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Friday, 21 April 2017

More Great Little Trains

On August 8th 2014 I posted two pics showing 300-piece jigsaws from the Philmar 'Great Little Trains of Wales' series of 6. In today's post, 21st April 2017, I will introduce you to three more examples from this set. Unfortunatley the last example, The Bala Lake Railway, had six pieces missing when I assembled it, one of the disadvantages of buying from the secondary market.

Picture one features the jigsaw titled Vale of Rheidol Narrow Gauge Railway. The railway runs from Aberystwyth to Devils Bridge and was opened in 1902 to transport lead ore to Aberystwyth harbour from the Rheidol Valley. Ownership passed to British Railways in 1948 and remained so until the railway passed into private ownership in 1989. It is now owned and run by a Charitable Trust. The Aberystwyth - Devils Bridge line has three locomotives currently running, Nos 7, 8 and 9.  The locomotive in the picture is a 2-6-2, No.7 Owain Gyndwr, built by the GWR at Swindon, along with No.8 Llywelyn, in 1923. A brand new No.9 Prince of Wales appeared a year later disguised as a rebuilt locomotive for accountancy purposes. These three locos replaced original locos, No.1 Edward VII and No.2 Prince of Wales. A diesel loco, No.10, can also be seen on the railway.

Picture two shows the jigsaw titled Fairbourne Railway, a 2ft gauge railway built in 1895, and 12.25 miles in length.The line ran from Fairbourne Village to Barmouth Ferry Station. It later changed owners and gauge several times until 1986 when it was re-built to 12.25 inch gauge. Four new steam locos were introduced - Yeo, Sherpa, Beddgelert and Russell. Under new owners in 1995 more money was raised for improvements and in 1999 the line was transferred to Charitable Trust ownership.  The loco in the picture is a 2-4-2 type named Sian. This little loco has a chequered history. She was built by a Stourbridge company in 1963 and delivered to the Fairbourne Railway a year later.  She was 'Americanised' in 1984 and sold in 1985 to run on the Littlecote House Railway in Wiltshire. She was de-Americanised on the Bure Valley Railway in 1992 but it wasn't until around 1997 that she was returned to her near-original guise, following other ownership changes and railway movements. Subsequent changes meant that she is now stabled at Windmill Farm Railway in Burscough, near Southport. The photograph used for the jigsaw was taken before Sian was Americanised in 1984 and sold in 1985.

NOTE : An advertisement in the latest edition (466) of STEAM RAILWAY Magazine states that Sian will be returning to the Fairbourne Railway for a Steam Gala on 27th-29th May 2017. Sian will be giving rides over the newly extended 15 inch gauge track.

The jigsaw shown in picture number three is titled Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway. The 2ft 6ins gauge, 8.5miles long railway (opened in 1903) runs from Welshpool to Llanfair Caereinion in Powys. It closed in 1956 - original engines No.1 Earl and No.2 The Countess were still in use. These locos were built by Beyer Peacock in 1902 and named after the Earl and Countess of Powys. They returned to traffic at Llanfair in 1963 when preservation work had begun. Several other steam and diesel locomotives can be seen on the railway including No.12 Joan,  built by Kerr Stuart in 1927, originally for sugar cane traffic in Antigua.

If you are interested in buying any of the puzzles you have seen on this blog I am now in a process of downsizing my collection and some of my 300 puzzles must go. The process has already started and many have been sold privately, or on Ebay. Let me know of any you may be interested in by email (address directly above).

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A Boxed Pair from Ravensburger.

In today's post, 19th March 2017, I am featuring two 500-piece jigsaws from German manufacturer Ravensburger, retailed in a single box. Both replicate the superb artwork of George Heiron.

The first, titled The Golden Arrow, shows a 4-6-2 locomotive designed by Southern Railway's Oliver Bulleid. The inaugural 4-6-2 built for the Southern Railway, No.21C1 Channel Packet (later renumbered 35001), was built in 1941 with the remaining 29 members of the 'Merchant Navy' class following,  up to 1949. In the latter year  the SR was an integral part of British Railways (1948). The locomotive was re-built under BR in 1959. Heiron's painting shows the UK and French flags above the buffer beam and number plate, with the famous headboard to the fore. The arrows on the side panels were also a feature of this luxury Pullman service. Passengers boarded the train at London's Victoria Station and alighted at Dover, where they caught the SR Ferry, S.S. Canterbury, to Calais. Here, passengers were transferred to the French equivalent of The Golden Arrow, called La Fleche d'Or  - destination, Paris.

