Monday, 14 January 2019

January 2019 Meeting

We start the new year with this blog returned to it's original web address, after a slight hiatus over user names and alternative locations. The December 2018 entry has is now where it should be, under this address. If you adjusted your bookmarks - please revise to

Our first meeting this year focused on our attendance at the upcoming Erith MRS exhibition on 26 and 27 January, and preparing Lightermans Yard for the show. Having experienced a number of little bugs, mainly electrical, in previous outings, we needed to check that the known problems were rectified. The most important being testing the uncoupling magnets and thanks to David S's investigations into the control box, these are now 100% working. A report on the exhibition will appear on the blog.

Before each outing we need to check that everything is working and that we have all the components ready to load into whoever's cars the layout will be traveling to the venue in. As access to our storage space is at our monthly meetings. Checking and loading is now down to a fine art!

Pete K and David S surveying the track board  and about to check the uncouplers.

On the way to test the magnets!
...set of vans coupled...

success! Note the white dot that marks the position of the uncoupling magnet

General feeling of satisfaction, and ready to take on the challenge of another outing.

Adding another loco to test the controllers and below - running a double header

 Three locos running coupled together!
A discussion on making scale track work drawings in Templot for Alan and Keith's Evercreech Junction project (see last month's blog entry).

We will continue the Terrier conversion. Possibly next meeting as Lightermans Yard will be 'on the road' for the Tonbridge MRS Exhibition on 16 February and Alexandra Palace in March.

Friday, 11 January 2019

December 2018 Meeting

This month's meeting was an opportunity to see the physical progress of the layout that Alan and Keith have talked about and is now beginning to materialise. Our meeting venue was a chance to set out the baseboards on the flat surface of the church hall, and to finalise accurate measurements for the completion of the non scenic baseboards.   

Kit of parts - the baseboards ready for assembly

 Alan Smith takes up the story.

The layout Keith and I are working on is Evercreech Junction. This was the hub of the Somerset and Dorset line and the subject of many books and films. The period modelled is the popular mid fifties to early sixties the line closed in March 1966. Nearly all trains stopped at Evercreech even though is was in the middle of nowhere! Freight trains were shunted in the two largish goods yards and this practice was carried on around the clock employing a number of staff. Nearly all passenger trains stopped either to take on water or add/remove pilot locos as the ruling gradients of 1 in 50 made double heading over the line a necessity.
The layout will be approximately 24 x 12 feet. and will incorporate two eight road storage yards. These will allow trains of up to twelve coaches and two locos long.

The acid test - linking the baseboards 

The immaculately constructed undersides of the baseboards

The base boards are constructed from birch plywood throughout and will be transported in ply transit cases, these in turn form the main part of the baseboard sub structure onto which the baseboards are mounted.

The scenic section is to scale with no compression of the prototype. It is only at the extreme scene ends that any compromises are taken. The main scenic boards of which there are seven in total form the main station and yard, the up main goods yard, the loco facilities and turntable, and the junction itself and the start of the branch line to Burnham-on- sea. The layout will be controlled by DCC and will incorporate some working features.
The layout has been a while in the planning with a start being made on baseboards about a year ago. We would expect the remainder of the boards to be completed by spring of next year. Some track is being laid in the fiddle yards and work has commenced on the fiddle yard throat point work.

We also discussed arrangements for our next exhibition appearance - 26 - 27 January 2019 - Erith MRS - and an additional appearance at The London Festival of Railway Modeling at Alexandra Palace on 23-24 March 2019.

The intention is to continue the Dapol Terrier conversion at the January meeting.

The loco of the month is Keith's almost complete 7f for the S&D layout above.

...and lastly - a very Merry Christmas and great New Year

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

November 2018 Meeting

This month we held part 1 of our planned locomotive workshop on converting a Dapol Terrier to 2mm finescale (that is the chassis).

Before we got under way there was time to admire Keith's point work for a fiddle yard. This is constructed with flat bottom track soldered directly onto a PCB board, with the necessary electrical isolation cuts. This method would suit embedded track for an industrial or dockside setting.

Dapol Terrier conversion, Part 1

The replacement chassis etch and items from the parts list were obtained from the 2mmAssociation shop 3, with a few added components suggested by Keith and Alan. A couple of useful supporting documents can be found on the 2mm Association website; Etched replacement chassis for RTR loco bodies, includes parts list and generic illustrated instructions for several locos (including the Terrier). A specific etch diagram and chassis arrangement for the Terrier is here. Both documents are downloadable PDFs.

