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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?

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Two more of Gresley's Finest

In today's post, 27th June 2016, I am using photographs of jigsaws featuring more locomotives designed by (Sir) Nigel Gresley.

The first photograph shows a Gresley 'A1' / 'A3' class 'Pacific' (or 4-6-2) - No.60037 Hyperion, named after a Derby winner. The loco is pictured in close up in David M. West's excellent painting titled Hyperion. The locomotive was built at the LNER's Doncaster Works in 1934 as an 'A1' class design but upgraded to 'A3' class in 1948. She was withdrawn from service in 1963 and scrapped in the following year. The jigsaw, made by Moat House Products, is a 500-piece example and Wests' artwork includes a water crane and a girder support. Because the jigsaw lacks further pictorial interest it is more likely to be preferred by railway enthusiasts.

The second picture features the interior of the locomotive shed, at Tyseley. The main locomotive in Terence Cuneo's artwork, is the Gresley 'K4' class 2-6-0 (or 'Mogul') No. 3442 The Great Marquess; the jigsaw is a Waddingtons' 1000-piece example. No.3442 was built at the LNER's Darlington Works in 1938 and was withdrawn from service in 1961. She is preserved and usually displays her BR No.61994. She is currently under overhaul. As the painting location is Tyseley, No.3442 is flanked by GWR locomotives - a diesel shunter is partly visible on the right. I must add that the my own jigsaw picture does not do justice to the Cuneo original; it is far too dark. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

LMS Tank Engines.

Today's post, 12th June 2016, features photographs of two jigsaws, each one showing a different example of a London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) tank locomotive.

The first picture shows a 300-piece puzzle from Arrow's 1985 'Age of Steam' series, simply titled LMS 2085. The locomotive is a Fairburn 2-6-4T type, No.2085 (BR No.42085) one of a class of 277 built between 1945 and 1951 (either side of the birth of BR in 1948). The loco is pictured in early preservation days on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway (L&HR) when it was liveried in Caledonian Railway blue, or 'Caley Blue' as it was known. It is one of a pair of class '4P' Fairburn tanks owned by the L&HR - 42073 and 42085.

Our second jigsaw featured today is a 500-piece example from the Falcon 'Fond Memories' series. A Fowler class '3F' 0-6-0T engine, No.7119, is shown in the vignetted jigsaw titled Waiting Time. The vignetting adds a nostalgic touch to the picture of a small passenger train standing in a picturesque branch line station, with vintage coach and car in the foreground car park. A popular name for this class of 422 examples, built between 1924 and 1931, was the 'Jinties'. 

Friday, 20 May 2016

Isle of Man Steam Railway

This post, 20th May 2016, comprises pictures of two jigsaw puzzles each showing a scene from the Isle of Man Steam Railway.

Opened in 1874, this 3ft gauge, 15.3 mile railway still runs with its original locomotives and carriages, from Douglas to Port Erin. The line was once part of a more extensive network, over 46 miles in length serving Peel, Ramsay, the important village of Foxdale, and Port Erin. Unfortunately all lines, except the one to Port Erin, are closed. 

Fifteen of the fleet of 16 steam locomotives were built by Beyer-Peacock of Manchester between 1873 and 1926. Only a few are operational at the present time. Two diesel locomotives are also owned by the railway.

Picture one shows a 640-piece jigsaw from the Isle of Man Jigsaw Company titled Isle of Man Vintage Railway. Centre stage is 2-4-0 tank loco no.4 Loch supplied by Beyer-Peacock in 1874, the fourth engine in the fleet. She is unique in the fleet as she carries a Legs of Man motif and the numeral "4" on her buffer beam. Pictured alongside Loch are tram cars Nos.1 and 6. Car No.1 dates from 1893. It was supplied with class mates 2 and 3 by G. F. Milnes. All three were known as  'unvestibuled saloons'. Car no.6 to the right of the jigsaw picture is one of six 'tunnel cars' supplied by Milnes in 1894 and is known as 'The Snaefell Tram'. The trams are part of the Mank Electric Railway - 27 of the original cars survive today. The jigsaw is contained in a special, vertical cardboard box with tin lid and base.  The photograph used for the jigsaw was taken at the Douglas Victorian Railway Station where IoM Steam and Electric Railways meet.

