|RAILWAY OPERATING DEPARTMENT
|ON THE WINGS OF FRIENDSHIP|
of you who know me will also know that 2009 has not been an easy year.
And as such I would like to dedicate Terminal 1 to all those
people who have asked after me, taken an interest, offered help and
advice and generally been my friend.|
More specifically I would like to thank Paul Elliot for supplying the rolling stock and Tony Neuls for supplying the aircraft and to both of them as well for inspiring the concept of Terminal 1.
Similarly I would like to thank Malcolm Bell for devising and building the electrical switchgear and soldering, Ken Guest for his time and skill in making the folding tables which support Terminal 1's three modules, Robbie Burns for supplying the 2mm scale cars and people at very reasonable cost, Nick and Yvonne Gilpin of Rural Railways for doing the same for the other vehicles and streetlamps, The Model Shop in Exeter for helping me obtain Cavey's Scale Model fencing, everyone at Antics and Cheltenham Model Centre who supplied scenic material and rolling stock, everyone who cheerfully and patiently cut wood for me at B&Q Gloucester ( and sold me the paint and other bits ) and finally my Mother who put up with me spending hours painting and ballasting track and generally doing "bloke stuff" as opposed to housework.
And now here's what all the time and effort was about......
|BIG BRISTOLS SPILL OUT|
idea of combining N gauge trains with 1/144 scale aircraft first
came to me at the Autumn 2006 Cheltenham GWR Modeller's Exhibition when
the only way to display a 1/72 scale Bristol Type 170 Mark 32
Superfreighter on my Airfield Embankment Diorama was to remove the
toddler-resistant perspex from the front and let one wing spill out of
the scenic area. As a result, the least unrealistic picture I
could take from above meant putting the Superfreighter's tail against
the side of the box, the starboard wingtip just clear of the fence by
the railway and cropping the port wing just beyond the engine nacelle.|
Despite the Bristol Type 170 being one of the largest aircraft in the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection, having to pose it in such an awkward and vulnerable way did reveal the limitations of the Airfield Embankment box. Obviously there were still all kinds of combinations of physically smaller 1/72 aircraft - from Supermarine Spitfires to McDonnell Douglas Phantom IIs - to be explored for many years to come but there was no way that I could field, for sake of argument, the four engined Lockheed C-130 Hercules used to airlift the trailer mounted Bristol Bloodhound missile parked next to the Superfreighter. The integral construction of Airfield Embankment - strong and light though it was - also meant that it could not realistically be extended in length or width and even if it could there would be nowhere to store such a bulky item let alone transport it by car.
There was also the wider question of diminishing returns in terms of the range of aircraft types that could be displayed. If, for example, a diorama large enough to accommodate a Hercules could be built, stored and transported, would the use of even larger types be then just as frustratingly out of reach? In fact this phenomenon also became a reality in October 2008 when another diorama box was large enough for a Supermarine Stranraer and Consolidated Catalina but the most frequently asked question was "Where's the Short Sunderland?"
And as for B-52 Stratofortresses and Jumbo jets....? The only real option to present them given the practical constraints mentioned above would be to drop a format and go to 1/144 scale - something that a number of kit manufacturers other than Airfix seem to be doing nowadays. Indeed, the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection had already fielded a die cast 1/144 scale Handley Page Victor to celebrate the centenary of Cheltenham born Sir Frederick Handley-Page's firm, although most similar models tend to be more expensive.
A parallel issue was that - like the Wagon Repair diorama displayed at St Margaret's Hall, Cheltenham, the previous Spring - the 4mm scale railway vehicles on the Airfield Embankment remained static as there was only a few feet of track for each train and no hidden yard for them to disappear into. However, N gauge - at a convincingly similar 1/148 - could also offer more room to manoeuvre in a given area, albeit at the expense of acquiring a whole new set of rolling stock and associated infrastructure.
|If the size of the Bristol Type 170 represented the limitations of the Airfield Embankment however, the Bristol Belvedere helicopter
pointed the way to a solution. On returning it to Tony Neuls, a tour of
his den revealed a number of 1/144 airliners which had not only never
left his house but which he very kindly offered to loan out for
exhibitions as well. |
Not long after too, I had the pleasure of visiting my former colleague Paul Elliot in Shropshire. As County Secretary of the N Gauge Society Paul likes to keep abreast of the latest developments in 2mm scale motive power and rolling stock and consequently had more locomotives, carriages and - crucially - diesel multiple units than he could run at one time either at home or on his local group exhibition layout Bewdley. As with Tony, Paul responded positively to the idea of letting me give some of his less-used trains some exercise.
