Newport Model Railway Society

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What we did January to June 2021


Week ending 25 June

All Change!

With the prospect of returning to our clubrooms from Friday 25 June - albeit still under Covid restrictions - we have moved our Zoom meetings to Tuesday nights.

Tuesday saw the first of the with Rhobat continuing through his much-appreciated lexicon of Barry Railway locomotives this time covering classes F, G and H.

Returning to the Clubrooms!

Four of us decided to restart at Shaftesbury Centre on our usual Friday. After negotiating just a few cobwebs the first task was to get Frecclesham stacked out of the way. Here we are checking the layout for any loose items before moving it. We should have been as thorough with the underneath as we forgot about the electrical connections! Luckily no damage was done.

With that cleared we then had to remove all the 'stuff' that had collected on the LMJ boards underneath. Then time to dismantle the top of the framework. Lots of unscrewing to do here as we want to re-used the wood for workstations. Remarkably the power drill still had charge left in it!

And finally to a club tradition for important moments.

The level of cold tea seems very low - could it have evaporated during the long break?

Fortnight ending 18 June

Maybe the unseasonably fine weather has allowed members into their gardens or slackening COVID restrictions have let others go to the pub but copy has been slow arriving recently.

Nevertheless Mike E has offered some pics of recent things done for his Midford S&D layout. The two ground frame huts A and B, which are mainly Wills embossed plastic and plasticard.

Also from Mike we have three parcels vans - two LMS 6 wheel Stoves, a Comet kit and a converted Dapol with Comet chassis - and a Chivers (he thinks) LNER four-wheeler.

Friday night Zoom meetings have continued with some very well-received talks on the Mawddwy Railway - the Independent Years from Stephen B and Stanhope and Tyne - Iron ore to Consett from Jonathan.

Saturday 5th June

With things opening up we were able to have a have a running session on TASFKATYS O gauge running track

And TAFKATYS brought out his Bwthyn y Rhosod too, here is Mr Chairman operating. 

Fortnight-ending 4th June

Well we're still not going to the clubrooms, but we're hoping that we'll be able to visit again, albeit with some restrictions, before too long. We are continuing with Zoom meetings on a Friday and these have proved very popular and may form part of out 'new normal'  

Recent talks have included TAFKATYS talking on the 4-4-0s of the SECR,  Albyn on the Ayr to Stranraer line and  LBH on B&MR Passenger locos.

Week-ending 21 May

A quiet week it appears in terms of contributions showing members' modelling progress, however Mr Chairman has had discussions which may lead to us being able to get back to the clubrooms before too long. In the meantime Zoom meetings continued with LBH talking on B&MR passenger locos. Things can only get better. Tune in next week for confirmation.

Week-ending 14 May

While things are starting to move with the possibility of returning to clubrooms being discussed we are still modelling from home. We start the report this week with Wagonman:

41900 ran under its power yesterday after the pickups were fitted - the boiler has been weighted to provide to neccessary balence so all that now remains to be done it running-in and painting with some final details to be added - noteably the couplings, safety valves and whistle. 

The extra pipe on the buffer beam is for the push-pull gear although this was never used when the loco became part of WR stock at Gloucester Barnwood but remained on the loco until withdrawn.

Mike G has got his 42xx running!


Luke's Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway brake composite in now mobile.

At the time of this pic some of the brake gear was pushing against one of the bogies causing a list and also preventing the coach going round any bends but after reattaching the brake rodding to the centre and higher up it's no longer any issue and the lean has gone too.

Our weekly Zoom meeting comprised a double bill with Rhobat speaking on Barry loco classes C D and E and Mike E giving us a touch of nostalgia with a look at The Sherwood Section of the LMS - an 0 gauge legend. 

