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Thanks to Peter Dawes.

What inspires 16mm?

                                                   At the top of the Schaffberg in May!
This is probably impossible to recreate but some modellers try hard.

I have been asked to write a little about 16mm. Narrow gauge. I am almost certainly not the most qualified but I am enthusiastic about what to model engineers is small scale modelling and to 4mm. modellers is large scale modelling. The organisation” 16mm narrow gauge Association” is the main interest group in this country and has organised area groups in most areas. There are a good number of shows nationally and many open days. The 16mm Association website gives lots of information.
Most people run on 32mm (gauge0) track an increasing number run on 45mm (gauge 1) track. The latter is my choice. 32 mm.track scales to 2 feet and 45mm to 2foot 9 inches (3ft. near enough).”G” scale is another garden scale popular on the continent and USA, for narrow gauge the track represents around 3ft or 1 metre and the scale is around 15mm. in fact, there are quite a number of liberties taken with scale due to the varying track arrangements in gardens.
The commonest energy source is gas, then electricity (batteries) and coal is becoming more popular. Meths is a rarity now.
Many different styles of railway are modelled, most are freelance but run representations of real locos and stock. Welsh narrow gauge is very popular and lots of the more exact models are in this field. They are generally small railways with small loading gauges. The Irish narrow gauge railways and the Lytton and Barnstaple, Manifold and Leek railways are approaching standard loading gauge and are big. Indeed recent commercially produced models have curve restrictions that currently will not allow them to run on my track. Some quite big Garratts have managed my track or part of it.
Many locomotives are radio-controlled but not all. Gas running time is about 20-30 minutes per tank, but longer is possible with water top up systems.
The Guilford MES have a good garden railway section at,www.gmes.org.uk/16mm.htm
I hope the following photos will give some idea of the scope of the hobby.

Photo 2. shows my own railway, loosely based on the Cavan and Leitrim Railway. However, my Grannie’s views of a childhood in that area and published comment suggest that any ramshackle approach to running a railway will do. The motive power is a”Peter Angus” Avonside articulated loco which certainly never ran in Ireland (African sugar cane plantations) but might have if the Railway committee had fore sight and money.

Photo 3, is my Accucraft Caradoc which after a mishap or two had some additions (one of which is not complete) and a repaint. The station is Corglass and is the main feature of my railway and is where the locos are steamed up.

Photo 4 is a view of Nutwood Halt on my railway. This is how the Stella and Corglass Light Railway crosses the Irish Sea; Rupert Bear stories explain this sort of problem with ease.

 Photo 5, is a Regner”Lumpy Tom” style of geared loco running at my open day.
These are regular spring and summer features of 16mm narrow gauge and are fun. Those without a railway can run easily and are very welcome. There is a limited degree of scenic representation on most railways.
Portable exhibition layouts are popular.
A quarry Hunslet on “Nant Mawr” one of the Yorkshire groups portable layouts.
Tim Roy brought his to Blyth where two TSMEE members helped.
There is a finescale tendency in this branch of railway modelling. Photos 8 & 9 show the West Sussex’s layout.

The Indian Hill Railway is seen at Alexandra Palace this year. Really nice models set in a humorous scene. Roundhouse  Engineering makes a good model of A DJR “B” class which is popular.
The following are photos from local open days and show how much activity there is locally and how good some modellers are.

Photo 10, a view of Springwell which is Ron Grant’s dual (32 and 45 mm.) track Ron is a very generous person and readily willing to offer excellent advice on small railways. I think I have learnt something from every conversation I have had with him.

Photo 11, is the railway of Geoff our area organiser, another generous advisor. He builds very nice rolling stock of welsh narrow gauge origin. The Roundhouse “Vale of Rheidol” is a visitor. This was one of Roundhouse’s biggest locos and is not in production now. I doubt it would get round my railway in the current configuration of track.
Talyllyn shows how good some unusual models are.  
     Photo 13 is a Roundhouse “Criccieth Castle” a battery operated loco which is very popular given its reliability and price. Also it is close to scale. Most commercial manufactures have to make compromises to cover a sufficiently wide market.
This is again on Geoff’s railway and is one of the simplest and cheapest commercial locos available
”Edrig” as shown here turns up regularly but is cheap enough to be modified and the chassis has been modified to take a coal fired boiler and alternative body kits are available.
Photo15 was taken in the Cheviots on Chris Haley’s railway and shows the variety of locos often seen at open days.
And finally some open day views, a Peter Angus Glyn Valley Tram loco crossing the bridge on my railway.
 and stock waiting at Corglass (lazy lamp fitting as the real thing). Oddly enough one of the well-known features of Ireland’s light railways is missing from this model, the bar very near the loco replenishing services. Management always viewed these as a scourge and they are mentioned in many records.
  this is  a Peter Angus Robey & Co. This is a geared loco originally so the model follows the prototype.

The last photo(19) was taken on my last open day and shows a visitor from the Midlands, a Cheddar (now owned by Stuart models) version of a Henschel pulling past a busy Corglass Station.
 I have mentioned Peter Angus models quite often because Brian and Stuart have both been heavily involved in the manufacture of boilers for these and Peter Angus and Mike Lax are also local and well known to club members. The models are terrific, run well and are generally out of the ordinary. Hopefully, this gives a flavour of 16mm modelling.


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