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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.

Posted by on in Orchard Wharf

 In June Empire Mills was sold. Following its departure the space it occupied was cleared out and the baseboards for Orchard Wharf moved in. Thanks to the Lacey Dale team we now have a space for both groups to work in.

NB look out for the writeup of Empire Mills in the August 2018 BRM magazine.

We are now focused on building the dockside track, designing the control system, and planning the major components of the scenery.

Control: DCC and CBus

The layout team decided earlier on to use DCC for loco control. We have now decided to use MERG’s CBus for controlling point and signal servos and for the control panels. We’re currently working on the detailed design.

Track and scenery design

We thought we would forge ahead on the dockside trackwork but we've realised there is much to do to design the scenery. There are two reasons: firstly, we have to conceal the exits from the fiddleyards; secondly, we need to capture the atmosphere of the locality and provide reasons for all the rail activity on the wharf. Until we have the building lines settled there is little more we can do on the track. You can see the track components already made using John's innovative design if you pay us a visit -- the pointwork, using T-section angle for the flangeway, is unusually complex and quite challenging to build.

Get involved

All members are welcome to get involved with the layout. Talk to us on a Thursday evening,
email us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or join us for a Friday evening session.

 

 

Tagged in: 4mm EM gauge

Posted by on in Orchard Wharf

In the last month we've had several good meetings, including a 'kick-off' to refresh everyone's acquaintance with the project, two meetings focused on aspects of the design, a site visit to Poplar, Canning Town and Silvertown, and a much-needed clearout of the space we need to start work on tracklaying and electrics.

I would like to thank everyone who has come along to join the team so far. It looks as if we have a good spread of interests that will stand us in good stead. It's also been great to have contributions that broaden our knowledge of the history of the area, giving us a wealth of prototype information from which to work.

We will soon set up a regular work afternoon/evening on Fridays. If you want to come along and are unsure whether there is a meeting please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I'd like to finish this update  with a YouTube video found by our team member James documenting a train journey from North Woolwich to Palace Gates in 1960. Rather than a 'cab ride', it's an assembly of several different viewpoints including from within the train, and gives a very good impression of the railways and much of the dockland area for those of us who couldn't be there at the time.

Tagged in: 4mm EM gauge

Posted by on in Orchard Wharf

First meeting Friday 18 May 2018, 18.30 in the Library

The build of Orchard Wharf is now under way. We propose to meet regularly on Friday evenings (with a possible earlier start for those available in the afternoon). The first meeting is on Friday 18 May. All members are welcome to attend.

We’ll provide another introduction to the project for those who may not know about it, and we will review the work ahead of us on storage, track, electrics, scenery and stock.

If you cannot make this meeting and would like to get involved or for any further information please get in touch. Talk to us on a Thursday evening or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We now have a layout email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. So one less excuse not to get in touch.

Tagged in: EM gauge

Following a presentation to club members at the beginning of the month, our new EM Gauge project Orchard Wharf  (set in London's docklands c. 1960) was shown off to the public for the first time at last weekend's London Festival of Railway Modelling. The layout formed just one part of The MRC's extensive demonstration stand. John Jesson was the anchorman over the whole weekend, and used the opportunity to get started on constructing the dockside track, which will all be inset into the surface of the wharf. I divided my time at the show between explaining the benefits of the club on the membership stand and discussing the finer points of 1950s British permanent way specification with John and several knowledgeable visitors to our display.

The boards, the track, and the approach to planning and design all came in for scrutiny and discussion. We will give more details, and post pictures of the boards, which are a stressed-skin construction in laser-cut birch ply, in a future post. Meanwhile, thanks to all those who came to chat with us; we look forward to seeing you again soon.

If you are a club member and would like to get involved in construction of the layout, we want to hear from you. Track building, as noted above, has just started. Electronics work starts soon. Scenery needs research and design. We don't yet have our own email address so please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or speak to John Jesson or me, Ben Weiner, at the club.

Tagged in: EM gauge

We had a great trip to Doncaster back in February -- thank you to those who stopped by to see the layout and chat. The layout ran flawlessly (well, a cable did come loose on Sunday morning but that was it). I am grateful to the rest of the operating team, Hugh and Tom, for their contributions.

On Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 April we'll be attending Trainwest Model Railway Exhibition at the Springfield Community Campus, Corsham, Wiltshire. We look forward to meeting you there, as well as hopefully getting a chance to look at the other layouts attending -- once again we are in excellent company.

This is likely to be our last trip out with Empire Mills. Our new EM layout Orchard Wharf takes the team back to London's East End. Boards have been assembled and you can catch up with track building at the London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace on 24 and 25 of March.

b2ap3_thumbnail_EM_2017_10_02_2_600_400.JPG

This weekend, 10 & 11 February, we're attending the Festival of British Railway Modelling at Doncaster race course. We're in the company of some pretty impressive layouts, not least in EM gauge. Look forward to seeing you there!

Tagged in: EM gauge Empire Mills

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

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

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 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.

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 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