. There are times when I try to focus in on a particular genre or era, and the
    timeless quality of Britain gives me latitude to roll the clock backwards and forwards by simply removing a few anachronisms, like motor buses, and move back towards an age where internal combustion engines were at best novelties. I like paleontology, and use the Loch Ness Monster to add a dimension of humor to otherwise boring film. I found I had to be careful with that, as some people feel rather strongly on the subject, so I try to keep it light. My main critieria is A: could it pass for British to the untrained eye, and B. is it innovative and different, cool, e.g.

  • edited August 12

    Rail Ambulance Service: Then and Now
    No metaphorical content herein, just using the Loch Ness Monster legend for some comic relief. In "Henley," the LNM is often terrorizing the denizens whilst at cricket, hunting foxes, or waiting for a train. She's a bad lass, that one.

    Got some fine old Hornby, a smattering of Triang, and a Jouef tourist coach in the mix, as well.

  • Developments in British Rail The A.H. Peppercorn locomotive is a Trix product, and makes a cameo appearance.

    This locomotive is not new, was received as a gift as used, and whilst adjusting the pick ups I was to marvel at the rugged German engineering that indicated this was meant to last as an heirloom piece. It got me thinking, as I peruse the extensive stock of Reynauld's Model Trains, that everything I see is top shelf German or European stock. I would guess that if I stuck my hand blindly in and pulled out a Reynauld's piece, I would never have to wonder if it worked well, as all of those makes seem to represent the Gold Standard of European model rail, across the board, top to bottom. Nothing, save nothing, appears to be anything less than the very best there is to offer.

    Perhaps this is why Reynauld's does not go after the British range enthusiast market- though I do not know of a decent stockist in the USA. Those listed on the Hornby Website appear to have the odd British piece tucked in to the back of the store, and good luck with that. Also, I regret, that whilst there is no shortage of Bachmann, Hornby, and others, the quality of very expensive British range model trains varies all over the lot. Some is astonishly fine, and some is astonishly rubbish, and many are hit-or miss. I wonder if Reynauld's does not want to risk their reputation for only selling the very, very best.

    The various British range pieces running here on the head end were all reviewed by a somewhat controversial, if not interesting, YouTuber under "Sam's Trains." He reviews mostly British releases, and a few American pieces. Regardless whether you love him, or not, (I love him) he has never steered me wrong. The Stephenson's Rocket is an exceptionally fine (DCC ready) release, you can see for yourself how nicely it runs. The Oxford Rails Dean Goods is another sweet find, that me his approval. The Hornby Mallard, replacing an older tender driven Hornby that gave up the ghost, was a lucky break- it does the job.

  • Nessie on the Rampage
    Again, just simple comic relief, following the Scottish legend of the Loch Ness Monster. Featured is the Electrotren Ambulance Wagon to rescue the injured.

  • edited August 12

    Bamburg Updates

    To DCC or not to DCC? That is the question. It would appear that Reynauld's, as with every item they stock, DCC is of the latest and best quality available, anywhere. I was contemplating installing DCC into my British stuff, but the older, and the more cheaply made, Hornby doesn't lend itself easily to such a conversion. Plus, when I read DCC forums, it sounds quite challenging to troubleshoot, although there are a good many modelers today that are quite good at this, but I determined that I would just like to keep it simple and run trains. DCC has the advantage of a breath taking array of sound effects and light functions, and that is great, but again, I fool around with sound effect overlays, which work well enough for what I am doing. Still, I wanted some operational challenge. One can run several trains quite well on a single line with DCC, as everyone knows, and that will keep you awake! I like switching ops, but again, the British stuff I have a bit of is just geared too fast for that sort of thing. That. and the cheaply made 3 pole motors. really don't work well on low voltage, even under a pulse function.

    So, to give myself some fun (at times hair raising) interest, I incorporated a number of diamonds that would challenge one, or two, operators to manage moving targets and keep them from fouling one another. I strive to avoid collisions, but the big buffer bars on the British stuff prevent damage fortunately. Still, one can have trains on two mains striving to maintain a fast clock schedule and also to give priority to the "higher" train. A peddler freight needs to yield to the passenger express, e.g. It's great fun, and keeps it simple, for a simple man as myself, this is good, it's what I can comfortably manage. Still, if one was to use DCC and diamond crossings, what fun that would be! (However, the great detail and delicacy of Reynauld's lines might not be so forgiving if a bump occurred).

    Eventually, in search of reliability (a concern with the British range) I tore up Bamburg, and renamed it Henley and went from three mains down to two. This allowed me to run longer stock- particularly coaches, through with less lateral strain in small radii and short turnouts (and consequent derailments). This video was shot a number of years ago as I slowly worked my back towards European, British specifically, model railroading.

