April, The AGM, The Election and The Presentation.
A report by Roy Verden
It had been decided that we should have models and workshop pieces on display as we were to have a visit from the Chairman of the Northern Association of Model Engineering Societies. NAMES!
The Review is published separately.
His accounts are available for members to see.
The next item was the election of committee members. The Chairman and Treasurer were happy to stand again and also new, to the official committee, 2 of our co-opted members Rob Briancourt and Guy Keen had been nominated. The club gave a unanimous show of hands in approval.
Next we had the Chairman of NAMES who had come 'down' to see the club to present the Trophy for the best Newsletter of all the participating clubs. Frank Cooper explained the background to the presentation and it was duly presented to Mike Collins amidst a round of applause and photos taken to mark the occasion. There was a cheque as well! Our Chairman has generously donated this to club funds.
Frank went on to explain some detail on the rather high cost of insurance and also answer other questions. He was thanked for his visit and we hoped he would enjoy the rest of the evening.
There are accompanying photos of the the various models on display and we also enjoyed tea and biscuits from Neil and Jack. We did have a separate talk in case needed and Rob was on standby with camera ready to assist in the presentation.
The evening closed just after 10 and the stalwarts who make the evening comfortable for us all sprang into action and all the tables and chairs went back into their places.
An enjoyable evening and it was nice to see our Newsletter editor Mike Collins receive outside acclaim for the excellent Newsletter that has been a mainstay of our long trip through Covid and paid a great part in keeping the club together.
Roy Verden (Hon Sec)
December Club Night Report
December Club Evening. A report by Roy Verden
Cold outside but nice and warm inside, already busy when I arrived with Mike our Treasurer. Signing-in showed a goodly number of members ahead of me and quite a few following on.
There was a fair bit of conversation going on and the usual interest in the magazines for all on the tables at the rear. Also displayed was our Chairman's enormous Panzer tank chassis, more of this at our February evening. Ted Pritchard had brought along some working Meccano models, a Landrover and a London double decker bus (I hope I got that right!) both radio controlled. I had brought my Mamod and Wilesco toy work shop, no steam in sight, this one is electric powered.
The raffle prizes brought in by members were a most generous donation of goodies which must have tempted more than the usual number of ticket sales.
We were eventually called to order by our Chairman who welcomed all to our light hearted evening of a quiz and some films put together by our Treasurer Mike Grossmith with Rob assisting on the venue IT. He went on to give us a summary of Covid restrictions as they applied to our evening together this month.
He then said it was his pleasant duty to award the Chairman's Shield, which was for members that had put in that much extra into the way the club runs. Singled out this year were the team who had kept the Puffing Park neat and tidy and also managed the demolition of the old tunnel and created a new one with a pedestrian walk over. It all seemed to happen like magic.
Jack and Neil were there to receive the trophy and Jack thanked all those who had contributed to the grounds maintenance and upkeep, and managed the track and tunnel projects. Much appreciated by all members with a long round of applause. Chairman then handed the proceedings over to Mike Grossmith who started us off with the Heads and Tails contest.
Each person present stood up and decided which to adopt, heads or tails, then the coin was tossed and if you chose correctly you remained standing. This went on for 5 rounds to decide the winner, which turned out to be Alan Holt who received a bottle of Prosecco for his perspicacity. The odd thing was that after 5 consecutive tossing’s of the coin it came down heads every time.
Next we had some vintage black and white films, the first on marshalling a very heavy transformer load along a road route to its resting place. After that there was an interesting (but lengthy) film based around the Southampton docks and local rail network, and finally a film about cleaning and repair on the London Underground railway system. Amazing how the script writers at the time ascribed Cockney accents to technical activities and the working man, but at least these days the loud musical accompaniment has been reduced to a minimum. Fair mucks up the 'earing aids guv! (mind how you say that!).
After the films we went live, so to speak, with Mike's own quiz on general knowledge. Thirty questions in all, were put up onto the screen, featuring logos, faces of known (or perhaps unknown) personalities and scenes from around the world for participants to name or identify.
By now the ladies on the catering and gents on the tea and coffee were all ready and we stopped for refreshments. Hot sausage rolls mince pies and cake, tea and coffee etc. were enjoyed by all. There was a good deal of catching up with old friends and it was also nice to see a sprinkling of new members too.
Back to the Quiz answers, between us we knew nearly all the answers but Rob was the one who got most right on his own and you've guessed it, he won a bottle of Prosecco!
During this time Guy Keen had been busy selling raffle tickets and when this had finished Clive masterminded the raffle. He lined up the prizes in a random order and then a number was drawn for the first prize in the line-up and so on down the line, each prize recipient got to pick out the following winning number. The raffle raised £170 and this went into club funds.
