Running an Engine on the “Soixante”

The following interesting and colourful account of railroading on the “Soixante” was written up by Travelling Engineer Van T. Sherman  in “An historical & technical biography of the Twenty-first engineers, light railway.” published in 1919. It’s a great read!

Running an Engine on the “Soixante”

… It was before the St. Mihiel offensive. The "Slim Gauge" line from the railhead at Sorcy Gare climbed steadily its twisting way to Cornieville, eight kilometers away, and it was a battle for steam all the way, as from twelve to fourteen cars of rations and forage was quite a load for such a small engine. It was necessary for the engineer to stand up, manage the sand lever with one hand and unbalance the throttle with the other and the "Johnson bar" the best way that he could.

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True Colours

The exact colours of the French locomotives during the Great War, have always been a great mystery to the modellers of this era. The black and white pictures of that time show them as either having a dark tone or a relatively light tone. The first one shows a Decauville ‘Progrès’ in a dark colour …

A dark coloured Decauville locomotive

…while the colour of the locomotive in this second picture is much lighter and probably very close to the colour of the wagons it is pulling.

A light coloured Decauville locomotive

Similar differences can be seen in pictures of the Kerr Stuart ‘Joffre’. There is even a very nice movie at ECPAD, which shows a light coloured ‘Joffre’ amongst other locomotives and rolling stock that were used by the French. So which colour should I use for my ‘Joffre’ … the dark or light one? And what did these colours look like in real life?

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La Petite Anglaise

As mentioned in a previous post, I started working on a 009 World War I layout. It’s a bit different from HOn30, the scale of my other models. The big advantage however is, that there are quite some kits readily available of the locos and rolling stock that were used during the Great War. Most of them are white metal kits … a material I have little to no experience with, so I decided to start with an easy kit – the 030t Kerr Stuart ‘Joffre’ by Five79.

A French Kerr Stuart 'Joffre'

I am not expecting this kit to be a walk in the park, but it will definitely  beat messing up the kit of the 2-6-2t Baldwin that I recently bought. My first intention was to bash it into a French 030t Decauville ‘Progrès’, but as that needed quite some adjustments and it was the first white metal kit I would try to solder together, I quickly dropped the idea. I will just build it as a French ‘Joffre’, which means that I need to replace the chimney and have to add some extra details.

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Reading up on things

By coincidence, the last two issues of Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review discuss WWI Light Railways modelling in 1:76 scale … or 4mm scale, as they say in the UK. Issue 89, contains a great article about two British WDLR locos being modelled by Alex Duckworth. The first one is  scratchbuilt 4-6-0t Baldwin with parts from the Five79 and GEM kits, while the second one is  the Dick Kerr petrol electric locomotive constructed from the new Meridian Models kit. Below the beautiful 4-6-0t Baldwin on 8mm gauge instead of 9mm gauge!

Scratchbuilt 4-6-0t Baldwin by Alex Duckworth

Issue 90 starts with the story of Willesden Junction, a 009 layout by Pete Wilson. This name was jokingly given by the British troops to a large WDLR transfer yard in Belgian Flanders during WWI. The layout gives a good impression of working conditions for the British operators of the War Department Light Railways during the 1914-18 conflict. A second article about Willesden Junction, focussing on the locos and their rolling stock, is expected in one of the following issues of The Review.

Willesden Junction by Pete Wilson

All is quiet …

Maybe it is better to say that all has been very quiet, as it’s half a year ago since I published my previous post. So, what have I been up to, you might wonder … assuming that somebody is still reading the stuff I write …
Well, I have been busy with the new addition to our family … a beautiful baby girl, who arrived at the end of last month. This meant that we had to do an internal move at our place and so, I  spent a lot of my time redoing the bedrooms of our kids. It also meant that I had to give up my hobby room and needed to move all my stuff to the attic.

French farm in 1:76 scale

So for now, I have put the Koala Creek layout on hold a bit, which means that there is also little progress on the HOn30 Shay. I am slowly redeveloping the 3D printed parts for the Shay, but at the same time I am still not happy with the current quality of Shapeways … so just be patient.
In the mean time I have started to work on a bookshelf  layout, as I should be able to fit one in a corner of my home office … where I am also freeing up some space for a workbench. The theme of the layout has nothing to do with sugar cane in Queensland, but probably a bit more with the title of this post …

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