Las Fleche d'Or is also the title of the second jigsaw puzzle. The luxury express is pictured about to leave La Gare du Nord station in Paris with passengers destined for Calais and the reverse, sea and land journey, to Victoria Station.

If you are interested in buying any of the puzzles you have seen on this blog I am now in a process of downsizing my collection and some of my 400 puzzles must go. The process has already started and several have been sold privately, or on Ebay. Let me know of any you may be interested in by email (address above).

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Fame Puzzles of Holland

Today's post, 15th February 2017, features two puzzles from a Dutch company that publishes under the Fame Puzzles brand. I have used one of the puzzles before but this post is improved by showing the two together.

First up is a 1000-piece example reproducing a Chris Nevard photograph, taken on the preserved Bluebell Railway in Sussex. Ex GWR 'Dukedog' class 4-4-0 locomotive No.9017 Earl of Berkeley is pictured in the untitled jigsaw, heading SR green coaches "near Waterworks", according to the legend accompanying Chris's original photograph. This class of locomotives was a hybrid class, based on the combination of two previous designs - the 'Duke 'class and the 'Bulldog' class. The class comprised 30 locomotives, built between 1936 and 1939. The loco is currently under static display awaiting overhaul.

The second photograph first appeared in the post of 26th August 2010. The 1000-piece, untitled puzzle features an ex Southern Railway (SR) 'U' class 2-6-0, No.1618, (built in 1928) complete with distinctive, white SR route discs, heading equally distinctive Pullman passenger stock. The pictorial setting of a glade of bluebells can be seen on the Bluebell Railway, at the appropriate time of year. The loco is preserved and owned by the Maunsell Locomotive Society. The photograph original was also by Chris Nevard.

If you are interested in buying any of the puzzles you have seen on this blog I am now in a process of downsizing my collection and some of my 400 puzzles must go. The process has already started and several have been sold on Ebay. Let me know of any you may be interested in by email (address above).

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Two more from Cheatwell Games

Today's post, 16th January 2017, features the remaining two, 250-piece  jigsaws from the Cheatwell Games' Sight and Sound set of four (in one box) - the first two were featured in the previous post. The set  of four all replicate the artwork of Barry G. Price and a CD of sound recordings of steam trains is also included in the box.

The first photograph (left) depicts an 'A4' class 4-6-2 locomotive designed by LNER Chief Mechanical Engineer (Sir) Nigel Gresley, No.60022 Mallard. The latter still holds the world record for a steam locomotive at 126 mph. The class of 35 were built between 1935 and 1938. The title of the puzzle  is Mallard. The title of the same artwork, available as a print from various Internet sources, is Mallard at Cockburn's Path. The class was well known  for speed and Mallard is pictured on express passenger duties. Six locos are preserved; two in USA/Canada, four in the UK (including Mallard).

The second jigsaw shows a 'Castle' class 4-6-0 locomotive designed by GWR Chief Mechanical Engineer Charles Collett, No.7005 Sir Edward Elgar, re-named in 1957, (previously named Lamphy Castle). The class of 171 were built in batches over 27 years, 1923 to 1950. The title of the puzzle is Castles and Pannier Tanks, as a small 0-6-0 pannier tank locomotive, No.9626  is also included to the right of the jigsaw picture. The title of Price's artwork, available as a print from various Internet sources, is Sonning Cutting. No.7005 is also pictured hauling an express passenger train; the pannier tank is on freight duties. Several examples of both classes are preserved on our Heritage Railways / Museums etc.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Two of Four from Cheatwell Games

Before I begin this post let me wish all the supporters/viewers of this blog, a very happy and healthy New Year.

