Saturday, July 14, 2007


My collection of miniature trains - by A. Montgomery (c. 1985)

"I have always had a great interest in really small miniature railway, that is, smaller in
size than 00 or even TT scale. My very first train set, if it could be called such, was given
to me by my father in far-off pre-war days. The set consisted a miniature tin-plate
clockwork railcar, 3.75 inches long [95mm] and made in Germany. It was modelled on
the, then, recently introduced Great Western Railway railcar. With a gauge of .75 of a
inch to a foot [19mm to 30.5mm] , it ran very successfully on a circle of tin-plate track
approximately 9 inches [228mm] in diameter. I still have the railcar but alas the track
has long since disappeared. My next acquisition was a Dinky train set, purchased
with my Aunt's christmas present postal order for 1s. 9d. [9p]. It was a Goods set with
a locomotive and three wagons, which I still have to this day [in 1984-85] in its original
box. I would have the Passenger set, with its diminutive passenger coaches, but it was
2s. 3d. [11p] but I had to content myself with the cheaper set.
Over the years, I have collected quite a few of these miniature trains and storage space
is not a major problem. Whenever LONE*STAR introduced their 'push-along' range in
1956, I eagerly purchased a set. It was the introduction in 1960 of the 'Treble-0-Lectric'
proved very disappointing to me, as, apart from the Baldwin - which came later - a
steam outline locomotive was not included. So, I successfully motorised an 0-6-0 3F
tank [loco] from the push-along range, using the late Mr. Whall's wheels and a 6V
motor which I made myself. Mr. Perrin of LONE*STAR was most impressed by my
conversion and wanted to see the locomotive. As I [was] reluctant to part with it, so I
sent him photographs instead. I quote from Mr. Perrin's letter to me dated 27th August
"We are very impressed with your method of motorisation but would like to point out
that we would have to manufacture a steam locomotive at a reasonable selling price to
compare favourably with our present diesel locomotives in the region of 30 shillings
[£1.50]. Regarding your suggestion of a 0-6-0 locomotive with the motor fitted in the
tender, we have already discussed this and feel that it would lose its realism. We have
already experimented with a motor fitted in the engine itself." A. S. Perrin.
They certainly had second thoughts about the 'tender drive'!!! ARNOLD & MINITRIX
were soon to introduce a range of 'N' gauge locomotives and rolling stock, and
LONE*STAR gradually faded from the model railway scene. When one surveys the
vast range of N/000 gauge items available today, it is difficult to realise that thirty
years ago, [mid-1950s] it was the field of the specialist modeller. Due to the efforts of
Mick Sharp and his colleagues and a few fellow enthusiasts like myself, the gallant
efforts of the first British manufacturer to attempt the production of N/000 gauge
electrically-driven, trains won't go unrecorded or forgotten, crude as they may have
been by today's standards, they still have a delightful appeal all of their own."
A. Montgomery

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