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Butterley Garden Railway Association


Newsletter.

A regular newsletter edited by Alan.

If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


An Index to our Newsletters


An Index to our Newsletters

The Association Newsletter

Encouraging a sense of ‘fellowship’...

Alan

The New Year is here, my SANTA TRAIN is packed away (batteries removed and notes made for repairs/modifications for next Christmas), modelling projects moved back on the bench and I am ready for another year of modelling.

Someone posed an interesting question on Facebook: “What do you do, when your interest or passion for model trains diminishes?” (the wording is not quite as posed, but I think you get the drift). People responded very well, I felt, and I thought about our situation as a Club. I think it is one of my key motivations as Chairman – to encourage a sense of being ‘fellowship’ – a group of friends who enjoy each other’s company, not just when we run our trains.

We are not all the same, of course, and we may have differing interests within the broad spectrum of Narrow Gauge Railways. Many of us live some distance from Butterley, yet still make frequent journeys there, and I am so encouraged that you feel it is worth the trip! I am also aware that ill-health and side-effects of ageing can seriously reduce the ability to make the journey, even if it is not very far. It is for this reason I put so much effort into our Newsletter to help that sense of belonging. It is still inevitable, however, that we lose some members, whilst gaining others.

So far, we have only two key events on our BGRA calendar: our AGM, taking place on Sunday, 18th February at 2.00pm in the Club Hut. Please make a note of the date and plan on coming if you possibly can. We need your input and thoughts about the Club. As I said last year, the committee is not the BGRA – we all are...

The other event is our Open Day and Loco Olympics on Saturday 20th July. Please make a note of the dates and plan to come, if you can.

CHRISTMAS 2023 - Alan Price

XMas Pic

We began to run our Santa trains to coincide with the MRT at the end of November. As you may remember from the last Newsletter, this time we added a small incentive of a Competition for the ‘best’ Santa train, wagon or coach, with a £10 prize for the winner.

XMas Pic

This encouraged a great number of entries, kindly judged by Richard Ward, Chairman of the MRT at our Christmas gathering on 10th December.

XMas Pic

Richard Ward judges the Competition

You will notice the new Christmas Banner on the side of the Pullman coach, making us visible to passengers on the “Big” Santa Trains.

XMas Pic XMas Pic

It was a great time, with lots of trains and good banter.

XMas Pic XMas Pic

Thanks to Jenny & Glynis for a great spread of "festive nibbles".

XMas Pic

Jonathan included ‘Lemax” Christmas Figures

XMas Pic

Mike had a Nativity Wagon in his train

XMas Pic

Eric's Santa train pulled by his early Christmas gift, a brilliant new Roundhouse Dylan.

XMas Pic

Doug's Santa Mega-Train.

It was a great pleasure to be there and says a lot about us as a club. Perhaps a precedent has been set and a Competition might be an annual thing?

XMas Pic

Dave Gordon’s winning entry

Repairing "Prudence" - Dave Gordon

XMas Pic

I have enjoyed a lovely summer running “Prudence”, my ROUNDHOUSE Lady Anne, after the work to replace worn axles etc earlier this year. However, I was mystified - and a little glum - to experience a further problem with the timing in the last couple of runs.

The loco would steam up fine, but once I had cleared the water from the cylinders, it would just go for about 10 yards, then stop and refuse to go forward or backward. I examined the gear when this happened and the lifting-arm seemed to be doing its job setting the gear up or down to select direction. There were two other possibilities: the crank may have slipped, or the lifting-arm on the right-hand side of the loco may have slipped. These were a bit harder to check when hot, so it was time to put Prudence on the workbench at home.

I checked everything using the remote control with the loco on the bench and all seemed to be ok. Hmm – some careful thinking was called for.After some prevarication I realised that I was going to have to have the cylinder covers off and look at the slide valves to make sure all was ok there.

With the Roundhouse chassis manual to hand, I set up on the kitchen table where it was nice and warm. Prudence was put on blocks so I could rotate the wheels and check the valve timing when in gear.

It was a bit awkward though, as I had to operate the RC, turn the wheels and look at the slide valve. I could not see anything wrong and the timing seemed ok.

From the Roundhouse Chassis manual
XMas Pic

Then I realised that the valve spindle was slipping through the valve nut when it was not supposed to. I removed this from the cylinder for closer inspection. The spindle is attached to the nut by a thread to enable adjustments to be made to the timing. In my case, I discovered the thread was worn, which would explain things. The valve nut and valve were not moving correctly to open and close the ports when needed.

I decided to replace both spindle and nut and ordered the parts from Roundhouse. Excellent service as usual and a few days later I had installed them and tested on the rollers. All seemed well and I was confident to run Prudence next time I was at Butterley.

XMas Pic

It had been a tricky fault for me to find and fix, but I got there in the end. I still need to pin the cranks, as recommended by Roundhouse, something I will get round to it one day.

I think Roundhouse offers a superb service, being able to buy individual small parts to fix our locos.

THUNDERBIRD - Elliot Rymer

Elliot's Loco

After many months & plenty of fiddling... THUNDERBIRD has been created, from a Peter Yatton kit of the Funkey Diesel “CASTELL CAERNARFON”, running on the Welsh Highland Railway.

I've learnt a lot assembling this kit - using an air brush, understanding electrical circuits, and painting a line. (Trust me, it's hard) and a lot more...

Thunderbird Pic Thunderbird Pic

Big thanks to Dad for helping me build this beast! I couldn't have done it without him!

A video can be found of all photos on either:

@Medias.er on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CzKHWnWopiL/?igshid=N2ViNmM2MDRjNw==

Or a Private video on Youtube:

https://youtu.be/EVcG8NWXhdc?si=RemVZXyUbvypQsBU

Now, on with the next project!

Speed Painting Tips from a Wargamer – Ben Price

Figure
ZenIthal Highlighting Example - from black base prime, to a top only prime of white
(2024 Army Painter)

Painting backlog getting you down? Want to paint your figures but don’t want to spend months on the same set of figures? These tips will help you cut down your painting time and achieve an “arm’s length” level of painting in a fraction of the usual time.

Firstly, a disclaimer - I am not a railway hobbyist in any shape or form. However, I have been painting wargames miniatures for over 35 years and I’ve been told that the techniques I use can be applied to larger scale figures for model railways, hence this article.

There has been a small revolution in miniature painting

There has been a small revolution in miniature painting in the last few years, which has been spearheaded by Games Workshops release of Contrast Paints. These paints are somewhere between a wash and a normal acrylic paint but are designed to be painted directly over a primer covering and will achieve base colours, highlights and shading in one coat. Many years ago, Army Painter developed a similar product called Quick Shade (which was quickly nicknamed “onedip”) which was designed as a shading product to go over all base colours to add depth. Sadly, it wasn’t very good and left models looking like they’d been dipped in gravy.

Using some clever priming techniques

Games Workshop has taken this idea further with individual colours. Using some clever priming techniques, Contrast Paints can be used to quickly paint your figures to a really nice standard in a fraction of the time of more traditional techniques. The method I’d like to discuss here is known as Zenithal Highlighting. In effect you use the priming spray to create shadow tones before using the Contrast Paints. The primer can be airbrushed on or simply using rattle-cans.

First, prime your figure all over in either black or grey depending on how harsh you want your shadows. Personally, I prefer grey as it provides a less harsh contrast, but the choice is yours. Once this prime is dry, you prime again in white but only priming in the direction of normal light. For example, for figures standing outside, you spray the model from the top only, with the white collecting on the topmost parts of the model. For figures seated in coaches you could try this from the side the window is located.

For figures seated in coaches you could try this from the side the window is located

Figure
Note the pooling in the elbow joints and the corner of the shoulder pad
(2024 Tangible Day)

Once this prime is dry, you are free to paint with the Contrast Paints. I recommend starting with the lightest colours first, ending with darkest. This is simply because you can easily cover any mistakes with the lighter colours with the darker colours but not the other way round. Painting the model as you would normally with base colours, but let the paint collect in folds and lower areas of the model to generate shadows. However, be careful not to allow too much paint to pool in these areas or you risk flooding the model.

Once dry you’re all done and, in this manner, a miniature can be completed to “arm’s length” standard in a fraction of the time of more traditional methods.

Games Workshops Contrast Paints have now been joined by alternative brands such as Army Painters Speed Paints. I understand these are similar but cheaper paints, however I have not yet tried them out.

Ben Price

Ed: Ben says most of this advice is freely available on the internet, with instructional videos etc, but he will gladly answer your questions.


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Chair-person).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

We are not in the business of staying still...

Alan

My quest to research and record the foundations of BGRA continues. David Halfpenny is one of the founder-members still around and has been very helpful. The inauguration was not very long ago in relative terms (April 1990), but people move, events are forgotten and we lose a sense of beginnings. At the same time, we are not in the business of staying still. Our world is different, the models we make and how we make them are different, and methods of remote control are so very different (no more ribbons declaring what radio frequency we are using!).

Interestingly, one criticism I have heard a few times by former members is that BGRA does not change. I am not at all sure what is meant by that, but we are a very different club than we were. We have embraced the internet and social media to ‘spread our message’. Our numbers are growing steadily, and we have welcomed three new members since the last newsletter. We are fortunate in that we have some members who have significantly reduced our average age (though we cannot relax).

It is our garden railway itself – the very reason for our being and what we have to offer – that inevitably sets some limits on how much we can change. Experience is another real resource we have to offer, but ultimately, I hope we can continue to be a group that simply enjoys meeting together with our trains, and welcomes others who wish to do so.

WE’VE HAD A BUSY AUTUMN… - Alan Price

BBQ Pic

A lot has happened since the last Newsletter. In September, there was the BBQ, which was very popular: “…a great day, model trains and BBQ ... always a good combination! Chef Elliot and Glenis did a brilliant job feeding us all, thanks again to you both”.

Joe's Train

Bright evening sunshine made for atmospheric photos -Joe’s BERTIE making the point.

Elliot's Mamod

The following Sunday was our Vintage & Mamod celebration, with some ‘old classics’ making an appearance.

John's Mamod

There were new and shiny Mamods and old worn and rusty ones. John had two of his Mamod conversions.

John's George England

The George England is a scratch-built body on a Mamod chassis.

John's Double Fairlie

It’s hard to believe John’s Double Fairlie is completely scratch-built based on a Mamod power unit. Both locos are radio controlled.

Not everyone likes oscillating cylinders, but Mamod locomotives continue to be the most economic entry into live-steam 16mm locomotives. Mamod is under new ownership, who are planning to continue the long tradition of British hand-made production. One of their first priorities is an all-new website where enthusiasts will be able to access new models and spare parts, plus a new option to have models mechanically serviced to ensure their beloved engines are in great working order.

We have a section about Mamods on our Visitor Pages.

FISH, CHIPS AND STEAM – Mike Riley

Night Run Pic

Wednesday the 25th October saw the Autumnal Evening Run. Despite the floods caused by Storm Babet, that day was warm and sunny, much to everyone’s delight.

Night Run Pic

Members gathered before the 5 o’clock deadline to order their meals (though one member cut it very fine, arriving as Phil and I were about to depart on the food run to Leabrook’s emporium).

It was an excellent turn out with 13 members present the best attended event for some time.

Mike messed up the pricing, so everyone paid a bit more than intended but the Bird Feeder Fund benefitted with all but one donating the excess to the fund.

Night Run Pic

Once the meal was cleared way running and lighting up the line commenced (thanks to Eric for providing a quantity and variety of lighting). Steam was in the majority including Elliot’s coal fired engine. Mike ran both his NG6 and Edward Thomas with his fully lit passenger rake. There were many other coaches with lights and some innovative use of lights on goods stock.

Tom’s 45mm track powered train looked particularly good.

Tom's Track Powered Lights

Photographs and video were taken chiefly by Joe and Elliot, the results have been shared on WhatsApp, our website, and social media.

Elliot's Funky Diesel

There were examples of SLR models new head/tail lamps which were bright, they will be on my shopping list come Stoneleigh. I’m happy to report there were no serious collisions or mishaps in the dark despite at one stage having four trains on the bottom track.

Overall, a brilliant evening, look out for the next one at the spring equinox and come and join the fun.

What others have been doing this autumn - Alan Price

Mike's Plaque

Eagle-eyed observers will have noticed the brass plaque that appeared under the new bridge. Whilst many members have contributed to the installation of the renewed upper track, the committee wanted to acknowledge the key role played by Mike Riley.

Mike at Bala

Mike has been in demand, taking his 16mm modules to various exhibitions, including the Bala Model Railway Show in September.

Whilst several members attended the Garden Railway Show in Sept, organised by the Yorkshire Group of 16mm NG Modellers Association at the Barrow Hill Roundhouse, (Elsecar being closed for renovation),

Doug

Doug Houston travelled to help run his friend’s “DOWNTOWN USA” HO layout at the Wakefield Model Railway Society show. Here he is in action.

James' model

James Hewitt is building this Roundhouse Freelance Coach kit, but September saw him at the Bedfordshire Steam & Country Fayre.

James Driving Andrew

September also saw Andrew Twynham pursuing his other passion on the Manx Tramway.

Ed. I thought members might be interested to hear what others have been doing this autumn.

(No Longer) On My Workbench – Alan Price

Noddy

My Autumn project was to create a Mobility Scooter for my 1/12ths Scale Tourist Line. And so this became this.

Alan's model

The finished model is shown with 16mm figures for size comparison.

The ‘Captain’s Chair’ is a resin casting from Mac’s Mouldings https://www.macsmouldings.co.uk/ This company specializes in parts for model boats in various scales, but is a useful website. I have bought a 1/16th scale chair for a 16mm version of a scooter, work on which will start soon.

Model competition

PLATEWAYS MODEL CRANE – Colin Stubbs.

Colin's Model

Once again, I forgot to get out the camera soon enough so just leaving my work bench is a Plateway Models hand crane. This was an impulse purchase at Llanfair in September, just couldn’t resist. The kit is mostly plywood frets complete with wheels and couplings which is good but the instructions are largely text with just a couple of photos of the completed work.

Not all the components have tabs, so some assembly is by lining up edges and clamping.

Colin's Model

The lift, slew and hoist operate so you can pose the model if that is your thing. I added a couple of extra details: the step boards, lifting eyes on the counter weight and wasp stripes and a couple of labels to break up the plain areas.

The single plank wagon provided with the kit has a large expanse of empty deck so I partitioned a bit of it to form a tool /junk store. Also instead of using the string provided for hoisting I found a bit of old chain that looks much more “Victorian”.

Colin's Model

The match truck is an old underused scratch-built item that now has a jib cradle and bits of junk scattered about. All complete.

https://www.platewaymodels.co.uk/shop/p/hand-crane

I’ve done a trial runs and all seem to work very well.


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Chair-person).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

BGRA is in a unique situation...

Alan

Recently, your committee spent time thinking about the BGRA events in our calendar. We have a close relationship with the Midland Railway Trust.(Butterley), and have tried to have events linked with the MRT programme. Some of these have been ‘regular’ fixtures for several years, a pattern broken only by the pandemic. However, we have been aware that on occasions, our members outnumbered MRT visitors, and on others, our members did not seem interested, or unable to support because of other commitments.

Whilst we will continue to support MRT when we can, in future we will be more careful in our planning. In addition, there seems to be more garden rail shows that our members would like to attend.

One decision is that we will not advertise a BGRA event unless we have a member who will be the event “champion”. This is someone who agrees to host it, promote it and indeed ‘own’ it amongst the membership. This may well mean fewer BGRA events (apart from normal club running, of course), but hopefully will be better supported and have more for visitors to see.

BGRA is in a unique situation having a ‘passing public’. Not only is it good publicity for our hobby, but in addition, there is a fairly steady income of donations via “The Elephant’. This is good for us and offers a further incentive to run our trains.

However, we feel there is more discussion to be had and we welcome your comments.

Drivers in our Locos - Phil Hemingway

Personally, I like to see drivers in our locos. I have three open cabbed Regners, so to secure either 16mm or 7/8ths scale men, I do the following.

Phil's Driver Phil's Driver

Cut a piece of mild steel and shape it to fit the various size boots and foot placements of the drivers. Undercoat and paint the steel, in my example, I like Gun metal grey as a contrast. I have also cut a piece of Plasticard shaped to the same shape to separate the steel plate from the footplate. There’s a lot of steam oil swimming around Regner cabs.

This is fastened to the cab floor with 10BA nuts and bolts. I had to cut a hole to clear a side frame fixing bolt as well.

Phil's Driver

For the driver, I order 3mm x 10mm size neodymium magnets and drill appropriate holes up the legs. (Ouch) then a spot of super glue to fix in the leg holes. Then place driver on the new cab floor...

...and that’s it. Sorted!

LOCO OLYMPICS Saturday 26th August

Loco Olympics Photo

We gathered in bright sunshine but with threatening black clouds and prepared for our day. Alan arrived a bit later than planned, but all was ready for the 1st event at noon. This was no slick timetabled event, and everything was quite relaxed.

Some had planned to enter events, whilst others were last-minute entrants. It rained occasionally, but we persisted. We had some public viewers who enjoyed the proceedings, whilst enjoying the steam-powered Vintage Train running on the MRT mainline.

Loco Olympics Photo Loco Olympics

There were some surprises in the events – a tug-of-war standoff between Andrew’s Criccieth Castle and John’s Lady Anne proving to have equal power.

Loco Olympics Photo

Mike’s little grey battery-powered loco was a clear slow-running winner, but Tom’s 45mm PIKO loco did well, once the bumps in the track had been overcome.

Loco Olympics Photo

The “controlled running” event was inevitably the most popular. It was harder for faster locos to complete the curves, because the metal cup raised the centre of gravity.

Loco Olympics Photo

John’s CRICCIETH won the haulage contest.

Alan was forced to “eat humble pie”, because when doing the final scores, he missed two vital scores which made Andrew the surprise overall winner and Mike the runner up.

All was well, though, with Andrew’s cup being a Runner Up, and Mike receiving his own 2023 Winner’s Cup.

Most people received medals, though.

Bogie Brake Van - Colin Stubbs

Just leaving the work bench, a Resurgam RNAD bogie brake van. I saw this at Llangollen last year and couldn’t resist even though it doesn’t fit in my fleet. The kit has many very fine laser-cut pieces, e.g. all the window frames are separate, inside and out. Their section is 1.2 mm x 1.5mm [cut from 1.2mm sheet].

Brake Van Photo

For the fine components Resurgam provide surplus parts. In the case of the window frames, it means that by pre-painting you can achieve a very fine finish. In Wilko I found some light weight 6” cramps, about £5 per pair that are ideal for holding models together during gluing.

Brake Van Photo

A downside to the kit is that I couldn’t see a way of readily making the roof removable so you can’t feed the train staff or replace internal lights if they fail. Talking of lighting, the original vehicle had a warning horn where you might expect to see a tail light - I fitted a tail light.

Brake Van Photo

The underside is pretty full with two bogies so I’ve opted for a 3v button cell on the underframe and the only place I could find to put a switch was by drilling through the side frame.

It was fiddly to make and took ages pre-painting bits but I’m well pleased.

3D Printer to the Rescue – Dave Gordon

Time for some repairs rather than building something new. I have enjoyed running my coal wagons lately. Some of the external detail is located right where you naturally handle the wagon and despite my best efforts to be careful, I have broken some of the brake gear. Two parts in particular have been damaged on some of the wagons, the brake handle and the rail it runs on.

