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There's always lots happening at the Model Railway Club. Keep up to date by following our Blog. If you would be interested to edit a blog and you are an MRC member please contact the webmaster.

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Posted by on in Empire Mills

Little jobs can be very time consuming. Firstly the uncoupling magnets are now powered by a relay, which hopefully means we won't burn out the switches on the controllers any more. Secondly the uncouplers which were incorrectly identified have now been fixed, so reducing a pernicious source of operator confusion. And finally a mystery short circuit which spread across the layout was (after pulling everything out and turning the boards on their sides) ascribed to a loose blob of solder that emerged from under a switch rail as the troubleshooters were beginning to lose heart.

We will be running on Thursday 30 November (though this depends on some loaned cables being returned) so drop in and say hello!

Tagged in: 4mm EM Empire Mills
Ingatestone Autumn Update: There is some good modelling happening

After a long summer with all the boards of Ingatestone up in the MRC workshop, a lot of progress has been made on both track and scenic elements.   

The scenic crew has been hard at work on the platforms, and after their recent trip through the paint shop when they are added to the layout you suddenly begin to see a station!  We'll need to remove them again at a later date to install the platform lighting.

Eric Sainte has been making progress on the 1880's up side station building:
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_IGSStation.jpg
 
Because this building is going to sit on the viewing side of the layout, Eric has opened up the main doors so we can see in and through which means young and not so young viewers will be able to see the trains passing by through the doors as if you were really entering the station! Next up for Eric is the interior and roof parts.
 
Another major component of the layout is going to be the overhead catenary, which because of the history of the line there are a variety of different styles of masts and gantries all the way back to the original style erected during the 1950s electrification of the Great Eastern.
 
Inspired by the recent field trip, Tony Rees has put together notes and sketches of each mast to be made:
 
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Tony has taken on the job of being Ingatestone's very own HOPS (High Output Plant System), and luckily he is proving much more efficient than Network Rail!
 
All the masts and gantries are being made with brass 'H' section and here's Tony's cutting list ready for assembly:
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_IGSCantParts.jpg
 
The tubular sections are effectively the piles the uprights will sit in, which will both support the uprights in a solid base and allow us to quickly remove the gantries when we need to work on the boards without risking damaging the gantries:
 
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The bottom of the gantries are carefully tapered to fit through the bases as we can see from this under side view:
 
 
 
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And here is the first finished gantry which looks fantastic!
 
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In other parts of the layout we are continuing to install the Cobalt digital point motors - Ingatestone only has 4 points but we want to be able to control all the routing from the control panel we are sharing with Putnam.
 
In addition James has create a control bus line with old computer network Cat 5 cables to be able to link all the signals together.
 
As noted before, Ingatestone is sharing Putnam's impressive fiddle yard and with it being up recently, Tom has been able to put together some initial plans on the formations we will be running when the layout is in "display mode".  We will have a mixture of EMUs, intercity trains, inter modal freight and engineering trains.   We might even see a heritage Hook Continental make an appearance.  More on this to come...
 
We are meeting Mondays and most Thursdays usually one or two of the group are in, new members are always welcome to pop in and lend a hand.  As Chris Ibbotson has noticed - there is a lot of nice modelling happening right now! 

 

Tagged in: Catenary Ingatestone

Posted by on in Lacey Dale
Scenery Update

As it has been some time since the last update, I thought I would post some images of the layout. This is more a pictorial update on the progress so far than a detailed account of what has been happening. This will be covered in future posts.

To summarise, all the bare patches  on the baseboards have now been covered over, and it is time to get down to some fine detailing. I hope you enjoy the photos.

 

The header image shows a hard used WD Austerity running into the station on the low level.

We follow this with a view from the station looking North, where the low level track runs under the high level main line from Derby to Manchester.

Lacey_Dale_1.JPG 

Following is a view over the goods yard, looking back towards the station.

 

Lacey_Dale_2.JPG

 

 

... and the next image is looking down on the station itself

Lacey_Dale_3.JPG 

 

The final images are views of the high level, representing the main line between Derby and Manchester, and a general shot of the layout.