There are always some murmurings about committee members winning prizes, but has always has been, so we are used to it by now. Tough and suck it up are words that come to mind! To ensure that no prizes would be brought back next year, Rob with his trusty paparazzi hat on now, took photographic evidence, which will be used later........if necessary! You can see the committee are adopting a much tougher attitude, just wait until our Chairman gets his Panzer tank working!
By now our allotted time was up and our Mike, our Chairman, thanked all concerned in putting together an excellent evening's entertainment. He reminded us that the January meeting would be at Park Street Baptist Church but in the meantime wished all a Merry Christmas (we hope).
Best wishes and a Merry Christmas from me as well.
Roy Verden. 9th December 2021
November Club Night...a report by Roy Verden
My job is to provide content for our club evenings and for the November meeting I gathered together three speakers all interested in G1 and narrow gauge using the 45mm track. I also had in mind promoting the G1 track (45mm gauge) currently under construction.
Starting us off was Roger Stephen with a well thought out presentation on building G1 rolling stock. (1:32 scale).
Roger had bought a RTR loco which worked very well and needed some rolling stock. This was all done on the basis of spending as little as possible, and learning along the way. The use of available materials e.g. C section aluminium as the basis for a chassis and at a size that just suited G1, plus turning his own wheels, led onto deciding how to continue.
The use of 3D printing looked like the way to go, and we have a couple of members conversant with this but it still needed a drawing to work/construct from.
Roger told us how he tried and discarded one system but found another that was easy to work with. Using this he outlined how he designed the W Irons, suspension, and passed the file onto Baz and later Justin and who have 3D printing machines for them to 'print' and we saw the finished product.
Most of his wagons are constructed with 2mm MDF and he found a company in Wales who supplied a very hard product which worked well with his construction. The paint used was Halfords grey undercoat which was just
right. Lettering had proved difficult but perseverance on the Internet found a good and cheap supplier. Later Roger told us about his carriage construction and the manufacture of the bogies.
It was all accompanied by models on the table and camera work by Rob putting the images on the large screen plus photos taken during the building. There were various questions asked during the talk which Roger dealt with.
The question of compensation (a way of allowing the wheels to deal with uneven track) was discussed and Roger said he had also tried small ball races as bearings which made for easy running. Other points of discussion led us very nicely to 9 p.m.
This took us up to the tea and biscuits break all organised by Den and Jack.
Next to talk was Michael he was telling us how and when the 10 mm to the foot or 1:22 .5 scale came about. His own interest was in the Narrow gauge or 1:22.5 scale so everything was a bit larger.
Michael went on to talk about the particular railway that he liked the narrow gauge Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway and the kit carriage he had made. He warned us about expensive kits not necessarily being better, as he had been disappointed with some aspects of the resin castings he had. The suggested methods of heat and warm water had failed to remove the warps in the resin parts, and this meant he had to replace some parts but the finished result was excellent.
It seems that Halfords car paints can take a very long time to dry on resin!
Michael said he had tried several glues but settled on cyano-acrylate as the easiest to use. He had also built from Tenmille kits some very nice looking carriages. Being quite large he had also fitted them out with seats complete with passengers, it was difficult to find 85mm high models and so he made his own. He was also experimenting with lighting using LEDs.
Michael made the point that the engines, gas fired and radio controlled, are expensive but carriages and trucks can be constructed very cheaply. The two steam locos he brought in, usually ran on his end to end track in the garden and are a great entertainment for the grandchildren.
He ended with a plea for help in the construction of his 3 1/2 inch Britannia boiler so is anyone out there able to help?
Our last speaker for the evening was Mike G our Treasurer and his interest was G1 LMS and told us about his experience in building from kits using etched brass which has to be soldered. This was the other end of the scale with wagon kits costing £85 and upwards. The wagon and carriage kits were expensive but here the kits are models of specific trucks and all the under frame detailing is excellent. He went through his building techniques and painting.
Then he showed us one of five LMS carriages kits he had with aluminium laser cut bodies. Beautifully detailed and fitting accompaniment for his long awaited kit for a LMS Jubilee loco, also under construction.
Secretary thanked the speakers for their combined efforts, there clearly is a need for the G1 track being constructed and although halted at the moment we hope to resume during the spring.
Thanks as always go to the movers and shakers who get the chairs and tables out and clear up afterwards.
Roy Verden. 12th Nov 2021
October Club Night and Auction
a report by Roy Verden
Club evening 13th, October 2021.
We had a great evening reflecting PC times (pre-Covid) with a good turnout of members. So what were we doing? ......... Well we had an auction!
Members bought in their various Lots on offer to other members and there was non-better to make this happen than our very own Peter Haycock as Auctioneer. He would have made an excellent dentist with his methods of extracting money from pockets and all without anaesthetic too.
The Lots varied from engineering must haves to marine models in need of TLC and lots of books and magazines.
What may look like a box of metal to some soon resolves into types of steel and various reamers and the like but that is what our Peter knows about.
