Summer 2018

18th August 2018               Saturday at Badlesmere                 Rob M

Working through Sarre’s exhibition sequence of train movements kept John P employed for the afternoon, with minions uncoupling, carrying out minor track repairs and purloining pencils to annotate the master copy.  It was great fun as some locos and stock had been substituted for the expected ones today.  R1s became Class O1s and Terriers played the part of Class Cs, as well as acting themselves….  David Hopkins, John B, Roger H and others clustered around to help.  A demand for a large print version of the running order emerged along the way.

After some fettling Edington was being tried with the new traverser in operation, Chris N in attendance on the entry roads.  Paul and David G spent a fair amount of time studying the wiring beneath the board, where a multipin plug was causing a little concern at one time.  That layout certainly doesn’t have coupling problem – all the ‘Dingham’ loops leaping to attention when near the new magnets.

On the long table Jim shewed us the crisp etchings of a tiny diesel from ‘Judith Edge Kits’, and Barry inspected David Hayes’s model of “Ironside”, while I sliced card for a garden shed model, when I could find a pencil to draw the cutting lines.  Further along David G was displaying surplus wagons for sale.  Arrangements for our two exhibition appearances were firmed up over mugs of tea and future open days mused over before we mobilized to tidy and store the layouts.

August 15th 2018           -                  Wednesday at Badlesmere                          Rob M

Both Sarre and Edington came out for running and titivation as we poured into the hall.  David G checked the mains electric and then we were in business. 

One or two gremlins cropped up on Sarre as Tim and Jackie ran through the operating sequence, but that was nothing to the bother I had with the three link couplings, despite Colin’s “helpful” suggestions.  We were rescued by David Hayes, who swiftly accomplished the task, little finger decorously crooked and wearing the correct glasses.  John B, after asking for helpers at the Faversham Exhibition, was busily adding bicycles, churns and people to the layout.  Roger brought the big shed, now complete with local signage.  The push-pull set and various vans were in use alongside Chris M’s neat rake of SECR coal wagons and brake.  We also had Jim’s brass 4F and Geoff’s USA dock tank on the line.

Barry K was amongst those excavating places for strong permanent magnets in the SDJR track bed.  Invisible, when the ballast was replaced, they flicked the Dingham couplings open as stock passed over.  Nearby, Paul W seemed to be multi-tasking as he recovered electrics from the defunct fiddle yard.

Amid our coffee mugs Chris N was surrounded by small naked figures; some of which he painted clothes on, while others were to remain chilly.  Paul H was continuing work on the small GWR tank engine that he’d made great progress on at a Missenden Abbey hobbies weekend.  He brought us up to date with proposed ideas for improving the GOG management.  We shared a letter from the East Sussex Group, thanking us for our contribution to their Open Day.

A goodly number of us helped in the kitchen, before everyone got to grips with packing baseboards into the store.

August 1st 2018      -     Wednesday at Badlesmere     Roger Harmer & David Grimwood

As well as eight of us, we had two guests from the Wimbledon MRC, Martin Churms and Mark Hedgecock; friends of John Plumpton and David Hopkins.

The circuit was in full use. David claimed he had been ‘dapolised’ and ran a pannier tank with a newly-completed non-corridor coach (begun at Badlesmere recently to demonstrate that coaches need not take an eternity to build!) and a finally-finished Southern plv.  Geoff brought a beautifully finished H Class, which went home with Roger, having run with Roger’s SECR freight. John B’s Terrier had a trip with three four-wheelers, while our visitors ran a Schools with Lima coaches before the GW took over with a Castle and then a 2-8-0 with a rake of Dapol coaches.

Meanwhile, David G continued work on the Edington fiddle yard, and fitting the first permanent magnets on the layout, and scenic work continued on Sarre. Roger took away a shed to add a company name to make it a bit more "EKR-ish".  

Geoff also had a BR(S) C2X, SR birdcage and a 6-wheel coach on view and Martin had two very long bogie bolster wagons on display.

The "excitement/entertainment" was provided by a series of power outages requiring a visit from Ian to fix them – eventually traced to a faulty water heater. John P looked after our needs for tea and coffee.

July 21st 2018  -  Saturday at Badlesmere RJM / photo: Tim S

We were sitting on the shady grass eating our lunches, as a family of buzzards rode the breeze above us, when David Ho. arrived with the milk. The next arrivals included a svelte Chris N. Inside the hall we had scenic work progressing on Sarre with brick papers (all the way from Greece) being used. Paul W took over the stage to ease the new traverser, with Jim keeping an occasional eye on proceedings. Roger and John B were assembling vans and showing Tim photos of beer vans for his brewery complex. His tall warehouse was being painted, at the far end of the modelling table, and is looking good. My garden shed model looked minute in comparison.

A train of K&ESR four wheelers appeared from Stuart’s packing case, plus little and tiny locos. We knew what the LB&SCR tank engine was, but had to reach for our glasses to view the second, as it was an 00 scale P tank in full SE&CR livery – very neat.  We kept up our liquid intake while chatting and fathoming out when the banner photos had been taken.  Everyone helped pack away after checking that all was tidy in the kitchen.

