Not all of our members can get to the club for every meeting so here we keep everyone, current as well as prospective members, abreast of what's happening at the club - if you'd like to join in the chaos there's a list of contacts on our Contacts page.
Currently we meet on some Tuesdays and every Friday, and we continue to meet on-line on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.
Not a huge amount to report from the clubrooms and no photos, so here's a project from my workbench. In the search for wagons that run reliably on ABB I thought I'd try a sprung Brassmasters chassis for one of the Bachmann 12T minerals. It was a lot of fiddly little bits of brass.
The trial running at the half-way stage was very successful.
After the final stage it wasn't so good but investigations showed a couple of the axleboxes were not allowing the springy bearings free movement. More needs to be carved out of the plastic axleboxes.
Probably 10 hours work, but that would be cut in half for further chassis with the benefit of experience.
This Tuesday's Talks started with Albyn's account of Sentinel's troublesome vertical boilers. Followed by Steve B with BTFilm's "Every Valley" which, despite being in black and white, accurately conveyed the colours of south Wales in the 50's.
Rather a quiet meeting as only LBH was in attendance, however ...
LBH's early departure on Friday noight allowed him more time to get Llanastr available for its visit to the Welsh Railway Research Circle's AGM, where he was ably supported by members Rob, Rhobat and Stephen B.
Both meetings were held at the clubrooms again this week, next week it's Zoom on Tuesday; Clubrooms on Friday
Luke is looking to replace signal box on ABB, which has always been a temporary structure. To this end he had obtained an Lcut laser-cut wood fibre board kit, which he will adapt for ABB's requirements
With the long weekend and various other commitments only two faithful members made it to the club, hopefully we can add some more details later.
Both meetings this week were held at the clubrooms
Mike brought in a recently completed scratchbuilt model of Midford goods shed.
Wagonman has been putting a lot of work into an Ivatt-derived mogul that will be finished as a loco that he knew from his Gloucestershire childhood
LBH is converting a Peckett from O gauge to ScaleSeven, which requires a bit of attention to the clearances around the crosshead. TAFKATYS provided a 10BA tapped bush which will definitely help create some space. The sketch on the right should explain what we're trying to achieve.
Luke brought along a couple of his kit-built wagons based on Leek and Manifold Railway prototypes. These are to 7mm scale but run on 16.5 mm gauge track.
The transporter wagon is from an etched brass kit and exactly to scale. This means that the track gauge for the standard gauge wagon is in fact to Scale7 standards so the LMS 8 ton wagon has S7 wheelsets.
The flat wagon, used for moving milk churns among other items, is very low slung and difficult to get on the track as you can't see where the wheels are in the deep shadow underneath. These two are 25% of the total Leek and Manifold goods stock.
This Tuesday's Talks started with a short selection of photos from ExpoEM from the Chairman. Pelaw South was the main attraction and very entertaining. Mike E introduced us to the OO gauge layout “ South for Sunshine" - originating in the 60's and trying to capture the line south from London Victoria with the limited resources available at the time, interwoven with some pictures of the real thing. Then Steve B provided us with photos and history of Le Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme including some from his recent and previous visits.
Whilst at Expo EM I picked up some George Allan etches for GWR station seats. We need these on ABB.
As they came the metal was a bit thin so I soldered two thicknesses together, then tried to assemble everything straight and square. As you can see this involved using a third hand to hold the bits.
After a bit of fiddling and some low-melt solder I'm pretty happy with the result. Now I need to find some sitting figures.
On ABB itself TAFKATYS rationalised and simplified the DCC kit and its power supplies so that it's just two plugs to go into the mains.And we had a look at fitting RC battery power to some small 7mm locos
Two meetings at the clubrooms again this week, but we're still concentrating on fettling ABB, weighting wagons, checking turnout blade throws etc. so no pics to show.
On the subject of wagon weights as ABB train lengths will be short we are experimenting with weighting four-wheel wagon to 80g rather than the usually-recommended 50g. We'll see how this works.
This Tuesday's Talk started with a de-brief on ABB at the Bristol Thornbury show. Generally the layout performed well with our main problem being the reliability of freight stock in terms of running and uncoupling. The conclusion came out at - we are 90% there, we just need to get closer to 100%
This was followed by a series of photos at Cardiff Docks found by Steve B on the museum website. There were cars for export, transhipment of provisions and a truly vast pile of pitprops.
Friday's activities centred around erecting ABB in the layout room to give us plenty of space ready for improvements. To make enough space we had to first shift Frecclesham into the workroom which is always a challenge as there is just 1 cm clearance at either end between the walls. We even checked to get it level!
Then ABB was erected and tested, but without the fascias to allow access for fettling.
After all this activity and a deserved cup of tea we had a look at recent work from Al and Luke. Al brought along a standard 2MT that was well under way. Luke had a chassis for his 7mm narrow gauge loco, partly scratch built, to go under a 3D printed body. The black lumps are just weights. There were also some of his wagons, and these were placed on ABB to test their magnetic coupling operation - successfully. They are intended to run on normal 00 track, which is why they don't look quite right on ABB
No Friday meeting this week as we'll be exhibiting at Bristol@Thornbury. But, hurrah!, we have a photo share. Martin has been beavering away building this industrial building for ABB. Now you'll have to come to Thornbury to see it in situ, won't you?
See last week! More of the same!
Wagonman has been busy, so busy that the cameraman has not been able to keep pace.
Above we have a recently completed ex-GWR Dean Good while left we see an almost completed MR ballast brake.