Lacey_Dale_4.JPG

 

Lacey_Dale_5.JPG

An excursion special on the up line ?  During a Thursday night "work" session, one of the team took time to display an A4 with a rake of Gresley coaches.

 

Lacey_Dale_7.JPG 

Lacey_Dale_6.JPG

 

Posted by on in Empire Mills

Growling pains? Bachmann/Kernow cl. 37 awaits the future in the exchange sidings

The Summer months were quiet for Empire Mills. But like the proverbial duck, beneath the water there was plenty of paddling. We were giving a lot of thought to the best way to develop the layout and, perhaps more importantly for the long term, to retain and increase interest in EM gauge modelling in the club. We'll share more on this blog when our plans are more concrete.

Meanwhile, Empire Mills will be operating on Thursday 21 September so drop in and say hello!

Tagged in: Class 37 EM

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Ingatestone Update: Field Trip!

One of the advantages of building a modern image layout like Ingatestone is you get the opportunity to visit the prototype to get up to speed on exactly what you are building. 

So with master craftsman Eric Sainte visiting from Belgium we arranged a field trip which had almost a full turnout from the Ingatestone group:

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_20170803_124700.jpg

Posted by on in Ingatestone

A slightly delayed update this month as we handed over blogging responsibilities to a new member of the OO group - me!

 

A lot of progress has been made on Ingatestone in the last few weeks.  This is greatly helped by the fact that all 6 scenic boards are now up full time in the lower hall.  We expect to working on them all through the summer so do come down and see progress for yourself.

 

One of the goals of Ingatestone was to have as long as possible stretch of mainline to allow us to run some prototypical length trains.  As you can see from these pictures, the length looks quite impressive now we have the full set of boards up running.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_FullLength.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_FullLength2.jpg

 

June's been a quiet month for Empire Mills, although like the proverbial duck the legs are paddling away under the surface.

We're running on two consecutive Thursdays -- 6 July and 13 July -- and last night we did a little work towards ensuring that stock prefers to run through a couple of the turnouts rather than hop in the air and land between the two routes. Track doesn't keep still and the recent very warm weather seems to have nudged the rails a bit, reminding us that we'll always need to keep an eye on it.

After we'd tested the turnouts to our satisfaction I photographed a Sentinel (from a Nu-cast whitemetal kit) standing over one of the turnout vees with an empty, and somewhat unruly, china clay wagon in tow.

If you're interested in getting involved do come along to the running nights on 6 or 13 July. We'll be practising remote Sprat and Winkle uncoupling amongst other delights!

Posted by on in Ingatestone

 

We have started the building of our platforms on Ingatestone 00 which are of two types -  traditional brick and the later extensions using a pre-fabricated concrete system (see header picture). This has meant we have been busy making prefabricated plastic components too! And they have to be laid out accurately so that the gap between platform and train is realistic but allow a variety of models that might not always been to scale to pass freely. Another compromise for the modeller as clearances don’t scale proportionally.

 

To aid us in the task on the pre-fab sections, Mo made up a very useful but simple jig for the placing of the support of the platform by setting the distance from the track.

b2ap3_thumbnail_20170522_151943.jpg

By clipping the jig to the rails each support is placed at the right distance from the rail and in a parallel line which makes the task easier.b2ap3_thumbnail_20170522_153753.jpg

 

The coming together of members in the Club with their different backgrounds and perspectives can often bring forth innovative solutions to problems ....

 

Posted by on in Ingatestone

New member Phil joined us on Monday for the working day on Ingatestone 00. We put him to work to help paint the platform supports that Mo had made at home. Liz also popped in to see progress and is admiring Mo's model of the cricket club house.

The 00 group is in most mondays between 11:00 and 20:00 hrs, and as you can see we welcome new members - and encourage them to get involved.


Posted by on in Empire Mills

We had a great weekend at Quainton Road, so thanks to everyone who paid us a visit. It was really fun to take part in a railway event that wasn't simply a model railway show, and great to get out into the countryside for a change so we can remember what it looks like when we model it!