With the broad idea of a layout to showcase larger aircraft types alongside moving N gauge trains - more appealing than the static variety to exhibition organisers and visitors alike - established all I then had to do was work out how such a layout could be designed and built.
|A FLAT NO|
with any model railway layout, a flat surface with track would be the
easiest method of construction - taking advantage of the fact that
airports are (largely) flat and that it would only take a thin extra layer of
wood to recess the track so that aircraft could taxi across it.
Indeed, there have been models of light railways serving
aerodromes ( I once saw a French Ho automotrice meandering through various
parked light aircraft on the front of a Continental publication ) as
well as real life airfields being built around existing tracks. |
One such example is the secondary main line between Palmerston North and Gisborne in New Zealand which crosses one of Gisborne Airport's runways. When approaching from either side, train drivers are obliged to stop and telephone air trafffic control for permission to proceed. Another example was - from 1943 to 1971 - RAF Ballykelly in County Londonderry, where one runway was extended over the main line from Coleraine to Derry. However, in Northern Ireland trains were given right of way over landing aircraft. Closer to home, the first flight of the prototype British Concorde G-BSST (above ) in March 1969 was delayed as it waited for a train to clear the line separating hangars and runway at Filton.
From a practical modelling point of view however, a railway on or near an airport on the same level would need to be seen to be going somewhere and having come from somewhere - a difficult option as flat ground tends to rule out hills for tunnels and using airport buildings for cover would be more appropriate to light tramways than an inter-city or regional passenger service. There would also be the question of using an oval style "tail chase" around the edge of a flat layout or an end-to-end arrangement. The former would need enough length and width for a 360 degree turn and hidden sidings while the latter would either be hidden at the back of the aircraft or have hidden sections ( however well disguised ) using valuable layout length and limiting train formations.
The same challenges would also be faced if the railway was on an embankment, with the added disadvantages that an airport just would not be built inside a circle of raised track. Likewise, an embankment at the back of the layout would be a repetition of the existing 4mm scale diorama and an embankment at the front of the layout would block the view of the aircraft.
dismissed flat layouts and embankments, the idea of a railway in a
cutting was the only option left. However, from a practical
modelling viewpoint, a railway in a cutting at the front of a layout
would not only leave the higher flat ground beyond free for aircraft
but allow exhibition spectators to appreciate both. A square or
rectangular bi-level layout would also create room for a railway
circuit - possibly with storage loops - underneath although
realistically all tracks would have to be built within arms reach of
the edges. However, a compromise between this and a simple
end-to-end railway along one edge would be a flattened U-shape with
fiddle yards at the extremities and a section of plain track or station
on the central curve. For one operator working however, at least
one fiddle yard would have to be remotely controlled, either by push
rods or point motors.|
In planning such a layout, the height of vertical separation between trains and aeroplanes would also have to be addressed. For example, the passengers on the north-south coastal railway from Lytham St Annes to Blackpool South might be forgiven for ducking when an aircraft lands at or takes off from Squires Gate Airport (seen above ) as the strip of sand dunes that the line runs through is not far below the runway. For this reason too there are no tunnels and few bridges nearby to hide any fiddle yards. Other reasons why Squires Gate would be difficult to model would include the railway being single track ( limiting train traffic turnover in an exhibition environment ), the airport buildings being on the eastern side of the airport ( making a coastal station illogical ), the distance between the railway and runway and the fact that the nearest airport hardstanding IS a runway, rather than a parking apron where static aircraft would most likely be seen.
better prototype to model would be Manchester's Ringway Airport.
There are two lines ( themselves fed by spurs to central Manchester and Stockport ) entering the tadpole shaped
terminal station - which is in a deeper cutting - and the outer end is
defined by a wide road overbridge. It is also very close to parked
aircraft and indeed to large numbers of parked cars - a phenomenon that
is shared by the through station at Gatwick ( below ) Negative
features however are the platform roofs and other structures obscuring
the trains in the cuttings from both the eyes of the exhibition viewer
and the hands of the operator in the case of derailment or other
problem. Similarly, even in 2mm scale, the buildings between the
trains and the aircraft take up precious room and would also serve to
pin down the layout to a particular time at a specific location.|
Had I been interested in modelling Ringway, Gatwick or any other airport as such this would not have been an issue but rather than building a highly complex "one trick pony" I had hoped to emulate the success of the 4mm scale Airfield Embankment in being able to dress and re-dress a minimalist arena with different rolling stock, vehicles, figures and aircraft to represent different places and eras or just do the impossible and represent themes such as one company's product over the years.