Week-ending 7 May 

Red-faced LBH has to admit that he overlooked an update from Wagonman that got buried under a pile of other stuff a few weeks ago, so here goes:

Over the last few weeks work has concentrated on the tenders of both Tre-Pol and Pen and the Dean Goods - they are both Dean/Churchward 3000gal - but like all things GWR there are a multitude of detail variations between them! 

Both are now complete except for buffers and toolboxes ready for their respective locos to arrive. For the details the sharp eyed may notice that the brake/waterscoop handles foul the handrails on the models - this was done knowingly as a compromise - the cast handles are quite fragile so are set lower than on the real thing in order to be less likely to be damged through handling.....

Meanwhile Tre-Pol and Pen has reached the status of a 'Barry Hulk' on a rolling chassis - the forest of rods being there for alinement purposes as usual....

Next stage will be to source various brass castings to improve whitemetal items in the kit including washout plugs, mudhole covers and lifting rings to name but a few.....

As an aside following-on from the excellent talk that Albyn gave recently on the Cleobury Mortimer and Ditton Priors Light Railway, the train from that line came out of storage for photos - (models from Slaters kits).

Mike G is rebuilding the chassis for TAFKATYS' BR(WR) pannier tank (right)

Most of the parts are salvageable but new coupling rods will be required.

And, left, Mr Chairman's 56xx is coming on 

Inclement weather has meant that TAFKATYS has been able to complete his BR(ER) C12, including a fabulous job on improving the under-footplate gubbinry.

The week ended with the new-normal Zoom meeting with Stephen B completing his epic five-parter on the Wrexham and Ellesmere. And none of would have missed a minute of it.

Fortnight-ending 30th April

LBH has gone to sleep on the job again so a bit of a catch up is necessary 

Mr Chairman has been getting on with his JLTRT ex-GWR 56xx with the frames for the tanks (left) and the ffootplate detail now attached (right0.

And TAFKATYS is getting in on with the electrics on  Y Faenor

and, below, a reminder of what the top side looks like (more on the Coronalayouts page)

Luke weighs in with a report on his Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway stock building progress

The brake composite is coming along slowly. The end veranda has been soldered together and just needs trimming to fit under the roof. The internal doors and partitions are also now fitted. The next step will be completing the brake gear on the veranda and making the bogies before the body and interiors can be fitted.

Our weekly meetings continue and we've been learning about England. On 23 April Jonathan talked to us about the Stanhope and Tyne Railway and its successors while on 30 April Albyn described the Snailbeach District Railway. Both talks were very well received by all and we hope to hear from both again.

Fortnight-ending 16th April

LBH has been living up to his reputation again in failing to provide an update for a week, but here goes ...

TAFKATYS has been busy again, this time with an ex-Great Northern C12 4-4-2 tank.

Mr Chairman prompted some interesting discussion when he posed the question on the club's WhatsApp group on how to "Solder the overlay onto the footplate..." which the kit's instructions blithely ordain, given the mass of metal to be heated. The consensus was to use 145 degC melting point solder around the edges and let capillary action do the rest. We look forward to the evidence that it worked. The loco that we hope will emerge from this work is an ex-GWR 56xx class 0-6-2T.

Mike G completes the triptych of contributions from our officials with this view showing progress on his ex-GWR 42xx, who as you can see is approaching a very satisfactory conclusion. 

Mike E has an update on his Stoves

Nothing major to report, but have been pottering with some scenery infrastructure (more next time) and three parcels vans. I have a weakness for parcels vans - I suppose it is their variety and quirkiness. I have been trying for ages to improve the running of an Ian Allen/Hornby 6 wheel LMS stove brake, but without success.  The 8.15 from Bath to Templecombe passenger needs this van, so I have built a Comet chassis, which seems to work well, I couldn't resist buying a whole comet kit for a stove too, and the body is now fairly complete - rather more work than I had expected. So I now have to start the chassis for that. As a diversion I also put together a Parkside-Dundas 4W LNER pigeon brake. 

Then roofs, etc. to finish, and rather a lot of painting (early BR crimson) and lettering...

