Our fourth year at the East Grinstead Model Railway Club’s exhibition coincided with the club’s seventy-fifth anniversary. Arriving around 8.0 on the Saturday morning we were pleased to find ourselves setting up next to ‘Simply Southern’, our regular trading neighbours at this event with whom we always manage to spend the weekend sharing humorous banter and life philosophies. Meeting up with regular friends be they exhibitors, fellow traders or customers is always a joy at the events we attend throughout the year, even if we do only see some of them once a year!

Having enjoyed the traditional railway show breakfast of bacon rolls and tea, at 10.0 it was time to open the doors to the public and for the real activity on the displayed layouts to begin. Not surprisingly the exhibition featured many layouts with a Southern bias, but there were also those representing continental and American locations.

For me, the railway element of a layout is only part of the attraction. Many contain beautifully crafted townscapes and street scenes. Jean Luc-Pineau’s ‘Bohemia to Albion Road’ depicted a fictitious line somewhere in West London in the late sixties, with a wonderful period feel to the surrounding roads and buildings.



‘Cannon’s Reach’, displayed by the host club showed us a small dockside on the Kent side of the Thames shortly after the First World War, with three levels depicting a busy street complete with an operating tramcar, the main line to London and the dockside at river level respectively.



Others afford us a glimpse into old rural England as we like to imagine it such as Chris Bassett’s ‘Hobbs Hill’, a Southern Region layout somewhere in Devon around 1960.


The EGMRC Exhibitions are now a regular feature of the Junction Ten events calendar and we would like to thank them as always for their hospitality.

For information of the East Grinstead Model Railway Club visit http://www.egmrc.org.uk.


Winchester NBC day 026

It was sometime in the autumn of 1972 when I caught my first sight of it. Arriving at Victoria Coach Station on a Southdown express coach from Crawley and seeing all the other coaches in their various operator liveries one vehicle in particular caught my eye. It was painted white all over with the word NATIONAL in red and blue with a double ‘N’ insignia formed like an arrow along the sides and much smaller ‘Midland Red’ fleetnames above the front wheel arches. A couple more turned up from various other companies and it slowly dawned on me what was actually happening and I have to confess that unlike many other bus observers at the time, rather than being horrified I actually had positive feelings about this.

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I remember having those same positive feelings when for the first time I saw a London Country SM newly adorned in the National Bus Company’s corporate leaf green. Given that we all knew that the inherited London Transport image would soon fade away and that the London Country livery hadn’t really had time to settle in (similarly with the short lived Alder Valley maroon), the NBC colours looked quite smart. Around that time there was a TV commercial showing vehicles from all the NBC fleets parading around an airstrip in their new colours, it all looked rather impressive. The policy was simple, poppy red for the ‘red’ companies (e.g East Kent, Ribble) and leaf green for the ‘green’ companies (e.g London Country, Eastern National). There was also a blue variant for the few companies using that colour but sadly this was short lived. Dual-purpose vehicles (i.e bus bodies with coach seating) were painted white from the waist up, while coaches were all-over white.  Yes, of course it had occurred to me that we were losing the handsome colours of the neighbouring  Southdown and Maidstone And District fleets but, hey, this was 1972, time for change!

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Winchester NBC day 086    Winchester NBC day 162

The stumbling point for the new look was that it rarely suited the variety of older vehicles being operated by the component companies of the NBC. Southdown’s ‘Queen Mary’ PD3s took on a rather drab look, while many single deckers found themselves without any form of the white relief that had been applied to the double deckers. Ironically the London Country RTs looked fine when they received it in 1977. On newer buses the change of colours was not so painful, many carried it rather well, while NBC’s new standard single decker, the equally loathed and loved Leyland National had the advantage of rarely having worn anything else, similarly the case with the Bristol VRT as the chosen standard double decker.

The individual liveries of the component companies had largely vanished by the mid-seventies leaving what was in my opinion a rather neat and unified look. True, at first glance a Maidstone and District Leyland National in Tunbridge Wells looked indistinguishable from the Southdown one parked behind it, but while the colours may have been the same, details such as the style of lettering on destination blinds and internal publicity differed from one company to another. Anyway, a true bus enthusiast could ‘smell’ the difference between a Ribble Bristol VRT and a Cumberland one! The all-over white livery of the coach fleet was gradually improved with the addition of red and blue ‘go faster’ stripes over the front wheel arches.

