Leighton Buzzard

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jwealleans
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Leighton Buzzard

Post by jwealleans » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:24 am

This small section of the late Rev. Peter Denny's well known layout was at Manchester Exhibition this weekend. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to operate for a short while on Saturday afternoon. It was fascinating to see how the quite complex controls were all home made, usually with recycled materials. Enlightening to hear from Tony Gee how many problems they had making even this tiny section of the layout work - the whole this is quite delicate and the overpowering heat in the upstairs room didn't help.

Nevertheless, I've had the misfortune to try to drive trains on modern layouts which didn't work anywhere near as well as this. Left alone to run it (!!!) I then had one of the worst moments of my life when I operated Peter Denny's home made block instrument and it fell off in my hand. No damage done, thankfully. Thanks to Tony's charming fiddle yard team who explained the operating sequence to someone else in voices loud enough that I could hear them and follow what to do.

So, for those who don't know, this is a layout parts of which are over 60 years old. Not many modellers can reach these standards of realism and atmosphere today. Enjoy.

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As you can see I did manage to reattach this:

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Last edited by jwealleans on Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Atlantic 3279
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Re: Leighton Buzzard

Post by Atlantic 3279 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:07 am

A real gem JW. Thanks for posting the images. I tried to take some at Slaithwaite, but my usable portable camera isn't really up to the job.
It seemed evident at Slaithwaite that the working of the layout could be a little "enigmatic" to those who neither grew-up with it, nor were personally and extensively trained in its ins and outs by the late Peter Denny.
Bachmann A2 to A2/3: from my thread in Model Railways page 56 to 83, also

Hornby A3 to A1/1 Great Northern: from page 84, in resin from page 108.


Apologies for so many missing images - see page 1 for reasons & possible solution.

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Blink Bonny
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Re: Leighton Buzzard

Post by Blink Bonny » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:57 am

Ay up!

One question: does the Automatic Crispin still work?
If I ain't here, I'm in Bilston, scoffing decent chips at last!!!!

jwealleans
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Re: Leighton Buzzard

Post by jwealleans » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:05 pm

Possibly not at the moment; Tony said they'd done some damage to the layout when removing it (it was definitely not intended to leave the room it was housed in). The wiring is also very old and frail and proving a challenge to renew. If it doesn't, though, it will: the intention is definitely to restore it.

He will next be showing the layout at Wakefield in November, so you could come and ask him yourself? If not, I will as I shall also be there.

60526
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Re: Leighton Buzzard

Post by 60526 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:08 pm

As a comparison perhaps sometime you'll have to have an operate of Borchester Market. Over the last couple of exhibitions it's behaved itself after an extensive rewire. Any problems are normally operator error.

jwealleans
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Re: Leighton Buzzard

Post by jwealleans » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:15 pm

you'll have to have an operate of Borchester Market.
Would be delighted. I have yet to cross it at a show but I still look forward to doing so.

I think that's probably right - I help operate and maintain Ron Rising's layout 'Corfe', which he donated to the National Trust at Ormesby Hall. We don't have the complication of moving it about, but still suffer wring breakdown and equipment failures which after approaching 50 years is unsurprising. Fortunately the Trust take a pragmatic view of the need to renew and replace in the interests of continuing operation.

Leighton Buzzard put me in mind of 'Uppingham', which I will be operating at Peterborough. That is a 1970s EM layout, so whether the common features (block bells, point mechs) were the way EM modellers were working at the time, or whether the builders of Uppingham drew from Peter Denny is something I will have to ask the layout's owner. I know he visited Peter Denny in the 1970s, something of which I can now only be envious.

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Blink Bonny
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Re: Leighton Buzzard

Post by Blink Bonny » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:06 pm

Ay up!

Wozzat? You've operated Buckingham and are going to play with Uppingham? You lucky man!

'Ere - wozzit like Mister?
If I ain't here, I'm in Bilston, scoffing decent chips at last!!!!

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Re: Leighton Buzzard

Post by PGBerrie » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:50 pm

jwealleans wrote:He will next be showing the layout at Wakefield in November
I can't wait to see it - Buckingham was always an inspiration and the first Railway Modeller I ever had (February 1960) featured "Building a Turntable" by Peter Denny. It's great that part of a layout that was not built to move is now on the circuit.

Peter

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Re: Leighton Buzzard

Post by JASd17 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:40 pm

I asked about 'AC' at Halifax last year, when Tony and Ken had some of the stock from Buckingham on display. They said that the automatic system was 'potentially' dangerous. I wonder if someone could come up with an equivalent electro-mechanical system. It was, along with so much of Peter Denny's work, ground-breaking.

Excellent photos by the way, mine from Slaithwaite don't get near.

John

jwealleans
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Re: Leighton Buzzard

Post by jwealleans » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:27 pm

Do you know the Uppingham layout, then, BB? The team are hoping it will be a great deal more operator friendly now Peter's got rid of the horrible old Fleetwood Shaw couplings and fitted Sprat & Winkles. I very much enjoy operating it and think the track plan is excellent - it would make a good LNER branch terminus.

We had a trying weekend with it at Doncaster in February but look forward to a more enjoyable experience at Peterborough.

Incidentally Tony Gee has confirmed on a thread on RMWeb that the Automatic Crispin will be returned to working order in the future.

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