The second picture features the 2-4-0 tank locomotive No.12 Hutchinson, delivered in 1908. The jigsaw, of 280 pieces and made by the Isle of Man Jigsaw Company, probably originates from a personal photograph: this fact possibly makes it a 'one off'. The loco, in handsome Indian Red livery, is pictured in leafy surroundings heading three equally handsome coaches.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.

The 5-miles long K&WVR runs from Keighley to Oxenhope  along the Worth Valley in West Yorkshire. This post, 29th April 2016, comprises two photographs of jigsaw puzzles each featuring a scene from the K&WVR.

Picture one (left) shows a 100 piece puzzle from Hestair's Trains series, titled Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. The locomotive shown on a passenger service is ex LMS Ivatt class '2MT' 2-6-2T, No.41241. The loco is currently being rebuilt in the engine shed.

An ex BR 'Standard' class '4MT' 4-6-0 locomotive, No.75078, is featured in the next picture (right). This locomotive returned to steam in 2015 and is a current operator on the line. The jigsaw is a 64-piece example from Philmar's Steam Trains series,  titled Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. An unidentified saddle tank locomotive is behind No.75078, on the double-headed, passenger service. If you know the i.d. of this second loco please let me know.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Seaside Holidays and Excursions

For those  of us who remember, a day trip to the seaside by steam train was a memorable experience. Travelling by rail to a holiday destination and returning home in similar fashion, was equally inspiring. This post, 13th April 2016, comprises two photographs of jigsaws perfectly depicting this nostalgia.

The first jigsaw shown, aptly titled Seaside Excursion, is a 1000-piece jigsaw from Gibsons Heritage series replicating a Malcolm Root painting of the same name. In the picture an Ivatt, class '2MT' 2-6-0 ('Mogul') locomotive, No.46469, is entering Halstead Station heading carmine and cream passenger coaches. The destination is an Essex coastal resort. A level crossing and signal box add to the railway scene which includes an Eastern National, Bristol K-type bus waiting at the crossing. A blue sky augurs well for the waiting passengers including, in the foreground, two children carrying buckets and spades, an obvious clue as to the purpose of the train journey.

The second picture features a Gibsons 636-piece 'Panoramic' jigsaw titled Seaside Train. In Derek Roberts's artwork an ex Midland Railway / ex LMS 0-6-0 'Jinty' tank locomotive, No.47272, is shown with a short passenger train standing in a small seaside station. The train has arrived through a short tunnel. The station is in very close proximity to the promenade, the weather is glorious and many people, including family groups, are present on the platform. Colourful summer clothes are the order of the day. The bay beyond is also busy with holidaymakers and the overall  atmosphere reflects joy and expectation. The station is not named but is it on the famous south west coast, perhaps?

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Hornby Book of Trains and Jigsaw puzzles.

In today's post, 13th March 2014, I am using two pictures of jigsaw puzzles each with its origin in The Hornby Book of Trains (HBoT).

The Hornby Book of Trains combined a book on trains with a catalogue, the latter listing prices and models relating to the range of Hornby ‘O’ gauge trains. The first book appeared in 1925 and the last in 1939/40. Triang, Triang-Hornby and Hornby, later, added more advertising literature on model railways. When one considers that artists such as Bryan de Grineau (early) and Terence Cuneo (later) were among the artists used for the covers of such publications, it is no surprise that some of the cover artwork has been used for jigsaw puzzles.

Three Hornby Book of Trains’ titles of 1937-1940  used artwork by de Grineau on the front cover -  No.6201 Princess Elizabeth (1937-38); No.6005 King George II (1938-39) and No.6231 Duchess of Atholl (1939-40). The paintings are superb and the artwork in the first example, William Stanier's ‘Princess’ class 4-6-2, No.6201 Princess Elizabeth, has recently been marketed as this 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle by The Works, high street store. The full jigsaw title is LMS Princess Royal Class "Princess Elizabeth". It is sold as one of a pair of puzzles based on front covers of the book. 

The second jigsaw shown,  reproduces the artwork on the cover of the 1927-28 book, but the artist is not known to me. If you know the artist's name, please inform me and I will add it to this post. The locomotive is Charles Collett's ‘Castle’ class 4-6-0, No.4086 Builth Castle; the full jigsaw title is, simply, No.4086 Builth Castle.

These publications - part book and part catalogue - include other illustrations/paintings that would make excellent jigsaws to complement the two above. The 'HBoT' range is easily accessed on the Internet. 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

A Boxed Pair from Gibsons

Today's post 28th February 2016, comprises two pictures, each showing a jigsaw from the same box under the appropriate title, Working Together. The manufacturer is Gibsons and the artist in both cases, is Barry Freeman.