The main thing was, it all ran in a friendly fashion. But to do so it needs support and we had our youngest member Isaac as a runner and ably supported by Guy Keen who also has the good set of eyes for reading the small numbers.
I assisted with moving things along and helping with identifying the radio control items.
Another welcome return was our tea break and thanks go to Den and Jack for getting it all working with just 8 hours’ notice, nice biscuits too. We had the break at 9pm and the members had to be driven back into the room afterwards to make sure we managed to find all the remaining items a nice new home.
The auctioneering continued until we ran out of Lots. There are always a few things that do not attract a buyer and these have to be taken back by their owners as we have to leave the room as we found it.
Tucked away in the corner all evening were the Two M’s Mike G, our Treasurer, and Mick W ably assisting him, they had to note all the numbers of the Lot winners and do the final accounting.
Buyers and sellers alike queued to get their money or pay their bill and at the end of the evening we had a very happy Treasurer, very pleased with the boost to club funds.
Payment this time was most interesting as Bank transfers were used a few times.
Of course having the chairs and tables out does not happen all on its own and thanks go to the many members who helped both before and after and cleaned the table surfaces as required. The evening was a great success thanks to the team effort involved.
Thanks also to Roger for printing out the names and numbers and documentation to make the auction work.
It was good to see the club getting back together again, we have lost a few faces but gained some new ones as our Chairman remarked. We had a great evening and it was nice to see so many involved in making it so.
Roy Verden Hon Sec.
14th October 2021
September Club Night
a report by Roy Verden
September 8th was our first seated club evening since March 2020 so we were on a bit of a learning curve again. We spread the chairs out as had been prescribed and Rob got us going on the screen and camera. The audio system had a problem so just a hand mike and no lapel mike, and the projector was a temporary replacement and not so bright and the control batteries were flat.
Well a bit of a set-back but we soldiered on.
Our Chairman welcomed members to the evening and we dealt with a few business items and then Malcolm Beak powered up his laptop and launched into his talk on how to work out what size boiler would be needed to power a steam plant.
He talked about heating surfaces and steam pressures and the volume of steam available at the required pressure. Also the relative merits of different gases and calorific content and pressures.
There was some discussion about previous exploits with steam boats and testing burners rounded off with questions and then very conveniently the laptop expired!
We had a short break and then on to radio control 101 with yours truly leading the talk. The emphasis was on using the old equipment which in the main still functions and is compatible with all the current servos and the like.
There was explanation of the frequencies and limitations and what to look for in the old units some of which were up to 50 years old, and still in use. The various common use servos speed controllers etc were shown and inspected. The RC is also useful for the smaller locos in controlling the throttle.
I then handed over to Rob Briancourt who brought us up to date with 2.4 Ghtz equipment showing how the receiver and transmitter were paired together and, crystals no longer needed, mentioning the frequency hopping technology being used by the RC and of course mobile phones. LiPo batteries were now commonplace, light in weight and easily charged with the correct equipment. The ability of the computer aided transmitters to have 20 models assigned to them, each with different set-ups, and the greater range this equipment is a great advantage.
Rob’s installation made full use of the multi-channel set he had with the additional functions for various lighting systems. He also described how his brushless motor and esc worked.
Questions followed and gradually the evening drew to a close and the tables and chairs went back to their homes and we said goodnight to be greeted by heavy rain outside, such is life!
Roy Verden. 9th Sept 2021
August Club Night. we return to the ChristChurch Centre.
A report by Roy Verden
Our first club evening in August for 18 months was very well attended, I booked our first evening back in June when we were looking forward to 23rd. of June being freedom day. Events proved otherwise but we never gave up hope!
Our Chairman then gave his first live address to the society members gathered there for the evening and it was well received. He was also not forgetting our recently departed members Mick Bell, Tony Mason and most recently Godfrey Greeves. None of which was due to Covid-19. All will be greatly missed.
Members brought along their models and projects they had been working on during the lockdown period and no doubt these models in the future will always bring back memories. The number of models was most heartening, marine and more than a few narrow gauge locos. I brought along a sailing yacht to keep my rather more lonely interests in the picture.
The evening was a bit drafty due to open doors, well, we have to take precautions as new members are hard to find and we must try and look after the ones we have! It was nice to welcome a possible new member to the fold as well. The only complaints heard were that members were not able to look at all of the other models as they were busy answering questions about their own. There was a nice buzz about the evening as we all considered what it was like getting back to the new normal.
It looks bright for the future and the majority of the forthcoming meetings will be devoted to members’ models and basics in several areas including marine and steam and locos and G1 rolling stock. Thanks as always go to the members who were there early and got the tables out and they also cleaned the surfaces as requested before they were returned.
