2019 Late Spring - May onwards

2019 July 3rd      Wednesday at Badlesmere                        Rob M 

Sun, a breeze and the heavy scent of chestnut flowers – a lazy summer’s day.  But, in the hall, EKOGG were beavering away – and consuming chocolate biscuits while chatting over teas.  The Circuit, which had been put up in double quick time, hosted a variety of small locos, an LNER 0-6-0 and Colin S’s two-car electric set.  Ross and John P ran their locos in parallel: a tiny blue saddle tank and a GWR Mogul.  Allen’s battery/DC 08 diesel unaccountably lost power, so he and Steve were soon peering into its workings.  We needed four tables to jamb around today, with locos being worked on and half a dozen wagons.  Several of these ventured onto the Circuit for runs as the day progressed: P class, MR Pug, GWR tank engine, plus a wagon or two. 

Sarre was being tittivated ready for our Friends & Family afternoon. We talked through our outline for the day over lunch.  Members co-ordinating layout operation calculated stock needs, besides looking at space and power sockets.  We hope that all who bring a short train will have a chance to run it.  David Ho. is listing refreshments and hoping for us to nip into the kitchen and lend a hand as usual.  David G went over suggestions for a new station that could be slotted into the Circuit.  A North Kent prototype is proposed, set in appropriate scenery.  The worry was that this would make the Circuit rather large, which could restrict its appearances at shows.  Various shortening ideas were suggested, as was using it with fiddle yards at times.  We also wondered about how many years life at exhibitions are left to Edington before wear and tear takes its toll.

So, plenty of running, construction and helping each other today, plus plenty to plan.

2019 June 19th      Wednesday at Badlesmere                         Rob M  [photos by Ross S]

After the storm came the members – twenty-two of them.  A pile of people appeared so the Circuit was up in double quick time.  Being ‘Tank Engine Day’, we soon saw quite a variety.  Barry W ran his first O gauge loco; an Ivatt 2MT 2-6-2t.  He also had Southern types including W, O2 and J classes, while Roger had an R1 and H.  Smaller saddle tanks used the other line.  Fred trialled his GWR tanks, followed by John P running a saddle tank from one of the smaller GWR constituents.  A pannier and prairie appeared later

The Sales Table attracted John M, who dropped by between jobs, then caught up with news as we gathered for lunch.  Some trees were being positioned on  Sarre.  Two Davids were constructing small locos next to Bill, as he sorted the floor of a goods van.  Tank wagons and a van were further along, across from Ross, who called up Light Railway views on his computer.  Amongst the bags of doughnuts and magazines we sought tiny pieces of loco kits which had skidded into hiding.

Despite the showers, Alan came down from Bromley with Joe.  Roger found a DCC controller, Fred fixed wires and David Ho. cleaned a lot of oil from the rails.  Joe didn’t have much success with an A3 pacific, but his green Princess had a good run; Jack exploiting DCC to produce clanking and coasting sounds in addition to steaming.  Joe has the sound package taken from the actual loco, which he’d observed at the Midland Railway Centre.  Meanwhile, Alan ran his gleaming GWR express engine on the other track.  These drew quite a crowd, and we sat nearby chatting  until it was time to pack away.

2019 June 15th      Saturday at Badlesmere                         Rob M  [photo by Ross S]

Automatic operating 4 aspect signals are one project that John J is working on.  At present in N scale, but hopefully on his planned O gauge inside/outside line in the future.  Stuart shewed us his neat paint job on the 4-wheel Cambrian carriage he’d constructed. Tim was also in late Victorian mode, with fancy decoration on a lofty brick-based water tower.  I added a few pieces to a van body, with the tanker wagon production line to one side of me and David Ha. working on brass frets for locos to the other.

Some of us had brought packed lunches, Jim fasted and others had dined across The Lees Green.  Roger toted the sales items onto tables, so we were soon looking through packets of pieces or wondering about rolling stock.  Several helped in the kitchen, keeping up the supply of tea.  Magazines and books were shared on the tables.  A tree production line, well two, for Sarre was started by David Ho. 

Paul had supervised the Circuit being set out and soon he and John P were testing a GWR Pannier and stock. I found that my old Terrier was independent about direction of travel and John B ran an oil tank train.  Colin S and Barry W trialled larger locos; as a black saddle tank circled, while Ross waited for inspiration as to which livery it aspired to.

