I’ve been wanting to join the Gnatterbox for a few months and now I’m here.
My interest in Gn15 was inspired by the article on Longstone in Railway Modeller, August 2018.
Like many modellers, my first train set was bought for me by my father and grandfather when I was three. It was a Trix Twin Railway - the old three rail track system - with a tank engine and several wagons. I strongly suspect I was the excuse for Dad being able to build a railway of his own. Then when I was 13, my parents bought the three children a Triang (Hornby?) Freightliner set, with a blue Hymec diesel and two container wagons. This time I was inspired to take over the old three rail baseboard and build my own railway.
A few years later, part of the cellar was lined with plasterboard and the railway moved from bedoom to cellar. 00 gauge continued there for several years, but was eventually replaced by some Lima N gauge stuff.
Once I started working in IT in the late 70’s, the Grafar N gauge equipment became more affordable and I had a small baseboard in the first marital home. Neither home nor marriage nor railway lasted very long. Coincidence?
Second time around, my first daughter got a Playmobil train set for her first Christmas, at just 27 days old. Best to start them early. Much later, having moved the family to the Isle of Arran, the stored N gauge stuff was brought out to build a railway (for me) in my son’s bedroom.
More serious modelling started in the early 2000’s following a Railway Modeller article on Welsh narrow gauge quarry railways. I started in 7mm NG with the Peco quarry Hunslet, plus Peco coaches and wagons. This was my first venture into DCC. I build several Smallbrook Studio kits, and the railway was housed in a wooden shed in the garden. Next up was a move to On30, the American narrow gauge system from Bachmann. I was captivated by the Shay and Climax locos, the first sound equipped engines I owned.
Butterfly-like, I then flitted back to 00 and had a fiddle yard to station layout in the shed. Dampness in the shed coincided with the last of the children starting university and the railway moved into the house, this time as a roundy-roundy. While it was able to be dismantled, it took so long to take apart and then rebuild that it was not really a practical solution. Once all the children were independently housed, the railway moved into the small bedroom as a permanent set-up, where two separate levels (one for steam, one for diesel electric) still reside.
The advent of affordable RTR 0 Gauge from Dapol brought about an excursion into the ‘senior gauge’ with a semi-portable Inglenook shunting layout. This was about the closest I have come to building and completing a fully scenic model. It may actually get there one day.
The Longstone article contained a pointer to the Gnatterbox. In a very short time, I was hooked. I definitely felt that I could build a layout large enough to be interesting but small enough to be completed. Having retired from work the previous year, I needed something to keep me occupied.
And why ‘TrainsOnArran’? Well model railways on the Isle of Arran is the obvious part of it. At the time I began using the name on RM Web, I was coaching junior distance runners on the island and doing many miles of running training on my own as well.
Paul Emsley (I don’t feel I should hide permanently behind a username!)