Newport Model Railway Society

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What we did July to December  2021

Week-ending 25th December

Tuesday 21st December

For our final meeting of 2021 Mike E presented a very attractive and interesting proposal for the club's next O gauge layout - the southern end of Guildford station ca 1961. With its roundhouse engine shed a myriad of different forms of motive power (many examples of which we already have in the club) and yet an acceptably small footprint it offers a compelling proposition.

Our next meeting will be via Zoom on Tuesday 4th January; we wish Cyfarchion y Tymor - Season's Greetings to both our readers,  

Fortnight-ending 18th December

Tuesday 7th December

Where would our Tuesday Zoom sessions be without Stephen B? This week he came up trumps again with a talk on the Llanfyllin branch of the Cambrian Railways  - a rarity in being pure Cambrian as most were absorbed or worked by C Rys.

Tuesday 14th December

This Tuesday was an open evening of shorter, nominally fifteen-minute talks, from a number of members. First up was Stephen B with the story oy Brecon and Merthyr wagon number 692. one of twenty built for a north Wales quarry but delivered to the B&MR instead  - apparently in red oxide livery. Next up Albyn on the railways of the Force Crag mine in Cumbria where he worked occasionally as a gentleman miner. LBH finished the evening off with a few words on the Garth Iron and Tinplate Works, Rhiwderin.

Fridays 10th and 17th September

Friday evenings have been understandably quiet recently but nevertheless some stalwarts are making progress.

Mr Chairman has been working on an ex-LSWR brake third for the workmen's train on Pavilion End and also laying rodding to the turnouts on ABB

Andrew J prepared the groundworks on Brades Siding for bedding in the the corrugated iron village hall on Brade's Siding

And LBH assembled the radial truck on B&MR 45

Week-ending 4th December

Tuesday 30th November

Another week another continent, this time Paul W took us to South Australia and specifically talked about the like that ran from Port Adelaide to the coastal town of Semaphore. Only a short line but a fascinating history set against the rapid development of the country.

Saturday 4th December, incorporating Friday 3rd

Friday evening progressed with normal activities plus preparation of the test track for the running session on Saturday in the big hall.

We're pretty well practised at setting up so on Saturday we were up and running quickly. Below are pics of the stock I remembered to photograph.

We also welcomed a couple of visitors.

844 is the now completed Jones Cambrian Goods from Al who also brought 41900 which operated the Upton on Severn branch in real life. He also brought Tre Pol and Pen in brass which ran well like the others, and an LMS coach, a Stanier period III to diagram 1899, corridor 3rd.from a Sidelines kit.

Mike E gave his B & O 2210 a run with eventually 4 wagons behind it.

And Gareth Haines, our local Gauge O Guild rep, brought 685, formerly Cardiff Railway No 7 for a run.

Following packing away some of us made for the curry house on the corner for a meal.

Week-ending 27th November

Tuesday 23rd November

A different plan this week with two items. It was suggested that members might like to prepare shorter talks, say 15 mins or so, and two or three of them could be presented over an evening. 

So this week we had a report on the Open Day at Newport Makerspace from LBH.

This was followed by an offering from Andrew N who lived for some time in South America. He described the railway from the port of Santos to the city of Sao Paulo which involved a climb of 2500 ft featuring rope haulage and a rack railway and impressive locomotives.

Friday 26th November

Above shows further work on Brades Sidings with Velcro in place to attach the curtain. You can stick the tape on with Evostik but stapling it too makes for a firmer fixing.

On the right is work on ABB, where the boarding covering the rodding is going into place. This forms the walkway for the signalman to hand over the single line token.

Here are some updated pics of B&MR No. 45, LBH's current project.

Meanwhile here are a few pictures of the large-boilered ex-SDJR 7F that Mike E has converted from a Bachmann small-boilered version (using bits from a DJH kit), and Fox transfers.  In two of the shots is the small boiler version for comparison.

Week-ending 20th November

Tuesday 16th November

For this week's talk attention away from railways per se but not railway companies as Rhobat introduced to the Barry Railway's early developments in his absorbing talk The Road to Barry Pier. Having piqued our interest we invited him back to continue the story in the new year. 