This first post of 2017, 12th January, features two jigsaws from a set of 4 examples from Cheatwell Games. The remaining two will form the basis for my next post.The Sight and Sound collection includes, in one box, four 250-piece jigsaw puzzles replicating the artwork of Barry G. Price, and a CD of sound recordings of steam trains. Two of the jigsaws are described here.

The first shows 'Black Five' 4-6-0 locomotive, No.45360, designed by (Sir) William Stanier, heading a passenger train through some glorious countryside, on a single line. The location could possibly be Scotland - the 'Jacobite' running between Fort William and  Mallaig; but no specific details are given. The description on the reverse of the jigsaw box refers to the puzzle as Black Fives whereas Price's original painting has the title Stanier Black Five, mid 1950's. The huge class, '5MT', comprising 842 mixed traffic locomotives, were seen all over the London Midland & Scottish (LMS) region, on all types of duty. In later steam days, they were spread over much of the BR network. Several are preserved and running on our Heritage Railways.

The second picture features a 'Hall' class 4-6-0 locomotive No.4930 Hagley Hall,  designed by Charles Collett for the Great Western Railway (GWR). This title also appears on the reverse of the box although the title of Price's original painting is Hagley Hall, GWR. The '4900' class comprised 259 mixed traffic locomotives. No. 4930 is pictured on passenger duties, crossing a metal bridge spanning a river, probably on the Severn Valley Railway, where it is based. The loco is currently under restoration. Several of the class are preserved on UK Heritage Railways.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Another GWR Station

Today's post, 30th November 2016, features a jigsaw showing a GWR locomotive in early British Railways' days pulling into a picturesque station.

The above jigsaw is a 500-piece example from Classic Deluxe titled Winchcombe Station, from artwork by Peter Webster. The scene appears to be from the early British Railways era, 1948-1956, as the locomotive is liveried with the prominent 'cycling lion' motif. An 0-6-0 pannier tank, No.9681, is pictured hauling a short freight train through the ex GWR station, now part of the preserved Gloucester Warwickshire Railway. The 1949-built Pannier tank locomotive was one of 863 built by the GWR and BR western Region, although the number included several class variations. She is currently preserved on the Dean Forest Railway.

Sunday, 16 October 2016


I've described many jigsaws in this blog featuring railway stations, a very popular genre in steam railway art. In this post, 16th October 2016, I am showing  two more.

The first picture shows the Gibsons 1000-piece puzzle, from the 'Heritage' range, titled King Edward I at Bewdley. The latter in one of the most famous stations on the UK's Preserved Railways. Locomotive No.6024 King Edward I, on the right of the jigsaw picture is one of the Great Western Railways' class of giant 4-6-0's designed by the Chief Mechanical Engineer, Charles Collett. The artwork is by one of my favourite artists, John Austin. The locomotive is heading a passenger train out of the station with another engine, an 0-6-0 pannier tank No.5764 held at the signals on the left. This locomotive was also designed by Charles Collett who modernised the magnificent fleet of locomotives of 0-6-0, 4-6-0 and 2-6-2 wheel configuration, designed by his predecessor, George Jackson Churchward. Bewdley Station can be found on the Severn Valley Railway which runs from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster.

The second photograph shows a 500-piece jigsaw from Waddingtons titled Bank Holiday. The station is a country station or 'Halt', much smaller than Bewdley, featured above. In the artwork, the mass of people who have arrived at the 'Halt' are enjoying a carnival-type atmosphere with a tea party, vintage cars and a horse drawn grocer's cart to the fore in a very busy composition. The locomotive at the 'Halt' is one of the '14xx' class of small, 0-4-2T 'push and go' locomotives, common on suburban GWR lines; another of Charles Collett's improved designs. The locomotive in the picture is No.1453. The focal point is Polly's Tea Rooms, an impressive thatched cottage on the left of the picture. The artist is not known to me. 

Monday, 29 August 2016

Signal Boxes

An integral part of railway infrastructure is the signal box and today's post, 29th August 2016, comprises a single picture of a jigsaw featuring a mainline signal box. Sadly, such jigsaws are not common.