At this point, I should mention that since completing my project I have seen still and video footage of Jonathan Wilkins "Dowdam International" layout which depicts part of an airport based on Schipol with aircraft, terminals and airside vehicles above and on top of an N gauge cutting. Furthermore, the layout features airliners with working propellers, a Birmingham International style cable car, rotating radar, control tower, canal and Dutch townscape and is a triumph of modelling but is - and would have been - too large for me to emulate. But back to my story...
What was therefore needed was a layout that combined a low level station open to the sky with higher level aircraft parking, could possibly use road bridges as scenic breaks to disguise hidden sidings and somehow conveyed the idea of a modern airport without wasting valuable space on location-specific and dateable buildings.
|THIS IS TOMORROW CALLING - WISHING YOU WERE HERE!|
fact the words "Modern" and "Airport" go together well - partly because
there are no ancient airports! Barely a century has passed since
Louis Bleriot first flew across the English Channel and Britain's first
airline - Aircraft Transport and Travel - first operated its De
Havilland 4A on 15 July 1919 - less than ten years later.
Indeed, Britain's busiest airport of 2009 - London Heathrow -
consisted of little more than a field with some tents when the first
Avro Lancastrian took off on 1 January 1946 and it was not until the
arrival of the Boeing 747 in 1970 that the jet set ceased to be an exclusive club for the rich. |
When the first railways captured the public imagination a century before the first airlines, stations looked to existing buildings such as country houses for their inspiration - hence the Queen Anne design of Hereford and the Victorian Gothic of St Pancras to name but two. In the middle third of the Twentieth Century however, Modernism as an architectural movement was in vogue.
Modernism used the simplification of form and the elimination of ornament as a reaction to the over decorative "Art Nouveau" of Edwardian times - although its roots could be found in cast iron, brick and stone mill buildings of early Victorian England, Joseph Paxton's iron and glass Crystal Palace of 1851 and the first Chicago skyscrapers of the 1880s.
In Modernism form followed function, with the materials and techniques available also defining the finished building. As early as 1929 one of the great exponents of Modernism - Le Corbusier - designed the Villa Savoye ( seen above ) to be built from reinforced concrete floors mounted on pillars, which were not disguised even when they went through the fireplace on the upstairs floor. However, Villa Savoye's construction did allow each floor to be as open plan as necessary with rooms subdivided without the need for the interior walls to bear loads. Similarly the outer walls could form a thin skin to keep the wind and rain out while large horizontal windows offered even illumination. Le Corbusier even included a roof garden to make up for the amount of green land that Villa Savoye took up.
Although founded in 1923, the main buildings at Berlin Tempelhof airport ( below ) sprang from a 1934 Modernist design by Professor Ernst Sagebiel and combined many of the architectural qualities of Villa Savoye with even more practical features such as an overhanging airside canopy to shelter the ( by modern standards ) small airliners as they unloaded. This in turn built on the success of Tempelhof in being the World's first airport to have its own underground railway station. Although built as an overall curve, in Tempelhof - like Villa Savoye - quadrilateral features dominate in what Le Corbusier called "The Poem of the Right Angle" - luckily a look that is very easy to replicate in MDF.
|LENGTH, HEIGHT, WIDTH..IN DEPTH|
|Although I now knew that clean,
uncluttered, rectilinear, functional, concrete architecture best
mirrored the dynamic streamlining of aircraft, the exact shape of
the new layout remained unresolved - until I looked back once again at
Airfield Embankment. |
To make the four foot long diorama portable - and to allow a concrete apron to be replaced by grass fields - the main horizontal surface slid out over the supporting framework underneath. Why not take the idea a stage further and build the rail and air sides of the new N gauge layouts as separate modules? In effect, the rail side - with all the fiddle yards and 12 volt dc wiring could stand alone or used with as many airport apron modules as could be stored and transported with it.
