Wednesday, 14 August 2019

August 2019 Meeting

This month's meeting turned out to be an history lesson as those present scoured their collective memory on how and when Lightermans Yard came about and how it developed into the layout we now proudly exhibit.

This much we now think we know; In the early 1990s, a 2mm Scale Association group was formed by Andrew Cox and Arthur Adams in Swanley Kent. The group became SELAG - South-East London Area Group of the 2mm Scale Association, and eventually Kent and Essex Area Group as we are now known.

Our first piece of concrete evidence comes in five multi page photocopied and unedited newsletters called 'The Loading Gauge' initiated and collated by Andrew Cox, with contributions by other SELAG members and friends. Number 1 is dated June 1992 and contains editorial, meeting reports and illustrated advice on files. This was the pattern for the subsequent issues.


A leaflet 'At Home with SELAG' dated 13 December 1992 celebrating three years of previous meetings and suggesting there was an exhibition (there were 15 members). It also described a number of members' layouts, possibly those shown at this 'minimeet', and includes names and layouts of some current KEAG members. 

In an effort to establish a group project, Andrew Cox suggested a layout to which everyone could contribute. The design chosen was based on an Ian Rice  design, 'Cannonsgate Goods'. For some time this consisted of track boards and an ingenious cascade DC system of which Andrew was the master. After he retired from the group, a decision was made to rewire the layout to DCC, and the conversion started around 2010.

Since then, and with the collective support and contributions of the current KEAG members, Lightermans Yard has developed into a working, fully scenic, exhibition layout which has scored highly with visitors and other 2mm Association members. 

One of our next tasks is to establish a running schedule, with operator responsibilities for train movements better established, particularly at exhibitions.

Howard bought in some Mathieson wagons and Dapol milk tanks to discuss re-wheeling them to 2mm scale standards. Included in the discussion was a tool made by Keith to enlarge the axle housings on commercial N gauge chassis to take Association 'tophat' bearings and pin-point axles. 

Above Mathison wagons and a Dapol milk tank, and the axle tool for tophat bearings. We also marveled at the private owners' printing detail on the Mathison wagons (and a blank wagon for DIY). Below Howard's van and chassis etches, many hours to complete! Everyone should own up to a box like this.... 

Howard suggested a way of neatly balasting parts of Easitrac point kit base before fixing the track (as illustrated below)

The next topic was the track plan for Evercreech Junction, the scenic section of Somerset and Dorset layout (work in progress). Previous blog entries - March 2019 -  have shown the extensive running and fiddle yard track bases - there won't be much room for anyone else when and if this is setup in the hall. Pete K has been working on the Templot templates to match the scaled period track layout. The geographic map detail shows much of the scenic surround too. 

Next meeting 8 September

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

July Meeting

Sunday 14 July was a typical mid summer meeting. Bright, sunny and warm outside and interesting from the inside for innovation and discussion.

Howard demonstrated his Railcom device that displayed a locomotive’s DCC identity as it passed along a section of track. So far it only works on some decoders (Zimo,Lenz, ESU?) and not (CTElektronics). At present it only works with the Lenz Command Station. It is planned to be added to the MERG Command Station at some time. This looks like a very useful operator tool.

Alan S showed the new gear set as mentioned in the 2mm newsletter, replacing the faulty sets, the new version is for the Farish conversion, currently out of stock but soon to be available through Shop 3. 

Alan also showed us 2mm steam locomotive wheels which are currently under development. The latest examples have been 3D printed in stainless steel. The results look very good and accurate. Example below shows the steel tyre added.

A great advantage being that the specifications for 3D printing can be provided for individual manufacture.

Additional meeting material added to the blog after something prevented the blog content from being completed at the initial session.

Keith bought to the meeting the baseboards for Pete K's Brixham layout which he had recently worked on. As can be seen from the images, the track bases give a good idea of how the layout will look when the track is laid and the background and scenery are in place.

