Hopping mad…


The left hand insulfrog (apologies for the tenuous link to this posts photo but Superfrog was a little trip down memory lane for me) point I ordered arrived on Thursday (amazing service by Track Shack, incidentally, as it was ordered on Wednesday afternoon). I wasted no time cutting the track and clipping everything together.

I plugged the controller in, placed Wilbert in the ‘tunnel’ and out he came, cab-first, chuffing gallantly and proudly towards the point, which was set to go on the siding. He tackled the point blade with ease and then…

Stutter. Stall.

A quick prod got him going again. This time, going forwards, the point was no problem at all. So I tried him in reverse again.

Frog. Stutter. Stall. Curse.

Having looked around it seems the issue is Wilbert’s 6 wheel arrangement with short wheel base locks being an issue over insulfrog points.

Can I solve this in any way?

On a micro I think track laying and running needs to be perfect. I’ve relaid the point and track to make it as flat as possible. That seemed to cure the issue going into the siding but left the main line a bit stuttery.

Wiring is not my bag, the thoughts of soldering extra picks ups or extra feeds under the point bring me out in a cold sweat!

Any help would be gratefully received.


Blank faces…


When taking the above photo I realised that Wilbert had been neglected and I had not added his couplings or his detail pack, leaving his face somewhat blank.


Ten minutes later all was well and Wilbert’s face was looking less blank and far more characterful than before. I am debating trying to get hold of a Hornby ‘spare’ face from the Thomas range to be able to place on every so often. Maybe, maybe not.


A quick simple job, but one that was enjoyable as it was lovely to do a bit of modelling again. The next project is in the background – although it’s hard to tell on the above photo – as I’ve researched a couple of pics of my MFA 391102 and it’s interesting to say the least!


But back to Wilbert. He was placed on Little Lawley and coupled up to the engineers train currently in the station… although with just the one piece of track, how it got there is anyone’s guess!

Welcome to Wilbert


The TSR (Thompson Steam Railway) at Little Lawley – not to be confused with the TSR (Telford Steam Railway) at Lawley Village have today taken possession of a rather well-known new steam engine.

The 38th book of the Railway Series by Rev W Awdry – and latterly his son Christopher – was about an Austerity locomotive, Wilbert, which was based on the Dean Forest Railway. It was a special request from the Railway after they had named that very loco Wilbert after the Railway Series’ creator in 1987.

Wilbert has become quite a celebrity and this has led to the Dean Forest Railway commissioning 200 of these locos from DJ Models.

Mine arrived today.


First impressions are excellent. The box is great with wonderful foam inserts that fit perfectly. The loco is beautifully finished (particularly noteworthy is the crisp printing on the nameplate), with a few extra details to add. Operational staff at the TSR are said to be extremely impressed.

Sadly Wilbert is currently unable to steam as the fictional TSR have yet to lay any track in order for him to stretch his wheels but all staff are looking forward to seeing Wilbert in action.