Wednesday 23 January 2008

CAG makes it bigger. See it at Rochdale

The Crewe Area Group layout Knutsford East Junction will be on show again, this time at the Rochdale show on 2nd /3rd Feb. If you come and have a look you will discover that, like Burntisland, we’ve been growing, just not so much in our case. We’ve extended by just 2 feet and almost all of it went into the fiddle yards. For this you should blame our defensiveness about being limited to 4 coach trains on what was prototypically a 6 to 8 coach railway. Given the extra length, 5 coach trains are now possible - must build more coaches! In addition, the planned retreat of the scenic break at the station end will also maker it possible to see, without the use of a mirror, more of the wonderful detail Ron Dickinson put into the station ticket office. There is also some muffled talk of 8Fs and trains of hoppers heading for ICI Northwich full of limestone, but best not hold your breath for that one.

Those who scrutinise layouts from the ground up will also notice that our Dexion underpinnings have transmogrified into a custom built steel structure. This has kept Dick Petter p/gainfully employed cutting drilling and tapping many yards of square steel tube over the last few weeks. A thoroughly well engineered job it is too, just as you would expect from Dick. Our thanks to Tony Montgomery who now has his Dexion back, so that’s one less excuse for not progressing your own railway empire Tony.

P.S. Don Rowland is one of our members. He has been in hospital over the Christmas period, but is back home now. I’m sure I speak for all S4 members in sending him our best wishes for a quick and full recovery.

Tuesday 22 January 2008

Burntisland 1883 Gets Bigger

Recently, the whisper on P4_talk was that future extensions to Burntisland 1883 might be little more than a pipe dream. Oh, no, no, no, no.

Those industrious fellows in the Scotland East Area Group, having considered and poured over plans for the next 2 extensions for months…and months… have started turning all that planning and preliminary building into action.

Over the last weekend, the boards were erected for one of the extensions, underlay laid, and most of the track built for it.

Activity was at such a feverish pace that on day 2, Richard Darby returned from a romantic overnight stay in Glasgow with lady wife to remark that the heat in the hall was stifling. You’ll see from the accompanying photo that, not only had the layout lampposts started to wilt with the heat, Allan Goodwillie had also wilted into deep slumber despite that fire alarm ringing loudly in his right ear (apparently dreaming of having finished Burntisland's second station pilot. Now, that was a pipe dream).

Monday 21 January 2008

KAG - Eridge rebuilding gets under way

Some progress over the weekend at KAG on rebuilding the group layout Eridge after problems with baseboard sagging on Mk1.

Templot plan cut to give 1.5" margin from the sleeper ends and used as a template for cutting the trackbed surfaces from 6mm Russian birch ply. The two further boards have already been cut (each 8ft long) - Mike is marking out the third. Simon keeps his wine rack in the garage hence the handy use of bottles as weights to hold the track plan down!

First two boards with transverse ribs in place (8" deep).

First board with side frames glued, pinned and clamped in place. This is the only one where the sides themselves are curved - the others will have rectilinear boxes (and triangles on the wider bits) with longitudinal strengtheners as well, so there will be some bits where the trackbed overhangs the box-frame sides slightly (not sure what the bottles were being used for at this stage!).

The trackbed boards will sit on wider trestles or goalpost-type supports at 4ft intervals (but with the board joins mid-way between supports to avoid any tendency to sag from that point). Scenic add-ons will plug in from the sides, probably built on super-lightweight carcasses made from foam board shaped to fit.

Monday 14 January 2008

Tea for TT2

On Saturday 12 January six DRAG members accompanied by several Workmates and the most macho collection of power tools I've seen outside of daytime television descended on Brian's garden workshop to start (at last) on putting together the first boards for TT2 (the MkII test track). Using John Farmer's MDF and angle-iron jig, one team made short work of all the side pieces and longitudinal strengtheners for 10 straight boards of 1000mm each, whilst another team took advantage of the reasonable weather in the morning to carry on batch-cutting. The ends had already been made up into matched pairs with pattern-makers' dowels by John in traditional Blue Peter fashion. Finally we glued and screwed one complete board. Thanks to Brian & Jane for their hospitality and to Jane especially for the excellent lunch.

Another session in the near future should get the straight boards finished so trackbed preparation and tracklaying can commence. The curved boards will need a visit to Denis' workshop to make use of his specialist router.

Later the same evening many members took part in the annual post-Christmas DRAG dinner at the Pig & Whistle near Totnes, arranged as ever by Tim Maddocks. Regular meetings for 2008 start again on 14 January, continuing on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.

Sunday 13 January 2008

Fylde Area Group

The 13th December saw another Fylde Area Group meeting again well attended although winter bug had taken its toll on a couple of members.
This meeting was an illustrated talk by John Sykes (EM Gauge Society and HMRS member), 'GN Lines in the West Riding' - this was a follow-on talk from the one John gave us when he focused on the area of his own model as Ingrow (G.N). , this this time John has spread the net to the entire are of the GN in West Riding. He provided us with an overview of the line concerned, with photos of many of the express (EP), ordinary (OP) and excursion passeneger trains. With details of special locomotive transfers to cover excusion traffic. We were then shown details of the goods and marshalling pilots, with shed rosters and logding turns, followed by a typical loco diagram and passenger working. Many Thanks to John for such an interesting and detailed presentation, clearly he is very knowlegable well researched on the Great Northern.
This was followed by a hotpot supper provided by Elaine (my wife), everyone leaving close on midnight, exchanging best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

Our next meeting is Thursday 17th January for a 'Run and Natter', please contact Mike Norris (details on Blue Sheet) if you require additional information.

Wednesday 9 January 2008

Our president, Jim Summers cuts the ribbon and officially opens the Bristol Group test track on Tuesday 8 January. One of the new Heljan Falcons, converted to P4 is just about to pass through.

The test track is a circle approximately 12' in diameter, with four roads to fill with stock, so we have something to pull!