July 18th 2018  -  Wednesday at Badlesmere RJM

The new traverser occupied Paul W, David G and Barry K for much of the session, with a cast of supporting members making appearances; with John J touting huge power tools and Barry W wielding a small hammer. The twittering of their voltage tester showed that all was not plain sailing and had them re-soldering some multi-connection plugs. However, they ended the afternoon happy.

Sarre wasn’t without an audience either, while John P’s was ballasting. We gathered there to see Ross showing photos of the East Kent Lt. Rly. We put up our new banner for all to see, then tried to remember who owned the locos and stock featured in its large photos. I mentioned that our website’s contact page may be down for a while as we have suffered a huge influx of emails from Russia. Recently we’d upgraded to a more secure system, so only James, our advisor, was aware of what was happening.

Chris M was fettling axle boxes for a 6 wheeled coach. Ross remembered that we have some folding bars for loan to members. Barry W’s Wainwright J Class 0-6-4 appeared on Edington, along with a Jinty or two. Geoff had brought a neat P tank, just awaiting its crew. Jim and John B’s projects included plans and kits of goods stock.  As usual many members helped out in the kitchen with John P bringing the supplies.

8th July 2018 - East Sussex O Gauge Group's Open Day at Pett RJM

John Bullimore and David Hopkins ran our sales stand at the East Sussex's open day.  After battling with burst water mainsclosed and lanes, I arrived with our pop-up banner, which I'd collected from the printers on Thursday.  We spread the word about our group while John and David made numerous sales.  I had to demonstrate the Aberdare on the Sussex's circuit before its sale; Geoff Roberts, with his diorama telling the buyer the loco's history.  We were well looked after by ESOGG and enjoyed the varied layouts and stands.  There was a lot more room in John's car when we packed up.

July 4th 2018  -  Wednesday at Badlesmere RJM

David Ho. and John P missed the verge cutting and so beat the rest of us to the hall.  It was fence making on Sarre, to be joined later by the ballasters.  The end board of Edington was needed so David G could continue work on the new traverser. It had already gained tracks and uncoupler pads while at his home.  After a tea, the Circuit was assembled under John J’s watchful eye.  Jackie D and Barry K were soon testing the controllers, so that Class 60 diesels could take to the lines.  They kept away from the explosive mix of wagons being assembled by Ross: a petrol tanker and gunpowder van behind his 1930’s DM.  His tweezers and modified couplings worked well.  An R1 chassis, Roger H’s, appeared between trains as its innards were tweaked.

John B loaded up for the Pett Show where we have a sales stand. Meanwhile Paul H puzzled over how to display a van kit ina small glass case.  We had a very chatty lunchtime Geoff R joining us at that time.  I checked the running of a high sided wagon as four and six wheeled carriages ran by.  Wrecking tools in hand, Chris M, attacked the old fiddle yard, then installed recovered switches on the new traverser with a throng of members offering advice.  There were plenty of people lending a hand in the kitchen and masses of us when it came to stowing away.

June 20th              Wednesday at Badlesmere         -              Rob M

You could see Sarre’s platform was being fixed by the large brickbat strategically positioned. Groundworks seemed to be the order of the day, with ballast, low vegetation and dabs of paint being applied by various people.  A few wagons were being finished off and were propelled along the tracks; in my case to the conclusion that a bit more weight plus some sound deadening was needed.

Magazines, fronts of warehouses, drawings of sheds and stock shared the long tables with magazines, lunches and olives in wine (Thanks to Chris T.).  Paul W was looking at tiny pieces for LSWR flap fronted ground signals, before he headed off for a grand tour of northern preserved railways.  There were several people lending a hand in the kitchen.  In all, a very convivial day, with a sneaking thought that some members were camping out overnight to be ready for us to open up.

June 16th 2018  -  Saturday at Badlesmere RJM  [photos by Ross Shimmon & RJM]

Hither Green continental freights swept around the Circuit, as Colin tested SR electric locos that he’d driven. (Models scratch built on a wooden  base.) A small posse of Hudswell Clarkes waited beside the other track as Stuart’s four-wheel coaches were coupled to his Terrier loco; the assembled masses using Ross’ variety of shunters’ poles. Next, the saddle tanks played with mixed trains.

Clearances were eased the alongside Sarre’s warehouses and scenic checked further along. John J’s arrival had triggered setting out the Circuit.  The driving wheels of a GWR large Prairie went for a run, with Paul W keeping an eye on it; the rest of the components being on our modelling table.  There, Jim was showing another partly assembled brake van - brass this time.  Tim joined them, once he’d organised a dozen more teas.  He has the front of a four-storey brewery warehouse taking shape, with some very neat card windows and doors. As time drew on various members tidied in kitchen and stores before drifting off, just leaving the hard core of orators discussing the New York elevated track becoming a garden walkway; the K&ESR; being escorted out of Nine Elms Shed by police dogs….

June 6th 2018  -  Wednesday at Badlesmere RJM

Light engineering meets Edington in the form of a new traverser.  This had emerged from Paul W’s workshop and was soon matched to the “branch” end of the layout.  On a lightweight metal frame, it has a short fixed area leading to the traverser’s bed, where the parallel storage lines will be.  The far end for the loco release tracks has its own legs which support the traverser section.

