Mainlines in Modest Spaces Volume 2 by Iain Rice Soft Cover 2003 95 Pages
Mainlines in Modest Spaces Volume 2 by Iain Rice Soft Cover 2003 95 Pages
Mainlines in Modest Spaces Volume 2 by Iain Rice Soft Cover 2003 95 Pages

Mainlines in Modest Spaces Volume 2 by Iain Rice Soft Cover 2003 95 Pages

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Mainlines in Modest Spaces Volume 2 by Iain Rice Soft Cover 2003 95 Pages
Mainlines in Modest Spaces Volume 2 by Iain Rice Soft Cover 2003 95 Pages
Like many an active railway modeller of today, I was fortunate enough to grow up in the 1950s and 1960s. So I got to know the railways in that glorious era, the swansong of steam and the dawn of the diesel age. As a spotty, shorttrousered schoolboy, I (together with a veritable hoarde of my contemporaries) spent quite a lot of my spare time just watching the trains go by. It was the greatest free show on Earth.
I was never that keen a number-collector - much too clerical and organised for me. No, what I loved above all was the sheer drama of the railway - and nowhere was that drama more apparent than on the main lines. Much though I loved our local lines in East Anglia, I lusted after grander (and much faster) routes than these for my regular `fix'. Which meant lashing out six bob (nearly two weeks' pocket money!) on a Green Rover bus ticket or - later - climbing aboard the trusty Rudge and pedalling off westwards. The destination? Welwyn, Hadley Wood, Potters Bar - anywhere acccessible on the GN main line, that thoroughbred racetrack of a railway, where the mellow chime of an A4 streaking southwards would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!
I got to know other main lines and other excitements - the scream of a sparkling Britannia bearing down on Diss at eighty-plus with a Norwich express, the four-cylinder purr of a Duchess gliding up through Harrow (where my cousins lived), the glint and glamour of the Great Western forging westwards out of London. I saw Gresley engines labouring skyward over the Waverly route, and odd mixtures of ancient 4-4-0s and space-age Bullied streamliners toiling up to Masbury on the S & D. And later - in the early 1960s, in my teens, I was dispatched westward for holidays in distant, magic North Cornwall. We went by the wonderful 'Atlantic Coast Express', me ostensibly in charge of one or two of my siblings while our parents, the dogs, mountains of luggage and the younger Rices perspired down the A30 in the family Morris.
It was in Cornwall that I passed some of my happiest lineside hours. I would leave the rest of them to their boring beaches and worthy walks, and bus or bicycle off in search of trains. To Wadebridge, Boscarne or Dunmere on the Southern or -best of all - Bodmin Road on the Great Western. Here was surely Shangri-La! The beauty of the setting - the woods steep-to at the lineside, the blazing banks of Rhododendrons, the narrow lane that pierced the long, curving embankment, and the cool clear stream that ran beside it - was joy enough. Add a summer Saturday parade of trains - Counties, Halls, Granges, Moguls, and Castles on the main with, as an entre-act, the fussy comings and goings on the steep-graded branchline up to mysterious Bodmin - and one had Paradise. Is this the perfect prototype?
I've never had the space for a proper main-line model railway - the nearest I get is my 12 x 3ft Hornby-Dublo layout, where at least A4s, Duchesses and Castles can race by in a deafening roar of tinplate (even if they are pulling about 4G on the curves!) So the plans and musings presented here are a mix of nostalgia and pragmatism that I hope those of you less spacially challenged than I will find useful.

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