Wednesday, 13 December 2017

December meeting

This month's meeting was disrupted by bad weather. Those from Kent and from just north of the river made it, but the North West London contingent was snowed and iced in! As a result there was no camera available to capture the event.

Pete K provided a short report, and a plea for pictures of mentioned models produced a couple of workshop images from Keith. (still time to add more)

Pete's report;

Keith and Alan both brought along partly built Somerset & Dorset 7f locos they are working on for a joint venture of theirs. David Smith brought along a Bob Jones Black Five that he is building. David’s loco is just about ready for the paint shop “once the weather warms up a bit”. 

As someone remarked, the table looked like Barry scrap yard with all the loco bits and pieces everywhere.

The “N” gauge lads said they had been rattling around in the meeting hall for the last two months without us there. Nice to know you’re missed! 

Two workbench shots of work in progress on Keith's Somerset & Dorset 7f locomotive

So to blow our own trumpet a little, a round-up of our most recent exhibition triumphs;


At the Farnham show we were judged by the public the second best layout in show, and at the 2mm AGM we were surprised and delighted to be awarded the Geoff Jones Layout Award (left). 

At the Uckfield show we became the first winners of the Keith Nock Trophy (above), voted by fellow exhibitors. We also came in second best layout in show, by public vote.

At Farnham/AGM we introduced the missing building. Pete Townsend had heroically taken the task of completing Berisford's warehouse away to Somerset allowing us to operate a more realistic train distribution and assembly.

As a festive contribution, here is a 3D rendition of Lightermans Yard. You will need red/blue 3d glasses (remember those?).

Thanks to this month's BRM for the inspiration, glasses provided with the magazine. You can easily make your own; link here and here

Thursday, 16 November 2017

November: Tolworth Exhibition

Yet another regular meeting was replaced by an invitation to exhibit, this time at the Hampton Court Model Railway Society Exhibition at Tolworth on November 11th and 12th.

Setting up, by Keith and Pete K, was on Friday evening and went smoothly and without fuss. All the trackwork was cleaned and found to be in working order. The Yard was then put to bed for the night.

Saturday morning Keith and Pete K arrived expecting to be the only operators for the day but while enjoying a cup of tea a knight in shining armour was seen in the shape of David S.

Audience admiring the 'Yard'

After a few hours of good running one of the points developed an electrical problem. It would allow access to the brake van road but not ahead through the run round loop, needed for forming departing trains. David S again came to the rescue by prodding around in the dark under the baseboard and curing the problem for the rest of the weekend.

Working round the problem
Sunday, the staff was Alan, Keith and Pete K who enjoyed a good day of running.

Alan over the top again!
Throughout the weekend the viewing public were making very complementary comments about the layout which is always good for lifting the spirits when tiredness begins to set in.

Discussing the 'Yard'
After the show everything was packed away and ready to go in what may be a new record time of around 30 minutes.

The next showing will be Crawley April 2018 so that should give the team time to catch up on some of those “little” jobs that we never seem to get round to.

Thanks to Pete King for this report and pictures.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

October: Uckfield Exhibition

Our second outing in October was at the invitation of the Uckfield Model Railway Club, generally considered a fine scale event. The layouts shown and the commercial stands present confirmed this reputation.

This year the Uckfield club introduced a new memorial trophy in memory of their former President Keith Nock. The voting was by fellow exhibitors and Lightermans Yard has become the first winner of the trophy. It was presented on Saturday evening at the after show. We had it on display all day Sunday and photographs were taken with the mayor for publication in the local press. We had to give it back on Sunday evening but we will be receiving an engraved plaque to keep.

Pete King, Alan Smith and Keith Gloster with the Keith Nock trophy

To add to our weekend, once again Lightermans Yard was awarded second in the best layout vote by the public.

Images from the exhibition;

The now familiar exhibition set-up

Audience view


Lighting detail in Berisford's warehouse, courtesy Pete Townsend.

2mm Association demonstration of scratch building a set of prototype buildings in 2mm

Demonstrations, painting figures and soldering advice for all young and old

Monday, 16 October 2017

October 2mm AGM and Farnham Show

October's meeting was replaced by the 2mm Association Annual General Meeting and an invitation to exhibit at the Farnham and District Model Railway Club's show.

Lightermans Yard was stand number 2, very well situated by the show entrance with two other 2mm finescale layouts. Considerable spectator interest was shown throughout. An important addition to the layout is the recently completed Beresford's warehouse. Our West Country now honourary but long time member, Pete Townsend, had taken on the completion of the project started by Alan Smith. The warehouse finishes the layout in terms of scenery with the external and interior detail we have come to expect from Pete's buildings on the rest of the layout, and which rightly hold the attention of the punters, old and young.

Beresford's Goods Store in position and perfectly blending in with the street and industrial setting.

Close-up of the warehouse showing some of the interior detail

Visitors in front of the stand and the 'behind the scene' operators, two to control 2 locos and one on fiddle yard duty
Motive power and goods stock awaiting the arrival of a train for shunting, distribution and dispatch.
A very pleasant surprise at the 2mm Association meeting; The Geoff Jones Layout Award.
As a bonus, after very tight voting results, the 'Yard' came in second 'best in show', a good weekend!
A likely load?

Exhibition showings continue next weekend, 21st - 22nd October at Uckfield Model Railway Club.