Friday 19th November

Andrew J continued readying Brades Siding for NEWGOG 22, this week assisted by Paul S.


Wagonman's pace is such that he has progressed onto another early GW coach, this time a GWR six-wheel brake third to Diagram T38


LBH was quite pleased with his progress on B&MR 45, finally getting the boiler to fit inside the smokebox and completing the cab rear bars

Week-ending 13th November

Tuesday 9th November

This week's lecture came from Stephen B, a fascinating rundown of the locomotives of the Wrexham Mold and Connah’s Quay Railway, 'rundown' is quite apposite as they seemed to spend a lot of time involved in runaways. 

Friday 12h November

Back in the clubroom SteveN has been working with Andrew J fettling Brades Siding and Mr Chairman has been doing a fine job laying point rodding on ABB 

Wagonman has been working on a GWR Metro all-third Diag S18 and has made great progress. The coach will be painted all chocolate and is destined to from part of a workmen's train on Pavilion End.

And LBH made a bit of progress on the problematic boiler in B&MR 45

Week-ending 6th November

Tuesday 2nd November

This week's lecture came from Mike Edmunds, explaining the dispatching system of train control that operated, possibly still operates, in the USA. Huge distances with mainly single track needed careful control which was done by telephone and bits of paper.

Friday 5th November

Back in the clubroom SteveN brought out a OO SR N class that he discovered in the attic after being hidden for 20 years. It ran very smoothly straight out of the box.

Another loco to be exercised after a shorter hibernation was 5947 St Benets Hall, the name of course referencing our former member Tony.

On-going updates

Two projects that have featured recently have made further progress. 

Mike dwy naan has finished the GW Siphon, apart from the painting and Luke's flint house has had work done to more walls. (the chimneys are just placed, not yet stuck on)

Week-end 30th & 31st October

Saturday and Sunday showing a layout for the first time since the start of the pandemic - Pavilion End at Cheltenham. Given the foul weather over this weekend we were lucky to be able to load up and stay dry on Friday afternoon. After solving the usual 3D jigsaw puzzle of what fits where, we were able to get the layout plus stuff and four people packed in. Early arrival allowed us to set up without rushing, then off to check-in at our 'hotel'. The least said about that the better.

We received quite a few favourable comments about the layout, which always helps to make it a good weekend.

The one I liked best was "I could imagine myself walking through it"

In the picture of the bridge above there are two new bits of foliage there to soften the angles.

The material for these came from out Talybont trip (see 2nd October) where we collected some beard lichen from under some trees. (left pic) This was cleaned, trimmed, sprayed with primer and some colour, then dusted with fine foliage material. (right pic)

Later on Sunday afternoon the sun came through the windows and struck across the layout to great effect.

As is now traditional we finished on Sunday with the last toast of the weekend.

Week-ending 30th October

Tuesday 26th October

Our Chairman overcame the impediments Zoom put in front of us and gave us an excellent talk on the early railways between Abergavenny and Hereford.

Friday 29th October

No club night because many of us were on our way to set up Pavilion End in Cheltenham

Meanwhile at home Mike dwy naan has been building this rather nice ex-GWR O33 siphon

Week-ending 23rd October

Tuesday 19th October

Albyn gave us fascinating and wideranging talk on the Furness Railway and its locos,

Friday 22nd October

Friday saw more preparation to PE and forming 7mm Alex Jackson couplings 

Meanwhile at home inspired by the photo taken ar Missenden Abbey (taken for the door not the wall) and having gleaned a technique from Dave using cork for bringing out the flints, Luke practiced on the end and sought advice before carrying on with the front. I think carry on, you're doing better than I could.

Week-ending 16th October

Tuesday 12th October

We welcomed a newcomer into the fold this week Andrew N, a noted modeller of historic Welsh railways in P4

Our talks were an impromptu potpourri reflecting various members' interests from Parliamentary coaches, Pontypool Crane St and the ex-Midland mail  line in the east Midlands

Friday 15th October

Friday saw more preparation to PE. 

While LBH spent an odd hour or so making up an Alex Jackson coupling forming jig adapting the 4mm Palitine jig for 7 mm use on Crindau Pill. He dashed one coupling off for the photo but it turned out a bit malformed. More practice needed.