Our next club evening content is noted in the club calendar and I hope that more members will attend. The hall fee is £3.00 which only just covers the cost of hiring this splendid hall. Very good considering we have connection to the Internet have WiFi and can stream video on the pull down screen or show detail of demonstrations from the evening speakers all from the overhead video projector. There is an excellent sound system and I believe a loop for wearers of hearing aids. The hall is large enough to sit all of our members with comfortable spacing to cope with current virus conditions.
Thank you to all members having the faith to come out and join in with meetings again, should anything untoward happen we have the signing in book so that we can contact members if necessary.
Regards to all,
Godfrey Greeves - Obituary
I’m sad to report the sudden passing of Godfrey Greeves.
Many of you will be aware of this from the e-mails I have sent you in connection with his funeral. Godfrey’s daughter Davina informed us that he was looking forward to connecting in to our July club meeting over Zoom when he suffered a serious stroke, from which he didn’t recover.
Godfrey was a very skilled engineer and very admired club member and we will all miss his charm and friendliness, he will be very much missed.
We will be publishing an obituary for Godfrey in a future issue of the Newsletter.
Vacancy - Club Publicity Officer
The club is looking for someone to be responsible for publicising our activities. The aim of increasing our publicity is to lead to an increase in membership and more visitors to our events. These combine to increase the vitality of our club by giving us more choices and resources.
The role details are as follows:
If you wish to put yourself forward or discuss to this role please drop Mike Collins a line on
email@example.com to arrange a chat.
8th Feb 2021
Ian Ferguson’s 47xx – Maiden Trip
Some of you will have enjoyed the sound of Ian’s newly self-built 5 inch gauge running on a rolling road at this year’s Club Exhibition. So damp weather was ignored and a steam-up at the Puffing Field on Friday 1st November was to be the locomotive’s first actual run.
Ian, a couple of friends, Roger and myself provided assistance with opening up and preparing the track.
As I suspected and as with most newly built model locomotives the start to the run was hesitant.
Initially the sluggish but mighty GWR 2-8-0 was a challenge: keeping steam pressure up and completing a complete circuit was tough and the job of maintaining a good hot fire with a 10 inch firebox needed working out, but even so, progress remained a bit sluggish.
However, after a problem with a stray linkage on one of the cylinder cocks and a dragging tender brake had been fixed the locomotive at last freed up and began to show its paces.
Ian kindly let me complete a couple of circuits and I can tell you this ‘beast’ is quite something to drive, with its powerful bark and wonderful acceleration.
Well done Ian and we look forward to enjoying the sight and sound of your new creation again at the Puffing Field.
Tony Mason 02.11.19
Society exhibition 2019
A Report By Roy Verden
The Society exhibition came together on the evening of Friday 27th with the models coming in on the Saturday morning. This year we had an Official opening by Councillor Geoff Harrison. This was to thank him for help given by him to ease our visit to Verulam Park in August.
Councillor Harrison cut the tape and we were officially open.
Visitors paid their entrance fee and received a coloured band to wear as a ticket and immediately saw the RNLI which is the main charity the club supports, we also have donation boxes near the rides for the Wish Tree charity, a local one nearby.
The exhibition again filled the school almost to overflowing and this year due to an adverse forecast we had to plan for wet weather. We brought into use the picnic tables which are under cover for Live Steam exhibits and the shop into the Gym.
One of the big display items was the Flight Simulator which was a self-contained free standing unit housed outside, nicely placed with covered access, very busy the whole time.
The train rides ever popular were re-arranged to have covered access from a school corridor. The team were kept busy both days with passengers, who may have got a little damp on Sunday.
Also in that corridor was a new innovation, a 5 inch gauge ground level railway with a 0-4-0 electric loco and driving truck. Visitors as young as 5 and 6 were given the chance to drive a train while sitting behind it. This was supervised by the guard who also had an emergency switch to stop the loco if necessary.
Always a queue there!
At the end of the track we had an organ diorama with music playing as wanted.
The double doors lead out to the picnic tables and on show was Ian’s 5 inch gauge GWR 2-8-0 Goods engine which had its’ first steam up on a rolling road, consuming vast quantities of coal and water, a sight to behold.
Tony was also demonstrating on a rolling road some of his collection of steam engines bringing in different ones on Sunday.
Nick had a working steam plant with a stationary engine driving various accessories and we have the promise of a talk about it early next year.
The now, well known, Toyshop steam exhibit belonging to Mike was running effectively as ever this always attracts the younger visitors with the tiny workshops and their machines of a past age.
Rounding the corner and returning into the school we have the large display of Road Vehicles presented by Tamiya Truckers occupying the whole of the dining room area.
Ant and his group were driving loud brightly flashing vehicles on a layout of roads and inclines and an impressive bridge. While to one side an operating crane and a motorised shovel was loading gravel into trucks. In another corner was a chance for visitors to run a truck around a short road course using radio control, quite challenging!
Going down an adjacent corridor the first room has a large Garden railway running several trains with a very elaborate countryside and stations, all hoots and puffing noises but electrically powered, and just at the right level for children to view.
