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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 Ingatestone
Ingatestone's April update

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.
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_20170410_204343.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_20170410_214544.jpg
Tagged in: 4mm Ingatestone track
New control panel for Empire Mills, and two chances to see us

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
Empire Mills March 2017 update

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.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Lord-President-valve-gear.jpg

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.

  

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Goods and Mineral Junction Box

 I thought you might like to see the last bit of work on the centrepiece of Belle Isle, before we crated the layout to go to Warley.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_CF-Nov-16-E.JPG

Making blocks of buildings is a useful way of checking shape / space requirements. There is no question that Goods & Mineral Jcn. box will need a fully detailed interior, because you will be able to see see right into it from the front.  We should also have all the lattice girder work in time for Warley, assuming Mike's eyesight holds up.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_CF-Nov-16-D.JPG

Finally, whilst ruffling through Matthew's Brown Box I found the last of Ced Verdon's resin cast buses. These are exquisite works of art and, even if it is completely the wrong type of bus, looks excellent on York Way. Just needs a few bill boards along the parapets to complete the scene.

b2ap3_thumbnail_CF-Nov-16-F.JPG

 Tim

 

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Professionalism Maintained

The layout running settled in very nicely at the Club's Open Day on 20th November.   Gary has devised a very elegant shuttle mechanism for the underground and Richard's buildings made major progress as he demonstrated today.

b2ap3_thumbnail_CF-Nov16-A.JPG

The main buildings and roads have been given a more convincing colour wash at the south end (which belies the large amount of work still required) and Mike's eye aching lattice bridges are beginning to look the business on the ramp line.  The goods warehouse will be lowered to single story for three bays near York Road after the next show - it would be more in keeping with the potato warehouses at this site and make the building 'stack up' better

 b2ap3_thumbnail_CF-Nov-16-B.JPG

The new J39 has bedded in well and the repaired B17 purred along all day.  The A3, Papyrus, despite a frustrating amount of tweaking, still has a wooden leg and so the chassis will probably be replaced by a 12 hr fine scale replacement - perhaps even in time for Warley.

 

We have maintained professionalism in the Club on York Way as can be seen by one of the photos: probably a senior member of the legal profession in the Jaguar.

b2ap3_thumbnail_CF-Nov-16-C.JPG

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Work "Ramps Up"on Goods Yard

Quite a lot of recent progress in the King’s Cross yard. The ramp to the Cally Goods & Coal Yard is now blocked out and in red oxide primer.  It is red brick anyway, but will need detail cladding in our home made brick plastic. In the short-term it will be weathered in its current form to meld it into the scene.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_image1.JPG

Posted by on in Putnam
Putnam - November update

Putnam will not be running during the Club's Open Day on November 20th.  The lower hall will be given over to the Club's wonderful Copenhagen Fields layout, which is a good reason in itself to come along on Sunday.

Several members of the Putnam group will be present on the day, helping out in various capacities.  They will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Posted by on in Minories
Sticking point

There are six points on Minories, all operated with Tortoise slow action point motors with Exactoscale baseplates transferring the movement of the motor through a tie-bar under the baseboard to wires soldered to the underside of the switch rails. b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5758.JPGThere are stretcher bars between the switch rails, and although these do provide some mechanical joints between the two switch rails, the core drive is from the under-baseboard tie bar. If you want to find out more, these instructions via the C&L website might help:

 http://www.finescale.org.uk/pdfs/Tortoise%20instructions1.pdf

Posted by on in Putnam
Putnam - October update

Following Putnam's last showing at the London Festival of Railway Modelling in March, work has commenced on expanding the side of the layout away from public view.  The storage sidings, now shared with the clubs a-building modern image OO gauge layout Ingatestone, are being increased from 8 to 13 lines.  The Club's carpentry whizz has grafted on extensions to the baseboards and work is well underway on the trackwork.  Once that is complete it will be a case of all hands below decks as we get stuck into the wiring.


Posted by on in Happisburgh Goods
What, more rolling stock?

One may wonder why a layout of this vintage still needs new rolling stock. When the main Happisburgh layout was sold to MRC and GOG member Martin Long, most of the stock was passenger vehicles. A lot of what freight stock we had was returned to its original owners and what we had left was showing its age (just like the real thing!) So a few new vehicles have crept in here and there. Peter Rayner produced a Parkside Horsebox a while ago, and more recently it has been joined be a second one and surprise surprise, has even given permission for us to weather them. Another useful vehicle he’s currently building will be a standard BR brake van so the new one will make a welcome addition as we were particularly short of serviceable brake vans.

 

Some of the locos were also showing their age, so for a start the J15 has now been refurbished. She had lots of chips on the paintwork, had parts of the coupling’s missing, loose handrails, a missing buffer, etc, etc. There was no sign of any crew either (not sure if she ever had any) so some suitable Omen figures were purchased at Telford for the purpose and other locos have now also had new or additional crew figures installed.

 

Dave Coasby

Posted by on in Happisburgh Goods
Autumn in Happisburgh

We’ve had Alan West’s BTH Class 15 diesel running on Happisburgh Goods for some time. It was constructed from a kit many years ago, but it never looked or ran very well. However, after extensive rebuilding of the mechanism and bogies by the late Peter Elmslie, it at least ran well, and with some very heavy weathering applied by your scribe, this at least hid some of the many imperfections.

However, Bob Smith caught a glimpse of the forthcoming Little Loco Company’s model of the same class at Telford, while it was on display on 82G. He is now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the postman so he can get his hands on this lovely new model. Hopefully this will be seen running on Happisburgh Goods in the near future.

Speaking of which, we are taking Happisburgh Goods to The Garden of England Modelfest at Knockolt, Kent on 10th & 11th December. Then in the New Year to the Canterbury Model Railway Exhibition on 21st & 22nd January, quickly followed a week later by the Longfield Model Railway Exhibition on 28th & 29th January.

Dave Coasby

Tagged in: Happisburgh O gauge
Video shared by on in Keen House

The new outer ring 00 test track's proved most useful to the guys from "Ingatestone" 00 as they combined their fleet of container wagons into a 1/2  prototypical length  intermodal train as seen on the GE route from Felixstowe into London. 

We hope to run trains of this size on the layout with class 66, 70, 86 & 90's at the head on Ingatestone. 

We've recently laid extra tracks in between our O gauge tracks, to enable a greater variety of stock to be run, and reflecting the popularity of the test tracks every Thursday evening. All of the tracks can be controlled by DC or DCC to maximise choice.

The new outer OO gauge ring now offers the opportunity on track nights for members to run very long trains round with out them "tail chasing" the last wagon, and with less strain on the locomotive. b2ap3_thumbnail_Kev-Intermodals-Oct-16.jpg

In the picture, Kev counts off all 18 wagons of the test run beside the new tracks that have been installed.

 

 

Posted by on in Minories
Converting Heljan Class 23 to EM

TOut of the boxhe Heljan Class 23 is one of the simpler conversions to EM gauge. I don't think there are any revolutionary ideas here, but hope this may be of use to anyone else contemplating the conversion or looking for an easy one to start with.

Tagged in: EM gauge Heljan Minories