Thanet Group’s Open Day – Saturday April 29th
Birchington’s sunny streets were full of EKOGGers as I approached Kearn Hall. Inside Chris and the others were holding the fort on Sarre, which after a shaky start was running with locos on every siding, in the fiddle-road and on the ground. They told me it works under the one engine in steam rule. Well, I had a go at making more space, attempting to run a loco off the headshunt, only to be thwarted by John B. Jackie then took command of directing moves, although reliant on those with glasses for uncoupling. Nearby, short trains slowly shuttled along the colourful Walls End Crossing diorama. (It had a Silver City Bristol 170 trundling across its sky to Manston.) Roger and Richard were on the stage beside the sales stock, manning the GOG table with David Ha. Geoff was dishing out tea and coffee – each with a free biscuit.
Thanet’s huge circuit was operating: coarse scale on the top track and fine below. Brian had trains running, while John P had a freight for his O2 and Q1, or anyone else who wanted a train, to haul. The top level saw much tinplate being used: modern ACE, Hornby and scratch-built. Graham, David Ho. and Jim, formed an audience and gave warning of derailments. Ladies arrived to collect their menfolk and we began to decamp as 3 o’clock approached, thanking Thanet for inviting us.
Badlesmere, Wednesday April 19th 2017
With Alan K, Chris and Ross ready to cheer, Paul and Barry fixed the final length of rail onto our new Circuit. Electrics to finish and the second circle to start now. Over on the modelling table, Jim was working on a wooden warehouse and Jackie finishing smaller buildings, while Chris and Geoff mused over magazines. Over on Sarre John P had produced the wooden front of the platform and they were preparing end plates to hold the baseboards during transport. Another good day at the hall.
Fleur de Lis Hall, Saturday 15th April – Ross Shimmon
A dozen members gathered at the Fleur to hear Rob Poole’s illustrated talk on the Railways of Gravesham. Gravesham? do I hear you ask? Well, as Rob explained, it’s the borough that includes Gravesend, which includes 17 stations. The backstory went right back to 1802. Admittedly it was not a railway as we know it – Pitcher’s Truck Way, built to carry chalk and lime down to the river. New to most of us was that Brunel had proposed an atmospheric railway in the area and that there was the Horlock loco works at Northfleet. Rob recounted the history of Strood canal tunnel’s conversion to rail, including an illustration of the interim stage with the two side-by-side. The presentation was packed with information; included in Rob’s well-researched and illustrated book: Between Downs and Thames
Inevitably the rivalry between the SER and the LCDR intruded into the story, followed by electrification, privatisation, new trains and the rebuilding of Gravesend station itself. We saw the characterless Ebbsfleet station, the Hundred of Hoo Railway, the Gravesend West branch with its signs in Dutch for the boat train traffic, and Gravesend Town pier with its London, Tilbury & Southend sign for the ferry to Tilbury. After that comprehensive Cook’s Tour, we had tea thanks to David Hayes who went to Iceland – No, not that one – to get the biscuits!
Badlesmere, Wednesday April 5th 2017 – Rob M
A bright mild day brought a dozen of us to the countryside. Tables were out and the kettle was bubbling as we were assembling Sarre and connecting a controller. Allen swiftly cleaned track, with a Terrier on standby for testing. However, all was not plain sailing with point conductivity being poor. Cleaning of switch blades cured some, but a couple needed re-wiring and switches to the frogs. With David Ho. on the soldering iron, John P. and Colin had planned the likely platform type. while John B. prepared to paint rail sides. Paul was soldering connections on the Circuit with Jim and Graham in attendance. On the modelling table David G. was adding detail to a Stanier 8F, which had a short run on Sarre. Jackie, Roger and Geoff were huddled around a cutting mat further along. We managed to fit in two tea breaks besides our lunch, so had time to talk over summer events .
Faversham, Saturday 18th March 2017 – Ross Shimmon
Fourteen members and one guest gathered for Tony Riley’s ‘History of Railways in Kent’. Illustrated with some glorious photos, Tony deftly untangled the tangled story of the development of railways in our area of the country, starting with the Canterbury & Whitstable, through the London & Greenwich and the original East Kent to the bitter rivalry between the South Eastern and the London, Chatham & Dover, culminating in the working agreement leading to the South Eastern & Chatham. Tony also presented a series of maps which demonstrated the growth of the network throughout Kent. Among the photos were several of the elegant early South Eastern locos, original station buildings, signals and early track layouts. The Grouping of 1923 saw the process of rationalisation; reducing the number of towns with more than one station, although this legacy of the competition lingers.
