October 31 – A very big thank you to all

It’s been a long road, with many changes since the original Andrew’s Trains site hosted by FotoPic went under. With files lost, and images gone, and an audience to rebuild it seemed a big hill to climb. After some time I’d gotten the HVL website (www.huntervalleylines.com) established, files and images uploaded and people coming back to visit and a lot of good press going.

Then change rolled around again and before I knew it the hosting company no longer supported my prefered image and blogging packages. With the loss of that support all the content I had worked so hard to upload, discuss and write about was gone.

In 2013 I made the move to the WordPress free version. It was a hard decision to start again for the third time but it seems that it was ‘the charm’. Sometime yesterday a visitor dropped in and viewed the site and helped to double the stats from 2015.

When I started this blog in 2013 I did so very quietly, to get my feet under me while I began transferring data across. 2014 was quiet again as I got used to the platform and my direction.

2015 was the year that things really took off. I had more time to work on the site and the content (though sadly I’ve been grossly under employed since this time in 2014 after being laid off).

2016 has made me very glad to have stuck with it, to get it done and rebuild. With more time to develop the content (the upside of being laid off) and less spent on the mechanics of the site, projects coming out of mothballs with the freeing up of a little money over the next 6 months, I look forward to what I can give back to you.

Site stats to October 31 2016

I’m a one man band. There are times when I just don’t have the energy or the time to post. Sometimes there is too much to post. I’ve done the best I can to make it all work. Thanks for being willing to come along for the ride. Small layouts are my thing. I enjoy the fact that they are easy to build, take up little space and allow you to operate when and where you are able.

In summary I just wanted to say thank you for your ongoing support, suggestions and comments. I love model railways, and small layouts in general. Mostly I like my fellow modellers who share their dreams, their schemes and even their memes about railway modelling.

All the best, and for those who like my family are Northern hemispherically influenced, Happy Halloween.


Site seeing: 23 October – The weathering I’m not worthy edition

Back in August I showcased the work of Martin Wellberg, from Borne in the Netherlands. He’s back after working on another set of large models. On to the visual feast.

Site 1: Martin Wellberg’s ‘Dirty Stuff 2’ on Freerails

I’m not going to write too much about this, this is entirely weathered train porn, it’s that simple. First let’s look over Martin’s HO Scale B&O Boxcar:

Second let’s take a look at what I consider to be the best weathered freight car I’ve seen:

Hope that you enjoyed these images. Thanks go out to Martin for being so willing to share his work.

Site seeing – October 19 – Small, smart and visual layouts

One of my favourite past times is to travel to shops of dubious regard and seek out old model railway magazines. Most recently I’ve been seen haunting the bookshelf at the Ballarat Tramway Museum and going through the old model rail magazines. One issue of Railway Modeller (August 2003 no less) really took my fancy. Contained inside was a very small but very pleasing layout. Onto today’s site seeing.

Site 1: Rushby’s Railways – Shell Island layout

In said magazine I found Shell Island. A very small layout, two turnouts, end of branch line UK seaside, you get the picture. My adventure could have ended right there, but it didn’t. The images were mesmerising. They displayed a visual depth that made you believe you were only seeing what the camera could show. Great composition, colours and models.

Image linked courtesy of Rushby’s Railways Blog

As you can see from the track plan, this is no last layout effort. It is an end of the branch location, on the coast, with a little traffic and a mostly disused goods shed. And by the way it’s on the ocean.

Image courtesy of Rushby's Railways Blog
Image courtesy of Rushby’s Railways Blog

And that maybe all the difference it needs. It’s idyllic, industrial and ramshackle and yet it stirs emotions and my wanderlust wants to go here and see this little out-of-the-way slice of railway. It looks better on-screen than it does in the magazine too. I want to go to this place. I want to sit at the Cafe table, eat my fish and chips and take in the train action. Even if that is simply a loco idling on the weed strewn siding. I can smell the salt, the seaweed and hear the gulls calling me.

Image courtesy of RMWeb
Image courtesy of RMWeb

And that is a powerful skill for a layout builder. To stir in others a need to relive this moment in time, even if it is false, and never was. Neil – my hat’s off to you brother. You are in a class of your own. Read more about the layout, the builder and his other projects which are as good on his blog from the link above.


More images of the layout can be found in the links below:


Site Update – October 12

I’ve created a new section for Track Plan Ideas.

This section is where I’ll be posting well thought out designs that I can’t be fussed putting into the various railway CAD programs.

Each is at the concept stage and I’ll provide an overview of the location, industries and an operating scheme for these small layouts. The first layout so covered is on the Vinson Lead in Austin, Texas.

If you’ve a moment head on over to ‘The Vinson Lead – small and simple V 1.0‘ and see if this fits your bill for a great little model layout. There’ll be more to come as I now have a new scanner (yippee!).

Site Seeing – October 10 – Hornby’s new Peckett W4 Saddle Tank

First off I’ve got to give a shout out to Oly Turner and Chris Matthews’ blog for highlighting this model; one of their recent posts bought this little gem to light. Many of you may have guessed that I focus more on the North American and Australian scene in HO and O scales than the UK. However, I have a deep love of the UK industrial steam era and especially the four and six coupled locomotives that served these industrial railways for many years.

I don’t get very excited, very often about new releases from Hornby in the UK. I am getting very excited however by the release of their new 0-4-0 Peckett W4 Saddle Tank in 4mm ‘OO’ scale. If you are into small layouts, and or industrial layouts in a small space then I think that you should be too. And here’s the reason:

What’s not to like. It’s small, well proportioned and perfect for the type of small industrial layout that most of us can afford and fit in our homes these days. They are all DCC ready and would appear to be able to fit sound – if through a somewhat small speaker.

They look like they’ll be a red-hot seller. In fact I noticed that all the pre-orders have already sold out. Here’s hoping that Messrs Hornby ramp up production and keep this item in the catalogue for some time as it will form the basis for many conversions to come.

Like to see it running in engineering guise?

You can find out more about the development of the model from Hornby.