Elsewhere TAFKATYS encountered some odd quartering problems wit his J72 and on the right we see how LBH got with his B&MR class 45 0-6-2T at Misssenden

Week-ending 9th October

Tuesday 5th October

Back this week to the informative talks over Zoom. This time it was the Kerry tramway, a short-lived affair in the land running up to the Kerry Ridge. It had two incarnations, both of which were missed by the OS maps. Steve Bell filled us in on the history along with some personal reminiscences from his youth.

Friday 8th October

Friday saw more preparation to PE. The photo shows the stock for the mixed goods, far too much for such a small layout. It's for me to use as reference for rationalising.

And LBH is away this weekend and has sent an update from Missenden of his work on B&M no 45. 

Meanwhile Mike E has just started converting one of the excellent Bachmann S&D 7F's - bought second-hand via eBay - into a big-boilered version using parts from a DJH kit that has lain unbuilt for 30 years......

Things going well so far - the piercing saw went where it should!  Lots to do, and it will emerge in 1955 condition. 

No doubt it's going to look quite a brute..

Week-ending 2nd October

Tuesday 28th September

This Tuesday was a curry night to celebrate the Chairman's birthday. Our usual venue Hatti, was up to standard and we were so busy chatting that no pics were taken. However, Mike G is now Mike-two-naans.

Friday 1st October

The usual few were present. Bits and pieces were done including more preparation to Pavilion End with Mr Chairman doing some maintenance on the lighting system.

LBH brought along a prototype cassette for Crindau Pill's fiddle yard. With the locos being battery powered current collection is not an issue so LBH is living up to his name by getting the cassettes laser cut in MDF.

Saturday 2nd October

Train to Torpantau, Trek to Talybont

The planning for this started some time ago and was excellently executed by Rob. After several iterations we got to;

  • TfW to Radyr
  • Personalised rail replacement transport to Merthyr/Pant with Al and Mike E
  • Brecon Mountain Railway to Torpantau
  • Walk down the Brecon and Merthyr trackbed to Talybont
  • Food and Beer
  • Minibus to Newport

Ready to start from Pant, though given the weather we wondered if it was sensible.  Higher up at Torpantau the rain had eased off. Onwards boldly.

Our definition of boldness changed at the sight of many of these guys doing half, full, or ultra Marathons.

We were still dry-ish and ventured on looking for bits of railway. The station area has been filled in and levelled. The access to the South end  of the tunnel (below, left) has been blocked with big stones and lots of water. The North end (below, right) also has a lot big stones and deep water but is more easily accessible.

The trackbed is now a wide footpath with an even surface which was just as well as we were walking at least 7 miles, albeit downhill. We were walking through an avenue of trees - in the rain.

By the time we were about halfway we were seriously wet, and were adding on the miles by diverting to look at  bridges and culverts. On the right our intrepid explorers climb back up from another investigation.

Around the middle of the bank lay the station Pentir Rhiw, which boasted a refuge siding which also merited some investigation.

Towards the bottom by the reservoir dam the trackbed is in private ownership. The diversion was worth it as it followed the track of the Bryn-Oer tramroad. There were plenty of stone blocks showing the impression of tramway plates, a helpful information board, and a replica (or possibly genuine) display section  of track.  

Alongside the route is a Physic Garden dedicated to Henry Vaughan, a 17th century poet, whose bardic name was Alarch Wysg (Swan of the Usk).

By now the sun was shining brightly giving us an opportunity to dry off a little. Paul tried to take his standard issue over-trousers off but not quite up to the task Rob F stepped up to the plate and offered to assist.

Eventually we made it to the canal at Talybont (8 miles on LBH's Apple Watch) but with a short wait before our table was ready at the White Hart we took an opportunity to view the lime kilns and this representation of a limestone dram.

The whole event was superbly organised by Rob, including the meal, beer and minibus home. There was one oversight for which Rob has no blame as none of the rest of us remembered either - the cold tea for celebration.

So I made up for that when I got home.

Week-ending 24th September

Tuesday 21st September

Luke made another great presentation, this time on the more northern lines on the Isle of Man with  - a first for the club - a live animation, which showed how the last trains of the day at St Johns were handled and the locos returned to their home depots. 