  • Finally, after first seeing an image of a Roco 4-4-4 Italian Electric in 1975, I finally tracked one down. Why, you may ask, is it situated smack in the middle of an ostensibly British layout? Couple of reasons, first, "Henley" is a state of mind. It is a nostalgic memory of a time when I found myself traveling to, and living in, some rather off the beaten path European countries, including a year in the UK. So, in "Henley," I am not trying to grasp the particulars of a replication of a place, or time, but rather building a 3 dimensional portrait of a memory of being in a place and time, and revolving that, largely, around trains. There is no Norman castle in the actual Henley, UK, nor is Stonehenge anywhere near the place. It did have canals, near or about the River Thames, but no Roman artifacts, that I am aware of, turned up in Henley (there is an excavation of Roman mosaics, I put), and nor is there any dinosaur finds in that part of the UK. I am contemplating the White Horse of Dover, but not sure where it could be fit. Also, Sutton Hoo, is a real Viking excavation, and one of the world's most important archeological discoveries, but again, no where near the real Henly, UK.

    If you will, note that there is a Soviet red star on the nose of this fine Italian piece (and yes, I see now I am missing some hand rails, my eyes were hurting and it took two hours to put the other hand rails on, terrified I'd botch the job with a glob of glue, I will get to those). The reason is that in 1964, at the height of the Cold War, Dad merrily hauled us all off to Moscow so that he could better research, so the story went, a book he was writing on the Cossacks (he eventually published in about 1982, and it was a total flop). Never mind he worked as a translator when drafted into the Army, at the Pentagon, in the 1950's (just about exactly the time the Rosenbergs were getting juiced). Had the Ruskies known that, I'd probably still be in the USSR drinking brake fluid.

    Well, after Dad had finished his research (we took a tour of Lenin's Mausoleum (my older brother sneezed in front of Lenin's corpse, and rifles were lowered in our direction, at this grave breech of Soviet etiquette- one does not sneeze in the presence of a Soviet god), a trip to the largely empty G.U.M. department store, and chicken kiev, the only thing of the menu for foreigners at the Soviet hotel, as well as mother being shaken down by suspicious Soviet street cops, with her brood in tow. They probably let us go because I was such an insufferable brat. Suffice to say it was a grim, dank, gray place. Drinking brake fluid does not seem out of the question.

    The highlight of this little vacation to behind the Iron Curtain (we traveled on Canadian passports, if you were wondering) was taking the night train, "soft class" (hard as iron) to Helsinki. Towering over me was this olive-brown electric locomotive, hissing like some living beast, and slowly we clanked and rocked and heaved throughout the blackest of nights out of Mother Russia. This Italian job, resembles what I saw. I added the Soviet stars, myself. Ever since I have been old enough to walk, trains have always had me spell bound. And this memory was fused into my young mind.

    Now, did the Soviets have this particular Italian locomotive? Perhaps. Having murdered so many of their intelligentsia they had to import a lot of stuff, and what they didn't import, they freely copied. But, Golly, this thing sure comes close to my memory. So, here it is in Henley (where we lived from '66 to '67, and my love of trains only got worse with a gift of a Wrenn wind up train set). Henley, it is a state of mind. Probably confusing to a lot of people, but makes perfect sense to my elder sister and I. We remember it well.

    On a post script, I regularly scanned the pages of Reynauld's catalogue, and sent an inquiry, but never saw one or heard from them. I would have liked to give them the business for publishing this most interesting forum, but no luck was to be had. Then I found it on another vendor's site, and quickly purchased this little treasure. Ten minutes after I'd made the transaction, I saw it on Reynauld's, for $50 less. Rats.

  • Brawa Ambulance Coach. I work in the medical field, and so am a sucker for anything train-medical. None the less, Henley will be requiring additional medical services (Loch Ness Monster now being a metaphor, these days, for Covid) to respond to the worsening of Nessie's behavior (metaphorically Covid Delta Variant).

    Again, my North American friends see buffers, and it's all the same stew to them. Works for me! I know this may seem peculiar to my European friends, but Henley is an ambience and metaphors, worked up in a smallish 4x8 layout. After all is said and done, everything is memory.

  • Soviet Memories: 1964
    A brilliant Roco piece. My Solvaset is expired, and I will attempt to remediate the blotchiness.
    Incidentally, Reynauld's stocks this piece, I think, and at a very good markdown.

  • edited September 3

    **Worry Dolls, and How to Use Them. **
    In these trying times, many of us escape worries with model trains. This is a suggestion, do not try this at home. No Continental here, but some enjoyable British pieces. I found several rather nice Electrotren pieces on line. Dangerous place to lurk that, some more interesting Electrotren surfaced from the depths, for a later video.