Further along the hall Jim was securely screwing his range of warehouses to Sarre’s baseboard before the rest of that layout was joined on for running.  Stock ranged from Falcon, the trailblazing to a saddle tank with light railway coaches. Those on the modelling table held a P tank workshop with Barry W giving expert advice.  Guards’ vans were next along, followed ideas for private owner wagons suitable for Herne Bay and nearby.  Low sided BR trucks were at the other end across from scenic work.  Roger was seeking help for our stand at the Pett Show on Sunday July 8th.

May 19th 2018  -  Saturday at Badlesmere RJM

John J was busily dragging us into the 21st Century with DCC; his “Western” diesel performing with sound. That was on the outer Circuit which had earlier been running in with simple dc. Paul W had sorted the missing wiring so his pannier and auto coach had taken the outer line, while Barry’s locos had used the inner. I noticed a D1, a W and a G6 hauling a rake of BR red and cream stock – Darstaeds that David G had brought in. Roger had a stack of boxes to open revealing Classes 33, 47 and 60 to be tried on the inner line. John B followed with freight wagons and an 08. Nearby, David G added parts to a coach kit and a whiff of solder hinted that Paul H was working on a pair of GWR tank engines. Further along Jim concentrated on brake vans. We’d thrown the windows open on a balmy day, but it was still hot in the top of the storeroom where David Ho fixed shelves.

May 16th  - Wednesday at BadlesmereRJM

On a blustery day, we opened up to find remnants of the Medieval Fayre stacked around the hall.  We soon had work tables out and heard about the event from those who’d helped.  Chris M said how he’d done a fair bit of operating on Sarre under the watchful eyes of a family who talked through the movements with their children - No pressure then…  Tin plate trains had run, but with occasional mystery short circuits.

A blow torch was Paul H’s choice of tool for his project today.  David G’s carriage is taking form swiftly with extruded aluminium roof, ventilators fixed, in position.  Batch building seems Jim’s forte; not warehouses this time, but six-wheeler brake vans.  Over by the window John B had added a water tank to Sarre and, with Jackie, was working on scenic detail.  The station building debate was continuing with the feeling that the present building balances the warehouses.  Paul W, whose colourful signalling article has just appeared in GOG’s Gazette, soldered nearby, having found the wireless section of the Circuit.  John J had brought in some fittings for it.  When I slipped away, the soldering was continuing.

May 2nd  - Wednesday at BadlesmereNotes from Roger Harmer / photo by Ross Shimmon

By the time Roger arrived, with a DCC control set to be tested by Chris N, both Sarre and the roundy-round had been erected.  Tim had brought an alternative system, that he is donating to the Group,  and that had been connected to the roundy-round, where he had a Peckett running around making puffing and other noises.  (A short-circuit meant that the inner circuit could not be used for the DC locos.) Chris N ran his sound-fitted Brighton Terrier "Thames" for a little while. Then, we swopped control to our DC system and Ross ran his blue Terrier. Ross also provided some KESR-based stock for the locos to pull.

On Sarre, comparison was being made between the extant KESR-style station building and an EKR-based building. As Sarre is based on the EKR, the latter is to be used and the other one stored. This means some changes to the platforms which currently have cut-outs which are no longer needed.  John P had just ripped the existing platform off the board when David G reminded us of the Medieval Fayre on 12 May when we will have Sarre on display, so it was, “Back to work on the platform, guys”.  A tinplate layout from Colin S will be there plus and a table of demonstrators and book sales.

Meanwhile, having sorted out Roger's DCC, Chris N and Ross, using one of the magic products that Chris N finds on the Internet, repaired a damaged resin casting from the early days of resin use.  At the other end of the table David G and Ha were doing things in brass.

2018 Winter into Spring

April 21st 2018   EKOGG in Faversham Rob M

To mark the 150th Anniversary of Colonel Stephens, Ross conducted us around the many minor railways that had been engineered by Stephens or which had become part of his “empire”.  On the tour, photos showed the Colonel, his lines, motive power and rolling stock.  Models were also included; the WC&P featuring.  We examined the many photos and documents that Ross had brought during our refreshment break.

There was vintage footage of railcars from Pathe newsreels and pictures showed the rail-motors, with their luggage wagons on several lines. Photos illustrated many of the quirks of the Colonel’s railways: the strange little loco “Gazelle” in several of its incarnations; the “shed on wheels” that disguised a shunting tractor and the abandoned incline at Edge Hill. An interior view of Boston Lodge shed showed debris covered locos; maybe the same ones that I clambered over in the mid-1950s. The K&ESR three-armed signal post also featured. Perhaps it will be recreated sometime.


Les had found us many packets of scenic and ground cover materials for use on Sarre, and we heard experiences on the layout’s first show. Earlier several of us had met in The Vaults. Thanks, as always, to all those who helped setting out the hall and to Tim and John J aiding with electricals. Colin and I were amongst those assisting in the kitchen with John P and David Ho, but there’s always room for one more… Jackie checked the building and locked up at the end of the day.


Many thanks to Ross for his fascinating talk. I feel a visit to Tenterden’s railway museum coming on.