Friday night Zoom meetings are continuing and much appreciated.

On 9th April Stephen continued the his series on the Wrexham & Ellesmere and on 16th April Rhobat talked about BR (that's Barry Railway of course, what else could it be) Classes A, B & B1 and Mr Chairman talked on the The British and steam on the Blaenserchan branch.

Week-ending 2nd April

Maybe it's the impending holiday weekend but we only have a report from one member this week. But having said that it's from Rob F who has been rather modest with his contributions to date so it is very welcome.

Rob takes up the story 

The Ex LMS Class 3F 0-6-0T “Jinty” No.47619 was an eBay bargain and came DCC fitted.  The LMS converted just three Jinties to work with Pull Push sets and all three “Motor Fitted” locos were based in South Wales, so not strictly correct for Mike's Yorkshire-based layout.  The loco number probably isn’t correct for a motor fitted loco but anyway, Rule 1 applies and it saved a full repaint and re-numbering…

The Pull Push gear is modelled on a prototype photo of one of the converted Jinties and is bodged from bits in the spares box as is all the associated pipework. 

The trailer represents an ex LMS Period 1, 54’ Non corridor Motor Fitted brake third and is numbered No.24403.  The real things were converted in 1927 for Pull – Push working and there were only three 54’ long examples numbered 24400/01/02.  All other LMS Motor Fitted conversions were from 57’ long coaches.  Being a Period 1 vehicle, I rather think it should be panelled but I couldn’t find a photo of anything other than a 57’ vehicle, which is another reason to use a fictional running number. 

The trailer started life as a Graham Farish 4mm scale RTR model and was another eBay bargain.  The basic model is accurate but suffers from lots of moulded-on detail.  All this was removed and has been replaced with wire and bits and pieces from my spares box.  Like all the models from that era, the sides are way too thick and very obvious so the glazing was junked and replaced with some vacuum-formed windows again from the spares box.  The window reveals have also been painted black, which is an old trick intended to fool the eye.  The brake end was cut out and replaced by a driving end from Comet in etched brass. It is painted with Precision Paints BR Carmine Red.

The roof is original to the Farish model.  Again, all the moulded detail has been replaced and it’s been lengthened by a couple of millimetres at each end to give a better roof overhang.    The roof is an interference fit and is removable.  

The Farish underframe was the worst part and was junked as were the bogies.  The coach now rides on a cut-down Comet 57' etched brass underframe that I had in stock.  The bogies are from MAJ (remember them), which I’ve had for longer than I care to remember just in case they’d come in handy one day.  And they did!

The Friday night meeting reverted to its normal format with Albyn giving us a talk on the Cleobury Mortimer and Ditton Priors Light Railway. 

Week-ending 26th March

Not so much to report this week as those who attended our Zoom meeting spent most of the time watching and commenting on the France v Scotland rugby match, sipping single malts hoping that out Celtic cousins could help us to another Six Nations championship.

However Luke managed to to do something productive in the form of completing the shell for the engine shed, the adjoining carriage shed will be next once the clapboard panels have been cut out to face the carriage shed walls. 

Work on his Leek & Manifold coach remains stalled while he contemplates how to proceed with the interior and partitions.

TAFKATYS reports some more progress on my MR 1P. Wheels arrived and riveter returned, so able to start the chassis and fit the front splashers. Needed the wheels in the chassis to double check clearances, before fitting the splashers. Ordered wrong size bogie wheels so stuck again while they arrive, my mistake, doh!

I have decided that I do need to provide a provision for insulating the wheels, despite the fact my layout won’t have track feeds. At the bottom you’ll see a slightly "Heath Robinson “ approach to using Slaters insulated hornblocks using brass angle for the guides. With coupling rods fitted it turns without any binding, quite pleased with this approach!

Normal Friday night service will resume next week with Albyn giving us a talk on the Cleobury Mortimer and Ditton Priors Light Railway. I hope that this acts as a trailer rather than a spoiler!