We also had a short treatise from Rhobat on the differences between the Sharp, Stuart tenders on B&MR and Barry locos, which was much appreciated by at least one member.

Friday 24th September

This week the rest of Pavilion End arrived at the clubrooms. With some stalwart help it was erected and after a bit of a memory test it was plugged together, track cleaned and a test run made. Amazingly it worked first time for running, turnout operation, uncoupler function though the signal wasn't totally reliable.

An update from the S7 bench of LBH next, showing progress on two items featured before.

The wagon has been converted to Scaleseven (details here), had the original lettering mostly removed and it has now been replaced, and then weathered. 

With the Peckett tank the handrail knobs and long handrail have been added (we are running short of pics!)

Week-ending 17th September

Tuesday 14th September

This week we spanned both Mid and South Wales with more from LBH on the Brecon and Merthyr Railway. We explored the tramways that were the first rail-roads at both ends of the line giving insights into the start of the B & M.

Friday 17th September

At the clubrooms again TAFKATYS carried on with the electrical work, ensuring power to all baseboards and running a loco over all sections. Then moving on to the uncoupling mechanisms. Mr Chairman then connected the track back into the fiddle yard some we could run some actual trains.

And in preparation for its trip to Cheltenham some of Pavilion End was transported to the clubrooms. 

The fascia is too long at 3.2 m to be fitted into most cars so has been cut in half. Next week we'll find out if we have a good solution to joining them in place and keeping them straight.

Week-ending 10th September

Tuesday 7th September

Stephen Bell continued the well-received series of talks on the smaller lines in Mid Wales, this time looking a genuine Cambrian branch - the Kerry Railway, and gave us a teaser on a follow-up talk on the Kerry Tramway

Friday 10 September

Four of us made it to the clubrooms where, for the first time since the pandemic, we heard again the once-familiar bingo calls from the main hall

TAFKATYS arrived and did not hesitate before diving under ABB's baseboards to sort out some electrical supply problems.

Having re-established DCC traction and turnout control we of course needed some locos to test the works which led to head-scratching as to where we had safely stored them before the lockdown. Thankfully they were eventually unearthed as we see below.  

Week-ending 3rd September

Tuesday 31 August

This week LBH introduced us to the mysteries of Templot, a piece of software for model railway trackwork design. With one PC running Templot and another running Zoom, there were some technical difficulties for LBH at the start, soon overcome. Its approach is different to usual CAD programs but the power and detail available from the tool was clear with good examples provoking plenty of questions.

Friday 3 Sept

Al, aka Wagonman, came along this week with three projects he has been working on over recent months.

First up is an 0-4-0 tank from a Gateneal kit he obtained back in the '70s, he thinks. This was first started about 20 years ago and has now made to the front of the to-do list. The chassis still runs even after two decades.

Next is the GWR 4-4-0 Tre Pol and Pen, to be completed in its early form before the loco was rebuilt a couple of times. 4-4-0s are such graceful locomotives.

Finally its the ex-Cambrian Jones Goods which has featured before but is now painted and finished.

Week-ending 27 August

Tuesday 24 August

Back to a single presentation this week and Luke gave us a wonderful introduction to the railways of the Isle of Man, Part One, General Intro and Port Erin route. Part two has been booked for 21 September.

Friday 27 August
No Friday meeting this week as too many people had commitments elsewhere.  

Away from the clubrooms Martin is building a vertical train stacker for his OO home layout

It is based on that depicted in Iain Rice's excellent book Shelf Layouts for Model Railroads. Martin had mostly built the moving portion of the stacker with its ten shelves only to decide that he had not positioned the shelves accurately enough hence each shelf being removed from the backing board, rotated through 180 degrees to put the existing fixing holes away from the backing board and then refitted hopefully more accurately.

This has now been mostly accomplished so it was time to fix the vertical timbers which carry the sliding door mechanisms which guide the backing board to hopefully ensure accurate side to side alignment. These are fitted in line with the 3x2 vertical members of the studwork which forms the inner wall of the garage. The 4x2 vertical members are fitted edge on for strength in preventing the moving portion from pulling away from the wall.