The first (left) is individually titled Castle Country and comprises 500 pieces. The location is Churston Station on what is now, the preserved Dartmouth Steam Railway. Heading the 'Torbay Express' to Paddington, following a short stop at the station, is ex GWR 'Castle' class 4-6-0 of Charles Collett, No.5011 Tintagel Castle. To the left, ex GWR,'1400' class 0-4-2 tank engine, No.1470, also designed by Collett, is pictured with an auto-coach, ready for branch line duty to Brixham, on the coast. Also in the composition is a roofed footbridge, some human interest and the picturesque Devon countryside.

The second jigsaw in the pairing is another 500-piece example; this one is titled West Somerset Steam. The location is Blue Anchor station and signal box on the now preserved, West Somerset Railway.  An ex Somerset & Dorset Railway class '7F' 2-8-2, No.88, in the famous blue livery, is pictured heading a passenger service to Bishops Lydeard. Waiting in the station loop is a  '4500' class 'Prairie' tank 2-6-2, No.44561, with another passenger service, bound for Minehead. Also in the picture is Blue Anchor Bay with its long sandy beach, a level crossing and a pair of young trainspotters; the signal box also controls the crossing. The designer of the ex GWR small prairie was George Jackson Churchward; the designer of the S&DJR class '7F' (for the Midland Railway, previously) was Henry Fowler.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Two 'Panoramic' Jigsaws from Gibsons.

Today's post, 13th February 2016, comprises two pictures of jigsaws, each made in a 'panoramic' format.

Gibsons are a major player in the steam railway jigsaw market and I have chosen two examples from my collection showing steam trains in totally different locations.

A football match is an interesting and unusual component in the Gibsons’ 636-piece ‘Panoramic’ jigsaw titled Final Whistle. Malcolm Root’s artwork features an early 1950’s railway, sharing the composition with a small football stadium where a match is in progress. In the foreground an 0-6-0 tender locomotive trundles by, heading a short freight train with the driver and fireman, no doubt, watching the game. The engine is an ex LNER ‘J15’ class, No.65465, originally one of J. Holden’s ‘Y14’ class built in 1912, for the GER (Great Eastern Railway). The details of the stadium, fact or fiction, are unknown to me.

The second picture features another puzzle from the same Gibsons' series, titled Sunshine and Steam. The artwork is by Philip Hawkins. An ex GWR 'King' class 4-6-0 No.6023 King Edward II heads the famous 'Cornish Riviera Express' through Dawlish, on the return to Paddington. The location is the promenade with Kennaway Tunnel as the backdrop. Holidaymakers are enjoying the view from several vantage points in the jigsaw picture. The era is British Railways, probably late 1950's. The giant 4-6-0 locomotive is one of three, from an original class of 30, in preservation. Do you remember the huge storm that destroyed a nearby section of line in 2014? 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

1000-piece Puzzles from Gibsons.

Today's post, 27th January 2016, features pictures of two large puzzles from the extensive, and rapidly increasing portfolio of Gibsons' steam railway jigsaw puzzles.

Up first is a 1000-piece example from the Heritage collection titled Calling at Rushbury. The artist, Don Breckon, unfortunately passed away in 2013 but his legacy of magnificent paintings, books and other commercial outlets such as jigsaw puzzles, lives on.  In Don's painting the Great Western Railway (GWR) '4400' class, 2-6-2 tank engine No.4406, is arriving at Rushbury station with a short, branch line passenger service. The class of 11 locos was built by George Jackson Churchward in 1905, especially for such branch line work. No.4406 was withdrawn from BR Western Region service in 1955.

The second picture showing a 1000-piece Gibsons' puzzle is titled Two Weeks in a Welsh Town and the artwork is by Barry Freeman. A Stanier class 'V' 4-6-0 locomotive, No.45110 in late British Railways guise, is pictured pausing at Deganwy station along the Conway Estuary, with a holiday 'Special'. The locomotive is famous among railway aficionados as one of three members of the class to head the "15 Guinea Special", the last steam-hauled passenger train, on 11th August 1968. The locomotive is one of 842 built between 1934 (LMS) and 1951 (BR) all equally at home on freight or passenger duties. No.45110 is currently on display in The Engine House at Highley, on the Severn Valley railway.