Spring 2014

April 26th Town Meeting  - Notes & photo by Ross Shimmon

About a dozen of us gathered for the last meeting of the season at the Fleur, some having had a good chat over lunch at the Vaults across the road.  David treated us to some filmed nostalgia, starting with clips of the Wantage Tramway showing 'Jane' hauling a short freight amongst cyclists and cars from the 20s and 30s.  This was followed by film of steam at Dover and rare glimpses of Dover trams. Members were drooling over R1s), an immaculate P class in full Southern livery, quickly followed by a majestic Lord Nelson leaving Dover Marine with a boat train express. After tea and bickies, we had a complete trip from Caernarfon to Porthmadog on the rebuilt Welsh Highland.  Glorious scenery, impressive Garratts, long trains, all in full colour, without intrusive commentary - what more could you want?  A fitting end to the season.

April 19th - Layouts & Running - Notes from David G

After customary, but rather chilly, refreshments outside, ten of us took shelter upstairs, marvelling at the well-tidied barn.  Colin, Geoff and Barry ran impressive locos around the test circuit, with green coaches. The test circuit controllers decided to work on reduced power, so the faithful H&M was drafted in as Alastair’s visitors watched Barry’s ‘Orient Line’ cruising round in fine style.  We welcomed Paul, who is considering moving to 0 Gauge.  Work continued apace on Edington; sanding down, fitting cross bracing, then the cork underlay for the track bed was cut to shape and glued down. The last undertaken in almost complete silence – not sure whether that was concentration or panic!  The design of the fiddle yards was debated, and plans made for testing ideas at the next session.

April 5th - Running & Construction

It all happened: picnickers fed fruit cake by Stan, splendid models running and construction progressing.  The EKLR and K&ESR were represented by “Walton Park” and twin railcars 8 & 9.  SECR Birdcage stock looked good and Beyer-Garret and King chassis intrigued.  GWR branch line trains and railcars circled as well as LMS locos.  Minor fettling of the main line and ideas for basic scenery were mooted.  Colin’s diesel shunter D3459 was on Nailbourne where, with Ross, he prepared the base for a scenic coal yard as shelving was prepared below them. Edington’s team, with new member Roy, occasionally forgot that baseboards wouldn’t stay up without trestles, but overcame recalcitrant drill bits as they fitted brass dowels.  They now have a large box of track components to play with.   [Photos: Stan's railcars / Colin's D3459 - RobM]

March 28th - Layout Project

The busy team had given a kick start to our Edington Burtle project during the day.  After prep-work they discussed details and methods over mugs of tea at lunch.  When the session resumed the trestles and five boards were positioned in the centre of the loft, and the track plan was unfurled.  We gathered round to go over the work schedule and discuss potential pitfalls.  Elsewhere fire alarms and lighting were checked, loco facilities worked on and the great re-organisation continued. All gathered for tea in the open air before leaving.

March 15th - Town Meeting:

We had a Somerset themed afternoon with David’s plans for Edington Burtle spread along the side of the hall. The meeting approved expenditure on this new layout.  We looked at the first trestle assembled by Jim, and a baseboard section. Film footage of the S&DJR Branch to Highbridge followed.  This showed the numerous level crossings, including the narrow gauge peat line, and of course, our modelling location.  There was the happy buzz as eighteen of us chatted about railway models and looking at the ‘Bring and Buy’.  Ross talked us through short clips of the “East Kent Light” and “Shropshire & Montgomeryshire”.  Ten had met for lunch, with Colin Curtis in pride of place, trundled along in his wheelchair by John P and myself.

March 8th - First Layout Session of the Year:

Dusts sheets came off, the new lighting came on, vacuums roared, floors were swept, rails burnished and wheels turned. A dozen of us gathered in the warm sun for our first picnic, as buzzards mewed overhead.  Our electric team had opened up to find our home dry.

A LSWR well tank  with clay wagons was first train onto the circuits, soon followed by a SR W tank and GWR steam railmotor.  A tiny Fowler diesel pottered along, with a SER P tank on the other line, later replaced by the Continental Goods hauled by a BR(S) electric and D65er, as Pannier tanks were readied in the loops.  Bring and Buy items were sorted, a base for Nailbourne's loco shed installed and plans for the coal siding laid.  Tea was taken on the terrace and we all had a good chat.

Winter 2013 - 2014

2014 February 8th - AGM & Model Display: The largest display of models and competition entries that I can remember surrounded us at our AGM. Twenty-two members displayed some two dozen projects, including EKLR buildings, loco frames and whole rakes of wagons.

A similar number of models were in the competition; from signals to tunnel mouths, with an awesome selection of stock between. John P’s busy garage scene, Alan K’s detailed GWR Siphon, David G’s sparkling Somerset & Dorset carriage and Barry W’s impressive SR “Merchant Navy” came top of the classes.

A focus group to cost the new exhibition layout was set up during the AGM.

[Photos by RJM: BR "Merchant Navy" loco / Preparing for the AGM / Local private owner wagons.  *More photos can be seen in the gallery section.]

2014 January 26th: Kent’s G Scale Group had invited us to join their pleasant open day at Teynham.  The displays featured large models of various scales and outlines clattering along track, with the smell and sound of live steam from the central circuits.  I found our four reps hard at it, drinking tea, modelling and shunting.  Richard B was studiously constructing surrounded by displays of stock; some of it emerging from Nailbourne’s tunnel.  Ross S was on “front of house duties” talking to visitors, while Maurice B and John P were about to swop shunting duties at “Cole’s Yard”, Roger H having set up before slipping away.