A look at the available shelving - and the back of my Rover 25 - limited the length of the prospective layout to 1 400mm which even in N gauge limited my choice to a Manchester style terminus rather than a Gatwick type through station. However the width was eventually defined by a number of other factors - the most pressing being the type of train operation that the station would support.
By autumn 2007 I was touring the Gloucestershire exhibition circuit with Capital Works (pictured above) which - to my pleasant surprise - proved very popular as an arena for my Gloucester RCW wagons due to the way that the trains (comprising one wagon and a tank engine) appeared from one side and disappeared into a hidden section on the other. In fact by the use of the layout's one isolating point it was able to run one train out of the works straight after another had gone in and also had the option of storing another wagon on a third siding accessed by a sector plate. Despite all this activity, Capital Works is almost small enough to be carried under one arm!
However - remembering that the new layout would have to be a terminus - conventional passenger trains would need somewhere for the incoming locomotive to run round its train or at least be isolated and uncoupled while another locomotive arrived and took the carriages back out. Such an operation would need relatively complicated pointwork and other remote control devices with associated wiring - all things guaranteed to go wrong in front of a crowd at exhibition.
was then that I resolved to only use trains which could be driven
from both ends - be they top and tail formations, railcar, multiple unit or push-pull with some sort of
driving carriage. Similarly, to avoid having to work round
fragile overhead catenary or install fiddly conductor rails, all trains
would be powered by diesel, diesel hybrid, gas turbine or steam.|
This in turn pushed the layout towards 21st Century modern image as it is only in the last 30 years that a Class 47, Peak or similar diesel locomotive at the front of a rake of carriages has been supplanted by High Speed Trains, Voyagers and second generation diesel hydraulic multiple units.
Moreover, it was Class 158s and 170s in post-Privatisation colours that Paul was kind enough to lend me - although that is not to say that a Metropolitan Cammell Class 101 or Great Western 14xx 0-4-2T with an autocoach could not appear as an enthusiasts special.
With double-cabbed trains now chosen, trackwork could now be finalised and as this was my first scratch built working exhibition layout in any scale I decided to minimise risk and not use any points. Each straight line could be separate and wired through a switch box for use one at a time so that trains would simply come into the light and then back into the darkness before the operating cycle started again - although old trains could be swapped for new at the open outer end of the hidden section.
It was at this juncture in the design stage that I remembered a lovely modern image layout, exhibited some years ago by John and Steve Emerson of Cheltenham and currently owned by Bentley Model Railway Group, called Hayley Mills. Not only did this have scale length BR blue 4mm trains but featured a station very like Birmingham New Street with a shopping centre built on top and what seemed like a long thin dark slot for both platforms and trains to emerge from. At the time I thought that this was a brilliant way of including such a large station but without using a great amount of time and effort detailing the interior of a structure with an overall roof like York or Kings Cross.
It was then that I hit on the idea of turning the Hayley Mills concept inside out. Instead of a whole station my layout would represent part of a station with platforms running into the hidden section blanked by a concrete wall at one end and also under a road bridge at the other. This would not only avoid having to build multiple aspect signals, ticket barriers and the like but would give the illusion of a much bigger station - perhaps even a through one. Equally such scenic devices would strengthen the idea of the station not just being in an angled cutting like Gatwick but part of a very moden cut-and-cover railway - as used for the Heathrow Express for example.
the most appealing aspect of modelling a part-station like this however
was that the nearly full length platforms could be built of wood
as longitudinal stiffeners. In most model railway
baseboards the flat sheet surface is supported by a wooden grid and
screwed or glued to it to prevent warping. However, this
particular N gauge layout could now be built of robust 18mm MDF much
more in the manner of my previous diorama boxes. |
As can be seen in the picture above, lengths of Redwood PSE costing 82 pence each and measuring 890 x 33x12 mm were purchased from B&Q and incorporated into the existing shell, which also used the two bridge supports - seen by the carriage - for longitudinal stiffening as well as the full length back wall and the front wall of the structure that would eventually boast a car park above the hidden area. Lateral stiffening meanwhile would come from the wall dividing the hidden and visible station sections, the end wall and ultimately from the road bridge next to it.
Given the weight of the structure and the finite width - 320mm - available in the car for a length set at 1400 mm, it was decided that the layout would have four platform faces with the width of the Peco NB-26 plastic kit brickwork to expedite this also factored in before building and - as pictured above - testing with a short length of track.