April 18th Wednesday at Badlesmere Rob M

Bumble bees and ladybirds being released from the hall, bracketed a very enjoyable day of modelling and running.  We heard about Sarre’s enjoyable expedition to Eastleigh and caught up on modelling matters over mugs of tea.  Besides Steve’s flat wagon, on the table, was an aged 0-6-0 chassis. This engrossed the engineers and by the end of the day David G had concocted wires from a controller to the motor and achieved movement along a track. John B and Steve had begun to put out Sarre early on, so that an electrical short could be dealt with, and for Jim to check the dimensions of the buildings he is completing. John B went on add field fences to the front of the layout. Several of us got to grips with the controllers and saw how many locos could be coped with. Ground cover and structures were discussed, and I heard DCC mentioned by Roger.… Barry and John P turned up trumps with an Arthur, a Lord Nelson and an M7, joining with C and P classes to run on Sarre, with my red saddle tank. We managed to set up several photos; without really hindering the workers. Thanks to those who helped in the kitchen, which now boasts two shiny kettles. The day ended with David Ho and both Johns easing the layout up to its shelves.

April 7th   Sarre's first show   - Roger Harmer  [photos by Ross Shimmon]

On 7 April 2018 the Wessex Narrow Gauge Modellers held their annual show at Eastleigh.  As this year marks the celebration of 150 years since the birth of Col Stephens, an “exhibition within an exhibition” of Col Stephens related lines was included. This allowed standard gauge railways with a Col Stephens connection to appear.  Thanks to Ross, Sarre was one of those invited.  David G, John B, Ross and Roger loaded up at Badlesmere on 6 April and, after a few traffic delays on the M25, set up in about twenty minutes. A quick test with a loco showed that Sarre worked as expected.

The next morning we set out the stock to run a sequential timetable that Roger had drawn up.  Ross took the controls and John took charge of the fiddle yard.  David and Roger took turns as “front man” to talk to the public, visit the show and cover for the workers in time of need.  So smoothly did Ross and John run Sarre during the day that the other two were barely needed.  However, David was able to repair one of Roger’s locos that had developed a spark throwing ability and figure out a workaround for a short that developed during the morning.

We had taken sufficient stock to cover failures but, apart from Roger’s loco, everything worked well.  The sequence didn’t quite finish logically but the principal operators quickly decided that one ad hoc move left the stock in the right places to run the sequence again from the beginning.  We did lose a lot more ballast in transit but we felt that a less solid looking formation is required to better reflect the light railway appearance that we want.  This, and some other thoughts, is to be pursued at upcoming meetings at Badlesmere.

The show displayed a lot of fine modelling in various scales and gauges along with some trade with, obviously, a narrow gauge bias.  Sarre was commended to us by many visitors and also to the show management.  The only other 7mm standard gauge layout was Plaxtol Road (which some of you may have seen in Railway Modeller last year.  There was also a magnificent 7 1/4” live steam model of the Lynton & Barnstable Railway’s “Taw” from a local park railway.  The show finished at 1700 and we drove away at 1750. The return drive was less congested and we had unloaded and left for home by 2000. All in all a good day out.

April 4th Wednesday at Badlesmere Rob M

We ended the afternoon with Sarre prepared, crated and ready for exhibition at Eastleigh, and with the Circuit’s second line all wired up; pretty good. John P, got his stalwart regulars into action preparing lunchtime drinks, and, later, we also had many hands making light of the sweeping and clearing the hall.

Jim had appeared in the door clasping wooden warehouses, as Sarre’s baseboards were being set out for an assault on scenics. Soon people were adding ground cover to the goods sidings, while gaps in the platform were filled and the station name board fixed. Controllers and stock were tested after lunch, when ballast was cleared around point blades and railhead polished. The baseboards were tried face to face before the end plates were fitted. The majority of us fourteen aided in some way, but obviously, a great deal had been done at last week’s extra session organised by Roger.

Paul Weeden and Barry had been quietly soldering their way around the Circuit’s length today, and at the extra meeting.  They achieved that target after lunch, then had a look to see what others had been up to, although Paul was seen wielding a large wrench at the cisterns by way of a change.

March 21st Saturday at Badlesmere Roger Harmer

On the work table Paul H fitted DCC decoders to two locos and David Ha worked on a brass van, but the focus of the day was Sarre.  Roger had had four of the boards at home and completed the soft scenics on one and got the ground work in place on the other three.  The primary task was to finish the ballasting and this was achieved.  The sidings were done in "coal shale" and the other lines in "proper" ballast.  A couple of our members were able to nicely blend the two types where the different lines meet.  Meanwhile, John B finished the trunk and branches of a tree to go behind the wall and spread some horsehair among the branches to take the leaves.  These will go on at the next meeting.  Jim brought along the carcass of one of the factory buildings with its loading dock.  It fits exactly and Roger suggested gently that it would look wonderful finished alongside the other warehouse that Jim will now make (by 28 March .......).  A couple of huts were positioned over point motors to hide them.  David Ho added a switch to the wiring so that, should the point motors fail, they can be operated by hand without causing short circuits.  The station building was bolted into place and some wooden fencing installed to partially disguise the joint with the backscene.  Another structure is needed to hide the rest of the point motors.

Those present agreed that we needed an extra day on Sarre and this will be Wednesday 28 March.  This will see the initial scenic stage finished and some test running.  Wednesday 4 April will be given over to testing a sequential timetable before it goes to Eastleigh on Friday.