Week-ending 19th March

Mike E reports further progress at Midford - thankfully his modelling is better than his puns 

Some progress on the PW sheds next to Midford signal box, and something to keep in them. The ganger is from Modelu. Perhaps I should have bought two - then I'd have had a doppelganger.

Mike G is making great progress in his 42xx

The week finished with a workshop on reading Working Timebooks using B&MR one from 1895 as an example.

Week-ending 12th March

Wagonman is back with a bang!

First of all the trio of vans have been completed - I think the white insul-meat liveries will need some weathering in due course though.

The BR CCT had its replacement inside bearing running units built (fabricated from scrap brass) and fitted - compenstation being provided by a rod threaded through tubes attached to the underframe at the 'rocking' end of the chassis. Painting then followed - more use of Fox transfers for lining - and another model to be found room for in the display cabinet!

Alongside the CCT the pair of LMS 'porthole' coaches also joined the convoy through the paintshop to appear in BR post 1957 crimson - all that remains for these is the fitting of couplings - I will use a set of magnetics from Haywood to make a mini-rake for the moment, the plan being to add a pre-war Stanier all-third later to complete a typical set as running on Gloucester-Hereford and MSW routes in their final years.

Last but not least having cleared the bench of carrige and wagon projects its now back to the locomotive side of things... The loan of the rivetter allowed a start on no less than three projects - BR 78xxx from DJH, Tre Pol and Pen 'Dukedog' from Javelin and Dean Goods from Gladiator. Running numbers 78001, 3265 and 2538.

Steve N is working on an ACE Kits MR 1P.... will be in MR livery S7... it’s not (so far) throwing up any major issues. Boiler and castings just placed for the moment.

Mike G continue with his 42xx

The detailing work has been completed on the body and I've gone as far as I can with the chassis. So today, the whole lot has gone into primer. I've not gone down my normal route of Halfords grey or Upol, I've choosen to go for Vallejo surface primer. There is a reason for this, it's too cold to spray outside and there is very little or no smell from the primer, well none that I can detect. I expect my wife to moan once she comes in from work! I've used acrylics before, but never a primer. It doesn't take much to cover the model and chassis and I used the 'flow improver' that is available. It's gone on well, the blurb says to leave it 12 hours before applying a top coat. I'd have loved to wait for the warmer weather but the list of models requiring paint is now getting to a serious length, plus I have a brand new tin of Celly gloss black to try once it does warm up.

Our Friday Zoom meetings are continuing and as your blogger has been lax again we have two report, both of which were fascinating and very well received. Stephen Bell continued the story on the Wrexham and Ellesmere and Luke on the very individual Campbeltown & Machrihanish Light Railway.

Week-ending 26th February

We start with three views of TAFKATYS's ex-SECR L Class, which is nearing completion 

Rob F is recommending Ronseal Smooth Finish Filler for hairline cracks.  

Finding himself out of filler and needing to fill a very fine crack in the joint between an etched brass end and the side of an RTR  plastic coach that was only visible after spraying a coat of primer

And LBH has assembled some storage boxes for ostrich eggs or something

But the week ended on a high with Mike E's talk on the Port Line aka The Portpatrick & Wigtownshire Joint Railway some of which you can share by visiting here.

Week-ending 19th February 

First your blogger (if this thing is a blog) apologises for missing some updates - no reason the lazy so-and-so just forgot

We start this week with Mike E and his signalling exploits

The Midford up outer home is working at last! 
In the end I mounted one of the solenoids vertically to drive the main arm, and used a Tortoise mechanism for the calling-on arm with its separate "W" warning indicator. The finial needs a re-paint and straightening - mark you, this is the THIRD one, I knocked off two during installation......
The project also showed irrefutable evidence of gremlins. You will notice that there is a cluster of cabinets associated with the signal, including the telephone implied by the T on the track-circuit diamond. One of these cabinets is a second attempt. This first attempt, nicely painted, was sitting by the workbench when something moved and I heard it fall. Three days of searching, including by mountain rescue and the RNLI found nothing. Now, I've had many "pings" before, and lost springs, screws and carefully-crafted little brass buts,  but a whole cabinet?? I can only assume that a mouse is proudly showing off its new wardrobe to its friends.