During the tea break we were able to study an album of photos taken in Faversham. I was especially interested in those showing the Faversham Creek branch and the unusually large number pictures of staff – many of them identified in the captions. One even included the engine shed cats. Earlier, many of us lunched in The Vaults.
Badlesmere, Wednesday 15th March 2017 – Ross S
On the modelling table David Ha was constructing a LTSR horse box (well he likes older models), using his well-used, nay battered, resistance station. David G was alongside building a SR PLV from a CRT kit with a conventional iron. Luckily David Ha had brought along his rivet punch gadget as there was a tricky set of rivets alongside the stanchions to be punched. Further along the table Jackie was assembling a telephone kiosk. A little later I noticed that, watched by his (unpaid) consultant, Roger, he was using a 4mm waiting shelter as a template for a scratch-built 7mm version. Meanwhile, over on Sarre, grown men were having a serious discussion on the likely dimensions of a single farm track overbridge. Later David Ho and John P tried to beat the clock to complete the wiring, so that test running could take place at a Thanet Group meeting. On the roundy-roundy, Paul and Barry were conducting operations to ensure the next section of track conformed to the 6′ radius and that the correct transition from the straight was observed. Colin S was salivating at the thoughts of big engines and trains running smoothly round the circuit. David Ha had brought along half of his Ford railmotor set, now in a realistic weathered brown to be loaned to the Museum. Ross had brought along his part-completed model of St. Michael’s tunnel, KESR, from which the railmotor will poke its nose. At the appointed time (when else?) the fourteen settled down to lunch amid the usual banter, smell of soldering and cries of ‘where’s the rice pudding?’
Badlesmere, Wednesday 1st March 2017 RJM
So, “The Circuit” borrowed the solder and flux from “Sarre”. Then “Sarre” borrowed it back. So, the modelling table was asked for some flux and solder, which David G donated, but after a while David needed to use it and…. It was just as well that each group had a soldering iron. On “Sarre” the points were being fitted with wire in tube leading to the backscene where motors may be located. With that done John B, David Ho. and John P stuck down more track, then wagons were zipped back and forth to check rail joints. Over at “The Circuit” every section of base board was joined, leading Paul to conclude that 1/16th inch needs planing from one board’s end. More underlay was glued down and weighted, before bus bar wiring began.
We continue to have a good turn-out of modellers, so there was help at hand when difficulties arose on the modelling table. Roger was working on getting elderly wagons to run smoothly despite one having a warped frame and Jackie was discovering which glues would hold a telephone box sides and windows. Jim seemed to be supplying cramps and hammers to the micro engineers around him. David G’s SR utility van was taking shape as small brass pieces were selected from the fret. Early on we had a preview of Barry’s latest project, a “King Arthur” from the Urie batch. Allen was shewing his live steam loco, giving us visions of it puffing along in sun – role on summer. Geoff had dropped in before he heads to Kettering for the GOG Show. Some donated wagons and bits for sale, in aid of our funds, were brought in by Ross.
Faversham AGM & Model Show, Saturday 18th February – RJM
After a swift AGM, which ended with, “What shoes does a porter wear?” [platform soles] we grabbed cups of tea and inspected the array of models shown and entered for our modelling competition. They certainly warranted a deal of considering as we voted for two items from each section. A smart varnished portion of “The Circuit” out for us to see, with a loco body and coach underframe on its track. Older clockwork locos, wagons and the colourful end of a siding with an older coach were amongst the “Interest” section.
I noticed a decrepit P-Way hut in the scenic section, along with an American water tower and Geoff’s crane, which took that prize. Eight freight wagons were displayed; Barry’s “Queen Mary” brake van and Mike P’s creosote tanker battling for the certificate. Passenger stock featured SR utility vans, but it was David G’s DMU and Joe S’s inspection saloon that caught voters’ eyes. Locomotives ranged from a huge SR diesel, through weathered steam to a maroon industrial tank, ending with gleaming express locos; from which Alan K’s “Merchant Navy” gained the accolade.
Badlesmere, Wednesday 15th February
Another productive day with two layout projects being worked on plus many wagons and buildings in evidence. Half of the ‘Circuit’ was having the inside track laid while ‘Sarre’ saw sidings positioned and buffer stops fitted with the help of John B’s D3045. Brian was working on a laser-cut signal cabin. Further along was a a SR utility and a BR p-way wagon. Amongst the LSWR stock was a van with the Xed bracing, all fitted with tab in slot.
