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Tuesday, 31 May 2022

The Ritz

The jigsaw chosen for today, 31st March, is an example where the majority of the steam train is present in close up, but the locomotive cannot be seen.
The Ritz, Please, is a ‘Wide Horizon’ puzzle of 500 large, wooden pieces, from Dutch manufacturer King. It offers a different perspective on the blog title concentrating on passengers and their onward plans. Depicted are two elderly passengers waiting to board an Austin FX3 taxi, having recently arrived at London’s Liverpool Street Station. The FX3 taxi was introduced in 1948, coinciding with the beginning of British Railways. The taxi in the picture looks quite new, helping to date the depicted scene. The taxi driver assists the passengers with their luggage and a rake of LNER (London & North Eastern Railway) teak coaches, of Nigel Gresley, provides a superb backdrop. The artist is Malcolm Root who titles the painting Liverpool Street Taxi in his book 'Malcolm Root’s Transport Paintings'.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Another Montage

This post, 18th May 2022, describes a jigsaw showing another montage style picture, similar to the one in the previous post. The manufacturer is House of Puzzles of Invergordon; the montage is based on the alphabet, with twenty-six individual scenes depicting activities on the railway, mainly in the steam era; one scene per letter.
The twenty-six scenes show artwork featuring infrastructure, railway personnel, train types etc including - Arrival, Express, Driver, Flying Scotsman, Guards van, Horse box, Inspector, Level crossing, Milk train, Newspaper train, Porter, Restaurant car, Signal box, Tunnel, Viaduct, Water tower etc., etc. A separate central picture shows two children sat on a fence watching a passing express train. The artwork is by Beryl and Graham Peters and the 500-piece puzzle is part of the Roseisle Collection.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Superb montage

Today's post, 23 April 2022, features an exceptional montage/collage jigsaw picture from German artist Barbara Behr.
Titled Vintage Train Stamps the picture is composed of images of postage stamps showing steam trains, stations, coaches etc. The 500-piece puzzle is produced by Bits and Pieces. Some of my favourite stamps in Barbara's picture have the following captions - Southern Railway Continental Express "Lord Nelson"; Plymouth Express Great Western Railway; London & North Eastern a "Director" Engine on the Perth Express; London Midland and Scottish A West Coast Express with a L & Y Engine; The North British Railway Lothian Coast Express; Charing Cross Station Folkestone Express; Queen Victoria's Day Saloon; Glasgow Express Glasgow & South Western Railway; A Carriage of the First Class L & M RLY; London Bridge Station; Brighton Express (L.B.& S.C.R.); The Fishguard Boat Express to Ireland Great Western Railway. For anyone interested in steam railways, the jigsaw would look superb framed and the 500 pieces were not as difficult to assemble as at first thought. Represented are railways from Great Britain, Ireland, USA, Belgium, Egypt, Switzerland, Italy and Russia; more than half (around 25) of the stamps show UK railway scenes. Barbara Behr is a famous illustrator of books etc., and of montage/collage images featuring butterflies, flowers, Christmas scenes etc. Such designs are used by many International companies for ceramics, textiles, jigsaw puzzles etc. Look her up on the Internet. NOTE - L & Y is the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway; L.B.& S.C.R. is the London Brighton and South Coast Railway and L & M RLY is the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. Customise to Full Screen to read the stamp captions more easily.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Hepworth Hall Bridge

Today's jigsaw, 27 March 2022, features a superb painting by Malcolm Root, fully described in his book - Malcolm Root's Railway Paintings.
In Malcolm's picture, a 'J15' class 0-6-0 tender locomotive of T. W. Worsdell, is heading a suburban passenger service, traversing a wooden trestle bridge in British Railways' days (after 1948). The line is part of the Colne Valley & Halstead Railway (CV&HR), opened in 1860, closed in 1965. The class of 259 engines was built between 1883 and 1913. In 1883 the class was known as the 'Y14' class of the Great Eastern Railway, but was changed to 'J15' class, when absorbed into the London & North Eastern Railway in 1923. The bridge is named after Hepworth Hall, situated just north of the CV&HR railway. The River Colne and two cows add additional pictorial interest. The title of the jigsaw, a 500pc wooden example from King, is simply, Hepworth Hall Bridge.

Sunday, 20 February 2022

The Effect of Snow

Today's puzzle, 20 February 2022, is another of Gibsons' excellent 'Panoramic' 636-piece examples - several have previously been described on the blog. As I have mentioned many times previously, Kevin Walsh is an expert at pictorialism and this jigsaw picture is a typical example of a hyper-imaginative approach to realism.
The puzzle title is Christmas Eve at the Station and an extremely busy composition is Kevin's interpretation of the title. It intrigues me which came first in Kevin's thoughts, the title or the composition; the former I think. The locomotive at the head of the stationary train is a 'Grange' class 4-6-0 type, No.6879 Overton Grange. She was one of 80 mixed traffic (MT) engines designed by Charles Collett for the Great Western Railway. Three cars are included in the picture - a Jaguar, a Riley (?) and a smaller black example (Note: if you can identify the cars for me I will retrospectively add the info' to this post, with your name). A cyclist and a small stationary motorbike are also included, with the latter's appropriately-clad rider holding a conversation with a lady as she is ready to exit the station premises. Other passengers are also included with a family trio observing the engine closely. Another lady is walking a small dog. (I'm sure this dog has been included in other jigsaws featuring Kevin's paintings). The main station building, the ticket office and background trees add to the composition. However, the most attractive ingredient in the composition is the covering of snow, resulting in an aesthetically effective picture and jigsaw. Thanks to Roy Lancaster for answering my request for possible id's of the red and black cars in the jigsaw picture - the red car is possibly an MG Y-Type saloon and the black example, a Standard Eight, or the more powerful Standard Ten. Cheers Roy.