Locomotive of the month is by Alan Smith, one of a pair of converted Farish 4F destined for the S&D layout previously featured in this blog.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Tutbury 2mm Supermeet and June 2019 Meeting

A four man crew set off for the Tutbury supermeet on a very wet Friday morning with Alan, Keith and Pete K in a hire van and David in his car. Despite the miserably wet journey, upon arrival it was possible to reverse the van under a canopy so that unloading was relatively dry.

The now familiar Lightermans Yard setup at the Tutbury Supermeet
Waiting for the day to begin
David's R1 in finished colours
David brought along his finished South Eastern R1 although, because he was not happy with its running, it sat in the naughty corner for most of the day. Alan’s Jinties and pannier tank are now all fitted with stay alive units as were Keith’s trip locos and the difference in running reliability is remarkable. Pete did not have the G6 stay alive fitted in time so it sulked in the corner with the R1!

As always with Association meetings it was good to catch up with old friends and put faces to names. The show was generally thought to be a success with a lot more visitors than last year.

Lightermans Yard was packed away at a more leisurely pace than usual so no records were broken this time. By the time the crew hit the road the sun was making an appearance which made for a far more pleasant and stress free trip home.

June Meeting

Sunday 9th June was back to base for a break before the next show in October (see Association website calendar for details). Keith brought along his, now working, S&D 7F for us to wonder at. Running in DC mode it still performed beautifully. Keith is working on four of these locos and Alan is working on two. They will eventually be part of the loco stud on Evercreech Junction.

Keith's S&D 7F
Pete K told Keith of the recent exchange on the VAG about pony truck control and pickup. Keith obliged by turning the 7F over in his work cradle and then removing the pony truck to reveal a grownup version of Simpson springing. The spring legs were set out sideways and up away from the chassis to provide downward pressure and also control the centralising of the pony truck.

The day finished with a discussion on logistics for show invitations for 2020 and 2021.

watch the S&D 7F in action

Many thanks again to Pete King for being long suffering blog editor. Meanwhile Richard was feeling guilty again but managed to capture Tornado steaming through Wensleydale.

Friday, 17 May 2019

May 2019 Meeting

The meeting started with Alan distributing various electronic gizmos (decoders/stay alive units) that the group ordered as a bulk buy. This is all part of a master plan to improve running on Lightermans Yard.

David showed us the progress he has made on his scratchbuilt South Eastern R1 which is destined to work on The Yard. David said there is some detailing to be done followed by the paint shop and then it will be ready for work. Sadly there was no water in the boiler (no motor) so we couldn’t see it running.

Steam was heavily outweighed by diesels at this meeting. Keith and David each brought along a class 52, more commonly known as Westerns. David’s was in BR blue with Keith’s being in maroon. David also brought an 08 shunter and Keith showed us a class 33 which will most likely be a trip loco for The Yard.


An unusual shunting manoeuvre
An unusual shunting manoeuvre
Keith explained how he had modified the bogie bearings on various diesel locos to help improve the contact areas and general running.

He then showed yet another of his ingenious jigs. On this occasion the jig was being used to align the bogie side frames and centre moulding to accurately drill holes for pivots to allow the bogie to rock fore and aft.

And so it was time for the dreaded trip to the loft to bring down The Yard for transport to Tutbury. Alan managed to take the bulk of the items and Keith took the rest.

The next KEAG meeting is the day after Tutbury so the plan is to take the layout straight back home.
Because of the proximity of the Supermeet and the KEAG meeting, the next blog will probably be a combined Saturday/Sunday one.

Many thanks again to Pete King for being long suffering blog editor. Meanwhile Richard was 'down under' and feeling slightly guilty, so decided to add some local Australian interest (or not?).

Spotted in Armidale, New South Wales; One of two preserved 620 class railmotor sets being prepared for mainline working. Below, Australian outline in 'N' gauge at Hearns Hobbies in Melbourne. They knew about 2mm Fine-scale and actually got the Lightermans Yard blog on screen during our brief conversation!


Monday, 15 April 2019

April 2019 Meeting

Present for the April meeting was Alan S, Alan B, Howard, Gordon and Pete K.
Lightermans Yard arrived back at base after being “On Tour” since January. It was agreed that it had returned home once or maybe twice during that period but nobody could remember when.

