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Bullet Trains and British Z


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The weekend of March 9-10th saw the annual Keighley Model Railway exhibition in West Yorkshire in England. Now it is rare for there to be two Z gauge layouts at a show but Chris Wright was there with his 'Bullet Trains' layout and I was there with 'Republic Steel'.


The show runs concurrent with the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Spring Steam gala and I called in on the way down on Friday before setting up the show. I spotted some lads from the other layouts on the trains who had had the same idea!




Chris's layout is 8ft 6" long and features sporadic lightning and thunder to liven things up. Obviously the Shinkansens are Rokuhan




He has modelled it in Cherry Blossom time




He also had one of the Rokuhan mini layouts on display at one end (See video)


My Republic Steel layout can be run either as British Rail 'Railblue era' 1950's USA or Showa era Japanese steam due to the fact that Blast furnaces are generic and look pretty much the same the world over. For the Keighley show it was running BR to highlight the wide variety of British rolling stock that can be modelled using kit-bashing and 3D printing techniques


Just 4 ft 8" long it is an easy layout to transport and display




The 3D printed Class 37 has been very popular with the public. Seen here with the recently completed Cardiff Rod mill wire coil train






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The other Class 37, still in railblue, works the loaded steel coil train. Both Class 37s are finished as Tinsley depot examples. These became notorious for the depot fitters habit of painting unofficial nameplates on the sides during their lunch breaks!


This is 37 013 'vampire', the one above in, railfreight livery, is 37 008 Hornet both 3D printings from Shapeways and fitted to slightly modified Marklin BR103 chassis




The sad fate of the real 37 008




So the video shows both layouts in action on the Sunday morning. Chris was already talking about making drastic changes to his layout and I'm wondering if I can get my new Hokkaido steam era layout done in time for this Autumns Zedex show. I'll keep you posted




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The truly crazy thing about blast furnaces is that some of them ran a rail line underneath, and they had special tanker wagons lined with refractory tiles to carry molten iron at ~1500 C to local steel works

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In 1979 I went on a railtour in Holland.organised by SSN ,a group which runs steam locos based in Rotterdam

The destination was a journey round the Hoogovens Steelworks complex at Ijmuiden behind a tank engine which was kept along with some coaches (exDB) to take visitors round the complex. At one point our train was run close to a train of red hot steel ingots and you could feel the heat through the sides of the coaches.

We were also shown the " Hottest Strip Show in Holland" -- a steel strip rolling mill going full blast!!!

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Good job waving our z-gauge banner, Kevin!

I presume the class 37 bodies are the ones by Ivan Industries, yes?

I certainly shall consume your video this evening in my comfy chair at home with all the appropriate attention!


Yet, two observations in a hurry:

  • Chris' showcase isn't tall enough, or his buildings are too tall, either way round - there should be visible at least a bit of sky above every building
  • You might want to add a (minimal ) backdrop to Republic Steel, too. Ironically, to me it's most obvious in your first photo, where the walls would actually provide a quite acceptable background. If it wasn't for that cursed curtain, that is!

And - yes, of course - I'll have to come up with a backdrop for Agomura, too...

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Yes it is Ivans. I'm hoping the single headcode box one is coming out so I can do on of our Class 37/4s at some stage



Your right about the curtain though. The hall was very bright so the walls and doors are more prominent than I normally get at shows





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Humm.. if all else fails you could sand of the double boxes and make a new one from plasticard (if there are no other major differences between the subserie, that is). But that would be no fun, that's for sure..

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The display at Keighley has run it’s course and has benn broken up. New layout for Redcar in August with working waterfalls, working Fairground rides and of course JR Bullet Trains in Z. It is a table-top type 8’ wide by 3’ deep in modules. I have utilised miniature magnets for the bases of the catenary.  Many other things I have learnt from other layouts as this one is the third Z one.

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