Reminceses Part 2

Gentlemen,
From what I know of you all I would hazard a guess that we all fit into the age range of 40 to 60. We all have different backgrounds and certainly are
all not from within the engineering side of work. So how did you fall into the SE hobby and where did you learn your skills. We all have a tale to tell and it will make winter go a little quicker.
Tell all, I'm listening.
Martin P
--
http://community.webshots.com/user/campingstoveman

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Gentlemen,
I have just had a, I hope, good idea. What if we came up with our thoughts initially for our own amusement then I collate it all together into a booklet to raise a few quid at rally's for our favorite charity.
Martin P
Campingstoveman wrote:

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It must have been about 1970, I suppose. Just off the Tormarton junction of the M4 was Donnington Park & there was a big steam fair and I knew that Brian Newth, the bloke that had sold me my first motorbike (a seven year old Triumph Speed Twin in 1959) would be there with his fairground organ.
So early on the Sunday, Hazel, me & a young friend blagged our way in. We spoke to Brian, looked at the traction engines & stuff & then I saw this long line of engines of many different kinds. They looked so ancient to my motorcyclist's eye with their exposed cranks and camshafts all whirling away in the open air. Steam arose from their hoppers, some of the exhausts blew perfect smoke rings and they all smelled so good.
Hard by was a perfectly enormous engine reclining on an articulated lorry bed. It quite filled it up. I recall that it had once been the standby engine at Berkeley Power Station. After preening, wiping & oiling, the valves were opened & the l-o-n-g air bottles slung under the decking supplied the air to get the monstrous thing in motion, After a short interval of sliding and hissing, it fired with a thud like a muted field gun, shot flame & smoke out of the tall six inch drain pipe it had for an exhaust pipe, blowing a three foot diameter smoke ring that could be seen whirling vigorously within its torus as it drifted off down wind - and I was hooked!
Within a week, I'd found an ALCO Featherweight, then a Villiers WX11, an Amanco 2 1/4hp & a Villiers WX11 powered compressor set. At that time, neither Lister D nor Wolseley WD came within my orbit. I ran them a few times, but there was no Internet, no SEM & I knew no one else who was interested, so fascination waned & they got shoved to the back of the workshop whilst bikes continued at the forefront of my mind.
Some thirty years passed. One day, I was suited & booted & on my way to London on the train to talk to a client. I dropped in to WH Smith to buy a comic for the journey, saw SEM, picked it up & turned it over to flick through it - and there on the back page was a Petter M 1.5 hp with a Rugby ball hopper. It was unrestored and dirty and called to me - & I was hooked again.
I easily found a WD Wolseley out of the paper, then a Lister D and - well, here I am ;o))
Regards,
Kim Siddorn.
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I began my working life in rural Shropshire in the very early 70's, at age 15, in the long school summer holidays. I worked for a dairy farmer, Mr Williams, who farmed at Forton, on the Eccleshall road two miles out of Newport. Tucked away in an outbuilding was a Lister CS 5/1 that drove a vacuum pump, now used as a standby pump as the farm was "on the mains". I loved that engine, and used to illicitly start it on occasion - I hope Mr Williams is not listening!
I was always drawn to machinery and engines, and became quite a fair amateur mechanic early in my youth. My first car was an Austin A55 hearse that was given to me by the widow of a local undertaker. It had stood unused for some years and one of the things I had to do to get it through an MOT was replace every component of the braking system from master cylinder on down. I did 19,000 miles in that car before I moved on.
When I started working full-time, I gravitated quite quickly to engineering-related employment and spent fifteen years from 1975 to 1989 in the non-destructive testing and welding inspection field. I was privileged to see much interesting plant and equipment during that time, and even worked on the last "outage" at Berkeley Nuclear Power Station prior to its closure in 1989.
I started work in the computing industry in late 1989 and have been in that ever since. I initially worked with ICL VME mainframes and later moved on(?) to Microsoft Windows NT and subsequent technologies, with a brief spell at Unix of the SVR4 flavour as espoused by ICL. I currently work for a small ISP, helping to keep the infrastructure working.
I never lost my fascination with things that reciprocate and revolve, though, and I think it was in about the year 2000 that a friend told me that his wife's cousin was selling a Lister so that he could raise cash for a deposit on a house. I went to see this machine to discover that it was a CS 5/1 on a trolley, complete with fuel and water tanks and a Lister water pump. My son and I bought it for far too much money. At about the same time, I was given (well, OK, paid 20 quid for) a complete but clapped Lister D. This was the beginning of the end...
Initially, I kept the Lister CS in my mum's double garage, but eventually moved it to a shed I rent from a local farmer. Of course, now having more floor space, it had to be filled. A Lister CS 12/2 and a Start-o-Matic 6/1 arrived together in 2002 and a 6/1 a little before that. I need to make trolleys for all of these, amongst other things...
A strange thing happened in the summer of this year (2005). I was standing in the village store and Post Office watching an old boy pay for his weekly groceries. There was something familiar about him and I said as much to the proprietor. "Oh," she said, "That's Mr Williams from Newport!" I dashed out of the shop and caught up with Mr Williams (for it was indeed he) on the pavement. We became re-acquainted and I learnt that he now lives locally. I enquired as to what had become of the farm (no longer a farm, sadly) and the standby milking engine. Mr Williams said "Oh, I kept that, I start it up every week!" He had the engine from new in the war years, and apart from a replacement block in the late 40's, it is as he bought it. I have an invitation to visit one day that I must avail myself of.
Regards
Pete
--
Peter Scales