I still have to link up the electrics for the signal to the lever frame, but (hopefully!) that should not be a difficult job. Then scenery? Or a ground signal?...

Mike G reports:

So this is where I’m at with the 42. Still a long way to go. Wheels are quartered but the motor and g/box are proving to be difficult because of the pick ups.

Luke takes up the story:

A few days off work this week resulting in progress on one the open wagons and the transporter wagon (Leek and Manifold again). The second of their open wagons is on the bench for this afternoon

And the Transporter wagon now has a load to carry (and to Scaleseven standards no less)

Although no one has seen Abergavenny Blackbrook for almost a year Martin has been working on this modern north-light industrial building so go behind the station

And Steve N has made good progress on this LNWR Goods Shed for Y Faenor

Our Friday night meetings have been continuing on Zoom with talks on the Wrexham and Ellesmere and the Alexandra Docks & Railway  

Week-ending 29th  January

Mike E starts the narrative this week

You can enjoy either pity or schadenfreude this week. Midford's up outer home continues to provide occupation and stress. Although the signal arms are fitted, my design of activating mechanism has had to be condemned. As you can see from the illustrations it had been intended to use two Viessmann solenoids, transferring the action to the vertical using wheels. Mountings for the solenoids and the wheels were built, mainly from plasticard. But the solenoids proved just not strong enough to drive the linkages. This is a shame, since the down advanced starter works very well with one. Ah well!. My mechanism has been stripped off, back to the two brass wires up to the signal. Fortunately I have in stock a couple of Tortoise motors and the corresponding signal activator add-ons, so that's the next job. I've used them for other signals, and know they should be strong enough, but their size (compared with the solenoids) is going to create some problems.The solenoids will be recycled for ground signals (project number three-hundred and twenty-one). One-and-a-half steps forward, one back.

Wagonman takes up the story:

Last week's progress was the completion of the Perseverance 'Y2' fruit van - now in the growing queue for the paintshop!

The soldering iron then took a short break to allow construction of a pair of 'Insul-meat' vans from Parkside kits - both will be finished in BR white livery - perhaps reflecting the scene outdoors for the past few days.....

Its sometime since I've built a Parkside kit - both of these were old stock in the pre-Peco type boxes - oh and one is of Southern Railway origin and the other a GWR 'Mica'.

The soldering iron however did not have a long holiday as work has now started on a BR standard 'CCT' from a PR Model Railway Products kit - This is quite a vintage design (the kit) - the etches being dated 1986. I've found the running units to be quite crude so am going to build-up some inside bearing units similar to those found in WEP kits from spare brass - more of this later. The roof was also just too long for my 10" rollers so will also need quite a bit or work to achieve a good fit. The whole thing will take some time but promises to look good in the end - livery will be BR lined crimson.

Mike G continues improving the Hornby 42xx

Steam pipes on and more weight goes in. Plenty of room for more as well.

Luke has built a wind pump for Compton - giving it a but  of a 'Little House on the Prairie' 

Our week ended with a detailed talk on the Wrexham and Ellesmere line (Cambrian Railways) by Steven Bell - hopefully with more to follow.

Week-ending 22nd  January

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Luke has entered the finger-singeing world of etched brass kit construction with a Leek & Manifold Railway ventilated van.

For those unfamiliar with the prototype (hard to believe I know) here is a view.

Construction is coming along, being built in late condition after the side vents were added. 

Luke has assembled and test fitted the bogies prior to fixing them place

TAFKATYS has been working on a Goods Shed for Y Faenor - see more into see over in the Coronalayouts page.

