Famous Trains, Bizarre Trains & Abandoned Stations

Famous Trains, Bizarre Trains & Abandoned Stations

Morning Gang!

How's things? We're back again with the first update from SMS HQ for March 2024… Can you blummin' believe it? March already and I've still not mowed the lawn yet cos it won't stop blummin' raining down here. It's brilliant modelling weather, but we really do need to get a bit of gardening done at the weekend. The lawn must be nearly a foot high now. Bonkers. We'll need a month of sunshine to dry the darn thing out so I can actually mow it soon. But Tina's daffodils and tulips that she planted in the autumn are doing really well.

As usual, the M5 & M42 have been our office for a few days since last weekend as we met Elizabeth up in Leicester to see Bonnie & Clyde at the Curve Theatre last week and spent some time with parents again. It's amazing how many emails & other bits you can take care of from the passenger seat of a small car! But we have been back at HQ for a few days this week pushing on with a variety of things. Some behind the scenes stuff which will start to filter through as you guys receive your orders over the coming days and weeks. Others product development wise.

We've made some progress on a variety of projects though, which I'll update you on in a few minutes. We still haven't really got much further with how to proceed with other scales. Our project list for OO stuff stretches quite literally into hundreds of kits. Let alone tackling them in other scales… But there is some interim news on the horizon for N, O and TT scale coming shortly. At least for one or two kits. Thanks for all your especially useful feedback on the matter though. It's very much appreciated.

So then… new stuff & product development.

Product Development - Latest News

Sam's been doing a bit more work this week finalising his new walls. There's been a few last-minute tweaks to do to the wraps to make them 100% Realistically Better. So, they're right on the cusp of being let out into the big wide world. 

I've mostly been tinkering with behind the scenes stuff this week, so my design time has been limited. But I've made a little progress… finally… on a couple of projects that have been nagging me for some time. One of which is the period windows for our terraced houses backscenes. I've got probably another hours work to do on them, and they'll be ready to load onto the website and our printer software for production. Apologies to everyone waiting for them. Not much longer now. Since we did the originals many moons ago, I've honed my skills considerably, so I've got to take the opportunity to bring them right up to the same standards as our new stuff. Otherwise, I'll not be able to sleep at night… I'm not kidding! They've got to be right. So, thank you for your patience.

I have spent a bit of time working with Sam & Stu this week though on a new large, freestanding billboards kit. Which we're actually doing in multiple scales. OO of course (released yesterday… link below). N, TT:120, O & a whopping great big 1:32 scale version for those of you that have slot racing tracks (Scalextric etc). It's a cracking little kit… Stu's done all the laser bits. Sam put together the concepts for the accompanying billboard ads, and I then tweaked and fettled them a bit to give them that je ne sais quoi as they say in some parts. They're super easy to build and they're a nice partner to our KX019 billboards that are also going to get an upgrade in the next couple of weeks.

Oh and we've our new range of clump foliage arrived this week too… This is brilliant for bushes, trees, hedges and all manner of undergrowth. Super easy to work with and comes in four Realistically Better shades of green! Links below of course.

In the meantime, it's over to young Sam for this weekend's videos.

Good morning! Hopefully, you are doing well, had a good week and continue to have a good weekend. I’ve been working on a few more ghost signs this week. There is more to come, keep your eyes peeled for those. It's time for my section of the newsletter - the videos.

Trainspotter Francis Bourgeois On Famous Trains in Film & TV

For my first selection, here's a clip coming from Penguins Books. In this video, Francis Bourgeois (a trainspotter and online personality) looks at some famous clips of trains in TV shows and movies. There are some iconic clips from Thomas the Tank Engine, Harry Potter and more. These scenes are some of my favourites throughout all TV and movies, especially Wallace and Gromit which holds a special place in my heart. This video is only 10 minutes long so it's a quick watch but worthwhile.

Bizarre Trains From Around The World

Bit of a longer one next however, it's an interesting one! This video comes from the channel V12 Productions and is titled "BIZARRE Trains! | SPECIAL EPISODE". The title does not lie, there are some weird trains in this. One thing that threw me off was this Ford truck going along the railway, is this a thing in the UK? After doing some research, I've found they are Hi-Rail Trucks which are dual-mode vehicles operating on both railroad tracks and roads hence the name hi-rail (highway +railway). I found an interesting image on Wikipedia of a British jeep in France from 1945 which I'll attach below. The sparks that come off the rail grinder are so cool to see. There is some brilliant information in this video, and it answers many of the questions I've had in the back of my mind about railways. It’s interesting seeing the underwater trains providing shelter for wildlife, acting as a reef too.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Top 10 Abandoned Stations of 2019

Originally, I selected a video of creating an abandoned railway diorama but instead, I've gone with this video from Paul Whitewick. In this video, he goes over his Top 10 Abandoned Stations of 2019. The production coming from this video and his channel in general is great. Love the music, storytelling, and videography. Most of his videos cover abandoned railways, tunnels, canals, routes & more. This video is a good summary. I had no clue that there were so many abandoned stations - he has another video titled "The Railway That Just STOPPED - AKA We Visited 500 Abandoned Stations", which gives you an idea of how many there are. My favourite from this video has to be Gilwern Halt as there is an incredible viaduct nearby, like Paul says it "sits on the beautiful heads of the valley line". He also says if it were active, it would truly be one of the country's most scenic routes. It's great to see people restore these stations to keep them nice. Another highlight for me is West Meon station, it's near to my childhood home in Southampton! I’ll give it a visit when I'm next up there.