2019 June 5th     Wednesday at Badlesmere                     Rob M   [Photos by: David G, Ross S, RM]

The hall buzzed, with plenty of trains running, models of all sorts taking shape, and the sale, for group funds, of Ron Steward’s bequest.  Fred had joined the usual suspects awaiting the doors being opened.  We soon had tables up and kettles on, before setting out the Circuit.  14xxs and siphons took the tracks and Richard added a SE&CR steam railmotor.  Later, after a variety of trains, Jim P added a gleaming D1 which gentle hissed and chuffed.  Lever frames, tall mill buildings, tank wagons and an Ilfracombe Goods loco were amongst the models being assembled.  A part of Sarre appeared briefly, while a section of Edington was worked on for much of our time. 

Roger backed to the door, commandeered a table and was soon surrounded by boxes of stock and bits.  Sentinel, tram and Great Eastern 2-4-0 locos were soon snapped up as wagons were assessed.  Our GOG officers peered into boxes of partly built kits and sorted little loco parts to aid sales.  Bill R, who found us via web links, had twenty-two people to talk with.  Luckily, help was at hand for catering and tidying as counting that many for teas and coffees proved difficult.  We caught up on group and GOG news, and heard about using new train services to Cornwall and the amount of freight  seen around Remagen.  Another enjoyable meeting.  [Stop press: We think our secretaty is in Ireland.]

2019 May 18th     Saturday at Badlesmere                           Rob M

We had the kettle boiled and ready when the pub lunchers joined us from across the Lees Green.  Sarre once again ventured into the fresh air, but came inside for painting and cleaning, when the skies greyed and damp was felt.  This time Stuart provided an aged light railway carriage for photos, while John B coupled it to his green Austerity saddle tank.  Modelling was mainly confined to wagons, including one of the many Grampus p-way wagon variations.  Books and magazines were on the table, some of which were from our Bring & Buy table, as were various detailing models.  As usual, we had plenty of railway talk and updated each other on projects.


2019 May 15th     Wednesday at Badlesmere                     Rob M

Was it 53 or 58 wagons moving round our Circuit?  And all private owner liveries.  Trains had been coupled and sent off, then combined until they stretched halfway around the Test Track.  Terriers took a fair amount before giving way to a SDJR Class 3F.  Later various combinations of smaller locos struggled before rakes reduced.  We perched along the stage, spotting local names on coal wagons and protesting about petrol tankers next to locos.

At the table, bogie frames were folded, tiny bits added to wagons and buildings constructed.  Paul H assembled a signal cabin, while John H spread “plaster” onto a plasticard form ready for sculpting into stonework similar to the detailed cottage he’d brought.  Jim M sawed ply for the Diorama.  Sun hat on, Jackie led the way outside where we set out Sarre for David Ho. to photograph.  Hopefully they will appear in GOG’s projected layout plans booklet.  John P helped by wrapping himself in a white sheet… as Ross, Roger and I provided vans and wagons.  Barry W’s Class H, with parcels brake, took centre stage.

2019 May 1st      Wednesday at Badlesmere                        Rob M

Spring had sprung with sand martins swooping by, so we threw open the windows and got the Circuit set for running.  John P organised refreshments today, with Jackie and Chris M joining me helping.  John P and Jackie then got Sarre’s baseboards onto tables, and facing the light, to give the facia its first coat of varnish of the day.  Jim M and Barry brought plywood, destined for the new diorama.  Allen peered into the cardboard tubes revealing plans and drawings.  Fred C. appeared in the doorway clutching a non-running loco he’d made a while back, so we welcomed him to the table.  Paul W got busy fault finding and the 14xx’s drivers turned later, but a wobbly trailing wheel needed curing.  Nearby a 6-wheel carriage awaited a curved roof.

John B was wagon building at the modelling table, after giving his small saddle tank a run.  Steve had several items of stock.  Geoff mentioned the future of the “E&T” and saw that we’ve a couple of photos of models in the Guild News.  Jim P had brought a large LSWR tank and an Andrew Barclay 0-4-0st, a Tower Models’ kit in white primer.  The small loco wiggled around occasionally pausing at rail joints, leading Jim to attack the track with a garden scale cleaner pad.  Later we were shewn a DCC controller that mimics a modern loco's driving desk, while Chris N managed to fit a tiny video camera to the front of a loco on the Circuit. A Brighton D3, in BR livery, took a Birdcage carriage around our lines, along with a SR Mogul.

2019 January & New Year

2019 April 17th                 Wednesday at Badlesmere          Rob M

Battery power and radio control came to “The Circuit” again in the form of D3120, Allen’s diesel shunter.   The loco was working, controlled by an app. on Chris N’s mobile when I was let loose on it, switching on lights and speeding up with a swipe of the finger – and it didn’t need a track cleaner.