As can be seen from the first photo it was necessary to countersink the 4x2 to give the 6x120mm woodscrews sufficient bite into the 3x2 stud uprights. As is apparent fitting the 4x2 uprights in line with the 3x2 members has resulted in the sliding door mechanisms not being equally spaced on the backing board, this was accepted in order that both 4x2 uprights were strongly supported and not just top and bottom. Having securely fixed the support timbers the next step was to fix the sliding mechanisms to the upright timbers and to separate the detachable part of the slide mechanism and fix it to the moving section backing board. As the detachable section of slider mechanism was released by operating a nylon catch mechanism which could not be accessed once the moving portion was mounted the nylon catch was removed before the slider mechanism was fitted.

The second picture shows the sliding mechanism fitted to each timber upright with the left hand slider lowered to engage with the detachable portion which is fixed to the backing board flush with the top of the board so that the respective portions of the slider mechanism can be guided by hand when mounting or demounting the moving portion.

Picture three shows both slider mechanisms lowered to engage with the detachable portions. With both slider mechanisms engaged the moving portion was gently raised to its normal lowest operating position i.e. with the top shelf of the stacker in line with the running tracks. Picture three illustrates this. It was found that the considerable weight of the moving portion was not well restrained parallel to the wall during hand lifting due to the slider mechanisms being at full extension. Clumsy handling at this point could have resulted in distortion of the slider mechanisms. The hope is that once the counterweight system is fitted via pulleys at the top of the uprights then the moving portion will operate more smoothly.

Picture four shows the moving portion nearly at its highest operating position. Some stiction was felt in raising the board to this height, the alignment of the slider mechanisms will again be checked and adjusted as necessary though as said it is hoped that the fitting of the counterweight mechanism will provide equalised support for the moving portion which it is likely that hand manoeuvring did not provide hence the binding tendency.

Picture five shows that accurate parking will be required when using larger locos. Attention is now focused on the counterweight system, not forgetting that each pulley will need to bear the weight of half the moving portion plus the weight of one counterweight. This is thought to be in the order of 75-80 kg per pulley, washing line pulleys are considered not to be an option. Locking arrangements and power supply issues will be addressed once the moving portion can be reliably and accurately aligned to all tracks

Following last's week's feeble efforts this is what LBH got after 40 minutes work with IPA and a sliced wooden coffee stirrer:

Certainly a much improved result, quicker (and the red came away sooner) and less likelihood of breaking through the black completely. He did notice though that where the IPA evaporated it left a residue, but this is quite easy to remove.

Now, can he remember where he put those Powsides transfers to keep them safe?

Week-ending 20 August

Tuesday 17 August

This week we had another double feature;  Albyn gave us the second part of his talk on Philip 'P.D.' Hancock and his Craig and Mertonford Light Railway which was very well received and LBH showed some of the collection of images available on the Rhondda Cynon Taf archive website, which triggered off a number of interesting discussions. 

Friday 20 August

Clockwise - a bit more progress on LBH's Peckett; a bit more rodding laid by Mr Chairman (beyond the blutack!) and LBH is trying remove the lettering from a Dapol wagon prior to application of new, more appropriate transfers for his needs. He started off with Brasso and a cotton bud but, frustrated with the slowness of progress, upped the ante with glassfibre brush and some Bar Keeper's Friend (a fine cleaning/scouring powder). Next stop IPA

Week-ending 13 August

Tuesday 10 August

This week we had a double feature  - both very well received; Rhobat completed his review of the Barry Loco classes with the J 2-4-2T, K 0-6-2T, and the huge 0-6-4T and a might-have been lookahead to the 2-6-2T that the Barry planned but the grouping stymied. Albyn then took us back to the early days of domestic railway modelling with the first part of a talk on Philip 'P.D.' Hancock and his Craig and Mertonford Light Railway.

Friday 13 August

Three in the clubroom again (same three), see what we did below.

First a revival of a club tradition  - the first post-lockdown tea brew.

Secondly a tradition well known to modellers everywhere, Andrew spent much too large a proportion of the night searching on the floor for components that pinged across the room. In this case the brackets from an O gauge Slaters brake van footboard (anyone got a spare?)