We had no meeting on Friday night as many of us were preparing to exhibit our layouts at the Newgog show. Bwthyn y Rhosod, Brades Siding, Roundhouse, Pavilion End and Crindau Pill were all in attendance.
Crindau Pill at NEWGOG, showing LBH's somewhat cavalier attitude to layout support.
And thanks to Mike Bragg for the layout pic.
Luke gave this week's talk and took us on a very varied and fascinating view of the narrow gauge railways of Ireland. Those of us who weren't familiar with the subject matter were astonished by the variety of different types of railway that could be found on the island.
Luke also unveiled this rather delightful scratchbult freelance tram loco.
And LBH brought along his recently procured Peckett Tank, which is to be converted to Scaleseven and undergo moderate modification to become ADR no 19.
Friday's activity was packing up Frecclesham ready for the show at Nailsea next weekend.
The Tuesday Talks were a couple of short ones again.
We started of in 1863 with a B&M 0-6-0 tender engine from Sharp Stewart and viewed other locos from the same strain up to 1960, including Indian Railways broad gauge.
Next we went not so far back, but still nearly 50 years ago to blue diesels on the mainline at Bedford, and some associated byways.
This Tuesday's Talk started with a tour of the Kalka Works in northern India on the Kalka - Shimla 2ft 6ins railway. Most noticeable was the lack of safety awareness! Then Stephen B took us through 15 photos from a variety of sources. There was a Welsh theme given we were at the start of March and as usual very interesting.
With Frecclesham now erected it was time to test some stock. One standard set completed its moves successfully, and then it was time for the special stuff.
LBH was away at the Missenden Modellers Weekend and cracked on with No. 45 as seen on the right.
The weekend was not without its disappointments though - there was no draught beer in the bar.
Tuesday's Zoom meeting took us to East Sussex and the Rye and Camber Tramway with another great talk from Stephen B. This was of particular interest to one member who is a fan of the E F Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels which often features the Tram in fictionalised form.
Wagonman has completed his GWR Metro all-third Diag S18 and is making good progress on his Midland Railway ballast brake van.
Meanwhile LBH is ploddingly slow progress on his B&MR 0-6-2T
A well attended Friday with a backlog of stock to photograph.
First is a GWR 6-wheeler all Third from Al to run behind the 4-4-0 Dukedog that is in progress. Then another of his, an LMS all Third which will join a couple more of similar vintage to finish off a rake.
Then TAFKATYS has continued to work on the Garrett, which is now waiting for delivery of the two motors. And yes, the rear bogie still needs its valve gear.
TAFKATYS and Andrew have also been busy installing a working lamp on Brades Siding and Wagonman, refusing to sit on his laurels is working on his Midland Railway ballast brake van based on a D&S kit, which will require a myriad of grab handles and hinges to complete
The Tuesday Talk was one of the short-talk sessions with Albyn back in the Lake District, this time the Rowrah and Kelton Fell Mineral Railway, followed by The Old Radnor Trading Company from Stephen B, and our shortest line yet, The Park Mike Railway (aka The Golden Mile) in Tredegar Park from LBH.
Friday's clubnight was very quiet with just two of us. The boardwalk by the signal box is nearly finished, then there's more point rodding to install.
Below is an update from MikeE about Midford.
Two major rebuilds are in progress. This one is a re-alignment of the track north of Midford to allow new removable landscape sections to improve (very necessary) access to one end of the hidden sidings underneath. Of course it always turns out to be a larger task than expected - lots of new carpentry, clamps etc. But all the chicken wire, some wood and most of the plaster bandage was recycled. Another session will complete the surface, with the beginnings of grass.....
For this Tuesday's talk we ventured to the agricultural flatlands of Essex, around Tiptree of jam fame. Stephen B took us along the length of the Kelvedon & Tollesbury Light Railway, ending at the edge of the Blackwater estuary.
Friday we returned to the clubrooms now that the infection rates are dropping. More work was done on point rodding where a compensator has been part connected. In front of the signalbox the boardwalk is nearing a finish.
Also Al has started on yet another small coach while at home Luke's cottage is having the chimneys installed and SteveN progresses with his Garrett.
The Tuesday talk featured two of the short(er) talk format. First was from me, Mr Chairman, about "The Muck Hole", the branch from Crumlin Jct down into Llanhilleth where the signal box was reputedly painted only brown as the coal dust from the pits masked any other colour. This was followed by Stephen B with an account of the Pechot-Bourdon sort-of-Fairlie locomotives extensively used by the French Military on 600 mm track. This was before during and after WW1.
Our year started off with in the same vein as many of last year's Tuesdays with a talk from Stephen B. This time he took us to the north-east corner of the country with a talk on the development of the industries and railways in the Holywell region of Flint, culminating in the Holywell Branch of the LNWR.
No Friday meeting this week with COVID concerns and self-isolations but member have been beavering away with TAFKATYS progressing well with his Garrett; our Resident Wizard completing a water bowser and LBH eventually showing some progress on the TVR brake van (go back to November 2020 for its last appearance and see if you can spot what he has managed to achieve in fifteen months)
No meetings this week but TAFKATYS has been beavering away with a kit for an 0-4-4-0 Garrett from the Mercian (formerly Avondale) stable.
The prototype is one of a class of four manufactured by Beyer Peacock from 1937. One made it to be preserved, William Francis, which was from Baddersley colliery where it was used on steep inclines.
Two similar engines were found in south Wales, No. 6172 of 1924 at Vivian and Sons, Landore and No. 6779 of 1934 at East Moors Works, Cardiff.
The design of the firebox wrapper has left TAFKATYS with an interesting problem, the rivets are represented by half-etched depressions rather than standing proud of the surface.