Dave's Photo

The original parts are laser cut wood and I thought that replacements should be made of a stronger material if possible. I considered brass and Plasticard but then realised that a better solution may be to replicate the parts in a CAD package and print them in plastic using the 3D printer.

Dave's Photo

It would be a bit of work up front but subsequent spares could be easily printed off once I had my design. My main worry was being able to use the CAD package to represent the shapes effectively as I have only used it to create simple things to date. (My moment of glory thus far has been to make a stop end for a shower door. My family don’t seem as excited as I am, however I know it is there and it saved me buying a new shower enclosure.

I went at it rather unscientifically, although I measured some details of the original parts I did guess the curve of the arc of the rail. It was easy enough to print out a test piece and make corrections until I got it looking about right. The fork in the handle was also a bit of a challenge to my CAD skills but I managed it by building up some basic shapes.

Design finished I exported the file to the 3D printer program and printed off the part. I then compared the part to the original, made design corrections and repeated the process until I had what I wanted.

Dave's Photo

The CAD package I use is called FREECAD. I can thoroughly recommend it as it is free, has done everything I want to do so far and I am not familiar with any other CAD package so I can’t compare it’s pros and cons with others. The printer is an Ender 3 which is an entry level machine.

Now that the brake gear is sorted it looks like other parts of the wagon need some TLC...

...something to keep me busy over winter.

Ed: Whilst not claiming to be an expert on 3D printing or CAD, Dave is willing to bring his printer to Butterley if there is any interest in seeing it in action.

Model Railway Accessibility - Alan Price.

Alan's Photo

In 2018, I was musing on my (1/12th Scale) Estate Railway. I had previously acquired a set of 4 ‘Waterfield’ bogie coaches in need of refurbishment and necessary work had commenced. Part of my ruminations concerned the facilities offered to fare-paying passengers in the summer seasons, and once again I was led to reflect that wheelchair-users were rarely modelled.

I had a suitable dolls’ house figure that could easily be adapted and it was just a wheelchair that needed to be constructed.

From the outset I decided I was not going to have “state-of-the art” precision model of a wheel chair – rather something functional and ‘looking the part’. Basically, the chair would be built to suit the figure, and so the crucial measurements were: footrest to seat height, footrest to armrest height and the back of the figure to the bend of the knee.

Alan's Photo

I started with the wheels and purchased a cheap 1/12th scale bicycle to provide the main large pair. I would have preferred something better, but they looked the part. A rummage through my “bits box” produced a small pair of wheels (probably from a toy car). My wheelchair was to be simple in design, using styrene sheet, brass rod and suitable brass or styrene tube oddments.

Alan's Photo

Using the figure as a basis, I worked out the dimensions and cut the key components, as per the general arrangement drawings. My initial module was the “open box seat”, made of styrene. The large wheels were fixed to a brass axle, housed in a styrene tube. The vertical side tubes would house brass rod “handles”. These were glued to the open box seat Underneath the box seat were added two pairs of tubes. One pair would hold the rod bearing the small wheels, whilst the others hold the foot rests.

The remainder of the construction should be obvious from the photos. The figure required a little ‘adjustment’ using my Dremel drill. I have since found this for anyone with access to a laser-cutter.

Though the files are still scaled for 1/12th, I guess they could be re-sized for 16mm.

Available here https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:964160

My next project is to make a model mobility scooter – watch this space…

What's in a Name – Alan Price

Layout Plan

Only two of the locations on our layout at Butterley currently have names – David’s Loop & Dominic’s Bottom. We want to give names to some more, not least to identify the location of any photos taken.

Whilst “The Red Bridge” (H) ”Green Bridge”(P) “Grey Bridge” (O) are descriptive, perhaps there are better names?

Whilst we would like some places to have a connection with (for instance) prominent members of our past, we do not want to restrict our choices. I don’t envisage a plethora of nameplates invading the layout, but...

WE WOULD LIKE YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR SOME OF LOCATIONS INDICATED ABOVE.

Tell any committee member any suggestions in person, by email, text, Whatsapp etc.


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Chair-person).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

We are not an old institution, but...

Alan

Alan writes…Recently, former Committee Member Norman Austin handed over a lot of photos and some documents detailing the foundation and early years of BGRA. I am no historian, and we are not an old institution, but it has been fascinating to try put together the story of our beginnings.

It was in April 1986 that Ernie Taylor, Operating Carriage Superintendent for the MRT and a member of the 16mm NG Association, wrote to other members in the area, inviting them to a meeting. He and a couple of others wondered about forming an East Midlands Area Group of 16mm Association, and creating a permanent outdoor layout at the Swanwick Junction area of the Midlands Railway Trust. The area he had in mind was situated beside a path running from the carriage shed to the main museum building, and overlooking the main running line (there was even a plan).

The Area Group was established, but the Swanwick layout did not materialise. However, the MRT offered another site – our current one in Butterley - and in April 1990, it was agreed unanimously to form an independent group to be known as the Butterley Garden Railway Association. We need help in identifying the people and events depicted. Please look at the additional page included at the end of this edition.

Introducing New Member - Doug Houston

Hi, my name is Doug Houston, and I'm very pleased to have joined the BGRA. I am originally from Scotland, and having joined the RAF from school, I eventually settled in the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire areas with my wife Carol.

Doug Houston

Like most of us, I've been nuts about trains/railways since I was knee high to a grasshopper!

I have modelled indoors in 4mm for most of my life, and currently have four end to end layouts at home.

I first explored 16mm in the garden some twenty years ago, after qualifying as Fireman at Peak Rail, and fancying a bit of real steam at home. I have built two garden railways, the first at our previous house, and the second at our present home.

Doug's Train

Having not joined a club previously, I have made all the normal mistakes whilst building my garden railways, so I come to you to pick your brains so that when I build my third one it will be so much better than the previous two!

I look forward to getting to meet you all ..................and stealing your ideas!

New Windows...

The front windows have now been repaired. Though we have had to pay for the work (almost £2000), the young lads responsible will be paying the costs via the courts, but this will take some time! The main door has been repainted and handle repaired. The next work will be some roof repairs before winter weather returns.

New Windows

Plans are in hand to redecorate the interior, improve the light fittings and renew the floor covering, which we feel is becoming hazardous. Colin Stubbs is acting as “project co-ordinator” for all this.

BGRA at Wirksworth - Mike Riley

BGRA at Wirksworth

As a group we were asked to provide a layout for the first Wirksworth Large Scale Show, sponsored by the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Association in July.

The committee decided this would be my layout (bit of a stretch at that stage) which used my two modular boards, plus some new modules with Peco setrack curves and Mamod sidings. Over the weeks leading up to the show, I covered a lot of the new boards with plastic grass and built a farm cottage and barn. I added some farm buildings from a variety of sources (mainly the grandchildren's toy box).

BGRA at Wirksworth

BGRA at Wirksworth

With nowhere at home big enough, the layout was set up in the club room to check it all worked. Amazingly it did! The Friday arrived and with all the bits loaded into my motorhome (it only just fitted) I arrived at site to meet Dave Gordon. We erected the layout, checking all was well and we were in business.

On the Saturday, running for real exposed a few issues, but in the best traditions of Messrs Bodgit and Scarper Engineering these were resolved enough for successful running. The layout was well received by the public and particularly the children who were allowed to drive.

Having received two invitations to shows next year, I took the opportunity to purchase new Peco points for its next outing.

My thanks to David, Colin and Joe for their support over the weekend.

Replacing the Gears on the IP Simplex – Jonathan Tillin

This has been in my stable for many years. It’s a lovely heavy low centre of-gravity beast and I run it a lot at home. It can pull a couple of wagons no problem and re-chargeable batteries keep running costs very low.

Jon's Simplex

Recently (well not so recently) the loco would stop with the motor still turning. Investigation revealed the worm had worn and the gear train had a tooth or two missing.

The train is entirely made from nylon and has clearly done sterling service. I think the wear was from the loco getting fouled on the track a number of times. Two sets of gears were ordered from IP: each set has one worm and a wheel at 30:1 ratio (leaving me a spare worm).

The worm, idler and drive cogs are all push-fit, as are the loco wheels. The idler axle is held by two bushes which appeared glued onto it. There are no bearing bushes – the axles run in the plate sides of the frame.

Jon's Simplex

It wasn’t a very difficult job, but I did need to make a couple of tools on the lathe: an ‘axle-pusher-outerer’ pin and an anvil with a hole. I added a taper to the anvil to allow extraction of the idler axle but when I went to remove it, I wondered why I didn’t remove the wheel-set first. Hey- ho.

Jon's Simplex

To remove the worm, I used my trusty German-made puller. For re-assembly I used a back-to-back gauge and another German joy – a wheel setter.

Jon's Simplex

Designed really for HO/OO I have filed the setter to fit the bigger axles. A run on the rolling road and putting back together it all worked wonderfully. Here are some pictures of the process.

The German kit comes from https://www.fohrmann.com/en/railway-modeling-tools/ and I used them a lot before the costs spiralled, thanks to Brexit.

A The Garden Railway (TGR) - Colin Stubbs.

On an almost summer’s day in July, Joe Grimes visited my garden line in Aston on Trent to run a few trains. The line started life as retirement experiment in 2017, grew during the Covid years and following Sue’s illness had another growth spurt as therapy for me.

Colin's Railway

It now covers an area about 30 feet by 20 feet all at ground level and has consumed five boxes of track [at least] so there must be 180 feet of track. [I’m usually metric but ‘feet’ seem more appropriate here].

Colin's Railway Colin's Railway

Colin's Railway

Joe’s was the first official visit by anyone to the TGR. Apart from the little Phil Sharples vehicles all the stock is Joe’s.

Colin's Railway

THE THING - Glenis & Tom

Glenis's Monster

Restoring My Garden Railway – Alan Price

Some of you will know that my 32mm gauge track hosts two Railways in different scales. One (The Little Valley Railway) is 16mm scale, the other (The Rosehaugh Estate Railway ), is 1/12th scale. It is not a ground-level layout, and when originally built, I used quality “Alpha-ply” (exterior grade) with a coat of mastic, covered with heavy-duty roofing felt. When I pierced it (for track fixing etc), I added a squirt of silicone sealant before driving home the screws to retain the waterproof integrity.

However, it became apparent this year that something was amiss, with trains derailing more frequently. An invasive investigation revealed that my “exterior quality” plywood had warped and was delaminating around the edges. I am not as young as I used to be, and arthritis is affecting my movement more and more, so I realised I had to take action whilst I could. I decided to replace the plywood with waterproof recycled plastic board, which would eliminate any anxiety about water ingress.

Alan's layout

A number of firms supply this, but I used Filcris, and chose their cheapest (though still not cheap) recycled plastic EHB board (pictured).

So, in-between sunshine and rain, the track was lifted and the old boards taken to the tip. I took the opportunity to tweak the design to improve the running and appearance, as well as to make necessary improvements to the supporting framework. The new boards were added and the track has been re-laid.

Alan's layout

It was a lot of work and I had to cope with pain and discomfort, but the job is done. Now I have a track that works well, and I can tackle the stations and infrastructure at my leisure – and maybe adding some scenic interest at last.

Building a Photo Archive for BGRA – John Rymer

Archive Feedback

As you probably know, we recently acquired Norman Austin's archive of BGRA documents from the time of the creation of our Association. Central to his archive are over 200 photos from the last 30 years, which are extremely enlightening regarding the building of our layout, but somewhat mystifying concerning people, events and background details.

We intend to create a pictorial history of BGRA but first we need your help in writing captions for some of the photos.

Can you supply brief details about any of the photos?

To do this I have created a feedback website, where anyone can submit comments on the photos in the collection. If you go to https://bgra.16mm.org.uk/feedback01.html (or our main website) you will find three pages of old photos. With each picture there is a text-box where you can type some comments about the photo, as pictured here :

When you click the SUBMIT FEEDBACK button, your email app should bring up a part completed email with your feedback enclosed, along with the name of the photo like this (below).

Archive Feedback

You can add more detail if you want but please don't alter the SUBJECT or the name of the photo. Don't try to give comments on every photo, just ones that you think are interesting.

For instance …

Archive Feedback

What do you know about the White Castle (Phase 1 2_0038.jpg)?

Archive Feedback

What about the improbable roof (Phase 1 2_0039.jpg)?

Archive Feedback

In the very first photos there is an access gap (Phase 1 1_0005.jpg), was the original plan for a lifting bridge?

Archive Feedback

There are quite a few photos of girls and boys who must now be in their late 30s or early 40s (Phase 1 1_0012.jpg) (Phase 1 2_0009.jpg). Can you identify them?

Archive Feedback

Take a look at the photo "The Opening_0002.jpg", there are two elephants. Can anyone explain?

Archive Feedback

Building a Photo Archive for BGRA

Have some fun and help us to write the history of BGRA.


Loco Olympics 2023


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Chair-person).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

A Busy Few Weeks...

Alan

Alan writes… The past weeks have been busy – the National Garden Railway Show was held at Peterborough (for the last time, due to changes to the venue) and our King has been crowned. A family funeral prevented me going to Peterborough, but I watched the Coronation with great pride (though I realise some members may not share those feelings). When the Committee decided to mark the event at Butterley, I began to think about creating a “Royal Coach” rather than giving a “Royal” paint job to an ordinary coach.

The May SMT included my write-up on its creation. It’s crazy when the coach will see very little use, but it drew some attention. One of the things I love about our hobby is that pleasure is gained from highly-detailed models of a real prototype, or from a fantasy vehicle like mine. One of the attractive things about BGRA is the variety of trains that members run – and we have shown off that variety as you will see in this newsletter.

We’ve welcomed two new members, Doug Houston and Richard Rendle (though the latter used to be a member some years ago). David Halfpenny has also re-joined. Sadly, for various reasons, one or two members have decided not to renew.

Finally, may I say that a club like ours relies on the ideas and creativity of its members – not just in the newsletter (hint, hint), but in what we do as a club for each other. The committee is not a closed group – we make decisions based on what we know members want. This is why our WhatsApp group is so helpful, because we chat together.

South African Timber Wagon - Dave Gordon

On my workbench is a South African Timber Wagon. I have built this using an excellent kit from Model Engineers Laser to a design by Nigel Town. The kit is made of steel and comes on a fret. The individual parts need cutting from the fret and tidying up before assembly.

Dave's Wagon

Some additional items are needed, couplings, ball bearings and wheels for the bogies, rivets, glue or solder. I soldered most of the parts together and the design’s cunning slot and tab approach means that when it is all assembled it makes a very rigid construction.

The steel bogies and firm chassis means that it sails along the rails in a stately, transatlantic liner sort of way. I would like to add a few more of these to the fleet in the future.

If you are not familiar with Model Engineers Laser their web site is worth a browse and they are a great resource for modellers.

Regner Willi Overhaul - Phil Hemingway

I have a Regner Willi that was modified by its previous owner to be specifically 7/8ths scale. This included new bodywork, a roof and a simple reverser. Its currently going through a bit of an overhaul in which I've changed the existing water gauge to the new, much bigger, one available from Garden Railways Ltd, the UK Regner agent.

Phil's Regner Willi Phil's Driver

At the same time, I’m painting the cab sheet inside Humbrol 103 Cream. This helps to see the water gauge better and improves the look.

The final upgrade is to fit a piece of mild steel plate to the footplate so I can ‘fix’ my drivers to the cab using small magnets inserted in their feet.

BEWARE OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS BEARING GIFTS - Eric Bond

When surveying the list of items donated for sale by Lucas Greenwood, I espied one described as a SwiftSixteen WD wagon kit, which would fit rather nicely into my WD train consist. It was duly purchased and taken home.

On opening the package, the first thing I noticed was that the body was not a single grey moulding as per the other SwiftSixteen WD wagons I had constructed, but formed of 7 separate pieces and moulded in a strange cream colour as well to boot. Next, I opened package containing the bogies; these were definitely not WD bogies. OH OH OH!!!.

Eric's Wagon

WHAT had I been sold, definitely NOT a PUP though, the SwiftSixteen web site revealed it to be a bogie wagon kit. Do I have a claim under the trades description act, I wonder?

The main problems were caused by the body parts having being taped together for many years and out of shape; considerably in one case and it still is unfortunately. Copious amounts of hot water, weights and time had little effect in rectifying the problems; so it was time to employ that well known firm Zucket und Zee companions/competitors to Bodget & Skarper Eng. Ltd.

They set to work and after much moaning, head scratching and mugs of tea; (and wondering whether to submit a revised quote), a wagon body finally took shape, probably fairly close to what Swift Sixteen intended. As the kit did not include buffing and drawgear, scrounging around they found some lying in the spares/junk box, origin debatable but probably IP Engineering.

Due to the distortion of the floor Zucket und Zee could not utilise the bogie self-tapping fixing screws supplied or the original securing arrangement; and had to resort to M4 bolts to alleviate the problems as best as possible.

That’s why Zucket und Zee were employed by the way, rather than my usual method of “make it up as you go along”.

GIVING HERCULES A VOICE – Jonathan Tillin

I bought my Roundhouse Hercules last year, ordering in February and receiving in August. The idea was to have a solid battery loco just to run all day if I wished. I already owned an IP Simplex but two AAAs in parallel didn’t give a huge run time and it was not remote controlled. Comparing the two one sees how large Hercules is: more 7/8th than 16mm.

Roundhouse Hercules

At the time of ordering, Roundhouse weren’t offering Fosworks controllers and wouldn’t sell it to me minus the remote. So, for the time-being, I’m stuck with a go-faster racing-car wheel. Why did it take RH soooo long to ditch these? Maybe the sourcing of a plentiful supply of alternatives.

Anyway, coming in at a tad under £700 this is an expensive bit of kit let down by the lack of sound (and go faster controller). The solution was to retro-fit a sound card. No problem I thought, under the bonnet of this large beast there will be ample room (think Morris Minor). Wrong! It is big because of its selling point: oodles of power for all-day running.

Anyway, where there’s a will (and a free sound card – thanks Alan) there is a way. So, here’s the story. The Loco ‘engine casing’ is held in place with four brass screws through the frames; the front LED is a push-fit and is carefully pulled out.

The card is an older Peter Spoerer (pre-Fosworks) type, diesel sound with bells and whistles; quite large actually. It would just fit along the edge of the battery compartment but would need power and a feed from the motor. Roundhouse do construct their locos to a high standard with nice wiring looms only as long as quite necessary: I therefore thought long about how to interrupt the wiring.

Jon's Project The decision was to cut the feed to, and motor supply from, the Locoglide controller, then to add a ‘tail’ to each to feed the sound card. I decided against screw terminal blocks as vibration was a factor and instead plumped for a small piece of Veroboard. The picture shows how I cut the tracks (H1): I wanted good separation between each.

Jon's Project Where the four existing wires went into the board it was necessary to open out the holes to 1.8mm (H2).

Jon's Project Inevitably, I found it necessary to extend the wires to the motor as they were simply too short to feed under the Veroboard, hence the yellow heat-shrink round the joints (H3). (Note that the Locoglide has unused wires, a pair ofreds and one black.) I used red/black wires for the power and blue/yellow for the motor speed input to the sound card – these colours matched those on the Locoglide.

Jon's Project Once the Veroboard was soldered up I formed a Milliput cover to sit on the top, thus keeping the volts away from the casing (H4).

Jon's Project The sound card just fitted alongside the battery compartment but, again, was a very tight fit. Heat-shrink wrap was used to secure the new wiring looms. Prior to fitting, the selection pins were cut down just to ensure they didn’t foul the casing (H5) and a single-sided sticky pad added for extra protection (H6).