Further along and on the left a smaller room but with excellent lighting has the Spithead Review with miniature models of the Royal Navy through time.You could also see how they were constructed on a demo table.
The last three large class rooms were full of Meccano Models and showed the many possibilities of building with Meccano.
Models ranged from a large floating crane through Fairground Rides to clocks, models from the sets and working models for the visitor to operate.
Pride of place was a model of the USS Missouri Battleship a full 9 feet long in appropriate grey and with many working parts. The model had come up from the South West Meccano Club and was built and exhibited by Steve Briancourt.
There was also another Frank Hornby product, a tinplate ‘O’ gauge railway for visitors to wind up the engines and run them around the track, courtesy of a NLSME member. Many young visitors had never seen wind-up toys before. The Chairman of the West London Meccano Society was at the end of the corridor with his large Digger Crane made from Meccano for small fingers.
Returning to view the Gymnasium we have the Luton Model Boat Club with an excellent display of model making at its best with many ships mainly working but also some static. The Plastic Magic area has models that have featured in the Model Boats magazine. Members were happy to answer questions and chat to visitors.
Nearby was the North London MES with a working 3D printer and the Hanwell club with their exhibits.
A nice end to end model railway on ‘OO’ was run by regulars Steve and his wife Petra and their daughter.
At the far end is the host society, the St. Albans model engineering society with their large stand.
A big feature was the big screen showing recent club activities at The Puffing Field and our stands at other shows. The video was produced by Rob Briancourt and is most impressive with its content and sharp definition. There was also a 70 year old clip of the opening of the track the club uses at Chipperfield.
The video can be viewed HERE
The tables carried a display of club models showing all the different interests members have from scale yachts and electric powered boats to locos, vintage toys through to steam engines running on compressed air to the steam boats that they power.
Godfrey had his shovel caterpillar tractor powered by high pressure hydraulic oil heaving an enormous rock up an incline and dropping it. The noise of which ensured nobody dozed off anywhere!
There were some novelty items to amuse as well.
These included a Thomas the Tank engine that was running up and down, controlled by Guy Ellerby our redoubtable ex-Chairman now having passed 100 years old, and his trusty assistant Noel, a mere stripling in his mid 90’s. To paraphrase ‘Strictly’ ‘Keep smiling’!
For the inner man or woman there is a very busy newly refurbished catering area where the ladies of the club toiled ceaselessly to provide food and drink to all.
The Main Hall had local clubs from Stevenage and Welwyn and the Moorhen club.
Stevenage had a nice display of radio control items and some of the old electric motors and I/C engines.
The society has a club shop and there were many ‘interesting’ items on sale!
Moorhen club had some larger model boats on a very nice display.
Close by was Richard from the Association of Model Barge Owners with some splendid examples of 1:24 scale Thames Barges.
Welwyn club had some large modern examples of cross channel ferries as well as tiny working models of various ship types.
On the stage were two displays, on the left a Warehouse layout with fork lift trucks loading and unloading crates onto lorries from the storage areas. Next to it was a gravel grading machine separating different size gravel from the loads supplied by heavy duty lorries.
Down below was the Handley Page society stand.
The Lifeboat Appreciation group had a splendid display of large working RNLI lifeboats with information and photos.
In the corner of the Main Hall, by the door was MidAir. A small group devoted to encouraging flying model aircraft. Visitors could sit down and with tuition construct a small glider and go out onto the grass outside and test fly it.
Outside was the portable pool that has Have-A-Go radio controlled model boats for young visitors to operate under tuition, very busy on the Saturday, there was some sailing on the Sunday when the weather permitted.
The Flying Field was in operation on the Saturday but intermittent rain and gusting winds curtailed flying on Sunday.
Some hot air balloons were flown at the school entrance but the gusty wind condition prevented them from being flown too high.
Scattered among the halls were opportunities to buy various modelling items including vintage plastic construction kits and toys.
Although this was the worst weather we have ever had for our Model Show it did not dampen the spirits of those present.
The many children visiting on both days were quietly absorbed by all that they saw and did.
We would like to thank all the clubs that participated and without whom the Show could not take place.
Their models were an inspiration to all and must have kindled a few fires with some. I had many conversations with club members and visitors alike who were very much taken by the scale of the Show and the wide range of models.
We would also like to thank these clubs for the assistance rendered in setting out the 70 odd tables and bringing them back afterwards.
Our visitor numbers were down on last year due to uncertain weather but we still entertained more than 1300 over the two days with many pre-school children coming in for free.
1st Dec 2019
September Club Night Report
The September meeting was a little different from the usual club nights as members were invited to bring along any model boats that they would like to be checked out for 'seaworthiness' and to get them running again and discuss problems and solutions with the boats with fellow club members.
To facilitate this the usual theatre style seating arrangement was changed to a more open layout with tables as well as chairs.