March 17th 2018 Saturday in Faversham Ross Shimmon

Members gathered at the Fleur for Tim’s talk ‘The Confessions of a Teenage Signalman’. He did wonder if the title might just attract a different audience. But no, it was made up of the usual suspects. Tim told us that he had begun working on the London Underground in June 1983 at the age of 16.  He was employed as a Junior Trainee Railway Operations (JTRO) and after some initial training, he was sent as a box boy to Aldgate signal cabin. He worked there for six months before moving to Hainault and Woodford on the Central line. At that time there were nearly 40 signal cabins on the Metropolitan, District, Hammersmith and City, Bakerloo and Central lines, although the other lines were operated from centralised control rooms at Euston and Earl’s Court.

The trainees were told by their manager that mechanization would make their jobs obsolete within a few years, but several of his friends who started with him are still with the Underground today. There are still nine signal cabins on the underground, the oldest one at Edgware Road dates back to 1923. It is scheduled to be preserved. Tim tried pulling the levers in a traditional signal box, feeling embarrassment in front of fellow trainees when he found it difficult. Most of the boxes he worked in had Westinghouse frames, starting with miniature levers followed by push buttons and route selection. Among the fascinating topics Tim covered were the interaction between the Underground and steam and diesel trains on the Widened lines. The spotters among us noted a ‘Jinty’ and an N2 and was that a class 31? Perhaps the item that fascinated most was the Pianola-style punched roll that operated the points, signals and station announcements automatically. What happened when things went wrong? It had to be put right manually. When the timetable changed a new roll had to punched by the typists at HQ. All in all, Tim described a very different railway environment from that featured on Sarre and Edington Junction! But fascinating nonetheless.

Messages came in during tea that it was snowing hard in Gravesend. So, having washed up and tidied the room, we made our way home through a deserted Faversham, thinking of all those Underground trains clattering over complex pointwork at incredibly short intervals.

March 7th 2018 Wednesday at Badlesmere Roger Harmer

A little while ago, the Hall Committee asked that we turn off the water at the end of each session. Thus, we have to turn it on at the beginning. Paul, being the first to arrive who knows where the stop-cock is, went to do the honours and a jet of water shot up his arm. It seems the weather had got at the hall supply!.. Nevertheless, 20 minutes later Ian "the Fixer" Earl got us to the point that that one toilet was working (essential for some....) and tea/coffee could be had (essential for all!).

The roundy-round was set up and Paul H gave a couple of his GWR locos an outing. These were followed by Roger's Dapol 08 diesel with three air-braked wagons in tow.  Colin S ran his "ED" class 73 and then his 4-CEP. John J ran his Heljan class 60.

Sarre was set up for ballasting at the right-hand end headshunt and siding. Ross brought his "ballasting box" again which moved things on considerably.  Roger made up a paper template for the building footprint along the backscene hiding the cassette. Jim has taken this away to cover in building flats and half relief. David Ho shaped and fitted the front scenic boards but there is still a lot to do at the next meeting on 4 April just three days before it goes out to its' first show. John B and Roger started to make a small tree each to go behind the wall at the right hand end. John's is starting look good; Roger's is just starting.

David G brought along a brass kit of a 6-wheeled S&D coach and was working on that. Apparently, it is one of four of various parentage that have "surfaced" in his railway room.  Jim showed us a brass kit for a brake van that he plans to start soon.

We have received an invitation to take part in a television programme about railway modelling. It is to be competitive (a sort of Strictly Come Railway Modelling or Great British Model Railway Off.........).

And by going home time, it had stopped raining.

February 21st 2018 Layout running at Badlesmere Rob M

The second track met itself coming the other way on The Circuit and back scene boards are all in place on Sarre; which made for a good day for the fourteen of us, depite motorway problems and the chill weather.  Brass was in evidence on the modelling table where David G soldered, Tim worked on a van and Barry showed the boiler of the SECR Class J that he is scratch-building.  Paul H and Geoff R were putting the modelling world to rights a bit further along. Into this, all unsuspecting, dropped Chris M, who had seen us on the website. After being shown around he aided the kitchen stalwarts. We discussed the design for a pop-up poster; everybody offering useful points.

David H and Colin were fitting Sarre's back scene to give clearance to the point controls and cables; the final effect lifting the layout’s appearance in every way.  Even before they’d finished, John B had installed a wall and tree to soften the end profile.  Roger’s BR(S) push-pull set occupied the platform road.  Paul W, Barry and John J prepared the new track, having to recoil each time a train passed on the other line - actually, not that often while Jim and David G’s chain driven Sentinel shunters were hauling wagons.  Swifter locos later appeared and the running ended with John J’s impressive EWS Class 60.

February17th 2018            Model display & AGM in Faversham Rob M

Choices, choices… Far too many, when judging the models from our display - thirty entries, all of which gained votes from the twenty of us there.

Les Gibson and other eager modellers were waiting on the balcony, as I dashed by with the keys, and, once the door opened, busied themselves putting out tables. David Hopkins aided by Jackie Davidson readying the kitchen. A half dozen project and interest items were shown and the sales stands beckoned, but, once description labels joined the competition models, we were into the AGM. Roger’s proposal that, in addition to taking layouts out, we fly the flag for the group at model railway shows in the south-east was well received. All present said how much they appreciated the Guide News. With no changes to the committee, we closed the AGM, grabbed teas and got down, often on our knees, to examining the display.