Jon's Project Finally, the speaker was added. I used a 8R 1W 20mm speaker stuck to the inside of the casing and attached to the sound card via a mini plug/socket (H7).

Jon's Project The sound levels and diesel tick-over speed were set using the mini potentiometers on the card all whilst testing on the rolling road. Then the LED was pushed back in, and the case slid on from the front. It’s running nicely but the speaker needs to be larger.

A Selection of Coronation Run Photos.

Coronation Photos Coronation Photos Coronation Photos Coronation Photos Coronation Photos Coronation Photos Coronation Photos

A Hot Open Day

Our first Open Day post COVID was a bit of a worry from the start. We knew that we couldn't match the scale of previous gala weekends but we were determined to do something.

We were unable to book traders and we knew that our plant sales would be limited but we could still sell teas and have a second-hand stand. Footfall at the MRT had been poor all year so we planned a compact Open Day.

The day came, we put up a gazebo over the sidings and set up a great looking stall for second hand stuff in the cabin. Glenis sold teas and coffees and made sure that the cabin looked very attractive. On the track we'd asked members to bring more than one loco to make a display for the public and Mike got passing kids to try out a remote-control diesel round the top track.

The weather was stunning, the hottest day of the year so far. Temperatures of 30 degrees plus wore us out, but the locos loved it. A great day was had and overall it was a credit to our club and its members.

Open Day Photos Open Day Photos Open Day Photos Open Day Photos Open Day Photos Open Day Photos Open Day Photos
Loco Olympics 2023


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Chair-person).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

A Nocturnal Gathering...

Alan

Thirteen of us gathered for our 1 st Evening Run of 2023 – always a popular event, especially when accompanied by a fish & chip supper! In retrospect, we think we should have had some exterior lights, but it seems to be a challenge to get the right balance between adequate illumination and a night-time mood...

Eric's illuminated train

Eric’s train in the gathering gloom...

It was good to welcome Doug Roberts back, running his Manx train, as well as Mike’s grandson, Peter, who is becoming a regular attender.

Andrew's Lady Rowena

Andrew’s Lady Rowena on the Lower Track

The committee met again recently to confirm the other main events planned for this year. The next is a Coal- Fired day on Sunday, 23rd April. Again, we hope to encourage members to have a go at this ‘dark art’. We also plan to have “Steam & Cream” (cream teas) on the Sunday of the Coronation weekend (7th May). Will there be a few “Coronation Coaches” in evidence???

Doug's Manx Train

Doug’s THE MANXMAN passes under the Green Bridge

A Little Cracker - Phil Hemingway

A little bit different this newsletter, it’s really ‘what’s on our Workbench’. Fellow club member Dave Gordon and myself are building a 16mm scale Cracker each, mostly from scratch. Cracker is a very basic live-steam project loco.

Cracker progress

This photo shows my current build progress.

The following link will take you to finished loco photos and 6 pages of drawings for the lathe.

http://home.iae.nl/users/summer/16mmngm/Articles_htms/Cracker.htm

We are still in the early stages and progress is slow but I will post updates when we make significant progress.

I’ve had a few issues with accurate drilling of the axle holes resulting in having to cut and file a second set of frames. I’ve also veered from the plans and made the end buffer beam/spacers out of 2 parts as opposed to filing out of a single piece of brass.

We are each taking slightly different approaches to certain parts of the build. This reflects my lack of skill/patience, such as I’m using proprietary wheels and axle bushes, whereas Dave is making these on his lathe.

Dave's Cracker Chassis

The photo above shows Dave’s chassis. Note the wheel-turning in progress and the different shaped side frames. If anyone else fancies building one, get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss our experiences.

Access to a lathe is not is not essential if you are prepared to use some parts bought in. Silver soldering however will be needed, though.

I’d like to think we can complete these in 12 months but there’s no real rush in there. It’s a hobby....

Completed Cracker

A completed CRACKER

IN AN ENGLISH (RAILWAY) COUNTRY GARDEN - Glenis Poultney (our Garden Manager)

Following the removal of the conifers last year and renewal of the Upper Track, with Dave Gordon’s help I have replanted the rockery at the Club House End. Miniature daffodils around “Church loop” are looking lovely, too.

Glenis and the rockery

We know that a good garden around our railway not only makes a good backdrop for photos and videos, but is often a special interest to the ladies who accompany their menfolk.

As you know, we have also taken on the maintenance of the flower bed in front of the Toilet Block, now named “Glenis’ Garden”. The daffodils have been spectacular there, too, and new plants are beginning to appear. We hope to install some trellis where the paintwork on the walls looks rather shabby.

Glenis' Garden

By the time visitor numbers increase we hope this will all part of the pleasurable experience and gain much admiration.

My trials, findings and difficulties - Alan Price

You may remember from a previous newsletter article that I like to use magnetic couplings (though not exclusively). I described my trials and findings – the difficulties of matching polarities etc. and identifying magnets that were strong enough to pull heavy trains etc. A recent edition of Garden Railway included an article on some new G Scale magnetic couplings produced by Malc’s Models in Ilkeston

Malc's couplers

As you can see from the photos, they address the problem of polarity by having two magnets in each coupler.The only difficulty I can see for 16mm use is with uneven track or where couplings are at slightly different heights. Postage is a bit high, so I haven’t tried these yet.

I then discovered Porterhouse Models when I spotted some similarly-made pivoted ones on Ebay – slightly cheaper at £7.95, including postage.

Porterhouse Logo

These arrived this week, so I have yet to fit these, but to my mind they are better for our use because the moulded joints have a bit more vertical play in them. The magnets are strong and should pull a good weight.

Porterhouse Couplers

Adrian Porter has been producing 3D printed items including magnetic couplers for some years, so they are not a rip-off copy of the Malcs Models. Porterhouse Models will be at the National Show at Peterborough on 15th April.

Porterhouse Couplers

A look at the website https://www.porterhousemodels.co.uk/store/sm32 shows a much bigger range than I thought, including these pictured here, which are designed to replace Accucraft choppers. (£4.25, with discounts for multiple orders). All these are worth a thought, I think.


Loco Olympics 2023


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Chair-person).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

A Good Turnout...

Alan

We had a good turnout of 20 members for our 2023 AGM on Sunday,19th February, with 5 apologies. This represents about 60% of our membership. There was a good, positive atmosphere, which left us all encouraged and looking forward to the year ahead.

Keith Johnson has stepped down as Treasurer and we expressed our great thanks for more than 20 years of Service to BGRA. Members who have joined the Committee since the last AGM (Phil Hemingway, Joe Grimes and Colin Stubbs) were welcomed, and the appointments of our new Treasurer and Membership Secretary were approved.

This means the Committee now consists of myself (Chairperson), Mike Riley (Secretary and MRT Co-ordinator), Colin Stubbs (Treasurer), Phil Hemingway (Membership Secretary), Glenis Poultney (Garden Manager), John Rymer (Webmaster), Elliot Rymer (Social Media Officer) and Joe Grimes.

One of the items that seemed to create most interest was the report from our Webmaster, John Rymer, who fleshed out the substance of his article in our last Newsletter. Because we had a projector at the AGM, members were able to see the website and how to access it, as well as to understand the impact we are making in social media, headed up by Elliot.

The only other major decision made was that the “Loco Olympics” would best be held with the evening Barbeque in August, rather than our Gala Day in June.

AGM

It was a truly riveting AGM.... (honest!)

AGM run

A £50 Wreck - Colin Stubbs

On my work bench, “the kitchen table”: a £50 wreck of an MSS tank loco. The new sparkly wheels are obvious. This is my first experience with one of these models and I am impressed with the skill that must have gone into the pressed and formed sheet work for the body. Soon to be seen at BGRA, well soonish.

Colin's Workbench

[Ed: There was a popular trend of “Mamodification” - changing the appearance of Mamods etc. Have any members had – or still have – such a transformed loco?]

I started to feel a bit nostalgic - Nigel Town

Having seen the pictures for the top track replacement I started to feel a bit nostalgic. The top track was previously replaced some 15 years ago. This was around the time that we did a facelift, discarding the old rotten wooden picnic table in the centre and building a concrete alternative. The proposal then, as now, was to increase the running capabilities and give more flexibility.

Central table

We too lifted rotten track. The original top track was originally electrically bonded, this wasn’t for track power (though that had been discussed). We had been through a period of having track lifted and stolen. On at least two occasions it was found abandoned further down the yard. By electrically bonding the track, the two circuits were then connected into an alarm system.

For the then “new” track, 15 years ago, it was decided to be dual-gauge using Tenmille rail and chairs. My Dad cut the sleepers for me using his Proxxon table saw. I found the drilling jig/tool and a few spare sleepers the other day in a tub at the back of the workshop. The painful part was threading the chairs onto the rail. I had blisters on my fingers from it.

My sister-in-law was on suicide watch at the time, and I clearly recall sitting there with her, doing my two watch-nights, just threading those chairs onto the lengths of track, 22 chairs per rail length if I remember rightly, so 66 chairs to slide for each length of dual gauge track. I was so bored doing it, I actually laid out the completed pieces on the floor to represent the top track at BRGA, just as a motivator in the small hours of the mornings.

The point at the hut end was tricky, I recall we had an emergency “committee” meeting at Stoneleigh when we saw the point on the Mike Beeson stand at the 16mm AGM. That was when the AGM was at Stoneleigh in the original two small halls, and pre-dated the grand title “National Garden Railway Show”. David, Keith and I had the emergency meeting and agreed that buying the MBM manufactured point would be more expedient than me making one, so the deal was done.

MBM Point

The toilet end was a little different and I made the original point for that, and then re-made it a couple of times until it was right. I believe others have continued to repair and adjust it as it wore out.

Touron French point

I was proudest of the gauge-splitting point, as this was based on the French prototype at Tournon. The “point” was a bit fickle, I’ll admit that. I really struggled to harmonise on the different 45mm wheel standards. Several people were initially perplexed by its operation looking for the operating lever or something to move. There were no moving parts. I remember running my mixed gauge train - 32mm gauge 0-4-4-0 German Mallet loco with LGB 45mm Hartz mountain coaches around the top track for many laps as I tried to understand the complexities of four-cylinder locomotives.

Nigel running

Nigel running

I’m pleased that the track lasted so well and it’s great to see photos of the changes. I’m sure it’ll continue to be fettled and adjusted as it settles down, just like we did 15 odd years ago, Nigel.

Like all eccentric landed gentry he built a Light Railway - Alan Brown

The Story

The trains out of Victoria pass through intermediate stations eventually reaching Stonehaven Junction, then on into Dunhambury. Further onwards they pass through Pudworth, Pottlewhistle and terminate in Brighton. There was unfortunately no connection to Linbury, the small village being served by an adequate bus service from Dunhambury the larger market town. This situation did not however please the local landowner, Sir Hilton Popper, +so like all eccentric landed gentry he built a light railway, and one day might actually pay for it.

Map 1

The Facts

The reality is a ‘dog bone’-shaped railway at the bottom of the garden, (I like to watch the trains going round and round), the total run is about 102’-0” (31m) long approximately, with 3’- 6” radius curves. From Dunhambury the route passes through picturesque countryside, and used to disappear into a tunnel under the water-trough garden feature. Unfortunately this feature fell down last summer and is waiting to be replaced. Further on into pastureland, over undulating track the line goes round the curve passing St Anthony’s Linbury Church, into Linbury. Leaving the station, we travel again through pasture - this landscape was clear-felled last year (the dwarf conifers had grown too large and you could not see Linbury from the lawn!). It then passes back through the now non-existent tunnel onto the back of the rockery, where the permanent way is even more undulating. We now pass into the town of Dunhambury on the left, and the motive power department on the right.

Map 2

The Future

The railway needs to be tidied for the coming summer, buildings repainted and repaired and I need some sort of backscene painting. There is always more to do than time available.

Key to Plans

  1. Darby Street - A row of terraced houses based on the street I grew up on including Mrs Bentleys corner shop, scratch built April 2013.
  2. Alan's Layout

  3. Sir Hilton’s town house - converted from a children’s plastic house, March 2020.
  4. Alan's Layout

  5. Mr.Godfrey’s Cottage - converted from another children’s plastic house, Sept 2021.
  6. The Moon Under Water Hotel - a 3rd conversion from a children’s plastic house, March 2019.George Orwell provided a description of his ideal public house in February 1946, here recreated, though I am not sure if Auld Phagbutt is available in the bar!
  7. Alan's Layout

  8. Engine Shed – Another Haynes Garden Railway manual Project - Single-road engine shed, scratch-built Sept 2021.
  9. Alan's Layout

  10. Turntable - This is from the Richard Blizzard Haynes Garden Railway Manual - Locomotive Turntable Project 9, scratch-built April 2021.
  11. Dunhambury Station Building - based on a Superquick kit of a country station, scratch-built June 2016.
  12. Alan's Layout

  13. St. Anthony’s Church - another model based on a Superquick kit, scratch-built April 2017.
  14. Alan's Layout

  15. Linbury Station Building - Is a Modeltown Wooden Station resin kit, the first building I bought in 2011, now over 10 years old.
  16. Alan's Layout

Loco Olympics 2023


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Chair-person).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

A Cold Start...

Alan

A cold start to a New Year. My main aim for 2023 is to get my garden railway back to good running condition, so that my trains run smoothly and give the greatest pleasure. Many (including me) have commented about some teething problems on our new upper track, and these will receive attention in due course – but we need to wait for better weather. (That’s true of several other maintenance tasks that will need our attention!)

Recently, Joe Grimes and Colin Stubbs joined the Committee and we have re-juggled some roles. Colin has taken up the role of Treasurer, Phil Hemingway has become Membership Secretary, enabling Mike Riley to continue as our Secretary and MRT Liaison Officer. We want to ratify these appointments at our AGM, taking place on Sunday, 19 th February at 2.00pm in the Club Hut. Please make a note of the date and plan on coming if you possibly can. We have ideas and plans for 2023, but we need your input and thoughts about the aims we should have. The committee is not the BGRA – we all are...

Gala

One of our plans is to reintroduce our Gala event – initially just a day, rather than a weekend. We plan to combine this with our Loco Olympics on Saturday 10 th June . We will need a lot of help on that day – not least serving refreshments.

NATIONAL GARDEN RAILWAY SHOW – Saturday 15 th April, Peterborough: I’ll be helping again and have room in the car for two passengers. Free admission and meal voucher if helping as a steward.

Please contact me (or Dave Gordon) if interested.

Though we had begun to run our Santa trains earlier to coincide with the MRT, our Christmas gathering was on 11 th December. Bright, but cold weather welcomed a few members.

Christmas Run

With the ‘Big’ MRT Santa Special running in the background, we put our trains through their paces for the entertainment of passing public, occasionally letting children control one. Whilst not an actual party, there were ‘festive nibbles’, too.

Christmas Run

Christmas Run

Christmas Run

Christmas Run

I was always fascinated with live steam locos - Zeno Kafetzis

Hey all ! My name is Zeno but you can call me Zee.

Zee

I’ve recently moved over from Cyprus to the UK and finally been able to enjoy the hobby to its full capabilities. I was always fascinated with live steam locos with my first ones being of the Hornby live steam range. Whilst they were small, they still gave the satisfaction of running live steam.Thankfully I’ve managed to acquire some true garden railway locos. From Roundhouse Lilla to Accucraft Countess and even a Bowande 14xx.

Currently however my favourite loco must be the new-to-me ELR coal-fired Horatio. The loco has been seen better days but my goal is to slowly restore/modify it to somewhat represent the Harrogate loco.

Zee's Horatio

Here is the loco getting fired up – there is much work still to be done.

Thank you all

BGRA ON THE INTERNET & SOCIAL MEDIA – John Rymer

(Ed - For some of us in our older years, the Internet and Social Media (like Facebook, Instagram etc) is a whole new world. It is, however, of great importance for the newer generations. I’ve asked our Webmaster to fill us in on new developments.)

combined Logos

 Instagram     Facebook       YouTube

Up until recent ill health, I've been your Chairperson, but also over these last few years I have been responsible for the BGRA Website having taken over from the late Brian Dominic. Brian had, as usual, stretched his enthusiasm a bit too far and found that he was unable to find the time to keep the site up-to-date. My priority was therefore to modernise and update his work.

Members

Members

 

Members

The best and biggest part of BGRA's website is its picture gallery. There are over 1,700 photos there, recording members, events and our upgrades over the years.

I enjoy finding familiar faces from the past and looking at some of the amazing creations that have run on our layout.

The problem of any website is that to view it, you must first find it. Any search for BGRA using Google will find us. However, what is really useful is to post our details out using the various Social Media platforms.

My son, Elliot, is the wizard of our Facebook page. He edits small articles and selects good or interesting pictures and makes them into "Posts". Posts are pushed out to people who have shown an interest in BGRA. Posts can be shared to friends and so we become more widely known. When we respond to posts by ‘Sharing’, ‘Liking’ and ‘Subscribing’, we promote other people and, in turn, they promote us – it’s the way Social Media works.

Elliot is always full of new ideas and is always willing to cast a critical eye over my work. Recent suggestions have resulted in the BGRA YouTube site and more recently our BGRA Instagram presence. These allow us to upload photos and videos to a wider audience and hopefully gain their interest and perhaps their membership.

Our most recent project has been to make a totally new BGRA Visitor Website. This site is pitched at answering the questions that we always get asked on Sunday afternoons – “What scale is it?”, “What makes the steam?”, “How much does it cost?” etc. There are seven pages chock-full of photos and explanations that will interest our visitors and maybe find new members.

The Visitor site is intended to be accessed on mobile phones using QR code signs dotted around the Butterley layout.

QR code signs

QR code signs

 

(Ed - For those who may not know, a QR code works similarly to barcodes at the supermarket. Each QR code consists black squares and dots which represent different pieces of information. When scanned, the unique pattern on the barcode translates into human-readable data, all in a few seconds.)

Elliot has been instrumental in organising the content here. We aim to continue working on these pages by gradually replacing text and pictures with short videos. The first 28 second video should be ready by the time you read this.

To conclude, we think we have some excellent on-line material and hope that you'll visit us soon and spread the good news.

BATTERIES DEMYSTIFIED - Nigel Town

Ed - Lithium cells are now in everyday use all around us. The early warnings have been modified as people have understood the battery chemistry better and dedicated chargers are becoming more widely available. Nigel talks us through some of the options for 16mm modellers.

Hi – Alan has asked me to write a few lines on lithium battery packs. I am a chartered electrical engineer, professionally I have worked for Rolls-Royce and more recently the UK Government on zero emission electric flight. I have also spent a number of years supporting our son as he raced his radio-controlled electric car. He was national champion, and was part of the UK team racing in the European championship. We used lithium batteries in his cars (as did all competitors).

Nigel's car model batteries

2S hard case race cell in championship -winning buggy

Whilst these batteries and electronics were pushed to their maximum performance to win races, fortunately we don’t need the same level of competitive performance in our model locomotives. However, the principles I’ve captured below still remain valid.

LITHIUM FACTS

Lithium cells are becoming increasingly popular in many applications, from cordless screwdrivers and power tools, to my toothbrush and iPhone. Their popularity comes from a couple of key attributes, they don’t self-= discharge (go flat when doing nothing) as much as other rechargeable batteries. They also have a higher power density, that means a physically smaller battery can deliver more power than other cell types. So as an example, I now charge my loco radio transmitter batteries twice a year, where before I had to cycle my NiMh pack (charge/discharge/charge) before each running session.

