25 Volvo 940
1994 VOLVO 940 SE
I like trains. There, I’ve said it. Trouble is, it’s a lot easier to park a 50bhp, 745kg Fiat Panda than it is a 3300bhp, 99-ton Class 55 Deltic.
Or is it? A railway locomotive – even a Deltic – becomes much more manageable if you shrink it. The OOgauge model railway I had when I was a child took up my parents’ garage until my first Ford Anglia 105E ousted it. I’d always fancied another one, but didn’t really have the space. Besides, old cars had moved into the ascendancy. But then a friend gave me a secondhand N-gauge train set for my birthday; at half the size of OO-gauge, it seemed a more realistic proposition. I found myself acquiring more and more stock, but without any permanent base for it. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to sort this situation out.
I recently found a small layout on eBay, complete with baseboard and some detailing work done (including a fourplatform station). It measured six feet by two feet – and that was crucial, because it meant that it would fit comfortably in the back of my Volvo 940 estate.
And so the Swedish load-lugging leviathan found itself heading up the Great North Road from Peterborough to Grantham. Somewhat appropriately, it was between these two places that the London and North Eastern Railway’s A4 steam locomotive Mallard managed a record 126mph in 1938. The Volvo was somewhat more lethargic, though. Rather than let the train take the strain, the 940 just took the train (layout) home instead – without any strain. Many modern cars seem compromised on interior space, but the old Scandinavian estate just swallowed the baseboard whole, with room to spare. Yet again, I was amazed at its sheer practicality and TARDIS-like ability. It got the layout back in sufficient cossetted luxury that none of the delicate details or wiring was damaged.
I still don’t have the room for it, though, so maybe I’ll just leave it in the back of the Volvo, add the scenery and wire it up to the cigarette lighter.
It would be a talking point at car shows, if nothing else.
Swedish 1958 Y7 railcar might be more of a squeeze in the Volvo.
The model railway layout in the back of the Volvo. No problem.