The lines were having good use, both DCC and analogue; a selection of little diesels taking centre stage.  The NCB green pannier followed small saddle tanks and a large prairie.  John B ran a large Austerity ST, which he plans to name after his Army unit.  Now motorised, after several decade’s wait, a small crane tank had a run.  It was Geoff’s first O gauge loco, made with plasticard and OO wheels, while his ship waited off Jedda in the Red Sea.

A gentle drizzle of ladybirds descended on “Sarre” before heading off through the open windows.  Jackie was kneeling to creosote its fences, while John P seemed to prefer hanging over the backscene as David Ho. placed newspaper to protect scenery from paint.

As we finished lunching, Tim brought us up to date with his ideas for our new shunting diorama, useful points  being made by the fifteen of us.  Sizes for this mini-layout were fixed after much experimenting with eye levels and measuring of the tail gates of several cars, so we're on our way with a new project.

2019 April 13th        Meeting of EKOGG at Faversham         Roger Harmer

It was a small, select group that met this day.  Just three were able to make lunch in the Sun but five more joined them at the hall.  We began with one of the BRM modelling DVDs, wagons volume 1 hosted by Ian Rice.  This one talks about research and the need to make one’s models as homogenous as possible to maintain a realistic over all look to the layout.  About half way through we paused for tea.  After tea we changed DVD to a brief (three minutes!) look at the Welsh Highland in the ‘30s.  Following that interlude we watched “The Night Mail”, first the original but then an updated version showing how the night mail worked in 1986 (and in colour).  This included the first train in the bright red livery adopted by the Post Office in 1986 and the naming of a class 47 locomotive as “Night Mail” painted in the InterCity livery.  The updated version included aircraft and vans in the distribution network but still had forty Travelling Post Office (TPO) trains in service, sadly now gone.  For the detail fanatics, it should be noted that only the first red TPO had red roofs.  All subsequent repaints had grey roofs.  And then we went home.


2019 April 3rd       Wednesday at Badlesmere                        Rob M

Diesel shunters gently ticked over, switched on their lights then took to the inside track, while an 03, 04 and D3459 ran in turn on the outer.  Attempts for Manning-Wardles and large Prairies to share the Circuit weren’t so successful.  “Sarre” continues gaining detail, with many small touches added.  One of the “Edington” traverser’s buffer/support units was having its electric connections beefed-up. 


Light railway stock abounded on the construction table, alongside a tank wagon production line and figure painting.  Over lunch, the twenty-one of us mentioned future meetings along with calls for operators at shows.  Geoff R. suggested and is looking into a visit to a railway collection to the north of the Dartford crossing.  From North Kent John G arrived, with Jim P, and has decided to join us.  Allen W. made a welcome comeback, bringing battery power and radio control.  Terriers appeared once more, testing running with goods stock.

Running ended about 14.20 after we’d seen a SR/LBSCR K class Mogul and ran Colin’s D16/2 1Co-Co1.  He hopes that a few more penny-weights added over the leading wheels will improve running.  With plenty of hands to help we had soon stowed away and were off.

2019 March 20th       Wednesday at Badlesmere                Rob M

A practical explanation of DCC by Paul H started our session as we drank coffees (and ate doughnuts provided by D.Ha.).  With swift selection of functions Paul’s GWR locos gently hissed, greeted people with whistles and chuffed in sync. as they moved along their dual tracks.  Paul answer some questions during the demo, then spent time with all those interested during the morning.

You could tell that it was “Terrier Day” as a dozen of the little locos were on our ‘Circuit’.  They seemed happy pottering around, sometimes forming little queues, buffer to buffer.  Our three visitors looked a little bemused at times having seen our ordered selves at shows and now finding out what we do when nobody’s watching.  Paul W had quickly soldered a new connection for our DCC users so their Terriers could join the pack.  Varied liveries went by, nearly all from Dapol.

Over lunch we talked over ‘Diorama’ ideas.  Making our own track and suitable county town buildings is planned.  Opinion on whether the mini layout should be of boxed in type or of open aspect, was fairly evenly divided.  Tim is now getting together full-size plans.  Over on ‘Sarre’, the platform had gained a white edge and the photo backscene was being tried out.  Kit building continued on the table throughout another bustling day.

March 16th 2019        Saturday in Faversham        Rob M

The wind whistled and the trains slowed, branches brushing their windows, but at least were regular.  Motorways being closed caused long journeys for some of us.  Gremlins got to the dvd player, but David G found links to films of Tornado striving for 100mph through the night.

Tim introduced ideas for a diorama that could go on an EKOGG table at events, so we were soon discussing form and presentation.  Bombarded with my sketches, and comments from all, Tim will have large sheets of paper with him at the next meeting as he firms up plans.