Freight stock included a Lowmac, pre-Grouping wagons and early BR. Carriages stretched from four wheelers through six wheelers to a lengthy railmotor. Two diesels, a Class 40 and an 08, appeared in the Loco line up. Steam featured an East Coast pacific, an LMS 8F and two classic 4-4-0s at the large end, with a chain driven shunter and a GWR “Clara Chuff” saddle tank at the other. Small locos, a short coach and a cottage were on the Projects corner before the Scenics. Here lorries were next to a busy and well equipped lineside café. Railway Street Garage abutted a weekend garden plot with an old carriage; both full of character. Besides them, a lofty town house was next to Westhall Signal Box and a grounded van. After chatting and pondering, refreshments were cleared, buyers were prised away from Bring & Buy and we gathered to see who had made the winning models.

Colin Smith collected the first certificate for a mini-diorama “The Sidings” – an old carriage used as a dwelling, with decaying Dormobile, enamel signs in the hedge and washing blowing on the line.  Passenger Stock was won by a GWR steam railmotor, which Alan Ketley described as a challenging build.  An SE&CR brake van, from a resin kit, gained the Freight award for Roger Harmer.  The Locomotive section was headed by Barry Weston’s “Charterhouse”, a Schools class that we’ve seen running-in on our Circuit. With models safely tucked into boxes and furniture stacked away, we headed home.

February 7th 2018 Wednesday at Badlesmere RM

Up through the frosty woods and across the snowy uplands came the EKOGG members to huddle in the red glow of the hall’s heaters.  We soon had the circuit running, table up and hot drinks shared out.                  With heat above and chocolate biscuits below, the modelling table was popular.  David G worked across from John B who was making a well-equipped line-side cabin.  Paul H had a small station, another laser cut building; while I cut card to make a lean-to for a LSWR cottage.  Steve was cleaning and fettling wagons and vans.

Jackie and Colin S were soon at work ballasting on Sarre, where a faint whiff of urgency was apparent as they are threatening to take it to a couple of shows this year.  David Ho. fitted point motors with Brian M aiding their positioning in the scenery.  A rake of Birdcage coaches was on the Circuit with Geoff’s Terrier.   Jim ran-in his 4F, while Paul began extending the second track.  After lunch, light locos gave way the more modern stock.  With Tim in attendance, Steve and Colin were soon comparing powered bogie sets when D205 and the Fell diesel joined a SR electric for a run.

We caught up on news when we dined together.  Thanks to all who assisted in the kitchen.  Another enjoyable meeting ended as all hands to stowed away and shut the hall.

January 20th 2018 Saturday in Badlesmere Roger Harmer

The Canterbury show attracted some members in the morning. Although there wasn't much for the O gauge fraternity there was a good representation of Rolvendon in 4mm scale.

Sarre was set up for more electrical work and further ballasting at the left end including the line in from the fiddle yard.  Ross brought a "ballasting box" to aid the work.  Towards the end of the session, John B and Stuart ran a couple of locos that they had brought along including a Dapol 08 in green that Stuart has subtly weathered.  Paul had some of the Test Track boards up to continue laying the second line.  David G brought along a brass wagon kit that he worked on with Chris.  Significant progress made.  Roger did a bit more on the KFAs (modern warflats) that he is scratchibuidling in plastic.  Ross brought along some railway magazines to give away.  John B showed us a tea hut that he is making from a K&S laser cut kit.  Another enjoyable session.

January 17th 2018 Wednesday in Badlesmere Roger Harmer

Edington was set up for practice (play) runs and used to test locos from Geoff (H class in Southern black, L class in Southern Green and a Collett Goods in GWR livery).  David G had a freight train running behind the Dapol Jinty, a souvenir of our venture to Wigan last year.  All the vehicles appeared to be RTR apart from the brake van. Sarre was set up for continued electric installation and a beginning of ballasting at the left end (viewed from the front) sidings.  Today there wasn’t much individual modelling, just David G working on some Dingham couplings and John J examining bogie tanker wheelsets.

As usual, Roger had some stuff for sale and two buildings and two wagons went away with new owners.

Badlesmere has planned its Medieval Fayre Sunday 20 May.  As their activities are outdoors, we have been invited to set up inside as a sort of open day.  The twelve at the meeting agreed that we would meet on the Saturday as usual but leave everything up and return the following day to display our activities.

January 3rd 2018   Wednesday in Badlemere Rob M

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, we came in, out of the stormy winds, for our first session of the year.  Once we'd downed hot drinks, we were ready to set out the Circuit and table for those working on Sarre.  Roger brought many locos and a variety of stock from a family sale, including scratch-built Great Western locos, some with outside frames, and an early tram. These were soon being tested along with members’ stock. Jim was working on a rather nice loco shed on the long table and kits were being constructed. The eleven of us caught up with news and laid plans for Sarre’s ballasting at the next session. Those on the Circuit must be experts at stowing away, the baseboards being whisked onto the racks in double quick time, while those aiding David Hopkins as he checked point motors were still steadying baseboards.

Autumn 2017

Faversham          -              Saturday, December 9th      -      RM

With Santa hat and twinkling lights, Chris Nuttall set the scene for our Christmas Quiz. “Which steam engine runs on paper?” was the question that we all puzzled over, with a sneaking feeling that there was a bit of a twist involved.  With names picked from the hat, teams huddled around their scribes to tackle Roger Harmer’s questions.  John P’s trio and Ross’ lot just nosed ahead at the end.  Those had a conflab and elected John Bullimore to set next year’s questions with John P. and Jackie helping with ideas.