The Terrier etch and diagram, chassis arrangement and the sacrificial Dapol Terrier

Starting off; Keith was careful to explain the point at which we should begin is the accurate positioning of the axles. At this point we ignored the frame assembly jig as it is possible for this to become distorted, instead using the coupling rods for accuracy.

The etch and a block of 'synthetic resin bonded paper'

First Keith tinned the fold-over coupling rods without removing them from the etch.

(left) Using the block of 'synthetic resin bonded paper' he marked out a line and positioned one end of the coupling rods on the etch onto the line and using a .5 drill to insert a .5 locating pin all three axle positions.

Satisfied the coupling rods were accurately located onto all three pins, both coupling rods were removed from the etch...

...then folded and the three layers sweated together and tested again on the pins (below)...

...resulting in the the completed coupling rods.

The next stage was to build the Frame Assembly Jig, cut from the etch.

The sides and ends were folded up to form the box, checked for square and the tabs were soldered in position (below)

(this picture shows Keith using his own jig to hold the etched frame assembly jig square whilst soldering the tabs, note the axes are also in position)

This picture shows the 1.5mm axle steels in place which have been drilled to take .5 crank pins enabling the coupling rods to be checked again.

End of part1; many thanks to Keith

In case it helps fill in any gaps, included are sketched notes below.

Loco of the month is the Terrier!

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

October 2018

The regular monthly meeting date for October is normally a week out, the second Sunday of the month is usually taken up by the Model Railway Exhibition held in the church hall Willmington where we meet. The October meeting is normally held one week later. However, this year the 'home' exhibition did not take place, and the following weekend saw Lightermans Yard as a guest layout at the Croydon Model Railway Society exhibition held at Warlingham which took place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th. Arrangements were made and Pete K and Keith collected Lightermans Yard and transported and set it up at the Croydon show on the Friday evening. When left, all was functioning ready for the next day and the public.

Croydon Model Railway Club Exhibition was held at Warlingham School and spread over two halls. There was a mix of layouts and models in different gauges, and club and trade stands. Attendance was quite low on both days. Lightermans Yard attracted a good share of interest, much of it directed at the scenic treatment.

Operating locos and stock started off well on Saturday with almost everything running to plan. Trains arrived and their wagons and vans distributed to the warehouse roads. The brake vans shunted and new trains formed, collected by trip locos - steam and diesel. Other yard operations were carried out, such as the milk tankers to the diary siding.

In general the uncoupling magnets behaved well at the beginning of the day, but manual 'hand of God' instances tended to increase as the day wore on. On one occasion one of the shunters was spotted taking up the rear of a newly formed train as it's trip loco vanished off scene!

Over the weekend the incidence of uncoupling failures increased, but we operators soldiered on. Apart from the suspected causes of the problem, we had problems with the loops on the DG couplings of recently introduced new/old stock (a job for the future).

By the end of Sunday, apart from experiencing a few other problems such as discovering the DCC controlers were malfunctioning (a suggested solution by the man from MERG) and most of the magnets had given up, an exhilarated but exhausted crew struck the layout into its's boxes and reloaded Pete and Keith's cars (in the rain!).

Lightermans Yard in the thick of the show!

It's all in the detail - Even we ourselves are sometimes surprised by the scene!

This month's loco is an interesting comparison between gauges. Pete King's ex LSWR G6 (2mm) against the same loco type in 'O' gauge (courtesy Tolworth O Gauge Society)

...and the last shot....

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

September 2018 Meeting

The focus for this meeting was the upcoming Croydon MRS exhibition at Warlingham on 13-14 October. Our main concern being transporting the layout.

The Willmington show, which would have normally taken place on the second weekend in October, is not taking place this year. It normally displaces our regular meeting schedule and usually moves our meeting for that month forward a week. We were able to agree with our 'N' gauge colleagues to have the meeting on 7 October which is more convenient for transporting Lightermans Yard to exhibition. 

We set up and tested the layout in preparation for the exhibition and hopefully eliminate any electrical glitches that might occur. 

Checking electrical functions. In this case the uncoupling magnets
We also checked the scenery boards which provides an excuse to indulge in some of the backyard detail, including the hidden street under the bridge

For the November meeting, we decided on a masterclass/workshop on locomotive chassis construction and conversion. The probable first candidate will be converting a Dapol Terrier to 2mm finescale. (11 November).

As promised a plaque has arrived from the Uckfield exhibition acknowledging Lightermans Yard being the first winner of  the Keith Nock Memorial Trophy. Also we have to return the Geoff Jones Layout Trophy (below right) awarded at the last AGM by the 2mm Association for best layout.