Tea and coffee in hands, we introduced Thirza to tinplate modellers, circulated, viewed the Bring & Buy and caught up with news.  To wind up we watched LMS film of a Duchess being built; just about everything being manufactured “in house”.  Amid flaming metal and crashing drop hammers only a few leather aprons spoke of safety measures.  Barring rain, “Sarre” should be at the next Faversham meeting on Saturday April 13th, so do bring an interesting loco and piece to run.  Full supporting programme: “Bring & Buy”, film, etc.

March 6th         Badlesmere  Wednesday session                  Rob M

It was Pannier Day on the Circuit, at least to start with.  New member Jack B’s Pannier is non-running for now, but Paul W’s green GWR version was nipping round one track as mine slowly propelled its auto-coach along the other.  A Dean Goods had an outing or two and we saw Jim P’s big Prairie.  If Paul H had speeded up construction on the modelling table, we’d have had a fleet of Western engines operating.

Chris N solved the puzzling lack of water by locating another stop cock in the kitchen as nineteen members arrived.  Our DCC users plan to bring in their systems over the next months for us to learn from.  As usual, we had a Bring & Buy stall. David Ho. organised refreshments; luckily with some help in the kitchen.  After constructing his large base boards, Chris M was preparing pipework for Sarre’s warehouse while John P was added detail at the other end of the tracks.

Over on the tables a bogie carriage was being assembled, figures painted and light railway locos made for old Metropolitan coaches.  There was muttering over a resin wagon and fixing draw gear into vans.  Modern aggregate wagons were taking shape too.  We briefly saw a Standard 2-6-4t before a large LSWR H16 came out, looking for a transfer freight.  A delightful tiny Manning Wardle K 0-6-0st was pursued along the track by a Terrier, but, when it had the line to itself, Ross added suitable vans and a 4-wheel carriage to the blue loco.  Steve S had wagons to run a goodly freight with his BR mogul before running ended with a pair of Gronks; Roger’s with postal vans.

February 20th              Badlesmere  Wednesday session                  Rob M

It was a fresh sunny morning with swathes of snowdrops across the Lees Green, when eleven of us met up and set out the Circuit when Jackie had arrived on the 666 bus, members helping with the kitchen, chores and baseboard moving.  Barry K’s Class 60 was soon out next to the big Standard tank brought by David G., while a Terrier nipped around, checking wagon weights and running.  Chris N had his little 4 wheeled tram on the line and was thinking about roof detail for a pole pickup or bow.

Jim M’s loco shed has the ridge line smoke hoods fitted and a circular louvred vent over the doors, one of which has inexplicably disappeared.  I was adding missing grab handles to an American boxcar, when David G began a brass carriage kit nearby.  David suggested we have some themed running sessions; diesels; Terriers (if there is enough room for them all); South Eastern; etc.  That sounds like fun, and I expect we’d let other items creep onto the tracks when no one was looking.

Jim P unpacked a brand new WR big Prairie tank, but I’m not sure that he got as far as fitting the pony wheel assemblies to the chassis.  Down his end of the table they seemed to be taking turns swapping pairs of glasses as John B and Roger worked on wagons.  Sawing a hunk off the back of a storage shed didn’t seem to need such finesse.  That had been passed over from ‘Sarre’, as they need a slither of space for a new back scene.  John P and David Ho. were on that layout improving the platform area and baseboard joints.

February 16th              EKOGG AGM & model display at Faversham          Rob M      [photos by Ross S & Rob M  - More are on our Gallery page]

Twenty of us met for our AGM and display of models in the Fleur Hall, quickly setting out chairs and tables for our models and Sales.  The AGM was relatively painless; the committee remaining unchanged, expenses dealt with and info gleaned from the members.  Ideas for a diorama, about 4 feet long and allowing moving locos, are welcomed, as are views on the development of the Circuit, while, DCC users are to trial control systems.  An open day on July 20th is to go ahead and a trip to Pendon is on the cards.  It was interesting to hear from recently joined members just how they’d found out about us, as we hope to have a stand at several Kent area shows.

Over tea and biscuits (chocolate if you were quick) we examined the Sales table and had a good chat.  David Hopkin’s helpers and David G managed to join the rest of us, voting slips in hand, to carefully inspect the competition entries and those projects which were on display.  These were fewer than last year’s bumper crop, but impressive as always.

