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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.

Recent blog posts

Posted by on in Minories
Track building

One of the more frequent questions I get asked at exhibitions is how the track is built. Modelling in EM there isn't much choice for anything other than plain track, but my track building goes back to my teenage OO days.

Despite living only a couple of miles away at the time, I originally stumbled across The Model Railway Club at a Model Engineering show at Wembley Conference Centre when I was probably around 11 or 12. A demonstrator (to this day I can't recall who) was busy making track, and after a moment of asking myself why would anyone bother, I suddenly saw why, as it looked infinitely better than the Triang and Hornby track I had at home. The demonstrator explained what he was doing and why, and encouraged me to 'have a go', and in the process encouraged me to visit the next IMREX (also at Wembley at the time) and Keen House.

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Off our trolleys?

It is often said that rail fans are off their trolleys! But the guys working on Ingatestone 00 are now firmly on and in control of their trolley’s.


We have been putting in some painstaking work (gold star for Mo for his skill and guidance)  to build some trolleys so the layout can be mobile  This is very important part of the project as we need robust cases on wheels  to store and protect the layout as well as transport it in the months to come .....


The is a MRC tradition of  giving packing cases ships’ names - Copenhagen Fields has Titanic & Carpathia   I think I will have to look up the names of the Harwich to Hook of Holland train ferries -anyone know them off hand ?


Tom Slade co leader

Posted by on in Modelling
London Underground at Keen House

Mind The Gap! in our railway modelling range.

What was once a very Niche part of Railway Modelling is now gradually becoming ever more popular.

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Leaves on the line

We are looking for an 00 scale modern tractor as tractors of today are quite  big and sophisticated as can be seen from the pic of a New Holland (monster sized) tractor crossing the level crossing at Ely. Does anyone know of a 4mm model?



So why the obsession with a farm tractors?  Well it’s because the landscape of Ingatestone 00 is to be autumnal to give us a justification to be running top & tailed rail head treatment trains (leaves on the line trains to the general public), hence tractors ploughing fields and half naked trees etc...

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Progress on Copenhagen Fields

We have had a very productive two days working on the layout. The track plan at the southeastern side of the goods yard, especially at the front, has been finalised and has  gone to Keith Armes for turnout manufacture. We have included an extra crossover to allow a twelve-wagon run-round in the goods arrival sidings, without conflicting with the main up goods traffic.  This area can be worked as an independent front yard. Interestingly, we have identified a loop line that would also be an excellent way for transferring trains between the Up & Down lines.  

The goods lines fiddle yard track at the back has always had a ghastly S bend on the big fiddle yard board. This was no longer needed as any crossover of passenger trains between Up & Down main lines will now be accommodated on the Sopwith Camel-shaped southern board, therefore removing the need for this kink. We have therefore straightened it out and realigned the section, as can be seen in the photo: our goods engines will hopefully no longer need to attend agility classes.  At the same time we have laid in a straight piece of track on the new raised baseboard for loco testing.  This could be connected to the Up Goods line as a storage spur for the train that shunts the yard.  There is also now a comfortable rounded

Posted by on in Minories
Class 127 DMU


Class 127 4-car DMUs formed the local passenger services on the Midland main line south of Bedford, so have always been on the list of stock required for Minories. A club member started work on a unit back in 2007, but it didn't get very far. In the interim, I made a 3-car 116 which provided the Midland service pending the arrival of the 127 - which made it's first exhibition appearance at the National Festival of Railway Modelling in October where we got some very kind comments and questions about how it was made, prompting this blog.


Both the 116 and 127 units are made from Lima class 117 bodies, b2ap3_thumbnail_127-5.JPGand the techniques are similar, the key difference between the models of the 116 and 127 on Minories is the windows used.

Posted by on in Minories
On our way to Peterborough

Our invitation to the National Festival of Railway Modelling has been the incentive to get a few more things progressed on the layout.


A major resignalling scheme has seen searchlight starter signals mounted on an etched brass gantry installed, replacing the Berko 3-aspect signals originally installed as a temporary measure hours before the first proper exhibition in 2007. The LEDs in the new signals have common anodes whereas the old signals and the remaining ground signal were common cathode, which meant reconfiguring the wiring on the 'interlocking' which clears the correct signal based on the route set. I hadn't written down how it was originally wired, so the most tedious part was working out the existing wiring had worked...b2ap3_thumbnail_Signals-Oct-15.JPG


The original signal box, again built as a temporary stand-in from a Prototype card kit, has been replaced by a small cabin, kit bashed from a Peco kit.

Tagged in: 4mm EM gauge Minories

Posted by on in Empire Mills
When you want water on your layout...

Water runs down hill. So, front and centre should be the wettest part of the layout because it it the lowest. I always find myself drawn to water on layouts so I thought I'd add something. The first problem is that there is no space for a sizable water feature. Adding to this, most of the basic landscaping had already been done, the hills are in place along with brambles and a tree so really all that can be done is the hint of water beyond the layout. The edge of a pond or marsh, even a small stream, just out of sight.

Started off simply enough.

Posted by on in Empire Mills
Grass laying on Empire Mills

Early on we decided to cover the front and back of the layout, most of the actual scenery, with carpet underlay. This produced a good effect, especially with a little bit of effort. It did, however, leave us with a dilemma about the middle of the layout. We tried a few different techniques for the ground cover round the various sidings, static grass, ground foam, but these didn't really produce the effect we wanted. There was too much contrast between the different materials and the change in colour certainly didn't help.