This month we're concentrating on plans for a new set of modules for the layout. These will give us greater operating potential so we have more to entertain the public. Perfect for the moment when all the operators have perfected their delayed Sprat and Winkle uncoupling skills. And when I've got good at making reliable Sprat and Winkle couplings!

As ever, if you'd like to be involved with the layout drop us a line: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or talk to Tom or Ben on Thursday evenings.

Posted by on in Ingatestone

Ingatestone 00  is our demonstration layout on Thursday 20 April in the lower hall, and  we hope to put up the four front scenic boards to help check for shorts and running. 

The Monday session was most productive, Mo and Tom put higher ends on the boards  to protect all that "knitting" aka OHLE as it is installed over the coming months. Gus and Kev are seen testing out points motors running from the DCC in the top picture. If you would like to get involved, please drop us a note through the website, or come in and see us on Thursday evenings at Keen House.
 
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Tagged in: 4mm Ingatestone track

Here's a preview of the new control panel. Wiring work to support this is now in hand with the two main boards done and the two subsidiary modules depicting the clay dries on course.

Come and see us this weekend at the MRC open day -- we are hoping to have the basics completed!

We are also looking forward to attending the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre Steam Gala and Model Railway Exhibition on 30 April and 1 May along with fellow Club projects Lacey Dale and Calshot Road (Young MRC).

For now I think I'd better get back to the soldering iron ...

Posted by on in Empire Mills

Although Ally Pally preparations are at the front of everyone's minds at the moment, we've started in earnest on wiring work. We might make a tweak or two to the sections and uncouplers as we go, but the real object is to ensure everything is documented and cabling is standardised so that if and when things do go wrong out on the road it's as quick and easy as possible to track down and fix the problem.

If you'd like to be involved with the layout drop us a line: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or talk to Tom or Ben on Thursday evenings.

Posted by on in Ingatestone
The real world moves on

 

I took a trip down to Ingatestone station this Sunday arfternoon  to update myself and the team on the referbishment work carried out - although we have to draw a line on when we close our time period  for the  layout.  We had said 2014 to 2016 but its a hard call.

 

The first referbished 321 EMU's have started to enter sirvice which represent a third version of the class for the team doing the crowded build (see red doors blue doors post ) to consider.

 

We also now have the London side  station building sensitively restored and finding new life. As can be seen this sturcher was in a sorry state a few years ago when we first started surveying Ingatestone to be our prototype  and looking back to B&W pic's from the 1970's we are thankful that this fine late 1840's building and 1900's buildings survived the age of concrete & plastic.

 

The group of buildings at Ingatestone have been put forward for world heritage status as they show in one place the style and devlopment of the early railway including the footbridge built in early rolled wrought iron - one of the few remaining in situ this was to be removed and replaced with a motorway style concrete bridge totaly out of keeping. This threat has spurred folk on to get stronger powers of preservation. There are also orignal OHLE structures which relate to early electrification and the first 25 kv main line too . 

 

So my modelling dilemma is do we model the London building in gentle decay or its new smart role as a very 21st century coffee shop? b2ap3_thumbnail_Mar-17-B.JPG b2ap3_thumbnail_Mar-17-A.jpg

 

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Point Rodding

We have been doing quite a bit of work behind the scenes in the last few weeks to make CF easier to shift and exhibit - especially as we have Ally Pally coming up in less than a fortnight.  We have a truly massive fiddle yard board at the back that has undergone a weight & width reduction programme.  It is now 10kg lighter and a bit narrower.   Our bespoke barrier is now screwed together, making it much more robust and unlikely to fall apart in transit. And silly things like a lifting hook and lifting bar are now properly located in storage pockets in the box they relate to. All of these minor changes can save valuable minutes when erecting and dismantling the layout.

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Sliding Doors - Red or Blue?