David Hayes and John Minter displayed their Victorian locomotives on the Project table.  The usual suspects took the first places, but there were close contenders, particularly in the Scenic section.  The two which caught my eye were a wonderfully overgrown siding with forgotten wagon by Stuart and the towering barrel warehouse by Tim.  Certificates went to David G for a SDJR loco and a compartmented carriage, Mike P for his very detailed bridge with stable built into the arch and to myself for a LSWR stone wagon.

February 6th Wednesday at Badlesmere      Rob M

From foggy Folkestone and murky Medway, fifteen of us sploshed into the hall.  The Circuit was organised by John J and John B, leaving just enough room for Edington to stretch to the doors.  David Ha. repaired a storage box that had come to grief.  When hot drinks were shared out, work started on the modelling table: resin coal and one plank wagons were at one end and plastic van kits at the other.  Between them, Paul H seemed overrun with brass number plates while Jim M and Geoff R were surrounded by locos that had been brought in.  Roger was hoping that Sarre could gain a mention in the Guild’s forthcoming book on smaller layouts.

Work on improving the Edington traverser’s sliding electrical contacts went ahead; Chris M preparing parts for Paul W.  David G and Chris N commented on how much wear layouts and stock cope with when going to shows.  Nearby, David Ho. began readying our tortoise point motors for installation should older ones fail.

Early BR diesels, from Colin S’s stable, were seen on the Circuit besides Terriers and Barry W’s SR 4-4-0.  As we lunched, we were joined by Jack B, who’d seen us at Longfield, and Steve B who’d read about us.  They bravely talked to some of the throng while having a good look around, so we hope to see them again soon.  Kitchen tidied, Circuit stowed and Edington carefully packed for transporting, we wished Doncaster’s operating team well and headed off.

January 25th – 27th  EKOGG at the Erith MR Show, Longfield Academy   Roger H & Ross S

Having collected the van, Paul W and David G loaded it and set off to Longfield where Roger joined them to set up. Roger and David G returned on Saturday, the operating team of David Ho, John B and John P arriving in good time for the opening. A switch had to be replaced (broken in storage?), and the layout was soon operating fully, with lots of favourable comments from the punters, enjoying this large show in superb surroundings (including indoor trees and shrubs enhancing the EK0GG stand). Facilities for the exhibitors were excellent, with splendid hot lunches (even a roast dinner on Sunday!).

On Sunday, the operating team of Chris M, David G, Paul W, Roger and Tim assembled in goodtime, and after a quick replacement of a failed point motor, ran a full timetable without hiccup. It was good to see Ross call by, who commented on how pleasing it was to see the layout running so well.  This has stimulated ideas for further improving the new fiddle yards and to be implemented as soon as possible.

Again, lots of interested punters, including a ten-year-old who had walked some of the S&D line itself, and another older man who used to live close to Edington station itself.

January 19th 2019            Saturday at Badlesmere                Rob M with photos from Ross S

We set the lunch table between a pair of radiant heaters and huddled.  Feeling a deal warmer, Jim M and John B set out a loco shed and a van kit to work on.

Once those from the Red Lion had joined us, we got Edington up on its trestles for further checks.  Paul W soon had one traverser opened for its sliders to be cleaned and lubricated, with John P cradling the track bed, which is wired to the base.  That done, the facia board was fitted.  David Ho. was replacing and checking point motors and connections.  Colin S and Ross S added a grove of saplings by the west goods siding and are planning for seedlings nearer the cattle dock.  Scenic boards assembled, a sunshine lettered Terrier tested the tracks.  It was joined by a gleaming Brighton Works version; the two locating places where tweaking was needed.


Stuart H breezed in from the Canterbury Show clutching Richard B’s connections for the newer traverser.  David G and Paul W now went into overdrive to install them.  We formed the baseboards into their travelling crates and carefully stowed them ready to go to Longfield Show.  Water turned off at the mains, we departed under a clear winter’s sky.

January 16th 2019            Wednesday at Badlesmere                          RM

The hall was buzzing when I rolled up, and so it continued with our work/lunch table growing to four sections to cope with seventeen of us. Under the heater at one end brass kits congregated: Barry W with a new chassis, Paul H adding GWR backhead detail, David Ha. preparing van sections, and Tim assembling a grain hopper van. Jim M’s loco shed was much admired, with its embossed brick paper, all the way from Greece.  Roofed with crafted strips and single slates, the smoke louvres have been started and the coffee stirrer doors are prepared. John B fettled a six wheeled van underframe, while Richard produced a train’s worth of pre-grouping wagons from a large box. 

Several of us dropped into the kitchen to lend and help with tidying with David Ho., who organising the production of numerous mugs of tea. 