Winchester NBC day 072

For many observers though, the image was too unified and generally unloved and many welcomed the prospect of a return to the individual colours upon the sale of the component companies in the mid-eighties. This, however, was short lived as the new giants of the bus industry, Stagecoach, FirstBus and Arriva snapped up much of what was left in the wake of the NBC’s demise. One corporate image was replaced by three and somehow, to me at least, they have never looked the part. The NBC image, plain as it may have been, was at least applied traditionally and in traditional colours with the individual operators fleetnames retained. Call me old fashioned but buses in purple and pink, blue with orange swirls or in turquoise and beige just don’t look right to me. A Bristol VRT or Leyland National in leaf green or poppy red looked ready to take me anywhere and wherever it ended up, there would be another one to take me further, with maybe a white coach to take me further still. Bland? Maybe. Ubiquitous? Certainly. Neat, unified and practical? Most definitely.


Quilt v Cat

I’d just discovered that stitching a quarter inch seam on a sewing machine was not a difficult as I had thought. For years I had put off using my machine to make quilts, clothing yes, but quilts were a no go area.

With a brown and cream scrap Log Cabin under my belt I decided to delve into the stash – nearly disappeared without trace as I did so – and make a red and cream scrap version. Having surfaced with a veritable treasure trove of long forgotten ‘friends’ I proceeded to sort them into lights (red print on cream) and darks (solid reds) and washed each pile separately.

I have a passionate hatred of ironing. Clothing seems to multiply of its own accord while waiting in the basket to be flattened. Quilting fabric on the other hand ……… that’s therapeutic ironing because your mind can drift and plan exactly what you are gong to do with your treasures.

And so began the conversion from fabric scraps to quilt top.

I cut the strips and put them in neat piles. Then the sewing commenced: a scarlet centre surround by light and dark strips. In each block all strips were different. I wanted a really scrappy look but co-ordinated at the same time.

Soon the blocks were completed and it was time to clear the lounge floor and lay them out, this being the only room with enough floor space to lay a full size bed quilt out. I stood back to get the overall view, rearranged a few and looked again. Satisfied with what I saw I began piecing the blocks together row by row.

It was then that I noticed my four cats outside. The younger two were quite happy chasing bugs across the lawn and the old boy was curled up asleep but the old lady, Missy, was looking very grim and pawed the door occasionally to get in. Not a chance! They were not allowed in the sewing room so there was no chance of them getting into the lounge while my precious sewing was all over the floor. I ignored the felines and continued piecing the top together.

july-october 2010 1079   Gina 140711 070

I was just pinning the last long row of blocks together to complete half the quilt when there was something the resembled a black whirl wind hurtling through the door, like lightening it was across the floor, over the arm of the chair in which I was sitting and landed on my lap, right on top of the pieced half of the quilt. Missy!

What happened next beggars belief, she relieved herself on my lap! I flew out of the chair as the dampness spread. The cat went flying and hid as I shrieked at her.

What do you do with a quilt, no, half a quilt, covered in cat pee? There was nothing for it other than the washing machine and, as soon as possible before the offending liquid dried and left a stain. In it went, warmer wash than usual with liquid soap used for delicates. I had nothing to lose.

I have never known 38 minutes go so slowly. Eventually the cycle ceased, the machine bleeped and I withdrew the quilt half. Horror of horrors, the red had run (so much for prewashing) but not as one would expect. Some of what were cream and red pieces were now pink and red and, fortunately, they were randomly scattered over the quilt. Maybe it wasn’t such a disaster after all.

IMG_0892   IMG_0893

I hung it out to dry and went in for a cup of tea while I considered what to do about the unfinished half. As I saw it there were two choices. One, make a single bed quilt of the cream, pink and red half or two, make up the second half, wash it the same way and hope that it wasn’t the cat pee that caused the dye to run. There was also a thought that maybe the fabrics had shrunk so it was essential that the second half be washed if I wanted to join the two together.

Back at the sewing machine I beavered away to complete the second half then, with some trepidation, I stuffed it into the washing machine on the same settings and with the same amount of soap. I pushed the button and left it. When it had finished I peered through the glass and thought I saw pink. I did! Eureka moment! Exactly the same thing had happened. I dried this part in the same way.

I have to say that there is nothing therapeutic about ironing a wrinkled quilt top when there are lots of seams involved and, because of the washing, a lot of frayed edges from which the loose threads had to be removed. Missy was cursed several times during this process.

Eventually both pieces were flat, loose ends were a thing of the past and I joined the halves together without hindrance. The resulting quilt top was very pleasing and I’m sure I could not have achieved the arrangement of pink and cream pieces if I had tried.

shop and quilts magnets 009

I have to thank Susie Green for machine quilting this piece for me, she really put the icing on the cake. When I dropped the top off to her I noticed that she also banned her cat from her studio. To this day I have no idea how Missy got back into the house …. I was sure I shut all the windows and doors …. But who knows? She is a black cat.