 

Class 321 Electrical Multiple Units (nick named Dusty bins)  are the work horse unit on the Great Eastern main line through Ingatestone on the Essex and Suffolk commuter trains. They come in 4 car formations, but run in multiple to cope with the peak hour demand, so we need a number of them. Although rolling stock for our Club layouts is owned by members (rather than the Club) it’s important on any layout that the stock looks and performs consistently.  So we need to get the colours broadly the same, and have the same ‘specification’ for the electrics, couplings etc to they can operate in multiple. So we are aiming to undertake a ‘crowd-building’ project to spread the work across a number of members. 

Posted by on in Empire Mills
Empire Mills - Feb 17

We've had a couple of good operating evenings at Keen House already this year, and the picture above shows my Class 08 on shunting duty this week.

Members will have read in our last Bulletin that Empire Mills has new trackwork and a colourful new turntable fiddleyard. Over the next month or two we will be carrying on the refurbishment by rewiring.

As with the earlier work we've carried out over the last few months we think that some of the remaining operational issues can only be solved by a pretty thorough bit of work here. So the first stages will be to record how the layout is wired now and from that create a track plan and wiring schedule. Then we will switch on the soldering irons.  If all goes well we should then be ready for our trip to our next exhibition at Quainton Road at the end of April.

If you would like to get involved then come and see us on Thursdays at Keen House and talk to me or Tom, or drop us an email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ben  - layout co-leader

 

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
First stop - Stevenage

Over the Christmas period we've been doing some unglamorous logistics work - tidying up the electrics and rearranging the transport boxes to make travelling to and from shows easier - ready for our 2017 outings, the first of which is at the CMRA's first show at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre on 14th and 15th January.   

In the meantime, Doncaster works has, I hope, finally adjusted the new chassis in 'Papyrus' so that it will run successfully on CF at Stevenage. The main problem which presented at Warley was that the 13 mm fine scale drivers are 0.8 mm smaller than the N scale originals, which threw out the front bogie clearances. With a bit of luck she will turn out to be a really useful green engine and look good on the Queen of Scots Pullman.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Papyrus.jpg

With this project out of the way work has resumed on the P2, 'Lord President' and the valve gear is now erected on the LHS.

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The valve gear can be placed in forward or reverse, as can be seen in this video: https://youtu.be/fUTQ5Ibe1Bk

Posted by on in News
Where to buy model railways in London?

Since originally writing this blog, another shop has gone. Meanwhile, WH Smiths has given up on Modelzone, with all the concessions closing over the last few weeks perhaps precipitated by Hornby closing most if not all of its concessions. Whilst it's sad to see any shop close, Wheels of Steel was perhaps the most restricted with its generally second hand range. So there are 6 shops left  - use them or (as we've just seen) lose them. TC Feb 17

 

You may be one of the hundreds of households that has received a Hornby or Bachmann OO model railway train-set for the first time this Christmas - perhaps even a Graham Farish one in N gauge. We hope you enjoy it.

Once you have discovered the fun of what is included, your mind (or certainly that of the child for whom it might be officially intended) may well turn to buying something else for it - whether that is a bit more track, another locomotive, coach or wagon. Or perhaps some buildings, kits, tools or paints. Perhaps the shop that sold the set doesn't sell much more than that set, so where can you go?

20-30 years ago, there was a network of shops across London selling a vast range of items which meant you didn't have to travel too far - depending on your age the names Beatties,  W&H, Hamblings, King's Cross Models, Blunts, Puffers, Engine Shed may ring a bell - all long gone. And most toy shops now have only the most basic of ranges from one supplier.

Of course, there are a plethora of websites you can use to order by post, but if you want to browse before you buy, or buy things like paints that can't be posted easily these days, where can you go? Especially if you want some advice. Well here are some suggestions of the seven shops we would call 'model railway shops' - ie that have a range of different products - that are still left in London itself. The views are those of the authors and based on last visits to the shops (which is a while ago in some cases), and they are in no particular order. But do use them - or there will be even fewer of them.

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Highlights from Warley

 

So we're back from Warley. Setting up was restricted to four hours because of a delay getting into the hall - we need five, to include getting stock on.  Needless to say, our running on Saturday morning was a bit of a trial.  However the big success was seeing the major works at the south end giving the layout a big improvement in its overall ambience.