Members were also asked to complete a survey to, amongst other things, understand the range of interests members have and their ideas for the club.
And not not forgetting the engineering side, Malcolm has presented the club with a nice new (quiet) compressor and members were given a chance to test and run their engines on compressed air.
Malcolm also gave a talk about some of the engines he has built and mostly designed himself, and his use of a video camera and the halls projector made viewing the detail and operation of his engines so much easier.
A full description of the design and construction of Malcolm's Three Cylinder Engine can be found HERE
Nick Hale brought along his live steam powered exhibit using an old Stuart 405 with four engines. The engines are a Stuart 10V, a Balham Basher which is Nicks own design, and also his design for a beautiful three cylinder single acting marine engine. He is using the Balham Basher to drive an old Trix electric motor as a dynamo. The fourth engine is a little Bowmans twin cylinder marine engine.
Ian Gurton brought along his electronic development prototype for the club Dynamometer Car project to demonstrate. The project is coming along well with the group having regular development meetings.
Brambleton Model Railway Open Day
Saturday 7th September 2019 – a report by Tony Mason
Saturday 7th saw another invasion of the mountainous terrain of Harpenden known as Brambleton.
Roger Stephen had recruited at least four committee members and other willing workers from our Club to have a final push selling our Exhibition to members of the public and their children.
Two tents were quickly erected and 'exhibits-that-move' placed on tables.
Fireboxes were filled with fuel and before long glowing coal could be seen. Soon the air was filled with steam puffing from chimneys.
And so it was for nearly four hours during which over 700 of our leaflets were pressed into the hands of Mum’s, Dad’s and eager children’s hands.
We had proved you don’t need a printed circuit to create joy with juniors and parents were assured that a visit to our annual Expo would guarantee to exhaust their children once again.
What more can we do for mankind?
Finally I should point out that the main event at Brambleton was their ‘0’ gauge layouts and garden scale narrow gauge layouts which stretched as far as you could see.
Great cakes, savouries and beverages were sold too. 391 adults, 351 children had visited and earned the show £2231.
Well done those Brambeltonians and may you continue to prosper.
Tony Mason, Sept 2019.
The Brambleton MRC website can be found here: http://www.brambleton.org.uk/index.html
Summer BBQ at the Puffing Park
Sunday 11th August was the day of the annual BBQ and despite the changeable weather forecast the attendance was very good.
Happily the the weather stayed dry and warm and was ideal BBQ weather with everybody taking advantage of the BBQ grills to prepare their food.
Roger Stephen with his steam loco 'Princess Marina' and Clive Reynolds on the club'e electric loco 'Joyce' gave rides to club members and visitors young and old.
Other engines, both steam and electric were also run for everyone's enjoyment and the even neighbours from the adjoining properties came along and had train rides around the park.
Please scroll down to see the CRICH report
A visit to The Postal Museum
Wednesday 26th June saw an outing to The Postal Museum at Mount Pleasant, London.
The group met at the welcome space to be greeted by Kevin Gray, the retired colleague of a club member now working as a guide at the museum. Kevin gave the group a brief history of the area including how it became to be known as 'Mount Pleasant'.
The first part of our visit took us to the 'Mail Rail' part of the museum and the group boarded one of the two trains that take visitors on a 15 minute ride around a loop of track beneath the local area.
The train stops at various points along the route where some very impressive audiovisual displays show the history of the railway and describe its use throughout its service life. It's remarkable to consider that this system was the very first automatic and driverless railway system in the world at the time it was constructed and nothing else like it was built until 40 years after it's construction.
Returning to the Postal Museum the group were given a couple of 'Pop Up' talks by Kevin on the history of the postal service from its earliest years to the formation of the Royal Mail, and another talk about the brave men that formed a postal service during the war years to bring mail to the troops at the front lines and return with letters for loved ones at home.
The group then spent the remainder of the visit touring the various galleries and exhibits in the musem at their leisure.
Club Outing to the National Tramway Museum – Crich June 23rd - A Report by Tony Mason
The collapse in popularity of Trams started as early as the 1920’s and they finally disappeared from our streets , with one or two exceptions, in the 1950’s. The consequent availability of time expired Trams stimulated enthusiasts to save them and restore them, rather in the same way as the Narrow Gauge movement of the same time.
Crich, or ‘Kriche’, as the locals pronounce it, is a sleepy location in Derbyshire. Just south of the Peak District the tramway is on the site of a mining works’ and it’s incline, engineered by George Stephenson himself. Apart from working trams on the incline and the quarter of a mile of tramway with it’s four passing places there are many other attractions. These include a Learning Centre, a Workshop Viewing Gallery, Tram Depot and a Discovery Depot. The entire collection consists of some eighty trams in varying states of preservation with many of them in excellent working order. The standard of restoration is very high and we were fortunate to have a conducted tour round the Workshop conducted by a technical manager who could answer our many questions. The standard of restoration was superb doing great justice to these fascinating machines. Well done!
