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.

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.