Project Arley; Baby steps

I decided to start simple with Arley. The two hits above were the first buildings to tackle. I started with two Wills lineside huts, making one ‘as is’ and carrying out an easy kit-bash on the second. Final details such as the valvoline sign need to be added, and I’m not entirely happy with the colour of the door, but otherwise the first two buildings are done!


Next up, I’m thinking of attempting the shop, a building that – as can be seen on the top picture, the building on the far right – looks like a grounded van body clad in corrugated metal work, plus an awning over the front. 

OOSevern: Project Arley

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So, here it is. My new project. Arley Station, in Worcestershire, on the Severn Valley Railway.

For the first time I’ve decided to go for a real location, for several reasons really. Firstly, I prefer to watch trains go by. I’m not a massive operator, I enjoy running trains and relaxing as they run by, stopping them in the station whilst a bit of yard work goes on nearby. In addition, my own planned layouts run out of steam (sorry!) when I realise I have to make up what’s there. I lack the imagination to do so, trying to squeeze too much, unprototypical detail in. Finally, as this is a long term project, the fact that I enjoy tinkering with stock and buildings means I can take my time on these aspects before things are in place regarding the actual layout build.

Plans are not exactly finalised yet. The dream is that the layout is a roundy-roundy, housed in a shed. However, a number of factors would need to alter before this could happen (buying of a house, initially) and potentially a shelf layout might take it’s place instead. This isn’t a major consideration currently though, as the aim is, initially, to get started on the buildings. There is no mad rush to finish the buildings and I’d like to scratch build (or kit bash) as many as possible. There are lots of aims with this build, and one of the main ones is that I want to take my time with the build, not rush things, and ensure that I get it right.

Bridgnorth to Kidderminster… and back again

Yesterday I took my first visit to the Severn Valley Railway since becoming a member.

The day started with the 30 minute drive to Bridgnorth, a mooch around the station, platforms and shop there before boarding my first train of the day; 34053 Sir Keith Park, at the head of a 8 coach ‘blood and custard’ rake pulling the 10.50 Bridgnorth – Kidderminster.

A stop at Hampton Loade and Country Park Halt meant a slightly late arrival at Highley, where I left the train to look around the Engine Shed, the SVR’s museum.

I didn’t spend too long in the museum – little has changed in there except a really excellent exhibition about the floods they suffered in 2007 and the work done since – and headed back to a deserted station, eating my lunch in lovely peace and quiet, aside from a conversation with the young volunteer on station master duties.

The silence was shattered as the 12.51 Highley – Kidderminster arrived though with 7802 ‘Bradley Manor’ at the front of a Royal Scot coach set. I parked myself in the dining car and settled back as the train left Shropshire and entered Worcestershire.

The next stop was Arley. What a beautiful station. I was tempted to disembark and spend some time there to get lots of photographs for some research (the reasons why will be in a forthcoming blog) but as the weather had started to look iffy I grabbed a few rushed (and subsequently rubbish!) photos. However, straight after Arley comes one the SVR’s most notable landmarks; the Victoria Bridge. It’s quite a sight from the valley below, and it’s no less impressive to travel over.

After a stop at a wet Bewdley the train headed to Kiddermisnter, arriving bang on time.

There was a 22 minute wait as the loco ran round it’s train (allowing a quick look around the impressive station at Kidderminster) before I made the non-stop journey back to Bridgnorth, leaving at 14.00 and arriving one minute early (15.09) at Bridgnorth.

All in all, a wonderful day out. The SVR is full of friendly staff all quick to say a cheery hello, stop for a chat or help out, the trains, carriages and stations are all spectacularly maintained and the scenery is breathtaking. I’m very lucky it’s more or less on my doorstep. I’d very much recommend a visit.

As an aside, you’ll have read about my acquisition of a Hornby Hall, with the intention of turning it in to 4930 Hagley Hall, resident on the SVR. I knew the loco was undergoing maintenance, having been withdrawn from service. However, I got quite a shock when I saw it outside Bridgnorth shed!

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I’m pretty sure that my model will be in service before the real thing!

Oh Halls…

Photo (c) Hattons

We’ve all been there. A ‘browse’ on Hattons. Up pops a gem you just can’t resist. 

That’s why the loco above is on its way to me. It’s a BR Hall. It’s not the one I want but it’s a good starting point for renunbering. I want to turn it into 4930 Hagley Hall as it’s my plan to build up a roster of SVR locos. 

It’s a second hand Hornby Railroad model, in as new condition and I figured for £46 I couldn’t say no. 

The only issue; Pipe Gate Sidings has hit the buffers. No layout will be built for the foreseeable, however I have several modelling projects I can undertake to keep my hand in. 

Starting with the Hall, of course. 

On top of the world

Congratulations to the England Womens Cricket Team, who today won the 2017 Women’s World Cup in front of a sell-out Lords crowd.

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It is only fair to put what was perhaps an unexpected victory down to a real team effort. By all accounts the team is pretty much family – not in the way the men’s side has, in the pas, been harder to get out of than it was to get in – but in the way the players work and, in several cases, live together. All the batters made contributions (one, Nat Sciver even invented an incredible new shot; the ‘Nat-meg’) whilst the bowlers all took wickets at important times, none more so than Anya Shrubsole’s incredible 6-fer in the final today.

However, for me, the highlight of England’s triumph has been the return to the side of wicketkeeper/batter Sarah Taylor. Last year she stood down from all cricket due to anxiety issues, giving a brave and honest interview about the demons she faced. One year later she’s back on top of the world. A world champion. What a return to the team. Vital runs (including a big century and important runs in the final) throughout and outstanding keeping throughout. A fit and firing Sarah Taylor is one of the – if not the – best female cricketers in the world.

As someone who has fought their own mental health issues – and continues to do so – I hugely admire what she has done/is doing. Looking back, giving up cricket – although I didn’t know it at the time – was one of the starting points of my own struggles. Although I’ve conquered many demons and I still have a hankering to take up cricket again on some level I have yet to do so, 5 years on. That’s why Sarah Taylor is someone I hold in the highest regard possible.

England are very lucky to have her.