Empire Mills - Getting ready for Portsmouth

I haven't posted for a while - this doesn't mean we haven't been doing anything we have - well I haven't but the team has. However, with an exhibition looming we have had a burst of activity that quite frankly puts our gentle summer progress to shame.

The show - its all about the show after all - is the South Hants MRC's exhibition in Portsmouth on 21 November 2015

Posted by on in News
Latest Library additions

Our library is one of the most extensive in the UK, with a wide range of prototype and modelling titles including back issues of some of the key historical magazines. Members and visitors are welcome to browse most Thursdays from 7-9pm (unless there is a lecture) and on our monthly open-afternoon.

Some of the latest books to be added to our catalogue include:

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Update - Track laying and Carpentry.



Above we see a couple of pictures taken by Lawrence Robbins this afternoon at Keen House. These show the great progress being made on Ingatestone. Mo, Tom and Kevan are seen building the base for the new dollies that will take boards 5 & 6 in due course. The second photo shows boards 5 and 6 which connects into the country end of the fiddle yard that will be common with Putnam.  The mock up of the bridge prepared by Bob Allaway has been a great help in getting track centres spot on and avoiding side-swiping on the curves between Mark 3 coaches (the longest vehicles that will run on Ingatestone).  Once the last piece of trackwork has been done, we will turn to soldering the main power buses to the power droppers. Come and drop by and meet with us - we will be in most Thursdays and the next couple of Sundays !

"Blacklade" - an OO gauge layout by Stephen Siddle




Welcome to BR's "crumbling edge of quality". “Blacklade” is the surviving station in a small Midlands county town, served by local trains to Nottingham, Birmingham (both ex Midland) and Sheffield via Chesterfield (ex GC). Trains are worked by elderly 1950s diesels reinforced by new Sprinters.

Posted by on in Calshot Road
U2Can in filming debut

Several times a year, we get asked to provide a model railway for some sort of filming – TV news, feature or advert. We oblige whenever we can, assuming we can adapt one of our layouts to suit the brief (or the brief can be adapted to suit our layouts!).


We were asked to provide a layout for a film for the charity “Action Against Cancer”,



Narrow gauge railways are not to every enthusiast’s taste, many believing that locos and stock to the small dimensions necessary to run on such lines could not possibly do very much of a job of work other than potter about hauling tourists along a short length of track. Yet the Sittingbourne & Kemsley, built to 2’6” gauge, was an intensively worked railway which was operated 24 hours a day 7 days a week right up until 1969, as members discovered on the MRC’s visit there in early September.

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Ingatestone Summer progress report.

The last few weekends have seeen further progress on both tracklaying and making handholds. All boards have now had the handholds routed out, which will be a major safety and comfort feature on the layout, enabling a firm grip to be kept when manoeuvering the boards around.  The first track on boards 5 and 6 has been laid, with the rail being soldered to adjustable small brass screws at the board edges to provide a solid base and hopefully will avoid bent rails ! Tom and Mo spent yesterday constructing the first set of drawers that will sit in the two stacking units to allow layout building and stock to travel safely and securely in the future - see the attached photo. Check back for more progress reports in due course.

Posted by on in Ingatestone
A busy weekend for Ingatestone.

A gloriously sunny Saturday June 27th saw Mo, Bob, Tom, Kevan and Chris head for Ingatestone to take measurements for the next stage of the 4mm layout: The buildings.  After checking in with the Station Manager, we measured the footbridge piers, the station buildings before turning to the level crossing. With the assistance of the ever helpful Crossing Keeper, the barriers were measured. This will help Lawrence with the procurement of a 4mm version from Heathcote Electronics in due course.

Sunday saw the group working on the baseboards - see the attached picture of handholds being cut into the sides for safe and comfortable carrying.

Come and join us either on a Thursday evening or at our bi-weekly Sunday working sessions - next ones are July 12th and 26th !


Posted by on in Ingatestone
Ingatestone on track !

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG-20150625-WA0003-2.jpg b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG-20150625-WA0002.jpg

Progress has continued on tracklaying on Ingatestone, with most of the running lines now down and soldered securely to screws at the board ends. In the pictures you can see work in progress last Thursday night. Improvements made to the baseboards have seen additional bracing added to remove some of the twistability from them. Handholds on the sides have also been added for ease of carriage (and less damage to the scenery)!

Tomorrow (June 27th) sees our next outing to Ingatestone, where, armed with copious amounts of pen, papers, measuring devices and cameras, we will get the last measurements of buildings and structures to get the layout as accurate as possible. Come along and catch up with us either tomorrow, or most Thursday nights at Keen House !

Tim Watson's epic trip to Brighton on Frederick

Our President, Prof Tim Watson, has successfully completed an 80 mile road-run with "Frederick", a coal-fired, steam-powered, 1/3rd size Burrell Showman's Road Locomotive, to raise funds for Parkinson's UK. Now he has recovered he writes:


We set off from St Albans at 0600 (delayed an hour by a leaking HP valve chest gasket) in the pouring rain on the 13th June, going up to London on the A5, where we had an unscheduled stop because of the atrocious road surfaces in N London.  

Posted by on in News
New in the Library

The MRC's library is one of the largest libraries of its kind, with a wealth of information for modellers. It is open on most Thursday evenings from 7-9pm, unless there is a lecture.

Some of the new titles that have recently been added to the library are listed below.