In fact it was the choice of platforms which further narrowed the paradigm of rolling stock to British - rather than European - practice which in turn made the whole airport British with British road vehicles, fencing and lighting, advertising and security and maintenance staff.
The layout could still be based anywhere in Britain - hence the range of visiting stock from varied Train Operating Companies - but it would have to have a British name.
I chose Terminal 1.
this section, the height of the rail side of Terminal 1 was determined
by the road bridge blanking the far end of the station. This had
to clear the trains - with just a little to spare to suggest that
overhead wires could be installed in the future - but also run towards
the dummy tunnel portal taking the traffic under the apron and runways
to the World beyond. This in turn meant that the wall above the
portal had to be tall enough to keep the aircraft from falling in to
the station cutting!|
The bridge also has a thin limewood safety parapet and the same material was used at the right hand side, not only to hide the platform end but to support the toddler-resistant perspex sheet, supplied as ever by Haden-Browne Plastics - as does the side of what is now Platform 4 - all numbering being from the air side outwards. Also visible in the picture are the tracks - with rail sides and pandrol clips painted rust - ballasted down between the platforms: now fully edged and covered with fine black abrasive paper to represent tarmac.
It could be argued the platform edges on an ultra-modern station would be made from cast concrete sections but these do not seem to be available in N gauge. I also think that the red of the bricks - like the rust of the tracks - relieves the dominance of blacks and greys.
|POWER AND CONTROL|
mentioned above, a layout with four separate lines needed a way of
energising each track in turn - as opposed to Capital Works which was
built to be run with just one pair of dc wires plugged into a simple
rectifier / controller. My good and skilled friend Malcolm Bell
achieved this by soldering individual wires to fishplates on the end of
the tracks and connecting these - with a common return - to
a five pin socket under the open end of the hidden section under the
car park. Since this picture was taken, the array of push pins
holding the wires down to the baseboard
has been rationalised, with yellow pins on yellow wires and red pins
used instead of foam cubes to stop runaway trains. However, grey
upholstery type foam was used under the bridge to soften the impact for
any trains not stopping fast enough. |
This method of wiring fishplates rather than the rails themselves does not prejudice any possible future adaptation of the Terminal 1 rail module into a larger layout.
|The bundled cables from the five pin plug then fed into the box (pictured above) with four rocker switches allowing each line to be energised in turn - the default setting being all lines dead. Once a track has been selected, a Hornby unit rectifies ac to dc, steps down the voltage and allows directional and speed control. Both controller and switchbox are mounted on a small piece of MDF which is normally positioned next to the open end of the hidden section.|
|PAY AND DISPLAY|
only slightly above the height of the airside apron - as defined by the
portal on the left of the bridge at the end of the layout - the
lateral-stiffening cover of the hidden section of the layout was still
technically a roof so in a nod to Le Corbusier - who was fascinated by
automobiles - I turned it into a car park.|
I did think of a bus station but felt that at the moment there were not enough modern buses available in 2mm scale - and that there was possibly not enough of a turning circle either. Also, while a bus station looks its best full of buses - like the Mellor Brother's Brocklecote in 4mm - even an empty car park with its herringbone matrix of spaces ( each 16mm x 34mm ) brings a certain pleasing order to the eye. It was my original plan to add these bays to the black sprayed MDF with a white marker pen ( as sold in stationers and exuding a Tipp-Ex like substance ) and then slowly fill them up as finances allowed. However, as Robbie Burns had a large amount of 2mm scale cars - and people - for sale at the April 2009 Cheltenham GWR Modeller's Exhibition I was able to buy everything he had for a very reasonable sum.
As a result I was able to spend a very pleasant afternoon supergluing the cars round the edges and along some of the centre bays while trying to not to bunch the different types and colours together. As a result I now look at real car parks in a very different way. Do people park truly randomly or are there hidden patterns? See for yourself next time you are out and about. Or, if you encounter Terminal 1 at an exhibition, see how many red and orange cars you can count!
As was seen at Manchester and Gatwick, car parking - especially long term for those flying off for a few weeks - is at a premium close to airports so I also added security staff - seen in the first picture of this article in front of the VC10 tail - and fencing. After a long search on the internet, modern 2mm scale steel fencing - of the kind to keep vandals and thieves and also to stop cars driving off the edge on to any passing airliners was found in the form of an etched brass kit made by Cavey's Scale Models . I first of all assembled my fence, joining the soft, fragile sections with superglue, before planting the lower end spikes in blocks of expanded polystyrene and spraying the whole thing green in line with current Network Rail practice.