  • edited September 3

    Henley 1875

    Some more of the better Hornby pieces. There are no Hornby stockists in the USA. What there is are some random back room items, if you are lucky.
    Henley 1874

    By removing the anachronisms, like the buses, I can twirl the time dial back a hundred years. Got a Bachmann Duke Dog prowling about. This is a tremendous piece, but one has to be VERY careful with Bachmann. While they make unusual and interesting models, they have a horrendous tendency to plant them onto split chassis with plastic center drive axles and the gears are highly prone to cracking on these unfortunate entrees. This particular model received a very positive review in Sam's Trains on YouTube, and is marvelous. Having said that, it is my considered guess that ANY product sold by Reynauld's will be of the highest quality, and will perform flawlessly. The same cannot be said, regrettably, for the British Range where the quality control is from dismal to excellent.
    In the Gallery

    A magnificent Rapido tram, a J 72. I've only heard the best things about Rapido products, and this one is a gem. The sight seeing coach is by Joeuf.

    When doing this video, it was before the time of digital that one would never hope to have one's work on display for the enjoyment of others, and for that only in the confines of one's home, or perhaps a model train show. The glossies only covered stuff done by talented people, with big budgets or were professional model railroad artists. Now, one can throw down a photograph or video and broadcast it to the community at large.

  • When I added these Electrotren coaches, it was because the only four wheelers I knew of were the rather tired OO Hornby ones, plus, I like Electrotren. And, as I keep blathering, North Americans tend to regard anything with a buffer as European, ergo, British, for all they know.

    The whimsical housefly, herein, is a metaphor of the Covid "Bug," and how it has stifled the travel plans of millions, including my long planned trip to tour the UK, by rail, over the last two seasons. The Russian Folk group, Otavo Yo, has no particular connection to any of this, but I enjoy finding obscure folk bands and buying their music on iTunes and adding them to videos. Some people have politely asked me to turn it off, it gives them a headache, but sorry, it's my thing. Just hit the mute button, as desired.

  • ****Nessie on the Rampage****
    The Electrotren ambulance coach as you've never seen before (and probably never hope to again).

  • See More of Britain by Rail
    Inspired by the deeply funny British Rail Advertisement, "British Rail: We're Getting There," a vintage Trix, the A.H. Peppercorn, makes a graceful appearance. The solidity of these fine German pieces makes them heirloom quality.

  • Puff the Bamburg Dragon
    A couple of Electrotren pieces sneaking into the mix. Assisted by my then 13 year old daughter, who also hand painted many of the medieval figures.

  • Nessie on My Mind
    It is amusing that some Nessie sightings were accompanied with quantities of wine. Here, an Electrotren Wine Cask Wagon is used to underscore the point.

  • edited September 15

    Nessie Strikes Again. And Again. And Again
    Nice old Trix Pacific.

  • Whistling in the Dark
    Some great old Electrotren, and a couple of Joeuf, pieces make an appearance here. The sturdy, firm tracking abilities of the Electrotren come in handy behind the herky-jerky motion of the vintage Triang. As a medical guy, it is baffling to me that there is so much lassitude about the Covid vaccination. While not a magic bullet, it is a lot better than nothing. The ostrich-like, stick your head in the sand and it will go away mentality, is underscored by the song, and the title of this video.

  • Electrifying Developments in Olive Oil Distribution
    For decades I vainly searched for the Electrotren Olive Oil Amphorae Wagon. In the meantime, my search led me to other irresistable Electrotren pieces. I was forced to concoct my own olive oil amphorae by adding ceramic bead work to Electrotren gons. Then, in rapid succession, I found two more Olive Oil Amphorae wagons in quick succession.

    Yes, I am aware that pantographs are typically used one at a time, but I like them. I keep thinking about adding in catenary, at some expense, but have concerns it will clutter the look, make track cleaning very difficult, and cannot be used if I feel like turning back the clock to pre-1930's non-electricification.

    Also, the Pennsylvania Railroad used both pantographs up in icy conditions; the leading pantograph serving as an ice scraper.

  • How to Spot the Loch Ness Monster
    Alcohol induced Nessie sightings are parodied, here. Fine old Electrotren carriages and a Joeuf Tourist Coach make up the trains full of hopeful Nessie watchers; much like a whale watching excursion.

  • Loch Ness Monster Sightings: Then and Now
    A marvelous vintage Trix Pacific makes an appearance. I wish all model trains were built to this standard.

  • Nesssie's Worst Fear
    The vintage Trix Pacific turns a wheel. In this video, Nessie is the metaphor for Covid. What, then, is worse than Nessie? The Delta variant, which is the larger Nessie eating the smaller one. Hate to be a harbinger of gloom, but the nature of microbes is to mutate. It's not over.

  • ****Queasy Rider: Then and Now****
    The vintage Trix, again, works as well as anything new. A spoof on documentaries of the advances in British rail over the centuries.

  • Are You Stuck in the Horse and Buggy Age?
    A parody of the "centuries of progress" type of documentary. Some Electrotren is pressed into service.

  • Coals to New Castlec
    The Trix Pacific does passenger duty whilst goods trains thread in and out of her path. Electrotren Wine Transport,

  • edited September 17

    Nostalgia and Henley
    Musings on the nature of model railroading. The Trix Pacific leads passenger traffic. Using diamond crossings to
    increase operational interest.

Sign In or Register to comment.