The downside is that the cell voltages are different. For years we’ve all been used to dealing with cells at 1.2 or 1.5 volts per cell. A lithium cell has a nominal voltage of 3.7 volts, two can be connected in series to give 7.4 volts, three give 11.1 volts, or four 14.8 volts. There’s no real limit to how many cells you may choose to connect in series, but for our use, anything up to 14.8 volts covers most applications, and conveniently packs of up to four cells are commercially available. The magic term is “S” which, I imagine, stands for “series”. So, a 1S cell is simply a single cell with a nominal 3.7 volts. A 2S cell is two cells in series with a nominal 7.4 volts, the same for 3S representing three cells in series 11.1 volts and 4S, four cells in series 14.8 volts.

I’ve been quite careful to use the word nominal, that’s because the cell voltage is higher when the cell is fully charged. This is the same as the NIMh’s we’ve been using for years. Those NiMh cells are nominally 1.2 volts rising to 1.5 volts when fully charged. For a Lithium cell the 3.7 volt nominal rises to 4.2 volts when fully charged. When a lithium cell is flat it can go down to 3.2 volts, if it’s over-discharged (e.g. left switched on) it will go lower, but it’s not good for the battery chemistry to go below this.

Some speed controllers include a Lipo low-battery voltage cut-off feature. This prevents the cell from being over-discharged. If your speed controller does not have that feature, and this is something that still worries you, it is possible to fit an external cut-off, these are available on eBay or from some online model shops and vary in price depending on the power/current rating. They are used in model aircraft to cut the power to the motor, but retain a safe power level for the receiver and servos to operate. This is less critical for us, as our models don’t fly (glide) off into the distance when the batteries go flat.

2.5V-30V Mini 0.28 inch LED Digital Voltmeter Voltage Tester Meter Display

Another way of monitoring the voltage is a simple visual indicator mounted in the cab of a model showing the pack voltage. These are on Ebay, £2.85-£3.09, depending on the LED colour.

LIPO CHARGING

Charging a lithium pack needs a lithium charger. Will a conventional charger work? No, not safely. The Lithium technology has different voltage charging characteristics. When charging a traditional NiMh cell the voltage rises and then starts to fall again when fully charged. Most NiMh smart chargers detect when the peak occurs and stop the charge. This is where the term peak charging comes from, and there is even a brand “Pro-Peak” sold by Ripmax based on detecting the peak in the charge voltage for NiMh cell.

Lithium batteries can be over charged and don’t have the same voltage rise and then fall, this is why the same charger won’t work. A lithium battery is fully charged when the cell voltage rises to 4.2 volts per cell. The chargers will have settings for the number of cells – remember the “S” rating. This will be used by the charger to determine when the pack is fully charged. Some of the more sophisticated lithium chargers monitor this on a “per cell” basis. So, our example of a 4S (four cell) pack would have a negative wire, then a connection between cells 1+ and cell 2-, a connection between cell 2+ and cell 3-, a connection between cell 3+ and cell 4-, and finally the positive wire. That’s five wires in total allowing the charger to “see” the individual voltages of each cell.

Typical connections for a four cell, i.e. 4S pack

BALANCE-CHARGING?

The charger can then control the state of charge to each individual cell to optimise the overall charge. This is known as ‘balance charging’ and is all about maximising the state of charge in each individual cell, to get the maximum charge of the overall pack - extracting the absolute best out of each cell in the pack. However, I don’t believe that using these batteries for our models needs that level of absolute maximum charge. If my batteries are 97% fully charged that’s good enough for me.

Balance charging is also more important when charging at high current (shorter charge times). Again, for our use we don’t need to be pushing for those higher charge currents (greater than 1 amp), so balance charging is less significant. However, it is significant that lithium cells have a very, very low self-discharge. This means it’s ok to come home after a running session and charge them and then put the model away until it’s next outing.

If you fitted one of the visual displays a quick power up of the model will confirm the pack remains near to it’s charged voltage.

To facilitate balance charging, most cell packs come with a power connector, the usual +ve and -ve, and then a separate connector for each of the break out cells (also called the balancing wire/connector). If you are not balance charging you can simply tuck this up out of the way.

Insignificant 0.08 volt difference between the two cells charging in a 2S pack

This charger displays exactly what’s happening in each cell, and with the touchscreen I can navigate round to understand all the battery parameters. We’ve already decided we don’t need that level of information for our models, so a much simpler (and cheaper) solution is to use a USB type lithium charger that performs all the same functions but has a simple red and green status LED. These can be bought from eBay with a pair of 2S packs for £20.

Lithium cells also come in a couple of different packaging formats. A hard cell is usually used in model car racing where the car may come off track at 50+ (real, not scale) mph and the crash impact resistance is important, where as we largely trundle around at a sedate pace a soft cell is perfectly acceptable.

USING A LITHIUM CELL

Lithium Cells can be hidden away in bonnets, side tanks, dummy boilers etc. There is no restriction on orientation. Cells can be wired in series to give an increase in voltage, for example I have built a couple of steam outline models each with a 2S cell in each side tank, then wiring them in series to give me the equivalent of a 4S pack. Wiring cells in parallel to give greater capacity isn’t recommended (for any rechargeable battery regardless of type). You can fit a charging socket to the model and charge it in-situ.

I hope that helps shed some light on the use of lithium cells in our models. I’d be delighted to take any questions please come back to me, either directly at nigel.town@uwclub.net or through Alan.

Loco Olympics 2023


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

Something Magical...

Santa

Our Autumn Evening Run took place as planned with a good turnout– a dry evening, not so chilly and the consumption of fish & chips! There is something magical about running our trains in the dark. It adds a new dimension to our hobby.

Night run picture

The development of LEDs has had a big contribution, of course.

Night run picture

They are cheap and require little power – a real bonus for our models – and of course for the magical transformation of homes that display festive lights. (No more trying to trace a faulty bulb in a long string of lights!)

Report from the Chair...

The committee consists of myself (Chair, Newsletter Editor), Keith (Treasurer), Mike (Membership and Secretary), Glenis (Garden Manager), John Rymer (Website), Elliot Rymer (Facebook Page Manager) and Phil Hemingway (who has managed to avoid a specific role, but adds much to our thinking and discussion). Due to changing circumstances, Keith feels it is time to hand over the role of Treasurer to someone else. It is an important, but not an arduous role, especially as we wish to develop the benefits of online banking.

Could you offer a year or two in this capacity?

PLEASE we need your help.

I Just Couldn't Resist - Eric Bond

Duff beer Wagon

Whilst shopping in the store where you can buy in the middle; I came across tins of Duff beer, fig 1, as drunk by Homer Simpson, who just so happens to be the driver of my Roundhouse LITTLE JOHN. How could I resist buying one and let Homer haul it around for all to see.

After emptying, the can was partiality filled with my favourite ballast; cat litter and PVA glue. The type of wagon to use posed a problem for many a year, until I read an article about Timpdon Models beer wagon and thought that’ll do. On checking Timpdon ’s web site, I spied 5 plank wagons designed specifically to carry beer cans using the relevant insert, even better I thought.

One was soon ordered and construction slowly commenced.

Duff beer Wagon

After assembly of the vehicle body, I decided it needed titivating; and to hide any drop offs, Swift Sixteen brass strapping and corner strapping was used to achieve this. I also think this gives the vehicle a more finished appearance too.

Two coats of rattle can grey primer followed by two coats of white primer from the same source with a single coat of gloss white on the body, and red gloss on the brass work to finish vehicle off.

Duff beer Wagon

At the moment the beer can, and insert sit loose in the vehicle body, a solution is yet to be found for semi- permanent arrangement as I would like to be able to change the load carried.

Phil Sharples’ Estate Wagons – Colin Stubbs

Xmas logo

I’m a sucker for Phil Sharples little wagon kits. I was drawn to his latest offering at the Llangollen show.

It’s a range called Estate Wagons, his son’s idea for the name apparently. They are £9.50 each including all the bits and now have some 3D printed details.

I’m a tight Lancastrian so I can’t resist Phil’s prices and bought one of each design As ever they are a doddle to construct and although this is “on my work bench” they were finished in a twinkle so here they are in the garden.

Phil's Models

To differentiate them from other stock I finished them in a pale blue, the shackles on the wagon ends are my usual 1mmm copper wire and home printed transfers declare they are part of the Garden Estate.

Phil's Models

I love’em.

See more at https://philsharples.com/

Injection Moulded Plastic Link and Pin Couplers - Alan Price

I’ve used these for some time now – they are only available on Ebay (as far as I know) as the manufacturer/seller is in Sri Lanka.

Alan's Models

I was a bit dubious about the plastic, being more enthusiastic about metal couplers for our scale/gauge. But I have not had any fail on me so far (except when fitting one some time ago) and they are priced competitively.

Alan's Models

The matching plastic link pins, links and rivets offered for sale are all expensive for what they are, and I have generally used brass wire, chain links and brass rivets – the couplers themselves are the bargain items.

G Scale Plastic Coupler Pockets - Pack of 12 Couplers

cost £12.93. See more at...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/154886489776

Our Old LGB Stainz Loco - Dave Gordon

On my workbench this week is an old favourite. Keen to check out and test the new 45mm Track at Butterley I dug out our old LGB Stainz loco. It was part of a starter set and has not run for a few years. It had earned a rest as we ran it ragged and it gave many hours of fun.

Dave's Loco

At the time, we removed the track pick up skates and used to run it on a battery with RC. The battery and RC are long gone on other projects so I quickly cobbled up something to do the job (Picture 1).

The components are: a set of 10 x 1.6 volt zinc batteries, which will give us 16 - 18 volts depending on charge; LED Remote control unit and keyfob control (as featured in an article by Mike Jeffries in SMT, the 16mm Association magazine); a blue car fuse 1.75 amps; the Stainz and connecting cable. I am planning to put the gubbins in a following wagon, which worked well previously.

Dave's Loco

At some point I will enhance the set-up with sophisticated items such as an on/off switch and a switch to enable reversing. To reverse with the current set up, we just turn round the JST plug in the rear cab plate of the Stainz (Circled in Picture 2). My son has some LGB carriages so I will negotiate a loan and put some lights on them to run as a Christmas train.

Dave's Loco

We used to have the LGB train stopping and restarting automatically at stations using a Vellman kit, track magnets and a reed relay. I know there are other ways to do this but I may just have a look for these items too and this will complete the nostalgia trip for me.

Happy days

Alan Price Reports on Progress...

Mike Riley has been hard at work, giving a lot of time and energy to the renewal of the Upper Track. He’s not been alone, however, and we’re grateful for those who have assisted him at various times.

At the time of writing, the 3 new bridges are in place and track has been laid over them. Some track realignment and vegetation removal has been necessary and some cosmetic civil engineering may be required in the finishing stages, but it is all coming together nicely.

Ballasting and ‘tweaking’ should be complete by the end of November. The Committee is thinking of having some kind of “official opening” in due course.

Upper track progress

Not fog, but dust created as Mike alters the Red bridge abutment

Upper track progress

A few days later, we see more results, with the new crossover and track joined up and test trains in both gauges.

Upper track progress

The Red Bridge looks superb, with Dave’s LGB train crossing, whilst a 32mm train passes below.

Upper track progress

The Green Bridge is another winner.

Upper track progress

Progress as at 18 th November

Sidings all laid, Filcris side retainers all completed. Only the ballast retaining bottom pieces to do and then ballast.

(Follow the progress on our Website or Facebook Page)


The MRT starts running their weekend SANTA TRAINS on 26th November.

If you plan to run at BGRA, don’t forget your Santa Train to entertain the younger visitors.

We look forward to seeing you at The Christmas Party.

If you can’t come, even though it’s 5 weeks till the actual day, then I wish you a very Happy Christmas and will see you next year!


Loco Olympics 2023


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

It Gets Better and Better...

It gets better and better – our membership subscriptions reveal we now have 34 members. Sadly, several long-term members have decided not to renew for various reasons, mainly because their modelling interests have changed. Many Garden Railway groups are struggling to regain levels of membership they had before the COVID pandemic, and it seems that many exhibitions have had fewer attendances. So, I feel we are fortunate – but we cannot “rest on our laurels”. I believe we must continue to reach out to friends young and old to consider joining us (especially the young).

Alan Price

We are working hard to have an excellent garden railway for our members (and visitors) to run their trains. Mike and others have done an excellent job so far on the upper track renewal (see the photos in this newsletter and on the website and Facebook page).

Colin Godfrey has done important work on the brick wall supports of the lower track truss bridge. There is a lot more to do on the project, and we’re now awaiting the delivery of a crossing, where the 32mm crosses the 45mm to go into the steam-up sidings. Not only are there two types of rail height and profile involved, but the 45mm needs to be electrically isolated, too.

We’re also awaiting the delivery of three aluminium bridges to carry the rails over the lower track, two of which are curved, which incurs heavier costs.

Glenis continues to work hard – again with help from others – to make the garden of our garden railway attractive. She says that the hedge needs its usual trimming back by the Loop, and asks for help from any able-bodied members in getting that done, please.

We’re also wanting to have a thorough clear-out of the pullman coach, which has become a “dumping ground” for unwanted stuff over the years. Again, any help in that will be much appreciated.

What a great railway we have at Butterley, with no warping and still at a comfortable height, at least with the upper track! No wonder the main requirement of our members is to have a railway on which to run our trains.

Dave Gordon

The swifts have left for Africa, the damsons and apples lie on the ground having forsaken their battle with gravity and the temperatures are headed south too. Mrs Toobey Painted and her twins, the Playmobile Pair, have been sitting out on the blue bench all summer with not a care but now they need some shelter from the ravages of the Whatstandwell Winter to come. Not just the howling gales and getting lashed by the wild rain but, who knows, maybe a bit of the white fluffy stuff too, brrrr.

Dave's Cabin

The jigstones moulds were found and a rude shelter constructed. I say rude as I dropped it on my foot and it was blinking heavy! The jigstone bricks are sandwiched by a roof tile as a base and a nice bit of Welsh slate for the roof which we had lying around.

A combination of Sand, Cement, PVA, No Nails exterior, a lollystick and some paint will hopefully prevent the constituent parts separating and “Bob’s your Uncle” a quick Station Halt shelter. I may paint the inside a lighter colour but I am not sure I want to draw attention to my attempt at rendering on the inside walls.

Ed: What’s on YOUR Workbench? Let me have a few words and a picture or two.

Bob the Builder - Colin Stubbs

I saw this “builder” van in a charity shop, I can’t remember if it was 50p or £1.50, but I did see potential. Height to the cab roof about 4” [actually 110mm]. Quick mental conversion... scale height a bit less than seven feet. Think transit van, about right.

Colin's Truck Conversion

Conversion: it comes apart really easily, hack off the builder sign, cut back the Batmobile mudguards, discard the starting handle and bumper. Paint the chassis black, spray the rest with Wilko blue, find some more sensible wheels. Done.

Colin's Truck Conversion

Not a precision model but for £1.50 I’ve got some useful scenic dressing for the Garden Railway. Then I discovered that Phil Sharples’ “lineside barrels” just fit nicely.

Colin's Truck Conversion

If it wasn’t such a cheapie, I might have cut down the cab roof height a bit to improve the proportions. But then I‘ve got proper models to build. And in case you are wondering, it isn’t ‘Bob the Builder’ at all, this vehicle is actually from the ‘Postman Pat’ series – but it still does the job.

Colin's Truck Conversion

Alan Writes...

Nameplates on our Locos is a finishing touch most of us like to add, but etched brass ones have become very expensive and take a long time to be delivered. So, I have been thinking and experimenting about alternatives. My first thought was about 3D printing them.

Nameplates

My son successfully printed a pair of 1/12 th scale plates, but these 16mm ones with a smaller size font (pictured) were not so good (though he says he can try a finer nozzle.)

Nameplates

My next sample was inspired by an Ebay listing for engraved name badges. I asked if they would engrave 4 nameplates on one badge(£2.69 including delivery). They did so, even cutting out the plates. Unlike normal plates where the letters are raised, these are neatly engraved, of course. You can see my first attempt to flood the letters with brass acrylic paint.

Nameplates

My third option was another 3D print from Boot Lane Works, using black filament, with lettering painted gold. (£7.50 for a name up to 12 letters.) These are very good, though not quite as crisp as brass etchings. I guess you get what you pay for.

16mm Bulletin

I have always appreciated the knowledge and help I receive from other modellers. As well as being a member of Butterley, I am also a member of the 16mm Association and a few years ago an opportunity came up to give something back.

Bulletin

The 16mm Association was looking for someone to be the Bulletin Editor and Area Group coordinator. The role is to gather all the material for Bulletin and squeeze it into 56 pages. Although it can take a fair amount of time to do this it is very rewarding, and I am helped by lots of other members. Each area group has a coordinator, and they collate their photos, stories and dates for garden events and send it to me. We also have the very popular feature of members items “For Sale”. Making an occasional appearance is a “Wanted” section which is not intended to encourage the apprehension of unruly cowboys but members looking for a specific loco or an old kit.

The support I get from co-ordinators is amazing as can be observed by the quality of the updates in Bulletin. I must mention our own coordinator Alan Price, who reports on activity at Butterley and broadcasts a warm welcome to all 16mmillers. I get lots of positive comments from members who appreciate the information in Bulletin.

One model engineering society recently told me that they had recruited 5 new members as a direct result of their regular presence in the magazine. Maybe Alan’s excellent updates will find a new member or two for Butterley so please keep him well fed with material and photos.

Bulletin

Bulletin is about people coming together and it is a pleasure to include photos of groups so please give Alan a big smile next time he gets the camera out. (P.S. High quality portrait photos needed to be in the mix for the front page.)

Alan Price (not an Action Man himself)

I like out-of-the-ordinary figures doing something, rather than just standing or sitting. For many years, I had a heavy, white-metal 16mm male painter with a white-metal step-ladder. They were produced by an extinct manufacturer (though I was informed a while ago that they were still available through another firm).

Action Figure

The original white-metal figure, with new wooden ladder.

Unfortunately, the metal ladder was broken, so I decided to make a wooden one, using the ubiquitous coffee stirrers. The ladder was a bit fiddly, but it did the job. The white-metal figure, however, was a bit too heavy and I had to devise a ‘clip’ to attach him to the ladder. The whole thing was a bit unstable, however. At this point I consulted my son, who has a 3D printer and, very helpfully, he agreed to find a suitable figure to print off for me. Although I had made a second wooden step-ladder, I also decided that an “ordinary ladder” would be good, though not attempting an extending version!

Action Figure

Being a printed figure, my son also printed a 1/12 th scale version for me, especially useful as I found some cheap plastic folding step ladders for the dolls’ house market on Ebay. So now I have him in both scales!

If you are interested, I can get some more figures printed in 16mm or 7/8 scale. Just let me know.

A Few Photos

A few photos for those who haven’t visited since work began.

Upper Track Progress

From this...

Upper Track Progress

Upper Track Progress

...to this

(Follow the progress on our Website or Facebook Page)

Loco Olympics 2023


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan.@alanprice.me.uk


The Association Newsletter

A Railway On Which To Run Our Trains...

I’m fortunate to be one of those with a garden railway of my own, built on drainpipe legs sunk into the ground and marine-ply boards attached for the railway, covered in quality roofing felt and scrupulously sealed against water ingress. However, the recent extreme weather conditions have still caused unusual warping of some of the boards, resulting in very uneven running.