Having never spray painted anything in 2mm scale before, one lesson I learned the hard way is not to get the aerosol can too close! Luckily I was able to disguise the unwanted infill as litter blown against the railings before drilling holes into the "concrete" car park surround to stretch out the fence and slide the whole assembly into position. Street lights - from the Fleetline range - were also added for support as well as illumination.
|ON THE ROAD|
road vehicles on the bridge were chosen to suggest that both an
airfreight terminal and an airport bus station lay beyond the aircraft
apron. Nearest the camera are two MAN rigid wheelbase lorries
with the flatbed on the left carrying a people mover body covered in
tarpaulins and held down with rope. In fact this effect was
achieved with Rizla papers and thin cotton thread. Like the
Graham Avis Iveco articulated lorries nearer the portal, these MAN vehicles
are one-piece castings with fixed wheels while the red AEC Routemaster
bus is a die cast Oxford product with rolling wheels - hence the need
for it to be carried separately to exhibitions!|
Although designed and built for use In London - and an icon of Britain's capital as much as black taxis and Tower Bridge - Routemasters have now spread to second owners all over the World.
The Routemaster bus was developed during the years 1947–1956 by a London Transport team directed by A. A. Durant and Colin Curtis, with vehicle styling by Douglas Scott. TheIir design brief was to produce a lighter vehicle that was more fuel efficient, easier to operate and to be maintained by the existing maintenance practices at the recently opened Aldenham Works. The RM could carry 64 seated passengers despite weighing three-quarters of a ton less than the previous 56 seat RT. The Routemaster replaced London's trolleybuses, which had themselves replaced trams, and older types of diesel motor bus and was constructed at the AEC Works in Southall, Middlesex with assembly at subsidiary bodybuilder Park Royal Vehicles: credentials shared by the first Great Western streamlined diesel railcars.
The AEC Routemaster used lightweight aluminium and aircraft construction techniques developed in the Second World War. As well as a novel weight-saving integral design, the Routemaster was also the first bus with independent front suspension, power steering, a fully automatic gearbox and powered hydraulic braking. This surprised some early drivers who found the chassis unexpectedly light and nimble compared to older designs, especially as depicted on film on tests at the Chiswick Works "skid pan". Footage of Routemaster RM200 (VLT 200) undergoing the skid test at Chiswick was included in the 1971 film "On The Buses". Interestingly, the "On The Buses" franchise was a product of Hammer films - more famous for their gothic horrors, often featuring Caroline Munro whose "Lamb's Navy" rum hoardings were often a backdrop to the misadventures of Stan Butler, Jack Harper and Inspector Blake.
|The station platforms at Terminal 1 were always going to need crowds to offer counterpoint to the largely lifeless car park and airport apron,
so the figures bought from Robbie were a highly cost-effective way of
adding a colourful cosmopolitan feel to a terminal welcoming passengers
in - from left to right on the sign above - English, French, German,
Spanish and Polish. To augment the 65 figures already visible in
this picture I also purchased two "B" sets of Peco 2mm figures and -
from the Bachmann Scenecraft range - sets of standing passengers,
permanent way workers and police and security staff. |
In doing so I found that - from my point of view - the more general civilian figure packs had a large proportion of seated figures that required a bench seat to be scratchbuilt from limewood and sprayed green to match the fencing. It was not part of the original design!
The Peco figures were supplied unpainted, which presented both the opportunity to use colour combinations not found amongst Robbie's people and the challenge of applying detail to such small objects. However, at just £2.00 a blister pack from Antics, the Peco people worked out much more cost effective than the admittedly exquisitely finished Bachmann sets. Although the Scenecraft civilian passengers do add variety to the other two makes I would personally only buy more of this company's figures for small and highly visible groups like police and track workers.