An 08 diesel with tank wagons ventured onto the layout, where the Brighton Works Terrier and another were in the platform.  Liveried SECR tank locos, including a crane tank, lined up on a siding with an appropriate period freight train.

Preparing “Edington Junction” for its forthcoming exhibitions was the major task for the day, with all the sections being assembled.  An upturned traverser with three people holding it down while thumping the end unit hinted that damper conditions had tightened some clearances. Chris M viewed the greenery he’d been working on, then added stronger tones where needed. The newer traverser  at t’other end was speedily fixed up, its electrics checked with a SDJR saddle tank and the operating switches explained. At one stage, we got rather carried away with the facia board clips, immobilising the sliding section – easily cured. The clips to hold the controllers are done, with neater wiring into the main sections.

Members had tidied the hall when I left, leaving David Ho., David G and Paul W replacing worn micro switches beneath points and planning to tweak some fiddle yard wiring.

Autumn 2018

December 15th 2018      Saturday in Faversham  -  Christmas Quiz                         Rob M

You could hear muttering from the teams, “I’m sure I know this one…” and “… got it” as the Quiz progressed.  Teams of twos and threes had appeared from John P’s hat, and as always results were close – elevens, thirteens and the leaders with fifteen – Jackie Davidson and David Grimwood.  Well done.  We thanked John Bullimore for setting the questions across the swathe of our interests.

Ross, co-author of ‘Colonel Stephens and his Railmotors’ showed us his copy when we'd collected our hot drinks and were tucking into mince pies.  We thanked John Plumpton for all his work, over several years, in organizing our refreshments.  David Hopkins has offered to take on the task, but will need a deputy in case he cannot get to a meeting.  Thanks also to the usual suspects who squeezed into the kitchen to help, plus Colin Smith and all who set out the hall.

The meeting continued with films, selected by David G, featuring Pathe News extracts of the North Sunderland branch; GWR’s streamlined railcar; naming the first LNER “Footballer” loco, …  With Christmas wishes we headed off into the sleet and rain.

Earlier, at The Sun Inn, the committee had grabbed the seats nearest the bar before being joined by six others for a cheerful and tasty lunch.

December 5th 2018         Wednesday at Badlesmere                          Rob M

 With gentle chuffs and crows on the whistle, Tim sent his London Transport pannier around the Circuit to run in.  As usual there was plenty of help for John P as he organised refreshments and with moving all the baseboards and furniture.Wagons and locos were in evidence on the table, Sarre being fitted out nearby and major works in progress on Edington - so, all in all, a usual EKOGG day. 

Over lunch we suggested our hall as a venue for a GOG Modellers’ Workshop session.  We’d provide light refreshments, but would point participants to the Red Lion for lunch.  Once again it would raise our club’s profile.  We wondered about being able to have DCC available for visitors; maybe a controller/power pack for one of the Circuit’s tracks. 

We found out more about DCC over lunch, but as Barry K predicted, found that our users had each selected a different system.  Both Tim and Jim P had brought DCC controllers to the hall today, settling on using Jim’s Lenz system.  Usually systems seem to cope with another’s chips.  Chris N said that a controller which could access 4 digits codes would be of most use to visiting modellers.  David Hopkins hoped that a friend of his could drop by during a future meeting and tell us about the experiences of DCC at his group.  We’ll consider whether to acquired a controller in the New Year.

The second traverser for Edington was being aligned today; lots of work from Paul W, supported by both Barrys and David G, who was musing on future projects for the group – Ideas welcome.  Further along, spring had come to the layout as Chris M sprayed adhesives and spread greenery ready for 2019’s exhibitions.  The haze of glue reached Jim M who was fixing corner curves, made of card laminated around a bottle, to the backscene of Sarre.  John P and David Ho. were smoothing platform gaps and fixing buffer stops.

At the table a cluster of people watched Roger as he slid methfix transfers into position on a van.  Wagon underframes concerned John B and Chris M.  Between distributing doughnuts, David Ha. was checking an Ironside saddle tank; rolling the loco through pointwork on the layouts.  Tim had photos of his growing range of brewery/factory buildings from his industrial layout.  All was done to the accompaniment of locos having a good run: the pannier, a SER 4-4-0 of Geoff’s, Jim P’s “Blue Star” Merchant Navy and John B’s freight train drawn by a Terrier.

November 21st 2018    Wednesday at Badlesmere                    Rob M

The flags were out for us in the hall, when sixteen of us gathered.  It turned out to be the Badlesmere hall’s committee preparing for the village’s quiz night.  We easily worked around each other as we prepared hot drinks and set out the tables.  Warmed inside and out, we readied the Circuit and had two sections of Sarre out for the scenery to be worked on.  John P and David Ho. Were joined by others as they replaced the platform’s edging boards.  