Alan Price

My inability to bend easily means I cannot get under the boards to see if anything can be done, and so I am coming to the conclusion that a rebuild is required, hopefully using recycled plastic material, but fully realising that plastic boards will expand even more in the heat...

What a great railway we have at Butterley, with no warping and still at a comfortable height, at least with the upper track! No wonder the main requirement of our members is to have a railway on which to run our trains.

As mentioned in the last newsletter, Mike has started work on the renewal of the upper track (pictures below). He has found evidence of track bonding and power in the original track, and was encouraged to hear interest expressed about our plans for BGRA at the Llanfair Show by LGB enthusiasts.

Mike will let us know when he needs help via the BGRA WhatsApp group – let’s all try and share the load when we can. We’re also reintroducing a publicity brochure to give to interested visitors, but our membership will grow mainly because we invite friends to come share it.

We want your feedback and suggestions – it’s your club.

Andrew Twynham

On my bench is my IP Lucy under construction.

Andrew

As mentioned, I made my own chassis on my 3D printer. As these kits are supplied with worm and wheel drives which are notorious for the teeth-stripping I decided to chain drive it (with Delrin components). However, due to the size constraints, I am only able to get a 2 to 1 reduction on the drive.

Andrews Kit

Andrews Kit

It is to be Locoremote controlled so hopefully it won't run at HS2 speeds! The cab will be removable so I have the facility to back engineer it to worm and wheel drive if speed is a problem! I was going to paint it a nice dark blue but it's going to be Volkswagen Mars Red!

Andrews Kit

Ed: Andrew says he picked up this kit at the National Show, as IP Engineering had them for sale at a bargain price.

My Adventures with a Caboose - Keith Johnson

The Narrow Gauge stock on the USA lines can be up to 40 ft long, which can cause problems, even although they are all on bogies. However, I did find a G scale body of a 4-wheel caboose.

Keiths Caboose

[Ed: For those uncertain about the term, a caboose is “a railway wagon with accommodation for the train crew, typically attached to the end of the train.”]

I had made up that caboose from the G scale body with a new wooden chassis. The whole thing was mounted on 2 x white-metal bogies and fitted with lights for the evening run. It ran OK, but there was no hiding that it was plastic and the handrails were vulnerable. Its size betrayed the fact that it was supposed to run on 4 wheels and so the bogies were very close together.

Some years ago I acquired a wooden caboose kit from an American supplier, North East Narrow Gauge. It had a plywood body which was coated in cosmetic wooden planking, all of which had to be cut to size. Fortunately, the same company makes a guillotine which allow quick and easy cutting to length. In the process, a lot of the small planks tend to fly off round the room.

Keiths Caboose

The instructions barely covered half a sheet of paper as did the drawings.

Keiths Caboose

The windows were made up on the plans, covering them with grease - proof paper and building on top of them. The method is exactly the as the model aircraft in the 1950’s. The guard and hand-rails are built up from brass wire, again using the plans as a template.

One distinct feature on an American NG train is the cupola, from where the conductor sits inside and looks across the top of the train. This is also made up of multiple laminations, built on top of the drawings.

Keiths Caboose

The brake wheel is extended above roof level and the poor soul has to walk across the stock to put the brakes on – all whilst the train is going along.

What’s on YOUR Workbench? Let me have a few words and a picture or two.

Colin Stubbs says...

Colins Train

“PS models Hunslet and other bits being prepared for the off by Abigail. I wish my knees were still that flexible...”

Colins Train

My Roundhouse Lady Anne in the Lavender siding. One more Timpdon coach, paint still tacky, added to the rake

Update from BGRA

Mike has begun the renewal of the Upper Track, lifting the dual gauge rails, removing the ballast (to be cleaned and re-used where possible) and the bridges. The gutters have also been removed. The gutters were very good when first installed, complete with an irrigation system, to provide trackside vegetation. However, they have “passed their sell-by date”.

Track Renewal

Track Renewal

Track Renewal

Notes from the Committee

Efforts are being made to improve our publicity. As well as the brochure to be made available. we will have two A1 sized Aluminium Frames (hopefully by the end of the month) publicizing BGRA. These will be placed by the café and by the road bridge when we were running. Members need to take responsibility in getting them out and taking them in.

pictures of track being lifted

Please also note that the public appreciate seeing the buildings out on the railway, and so we encourage= members to put them out when running. Whilst this is a lot of work if you are there alone, it is worthwhile.

Thanks.

Alan Price writes...

Some years ago, when I was quite new to the hobby, I made this, my first railcar. Rather than starting from scratch, I used one of my Brandbright 4-wheel coaches as a basis. This is not the easiest route (using an unmade kit would be preferable), but it worked.

Alans Railcar

I had an unused IP Engineering motor/gearbox kit (one of the old type, with white metal enclosure for the gear/worm assembly on an axle), so I started by removing one pair of wheels, cutting a hole in the floor of coach with a jigsaw and fitting the motorised axle.

Alans Railcar

I was designing as I proceeded, and only then realised the driver would need windows! My trusty old Minicraft jigsaw came to the rescue once more. Windows were marked out, pilot holes drilled and the job was done.

Alans Railcar

The next task was speed control, and in this case, I used a manual speed control, with the rheostat spindle projecting out of the front. A NimH battery pack was added to the rear compartment, along with LED lights, an on/off power switch and a charge socket.

Alans Railcar

Then I had the idea of buying a cheap radio-controlled toy car, and using that electronic module. It would only give me a remote stop/start, but would be sufficient.

Alans Railcar

The basic model worked OK, so now it was time for the finishing details. Firstly, I made a radiator from styrene, using a piece of metal for the grille. This had a corresponding hole for the speed control spindle. Windscreen wipers (cosmetic, of course) were fashioned from pieces of brass wire and brass strip. The railcar would supposedly be diesel-powered, so an exhaust tube was added to the rear.

A seated driver took his position and a passenger, reading his newspaper, took residence in the rear compartment both on seats fashioned from styrene and balsa wood. (This railcar had become a deluxe rail taxi!) I ran this railcar many times at Butterley, but at some point, it was relegated to a box, where it has sat in pieces for several years.

Alans Railcar

Affordable technology has moved on in that time and so perhaps it is time for restoration? If anyone fancies taking it on, please let me know!

Loco Olympics 2023


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk


The Association Newsletter

Our Membership is Creeping Up...

Good news! Our membership is creeping up, but it seems we won’t reach anything like previous levels unless we have an intake of “new blood”. Not many clubs like ours has a ‘passing public’ (although those numbers have declined since the footpath to Swanwick Junction was closed). Nevertheless, we do have people who watch what we do and ask questions, and we are in the process of producing a new publicity leaflet we can give to any who express an interest. However, we will gain new members not because we have those passers-by, but because we invite friends to come and “play trains”, and encourage them to join us when they catch the habit!

Alan Price

The committee was able to meet this month, after a series of postponements. We looked back at the events we had run, some with more success than others. Our attempts to support the MRT (Butterley) programme is appreciated, with events like the Dinosaurs weekend in July. Our Coal-Firing Day was a success – an event we’d like to repeat 2 or 3 times a year to encourage more to master the art. This “bumper newsletter edition” has an article by Nigel Town, who brought his coal-fired loco.

The renewal of the upper track will be starting in the next week or two, so be warned that when Mike begins, that track will be out of commission for several weeks. We also plan to have a “3D Printing Day”, as this is an area of growing interest. Further news will be in the next newsletter.

Dave Gordon

Thanks to Phil Hemingway for starting this item. What a great idea. On my workbench is my Roundhouse Lady Anne “Prudence”. I built Prudence from a kit about 7 years ago. Being our only steam locomotive for some time it has done sterling service and travelled many, many miles.

I have been noticing a rattle or two recently and was generally ignoring it hoping to hang on and overhaul it in winter. I could feel some play on the rearmost axle and the rattle was getting louder so I decided to take action early. My original plan was to investigate the wear and replace the axle and/or bearing and get it back on the rails for the rest of summer.

Dave's loco

Some of you may be able to guess the next development... I started taking it apart and did not stop. It is now on my bench completely dismantled, the frames and the bodywork back to bare brass. I discovered wear on all axles and bushes. Also, I had oval holes on some of my rods instead of circular holes. The paintwork was patchy to say the least and that got removed too.

I blame the builder myself and I have had a kindly word with him. I may also do some work I have been planning for some time. Fitting a whistle, making a stand to fit the battery in the right-hand side tank, remove the rear coal bunker and open up the rear of the cab. At one time the rebuild would have been a bit daunting but I have picked up so much information from fellow modellers over the years that I am looking forward to it. And the bonus is that I get to build the kit for a second time. Bliss.

Colin Stubbs

I’m a sucker for Phil Sharples’ little “dressing” kits: wheel barrows, hand carts, benches [for sitting]. I bought his “lineside barrels”, and other bits at Peterborough. The barrels made up so quickly I didn’t have time to take any work in progress pictures.

Colin's Workbench

All this for £7.00

Colin Stubbs

On holiday in Cornwall in June, on the road between Redruth and Portreath I came across Moseley Heritage Museum which boldly advertised free entry so how could I resist. This is a wonderful Aladdin’s cave of trains, Meccano, nick-nacks and other childhood memories plus an extensive outdoor 2ft gauge railway.

Moseley Heritage Museum

It’s a bit of a ramshackle place (it is at Tumblydown Farm), operated very informally by a guy who just loves trains. You are invited to make donation but really no pressure, it’s his hobby and he loves to share his passion, Google the name and lots of pictures will come up. Here are just a couple. Inside the model railway shed: from Bing to LGB and everything in between. Just about everything is run demand as you fancy.

Moseley Heritage Museum

The 2-foot line is mostly operated by “Greenbat” style locos and small industrial diesels. I forgot to get a proper picture, but here is a modelling opportunity in the shed. A p/w wagon built on a Hudson chassis.

Anyone who reads the SMT Bulletin may recognise the name Moseley Heritage Museum [I didn’t]; it’s the home of the Cornwall area 16mm group. So, it came as a surprise to me to see a very extensive 16mm garden railway. It’s not part of the museum, though it sits on museum land and I got the impression they live side by side very happily.

Moseley Heritage Museum

Unfortunately, there were no 16millers about that day to chat to. Here is a peek at their work; progress has been regularly reported in The Bulletin.

So, if you are in Cornwall set aside a couple of hours for a pleasant break away from all the other stuff.

Tom's Piko Diesel

Tom's Diesel

It’s always interesting to see different locos running at Butterley. This is Tom’s 45mm gauge model of a German diesel from the Hartz Mountains.

Tom says he has had it for a few years. Made by Piko 2008 - and the New Quida coaches made in China (a cheaper version of LGB). Tom describes it as a Firm Train, which can be switched between track and battery powered.

Keith's Shay

Keith's Shay

Keith has some interesting locos, too, and in June he ran his Shay, made by the legendary Mike Chaney.

Sunday, 24 th July 2022

On Sunday, 24 th July, we focussed on coal-fired locos and Dave Gordon & Nigel Town brought their locos for members to learn the particular requirements of firing and running a coal-fired model. (John & Elliot had intended to bring their loco, too, but Covid sadly meant they could not attend.)

Keith ran his newly repaired meths-fired loco LOVEJOY, a vintage Roundhouse Colonial Loco, and there were a few others, too.

Keith's LOVEJOY

There is a short video on YouTube for those who may want to see it: here is the link:https://youtu.be/Y7r3hU4PFAI

Eleven members gathered throughout the day and everyone thought it was well worth doing again. Below is Nigel’s KUDO, basically a heavily-disguised Roundhouse LADY ANN. Nigel taught me the art of coal firing on this loco several years ago.

Nigel's KUDO

Dave Gordon’s coal-fired loco is based on yet another Roundhouse Lady Ann – PATIENCE. This is a Riverdale AMY kit, which Dave built utilising Roundhouse chassis and body kits. Riverdale kits are no longer available in the UK.

Dave's PATIENCE

Riverdale’s goal was to build a coal-fired locomotive with the ease of running a gas-fired locomotive, whilst avoiding some of the perceived difficulties of controlling the locomotive.

Coal Fired Day

Colin & Joe enjoyed the hands-on opportunity, watched over by Tom

Nigel Town writes...

It was good to have the opportunity to run one of my coal-fired engines recently at Butterley. Coal-firing is not mysterious, it’s pretty straight forward really. It is different and some of these differences were highlighted in a conversation with Alan some years back when he was looking at his first coal fired loco.

For fun I’ve paraphrased the conversation below;

Is coal firing difficult?

Alan Price

By and large no, the fire burns in much the same way as a gas burner. Getting more or less heat from a coal fire is a little more challenging, this is why coal fired models will frequently be seen with safety valves lifting. A stable fire in the hands of a good operator won’t have the safety valves blowing off, in much the same way as a well set up gas fired loco will run for a session with just the odd lift of the safety valve. If the gas it too high the safety valve will blow off, if there’S too much heat in a coal fire the safety valve will blow off too.

Are the models more complex and expensive?

Coal Firing Discussion

That’s a really good question and the answer is.... It depends..... Again, like a gas fired model a basic coal fired engine is no more complex than a basic gas fired engine. The extra systems that some coal fired models use can be applied to gas fired models too. For example, my gas fired Roundhouse Sandy River has a pump to add more water to the boiler, my coal fired engine has the same, in fact it uses a Sandy River tender.

Is coal firing more dangerous?

Nigel

No, in fact I would argue the opposite, that they are safer than gas or meths fired engines. As soon as the water in a coal fired boiler is used the temperature in the fire drops. Let me explain that a bit more Alan.

The coal fire needs to be drafted. That means it need oxygen to burn, this is done by pulling air through the bed of the fire, through the grate in the firebox and burning. When running the engine exhaust pulls the air through, creating a “chuff”, if the engine is running light with no train or load, then the fire may need some extra drafting from something called a steam blower.

This blower draws a small amount of steam from the boiler and squirts it up the chimney, as it does this it sucks air through with it, drafting the fire. So, coming full circle when the water level starts to drop in the boiler the engine won’t make steam, meaning there’s no exhaust to draft the fire and opening the blower won’t give any steam either. With no water in the boiler, you get no steam, with no steam there’s no air to draft the fire, and with no draft the fire it simply goes out. It’s self-regulating.

So if it’s so straight forward why isn’t it more popular?

It’s messy, can be smelly, and you need more stuff to carry to the track. Instead of one can of gas, some water and oil. I now need to carry the same water and oil, along with the charcoal, coal, a electric blower (I’ll come back to that) and firing tools. It’s also much harder to run a coal fired loco “light engine” so you need a train behind it to make the exhaust work and draft that fire.

Manipulating small pea-sized lumps of coal into the firebox invariably means I get dirty hands, and wet wipes become an essential part of the coal firing kit!

I forgot to mention the electric blower before – we talked about drafting the fire, but when there’s no fire and no steam, we need to draft the initial fire with an electric blower to get things going. These run at around 6v and simply slot over the chimney. It’s just a small fan. Starting the fire, I use charcoal soaked in BBQ fluid, some people soak theirs in meths. I just find BBQ lighter fluid a little less volatile.

I put about 6 teaspoons of charcoal in and watch the pressure rise to around 20 psi, then add some more dry charcoal this time, at 40 psi I start crossing over to coal with a couple of spoons. At this point I expect to be near the point where the safety valve lifts, this is a magic moment when the electric blower comes off the steam blower is used to draft the fire and I start adding around 6 spoons of coal. We’re now self-sustaining.

What about all these different types of coal fired boiler – what’s that all about?

Nigel

Well, the fundamental is the same fire in the firebox heating the water. The number and size of flue tubes in the boiler changes relating to the length and diameter of the boiler. Then there are other terms like dry and wet back-head. These don’t really matter to us, it’s simply a construction detail. I recently had opportunity to compare two big NGG16 Garratts both built by John Brittain, both locos looked identical externally, and both performed the same. One was a dry back head, the other wet, the difference was cost. A dry back-head is simpler to manufacture and therefore cheaper.

In our scale, the complexities of sophisticated boiler configurations aren’t warrantied. Moving to larger 5” ride on models and above those sophistications start to bring benefit, but not for us.

So, do I need to know about all the differences?

No, not really Alan, most coal fired boilers follow some standard convention. For example, the flue tubes need to be a reasonable diameter to stop them blocking. We could have a larger number of smaller diameter tubes, but they are more likely to block with ash carried over from the fire. If the tubes are too large then it reduces cost and manufacturing complexity, but risks being blocked.

Conversely if you have two tubes and block one of them with a lump of coal then you lose half your heat transfer, and ability to get heat into the water. Most boilers we encounter have between four and eight flue tubes. Typically, one of these may be larger in diameter to allow for a superheater.

Do coal fired boilers have a superheater then?

Coal Firing Discussion

Yes, but it’s different. The superheater typically starts in the smokebox, runs backwards into the firebox above the fire, then turns 180 degrees and returns back to the smokebox. This is often called a pendant superheater, and is really important to keep the steam free of condensation – condensation, or wet steam is a bad thing and can damage cylinders, for coal or gas fired engines.

Alan, I’ve been running coal now for over 15 years. Personally, I find it more engaging as I monitor the fire and the heat it’s giving me. I still get it wrong but it’s all part of the fun of learning, worst case I clear the grate and start building the fire over again.

Alan Price

Questions or comments welcome

Loco Olympics 2023


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk


The Association Newsletter

We think we have an attractive railway...

At the time of writing, less than half our membership have not renewed their subscription. We’re rather hoping it’s because members are waiting till they visit Butterley to hand over a cheque, though we suspect some may have decided to leave. BGRA is not alone, and we know that there are other groups that are struggling to regain pre-Covid levels of membership & attendance.

Alan Price

We think we have an attractive railway on which folk can run their trains. There are things we’d love to improve (like parking or accessibility), but they are either out of our control or we just do not have the necessary resources.

We’re hoping that work may begin on renewing the upper track in the coming weeks, though we realise that will reduce the amount of available running track when it starts. To ensure our survival, we need to grow our membership and attendance – especially as most of us are in our senior years. “Social Media” is a significant factor in 21 st century communication & publicity, but whilst we have a website and a Facebook page – is there more we could do?

Would a live feed camera on running days be of interest? It would allow members to see who’s present and what models are running. Would the ability to renew subs electronically be welcome, or would it be an unnecessary hassle?

Finally, would it be possible for those of us fortunate enough to have our own garden railway to be able to invite other members to run occasionally? It’s all about friendship and sharing interests.

John Hayes

It started when my partner insisted on visiting Starbucks and Costa for coffee.

I started saving the stirring sticks and after two years I was able to start the project getting the wood from a well-known hardware store using the stirring stick to build the walls and front panels.

John Hayes Brake Van

The big cost are the wheels buffers and axle boxes But still enjoying building it.

Jonathan Tillin

I’ve bought three Swift Sixteen Bug Coaches. This is the first under construction. Although they are billed as easy builds there is still an appreciable fillet to remove either side at the bottom of the frames. I always find this difficult not least because the option is to score and break it (which I find does not work well) or cut it with a Dremel which creates huge amounts of plastic sawdust (very environmentally unhealthy).

Secondly there is a lot of painting to do (the Directors wanted a smart saloon). I had been using Tamiya Acrylics which I have had for some time but I needed some blue and maroon. Alan pointed me to Revel Aquacolour. The older acrylics were not taking well and needed more than one coat but the Revel covers in one. Not sure if this is the composition or the age of the earlier stuff but I’ve now ordered more colours in the Revel range before I begin again.