Once acquired, I tried to place the standing civilian figures either looking along the line or walking up and down the platforms in logical groups such as families, couples, hikers, men with suitcases ( perhaps going on a stag weekend? ), lairy lads, old women greeting each other etc. My particular inspiration for this sociological modelling - as well as my own observations of the travelling public - was the Victorian artist William Powell Frith ( 1819-1909 ) and his famous 1862 work "The Railway Station."
based the engine on ‘Sultan’, a 4-2-2 broad gauge locomotive of the
‘Iron Duke’ class, while the architectural draughtsman William Scott Morton
was employed to paint the pillars, arches and girders of
Paddington Station itself, occupying almost the entire upper half of the
In an age without cinema however the lower part of Frith's canvas - with its combination of spectacle and the commonplace, sentiment and realism, comedy and tragedy - was the pictorial equivalent of the blockbuster film.
Nearly a hundred separate figures can be counted. On the far left a woman trying to smuggle her lapdog into her carriage pleads with a railway official; a gamekeeper prepares a brace of setters for the baggage coach and a family hurries to the train behind a porter forcing a way through the crowd with their luggage. In the centre a family is packing two boys off to boarding school; next, a wealthy foreigner is being harangued by a cabman over the tip; army recruits embrace loved ones and a wedding party flutters and weeps and says goodbye. On the extreme right of the picture, Haydon and Brett, two famous and recognisable Scotland Yard detectives, arrest a fugitive from justice, his foot on the step of the carriage that would take him to freedom, while his wife, haggard with long suffering, looks on in agony.
In a touch worth of Alfred Hitchcock, too, Louis Victor Flatow - picture dealer and Frith's business partner in creating "The Railway Station" - appears as a railway enthusiast chatting to an engine driver. It is also interesting to note that William Powell Frith is buried in London's Kensal Green Cemetery along with Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
the internet came up trumps in finding Cavey's N gauge security
fencing, advertising posters beyond the old school Mazawattee Tea and
Oakey's Knife Polish were nowhere to be seen. However, the web
did yield some information about the relative sizes of real-life
advertising hoardings, namely that the three largest
available are 48 sheet static ( one sheet being the maximum
size of thick paper that a human bill-poster can handle ), 96 sheet
static and Mega 96, offering 5 x 15 metres of image. As the
hoardings that I had planned to break up the monotony of the back wall
of the station at Terminal 1 would be seen by - to scale - impossibly
large eyes I made my hoardings slightly larger than Mega 96. |
This also made my own posters easier to produce on computer. Rather than just copy the ephemeral - and dateable - campaigns seen on real British stations and airports I decided to create my very own hoardings. These would be partly the sort of advertising that the public might expect to see, partly some self-promotion and also homage to some friends and allies.
In fact , reading from the left, the first poster was a mixture of the last two themes - reitierating the praise given above for the help that B&Q in Gloucester have given me in preparing the MDF for the layout and also celebrating the special brand of semi-secret English that I have shared with friends and colleagues over the years. For example, in response to a challenging situation the phrase "Oh John Selwyn" expresses frustration without the need for public profanity just as anything close to squidgy can be described as "Princess Di " and the opposite of tight is David Beckham. Contrasting the slightly pixilated orange logo ( not in "Focus" ) and the email "at" sign is "Wee Georgie" Wood ( 1897 - 1979 )
Born George Bamlett in Jarrow, Tyneside, he took his mother's stage name of Wood when he first appeared on stage at the age of five. Told by doctors at the age of nineteen that he would never grow beyond 4' 9" tall, "Wee Georgie" would spend his life as the eternal schoolboy - paired from 1917 with his on-stage and on-screen "mother" Dolly Harmer ( 1867 - 1956 ). Wood and Harmer toured the World during the Second World War entertaining troops, a feat for which Wee Georgie was awarded the OBE in 1946. Although perhaps not so well remembered as some other music hall artistes, Wee Georgie Wood and Dolly Harmer were the template for such later "Parent and Child" acts as Kitty McShane and Arthur Lucan ( Old Mother Riley ), Molly Sugden and Jimmy Clitheroe, The Krankies and perhaps even Eddie and Saffy in BBC TV's "Absolutely Fabulous".
