Now fbb reckons that he is fairly well knowledgeable in matters ferroequinological even if the dates and detail fade into the depths of the cerebral coal measures. But the above picture baffled the old bloke. It was captioned BR class 37 with condensing tender.
Most of us know about Metropolitan Railway tank locos with “condensing apparatus”, namely a big pipe to take steam back to the water tank to be re-used and, at the same time, to reduce exhaust in the tunnels.

But the top picture above is something different.

It is a condensing tender with fans to cool the steam and turn it back to water. Here is an even bigger tender.

But nothing like this has ever been used in the UK, hence fbb’s confusion.

Aha, the “BR” loco is from German Railways, a well known 2-10-0.

Some of them were poshed-up for front line passenger use …

… but generally, the condensing idea was not very successful and not used very widely. HO models are available, but the biggest financial OUCH of the class is from Marklin with is non-standard “third rail” stud contact.


It is quality but at a price. Slightly more affordable is a similar model from Liliput.

As far as fbb can discover, nobody has offered a condensing tender for an HO model!

Aldridge Old Station, New Route

Aldridge is on the so-called Sutton Park line …

… which runs (still open for freight) in a big loop from the main Birmingham line at Water Orton and on to Walsall. It takes itd name from the fact that it crosses a northern chunk of the fantastic Sutton Park.

In 1957, fbb (aged 12) travelled from Northampton to Streetly at the apex of the park on an excursion train to visit the Jubilee World Scout Jamboree. All he can remember is trudging in boring tedium around ranks and ranks of tents and a whole heap of temporary Coca Cola stalls.

But there has been pressure to re-open the Sutton Park line to passengers and the Birmingham mega-Mayor has included it in his extensive aspirational rail plans.
Somebody has found a bag of pennies down the back of the corporate sofa; and authorisation has been obtained to start work on a one-stop branch from Walsall to Aldridge.

There is nothing left of the station today …

… but the original two platforms will be reduced to one for the first phase of the full re-opening. The Old Aldridge used to be a reasonably busy stop …

… although the frequency fell well below today’s plans.

Doubtless there is much celebration in the town …

… but it will be a few years before trains arrive at the end of Station Road.

It is likely that main entrance and car parking will be on the north side of the line (on the right in the picture below) …

… on land owned by the NHS.

Weighing Up The Options!

fbb’s new Dapol “toplight” GWR carriage is heavy, man! To see how heavy, fbb plonked it on Mrs fbb’s kitchen scales.

Well, the current kitchen gadget is just a tad more up to date.

A Hornby Mark 3 (fbb has no more recent Hornby products)

A Bachmann Mark 1 – definitely higher quality than Hornby

The Dapol “Toplight”

So only a couple of grams heavier than the Bachmann BUT it is three quarters of the length …

… so noticeably heavier size for size.

The reason for the extra weight is that the coach has a metal chassis. Remember when Hornby Dublo coaches were all metal?

There is a growing trend for more metal parts in locos; but fbb thinks these are the first coaches modern-age with a cast chassis.

And as well at “toplights”, the model comes with lights. Yesterday afternoon fbb nipped upstairs to the Peterville layout to get some photos.
Heavy with Lights!
The new expensive coach has internal lights. And they look very good.
The station lights are on as well.

You can clearly see the posh first class seats!

Also here is a slightly better twilight picture of the camping, glamping and holiday lets area still awaiting proper scenic embellishment.

Puzzle Picture
Wat is this? How is it made?
Maybe this will help?

Answer tomorrow.



Today and tomorrow are the fbb’s monthlu Fellowship meetings (with lavish afternoon tea:- egg and cress sandwiches, salmon sandwiches, mini-pasties and two sorts of home made cake.
Monday’s and Tuesday’s postings may be curtailed.
 Next Variety blog : Monday 4th March 
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