Jonathans Model

Having said all the above the construction (once the fillets are removed) is easy and respect to S16 for some very difficult one-piece castings. The wheel-sets fit to the underside of the seat casting which clips inside. I have also bought brass top vents and handles from S16 to make a nice finish. Watch this space.

Colin Stubbs’s plastic Warren Girder Bridge

During lockdown I was contemplating the Eastern extension to The Garden Railway [TGR] and a removable bridge was needed to cross a pathway. And I wanted a proper bridge not just a plank. As ever I looked around for alternative materials, i.e. cheaper. What would look like and serve as hollow or ‘U’ section steel beams?

Colins Bridge

The answer: electrical cable trunking. This material has many advantages: readily available, cheap, easy to cut, easy to drill, comes in several sizes, weather resistant. Down side: very flexible, I don’t know how well it takes paint or stands up to prolonged sunlight.

Colins Bridge

A key element of the engineering design is that it’s all bolted together; M5 stainless screws for the big bits and M2.5 screws for the smaller bits. One “cheat” is that I used 19x19x1 aluminium angle for the bottom stringer to give some rigidity. B&Q sell this material only in1 metre lengths so that is the length of the bridge.

Colins Bridge

Cross beams sitting on the aluminium angle form the bridge deck to carry the track.

Colins Bridge

Below the deck diagonals provide lateral rigidity. The black line on the RH stringer is felt tip to make the scribe lines for the bolt holes easier to see.

Colins Bridge

To finish off the job and make it look like IKB may have designed it, all the corners and mid sections are “strengthened” with pieces of the snap-on cover.

The deck beams are cunningly spaced to match the sleeper spacing of Peco track which can then be fastened to the trunking cover and clipped into place

Colins Bridge

The bridge is sized to give 25 mm clearance all round to a typical Roundhouse loco. That’s only 1’-6” at scale so definitely do not lean out of the window.

Colins Bridge

The finished bridge is remarkably rigid and takes Lady Ann with no noticeable strain. I just need to get on now and do the work to build the eastern extension.

Colins Bridge

Alan Price

It’s not ‘rocket science’, but I thought I’d describe my way of re-posing resin figures to suit a particular situation. This example is a 1/12 th scale (?) dolls house figure, but it’s a method I use on 16mm figures, too (including 3D printed ones, though they may need more filler in the gaps).

Resin Figure

The original school-boy

Resin Figure

I wanted to make this a seated passenger, so the only alteration was the legs, which were sawn through with a junior hacksaw (usual health warning to beware breathing in the dust).

Resin Figure

Using Colin Stubbs’ favourite – copper earth wire stripped from cable – I drilled suitable holes in each leg and glued in a small piece of wire.

Resin Figure

I posed the figure on a rough seat to help me decide where to drill the corresponding holes in the torso. This done, he was posed again to get the correct bends in the wire.

Resin Figure

Resin Figure

I use car body-filler to fill in the gaps, then using my Dremel and needle files, I carve the filler to make it look like the shorts. (Milliput or similar might be better – easier to mould before it sets).

Resin Figure

When primed with acrylic, this shows where any further filing etc is needed before final painting.

2022 Garden Railway Show

Whilst numbers seemed to be slightly depleted (not least because of rail strikes), there was still a good crowd.

Picture from the 2022 Peterborough Show

Micro-Layout (many were inspired by the late Brian Dominic’s Flag Fluorspar)

Picture from the 2022 Peterborough Show

Steve Bell’s Hagan’s Patent 2-6-4-0T Locomotive, winner of the Allcomers’ Loco Trophy

Picture from the 2022 Peterborough Show

GARDEN RAIL magazine had a small garden with an LG track. This little boy loved it!

Picture from the 2022 Peterborough Show

BRUNEL MODELS had an extensive range of their FOAMEX-built products. Expensive, but real quality!

Picture from the 2022 Peterborough Show

Nigel Town discussing one of his SAR Garratts on the 16mm Association Modular Layout

Picture from the 2022 Peterborough Show

Next year’s National Show at Peterborough

... will be Saturday, 15th April a little later than shows of the past, which were sometimes as early as the last week in March.

Reminder - Alan Price

If you have not yet renewed your membership, but intend to do so, please let Mike Riley know.

HAVE YOUR SAY

it’s your club, your Newsletter, but we cannot act on what we are not told.


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk


The Association Newsletter

I have all kinds of ideas...

Like many modellers, I have all kinds of ideas for things to make, but lack the skills or equipment necessary. “Necessity is the mother of invention” as the saying goes, and many of us figure out “work-arounds’ to achieve an affordable result. Several of our members have written of their ideas and encouraged us to have a go – not least Colin who shares yet another simple idea in this newsletter.

I seem to be “banging on” about this subject, but I’d love to hear how to turn an idea into reality on a 3D printer, for instance. Or, when is it better to have wooden parts laser-cut? Modellers of old seemed to do excellent – even repetitive – work that I could never achieve (like cutting out identical window openings in a coach side). Perhaps I have become impatient, used to wanting quicker results, but as time goes on, I realise that my physical abilities are changing, too.

I really enjoy reading or hearing how people tackle problems or challenges they experience in their modelling, which is why I welcome Phil Hemingway’s suggestion of a “What’s on your work-bench” column in the newsletter. It’s not about success or failure, but sharing the interests we have in common. Not everyone is a writer, which is why I say again you can send me a quick phone-video, from which I can create a paragraph or article for you that everyone can appreciate. It’s up to you.

Jean Hemming

I started going to Butterley Garden Railway Association some years ago because I have always enjoyed anything to do with railways. I found interest and friendliness and enjoyed just watching the locos run round the track, especially the steam ones, which still amaze me as they are so small and yet some are even coal fired. I now have a battery engine of my own and love it, as it makes me feel more a part of the Association.

Jean Hemming

I especially enjoy special running days, particularly the recent Teddy Bears Picnic. With several teddies stationed round the track intently watching proceedings, one train (Alan’s) playing "If you go down to the woods today" and my little diesel loco pulling a wagon carrying a very small teddy, it was a fun afternoon. I have also enjoyed fish and chip night and the floodlit running.

WHAT’S ON MY WORKBENCH?

(Ed: A new regular(?) slot to give a glimpse into our modelling Phil Hemingway writes: As mentioned in the previous newsletter, we thought it would be a good idea to have a ‘what’s on my workbench’ article. The purpose really is for members to show what they are working on. It’s not meant to be a detailed description although that would be welcome as a full article in itself.)

Phil Hemingway writes: I’m currently working on a Phil Sharples box cab diesel. It’s a bit of a fun project really for my grandsons although the youngest is only 16 months but as anyone who knows me, I don't work quickly so he will probably be 5 before it’s finished!

Phils Model

The kit is very straight forward but I’ve modified it a little for additional fun so it’s got 2 big headlights on the front and a single one on the rear. Control of speed, direction and lights is via radio as described in an article titled ‘Ultra low cost radio’ in SMT issues 157/159. Fellow BGRA member Dave Gordon built a couple and kindly let me have one.

As I need to access the inside to get to the batteries and radio, the roof will need to be removable, easily done using small magnets. The colour scheme? Well, it lends itself to a few of the vehicles on the kids tv programs so wait and see for when it’s running down at Butterley.

The wagon behind is another Phil Sharples kit awaiting painting - again a very easy kit to put together.

Curving SM-32 Points Step by Step – Alan Price

When rebuilding my garden railway in our (then) new home in Belper, I found it was impossible to get the track layout I wanted, without curved points – and, of course, there are no commercially available SM32 curved points. I was delighted, therefore, to come across an article by Bob Phelps (Railway Modeller, June 2009), in which he shared a way of adapting a PECO SL-E696 medium radius turnout. This is largely an edited version of his article.

Alans Diagrams

The original article had step-by-step photos. I can supply a PDF version to anyone who requests it. As expected, the first step is to find or make a drawing of the turnout. I used a picture of a Peco OO-scale ST-245 turnout (below), scaled up to 16mm. Placing the SM-32 point on the drawing will show the curvatures required.

Alans Diagrams

The next task is to enable the rails to slide in their fixings, and to do this it is necessary to remove the welded pellets, which are attached to the rails and can be located under several sleepers. These should come away quite easily with the aid of a pair of thin-nosed pliers or a small screwdriver used as a lever.

Step three is to cut the plastic ties which are attached to the sleepers and run along under the rails. It is not essential to break all the ties - every other one should be sufficient. Stagger the breaks under the stock rails so the sleepers stay intact without totally separating. It is also necessary to break some of the ties under the centre rails.

The point will now be quite flexible and will virtually make any radius you require. Offer the point to your track diagram once again, to check that the curve is going to look correct. You will notice the stock rails will take on a nice shape but the point blades and centre rails will have remained straight, or indeed have a reverse curve. All four of these parts will definitely require recurving, and one blade on the inside will need to have its length shortened so that the tie-bar is central between the sleepers either side. Although the stock rails, because of their length, will take on a natural curve, it is possibly still better to add a little curve to both these rails as well. This will help relieve any unnecessary strain on the rail fixings.

To make the adjustments to the centre rails and blades, it is necessary to remove the blades completely from the points. To do this, the spring retainer cover has to be taken off, which can easily be removed by pushing the pegs, located on the underside. Once removed, take out the spring with the aid of a pair of pliers and put in a safe place for reassembly later on.

Now take out the stock rails and slide the blades with the tie-bar forward from the centre rails; you will find it comes away totally as one piece. To obtain the correct curve for the blades, manipulate by hand. To curve the centre rails, over-bend the complete point, putting pressure on the centre rails, and you will find they will take up the correct shape.

Now reassemble the point temporarily and check by eye that the curves follow through to the right shape that you require. You will notice that the inner blade needs to be shortened. Mark the position carefully and then dismantle the point once more in order that the blade can be trimmed appropriately You will find that the rail joiner is welded lightly on the underside to the rail, and if it is too tight simply to pull off. Then it is best to hold it firmly with a pair of pliers at 90 degrees and roll the pliers towards the end of the rail. That extra Ieverage should do the trick.

A new rail joiner will probably be required in the reassembly process, which should take place at this stage of the modification procedure. After the point has been reassembled you will find that it is still quite flexible, so it will need to be secured firmly to your layout, using your usual method.

Alans Diagrams

Here is a “regular” turnout placed on top of my turnout. You can see that it really does make a difference!

Colourful and Interesting - Colin Stubbs

Someone asked me at the twilight run: what’s that? Well, it’s colourful and looks interesting; the answer was the pin for the multi-height couplings. You see the first 16mm loco I made was a Phil Sharples Hudson and I hadn’t come across the ‘P’ shaped draw hooks then so knowing no better I made something.

Colins Modelling

My solution was easy to handle with big fingers and looks purposeful.

Colins Modelling

So here is the story:

As ever for material I went for a cheap alternative, the copper core from 1.5mm twin and earth [commonly called T&E] It’s second nature to me but for anyone not familiar with household electrics it’s the grey PVC cable containing brown and blue pvc- covered conductor plus a naked earth wire. So chop off a length of 1.5mm copper, about 60mm long, form the handle, then glue, or solder a small nut or washer near the end.

Colins Modelling

In terms of sizing I think to look right it should be about right so the handle is about 10mm [~8 inch] and hand height standing at track level about 40mm [2’ 6”] plus the depth of coupling pin itself. A lick of red paint and it’s done.

Colins Modelling

The copper wire is more than strong enough for the work we are asking of it so its handy too for the ‘P’ shaped draw hook and any other draw hook you fancy. You’ve probably guessed I’m a fan of T&E, it comes in several sizes 1 mm, 1.5mm and 2.5mm and cheap by the metre. It’s readily bent to shape [I use fine nosed round pliers], takes paint well, and can be soldered if you want to make rings.

Colins Modelling

As well as coupling pins I’ve used it for fixed handrails, door handles, hinged safety rails, fixed eyes and shunter’s poles

Colins Modelling

Colins Modelling

Colins Modelling

Colins Modelling

The Gardening Crew

The Gardeners

We have taken on the task of maintaining the MRT flower bed in front of the toilet block. Glenis, with Tom, Dave (and initial work by Mike) have made a great start. It’s all part of our presentation to the public who pass by when using the facilities.

The Gardeners

LINING YOUR MODELS WITH ACRYLIC PENS - Alan Price

The Gardeners

I admire those who professionally line our models, like Matt Acton. But I can’t often afford to pay those fees. I have used lining tapes, with reasonable results (because the tape does stand proud of the surface). I have also used lining pens in the past, but they require the use of oil-based enamel paints, because acrylics dry so quickly and can clog up the fine pen nozzles.

The Gardeners

I was pleased, therefore, to read about acrylic pens and give them a try. I use UNI-POSCA pens PC-3M (or C-1M) – with different tip widths. Their great advantage (for me) is that if I make a mistake, it is quickly wiped away and I can re-do that line – much cleaner than with enamels. When I am satisfied, I let it dry thoroughly and seal it with an appropriate varnish.

The Gardeners

JOY is one of my recent locos that I lined using a POSCA pen and a ruler, similarly with this new accessibility coach for my “miniature railway”. They’re not perfect, but they’ll do.

Gareth Richards - 22nd April

Members Trains

Members Trains

Jonathan’s loco at the Mamod & Oscillator Day 1st May

Members Trains

Mike Riley – 8th May

Members Trains

No news from the Committee, as health issues have prevented us meeting until June.


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk


The Association Newsletter

As Most Of You Know...

As most of you know, if you read the minutes of our AGM, I am your new chairman, as John Rymer has reluctantly felt it necessary to step down in that role, due to ongoing health issues. We’re pleased he will continue to be a valued committee member, and website manager. I will continue some of the tasks of the secretary (and newsletter editor) with the help of committee members, and try my best to serve you and the club in every way.

Since becoming secretary, I have thought long and hard about BGRA and what might be required of us in the coming years. Our club was formed by a group of friends who wanted somewhere to run trains and meet together for encouragement. This, I think, is still our main purpose. Members come from a wide area, as you may be interested to see form the “Membership Map” elsewhere in this newsletter.

I want to ensure we continue to offer an attractive railway to tun our trains, but also to be open to new facilities and resources. What could we offer on site to help you with your modelling? Are there new facilities might we offer – and how much demand might there be? We want your ideas as we move forward. We do not have unlimited funds or infinite space, but perhaps there are things we can do within our limitations

Colin Stubbs

I first visited BGRA sometime in 2019 as a guest, joined in September, ran trains once, went to the AGM and then was locked down and locked out.

Colin Stubbs

I’m retired from a range of engineering environments, new to BGRA and 16mm though Covid has presented a lot of model-making time [I’m ex (though not divorced from) 4mm].

[Ed: Colin has written up several easy modelling ideas, both in Don Butterell’s updates and in these Newsletters]

Wednesday Evening 23rd March 2022

There were 13 of us gathered for this event, which included the usual fish & chip supper.

Night Run Picture

Mike Riley’s Bertie pulls a rake of Brandbright coaches

Night Run Picture

David Ashworth’s Billy

Night Run Picture

Alan’s GRS Peckett

Night Run Picture

Joe Grimes’ Talgarth & Gordon

Chip Picture

Fish and Chips in the Cabin

A new Loco for the Rosehaugh Estate Railway – Alan Price

As you may know, I am largely concentrating on the 1/12 th scale aspect of my railway modelling, running on 32mm track. I rather like the look of railways such as the Ravenglass & Eskdale, or the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch.

Logo

A little while back I obtained a damaged O-Gauge Rivarossi track-powered CASEY JONES and set about converting it to a miniature loco for my tourist line.

Casey Jones

The first task was to get it running on battery power, which required repairs to the front pony truck, as well as to one of the driving wheels.

Casey Jones

The latter was a bit of a “head-scratcher”. The cranks are moulded into the plastic wheel construction, and not only that, the crank pins are plastic and a tight push-fit into the axles.. The wheel was repaired using epoxy filler, and I decided to replace the plastic pins with 5BA hex bolts.

Casey Jones

That done, I set about removing the track pick-ups and attaching a battery. Whilst it looked ungainly with the battery pack perched on top of the tender, it worked, Dismantling the tender, I reckoned there was enough room for a Deltang Rx/ speed controller and a 3S LiPo battery. Firstly, however, I had to give my 1/12 th scale driver a seat at the front of the tender, to ensure it would all fit. Being made of plastic, it was fairly simple to create the seat., and to fit the battery charging socket as well as the power switch.

Casey Jones

The loco was tested and all worked well, albeit a little stiff, needing to be run in a bit. A new link & pin coupler was fitted to match my rolling stock it was ready to join the Rosehaugh Estate Loco Stud. A next phase of construction will be a suitable rake of coaches for this “miniature railway”.

Casey Jones

My one regret? As yet, whilst I know where I could put a small speaker, there is no room for a soundcard, as I can find none small enough!

At the time of writing, this has not made an appearance at Butterley, but here is a link to a YouTube video of the final test run in November. https://youtu.be/WmZBMDg6-aA

Sunday 3rd April 2022

Sunday, 3rd April was our AGM, attended by 12 members, with apologies from 9 others. Members will have received the minutes, so there is no need to repeat the contents.

AGM

The two most important points of discussion concerned the track – especially the upper route, as the dual-gauge pointwork and general running is showing increasing signs of deterioration.

Track Damage

Since the AGM, some of you will have seen that the ballast ‘wall’ in the upper sidings has rotted and collapsed.It is just about usable with care as in the photo.

Below are two diagrams which show the track as we have it and the proposed changes. There are many practicalities to be sorted, and work is not expected to start until late August. Again, it is your railway, so we want to hear from you. In connection with track discussions, there was some discussion about attracting new members – not least those who might be considered “young”!

Track Plan Now

Above is the current track plan, with upper circuit highlighted in blue.

Track Plan Proposed Here is a possible upper circuit revision, highlighted in green. As mentioned in the minutes, the inner track is 32mm and the outer 45mm, The plan is continually evolving, and since the AGM one or two things have changed. It seems easier to have 2 x 32mm storage/steam up tracks on the right and 2 x 45mm ones on the left.

This picture does not include the new aluminium track bridges to be commissioned.

Aerial View

2018 Drone Picture

Mike Riley is willing to bond the new 45mm track, to facilitate running for future members who might run locos Provisional Track Plan that are track-powered. We have no demand for this at the moment, and perhaps we are unlikely to need it, but Mike feels it is easier to bond the trails during construction, rather than later.

But there may be other things we can do – not least offering youngsters and groups the opportunity to run trains.

If anyone uses ANYRAIL PC programme, I can let you have the track plans in that format for you to play with!

THINGS WE COULD DO WITH YOUR HELP

With the lock-down, there are general maintenance things we could do with your help:-

Working parties could be organised! Do not leave it all to the one or two willing volunteers.

Please let us know if you can help.

MAINTENANCE REPORT

The Conifers at the hut end of the line have been removed, as they had become too large. Glenis, Tom & Mike undertook the task, and the site has been landscaped with rocks and new plants with help from Joe. Unfortunately, the upper dual gauge siding here has needed replacing with a temporary 32mm one.

Glenis would also like members to note there is a box in the hut for donations towards stocking the bird-feeders.

The Garden

The Conifers in 2004 were modest

The Garden

Even before December 2021 they had rather impacted the upper siding

The Garden

April 2022 – a fresh start

Workshop days/evenings.