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All,
I suppose the slow burn started in 1994, when we were clearing out the ramshackle old farmyard we had recently taken over. It was a monument to mechanical fecklessness and the destructive power of neglect, manure and incessant Welsh rainfall. As well as the rotten muckspreaders, trailers, ploughs and harrows, the old tractor becalmed in the brook was an obvious scrapper, and everywhere there were other pieces of junk I needed to clear out.
Enter my Father. "Turn the steering wheel, there's not a bit of play. That's a great tractor!", said he with a distracted look on his face, my incredulity growing as he burbled in similar manner about a couple of very deceased old engines and sundry other items of rusting junk in the way.
Sceptically, I indulged him, thinking that you only get one Father, when all's said and done. The long moribund grey Fergie was dragged out of the water by a working tractor, all four tyres flat, and with the brakes stuck on. A dirty afternoon of blackest oil, grease and plenty of rust resulted in the Fergie starting in the blackest cloud of smoke I've ever seen around a vehicle.
The look of triumph on his face was just visible through the pall, and I realised that he wasn't completely lacking any sense after all. Then as his holiday went on, the Lister D shearing set was investigated and the Petter A was shifted into a corner away from the scrap pile. I wasn't exactly ablaze with enthusiasm for this stuff, but if it pleased him, then I could tolerate some of the rubbish staying for a while. Later on in his holiday, we went (or to put it accurately, I was taken) to a ploughing match near Shrewsbury and we enjoyed watching the vintage tractors doing their stuff. I particularly liked the smell of paraffin and Dad was eager to tell me the points of each type of tractor. I'd grown up in a town and knew little about them, and had almost no experience of farm machinery. He had driven or known many of them during his time on the family farm and while working for an agricultural engineers in County Tipperary. There was a small collection of stationary engines near a hedge and I found them more appealing than the tractors. Various patient exhibitors fielded my questions about the mysteries of magnetos and starting procedures, and no doubt my self- importance was evident to them when I confided I had a Lister at home, and a Petter!
My Dad departed back home to Ireland, with the Lister D in the car for further work. The engines were forgotten about and the Petter continued gathering cobwebs in the old cowhouse. Some weeks later I received a phone call from Dad and could hear the Lister running steadily in the background.
"Listen! That's a great engine, it's hardly done any work". Autumn and Winter passed and soon the old man was talking about visiting again. The Lister D had come with him, as had a Corbett mill which he picked up for next to nothing at a farm sale in Ireland. I arranged a trip to a Vintage Rally in Shrewsbury, as they were featuring Allis Chalmers tractors and Dad had two in his fleet of old tractors. An excellent day was had, though we were nearly poisoned by the fumes from the huge number of tractors, and we thoroughly enjoyed all the various exhibits. Again I found the stationary engines particularly interesting and walked around the display several times. The rot was definitely setting in...
Hearing of my enthusiasm, an elderly farming neighbour showed me the engine in his barn, a lovely old Lister L, which his Dad had bought. That led me to search around on the internet for information about it. There was a lot of material available and I lapped it up. I found a newsgroup concerning engines and a bunch of friendly folks who helpfully answered questions and had interesting topics being discussed from time to time. By this time, the two engines were running and I was thinking another would be a nice project for the two of us to tackle. A Lister A was acquired before very long, and most of you will be familiar with the course of the affliction after that!
Regards,
Arthur G
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Good to see that between us we finally got the right spelling!
Regards,
Kim Siddorn.
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All,
It all started for me in 1971 when attending steam rallies in the Yorkshire area. These colourfull popping and f**ting engines drew me in. In the September of that year the first engine came along, a Crossley 1030, it was brought home in the boot of my fathers 3 wheel Reliant (but thats another story). Over the winter it was restored and rallied the following year. During this time I had got my first car, an Morris 1000 Traveler, the engine traveled in the back. Over the next few years along came more engines, the best been a 1924 4HP Horizontal Bamford, this is still with me 31 years later.
By the mid 1970's interests had widened to include a truck and Double Decker Bus. Eventually by the mid 1980's these had gone and engines were the main interest again.
It was'nt until the 1990's that my first Lister appeared a Hopper cooled G1. An L or 2 followed but didn't last long. Currently I attend about 12 rallies a year with my two youngest sons, both into engines. Between us the collection has grown to about 25 engines.
I can even remember a (still) young Peterbourgh member in his push chair at rallies in the late 1970's.

