The Crowsnest Chronicles, Roy C Link

One of the pleasures of blogging is that you have side conversations with people who share similar interests.

Roger Sisley and I share a common enthusiasm for books on narrow gauge and miniature railways. He often tells me about the books he’s brought that might interest me.

Roger suggested ‘The Crowsnest Tramway’ by Roy C Link. I got a copy and I have to say it was a top recommendation. Thanks Roger!

Roy spent over 40 years making small layouts representing a fictitious narrow gauge railway, The Crowsnest Tramway, in a range of scales from O to 16mm. The book is beautifully produced, with high quality images and it is written in an enaging, easy to read style.

The quality of the model making is superb. The finished locomotives are beautiful, but it is the photos of them before painting that really impressed me. The locos are made of brass or nickel silver and before they’re painted you get a clear view of how they were constructed. The quality of the workmanship just jumps off the page.

Roy was obviously a true model engineer. He will drill a 2.95mm diameter hole and then ream it out to the required size of 3mm. I love that precision. His description of machining masters for curved spoked wheels, getting them cast, making the castings run true, machining the finished wheels and mounting them on the axles is a pleasure to read. It’s skilled work, very modestly described.

It’s clear Roy had a passion for detail and was prepared to invest his time in getting things to look just right. He created a door latch in 16mm scale that is wonderfully realistic, and he machined a beautifully ornate weighing machine in brass only to positioned it inside a building where it was partially hidden from view (!)

Sadly, Roy passed away recently. I never met him but from the various obituaries I’ve read he was a very inspiring modeller, happy to share his knowledge to help others. That enthusiasm shines through in this book. It’s a great read and I thoroughly recommend it.

8 comments

  1. Hi Steve.
    Many thanks for the reference to Roys Crowsnest Railway. The cover photo fooled me into thinking it was a real railway.
    Hope his models have been given a good home as his skills should not be lforgotten

    Regards

    Peter

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  2. Great post. It’s a super book. Have you read Festiniog Odyssey from the same publisher? Another excellent book that I would recommend highly.

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  3. If you enjoyed this book, then I’d second the recommendation for Festiniog Odyssey. In fact I’d happily recommend any of the RCL Publication books that Roy edited. Some of them are out of print now but they are all worth hunting down. I particularly like the book on the Sand Hutton railway. They may all have different authors but Roy’s excellent editing and layout guarantees they are all an enjoyable read.

    Like you I never had the pleasure of meeting Roy in person, although I did have a number of e-mail conversations with him during editing of articles I’ve written for the REVIEW. His attention to detail and willingness to share his knowledge made him a pleasure to work with and ensured the articles were always in a better shape when they appeared in print than when I initially submitted them!

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    • Hi Mark
      Good to hear from you. I have the Sand Hutton book and I totally agree with everything you said. The books are beautifully produced. The images and drawings are top quality and the layout and design is superb. I guess Roy was a craftsman when it came to modelling and in publishing too. I should definitely get the Ffestiniog book.
      It’s sad when we loose people who are both an inspiration and a helpful coach. I guess the models and the books are his legacy. That’s a significant legacy!

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