The theme for this week's Zoom talk was the Alexandra Docks & Railway again with LBH once more avoiding any discussion of the docks.

Week-ending 15th  January

After a period of silence (rather, it transpires, than inactivity) Wagonman is back.

The holiday period and shut-down has allowed quite a bit of progress over the last few weeks...... 

First of all the LMS engineers saloon was completed before Christmas - just in time for Heljan to get in on the act and announce there forthcoming model! - However their preview pics suggest one of the later BR built examples will be the basis of theirs - both the preserved examples at Butterley and Wirksworth are of this type.....

The Christmas holiday provided time to build another Porthole coach - a compo' this time - it has now joined the queue for the paintshop......

The ex-Cambrian Goods is now also complete and ready for painting - in normal circumstances it would be the subject of some test track running-in sessions - these will have to wait for the moment though prehaps the body will be painted in the meantime. The sprung chassis has been an interesting excercise - we shall see in due course whether the effort has been justified....

Just for the present a smaller project in progress - a Y2 fruit van from an ancient Perseverence kit - the ectches were heavily tarnished so needed a lot of cleaning to take solder!....

Mike E takes up the story of the signalling on Midford.

Some progress with the complicated up outer home signal for Midford. I have managed to install the three LED lamps – a real challenge threading the thin wires down the mast and securing them to tag strips under the removable baseplate. I used a 0.5mm brass wire with a tiny loop at the top to draw

them down, and blow me, it worked! Next will be mounting the arms, fitting he linkages (particularly for the “Warning” indicator, and trying to get it to work............ This really is on the edge of my modelling ability. But they say you should take on challenges as you get older.......

Mike G is busying himself improving a GWR 42xx

Lots more work on the body. Lifting rings, valve flanges, stays and all sorts have been added. Plus a very nice chimney that makes it look the part. The chassis has had its bearings fettled and fitted. Ready to build the rods and brakes on Monday.

The week came to an end with our Chairman continuing his excellent talk on the railways of the Eastern Valleys of Monmouthshire during which TAFKATYS worked on the internal details of the signal box on Y Faenor (see here)

Week-ending 8th  January

Mike E starts us off again

At last one of the new signals is competed! – the Midford down advanced starter. A very tall signal. Getting it to work was a rather long process with a couple of false starts, but it now works well – driven by a solenoid, and lit by a little white LED lamp. Parts from old Derek Mundy etches. The signal is mounted on a detachable sub-base as shown, to allow easy maintenance. The wires for the lamp are hidden in a groove in the post. The next signal – the up outer home – is going to be much more complicated to get working. Will lock-down be long enough?.......

This weeks progress from TAFKATYS .... on the ex-SECR L Class (for use on Frecclesham)

Here's an update from Mr Chairman on the 21T hoppers from the last few weeks.

Attaching the bump stops above the springs was a bit trying. First bend them up from some spare Bill Bedford etches, then use a cocktail stick to get them in place. And as soon as you touch them with a soldering iron they move.

Next make up the brake blocks and add push rods.

Then the instructions say "Things are about to get fiddly" !!

Well, there are brake blocks either side and safety loops, then brake lever and push rods joining the pairs of blocks. Finally Moreton brake lever on the other side and the hopper release handles too.

Our week finished with LBH failing to deliver the promised talk on the The Alexandra (Newport & South Wales) Docks & Railway Co., instead wittering on about its subsidiary the Pontypridd, Caerphilly and Newport and made this calumny more egregious by threatening more in future weeks.

Week-ending 1st January

A low-key start to the year with a social Zoom meeting, leavened by some pictures from, amongst others, the Great North of Scotland Railway

For many the New Year is a time of taking stock, looking over what we have achieved in the last year and considering what we would like to accomplish in the year to come. If TAFKATYS is to do more this year than last this pic shows what he needs to surpass.