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On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 20:24:48 -0000, "Andy Milestone"
said:

(putting another anorak on)
What was the bus?
Brian L Dominic
Web Sites: Canals: http://www.brianscanalpages.co.uk Friends of the Cromford Canal: http://www.cromfordcanal.org.uk (Waterways World Site of the Month, November 2005) Mid-Derbyshire Light Railway: http://www.mdlr.co.uk
Newsgroup readers should note that the reply-to address is NOT read: To email me, please send to brian(dot)dominic(at)tiscali(dot)co(dot)uk
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It was a 1944 Guy Arab 2 with Roe body to the unique East Yorkshire Motor Services Double Decker Beverley Bar Gothic Roof design. It is still about in the Hull area but sits dormant and dry.
Regards
Andy M milestones snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com
picked up their glass of wine, sat back and

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On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 22:13:09 -0000, "Andy Milestone"
said:

I don't think I ever saw that rallied - there was certainly one example of that body came to the Robin Hood Rally at Nottingham..............
Brian L Dominic
Web Sites: Canals: http://www.brianscanalpages.co.uk Friends of the Cromford Canal: http://www.cromfordcanal.org.uk (Waterways World Site of the Month, November 2005) Mid-Derbyshire Light Railway: http://www.mdlr.co.uk
Newsgroup readers should note that the reply-to address is NOT read: To email me, please send to brian(dot)dominic(at)tiscali(dot)co(dot)uk
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As I've already had a mention, I'll add my bit...
Attended my first rally at the age of 6 weeks - Dorset Steam Fair 1977 when it was on the original site at Stourpaine, with my Father who had already been collecting engines for about 3 years by then. My family lineage consists mostly of blacksmiths, then progressed onto the railways (particularly the Derwent Valley Light Railway), and my Father was an apprentice trained maintenance Engineer - I suppose I had no option but to get involved in things old and mechanical. First engine I restored in my early teens was a Lister D, given to me by a neighbour, and things just ballooned from there. My Father and I amassed about 80 assorted engines from Amanco to Wisconsin, plus a couple of old tractors for good measure. Sadly my Father died 5 years ago, and since then I rationalised the collection back to about 20 engines at one point (mainly due to space considerations), then finally got myself organised, got a job working for Caterpillar Industrial Power Systems (Perkins Engines) and bought a house with a bit of space, and the collection is growing again - over 40 at the last count, but I seem to have gone from a large amount of smallish engines, to mostly largish engines now (still got one tractor and a BSA Bantam for good measure). I'm still on the energetic side of 30 so I'm taking full advantage and collecting up a collection of bigger engines whilst I still can. Long term plans are to install some of the larger stuff semi-permanently, and continue to rally some of the smaller engines - I try and do half a dozen rallies a year, work permitting.
Right, that's enough for now, it's milder weather tonight and I've got a Bamford EV to get back together - it has only been in bits for 6 years!!!
Regards
Dan
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Gents,
Well it all started when i was at the grand old age of 12,my dad had changed his job he brought home all his tools and bits and pieces along with a JAP six my dad had loaned to his employer to drive the workshop compessor it was decided we would restore it and take it to a few rallys it needed nothing more than good clean up and repaint .
Afterthe first few rallys we met up with my uncle with his lister R type thats were the trouble started.
He offered us a Lister 2L that was surplus to his collection so a few weeks passed and went to have a look well the shed door was opened and there was just a mass of engines the L was started up and the deal was done unfortunatly my dad passed away after a short illness later that year and to cut a long story short the L was sold to a fellow down in the town.
All went quiet for a few years I left school at 16 and went through a couple of horrible jobs untill a job came up at the local agriculural engineers morris corfields. Working there provided me with a lot of skills but the long hours in the harvest time were not to my likeing soon a job was offered at a new holland dealership in newport i took the job there that lasted for twelve months untill the company was taken over and i was layed off.