This is one of the latest projects being undertaken in the workshop. It is in fact the very last tram built by the LCC (London County Council) in 1933. The London Tram fleet, along with all the other transport facilities was passed over to London Transport in 1933.
Restoration is to the original LCC livery. The picture shows the tram in the Workshop and some of our members are climbing aboard to view the high quality of the restoration
Surely one of the most elegant restorations in the Crich collection. The car numbered 159 was built in 1902 and became a member of the LUT ‘W’ class. It ran until 1921 when it became the home to a couple in Ewhurst Green, remaining with them for 55 years! It was restored over a seven year period to the highest standards in its original London United Electric Tramways livery.
106 is a London County Council ‘B’ Class tramcar dating back to 1903. It is open-top , four-wheeled and built by Dick-Kerr. The trams were too small to handle London traffic and many were sold off to other operators while the remainder were used during peak hours. The last of the class ran in 1925. 106 was restored between 1971 and 1983 by the London County Council Tramways Trust and presented to the National Tramway Museum and is pictured here in the Tram Depot.
Portugal is famous for its Trams, in fact they can still be seen today in Oporto and Lisbon. 273 was restored to post-war Oporto ochre after acquisition in 1996. These trams are closely related to the American Streetcar and restoration was aided with monies from the Heritage Lottery Fun. Photographed during Club’s visit the children and dogs shows what a relaxed and all-embracing place the Crich Tramway is.
While members of the Club crowd onto the LCC tram they hardly noticed the lovely presentation and restoration of this, the second tram to arrive at Crich. This one was from Leeds and started its career there in 1926 and retired from in 1951. It was used on steep gradient routes being fitted with air braking for the steep hilly routes around Beeston.
Blackpool can hardly be avoided in a collection of trams. 167 dates back to 1928 when it was purchased from the English Electric Company in Preston. Note the luxury of a clerestory roof and the elegant pantograph. It came to Crich in 1962 and was restored by
Smithills, Bolton so it could participate in the Blackpool Tramway Centenary in 1985, since when it has represented its owners, the National Collection at other similar venues.
The trip was organised by Mike Grossmith and while the ratio of travel time to visit time was a little high it was well worth the journey and great value.
Thank you Mike.
June 2019 Club Night report
Club members turned out in numbers to join in celebration of Guy Ellerby's 100th birthday when he was presented with a birthday card signed by the members and an engraved name plate that will adorn one of the steaming bays at the Puffing Park.
A deciciously fruity birthday cake was made by Malcolm Beak for this very special occasion and it was enjoyed by the members during the refreshment break.
The guest speaker for the evening was Richard Thomas from the Black Country Living Museum who gave a very entertaining and animated talk about 'President' a Fellows, Morton & Clayton steam powered narrowboat.
The 71 feet (22 m) long President was constructed in 1909 at FMC's company dock in Saltley, and cost £600. She was registered on 23 June that year. Her riveted, wrought iron hull is shaped in the 'Josher' style, named for FMC director Joshua Fellows.
President was bought by the Black Country Living Museum in January 1983. During the year both boats leave the museum and travel around the inland waterways attending various events and rallies promoting the Black Country Living Museum and the inland waterways in general.
More information on President and The Black Country Living Museum can be found here.
Brambleton Model Railway Show Report
Brambleton Model Railway Show Saturday 11th May 2019 – A report by Roger Stephen and Tony Mason
We were invited by Alan Day to join the event in order to promote our exhibition. The venue was located just north of Harpenden and intriguingly adjacent to the site of the disused railway line from Harpenden to Hemel Hempstead. The models on show were a mixture of ‘O’ gauge and 16mm Garden scale. All the trains were remote controlled by ‘drivers’ who used both radio control and two rail electric supply. The system meant that the trains ran continually throughout an afternoon which lasted from 2pm to 5.30pm. The clientele were enchanted and very much fitted the profile of our own exhibition.
The Brambleton members seem to be a very friendly and helpful lot and they provided suitable transport to get our heavy stuff from the cars outside to where our gazebo went, and back again at the end of the day. Alan Day arranged this in a truck measuring approx 7’ 6” by 4’ 6”, sides about 1’ high which could take up to about 500kg. He said he is happy to use it to transport stuff if ever we need to, either with him towing it or by lending it to a member with a tow bar. I think it would be fine for events not needing the track, like Oaklands, but I would not recommend trying to load it with the portable track, station timbers, accessory boxes (wood packing, buffers, etc), passenger car, guard’s truck, and driving truck. Even without a gazebo that would be too much. Worth remembering his offer though. Members who attended and brought models were Roy Verden, Roger Stephen, Tony Mason, Jack Green, Chris Scivyer and Malcolm Beak.