We milled around over mince pies and warm drinks, chatting and viewing the sales table.  When John P and David Ho. asked for aid in the kitchen John J. and Tim beat Colin S. to the door and grabbed the last tea towels.  That made life a lots easier and we were quickly able to get back into the hall.

John Minter reminisced about transport in Birmingham during his school years.  There with many photos of the decaying Snow Hill station where he’d roamed through the sad wreckage.  We also saw remains of the tram network, wonderful wall mosaics depicting locomotives and the old transport and engineering museum.  Exchanging season’s wishes we departed beneath Faversham’s Christmas lights.  A good end to our year.

* I have had Christmas greetings from Beryl, Alan & John Poulton.  They have asked me to pass on their thanks to Roger, myself and the whole team at our gauge O group for helping with Frank's estate.

2017 December 6th - Wednesday at Badlesmere        -     RM

Power on and points clicking over, Terriers shuttled about Sarre; while Pannier tanks were the theme on The Circuit.  It was a companionable day with people making progress on many fronts.  David Hopkins had done much for Sarre, and we now have trains moving.  A mini panel with section switches is fitted by the station and the point motors are working; some with rod control provided as back up.  The ‘end of the line’ baseboard will be the last to be powered up.  John B. had also brought a Terrier that explored all the powered tracks and ventured behind the backscene onto the cassette.  John P. was fixed platform ramps with the help of assorted heavy items and Roger planned ballasting.

Barry sent Paul’s 57xx pannier around The Circuit.  Paul Honey joined us and he also had a pannier – an open cabbed version – which had a clerestory in tow.  Outdoors, large sheets of ply were being sliced into smaller pieces.  Jim showed us a swish motor bus and Jackie completed a waiting shelter.  Chris, with festive hat, concocted a splendid lunchtime spread just across from the doughnuts.  David Hayes tested the sprung wheelset of his Beatie well tank by propelling it across Sarre’s pointwork.

2017 November 18th - Saturday at Faversham     -       RM

Steam loco driving and care was the order of the day when we gathered in The Fleur Hall.  Vintage films featured safety and economy in 1930s LMS engine sheds, but we also saw a present day driver of main line steam.  We even looked at the 1950s electrification expansion into Kent. Stuart had his latest projects on display: a four-wheel carriage from etches of LSWR stock and half of an LMS push-pull set. He’d equipped his Dapol Jinty for auto-train work; showing it alongside the coaches. The Bring & Buy table was in operation too. John P and helpers organised refreshments. We decided to pick small teams out of a hat at this year’s Christmas Quiz. Peter reminded us that we are welcome to run our stock on the Folkestone group’s O gauge layout at the Tenterden Show. Our diners had been redirected for lunch as our venue had a leaky kitchen. Luckily the barmaid from the Vaults had booked us a table at the Station Hotel.

2017 November 15th - Wednesday at Badlesmere        -        RM

Parts of our three layouts were being worked on today.  Sarre was gaining more back scene boards with the lift out cassette fitting neatly behind; a pair of thin tubes clipping around the rails for electrical connection.  Scenic work aimed at freshening-up Edington's appearance and The Circuit had another length of track doubled.  On the modelling table, drawings of buildings and fiddleyards grew alongside construction projects.  The nine of us were kept busy.

2017 November 1st Wednesday at Badlesmere                Rob M   [photo by Ross S]

On a splendid sunny morning, at the new time of 10.30, we opened the hall and set out tables.  Wagons were put on the layout, when David G carried his stock boxes in, giving us a chance to shunt and play.  John P paid us a fleeting visit to check on Sarre's station building, as we pored over a sheet of enamel signs to adorn it.  Jackie arrived off the bus and, once he’d brewed some tea, painted a model.  We saw Tim’s low loader, now painted, and discussed the available transfers.While David Ha. subtly passed the doughnuts and worked on brass kits, talk about disasters in Thomas the tank books got us onto photographer bishops and Peter Denny piercing rectory walls with tunnels. David Ho. was busy with a soldering iron on Sarre and beneath Edington. Ross brought his tough B4 (hero of a 54 wagon train) which spent time shunting with members clustered round. Another pleasant day.

2017 October 18th       Wednesday at Badlesmere                 Rob M

It was mizzly and grey out, but inside it was a productive day.  Chris hammered pieces of steel wire into Edington's ballast as a way of spreading the effect of the electro magnets for uncoupling.  Testing with various lengths of wire, with Dingham fitted stock, found the range before wires were glued across the existing rod end. Across the way on Sarre, under a towering pile of breeze blocks, the platform surface was being stuck, alongside work on walls and backscene preparation. John J was soldering connection plugs ready for use on the Circuit, which was gaining lengths of its second track, with Barry’s Schools class testing the electrics. A rather nice Pannier was running smoothly on Edington. A sudden influx of diesels with D209 and the Fell, joining locos from John B and Roger occurred.  Then, to make the operators' lives interesting, Steve added 9F 92092 to the tracks. The modelling table needed lengthening the  for lunch as there were fifteen present. We wished well to all those helping the Beckenham crew with the show.