At this point i decided to have a go at working for myself and it was this that rekindled my interest i was repairingsome plant for a neighbour of mine.
The fellow that had bought the L turned up i enquired about the Lister and was told it had sat under a sheet on his back yard since he bought it and he'd not touched it since you can buy it back if you like he said i jumped at the chance it was paid for and collected that nite the engine was restored and joined by others various engines and so on and so fourth
Regards Gary M
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I blame the parents!
My Father is a Vintage vehicle enthusiast, I say enthusiast but in the early 1960's it was as much about cheap transport as anything else. Our first family car was a 1921 AC two seater plus dickey, retrospectively known as the Old AC, its replacement being a 1949 2 litre saloon of the same marque more suitable to the needs of a growing family. Around this time a 1925 Delage DI requiring a total rebuild was acquired and, knee high as I was, I followed every step probably often to Father's annoyance. So from an early age I was pretty well conversant with the workings of a motor vehicle.
A family needs to be entertained and what better way than to pile us all into the Delage and visit a local steam rally. By the early 1970's these usually included a row of chuffing, spitting devices variously termed 'barn' or 'oil' engines. I became fascinated by these, I was used to engines with all their moving parts, except the occasional chattering valve gear on the front of a Morgan or something, discretely hidden and here everything was on show, you could even see the piston skirt whipping in and out of the bore! I quickly found out all I could (not much!) about these engines and used to scan the pages of Exchange and Mart to see what was available. But I had no means of transporting such a thing and anyway would have been hard pressed to muster even the small amount of money being asked in those days.
Then one Christmas in the mid 1970's Father announced he had got me an engine - oh joy! When I saw it though I was a bit disappointed, It was a Petter M and a tank cooled one at that - 'real' stationary engines of course were hopper cooled, open crank four-strokes with low tension ignition and hit-and-miss governing. However it gave me my first hands-on experience of freeing up stuck parts, making new gaskets, scraping in bearings etc etc and was soon restored to mechanical fitness. Once it would start and run tolerably well, it was consigned to the corner of the shed to be pulled out occasionally and demonstrated for the entertainment of visiting friends and relatives.
There followed a period during which I spent four years failing to pass a mechanical engineering degree, got a job working on military radar at EMI and obtained an HND in electronics. Spare time was spent trying to keep first a Sunbeam Imp Sport and then a Clan Crusader on the road for no money.
In the mid 1980's I moved with my parents to Prestwood, just round the corner from the site of the Chiltern Traction Engine Club's annual rally and it was here that my interest in engines was rekindled. I saw Ed Bolton's lorry load of engines fresh from America and it dawned on me that I now had the wherewithal to own the long dreamed of 'real' engine. I talked to Ed about doing a deal on the Petter and visited his place a couple of times to look over possibles. Nothing came of that but he did persuade me to take out a subscription to 'the comic' (SEM) and later when I found a Bradford which met all my criteria, he was only too happy to advise me on its purchase.
The Bradford and Petter remained my only engines until I moved into my own house in the early 1990's. A tiny two up two down 1840's lean-to, it nevertheless had space to build a garage/workshop. The Bradford actually moved in before the building, I had joined the local engine club and thought I'd try my hand at rallying - after two events I decided that side of the hobby wasn't for me. Once the garage was built it was immediately filled with a Marlin kit car I had been building for some time and a few more engines began to creep into the limited space around it.
Once the Marlin was completed it became clear that although it was fun for those occasional high days and holidays, it really wasn't justifying the yearly round of mot, tax and insurance. Besides, as engines continued to accumulate, I reached the point where I couldn't actually work on anything unless it was dragged outside. Much as I would like to have laid the car up until I perhaps had the time to give it the use it deserved, I really didn't have the space, so three years ago I finally sold it (ouch) and the engines almost immediately expanded to fill the void!
--