As for the Brambleton open day itself, Alan Day says they had well over 1,000 people paying to get in (Adults £2:50, Children £1:50). I can believe that – the place was buzzing by 3pm. If one assumes the average family was mum, dad and two kids, that would be a ticket income of over £2,000 for a single afternoon. Their refreshment tent seemed to be doing good business too, charging £1:20 for a hot dog (with onions and ketchup/mustard) and fizzy drinks in cans at 80p. They probably turned over a total of around £3,000 on the day. I think it would be worth looking into how they publicise their open days. If you Google “Brambleton Open Day 2019” you get their website plus several social media sites, notably;
Whatever they do, it seems to work.
Having the steam workshop on a table in front of the gazebo was fine but the three tables in the gazebo was not ideal - we wanted them under cover because of the forecast showers and ended up with rather restricted access to them. The wall panel at the back was OK but with hindsight, and the lack of showers as it turned out, we could have taken down the single side wall panel we had. We live and learn! Alan Day kindly returned the kit to the Puffing Field the next morning in his trailer.
Their next open day is on Saturday 7th September. That’s just three weeks before our own exhibition and obviously a great opportunity to hand out exhibition flyers. Alan Day is very keen for us to have a stand again and is desperate to have a bit of 5” gauge track there, even if it is only a short length (like 10 to 20 feet) for us to demonstrate a loco on. I did not promise that! Given that they attract a large number of families (which must be our target audience?) I think we should definitely have a stand there in September.
The Brambleton MRC website can be found here: http://www.brambleton.org.uk/index.html
May 2019 Club Night report
The May club night commenced with the usual club business from Clive and Roy and this was followed by a short talk by Mike Collins about the proposed Dynamometer project.
Members were invited to be involved in the project and a special meeting for those taking an interest has been arranged and will meet at Clive's house on Wednesday 15th May @ 10.30 am
Mike's talk was followed by the main speaker for the evening.
Chris Scivyer is a club member who also has a special interest in aviation and his talk was titled 'A Tour of Airfields and Museums In and Around Moscow'
- Four airports around Moscow
- The 2003 Moscow Airshow
- Star City (Russian Cosmonauts training)
- Several plants reworking old Russian aircraft and helicopters
- Three private airfields
- Three aircraft museums
During the refreshment break club members inspected a demonstration model of a 'RetroReflector' by David Brown.
It was made from a discarded mirror that David acquired and he had the pieces cut by a glazier.
It serves to illustrate the principles of the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment
'Retroreflectors have been left on the Moon by the Apollo astronauts to reflect lasers from Earth so that scientists can measure the moon's distance with millimetre precision. We now know that the moon is receding at about 37 mm per year. If you look at the centre you will see an upside-down mirror image of yourself regardless of your position. The ones on the moon are glass prisms made very accurately and each panel contains many prisms. If you put your hand or anything in the centre you will see seven reflections, 3 single, 3 double and one triple'
April 2019 Club Night & AGM Report
The April club night commenced with Annual General Meeting with the minutes of the last meeting read by Roy Verden, the election of Committee members and the financial report by Mike Grossmith.
The chairman then gave his report for 2018/2019
Read the full Chairmans Report Here
With the business of the AGM concluded the members enjoyed 'tea and buscuits' while viewing and discussing the projects and models brought to the meeting by fellow members.
The red truck in the last 'photo will form the basis of a 'Dynamometer' project that some members will be working on during the forthcoming year.
March 2019 Club Night Report
The March club meeting was also Auction Night and there was a good turnout of members and a good selection of auction lots!
From our Chairman:
Thanks to all those who provided an assortment of items for sale at our auction last night. Thanks also to all those who put their hands in their pockets thereby putting £229.80 into club funds.
It was, as usual, an entertaining evening thanks to our excellent auctioneer Peter Haycock. Thanks to Peter, Ian Gurton who kept the books and Malcolm Beak who undertook the role of porter.
Sadly the garden strimmer attracted no bids and remains unsold !
Don't worry readers, you'll get another chance to buy it from the club shop at the annual exhibition in September!
14th March 2019
February 2019 Club Night Report
The club was delighted to host a talk by Ant and Mike Pritchard from the Tamiya Truckin' group.
The duo described and demonstrated the Tamiya models that they construct and operate, many of which are customised with special lighting and sound units, the latter are able to authenticaly re-create all of the starting and running sounds of the real trucks and construction vehicles.
During the refreshment break the club members closely inspected the models that Ant and Mike brought to show and many interesting questions were asked and comprehensively answered by Ant and Mike and their father Ted who was present and is also a member of the Tamiya Truckers.
The Tamiya Truckers are regular exhibitors at our Annual Exhibition and occupy an entire hall with their layout. They also exhibit at all the major model exhibitions in the UK and are an extremely popular attraction for young model makers at all the shows.
A video of the talk can be viewed on our YouTube channel..... or play it in the window here.