Monday, 11 September 2017

September Meeting

At this month's meeting we took the opportunity of setting up the layout in preparation for the next exhibition outing. Cleaning the track and test running locos and stock. Apart from one sticky point, all ran well, including the additional controller for the fiddle yard.

The next exhibition is the 2mm Association AGM meeting and the Farnham Show on 14th and 15th of October.

Having satisfied ourselves of the working order, and briefed ourselves, we packed the layout into Pete K's and Alan S's cars for the trip to Farnham.

The layout will not be back 'home' for some time from a busy exhibitions schedule Appearances at Uckfield on 21st and 22nd October, and at Tolworth on 11th and 12th November.

A gallery of images from the September meeting.

Monday, 14 August 2017

August Meeting

At this meeting we concentrated on adding the fiddle yard controller to the two existing units for the scenic section of the layout. This involved oppening up to rewire and adding links to the main control panel and linking it to the 'yard'.

A view inside the the control panel. The MERG control board can be seen at the top back and the two input connections at either side of the black panel. Adding the third input point under the fiddle yard involved moving a resistor to the end of the chain and then extending the wiring via the multi 'D' connectors.

Soldering means more hands in a small space!

Keith and Pete working in tight, hot conditions

Testing the box....

Linking to the track... more close-up multi-fingered work....

.....finally the test

Looks like it should work!

It didn't work but the test locomotive became the bonus for the day. 

Meanwhile Keith took the bits away to hopefully solve the problem (postscript - problem solved within 24 hours).

One more meeting before a run of exhibition appearances;

Farnham (AGM) 14-15 October
Uckfield 21-22 October
Tolworth 11-12 November

Monday, 10 July 2017

July Meeting

Various aspects of the track work was the main focus of this meeting, so the track boards were assembled and connected for test running.

A major point of discussion was over the track terminations within the large warehouse, at the moment these end with brass blocks. Pete Townsend who is currently completing the warehouse in Somerset, has raised some questions about the interior and suggested terminating the track with brass sleepers. After some discussion it was decided that the brass blocks should remain. Pete also suggested that access to the warehouse interior should be made via a flap in the back scene to rectify any derailed rolling stock. It was considered that as a derailment within the warehouse would seem to be very unlikely, lifting off the structure would be simpler, especially as 'the hand from above' would be seen rectifying running problems on the exposed part of the layout.

The brass blocks at the end of the warehouse roads and the reception track 
There were further discussions regarding several uneven spots on the track, including a dip that tended to lead to unscheduled uncoupling on one of the back roads. Several isolation cuts were also made near buffer stops.

Much of the track bed and yard areas remains without ballast or general cover. Although we appear to have got away with it to date, we felt that fairly urgent attention should be applied to finishing off the exposed areas.

A look at a section of the underside of the layout that shows some of the original and new wiring to point motors and uncoupling magnets that resulted from rewiring the layout form analogue to DCC.

Alan S added three cradles for the MERG controllers. One either side of the control panel for the exposed part of the layout, and one for the fiddle yard operator.

'Many hands ....'
David S and Pete K modifying the base plates of David's loading gauges in preparation for their locations.

The two loading gauges in position...

This one is fine...

...but this one required a bit of extra raising. In fact the loco took it away!

Further discussion looked at a 'N' Brass Peckett 0-4-0 industrial saddle tank loco kit that Richard has bought, hoping that it will be a suitable 'starter kit'. Lots of advice offered and progress may be a blog or workshop subject for future meetings.

Mark Fielder has produced a rmweb blog on his construction methods for this loco, which will be a great starting point.

Keith produced one of his jigs for preparing side frames and gearbox, as always beautifully engineered!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Minor fixes post-Bournmoor

The layout returned from its Bournmoor expedition in the cars of two of the Group members - which were unfortunately parked some distance from the destination at Wilmington. Many hands made light work, and the parts were rapidly brought inside, then we adjourned for an extended tea break.

The basic layout was quickly erected - we are getting quite proficient at this.

Keith had forgotten his list of things to fix, but Richard produced a copy from his iPhone.

First item on the agenda was trimming a wall which extended too far, making it difficult to fit the end warehouse in place.

Looking around, we couldn't find the end warehouse - and then realised it was in Scenery Box 4, which had gone back from Bournmoor to Somerset, for Pete T to work his magic on the other warehouse in that box...

Using his experience as a carpenter in a previous life, David S estimated how much needed to be removed, then attacked it with a hacksaw and removed what we hope is the excess.

Return of Scenery Box 4 sometime in August will prove whether we got it right.

The bit we removed has been carefully stored in Scenery Box 2, in case we need to stick it back again.

This month's slightly implausible visitor - an unfinished WD 2-8-0 from Keith. Whilst it might perhaps make a legitimate appearance as a trip loco, we used it as a shunter to check all the trackwork.

Pete K removed surplus ballast from below the dairy, allowing it to sit flat against the baseboard, then clearances were tested and the milk tanker was pushed in and pulled out without hitting anything.

The track alignment at the joint at the back of the baseboard needed fixing. Track was checked with a roller gauge.

David S then spent some time bending the track to shape and resoldering as required.

Testing showed that the problem had been fixed - until the next time...

An experiment by Keith - adding static grass as marker for the position for an uncoupling magnet.


Alan S brought his prototype "controller pocket",
to be fastened to the baseboard (by as-yet undecided means) to provide a secure resting place for one of the new MERG controllers when not in use.