|Had I been able to find a suitable figure, I would have portrayed Banksy doing some of his stencil art "live" and possibly being chased by the Bachmann police. But sneaking a subversive Mega 96 poster like "Applause" into an ordinary station hoarding is actually much more the style of the thirtysomething Bristol ( historically Gloucestershire ) artist, allegedly 1974 born former Bristol Cathedral Choir School boy Robin Gunningham. Similar interventions have included lashing a dummy Guantanamo Bay detainee to a fence next to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland California, replacing 500 copies of Paris Hilton's debut CD in record stores with one purporting to contain tracks called "Why Am I Famous?" and "What Am I For?" and even painting blue skies on the wall dividing Israel and Palestine. In January 2008 a wall with a Banksy design sold for £ 208 000 on eBay. The presence of a Grumman F-14 Tomcat being catapulted from a nuclear powered aircraft carrier also gives me the opportunity to mention The Rainbow of the US Navy.|
|Above two youths being cautioned by the airport police, this poster encourages exhibition visitors to visit the website you are now reading as well as the wider - and even more brilliant - visit-gloucestershire portal hosted by the kindness of Softdata's Eddie Eldridge. More specifically, the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company built Great Western Railway diesel railcar 18 - the ancestor of the diesel multiple units running in and out of Terminal 1.|
|While the international airport may have been an aspiration for Modernist architects, it is also a business opportunity and
- for most ordinary people - a gateway to excitement. Although the
time of the exclusive jet set flying to New York or Cannes aboard
Comets and Concorde has now passed, the first decade of the 21st
Century has been a boom time for low-cost airlines flying to Ibiza and
Prague. This more casual approach to flying - perhaps now on the
wane thanks to high speed rail links and concerns over climate change -
was the inspiration for my last poster: a variation on the more
hackneyed "Bonjour France" or "Hola Espania" theme based on 1990s
advertising campaign fronted by arguably the Czech Republic's most
famous citizen - Eva Herzigova. |
The line and triangle logo is deliberately ambiguous. It could represent a low cost airline or an airport operator (perhaps like British Airports Authority) but Eva's "Hello Boys" hoardings are as iconic advertising images as the Guinness Toucan or the Marlboro Cowboy. Eva's Wonderbra campaign was masterminded by Trevor Beattie ( who also branded French Connection as FCUK ) in 1994, the same year that Loaded magazine was launched, and made a supermodel out of the electrician's daughter from Litvinov - which only five years earlier had been off-limits to the West behind the Iron Curtain.
Eva - born on 10 March 1973 - left the coal mining town of Litvinov in 1989 and for less than two years from 1996 to 1998 was married to Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres. In 2007 Eva - who now considers herself an actress and lives in Chelsea - gave birth to baby George with her partner Gregorio Marsiaj and was blessed again with another son - Philipe - in March 2011. Meanwhile, November 2011 saw Trevor Beattie launch the Jack and Ada Beattie Foundation in memory of his parents to offer grants to needy people in London and Birmingham.
|HANDLING THE BIG JETS|
the complexity of the railway module, the two 320 x 1400mm airside
units were relatively easy to assemble - each being formed of three
pieces of MDF in an inverted U shape, painted in Dulux matt Soft Stone
and marked out with a sharp pencil in 35mm squares. When travelling to
an exhibition, these units support the railway module inside the car
and when fully deployed give a total width of 640mm which translates as
92.16 metres in real life - large enough to hold an Airbus 380 sideways
with room to spare!|
While airliners themselves were not hard to find in 2mm scale - and some of the Peco figures mentioned above could be adapted as airside workers in orange vests - suitable airside vehicles were more elusive. Fleetline produce some white metal kits of two wheeled fire fighting and fuel trailers ( seen below ) in a range that also includes a Tiger Moth biplane and Slingsby glider, but attractive though these models are they are less likely to be seen on an international airport than aircraft tugs, trains of baggage trailers and airport steps - some of which have been built into the back of vans and lorries.
I will keep looking for - and maybe even making myself - some of these specialist vehicles but in the meantime one talking point is the eight wheeled tractor on its way to cut the grass between the runways. It is an all wheel drive John Deere 9630, with a 13.5 litre 530 bhp diesel engine making it the most powerful tractor ever produced by the Waterloo, Iowa based company. From his CommandView cab, the driver can use any one of eighteen automatically selected gears: a great advance for a company that began in one blacksmith's shop in 1837!
One byproduct of the snow that brought Britain to an almost complete standstill in January 2010 was TV news footage of a very similar John Deere tractor clearing snow from the runway at Luton Airport.
|READY FOR TAKE OFF|
|Terminal 1 made its exhibition debut at the Cheltenham GWR Modeller's Club exhibition on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 October 2009 at St Margaret's Hall, Coniston Road, Cheltenham and the rolling stock and aircraft are further discussed in their own articles.|