December 14th Town Meeting: With a buffet of soft drinks, mince pies and Christmas cake we were well prepared for John Minter’s Quiz.  Questions, many linked with photos, from Banner signal repeaters to locos that disappeared into holes, kept us on our mental toes.  Roger Harmer became this year’s winner.  Footage from “The Wrecker”, with the spectacular smash into the steam lorry at Lasham, had started the afternoon.

Laid out in full size was the plan for our future exhibition layout. (It even had an Austerity tank engine for scale.)  David outlined the project.  The fluid curves look good and there is scope for some scenery.  Discussion centred on the baseboards.

The barn roofing work is now seems complete. Earlier those dining were shocked to hear that their inn is being redeveloped!  [Ross has been helping on Christmas trains from Tenterden, as can been seen from his photo.]

November 16th Town meeting: A bright red, dual flag liveried CP diesel and its consist stretched across the tables as Roger told about crossing the plains of western Canada by train. Slides showed passenger stock, loco and grain traffic in those provinces. John P organised refreshments, so Joe Barron can at last emerge into the hall. In vintage 8mm time with John Buckle, it was over to the USA for the Mount Washington Cog Railway and Silverton Railroad. We also saw trolley buses, Port Erin and the Seaton Tramway.

November 14th Working Party - notes by Nigel Grant: There was brilliant progress on all sorts of fronts: painting, electrics, carpentry, and furniture moving. The space cleared will be home next year for the new exhibition layout being plotted and planned as you read this.  David H did his usual sterling stuff with wires, sockets and switches; and we now have light and power in The Shed.  Roger and David G heaved large bits of furniture around to amazing effect.

Jim and Colin S turned the wobbly patch of old flooring at the bottom of the stairs into a thing of beauty. It’s much safer and stronger than the old floor.  The heaps of wood under the stairs are no more, and the good stuff neatly stored.  John B, Colin, Roger and Jim completed the clearing.   They found treasures under the stairs including two ancient cast iron bedsteads.

Rob M and Paul C defied the old dictum that “blue and green should never be seen” as they painted the walls above the layout.  Thanks very much, everyone.  A terrific effort, with results to match.

Autumn 2013

October 30th - Working Party: Notes from Nigel Grant

My repeated requests to the Meteorology Preference Service turned up trumps and we were blessed with an amazing autumn day. Ten brave souls turned out, including Alastair’s son Douglas, who clambered around the balcony.  Everyone quickly found their niche and got on with a daunting number of jobs transformed barn, nearly a thing of beauty.  Jim and Jackie deserve a special medal for burying themselves in the murky shed.  They worked out a good way of supporting the fire escape walkway.  David H rigged up temporary light and power in the shed so they could see, and has plans for a more permanent metallic facility pathway (this absurd phrase comes from BT; it means cable).  David was also modifying controllers.  Roger, Rob and John B attacked the woodpile by the stairs, to sift the good bits from the scrap.  The scrap pieces joined the bonfire pile.  An old trolley wheel ready for a tip trip was reclaimed by Alastair - an essential part of his scaffold tower.  Colin S clearing and carrying, told anecdotes about 100 mph train runs.  Geoff Roberts was able to look in for a while.  There’s plenty more to do, but we’re well on the way.  A brilliant effort.

October 19th: Notes by John Plumpton

I arrived just after Barry, was closely followed upstairs by Alistair.  Ross arrived as we were eating our lunch, then Maurice with his bag full of stock.  Roger appeared with his wife and took boxes of surplus items for sale at the SEG0G show; passing his brother Stuart as he went.

We spent the afternoon doing some constructive talking, drinking tea and running trains.  Ross ran his 'P' class tank at slow speed, whilst Barry ran his 'King Arthur' and Maurice a collection of LMS stock.  A power cut ended our afternoon jaunt, so we tidied up and covered the essential tracks for winter, locked up and said good bye to the layout for a few months.

October 12th: We kicked off our Fleur Hall session with Ross Shimmon showing scenes of Southern lines from Peter Hingley’s collection. EKLR and K&ESR locos featured, along with Reading General.  Hampshire and Dorset were prominent in slides that I’d found; the bias slightly leavened with pictures from Wales and further afield.

Several models were on display.  Ross put out photos he’d taken at the Indian Railway Museum – plenty of scratch and freelance building opportunities!    After a quick events update, John Buckle showed 8mm film of steam days on the Isle of Wight.  Earlier a few had light meals at The Chimney Boy.

October 5th: With members on trips or at exhibitions, it was a quieter day at the layout. Jim May, joining us for the first time, found his way to our picnic unassisted, which few have managed.  Ross was first to sign the “Running Paths” blackboard; his Hudswell-Clark moving slowly and smoothly. Barry had a G6 out, before trying his SER 4-4-0.  Jim had brought a Southern Q1 for testing.  John P planned for a small loco yard at Nailbourne. Ross planted Hindi signs at the tunnel abutments and played us recordings he made of O2s at Ventnor. David G took command of the electrics on Nailbourne. Soon operating improved, and his goal of people shuttling trains between terminals, while others use the circuits, came much nearer. [Photos by Rob: Q1 in our rural retreat / Jim, Ross & John P on electrical duties]

September 21st: We had 13 people turn out, lunching after we’d lugged power tools upstairs.  The circuits saw a lot of use with Alan’s GWR steam rail-motor attracting much attention.  On Cavedale locos shuttled to and fro. John M’s latest Victorian loco joined them and Barry’s C class worked two smart Maunsell carriages.  The couplings, deep beneath the corridor connections, caused consternation. Meanwhile Paul and Nigel opened voids on either side of the loft, then fixed replacement flooring.  Those around Nailbourne moved shelving to give better access.  John P had us all out in the fresh air for tea, Joe S providing fruit cake and Barry bemoaning lack of wheels slowing down his loco production line.  The tidy continued with yet more bin bags being taken away.

[Photos by Rob: John M's Victorian loco / Alan's rail-motor]