Brighton open top 1 crop

So, you’re strolling along the promenade, soaking up the sun and taking in the sea air with half an hour or so to kill. At a bus stop alongside you an open top bus pulls up with decals promising “Breathtaking Sea Views”. There can be no finer way to admire the coastal scenery.

Brighton, Hove and District started it all back in 1936 with a small fleet of specially built double deckers painted in a cream livery, a trend soon copied by almost every operator within sight of the sea.

Devon General Sea Dog crop square

The ride can be stunning. From the sixties through to the eighties Devon General’s Torquay to Brixham service with it’s ‘Sea Dog’ Leyland Atlanteans was always a joy, riding along the cliffs and hills beside the bay and deviating from the regular route to hug the coastline at every available opportunity. During the same period Southdown’s route 102 from Brighton to Arundel could boast at being the world’s longest open top service. Currently Wilts and Dorset’s service linking Bournemouth with Swanage is highly recommended with it’s unhindered views of Purbeck (looking up at the hills- no windows or bodywork remember!) and a ride on the Sandbanks Chain Ferry thrown in. On the Isle of Wight Southern Vectis’s ‘Island Breezer’ climbing out of Alum Bay to the Needles Battery is simply wonderful, though you do need a good head for heights.

Worthing 016

It must be remembered though that these services are at the mercy of the fickle seaside climate as I discovered on Brighton and Hove’s route 77 to Devil’s Dyke. “Breeze Up To The Downs” it said on the side of the bus. They weren’t kidding, “Breathtaking Sea Views” meant just that! I could have retreated to the lower deck but I was among a dozen (fool)hardy souls who were being terribly British about this, determined to have our open top bus ride by the sea and damn well enjoy it!

There are of course the open top tourist buses giving guided tours and running commentaries in our major towns and cities. Being tour buses they are more expensive but they can offer a superb opportunity to see the sights from a very different angle, the  unrestricted views looking up at the tall buildings while on the move on the London tours are impressive.

For me the real joy of the open toppers is when they generally operate as normal buses, either substituting traditional vehicles or as summer services superimposed on the normal timetables. Panoramic views and a chance to travel with the locals, all for the price of a bus ticket.




RM1, the first prototype Routemaster was unveiled to the press and bus industry at Earls Court. It wasn’t a stunning debut, it’s single-box destination screen and square ‘flat front’ look compared unfavourably to it’s predecessor the RT, as did the huge LT bulls-eye where the radiator should have been (it was located underneath).

It wasn’t a unanimous success when it entered service two years later, drivers found it difficult adapting to it’s lightweight construction and semi-automatic gearbox. Along with three other prototypes it spent a short life in and out of service undergoing structural and mechanical alterations before being retired as a training vehicle at the end of the ‘fifties.

After five years of research and development the first production models finally entered service in 1959, initially replacing the electric trolleybuses in the suburbs before being entrusted to the busy central London routes, by which time other major cities had introduced the more modern front entrance Leyland Atlanteans and Daimler Fleetlines, the Routemaster now looking somewhat out dated.

It wasn’t until around 1963, after much tweaking and fine tuning that the Routemaster settled into the shape and design that we came to know, and Londoners came to love. For a while it was just another bus, sharing the streets with the RT’s until their withdrawal in 1979, coinciding with near full scale driver only operation across the rest of the country. I believe it’s at this point, nearly five years beyond it’s original life expectancy that the RM became became an icon, making London the only place where you could still ride an open platform bus with a conductor.

After several failed attempts to replace it with something more ordinary and functional, the last Routemaster in normal service rolled into Brixton garage at the end of 2005. Ten years later it’s successor, the New Routemaster is settling in on the capital’s streets, just as controversial and facing the same indifference from the press and industry as it’s predecessor, but many Londoners are taking to it and it’s enthusiastically received by visitors to the capital. A few original RM’s survive on a heritage route across London, sometimes sharing road space with their descendants allowing visions of past, present and maybe future icons of the London street scene.

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Happy Birthday RM1

Geoff Nash.


Statistically and logically a run of trading at ten outdoor events over ten consecutive weekends in the British Summer was always going to be a risk, we were going to get rained upon at least once. So as the weekend of our final Summer event at Herne Bay approached we crossed our fingers, could we squeeze just one more gorgeous Sunday out of this years splendid Summer?

We hadn’t reckoned with ex-hurricane Bertha plodding her way across the Atlantic. Of course there was the slim chance that she’d miss us, but as we erected the Junction Ten gazebo under a grim and grey sky it was clear that she hadn’t.