Mr Chairman beavered away studiously laying more point-rodding on ABB to very good effect and LBH tried to give the impression that he had made more progress on the Peckett by placing these pert-finished sub-assemblies together,

Elsewhere in Maerun workshops TAFKATYS has returned to the his MR 1P; the chassis now done bar a few tweaks. Next up is detailing the body.

Week-ending 6 August

Tuesday 3 August

We returned to Stephen for our Zoom meeting presentation and he came up trumps again gaving us a fascinating account of the Van Railway.

Friday 6 August

Three in the clubroom again, read what we did below.

Clockwise from top-left

Mr Chairman laid some point rodding (and some the skin from is forefinger.

Andrew is working on an ex-LMS brake van in O gauge  

LBH fitted one cylinder onto his S7 Peckett. One to go!

And away from the clubrooms TAFKATYS has completed another J71 for operation on Bwthyn y Rhosod. 

Week-ending 30 July

Tuesday 27 July 

Two parts to the Zoom meeting this week, the first was a joint meeting with Newport Makerspace, being the second half of our 'return fixture'. This time we talked about the way we used 3d printing, photo-etching and modelled trackwork and buildings.

Back by ourselves several of us gave short presentations on which layouts had inspired us. Interestingly we approached the subject quite differently with one looking at exquisite modelling (East Dean), another the possibility of creating an impression in a small space (Clecklewyke), another a layout from a magazine that he bought in his early teens which swayed his outlook on modelling (Rosedale) and yet another the the magnum opus that is Ffestiniog Odyssey, convincingly portraying the entire mainline in one room,

Friday 30 July

Closer to normal with real modelling occurring in the clubroom! Yay!

Left we see Mr Chairman continuing with the work of laying the point rodding on ABB. See 6 March 2020 for the last bit of work here.

Right Andrew is building shock-wagon in O gauge

LBH got to work (it won't last) on a Peckett Class E 0-4-0ST in scaleseven from a Springside kit. MIraculously it turned easily without binding first time around. 

Week-ending 23 July

Tuesday 20 July 

Two parts to the Zoom meeting this week, the first was a joint meeting with Newport Makerspace, being the first half of our 'return fixture' (see w/e 2 July below). We talked or layouts Frecclesham and Abergavenny Blackbrook .

Friday 23 July

We decided it would be too hot in the clubrooms so we called the meeting off.

Week-ending 16 July

Tuesday 13th July

Stephen B continued with his talk on the Mawddwy Railway, this time looking at post-independence phase of the railway's existence. 

Friday 16th July

Another evening of preparing the clubrooms for our return for 'normal meetings' whenever that may be. Locations have been established for three work stations  - at 2 m spacings of course 

The chairs mark the places for the workstations.

We have plenty of salvaged wood to work with but no suitable flat surfaces. So if you have worktop, plywood, MDF of suitable thickness and 500mm by 800mm or more, then they could be used.

Week-ending 9 July

Tuesday 6th July

Our Zoom meeting on Tuesday was quite different from the usual  - Mike E gave a talk on Railway Control - starting with its origins on the Midland Railway to British Railways days

Friday 9th July

Another evening of preparing the clubrooms for our return for 'normal meetings' whenever that may be,

Week Ending 2 July 2021

Tuesday Talks continued with first a presentation by Newport Makerspace who described what they do, where they are based and what equipment and machines they have available. It was a very impressive list and there are common interests between the two groups. We had a friendly chat with them afterwards. There will soon be a return fixture, when we will tell them about us.

Second up was Steve B and a varied selection of photos for our amusement and comment. Entertaining as usual.

Friday 2nd

We continued on Friday with clearing space and re-organising the clubrooms. The last of the staging was dismantled. This has served us well for a long time, but the timbers will be re-used somewhere in the changes.

Below left you can see the space created, and on the right, the start of the stack of LMJ baseboards

However, we decided to re-stack the boards on their sides as this reduces the load on the bottom board and is easier as the integral legs make  the stacking difficult. The top board helps to tie the lower three together. 

Then we added a second stack next to it. The two boards on top are the lightest ones.

One of the boards came from the workroom so we now have space on the worksurface to fill back up with stuff.

Click here to see what we did (and are willing to own up to) in the previous six months.