2017 October 14th       Saturday in Faversham        -              Ross S

Did you know that there was once a tramway from Herne Bay pier to the station to transport oysters to be carried to market? You would have done if you had come to the EKOGG meeting at the Fleur on Saturday to hear railwayman Mark Jones present ‘Herne Bay by Rail’, who used a variety of images dating from the 1840s to the introduction of the ‘Javelin’ high speed trains. We saw a sail-powered truck on the pier tramway, the first main line station building, which was transported brick by brick to become the ‘Hall-by-the-sea’ pub on the frontand unfulfilled plans for a tramway to Reculver and Whitstable. Aerial images showed the appearance of the roads leading from the 1926 station building to the sea. There was no sign of John P’s house though. Mark reminded us of the disastrous floods in 1952, which prompted the temporary reopening of the recently closed Canterbury & Whitstable line and massive rebuilding of the coast line which had been washed away.  The 1959 electrification works were featured, followed by the then new EMUs. More recent footage included rail tours. Mark rounded off the evening with some images of the crowds using the station for the Herne Bay air show. The train spotter in me noted Bulleid pacific 34001 and M7 30052 and an unidentified Q1, plus an H (or was it an M7?) sandwiched between several coaches on an emergency shuttle service. It was good to see John P organising tea, and that he had plenty of help with the washing up.

2017 October 4th Wednesday at Badlesmere             -             Rob M [Photos by RM and Ross S]

Brian M found us again and was soon helping as repairs were made to Edington’s point motors.  Tim also appeared bearing a brass Lowmac that he is building.  That got a run on the Circuit, which was out for most of the day.  Barry’s Urie Arthur ran early on.  It now has a little more clearance around the front bogie, resulting in smoother running.  David G’s 4F ran for a while, but without the hoped-for wisps of steam and smoke.  Small locos dominated after lunch.  On Sarre, electrical connections were prepared.  Jackie was working on lineside models.  A dozen of us were present and as usual a good team helped out in the kitchen.

We heard about our team’s experiences at the Wigan Show at our first tea break.  They were well received and hope to feature in the modelling press in due course.

The Beckenham Show was causing concern as "heavy lifting" members were in short supply, but with “all hands” called in we’ll manage.

The construction of easily handled fiddled yards is on the cards, possibly using a traverser.  Hopefully the design would fit both Edington and The Circuit.

Ideas are being sought for future developments to the Circuit.  A station, maybe with an island platform to enable trains to pass and a possible goods train refuge loop on the other track to add interest, was mentioned.  I wondered what sort of setting we could locate it in.  Members' thoughts are welcomed.

We heard about our people’s experiences at the Wigan Show at our first tea break. The layout was well received and  we hope it will feature in the modelling press in due course. The Beckenham Show was causing concern as our heavy lifting members were a bit short in supply, but with all hands called up we’ll manage.

2017 September 20th Wednesday at Badlesmere           -               Rob M

As track workers, Paul W and Jackie, laid the initial stretch of the Circuit’s outer line, an EWS Class 60 roared around beside them.  Earlier a Terrier had run with a short freight before Colin S had dusted off a two car SR emu, which had a good run after a nudge to wake it up.  Its carriages had been used to check platform clearances on Sarre by John P.  Nearby, David Ho. peered at electrics, while Jim and John J modernised Sarre’s trestles.  Roger and Colin C were making measurements for buildings.

GOG’s new Con. Rep. for the South-East, Paul Honey, visited and had a good chat with us.  He found a kindred spirit in David Ha. who was working on a loco tender and distributing doughnuts.  As the afternoon drew on John B started the checking and crating of Edington ready for exhibiting at Wigan.  As usual several people helped John P with thekitchen. It had been a productive day and we departed wishing the Wigan crew “Good luck”.

2017 September 16th - Saturday at Badlesmere      -      RM

The Circuit saw good use as models were run in or tested; close coupling and pickup glitches being solved as diesels and SR 4-6-0s followed around. With books, models and magazines strewn across the tables, there was a cheerful buzz with twelve of us and a couple of visitors from the Elham Valley group. Snapped wagon sides were repaired with UV glues across the bench from Wantage Tramway stock being soldered. Jim May had been busy and showed us scalpel cut window frames, white metal vans and a warehouse front. David Hayes’s “Toby” ran at appropriate pace with Edwardian veranda rolling stock.

2017 September 6th - Wednesday at Badlesmere        Report & photos by Ross Shimmon

This was my first day back at Badlesmere after a short summer break. My homework was to bring the milk.

We were a smaller than usual group, but we had the bonus of a visitor, Steve, who has recently moved into the area from Retford, Notts, famous (in the railway world) for its flat crossing. He brought with him a model of a loco some of us had heard of, but few had seen in either prototype or model form; BR Fell diesel mechanical 4-8-4 No. 10100. Beautifully built from a set of etched parts originally prepared for 4mm scale, it ran smoothly, mesmerising us with its revolving bright red fly cranks. Spectacular, if rather incongruous on Edington. We all thought that Colin Smith would have drooled over it. Perhaps, if we haven't put Steve off, he'll bring it again so that he can see it.  In between the usual tea and lunch breaks, John B worked on the fiddle yard at Sarre, while David G and Paul W fettled the track and repaired electrical faults. David's SDJR 0-4-4T, John's Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T and my KESR Terrier were used to test the track. The rest of us did what we do best, dispense advice. A good start to the autumn term.

* The EKOGG chairman was unavoidably detained in Romania.