The internal workings of a signal box are displayed in the House of Puzzles' 1000-piece jigsaw, titled Signalling Change, from the Dellavaird Collection. In Kieth Stapleton's artwork a signalman is operating one of several levers with  an approaching passenger train about to pass outside. The train, hauled by GWR 'Castle' class  4-6-0 locomotive, No.5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, is clearly visible through the signal box window. This locomotive is preserved and main-line certified.

Another example of a jigsaw showing a signal box interior is the 140-piece wooden example by Cotswood. The jigsaw picture replicates Terence Cuneo's 1948 BR poster, On Early Shift. The interior of the Greenwood Signal Box, New Barnet, is pictured with a Gresley 'A4' class 4-6-2 about to pass with an express passenger train. The puzzle is re-titled, simply, Early Shift. I am unable to show a picture of this puzzle as it is not currently part of my collection.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Locomotives only

Today's post, 17th August 2016, comprises two pics of jigsaws each featuring a single, stationary locomotive - known simply as 'record' shots in photography circles.

The first picture (left) shows a KG Games 400-piece puzzle from the 'Trains' series, titled No.70000 Britannia. The 4-6-2 locomotive is the prototype of the British Railways class 7MT, which was introduced to the network between 1951 and 1954. Designed by R A Riddles the class eventually totalled 55 locomotives. The locomotive is mainline registered in preservation.

The second picture (right) of a 4-6-2 locomotive features the most famous example in Britain and probably the world, No.4472 Flying Scotsman. The jigsaw shown is part of the Hope, 500-piece 'Railway' series titled The Flying Scotsman. The locomotive was built in 1923 at the Doncaster Works of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). She was the third of the 'A1' class, later 'A3' class, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley; the first, No.1470 Great Northern, was introduced in 1922. The 'A1/A3' class eventually numbered 79 by 1935. The locomotive is the only member of the class to be preserved and is part of the National Collection. For more information about Flying Scotsman and relevant jigsaws just enter Flying Scotsman in the blog search bar.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

A Classic Trio

Three jigsaw puzzles from Classic Deluxe are featured in today's post, 23rd July 2016. All three are based on artwork by Peter Webster  -  visit

The first picture shows the 500-piece jigsaw titled Saint at Radley. The 'Saint' class of 4-6-0 locomotives was of considerable influence on future locomotive design in the UK as was the engineer responsible, George Jackson Churchward. The locomotive in the jigsaw picture is No.2945 Hillingdon Court built in 1912 and withdrawn from service in 1953.  In the jigsaw picture, the loco is heading a passenger train of chocolate and cream carriages, just leaving or passing through the Oxfordshire station, with a second passenger service stationary in the adjacent platform. A Scammel Scarab three-wheeled tractor unit (introduced in 1948) is visible in the background, in BR colours. Other road vehicles, a footbridge and freight wagons add to the pictorial composition. No 'Saints' are preserved but an example is currently under construction from parts of other locos and new, components.'Reading' the picture throws up a possible anomaly - the loco tender is showing the later BR logo (nicknamed 'ferret and dartboard') which was used by BR from ~1956, two years after the last 'Saint' was scrapped. If anyone can shed any light on this, please get in touch.

The second photograph features a 1000-piece jigsaw titled Leaving Coombe Junction. A 2-6-2 Prairie Tank of the '4500' class, is pictured passing a signal box positioned by a level crossing. The loco, No. 456'x'  is sporting GWR livery and the coaches are in GWR chocolate and cream livery.   A local sheep farmer is leading his small flock down a line-side path, helped by his dog. A small signal gantry and a large viaduct (Moorswater Viaduct?) add to Webster's composition. Several pictures of the last days of steam at Coombe Junction (1961) are readily accessed on the internet.

The final picture shows another 1000-piece puzzle titled Morning Service. The title implies an early train and a morning service in a line-side church. The locomotive hauling a short goods train is a 'Dean Goods' or 0-6-0 tender locomotive possibly, No.2546 - the class of 260 was built between 1883 and 1899 as the '2301' class. A single member of the class, No.2516, is preserved at Swindon Steam Museum. A horse-drawn open carriage on a dirt path, between the single line and the church, add to the composition.  The inclusion of two people in the carriage, three children pond dipping and the church vicar add human interest and scale. The location in the artwork is not known to me - can anyone help?