On the table, modellers were pretty busy with Chris M preparing underframes for his batch of SER vans, near where I added slates to a cottage roof.  David G, working on loco parts, and Jim M discussing a squeaking 4F.  Jim 2 was fettling an 0-4-0t chassis, while John B was collecting today’s subs. and working on his light railway stock.  David Ha. assembled more of his 2-2-2 chassis alongside Ross S who was folding the etches of Queen Victoria’s LSWR saloon.

Barry W ran a South Western G6 and his latest SECR loco.  There was also a Terrier, in SECR livery, that Ross is lightly weathering for the Tenterden Museum, plus a light railway mixed train belonging to John B.  James (Jim 3), our other new member, produced a green Class 37 to which he added three Pullman cars.  When the team got them coupled-up and table lamps lit, they did running-in circuits, paralleled on the outer line by Geoff’s Ivatt 2-6-2t.

Over lunch members suggested the idea of a summer day out to either the Bluebell Railway plus the Lavender Line; or to Pendon and a steaming day Didcot.  We spoke about the Gauge O Guild, saying that our Group finds the present organisation, its publications and the events it puts on, suits us very well.  The only caveat seemed to be that the Forum should be modelling focused.  In the next sessions it will be the turn of Edington to be refurbished.

November 17th 2018     Saturday in Faversham             Rob M

We all thanked David Hopkins for putting on this afternoon’s meeting. He arrayed himself in a Lavender Line hi-vis to recount the history of that preserved railway. His photos included several of the daunting floods that tore away their works several years back. The variety of locos that had been billeted on or hosted by the short line was amazing: War Department 2-10-0 from Greece; various saddle tanks, including the pair of ultra low bodied ones from Par Harbour; a Southampton Docks diesel, a Class 73; Thumpers; Wickham Railbus Laboratory 20; a Belgian steam tram engine… Certainly a well kept secret in Sussex. A film promoting British steam loco building from the 1940s, with hot metal being drop hammered and huge steel sheets rolled to make smokeboxes was next out of David's case.

We chatted over teas and coffees; hearing about the practicalities of managing the Folkestone Show, besides bringing all up to date with group goings on. David’s final selection was very relevant to layout builders. It focused on re-vamping a layout, reminding us of many techniques and introducing others. Many thanks to John P, Barry W and John J for tackling the kitchen chores; Jackie for locking up and to all the others who’d aided to make it a very enjoyable meeting. Earlier some members had lunched in our new venue, The Sun, in West Street.

David Hopkins photo collection: David in control of the Southampton Docks diesel; the beginning of the flood damage; Par Harbour low bodied saddle tanks.

November 7th  -  Wednesday at Badlesmere  -  RM

A rainy windy day saw twenty people to Badlesmere – we setting out extra tables and John P organising yet more refreshments.  The Circuit was soon up and running; David G’s Ivatt 2-6-2t being first out and Barry W trialling his latest loco.  An industrial tank engine, with skirts, was pulling an aged CCW wooden coach of SER design.  David Ho. gave us a  surprise by running a Basset Lowke Class 20 Diesel.  John P’s SR O2 was in great demand for hauling stock, including Chris M’s newly acquired local wagon.  Later it waited patiently while Ross and Jackie battled with the couplings between a Darstaed corridor brake and a SR utility van.  Our Longfield visitors, Jim and John, had bought an impressive Heljan Prairie on their way to us and had it purring along our tracks.  My old Canadian Pacific 4-4-0 nipped around while Geoff waited with a large bunkered Terrier.

* Our pre-meeting lunches in Faversham will be at The Sun in West Street, gathering at 12.30.

Around Chris N, a huddle of kit builders occupied themselves: Paul H slating a station roof, Jim M with an 0-4-0t, John B making a wagon and David Ha. assembling a chassis of a 2-2-2 loco.  Roger had shown us all the new photo backscene for Sarre, which was being tittivated nearby.  Paul W, Barry K and Jim 2 clustered around an Edington baseboard to replace the troublesome point motor in the yard.  We had our usual chatty lunch, sharing news and ideas, and hearing about the Gravesend Show from Roger and John B, who'd taken our display table there.  As several members use DCC, we’d like views about which version to select and the pitfalls to avoid if we install it alongside our present controllers on our Circuit.