Pete K said that his G6 loco was in pieces on his workbench after he failed to fit a stay alive unit in the available space. He was hoping to bring it along to demonstrate the improvement in running. After some advice from Alan he decided to fit a smaller motor to create more space.

Whilst on the subject of stay alive units, Pete K showed his modified soldering iron bit, inspired by Keith, to make it easier to solder stay alive wiring to the small pads on his CTelektronik decoder.

Howard brought along some vans fitted with B & B couplings. For those who have not seen these before, these are an similar to DGs but have their loops and droppers etched which, of course, gives better uniformity.

Howard also brought along some foam matting to fit to The Yard’s duckboards to hopefully make it a bit easier on the feet at shows.

With luck and a tail wind the group may be able to do some much needed maintenance to the layout before the drive up to Tutbury for The Supermeet in June.

Next meeting 12 May 2019

Once again, thanks to Pete King for providing the contents of this blog entry

Monday, 8 April 2019

N Gauge SouthEast, East Surrey N Gauge 6 April 2019

Lightermans Yard was set up on Friday evening by Keith and Pete K. Unfortunately the one drawback about Friday setups is often wading through rush hour traffic to get to the venue. Throw in a few roadworks and breakdowns and the best laid plans start slipping away. As a result, this time, The Yard was set up a bit more hastily than would have been liked. Nevertheless it all tested out satisfactorily.

To continue the fun on Saturday morning Pete K had a phone call from Keith to say that his car would not start. This resulted in Pete making a hasty detour to pick up Keith but when they arrived at the venue Alan and David S were there and had already fired up the layout and cleaned the track ready for the day. We were careful not to make jokes about a stay alive unit for Keith’s car!

The day itself was very busy especially given the remote location of the venue. Usually at mixed scale shows people are heard authoritatively telling family and friends “Now this is N Gauge”. At this N Gauge show the viewers were all aware of The Yard being finescale and gave very complementary and informed opinions. Some were heard to ask about the more technical aspects of the trackwork and pointwork control. The operating staff from other layouts were also very friendly towards us and, again, said some very nice things about Lightermans Yard.

The coupling/uncoupling problems now seem to be, mostly, behind us. Alan’s latest “Jinty” (fitted with stay a alive unit) performed faultlessly all day whereas the G6 resulted in more sore knuckles for its operators trying to get it past those troublesome spots. We are unanimously convinced that all the short wheelbase locos should be stay alive fitted which should make for a much improved experience from both sides of the backscene.

Time to go home and not only did we not have Keith’s car to take half the load but Alan had left his car at home and travelled in David’s saloon car. It was decided that Pete would take all of the big stuff and David would try to fill his boot with smaller boxes and components. After Pete’s car was loaded it was suggested that if he tried harder then he could take the whole lot!!

And so we departed, happy that we had had another good day playing trains.

Many thanks to Pete King for standing in as editor of this report and for the photographs too.

Next meeting Sunday 14 April 2019

Monday, 25 March 2019

Alexandra Palace 23-24 March 2019

We all enjoyed the weekend at Alexandra Palace. Our position in the West Hall, Stand 142, attracted an almost constant crowd of onlookers. There are just so many pictures to be taken of the public enjoying Lightermans Yard! Some casting their expert eyes over the scene - and the operation ...

... for others the simple enjoyment of discovering the secrets in the detail.

The 'Yard's' regular operating team - Pete K, Keith, Alan, David with Richard and Howard in support were joined by Pete Townsend, who's city-scape buildings do so much to draw in the public. We all had a great time only slightly troubled late in the day by temperamental coupling and uncoupling! 

Operator's view of the layout and an 'over the heads' look at the the West Hall. Saturday was very busy, Sunday less so.

 For some more unusual views of the exhibition...

 Pete Townsend and Pete King enjoy a quiet moment before the hordes!

The splendor of the main hall (there really were lots of people, the fish eye lens pushed them back
from the foreground, and it was taken towards the end of day 2) 

Next exhibition 6 April 2019 - East Surrey N Gauge and N Gauge Forum.
Next meeting 14 April (back to base)