Nick H





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As I posted the idea its about time I put my thoughts to key pad. I to could in some ways blame my parents, my Grandfather, Dads Father, was a model engineer of some notoriety in has day, I still occasionally meet some of his old friends at Model Engineering Exhibitions, and he also had his own Taxi Cab in London where we lived until I was thirteen. I think that I am fairly sure in saying this but by the age of five or six I knew how to use a lathe in particular a Brittannia Colchester Treadle lathe which until a couple of years ago I was still using and now sits in my brothers loft. My father was in electrical engineering and eventually both my brother and I gained apprenticeships in Mechanical Engineering. My first love was and still is in a minor way Aviation and I eventually became a member of the Duxford Aviation Society and spent many sundays helping to restore a Boeing B17G called "Mary Alice" which now sits in the american Hanger at Duxford for all to see, and I must say when I visit I am proud of the fact that I with six other now good friends restored her back to show condition. Just over twenty one years ago I got into Stationary engine's because of a serious fatal accident, a daft if not stupid excuse I know but my brothers wife was killed in a motorbike sidecar accident of which he was the driver and the reason I can be accurate of the time period is because my nephew was eighteen months and was in the sidecar at the time and escaped without a scratch. To overcome his grief and take his mind off of it for a time my brother bought himself a 1947 Fordson Major Petrol Parrafin Tractor and I thought that to help him along, I didn't have space for a tractor, I would get an engine. A Lister D. We started restoring our charges and occasionally helped each other and then we started rallying and thats how the Bedford CA Dormobile came about, my brother and I have half shares in it even though I run it more now. I got to know a gentleman in the village where I used to live by the name of Dennis Clarke, he became my Mentor, the old boy died a few years ago and I miss still just like my dad. Nothing was to much trouble, he had no qualifications except how to live life. Everything he did was by teaching himself, including a lathe, welding he even proudly showed me a cap for a lucas mag points cover and then produced the tool he'ed made to press them out under a fly press. He went for an interview in his younger days to join a building firm, he was asked what his skills and qualifications were to which he replied none but he manged to get the owner to come with him to see his bungalow which barring the electrics he had built himself. He got the job on the strenght of that and worked for the company until he retired. Its because of my brothers miss fortune and Dennis's interest that I now enjoy fiddling with the Phutt Phutt's as a mate calls them.
Martin P
Nick H wrote:

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I'm in the top half of the age range, a very young 56, HGV driver by profession. My interest in mechanics started when I helped my Dad change the big end shells on our Austin 16 when I was about 6.After an uneventful spell at Grammar School I served an apprenticeship as a Welder/Sheet Metal worker, which I gave up on when the company went bust. During my School years I worked part time on a farm where I came in contact with my first Stationary Engine, a Lister "A" which drove a root cutter. My interest was originally confined to classic and vintage cars which waned a bit when I married and raised a family, then was rekindled as the family became more independent. Visited several rallies looking at the cars and noticed a line of noisy smoky green things , some of which resembled the old Lister from the farm and a spark of interest was ignited. A change in family circumstance and health forced a relocation from Merseyside to Cumbria, where the vintage scene is an integral part of life! Acquired my first project , a JAP mk 5 driving a "Climax Rock Drill Engineering" rotary compressor from a local Market gardener and the collection just grew and grew! Due to several circumstances I no longer have any engines but the interest is still with me, am currently on the lookout for a "Startomatic" to instal at my new Partner's property where the power supply is a bit erratic to say the least!! Thats my story!