The Flying Scotsman Paradox

Considered to be the most famous locomotive in the world, here is a video going over the history of The Flying Scotsman. Titled "The Flying Scotsman PARADOX", The Right Track takes us through its life from record-breaking travels in the 1930s to its trips around the globe in America and Australia. This iconic train has an incredible story and goes through many different owners, multiple bankruptcies & many restorations. Despite being made just over 100 years ago, it is still one of the most talked about locomotives and in 2023, it became active on the railroads. In 2024, it is currently in the Railway Museum and they state “Our plans for 2024 are still in the works, but we'll have an update ready soon.”


Right, so it's been a while since I've featured some LEGO content - so as a bonus video, I’m featuring this one coming from Brickcrafts. If you are a regular reader of this newsletter, you will know that I'm a massive fan of his channel and have binge-watched their videos in my spare time. It's been just over a month since the last LEGO city update and no wonder - there is a ton of progress in this video. Featured in this are some interiors for the train station, which ties in with the whole railway modelling hobby. The lighting that he has added is brilliant, I love seeing the city at nighttime. He also mentions that the next video will be a moon base update which I’m looking forward to!

That’s it from me. Fingers crossed you enjoyed these videos. As always, feel free to let me know what you thought about them. You can contact me via the Railway Modellers Club, or drop me a line via the helpdesk.

New Stuff

Right then… it's time for links to the new stuff… Just a couple of bits this week, with more to come next weekend.

  • LX560-OO Large Freestanding Billboards (Pack of 2) - OO/4mm/1:76
    A pack of two, super easy to build. Freestanding, large (48 sheet) billboards. With optional upper non-working, lighting bar, concrete base plinths (so you can move them around your layout if you wish, and a selection of 10 (was originally 8) assorted posters.

Clump Foliage Launch Offer: 4 for the price of 3

Now, if you've been following us for a few years, you'll probably know that I don't do offers very often. It's not my style. Personally I much prefer to give great value all the time than try and be like DFS who've always got a sale on. But… the girls on the shop floor piled on the pressure this week… so much so that I caved in, and we have a couple of offers for you. The first is to celebrate the launch of our brand new Clump Foliage. This is brilliant stuff for quickly making hedges, bushes, undergrowth and even trees if you fancy it. We've chosen 4 very natural shades of green which we think give you the realistically better results you guys' demand. And if you buy 4 bags (any combination of shades) you'll get 4 bags for the price of 3… Bargain!

No discount coupon, voucher codes or voodoo required to claim this. Just add 4 bags of the foliage to your cart and our elves will take care of the rest!

And Another Offer… Don't Fall Off Your Chair!

Tina reckons I must be coming down with something as I've also put a bit of an offer together on the mini glue guns we added to our range a few weeks ago. These have proven really popular for general scenic work. They're actually really handy for fixing the above clump foliage into place. So why not take advantage while you're trying out the clump foliage and grab a bargain glue gun and bumper pack of glue sticks while you're at it. If you add both to your cart via the links below we'll automatically add a special discount to your cart, just for you!

Right… that's about it for this edition of the weekly news. Next week the universe will have a few challenges lined up… Just like the Xerox fairy who this week decided it was time to summon the spirit of the late great Bob Marley (It spent most of the week jammin').

Have an amazing weekend folks… And of course…

Keep on shunting…

Justin, Tina, Elizabeth, Lola & The Team

P.S. This weekend's header image comes from Steve Wright over on the Railway Modellers Club with brilliant shot of 37430 Cwmbran on shed at Walstead Green

P.P.S. Missed a newsletter? You can read all of our recent newsletters online here.

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Unless my computer is being weird, on the Newsletter, the link shows Billboards but the description is the Shops (as it is if you click it).... mind you its early Saturday morning !!

Best wishes


Really enjoyed the Bizarre trains feature. I’m not a track machine nut but enjoyed seeing this feature with its mobile track profiler unit. Regarding the piped gas flame section to keep tracks from freezing, can you imagine the health and safety men having seizures over this one. Don’t think modelling it would be a good idea apart from you could keep your cuppa warm for those long operating sessions.

Thanks to all in your team for the models and this newsletter.

Re the Jeep on rails photo. Looking low down on the left there is a rail with a large chunk missing from its outer side - shrapnel damage. The roofs in the background have been damaged by bomb blast.


I’m the Chair of the 3mm Society and you mention in your latest newsletter that you are launching new products in TT. I do hope these are to 1:100 (3mm) rather than TT120 … of if not, would you consider adding 3mm products to your range?