First came the rain, lots of it. Fellow trader and event organiser Nigel Coupe had resigned himself to wait until the afternoon to set up his stall, when (according to the forecasts) the rain would have passed. However, there was plenty of room for him to set up a table under our shelter at which point the Junction Ten Gazebo became a mini shopping mall, or even a department store with Nigel selling his models alongside our magnets and coasters!


Then came the wind in several violent and sharp gusts, at one point managing to shift the gazebo slightly to an angle despite it being heavily weighed down. Subsequently Gina, Nigel and myself became experts at serving customers and answering their enquiries while holding firmly to the legs of the gazebo as it rocked and twisted in the wind.

At around two-thirty the rain subsided, the skies cleared and at last there were more people milling around the bus display and the remaining trade stands. Bertha, however, hadn’t quite finished. The gusts got stronger, seriously twisting and subsequently damaging the framework of the gazebo, we decided to take the structure down, pack it away and trade in the open. We may have now been without shelter, but under blue skies and the rain now gone we weren’t letting Bertha get the better of us!


Apart from a magnet display stand being flipped in the air by a sudden gust all was well for the next forty minutes or so until the appearance of a very dark grey cloud warned us that more rain was imminent, At this point, it was decided to call it a day as we raced to pack everything into the van before the rain could do it’s worst.

The rain went away as quickly as it had arrived, along with the customers, the rest of the stall holders and a few buses leaving Gina, Nigel and myself reflecting on the day over an ice cream. Were we defeated and down hearted? No way! Between us we’d met several of our customers, old and new, had a good day’s trading under the circumstances and had several laughs along the way. We’ll be back next year.

Many thanks to all concerned in the organisation of this event, and special thanks to Nigel Coupe for his help in saving the gazebo!

Branch Line

I think it’s time that Junction Ten developed a branch line.

I love to make patchwork quilts and, a few years ago I was commissioned to make a quilt as a wedding gift. About 2 years ago it happened again and I would like to share the result with you.


When you look at the finished product you could be forgiven for thinking that they are quick to make – let me enlighten you.

After initial discussions about colour and pattern with the recipient, I went home to sketch out the design and calculate the amount of each colour fabric that would be required. It then took me nearly 17 months to find all the fabrics. Purple is not an easy colour to co-ordinate and, what appears as purple to one person is not the same colour to another! I had enough of two of the fabrics in my stash and I found two more dark fabrics fairly easily but, the light coloured fabric, which had to be fawn/beige with something small and purple printed on it proved elusive until we went to Horsham on a completely unrelated visit.

The pattern is called Log Cabin and it is a traditional pattern and there are many different arrangements for the blocks. Each block is half light and half dark, representing the light and shadow from the fire. The quilt is made up of 64 blocks, each 10.5 inches square. I make no apologies for working in inches, all my measuring equipment is in inches and I see no point in renewing it all just to satisfy the metrication police!

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Cutting the fabric is time consuming in as much as accuracy is required. Seam allowances are included when cutting but they are not marked, they are sewn by eye using part of the foot on my sewing machine to give an accurate seam. I usually cut and piece about 16 blocks at a time, after this my eyes and fingers get a little tired and that is when mistakes creep in. Once all the blocks are completed you can lay out the final design referring to the initial sketch if necessary. The blocks are then sewn together to make rows and the rows sewn together to produce the finished quilt top.

Finally the three layers, backing, wadding (the fluffy bit in the middle) and top are sandwiched to form the patchwork quilt. This is embellished with a sewn design that holds all three layers together. Finally the quilt has binding attached to all the way around to give it a nice finish.

Et voila! An heirloom is created. IMG_7277

I will be putting up other creations over the next few months, some of which will feature photographs printed on fabric. Keep checking out the site, there will be something for everyone.




RM 1, first in the fleet of London’s most iconic buses celebrated it’s first sixty years in style by throwing a party for it’s mates in Finsbury Park on the 12th and 13th July 2014.  A total of one hundred and thirty seven of it’s Routemaster buddies turned up for the bash in a range of colours all parked side by side, some converted to mobile homes or hospitality vehicles, but most preserved as working London buses.

The first prototype, RM 1, was unveiled to the public in 1954.  It was then involved in a number of rigorous tests and trials more fitting for Concorde or the Space Shuttle than a humble bus before finally being put into service two years later. The next two prototypes appeared in service in 1957 and 58 respectively, while the fourth, CRL 4 built as a Green Line Coach went into service in 1957, but it wasn’t until 1959 that the production Routemasters went into service en mass, at which point the first three prototypes were withdrawn and relegated to the training fleet.