Friday, 4 February 2022

Built for Speed

Today's post, 4 February 2022, describes a perfect partnership between the Ravensburger jigsaw company and the popular, accomplished artist, Kevin Walsh.
The title of the 1000-piece jigsaw is Built for Speed. The title is well chosen as the locomotive racing past Riston Signal Box - L.N.E.R. 'A4' class 4-6-2, No.4468 Mallard - holds the world record for a steam locomotive, at almost 126mph. The latter speed was recorded in 1938 on the descent of Stoke Bank, near Grantham on the East Coat Main Line. In Kevin's picture the Nigel Gresley' designed locomotive is heading an express of teak coaches, also designed by Gresley. The 35 locomotives of the streamlined 'A4' class, built between 1935 and 1938, were fast, elegant and extremely powerful, used mainly for the prestige passenger services from Kings Cross to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Rivalling the locomotive for interest is a father and son combination watching intently from a close, lineside viewpoint. A dog, two colourful lineside advertisements and a red classic car add to Kevin's, typically pictorial, composition.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

45th locomotive saved from Barry Scrapyard.

This post, 6 January 2022, features a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle made by House of Puzzles, of Invergordon. The locomotive is preserved on the Severn Valley Railway but under overhaul at the present time.
The locomotive was built as LMS No.13268 at Crewe Works in 1934, but entered traffic as No.2968. Re-numbered to 42968 by British Railways (BR) from 1948, she was withdrawn from active service in 1966 and arrived at Barry Scrapyard in South Wales, in June 1967. She left Barry in December 1973 under the custodianship of the 'Stanier Mogul Fund, the 45th locomotive to leave the famous Woodham Brothers' scrapyard in Barry. The only member of her class to be preserved was delivered to the Severn Valley Railway at Bewdley. She was moved to Bridgnorth engineering section for overhaul, in July 1974. No.42968 first ran under her own steam in 1990 and in April 1991, was placed into full service on the SVR. No.42968 is currently out of service and under overhaul at the SVR. The title of the jigsaw is Back on Track.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

The "Hush-Hush" Locomotive

Today, 14 december 2021, we concentrate on an experimental and unique steam, tender locomotive; a class 'W1' 4-6-4 type, No.10000. Due to the initial secrecy surrounding the project, it became known as the "Hush-Hush" locomotive. The jigsaw is a 40-piece, wooden example from Philmar with a long title - B.R. EASTERN REGION CLASS "W.1" (The only one in Britain).
Although classed as a 4-6-4 (wheel configuration) locomotive, technically she was a 4-6-2-2, as th rear 4-wheel bogie was articulated. Fitted with a high pressure water tube boiler of marine origin she graced London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) lines from November 1929. Unfortunately she spent more time in the engineering works for modifications, rather than in service. Reflecting on this, the designer Nigel Gresley decided to re-build her from 1935. As a result, she was moved to Doncaster Works, leading to major changes to her appearance. She returned to traffic in 1937, resembling a class 'A1' locomotive (as in the jigsaw picture) but retaining the 4-6-4 wheel configuration ('A1' locomotives were of 4-6-2 wheel configuration). She was withdrwn from service and scrapped in 1959. No.10000 was renumbered to 60700 in British Raiways' (BR) days and the artist has chosen this guise for the jigsaw artwork. There is no signature on the artwork, but it looks remarkably similar to that of T.E.North. The locomotive, in original guise, as 10000, was reviewed in a previous post of 4 December 2010.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Mail by Train 1 & 2

Today's post, 18 November 2021, showcases a pair of 500-piece jigsaws marketed in a single box, by Falcon.
Mail by Train 1 (top) shows a train in a station with many passengers and station staff mingling on the platform. Numerous types of luggage and mailbags are being loaded and unloaded to and from the train, adding a little frenzied emotion to the scene. Clerestory coaches are clearly visible behind the mail train. Both engine and coaches are presented in GWR (Great Western Railway) liveries. However I cannot identify the engine in the picture - some artistic licence has been used, I think. What I can say with confidence, however, is that the people in the picture are painted superbly well; they are probably the best I have seen in jigsaw paintings. A little puzzling is the train in the background that appears to be steaming in on the same line as the stationary mail train. Mail Train 2 shows the same train picking up mailbags from a raised trackside platform, as is passes at a pre-determined speed. A senior official checks the time. Overhead an express passenger train is traversing a magnificent viaduct, at speed. In the immediate background a porter is handling a trolley loaded with post bags; behind him is a signal box. To the side of the signal box, is a stationary locomotive that could be a 4-6-0 mixed traffic type. In the air, a bi-plane adds extra interest. Once again I must commend the artist - Marcello Corti - on his skill at representing human interest. Another of Corti's jigsaws, featuring a similar, prominent viaduct, can be found in the previous post of 17 March 2020.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Side by Side

In today's post, 1st October 2021, I am featuring an 80-piece wooden jigsaw from Ian Allan showing a steam train and an early e.m.u. (electric multiple unit).
I am unsure of the artist's name but a good guess might be Vic Welch. A British Railways Southern Region, Bulleid 'Pacific' (Merchant Navy class), No. 35017 Belgian Marine, is leaving Waterloo Station heading the 'Bournemouth Belle' Pullman service. To the right hand side of the picture, an e.m.u. suburban train, is passing at speed. The artwork is clean and pictorial, ideal for jigsaw production. At least ten Vic Welch paintings can be found in the Railway Colour Album (1962), published by Ian Allan. Some of them would morph into superb puzzles if they have not been used, for that purpose, to date.