Wednesday 30 April 2008

CAG April Meetings - Things get hairy!

The April 13th meeting took place in Don Roland's railway room.

The objective of the day was to demonstrate the wonders of the Noch Electrostatics grass planting system. You know the idea, electrostatically charge some fine fibres of grass coloured material and shoot it onto a glued surface where the charge will keep it standing on end while the glue dries. That nice Mr Noch provides both the clever device which generates and applies the charge, and the grass fibres. These come in a variety of garish shades but by judicious mixing it is possible to achieve a realistic colour for your chosen season. The secret seem to be not too much green but plenty of yellow and brown. To work it appears you need the target to be electrically earthed to the charge producing gun, requiring either a conductive target layer, like aluminium foil with a base fibre mat glued on top and/or a good soaking with electrically conductive glue sold for the job (looked and smelt like PVA, with added salt perhaps?). Wire the gun to the foil/glue layer, shake away and lo and behold things got hairy.

This exersize was duly performed on a section of Don's Central Cheshire line Alpraham Sidings which we have all been enjoying so much in MRJ recently, and as in the MRJ, John Sherratt provided photos of the event. I regret that on this occasions the photos did not do justice to the results so instead I leave you with a shot of the much to be envied general environment of the Central Cheshire line, mostly obscured by an, always to be preferred, back view of a fair percentage of the group.

April 27th also saw a layout meeting hosted by Dick Petter. This was held to ensure we are getting on with the tasks we must complete before Knutsford East reappears at Scale Forum in September. Signalling was much to the fore. Our current signal operating mechanisms have not worked as well as we would have liked, sometime not at all, and Phil Bourne had a new generation of mechanism on display. Another signalling job required is the completion of the point rodding. The design of the rodding runs has been done by our own in-house professional signalling engineer Tony Walker, in pursuance of the S4 ethos of getting it all right. To complete this design there is, among other things, the small mater of the construction of large numbers of point rodding stools. We all now have our quoter, even if, like me, you managed to forget to go to the meeting!

Also on view were bits of two new Loco's. That is a D9 and an J10 (both LNER/ ex GCR) suitable for Cheshire Lines use.

I leave you with further pictures, again courtesy of John, one of Phil's magnificent new mechanism and another of the chassis of the D9 (an 4-4-0 for those not up to speed on LNER class numbers). This comes from Dick's hands and as always exhibits engineering values most of us can only dream about.

Friday 25 April 2008

First Meeting of Cumbrian Area Group

Six potential members of a Cumbrian Area Group met at Stephen Paulin's house in Kirby Stephen on Saturday, 12th April, 2008.

After being impressed by the authenticity of his 12in/foot scale model of a Midland Railway house - Stephen is trying to get it all right - we repaired to a most excellent pub beside the remarkably intact ex-NER station for a superb lunch before returning to Stephen's house for tea and a natter.

In our company were Stephen and his wife, Cherry; Phil Tuer and his wife, Sheila, from Carlisle; David Beale from back o' Skidda' and Ian Everett from Askrigg. We discussed our interests and ambitions. Stephen showed some lovely BR wagons and LNWR buildings. Phil admitted to modelling in EM but nevertheless we listened as he talked about his interests in Cumbrian railways and the fascinating complexity of the early railways in the Workington area. He also showed some lovely etches of Furness Railway "squirrel" seats which will be available in both 4mm and 7mm scales. David talked of his intention to model a station based on the MR in Yorkshire and had brought a beautifully made chassis for an MR 2F 0-6-0, built from a Gibson kit. Especially notable was the neat way he had converted it to split axle pick up. Ian brought two
sixth-scale models of his two exhibition layouts, Clecklewyke and Humber Dock. They had demonstrated their worth by the fact that neither layout followed precisely these cameo models - each design had been modified before wood had been irrevocably cut or track laid. He also had a nearly complete London Road kit for an NER G5 0-4-4T.

Despite being scattered within a 30 or so mile radius of Stephen's house we agreed to continue with the group and to try to encourage more members. The group also agreed to join forces to help Ian exhibit Clecklewyke at the Workington exhibition, which is on 22/23 November 2008.

We decided to meet again at Ian's house in Askrigg at 12 noon on Saturday 7th June, where we will play with his two train sets and no doubt sample the wares of the excellent Crown inn. Brian Lewis of C&L will also be there and will talk about the services and products he provides. Anyone in the area will be very welcome. For more details contact Ian on 01969 650180 or

SLAG at Scalefour North

Three members of SLAG motored up the M1 to Wakefield with their layout St Merryn carefully (and tightly!) packed around them, for the annual celebration of P4 modelling that is Scalefour North. A largely hassle-free journey set the tone for the weekend; and after a calm setting-up operation on the Friday evening we looked forward to a weekend of driving trains and informed chat.