There were several teething problems but after a few years these were ironed out as the Routemaster became the bus loved by Londoners and admired across the world as a symbol of our capital city.

Over the weekend millions of bus admirers were joined by countless Londoners all coming to pay homage to the bus that took them to work or school, on shopping trips to the West End, days out to the Zoo or the Tower Of London, or even for a ride in the country or to Windsor Castle by Green Line.

Routemasters gradually started disappearing from the London streets in the mid 1980’s, with the end finally coming in November 2005. From then on a small fleet of ‘Heritage’ Routemasters (re-engined and slightly modified) stayed on to run short journeys on tourist routes 9 and 15 across central London. But while visitors to the city would chose to ride on them instead of the normal modern service bus, they could never be the same.


As I write this, the Heritage vehicles are coming off route 9, it’s been noted that the tourists now want to ride on the New Bus For London (aka the ‘Borismaster’ or it’s official title ‘New Routemaster’) and maybe that’s a good thing. It would be wrong to mourn the passing of an icon when it now has a very worthy successor with all the qualities of it’s predecessor, waiting to show us what it’s got.


The Routemaster 60 celebrations at Finsbury Park proved that the travelling public will never forget the bus that they loved. With at least one hundred and thirty seven of them in preservation, there will be plenty of opportunities to reminisce about them for many years to come.


Geoff Nash.

People of Reading LOVE Their Buses!


For once there’ll be no bus talk from me. Well, maybe a little but nothing too technical, for while the 2014 open day at Reading Buses depot in Great Knollys Street inevitably attracted the usual crowd of bus enthusiasts, the event was aimed at the citizens of Reading who attended in their droves, all coming to admire and pay their respects to the good efforts of their local transport provider.

 People thronged to the event

People thronged to the event

They have a lot to be proud of. The main mission of Reading Buses seems to be good public relations, this being the main core of their recruitment and training, their bus drivers holding a PCV licence only being part of the job requirement.

Then there’s the branding. Long gone are the days of the corporation crimson and white livery, each route is identified by a colour which is perpetuated by the vehicles running the service, through the timetable postings and even the bus stop flags, thus if you’re living along the No 17 route then the purple bus IS your bus, and that’s how the customers using the service see it: it is THEIR bus, with the drivers being regarded as neighbours or the local shopkeepers. Backing this up with a frequent and reliable service while being truly answerable and accessible to the customers makes it clear to see why the operation is held in high esteem by the locals.

Throughout the open day a selection of vehicles, one of each of the route colours is parked in a semi circle around the trading stalls and partially obscured by other displays and attractions. The high point for many comes at the end of the day when the area is cleared to reveal what is referred to as the Rainbow of Buses which then depart in a line to run a cavalcade around the town.

Junction Ten Merchandising

Junction Ten Merchandising

The pride and admiration for the local buses was clearly reflected in the sales of our merchandise, with any key ring or magnet with a modern Reading bus being quickly snapped up by those who regularly used them, everybody wanted to take THEIR bus home with them! Of course, there were some enthusiasts who bought items depicting the older Reading vehicles but the emphasis was on the modern and the new, this being another key factor in the public image of Reading Buses.

The company have been at the forefront of running vehicles on alternative fuels, be it hybrid-electrics or gas powered buses and they are keen to let it be known on the vehicles and in the service publicity. This has resulted in some people (regular customers as well as enthusiasts) going for a ride just to “try out” the new bus.

The latest addition to the fleet, the gas powered Leopard

The latest addition to the fleet, the gas powered Leopard

I have never known a bus operator to be held so dearly by it’s customers. Of course there are other companies who have worked hard at creating a good public image, but the people of Reading LOVE their buses as we discovered when Reading Buses became the first “fleet” in our merchandise to completely sell out at a trading day.

Launchpad stand

Launchpad stand

The proceeds of the day’s event went to their charity of the year, Launchpad, a local charity that helps the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Reading to turn their lives around and fulfil their potential.

The start of the rainbow...

The start of the rainbow…

....and the end

….and the end

Thanks and congratulations to all at Reading Buses for a very enjoyable day.

Geoff Nash.





Just to keep you up to date, I have almost finished making up new stock from photographs taken at Clacton Bus Rally and Lewes Bus Rally. We have added several new bus and coach companies to our range as well as some rather lovely additions to our London Transport products.

Don’t forget, it’s not just vintage vehicles that we have, we also feature many in current service.

Do come and see us on the stand, we may have your favourite bus or coach from either, or both, of these events. We’d love to talk to you – Geoff can talk buses for England (and Scotland, Ireland and Wales)! Me, I’m still learning.

Right, back to work on the photos.