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On Thu, 1 Dec 2005 00:05:30 +0000 (UTC), CHARLES HAMILTON wrote:

Which bit of Cumbria?

Me to but our power is very stable and reliable considering where we are. I just have this nagging feeling that if the 1/2 mile or so spur that feeds just us fell over (some of the poles lean quite a bit) it could be quite a while before it was repaired. Be nice to have something real and solid rather than a modern fart box generator.
--
Cheers snipped-for-privacy@howhill.com
Dave. pam is missing e-mail
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On Tue, 29 Nov 2005 20:41:52 -0000, "Campingstoveman"
back and said:

My background's distinctly different. I started off being mildly interested in railways, but then my local (and other) trolleybus systems attracted my interest and I was involved with the nascent transport museum at Plumtree, near Nottingham. I actually bought Lytham 34, a 1936 single-deck Leyland LT7c "Gearless" Lion, but impending marriage and buses didn't mix, though the running of the Robin Hood Rally in Nottingham was a joint effort with Susan.
I spent some time going to the local rallies and was involved with the NVTEC, at one time being pushed to the dizzy rank of Chairman. I decided to start rallying engines as they were (a) cheap, (b) easy to transport and store (it's remarkable what you can tow with a Mini) and (c) more-or-less within my limited capabilities to restore: bear in mind I have no engineering background whatsoever!
My first acquisition was a Bamford EG1which arrived as a "non-runner but easy to get going". I was able to ring the factory and order a new exhaust, fuel tank and straps, fuel pipe and taps and drain tap - they arrived COD the next day! I bought a trailer, got a towbar fitted to the Mini and took the whole kit & caboodle to Rempstone Rally as a non-runner. Getting it running caused more interest (amongst my fellow exhibitors and the public) than all the other engines put together! Eventually, following an application of Belzonia Molecular Metal to the inside of the head, the engine burst into life, to the cheers of the assembled multitude! (I did eventually acquire another head.)
I assembled a milking setup: vane-type pump, pipework, pulsator and milking bucket and rallying this was most enjoyable. However, I wanted something different and so acquired a Lister D (reverse rotation) and a sludge pump - the latter being massively constructed out of cast iron, and the whole sitting on a massively constructed channel frame with 4 cast-iron wheels. This was when I bought the new, bigger, trailer with a winch.............. Needless to say, I became the victim of the standard pranks with this set-up - it's remarkable how much foam you can generate............
I also acquired an apple-top Petter "M" (in pieces) which I never got to run properly - whether or not it was a duff mag (only got a little, feeble spark) or the poor compression on the un-seized and re-ringed and re-sleeved cylinder I'll never know. I recall a Petter A1 being in the collection for some time and at some point I also had a Lister "Junior" (rallied on its own as it was too heavy to carry anything else with it) and a Godwin H2 water pump, which was the last thing I restored before giving up - a house move (with no garage, so no storage) forced me to sell the lot
I then got involved with my local narrow gauge railway, which was built from the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley to the back door of my local pub - surely one of the best destinations for a railway! I also continued to model rail-bourne vehicles - trams and narrow gauge railways, firstly in 4mm scale and now in 16mm scale - the pieces are much easier to find if (sorry when) I drop them on the floor!
However, I've always liked stationary engines, as the only items of vintage machinery I've been able to restore, so it's nice to have a "D" in the garage again!
Brian L Dominic
Web Sites: Canals: http://www.brianscanalpages.co.uk Friends of the Cromford Canal: http://www.cromfordcanal.org.uk (Waterways World Site of the Month, November 2005) Mid-Derbyshire Light Railway: http://www.mdlr.co.uk
Newsgroup readers should note that the reply-to address is NOT read: To email me, please send to brian(dot)dominic(at)tiscali(dot)co(dot)uk
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