We think there is mileage in planning some of these, but what might interest you? Some suggestions:

If you have something you’d like to share – or a modelling task for which you’d appreciate help and advice, please let us know.

Membership Distribution Map

Map

Membership Map – red spots indicate approximate location of members as in March 2022

Erics Train

Eric’s Prosecco Train heads to the Bottling Plant


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk


The Association Newsletter

As The Weather Improves

It’s great to see more faces (and their trains) at Butterley, as the weather gradually improves (??) and COVID restrictions have eased. We are now in the business of rebuilding our Club membership – and welcoming new members! As we approach our AGM on Sunday, 3 rd April at 2.00pm, some of us are wondering about the changes that may lie ahead. Not only do we want to address the need to improve our upper track, which will be a major task, but are other things we need to consider?

The world is a very different place to what it was at the start of BGRA in 1980 and people’s expectations are higher. Whilst many of us are “old school”, I realise that digital communication is more important for many. Is that an area we should explore?

We do not have unlimited funds, and many of us are not physically able to do many of the things we once did, but what can we, or should we seek to change? . I still think that what we have to offer is more than a track facility, and there is a lot of expertise to be shared to further our enjoyment of our hobby.

We hope to air some of these matters at our AGM (agendas will be sent out beforehand). John Rymer, our chairman, has reluctantly decided to stand down, due to health issues, as so we need to consider who might take on that role. In the meantime – keep building and running your trains!

Edwin Lagoe

I was born in Birmingham in 1945 and went to technical school 1957 - 62 I’m married to Linda and we have 2 sons and 5 grandchildren.

Eddie Lagoe

I joined the G.P.O. Telephones division as an apprentice in 1962 and remained with the company until 1994 when I took early retirement.

I've always had an interest in railways, as a lad I was a trainspotter during the final years of steam and spent many happy hours on platforms at Birmingham Snow Hill, Birmingham New Street and further afield at Tamworth and Rugby. My interests are somewhat varied - I play the electric guitar, spend way too much time playing railway simulation games on my P.C. I also enjoy making models (mostly of the kit variety), and I keep fit ballroom dancing with Linda.

I had a small garden railway but the elements took their toll and all I have now is a Cheddar Ivor, three battery locos and goods and passenger rolling stock.

DETAILING COACH INTERIORS - Colin Stubbs

At our Christmas Afternoon Run, Colin Stubbs’ had his Roundhouse Lady Anne was in steam, pulling a Timpdon 3-compartment coach and a Timpdon 2-compartment coach followed by a Brandbright PS16 luggage brake trailing two Timpdon W&L sheep wagons. Here he reveals the interior of the luggage brake which is rarely seen - ED

Colins Models

This was the first “complicated” 16mm kit I made. It was started in Nov 2019 [just pre-Covid] in time for Christmas; I had to start it because it was a Christmas present from the previous year and questions were being asked.

I offer a few observations: they may be tips but I’m still fairly new to this game and other may well be way out in front of me.

Colins Models

Firstly, I didn’t fancy trying to paint the panelling after construction so I did a base coat on the body sides, sprayed the overlays in the contrasting colour then glued them on with super glue. I thought it was a gamble but they are still in place. I had treated the overlays first with sanding sealer so I think that is what did the trick. The paint is Wilko own brand spray can white and blue.

Colins Models

As it was my first experience and I was so pleased with the result I think I went a bit mad with the interior. Brandbright provided a few of the bits, I made a snow shovel out of scraps and a coat rack with a scrap of material that sort of looks like a coat. I painted the interior white, it not be prototypical but, I think it looks O.K and it helps with the interior lighting both in daylight and when illuminated at night.

Colins Models

So now, when the thing was finished, I decide to add lighting! In my Timpdon coaches there is enough space in the roof to hide batteries but not in here so they are under the floor. The lights are suspended from a piece of dowel running across the body with the wires run in tubing glued to the body side. It looks convincingly like scale conduit

Colins Models

Yes I did go mad, there is an illuminated Timpdon stove in there which you can just see if you squint through the window. May be on our twilight run I should take the roof off.

The lamp is a normal LED with the end filed flat and a little disc of plastic glued on the back to look like a shade.

Colins Models

The kit doesn’t make provision for removing the roof; the instruction have it glued in place. I cut and glued some formers to keep the roof curvature and hold it in place with 10ba screws [it’s what I had in my bits box] pushed or driven into interference holes.

Colins Models

Alongside the underfloor battery is a wee bit of bread board so that it’s easier to attach and change the resistors for the LEDs. For this model, as an experiment, I used a latching push switch mounted on the buffer beam. It’s easy to get to and to my eye doesn’t look out of place.

So there you have it.

Colin.

ADDING A CHUFFER TO YOUR LOCO - Phil Hemmingway

Phils Model

This year I’m planning on starting a 7/8ths Hunslet ‘Jack’. However, before this, I want to ‘clear the decks’, so to speak, of a few projects that may distract me. One of these has been to fit a Summerlands ‘Chuffer’ to a Roundhouse Billy.

[For those who may not know, a “Chuffer” is a device fitted to the exhaust of a model live-steam loco to enhance the sound of a working engine.]

This is not a detailed description of how to do this, and the instructions that come with the chuffer are excellent. In addition, there are excellent videos on YouTube that take you through the process. My purpose in this article is hopefully to encourage others in BGRA who may want to have go at such a modification, but are a little reluctant in case they damage their expensive pride and joy. I’m no expert by a long way and it’s the first chuffer I’ve fitted.

Firstly, daft as it may seem, make sure you actually order the correct chuffer. In the case of my RH Billy, there are two types depending on whether it has a single or double exhaust pipe, as RH changed the design through the production run. As my Billy was bought second hand, this necessitated removing the smokebox to confirm which I had, as I had no idea of when it was built. To ensure you don’t make a mistake, do check the Summerlands site for your particular loco.

Fitting the chuffer itself is relatively straight forward. One piece of advice is to be careful not to scratch the paintwork when removing any fixing screws/bolts for the smokebox. For my Billy, it was a case of removing three screws, two of which are a tight fit for the screwdriver. I used an electrician’s screwdriver with a plastic coating on the shank, which spared any damage. Probably the hardest, or most time-consuming part was measuring the length of the existing exhaust pipe to be removed. Getting this measurement right is important, so it’s worth taking your time. I used a Vernier calliper, although a steel rule will suffice.

The next job is cutting the existing exhaust pipes. Use a junior hack saw or a cutting disk. Protect the paintwork from any slips by using card and cloths. I also supported the exhaust with a small wood block to make cutting easier. Use whatever method you wish, but I preferred a hack saw. After a quick tidy-up with a file, it is simply a matter of slipping the chuffer on to the truncated pipes, as per the instructions. You are then ready to refit the smokebox. At this point, for aesthetic reasons you may want to blacken the top of the chuffer with paint or with a proprietary chemical solution. Personally, I’ve not bothered, as I feel it will tarnish over time. The final step is a final measurement to check for the distance from the top of the chimney to the top of the chuffer as per the instructions. Sorted....

Was it difficult? No, just take your time. Is it worth it? I certainly think so. I’m fortunate to be able to run on member Dave Gordon’s extensive line which has a few gentle gradients. As my Billy is manually controlled, I just find the regulator “sweet spot” for the train load and simply let it run, enjoying the different steam effects and sounds as it negotiates the line.

Summerlands Website

http://summerlands-chuffer.uk/

This was faulty on 23rd March 2022

3D PRINTED FIGURES - Alan Price

If we are wanting to create an illusion of a reality, then our super-accurate locos should, perhaps, have reasonably realistic-looking figures (albeit ones that do not move!) – this is just my personal opinion, of course.

3D printed figures

The use of 3D printers has opened up so much scope. Some years ago, one company came to the National Show - Design Scan Print 3D (www.designscanprint3d.co.uk). They offered a scanning process that allowed them to create miniatures of real people, and eventually (a birthday treat) I was scanned and had models of myself in both scales I use (1:19 & 1:12).

Not only are the printed figures reasonably priced (around £6.50), it is also possible purchase the 3D print files, for those who want to do their own printing. Whilst I would still like to learn how to alter figures by changing the files, I can still alter the actual model with wire and filler – as per the larger 1/12 th figure here.

TEDDY BEARS PICNIC

Event Picture Event Picture

We ran our own “Teddy Bear Trains” during the week, especially on the Wednesday & Sunday (though Mike was there almost every day!) Mike also encouraged children to “have-a go” controlling a train – a great hit!

Event Picture Event Picture Event Picture Event Picture Event Picture Event Picture

Our AGM is on Sunday, 3 rd April at 2.00pm – please make a note of the date


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk


The Association Newsletter

I Wonder What Santa Brought You?

I wonder if Santa brought you anything related to our hobby? I had a few useful tools, but no new models or kits etc. Mind you, I have enough on the go as it is! I have had several modelling projects on the go over the Christmas season (in between other domestic duties) – modifying my Santa Train for next year, investigating why my 1/12 th scale BELLE stopped working at the Christmas Afternoon Run, as well as the conversion of a Bachman L & B LYN... I never get bored, as there is so much to do.

Our AGM will take place on Sunday, 3 rd April in the Club Hut, subject to COVID restrictions.

Please make a note of the date. This is quite important as the COVID restrictions have had a significant effect on our club and we need to discuss goals for 2022.

Membership renewals will also be due then. The Membership subscription will remain at £25. As I said in the last newsletter, the important aspect of clubs like ours is the help and advice we can give each other. We are not all ‘experts’, and I am so grateful for the advice and help I receive from those whose knowledge is in different areas.

Jonathan Tillin

A Derbyshire resident since the late 80’s, I moved here to teach at the Railway Engineering School. Joining British Railways when I was 16, I progressed through the S&T Reading Drawing Office to specialise in testing and commissioning.

It was in the late 70’s that an opportunity to train as a teacher was taken. For the next couple of decades I taught, tested, and wrote significant industry Standards. Privatisation brought further opportunities — I worked on the Channel Tunnel project and in the Far East and in 1996 founded Signet Solutions Ltd. Though I’m now fully retired the Company continues to offer high quality learning and development in the field of Railway Signal Engineering.

Jon Tillin

I learned to drive 10 1/4” steam locos in my 50’s and have owned 5” and 3 1/2” engines; I have been licensed as a Radio Ham with the call sign G8GJC since 1972. A Lay Reader in the Church of England, I and my wife Vivienne worship with the community at St. Peter’s Belper. I have a small 16mm layout in the garden and enjoy my workshop den and radio station.

IF ONLY THEY COULD SPEAK - Jonathan Tillin

They are so taken for granted: we hook up a train to our favourite loco and off we go. Then we buy something new or accept the offer to run behind a friend’s loco – only to find the buffers don’t match. Such is the joy of our broad-church hobby.

The Borders and Wisteria Elevated Railway does not have a great deal of stock but within its stable there is a bewildering array of buffing solutions. Few of them mate! I accept that in some respects this is to do with scale – not everything that runs on 32mm NG metals is exactly 1:19 (function triumphing over form). And it’s true that trains formed of particular stock will suit specific locos. Still, I guess it’s no different than trying to match up the bewildering array of low-voltage power plugs and sockets.

I’m writing this because I’ve constructed two Bobbin wagons some time apart. The first one was a wooden bodied Talyllyn version from Atropos; the second an injection moulding and turned-brass kit from Dinorwic and by Slater’s: both very lovely examples. The wooden one has a pair of dumb buffers that are extensions of the wagon frame; the Slater’s a curved end with metal buffing strips.

Jon Tillin Wagon

Jon Tillin Wagon

The dumb buffers look correct behind my TME Hunslet, the buffing strips with the IP Simplex (which has a variable height buffer): this is partly to do with scale as the Atropos is slightly larger. (I’ve bought four Slater’s kits with a view to running a decent train behind the Simplex.)

Jon Tillin Wagon

In other news, the railcar has link-and-pin couplings but then I always run it solo; and I don’t (now) have any chopper couplings. The IP guards van and other larger stock I have fitted with Brandbright central buffers and they happily run behind Margaret (steam outline) and Chaloner (again the scale and what looks right are important). Speaking of which, the Regner Chaloner has a type of link-and-pin but this can easily be converted to hook and three-link chain.

Buffing centres at 24mm above rail top is suggested (well it’s on the Association’s ruler) but again, scale will affect the height: larger locos will have a higher buffer beam. The excellent 16mm NGMA Handbook – First Steps in NG Railway Modelling stresses flexibility when discussing running standards.

Jon Tillin Wagon

So why all this variation? Well, in truth, it’s because we model both particular systems and imaginary ones and we often mix-and-match on our own Lines. The science and practice of buffing has evolved over the years but, then again, a quarry owner will take the view ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ thus early practices continued very successfully until closure in some locations.

Back to my bobbin wagons: I have seen three 12”:1’ Dinorwic examples over time, at the Llanberis Slate Museum, the Bala Lake Railway and Statfold Barn. I was not looking the last time I visited Talyllyn: must look harder next time! I shall not be building any further Atropos Bobbins – they have been discontinued apparently.

There Were Seven Of Us...

Christmas Scenes

Dave Gordon’s Santa Train, with 3D printed reindeer & sleigh

Christmas Scenes

Alan Price’s 1/12 th scale Santa Train loco failed, and so Dave stepped in with a relief loco

Christmas Scenes

Tom Poultney’s Santa Train, with seasonal passengers in the Tubs

Christmas Scenes

Christmas Scenes

Six stalwarts at the Run (the seventh taking the photo!)

Christmas Scenes

Colin Stubbs’ Lady Anne, pulling two Timpdon Coaches and a Brandbright luggage brake.

There is a YouTube video describing Alan’s Santa Train with footage from the Christmas Afternoon Run

New Developments - Alan Price

No, this is not a confession about torrid love affairs, rather it is to report on some modifications to my magnetic couplings developed during the Christmas holidays.

Back in July, I submitted an article for publication in SMT, on the subject of magnetic couplings.As some of you will know, I model in two scales on my 32mm track – 16mm and 1/12 th scale. My 16mm trains either have Accucraft choppers, or traditional 3-link chains. My 1/12 th scale ‘Estate Railway’ also uses two kinds of couplings - link & pin couplers and Heywood couplers, so I know I need to find some kind of ‘standardisation’ in both scales.

This summer, having made what I thought would be the ideal coupling for my 1/12 th scale trains, I found myself struggling to stretch over to remove and replace the pin in my link and pin couplings in order to run the loco round the train. Knowing that my arthritis is getting worse over time, I began to give more consideration about easier coupling methods – hence the article on magnetic couplings. Automatic coupling is easy, uncoupling just needs a hand on the loco and firm tug on the wagon/coach. (You can watch a YouTube video of my original experimentation, using this link)

Magnetic Coupling Details

When I submitted the SMT article, I thought I had reached the ideal solution and all worked well. I determined the poles of each pair of connectors and marked them accordingly – red for ‘north’ and yellow for ‘south’. I decided to standardise on the use of the red ‘north’ poles on the locomotive side of the couplings.

However, recently I realised I would need to start some kind of “mass production” (with no quick way of doing it). I also found that the “Mark 1” version had a big weakness, in that when a loco had to push the bogie coaches, the couplings sometimes ‘buckled’ to the extent that too often the coach next to the loco derailed. So here are the results of my further development.

Magnetic Coupling Details

Firstly, I remembered that the purchased magnetic jewellery connectors were well made, having loops etc that would enable their attachment to the link & pin coupler housing. I had found that the magnets used were too weak, and heavy bogie coaches easily pulled them apart – and certainly when there was a “snatch” start.

Magnetic Coupling Details

Magnetic Coupling Details

My solution? I attached a stronger disc magnet (using super-glue as well as the magnetic attraction) to the ‘north’ pole of each pair. So far, I have found that one additional magnet is sufficient for each pair and makes the connection much stronger. I also used the smaller ring on ‘north’ pole connector to be held in the coupler with the pin and have left the supplied ‘lobster’ link on the ‘south pole’ connector to be held by the pin on the wagon or coach. This means there is less ‘flexing’ when the loco is pushing. The bright alloy finish has been suitably painted an unobtrusive matt black.

DELTANG-Type Rx

Those of you like me who use these small Rx with their in-built ESC etc may have been so dismayed to read that due to the discontinuation of the chip used, these would no longer be available. The good news is that Andy Rutter, of Micron Radio Control has been working on replacement modules. Things are taking him longer than anticipated, but he is confident. He says: The Micron MR603 (replacement for Deltang Rx65) is well advanced but still needs a lot of work to get production ready (90% complete, 90% still to do).

See website for further details


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk


The Association Newsletter

Trains & Christmas?

I find it interesting how trains and Christmas are linked together. I know that as young boy, our Hornby Dublo 3-Rail layout (6’ x 4’ baseboard) made its annual appearance at Christmas. As for this new ‘tradition’ of Christmas trains, its origins lie in the USA. For most Americans, train travel was part of the "hustle and bustle" that increased dramatically during the holiday season. At any time of year, it was assumed that any long trip would involve a train. This was even more true at Christmas time. The greatest examples were in the 1940s, when the railroads helped hundreds of thousands of GI's to "Be Home For Christmas" year after year. However, US historians believe the train tradition dates back at least 100 years to the early 1900s, around the time when manufacturer Lionel began to produce the first electric toy trains, which became very popular.

Christmas Scene

Over the years, Santa Trains have been carrying passengers to the “North Pole” as part of Christmas tradition. “The Polar Express” is a popular film – a magical train that moves impossibly over ice etc. And of course – we are encouraging “Santa Trains” in our Christmas Afternoon Run (see notice below).

If Santa gives you a ‘railway something’, why not let me know? – A photo and a comment is all that’s required.

Phil Hemingway

“My interests are a mixed bag and I constantly keep changing my mind, 7/8ths, 16mm, 32mm track then 45mm LGB. I don’t have a garden line as to be honest, I don’t want one as the gardens small and I made the choice of a big pond or a garden line but I am building a modular set of boards that can be easily set up and taken down and put out on the lawn. This will be dual gauge – here’s the first piece of track made in July.

Track

Phils Models

And here’s one of Phil’s 45mm gauge wagons, sitting on that dual-gauge track

Phils Models

Phil’s RH Katie with a short freight on 21 st November. It turned cold but the steam effects were very good.

The box cars are old Brandbright kits and the flat car is scratch built using Brandbright wheels, couplers and axle boxes.

A Proper Christmas Coach?

Phils Models

My autistic grandson lives next door with his mum & dad, and often comes round to watch my trains. Last year, I decided to make a “Santa Train” for him to watch – a Santa Wagon and a coach with lights and a small MP3 player which belted out Christmas jingles. This is how I put together the wagon.

I am fortunate in modelling in 1/12 th scale as well as 16mm, and seasonal items are more readily available in the dolls house scale. I started with making a simple flat wagon, using components I already had. A suitable resin Santa figure was purchased, along with a cheap laser cut of a sleigh. The kit was a simple assembly and quickly painted. Santa was a standing figure, so the next task was to cut his legs in two pieces. This is my usual practice in altering resin figures. I then drill holes and insert copper wire which enables me to change the pose – in this case to a sitting figure. Once satisfied with the pose and the fit, I used car body filler to fill in the gaps, painting them after sanding the cured model.

I wanted to have a wagon I could use all year round, not just at Christmas, so attached the sleigh to the wagon with 2 elastic fixings. These proved not to be secure enough, so an alternative as made. The final ingredient was the lights.