Folkestone Show  -  October 5th to 7th . Friday  to Sunday     -     RM

On Saturday, it was good to see members visiting.  I managed to talk with Les G, David Ha., John M, Mike P, Paul H and Geoff R.  Vouchers towards lunch were provided, and we took turns to have a look at the exhibits.  Our team of four operators was joined by Martin, a friend from the Wimbledon Club on the first day of the show.  Martin coped with the new traverser, while Roger, David G, Paul W and I took other controllers.  We had a goodly number of appreciative comments from the visitors and hints of future bookings for the layout.  More O gauge layouts were on show than we've seen for some time.

On the Friday, I was waiting at the top of the Leas Cliff Hall’s unloading slope when the van arrived with David G and Paul W.  Roger and Tim soon joined us to fit our kit into the lift and descend to the Channel Suite.  (Unfortunately, John B was unwell so couldn’t join us.) Paul W checked on pointwork while the setting up proceeded swiftly.  Leaving arranging stock and final preparation until the morning, we departed in various directions.

Sunday brought a new team of operators with David Ho., Chris M, Tim and John P.  David G and Paul W focused on tending stock and the layout, both of which were getting hard use.  Our hosts were very welcoming and we met many old friends, including John P’s from France.  The sun shone on our take-out, as we wore a path across the grass to load.  David Ho. and I waved the layout’s van off, then followed with the stock.

[photos: Martin managing the traverser & Paul W locating the hidden magnetic uncoupler]

It was good to see more of our members visiting, and I managed to talk with Les G, David Ha., John M, Mike P, Paul H and Geoff R.  The previous evening we'd had Tim S helping with transporting and settling up the layout.  Our hosts were very welcoming and we met many old friends.  [Martin managing the traverser & Paul W locating the magnetic uncoupler]

October 3rd at Badlesmere                      RM  -  photo Ross S

Seventeen of us thronged the hall and hoped that the water pressure would keep up for our mugs of tea.  Southern vans, stock being fettled and tiny locos being constructed filled the modelling table.  Over the other side operators were under training, using a variety of members' locos.  We saw Steve's BR diesel and 2-6-0 alongside John P's SR M7 and a variety of Somerset & Dorset engines.  Testing of the traverser reached the stage where all was considered good, while checking the lines ready for Folkestone's exhibition continued. A team of us will be moving the layout to the show venue on Friday.

A pretty busy day.

September 8th & 9th at Faversham Model Railway Club's show        Rob M

I found our Sarre layout in the second hall of the Abbey School, and was greeted with the news that they’d been asked to attend the Beckenham and Gravesend Shows in the future.  Good going indeed.

There was quite a crowd of our people in the halls; watching layouts, meeting friends and operating.  John B was out the front chatting to those watching, and if there were children around Roger H would be keeping stock moving while waiting for trains to appear from off stage.  Chris M was in command of the storage cassettes with Stewart H when I first looked, but everyone was taking a turn.  Tim S was at the controls when John P took time off for a tea, and Ross S, released from editing Colonel Stephen’s books, soon appeared behind the layout.  Mike P was helping nearby at the Cement Works diorama, where I’d met our John M, and Richard B had previously dropped by.  (Jackie D and David H joined the operators on Sunday, while others helped with transport.)

Amongst the layouts I stopped at was the 3mm Somewhere in Southern England with small terminus and a harbour with fish net stores and the AFS testing its pumps on the slipway.  The OO steam shed at night was interesting and the BLS Swiss bridge with galleries clinging to the mountain side provided an entertaining procession of trains.

September 5th 2018                       Wednesday at Badlesmere                          Rob M

On a dull and drizzly day, the fifteen of us went into exhibition prep mode and had a productive day.

Sarre was running Roger’s improved operating sequence to check for glitches – we clapped when, at lunchtime, they’d succeeded.  John B, with timetable to hand, kept train speeds realistic, with Jackie at the control panel, as Chris M and John P filled the cassettes with stock.  The day ended with us checking the list of essentials to take to the weekend’s show and boxing the baseboards for transport; David Ho. marking the bolt holes.

The Edington crew had the traverser and a couple of baseboards out.  John J was soon soldering connections and work continued with inspecting the loco release tracks. These were puzzling Paul W, Barry K and David G, having a voltage drop and a ‘short’, but with due time and consideration were dealt with.  Meanwhile, I sploshed green paint on facias, considerately waiting to do those in use ‘til we were stowing away.

While Paul H constructed a GWR tank engine, plying a mini blow torch, at one end of the modelling table, David Ha. was making a small Ruston diesel using resistance soldering at the other.  Barry W and Jim M had very fine mesh for the grills and vents.  Those who’d travelled to Telford told us about Guildex and how they’d resisted, or not, buying from the traders.  John P and David Ho. organised refreshments and many leant a hand.