Note; Next meeting Sunday 7 October at Wilmington; Croydon MRS exhibition at Warlingham Saturday and Sunday 13-14 October; Sunday 11 November locomotive workshop on conversion to 2mm finescale.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

August 2018 Meeting - visit to RAILWELLS

The August meeting was replaced by an outing to the Railwells show. Thank you to Alan S for agreeing to be photographer and guest editor for this month.

David and I set off bright and early at 7am sharp. We had arranged to meet with Keith and Gordon at the Church at Wilmington at 8am. Cars parked up we set of with David at the helm and what seemed like no time at all we arrived at the wells show just after opening time at 10.40.
Straight into the main hall we hit the ‘North Cornwall line’ and, it seems, most of the southern contingent of the 2mm Scale Association.
The North Cornwall line occupied most of the main front hall with only a few small side tables filling the rest of the area. We quickly decided to venture up stairs as the hall itself was quite busy and we could come back later when not so packed. Upstairs found us another three 2mm layouts:-
Bordesley North by Jim Allwood,
Callaton by Mick Simpson.
Mini MSW by Alan Whitehouse.
Bordesley North and Callerton are both new layouts and between them show a good few novel ideas with sound locos being much in evidence.
Mini MSW is another layout to feature sound on some locos but to me the revamped scenery was the major attraction.

Looking around the upstairs hall found some very nice P4 layouts along with the usual traders and societies. Off of the main halls were side rooms with further exhibits and traders a bit like Aladdin’s cave with wonders around every corner.
One layout, which had us all intrigued, was a T scale layout at ¾ of a mm to the foot. This appeared to run very smoothly and as none of the locos were powered everybody was wondering how it was done. The owner of the layout was not giving anything away and stated ‘All with be revealed at 4pm’ (now that’s something we just had to go back for).

The T scale layout. the whole thing was just over a foot long it ran very smoothly at a realistic speed. Quite a picturesque layout.

It was by now time for lunch so we headed off to the Crown Inn next door. We all enjoyed a pint and a very large house beef burger, now that was a beef burger.

Back to the show things were a little quieter on the North Cornwall line so we had a good look. The layout was really 7 layouts in one and considering the somewhat damp and humid conditions is was amazing to see Johns locos perform so well, these could be tiny 4 wheeled locos crawling along over all manor of track work,  without a hitch, or large express engines gliding along as though they really weighed the 70 tons or so of the prototype.

John Greenwood's Wadebridge shows a King Arthur in southern brass livery I understand it is quite popular in the south!  The handrails were particularly fine and well proportioned. What a beautiful loco.
Wenford Bridge goods. the working crane and lorry still amaze me after all these years, worth the trip alone.
The sign of a good show is when you look up from the exhibits and realise its nearly time to go, ’have we really been here all day?’ we just had time to get back to the T scale layout to see how it works. Sure enough a 4pm sharp the room where the layout was displayed was packed to the rafters! The little black box on the front of the layout hid the gubbins. In true pantomime style we counted down the screws coming out of the box to reveal all…… A strimmer cable and some brass tube! well not quite as simple as that but a very clever way of producing a smooth running loco to a minuscule scale.

All fascinating stuff and so ended our day. Just the ride home and all the joys of the M25 on a Sunday evening which, indecently, did not disappoint due to a car fire after junction 9. This however only delayed us by around 30 minutes or so but overall we made good time.
Thanks again to David for doing all the driving and to Keith and Gordon for all the banter along the way.


Monday, 16 July 2018

July 2018 Meeting

This meeting was dominated by the unusual Summer heat, so everything appeared to take place in slow motion.

Our plan was to continue ballasting and we did manage to carry some of this out, or we should point out that David did the work whilst the rest of us stood around watching and making encouraging comments and discussion.

(below) David preparing to continue the ballasting, fixing the material with vinyl floor polish straight from the bottle.

We had also identified a slight curl in one of the foreground scenic boards - noticeable if you knew where to look, but a nagging sense that the situation needed attention. Pete took on the task with the aid of a hot air gun, weights. PVA and a little force, or a combination of all four accompanied by under the breath mutterings! We will see if this has worked when we assemble the full layout again.

This meeting’s guest locos were Keith's SR/BR T Class 0-6-0 under construction. This model is destined for Lightermans Yard. Shown below are the drawings (in 7mm scale) and pictorial reference.

So far the chassis and gearbox have been completed, once again demonstrating Keith's superb micro engineering.

David also has a 'work-in-progress' converting a Merchant Navy to a Battle of Britain. This involves reshaping existing bodies and casting new parts.

A visit to the Wells exhibition is planned to take the place of the August.