Badlesmere, Wednesday 1st February
What a hive of activity! I arrived a little late, though just in time for a cup of coffee. A record attendance of 16 enjoyed a chat, inspected some models brought in, including an Adams Radial in SR black and a GWR 4-8-0T, nicely weathered, while some of us brought out our ongoing projects and others worked on club projects. Sarre is a minimum space layout making use of some previously constructed modular baseboards. David Ho, John P, and John B concentrated on laying the Peco trackwork.
Meanwhile, half of our ‘Roundy-roundy’ test track had been erected. Paul and Jim were setting out the track on the track bed. Particular care was taken to align the curves across the joints, using a tripod, a long piece of wood, some string and a weight consisting of three bricks. Don’t try this at home!
On the modelling tables, Roger was in exhibition demo mode, building an Engineers’ Department wagon, showing guest Allen how it’s done. The word soon got round that Allen had a live steam loco, which he promised to show us at a future meeting. David Ha was showing his flares to David G – flares on the sides of his LSWR tender that is. Chris encouraged me to resume work on my SECR Bircage bogie. But first he demonstrated a new piece of kit, a gadget that secures joints using epoxy resin and UV light – magic! We all want one. He used it to put together an axle guard that disintegrated at the last meeting. Borrowing David Ha’s drill, a large pair of pliers with suitable cushioning to hold each axle guard we took it in turns to drill them out to take the top hat bearings. I managed to drill right through two of them. We tried to glue them on the bogie frames with two-part Araldite, but we ran out of time. Did I forget to mention lunch? No rice pudding this time, but Chris microwaved his Cornish pasties. Earlier some doughnuts were distributed at the tea break. Only one more meeting before thye AGM, modelling competition and display.
Badlesmere, Saturday 21st January – RM
The week of the doughnuts continued with Jim passing the custard variety to willing recipients; just right with our hot drinks, which he’d also organised. It was a glorious frosty day, up on the hills, and those who’d lunched at the Red Lion had liked the log fires. In the hall, many people gravitated to the modelling table, where transfers were positioned amongst wagons. Stuart, having showed us many photos of mid-20th century railways, sparking memories. With trammel at the ready, Paul had organised his minions to put out half of the “Circuit” so that the track could be set out. By the session’s end a couple of lengths had been laid and a wagon was on the rails.
Badlesmere, Weds 18th January – RM
Quite a throng at the hall, despite the frosty weather. I was soon passed a hot drink and a doughnut, thanks to two of the Davids, while the third David was putting up the final storage shelf. John B was working on “Sarre’s” track, with Roger finding buffer stops. At the busy modelling table, Barry was engrossed in discussion about LSWR locos, while at the end, castings for white metal vans were in preparation and Ross inspected a LSWR pull-push driving coach. Sections of the “Circuit” were being lugged around by Graham ready for track bed to be glued down; which Paul kept in place with a large fire extinguiser… Geoff and Jim were talking to Brian about his scratch built SR tank, No. 2325. Over lunch, we wondered about having an outside photo session for our favourite models – the lighting would be better. After making progress on all fronts we closed down the session just before 3 o’clock.
Happy New Year! We are starting the year with two major projects rapidly taking shape in addition to our continuing to show our exhibition layout. The modelling sessions at Badlesmere will include a practical “do it together” on lining of freight and other stock. Two talks on Kentish railway history are lined up for the Faversham meetings and, of course, there is our Model Display and Competition in February
Badlesmere, Weds 4th January – Ross S.
Eleven of us gathered at Badlesmere for an historic first! Well, in the world of EKOGG anyway. For a reason lost in the mists of our illustrious history, we have never met in January. But in our 31st year we have a new schedule. By the time I arrived the lunch table had been set up and John P was serving teas and coffees. While we were eating, there was a curious, persistent mention of rice pudding. The reason became clear when Chris sat down with a bowl of Ambrosia! On display was Roger’s new Dapol 350hp diesel in BR green (though in certain lights it looked black) – terrific detail and great value for money. Also on display were several old EKOGG trophies, including the MR Single ‘Spinner’, bequeathed to us by the late George Knowles. Several groups got down to work; John P, John B and Roger on the trackwork on Sarre, David Ho on increasing the shelves in the store, despite the cold, David G and Ross, helped by Chris and David Ha, made progress (of a sort in my case) on their respective etched kit bogies, while David Ha almost nonchalantly worked on the tender for his LSWR Jubilee 0-4-2. The work on the bogies involved drilling holes in whitemetal axleguards in order to fit top hat bearings. Luckily David G is not faint hearted, but unfortunately I am … Towards the end a member of the Hall committee with his teenage son popped to meet us. They seemed quite impressed. All too soon it was time to pack up, using the large scale colour photos showing the correct way to stack the tables and chairs on the stage, helpfully provided by the hall management. All in all, a good start to the New Year.