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READING

CYRENE

MTH accessories and rolling stock, TCS, Narborough Road - November 2010

Cyrene, of course, is an ancient city of North Africa, whose ruins lie in the modern state of Libya. However, given the North American habit of naming towns after the great cities of antiquity (e.g. Memphis, Tennessee and Syracuse, New York), it seems quite possible than a town in the United States might have been named after it (and the United States navy did, in fact, once have a motor torpedo boat tender called USS Cyrene).  Quite where in the United States it is, we’re a bit vague about, but certainly somewhere in northern Ohio - probably not far from Cleveland. It is served by the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad - far better known as the ‘Nickel Plate Road’ - but there is also evidence of the Pennsylvania, New York Central, and Baltimore & Ohio.  All these railroads served the Cleveland area in the 1950s - and northern Ohio was also a last bastion of steam on these roads, especially the Nickel Plate, which continued to use its famed ‘Berkshires’ on its main line until 1958.  The idea is to capture the flavour of about two years earlier, with a great deal of steam still in evidence, but many early diesels too.

Initially, the collection used MTH products only.  Recently, it has been expanded to include modern Lionel too (and one K-Line locomotive).  MTH and Lionel both use digital systems (DCS & TMC), but they are very different - so different, in fact, using them on the same layout shouldn’t be a problem, as they don’t interfere with each other!  On Cyrene’s one-and-only outing, at the TCS Autumn show in November 2010, our lack of experience with DCS caused some technical issues, although hopefully these were not too apparent!   Knowing where we went wrong, this should not happen again.  But we also found that MTH products and the Atlas track we were using are not very well suited to ‘loose-lay’ layouts, so we’re reluctant to do another layout like this.   A smaller display would, of course, be easier.



Reading was one of the four station names offered by Hornby 1937-41 (having replaced ‘Bristol’, only offered briefly in 1936, although again after the war).   Although the town was also served by the Southern, Reading was clearly intended as the Great Western Railway choice in the Hornby range.  Our ‘Reading’ collection is intended to reflect the Hornby range of 1938, whilst ‘Wembley’ (q.v.) uses items from 1939. In fact, there isn’t very much difference - many items were identical - so in effect they draw on the same pool.  But we only have one ‘Reading’ Island Platform E, and as the range of available GWR items is also limited, it is not presently possible to do a large scale layout using this name, although we have done a few smaller ‘Reading’ layouts.