On the Saturday we were joined by two other members of SLAG, and by Brian Pearce who had been recruited some months ago (and undergone his driver training) to augment the team when playing away from home. Layout (and operators) performed well over the weekend, though one member was heard to admit to being “bruised” after 30 minutes of operating, acknowledging that driver training and practice was a necessity rather than a luxury!

Some very nice comments about the layout were received, and it seems that visitors largely enjoyed what they saw. For our part, we left with a list of twenty or so “things to address” before taking the layout on the road again, but all of them are comfortingly minor.

The social side of the weekend was a great success, as is normal for Scalefour North. Thanks to all the Team for a great weekend.

Sunday 20 April 2008


Contrary to what the heading might suggest, our AGMs aren't (generally) protracted enough to last a weekend. The AGM was held on the Saturday - as always accompanied by a bring and buy sale, awards for modelmaking, and whatever else can be squeezed in. The Sunday on this occasion was onward progress of Burntisland in the shape of a wagon making masterclass run by Simon de Souza. Both days attracted a significant percentage of membership participation

The AGM was conducted with formality, frivolity, and good all round banter. The committee were all available for re-election and happy to continue - not surprisingly this was proposed and seconded just as quickly as the speed of sound allowed. Despite a lot of expenditure associated with the extensions to Burntisland 1883 we remain in a very sound financial position, a fact that could be determined from treasurer Ray Paul's relaxed demenour
before delivering his report.

The modelmaking prizes attracted a fair clutch of entrants, most noticeably on the loco front. Despite that preponderance, the prizes went to Fergus Duncan for some dazzling trackwork for the ferry extension, Ray Nolton for a nifty little NB coach, and John Crompton for a clutch of part-built Irish wagons. A delightful 7mm French railcar submitted by Richard Chown won absolutely nothing - not because anyone is bigotted against 7mm - simply because it didn't conform to any category of prize on offer. So as a consolation to Mr C, here's an image of it (also showing several locos that had their constructors leaving empty handed).

The bring and buy had a good number of items for sale and many a transaction took place. Give it 5 or so more years, all these unmade kits will be back on sale again to other buyers with great intentions. Such is the lot of the finescale modeller/hoarder - but who'd have it any other way?

Sunday saw some further activity towards the build of Burntisland ensuring that new boards built by Richard Darby matched up perfectly with the existing boards and newly constructed track - which they did.
However, the main feature of the day was a wagon building masterclass lead by Simon de Souza with the aim of increasing mineral stock much needed for the extended layout. The chosen subject was an NB outside framed coal wagon.

In true Blue Peter fashion, Simon produced one that he'd prepared earlier - looking both virginal and brassy at the same time, it was something for the gathering multitude to aspire to. As it turned out Simon had to conduct 2 Sunday sermons for the morning and afternoon shifts.

Everything seemed to go swimmingly well thereafter with some throwing together wagons at a speed that I can only dream off. At least 10 group members started attacking plasticard sheets with great gusto.

Most of the group just knuckled down and got on with it. Meanwhile, after lengthy debate Jim Summers and Simon remain at loggerheads but still the best of friends over the shape of planking on the fixed end of the wagon. Just another day at the office for us in the East of Scotland really.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

NAGNAG inaugural meeting

Hi, my name is Mike Garwood (5883), I have volunteered for the job of coordinator for this P4 group of modelers in South Wales. The meetings will initially take place at Newport Model Railway Society club rooms (, its' planned that the first meeting will take place on Wednesday 21 of May at 7:30 pm. I hope as many of you as can, will attend. Hopefully NMRS will have their P4 layout up - Belle View. What format will the group idea, thats for them that attends to decide, I'm just the referee - no, I don't wear black! I look forward to seeing you all on the 21st. A google map should now be below this, to show you how to get to the club rooms...oh yes, the area group name -

View Larger Map

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Fylde Area Group

Our meeting on the 20th March was again well attended with 12 members present.

There were the usual wide range of topics under discussion. But as promised in the last update I would include some photographs of visiting locomotives of which there were several.

Bob Ellis brought this delightful NER Class P 0-6-0 No 1823

John James bought a wonderful LNWR Super D - such a perfect engine for Preston and I was able to fully appreciate the detail having had a run behind 49395 at the West somerset Steam Gala the week before!

Arthur Kimber showed us his progress on two etched locomotives he has been designing;

NER 290 Class J77


The next meeting is Thursday 17th April, please contact Mike Norris (details on blue sheet), if you require more information and the meeting is a talk by Terry Tracey on 'Allhallows' a Kent SR station and model.