Phils Models

In this case, I used a length of copper wired LEDs, which I wrapped around two coat-hanger wire arches. At the moment, the battery box is simply tucked under the sleigh, but I think it could be slung under the wagon. The coach was not so successful – though LED wire maybe the way forward. My ‘problem’ is how to add it to a coach so it can easily be removed for the rest of the year?

Perhaps next year I can make a ‘proper’ Christmas coach?

NIGEL TOWN explains his techniques.

Paint, this is often the make or break of a model. There are many blogs and commentaries offering advice on painting. I want to share my process here which I’ve refined over the years of loco building.

Nigel Towns Paint

For the start point we need to clean the parts, by this I mean using wire wool, a fine wire brush pencil, if the metal looks good in its bare form it’s usually a good indicator that it’s going to look good painted. Spray paint will only cover very small scratches and surface defects. Once the part looks good in bare metal it’s time to grab pair of rubber gloves or silicon gloves. This is because the oil in our skin will cause grease spots. With your gloves on its time to de-grease the part.

I use an automotive degreaser. It costs about £10 for 2 litres, I buy mine from VRS (just off Frank Whittle Way in Derby). Degreasing is done with an old tooth brush making sure that all areas are degreased, pay special attention to the edges. I try to handle the part as little as possible in this phase, and I aim to hold the part in a clamp. I aim to leave the part overnight for the degreaser to evaporate.

If I’m in a hurry I put the part in the oven set at 50 degrees C to dry off the part, no higher or we risk damage to any white-metal parts.

Nigel Towns Paint

Next up is paint. I only use Upol Acid 8, this is the etch primer. It’s expensive at £14 a can from Halfords, but it works. I buy two cans per loco and don’t skimp on it. I had tried other brush on etch primers before but struggled with brush marks. I have tried spraying, but that didn’t end well with the etch primer coming out of my spray gun looking like string.

There is a myth about leaving the etch primer overnight to “bake”, lets dispel that, I got round to reading the instructions one day and it’s quite clear that it’s dry in less than 30 minutes. Again, if I’m in a hurry I will stick the primed part in the oven to shorten the drying time.

Next up colour coat. I will always aim to find a Halfords spray can colour if I can. These paints go on really well and have a high temperature capability. I have used their paint on gas and coal fired locos and boilers without problem. It is important this time to let the paint harden off. I usually aim for at least one week from last paint to first firing up the engine. I once touched the chimney of a loco that I’d painted the previous evening. That loco still has my thumbprint on the chimney (I’ll fix it one day).

Nigel Towns Paint

But, Nigel, what if there’s no exact colour match in the Halfords range? For example, I want my Lynton and Barnstaple locos painted with Precision Paints exact colour?

Good question, for these models I still use the same process for the etch primer. Then I move to spraying the Precision paint. I buy the exact colour from Precision, along with their specific thinner. I follow a rigid routine, mixing in the can for 2 minutes, then using a syringe I will draw up an exact amount of colour and then with a different syringe I will draw up exactly the right amount on thinners. I mix this for a further 2 minutes. To avoid any runs I will only make two passes on any one area when spraying these colours. I then leave the paint to dry for 24 hours and come back the following day and put down afurther two passes.

I typically do this for five days putting down two passes per day to build up a good depth of colour. Each day I clean the spray equipment with some “general” thinners (again I buy general thinners from VRS in a 5 ltr tin). To clean I use a whole 3⁄4 oz jar of this general thinner.

That’s my process – and sometimes I make mistakes. When I do, I get grumpy with myself for an hour or so, and then get some more of that general thinner on a rag and wipe it all off and start right back at step one

Halfords Paints

I look forward to seeing some of you at Butterley, but if not, we wish you a very Happy (and Safe) Christmas. If members respond and send me photos or ‘snippets’, then I’ll be sending out a Newsletter in January.

Next newsletter due out in January.

Let me know what kind of modelling you prefer. If you have a railway, let me have a photo or two. If you have a favourite loco, let us know (again with a photo).


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Secretary).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk


The Association Newsletter

I wonder how many...

I wonder how many in our club have, or have access to a 3D Printer? It seems from the Facebook Groups I look at, that more and more people are print models, accessories and figures. I must confess that I persuaded my son to print me a figure, though I think I could have sculpted one myself (even if not as detailed). Part of me wonders if we are losing the arts of “traditional” model-making, but in the end, what matters is the pleasure we receive. For some, the pleasure is in the re-creation of a prototype in miniature using model engineering skills. For others, it is to make something quickly and cheaply in order to achieve a particular effect or scenario. The great thing about our hobby is that we are in charge of our railways – we can do what we like!

Having said that, I’m wondering if we have any skills or facilities that may be of use to other members? The important aspect of clubs like ours is the help and advice we can give each other. Is there something you can offer (on your own terms & conditions)? I often need advice or help is electronic matters – or things that seem to need an engineer’s ability. If I know what you might offer, I can direct enquiries your way.

At Boston Lodge

Colin Godfrey has been a member of BGRA since 2007. He is a retired Rolls Royce principal design engineer. He has many varying interests, mainly mechanical: old cameras; clocks; cars; and model railways, from ‘0’ gauge to 7½” gauge.

Picture of Colin

Earlier this year he went to Boston Lodge on the Ffestiniog Railway;

Steam engines at Boston Lodge Steam engines at Boston Lodge Steam engines at Boston Lodge Steam engines at Boston Lodge

Colin says that these photos are just a few of very many he took that day. In addition, he says that he is happy for any members to contact him if you need any photos of this and other Welsh railways.

A TOOL HUT

Another on-the-cheap model from Colin Stubbs:

A few weeks ago, one or two people saw my line-side hut briefly displayed at Butterley and said kind things about it. So, I made another one to show how it was done... in less than two hours.

Steam engines at Boston Lodge

The original shed and materials for the next one:

Steam engines at Boston Lodge

Steam engines at Boston Lodge

One piece of fence post 70mm x100mm [approx 6’-3”x 4’-6” in 16mm],

a bit of scrap wood for the roof,

and a piece of roofing felt used wrong side up.

Steam engines at Boston Lodge

The body unsmoothed and roughly painted in white undercoat/primer using a dry brush.

Steam engines at Boston Lodge

It’s not obvious from the photo but the rough surface of the timber adds to the character of the finished building. It looks like old concrete or old planking.

Steam engines at Boston Lodge

Doors, windows and other features drawn on in pencil and scribed to give definition. I glued and tacked the felt onto the roof

Make a poor job of painting the window frames doors so they look old and worn.

Strong black for the hinges makes them look solid. As a homage to Hornby tin-plate, I did a bit of diagonal black shading for glazing

Steam engines at Boston Lodge

And there you have it, one tool shed.

My granddaughter said we could do with some beach huts too. Hmm?

Editor’s Note: I did something similar with an offcut of Thermalite, an aerated concrete block. Be inspired!

Mike Riley's September Photos

Mikes Railway

Mikes Railway

Eric's Pirate Train

Erics Train

Alan's GRS Battery Powered Peckett PRINCESS II

Alans Train

Autumn Evening Run

BGRA at night

Photographing the Evening Run is not easy – this the best shot I got. My conclusion: needs low-level all-over lighting, or pictured at dusk!

A Blast from the Past

Old Memberst

Sunday Morning Chat, March 2004

From left to right: Max Bryce (one of the founders of BGRA); David Haynes, Steve Acton, Derek Booth, Barry Firth & Matt Acton

Next newsletter due out in December.

Let me know what kind of modelling you prefer. If you have a railway, let me have a photo or two. If you have a favourite loco, let us know (again with a photo).


Editor for this edition is Alan Price (Chair-person).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to:

Alan Price

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in our Newsletter please e-mail your suggestions to:

E-mail: alan(at)alanprice(dot)me(dot)uk


Easter At BGRA

Site Closed but Members going strong.

In line with government instructions (12/4/2020), our club is now closed. We are all instructed to STAY AT HOME. The MRT site closed until the end of April at least and any changes will be communicated as soon as possible.

Tom and Glenis

Tom and Glenis in their garden Tom and Glenis in their garden Tom and Glenis in their garden Tom and Glenis in their garden Tom and Glenis in their garden Tom and Glenis in their garden

Tom and Glenis enjoying the warm Easter weather by moving into the garden. Tom has extended his railway out into the front garden along a system of boards and trestles.

Tom and Glenis in their garden Tom and Glenis in their garden Tom and Glenis in their garden Tom and Glenis in their garden Tom and Glenis in their garden

To make it even more interesting, Tom has created a traverser. For the uninitiated, a traverser is a sliding or pivoting bit of track normally intended to move engines or stock into sidings.

Tom and Glenis in their garden

Glenis was impressed but determined not to be left out. She was proud to display her plants, labelled and priced up ready for the BGRA Summer Gala Weekend, which is very likely to be our first event of the year at the end of June.

Mike and Family

Mike dreams of better days

Sir Haydn resting at Dinas Ready on Mike Riley's Llantaliog Valley Railway.

Mike dreams of better days

Llechfan Garden Railway.

Mike dreams of better days Mike dreams of better days

Butterley

Mike dreams of better days

At home with grandchildren

Colin's Adventures

Colin in his garden Colin in his garden Colin in his garden

Colin sits out in the warm April sunshine and gets to grips with his wayward Lady Anne. A bargain purchase from Anything Narrow Gauge at Llanfair in 2019, it was a well built Roundhouse Kit but sadly with poor paintwork.

Colin in his garden

A blocked pressure gauge loop was cleared but preparing to paint has proved to be a problem. Now all stripped down and ready for painting but the original paint just doesn't want to be removed.

I'd be more worried about putting it all back together.

Colin in his garden

Hello from Clive at the AVLR

Clive Pics

In light of the current emergency situation, the AVLR has been mobilised to coordinate and distribute essential supplies to local communities.

Clive Pics

As you can see from the photo, an initial batch of essential goods is being stockpiled at Aston Vale station and will soon be on its way.

Clive Pics

In the meantime, stay safe and keep your spirits up! Cheers, more news to follow.

Clive Pics

P.S. It is anticipated that volunteers will soon be needed to help. If you can assist please send email to :-

avlremergencyessentials@talktalktalk/ coved-19talk/godhelpusall. NHS.ukgov.planetearth.com


And as a final note we would like to wish a Happy Birthday to Norman, who was 81 on 12/4/2020. A deputation will be going to Anglesey ASAP to give him the customary BUMPS.


Guest Editor for this edition is John (Chairman).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to: lucyatbgra@gmail.com

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in ‘Last Month at BGRA’ please e-mail your suggestions to lucyatbgra@gmail.com


Recently At BGRA

Site Closure

Following the latest government instructions (24/3/2020), our club is now closed. We are all instructed to STAY AT HOME. The MRT site closed recently until the end of April at least and so we should not attempt to visit without a very good reason.

Those of us lucky enough to have a railway at home will still be having steamy fun. Perhaps they could send some pictures just to make everyone else really jealous. Personally I plan to start a cleaning and repair program and maybe even use some of the stuff bought over the years at various shows. If you are kit building then maybe show us what you are doing.

Above all, this crisis will pass eventually, so stay safe and see you all later in the year.

Running In David Ashcrofts Garden 25/3/2020

Member David Ashcroft was so put out that our night run was cancelled that he held his own event with partner Tracey, complete with chip supper.

Running after the AGM

Collection of members stock after the AGM. Photo by Elliot.

The AGM

The AGM went very well and it was great to see so many members. The main change for 2020 was to increase subs to £25 a year. We discussed our planning for the year but had no idea how events were about to overtake everyone.

Also discussed were the plans for our 30th Anniversary Celebration in September. It's amazing to think that our club has been going since 1980. If you have photos or anything else, we would be delighted to be able to show them.

Upcoming Events

The Gala Weekend is the next event that is being planned. Though it's looking a bit hopeful at the moment. It is possible for it to be postponed and run in a different format but we are dependent on the MRT being open. We will communicate any updated plans as soon as we know them ourselves.

Colin cementing blocks

Colin cementing blocks during our push to complete track work.

Track Work

We decided to have a final push to complete the work we started in the Autumn. Although our trackwork is completed, there were lots of top stones that needed re-cementing in place. Also the ballast had settled and so needed topping up. The site needed a general tidy up, some gardening and some general TLC.

There was a good turn out of members and all of the jobs were completed in just one day. Many thanks to everyone who helped.

Top Track Renewal

We are still in discussion about this but the consensus is as follows. Raise the base level of the top track and widen it to take two concentric loops, one 45mm, one 32mm. This would be a major effort but if we can formulate the right plan then it would be a very worthwhile improvement.

We have some Peco SM32 track remaining from our bottom track renewal but we would need to buy some new points. We have a supply of 45mm track and points and have confirmed that the set curves will fit our track base

Difficulties ahead include renewing the bridges. To be positive, this should be seen as an opportunity to make improvements, put some more modelling into our layout. There would also be the need for a custom 32/45mm diamond crossing. No such thing is commercially available and so this is a potential problem.

We will continue to plan this and no start date is yet available.

Don Ballasting

Secretary Don carefully adding ballast during our effort to complete track work.

Phil Lowe

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that Phil has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family.


Guest Editor for this edition is John (Chairman).


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to: lucyatbgra@gmail.com

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in ‘Last Month at BGRA’ please e-mail your suggestions to lucyatbgra@gmail.com


Last YEAR At BGRA

Twilight Runs

This year saw our usual Spring Twilight Run and Autumn Twilight Run. Both accompanied by complimentary fish and chip suppers provided by the club. Our Autumn Twilight Run this year saw a film crew called CloudedVision who were making a promo video on niche hobbies and the magazines that support them. They also left a donation of £100 to the club to help support us.

Doug's Train

Photo of Doug's Engine and Train by Elliot.

Bottom Track Relaying.

During the later end of this year, chairman John Rymer proposed a 3-phase plan to members for a complete renewal of the bottom track. After much thought about it, a group of members got together over many cold Autumn weekends to get together to finally complete the work the track needed. It started with Phase 3- the back loop. This was by far the most difficult feat as it required some out of the box solutions to stop old problems from recurring. A continuous sheet of aluminium was laid, supported by a screed of postcrete, layers of pond liner with the track firmly screwed down. To make things more fun why don’t we lay double track said John. Phase 1 and 2 although easier, were still not a simple task.

However, after many hours, a lot of manpower and some cold, wet weekends, the track was finally relayed and ready for running at our Autumn Twilight Run.

Gala Weekend.

The Gala Weekend is our yearly open weekend and gives us a chance to open our doors to the public. There were a lot of people running and entertaining the general public while John Sutton, Wood Valley Works and BlackCat Bridges did the trading, alongside Glenis’s Plat Stall and Elliot and Lucy’s Tombola.

Open Weekend Stalls

Ripley’s Big Day Out

Ripley’s Big Day Out 2019 was a successful Wednesday running this year and it also included an unexpected but very welcomed visit from a long-time member Phillip Lowe.

2019 Loco Olympics

This year was the second annual BGRA Loco Olympics. It was an extremely hot day but didn’t stop people from participating in the four events we hosted. These events were Pulling Power, Controlled Running, Tug of war and the new addition of the Shunting Challenge.

Tug of War

Brian Dominic

It is with much sadness that we announce the passing of our friend and valued member Brian Dominic. Our thoughts are with his family at this hard time. In memory of Brian, there has been a name plate added to his rat that will run at BGRA on occasions.


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to: lucyatbgra@gmail.com

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in ‘Last Month at BGRA’ please e-mail your suggestions to lucyatbgra@gmail.com


Last Month At BGRA

May was a month filled with fairly nice weather and a couple of events that got us excited to be outdoors. It was also another month of planning as we get ever closer to this years Gala Weekend.

Vintage & Oscillator Day

The May bank holiday offered up some dreadful weather for the member that attended our vintage and oscillator day this year. There was a reasonable turnout of members and some very nice engines on display. However, the weather seemed to want everyone to stay inside where the heating was.

Norman, one of our BGRA members, brought a very impressive Wilesco static steam engine and workshop and ran it on compressed air all day.

Mamod Day

On the first weekend of June, we held our usual Mamod day. The weather treated us nicely on this Saturday, however it was a small disappointment that there were a lack of people running.

Norman had set up an excellent display of static engines that gathered a lot of the public attention. Despite some small issues that Mamods tend to have (blown sight glass or two) it was a successful day of running for all who attended.

Mamod Day
Mamod Day

Photo on the left: “Norman’s impressive display of static engines from our Mamod day.” Picture and caption provided by Lucy

Photo on the right: ”Old whiskers puzzling over a loco he and his son bought at Peterborough!”. Picture and caption provided by Don Butterell


If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to: lucyatbgra@gmail.com

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in ‘Last Month at BGRA’ please e-mail your suggestions to lucyatbgra@gmail.com


Last Month At BGRA

Spring Twilight Run

Our annual Spring Twilight Run commenced at noon on the 27th March. It was our first event of the year and it started off the year with great positivity.

Running started at 12 noon and went on until it was too dark to see who was left at the railway. At around 6pm running almost came to a complete standstill while most of our members stopped to enjoy the fish and chip supper from Leebrooks Fish Bar.

The event was a great success and everyone who took part seemed to have great fun doing what they love and of course, enjoying a free meal.

Butterley In Bloom

Thanks to our gardener Glenis and her various helpers (Tom and Norman), the garden has now begun to bloom beautifully. Visitors at BGRA get to appreciate a wonderfully looked after garden whilst viewing our trains.

We would like to take the time to thank all those who put in the hard work and effort with our garden.

A Call to All Members

A quick reminder that our two-day Gala show is slowly approaching, and we would like to ask you to consider donating any unwanted gifts or small prizes for our tombola this year.

Also, any plants, pots or garden related items that could be donated to Glenis would be greatly appreciated.

Norman will be running a member sales stand and will sell all sorts of garden railway and other goodies. If you have things you want to sell then contact Norman.

This newsletter also relies on member input and information so please take a minute or two out of your week to e-mail any pictures or text that you would like to be placed in the next newsletter.

Night Run
Night Run

A well-lit and well attended Twilight Run. Pictures by Keith. If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please e-mail them and a short caption to: lucyatbgra@gmail.com

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in ‘Last Month at BGRA’ please e-mail your suggestions to lucyatbgra@gmail.com


Last Month At BGRA

Annual General Meeting

February was a good start to the year for the club as our AGM came around on the 24th. The weather decided to play nice and it was sunny for all the members who came out. At 2pm however, it was time for all to venture inside and discuss the year that the club has had.

The AGM was started by a talk from Garden Rail’s Editor, Phil Parker who discussed with our members about how to make a little money back from documenting their modelling.

After that it was time to get down to business and discuss what our last year had presented us with. For all members who couldn’t attend the AGM, a copy of the minutes will be available in the cabin for you to read.

Track Maintenance Group

During the AGM, there was a formation of a new track group who will be undertaking discussions of track improvements and maintenance throughout the next year.

If you wish to be a part of this group, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with John Rymer, who will pass your name on to the right places.

Train running on AGM day
Train running on AGM day

Two of the many trains that were ran during the AGM. Photo’s provided by member David Ashworth. If you would like your photos published in the next issue, please email them and a short caption to: lucyatbgra@gmail.com

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in ‘Last Month at BGRA’ please e-mail your suggestions to lucyatbgra@gmail.com


If you want to contact us or send photos to be put onto this site then please email to bgrawebsite@gmail.com.