ESNG meeting – 18 May 2022

Another Wednesday meeting, as the first one in the month was delayed by the local elections.  Once again, a pleasant evening playing trains.  The evening involved a degree of shift working.  Four of us were there all evening, Michael came for the first hour, then retreated home ready for and early start for work.  Derek (Atfield) rolled in just in time to help us pack up.  I’m not sure how he was convinced that the new Downton Abbey movie was better than an evening running trains.

Of course Derek not being there for set up meant that we faced the challenge of how his new club corners were unpacked.  We succeeded in getting them set up with no crises or bad language……

 Michael’s train for the night showed the cosmopolitan interests of the club….


Chris and I had a southern night…..

Derek (Apps) ran a goods train….


Simon, of course, was running American stock, especially a very long train of tankers…..


We did have a lot of trouble with track joints.  It’s strange – some days there are no problems at all – others everything derails.  Simon was able, though, to model this realistic accident.  It just sort of toppled over……


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Commercial vehicle run #3

Last selection from the London to Brighton Rally.  We’ll start with some of my favourite vehicles, Morris Minors/1000’s.  These are all ‘modern’ ones, as the early ones had a split windscreen.  In the last picture, the Minor is lurking behind a Ford Anglia.


The other Royal Mail vans…..


And the other Post Office Telephone vehicles…..


Stop me and buy one!  It would have been too cold for an ice cream, anyway….


And to finish, four other vehicles from amongst the many that caught my idea.  Hope all these pictures have given you an idea or two for commercial vehicles for the layout.


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Commercial vehicle run #2

Next, we’ll start with some military vehicles.


Pick of the army vehicles was this beautifully restored WW1 truck and gun.


Next, emergency vehicles.  Fire…..


I missed the Police – a Morris 1000 Panda Car sneaked by before I could catch it on film.  But here are the two ambulances…..


And finally for today, three ‘oddities.’  The first two would make excellent models.  I’m sure the second company have worked for me at some point!


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Commercial vehicle run #1

Last Sunday, Maxine was isolating with covid, and I was also keeping out of the public eye. (Maxine is well on the mend, and surprisingly, I didn’t test positive).  I’d heard from Allan that the London to Brighton Commercial Vehicle Rally was on, so I spend a couple of hours just up the road from home watching them go by.

I got there shortly before 8am, and caught the first vehicles to go past – except the heavy traction engines that had set off from Crystal Palace at 5am, and probably passed Earlswood by 6.)  I stayed a couple of hours.  The pictures show a lovely sunny morning.  What they don’t show is the fact that it was rather cold – there was a bitter north wind blowing straight down the A23!

This first batch of photos shows buses and some of the many trucks that passed by.  I haven’t tried to identify everything, but of note are the beautiful London Transport Inter-Station Cub, the Southern Vectis (Isle of Wight) open-topper, and the first London Transport Daimler Fleetline DMS1.





And the one steam powered vehicle that I saw…..


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ESNG meeting – 11 May 2022

Wednesday saw Maxine much better, but still testing postive for covid.  I was still firmly testing negative, so thought that I could go out annoy the public again.  So it was off to open up for the latest ESNG meeting.

Five members turned up, so we put a circuit up and ran a selection of trains – and talked too much!  Trains came from the UK and the USA, a selection of them being shown below.  Nothing special to report, just a good evening with friends!


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An ancient bit of railway

Dave kindly sent me a write up and some pictures from a recent railway expedition.  Not for modelling though, as you’d probably need a working ‘N’ gauge horse.  Dave writes….

Causey Archway is the oldest surviving railway bridge in the world, found next to the Tanfield railway just south of Newcastle. In the 1700s it used to carry a double track horsedrawn tramway, one track taking coal to the Tyne from local collieries and one for empty returns. It had wooden track, wooden wagons with wooden wheels but not wooden horses! To the right of the wagon is a short cutting which is part of the original course of the tramway and behind that the Tanfield rails. To the southeast the tramway branches into three up a slight incline which is now a footpath while in the other direction it headed to the Tyne – a fair old way.

There is now a carpark and cafe there for those wishing to explore.

And the pictures….



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ESNG meeting – 8 May 2022

I was looking forward to Sunday’s meeting, but on Thursday Maxine went down with covid (doing fine as of Monday).  Although I was (and am) testing negative, I thought it prudent not to go and breathe on the congregation at church, or the venerable ESNG members in the afternoon.

But they had a good time running, and Allan sent me a couple of videos and some pictures.  First we have a train of Allan’s mainly new wagons – coil carriers I think.

And here are a few slightly wobbly photos to show that some other things ran, as well.  Looks like the Chairman was firmly planted in his favourite comfy chair!

I shall see whether I am still negative on Wednesday.  If so, I may risk a visit to the next club night.

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(Almost a) Minories of my own – 18 – points

I risked having a go at the first FineTrax point last night, and as with all these things, there was two steps forward and one back. It didn’t take long to get to this stage, as shown below, and my test wagon ran smoothly over the frog and blades. Then, of course, the fun started with the soldering!

First, I managed to solder a point blade to the stock rail. A little fettling solved this.

I then added the wiring between point blade and stock rail. No problem here, and I’m pleased to note that the plastic used for the base is much slower to melt than Peco sleepers. It may, of course be due to the use of Code 40 rail, with a lot less metal and less heat needed to solder.

I then looked to add the wiring around the stock rails. Disaster! A little pressure and the short lengths of rail next the frog knuckle popped out of the chairs, and couldn’t be replaced. This seems to be a weakness in the design, as this short length of rail is only supported by two chairs.

I am considering a few changes to the point construction to solve these issues.

First, move the isolating gaps of between frog and blade a few sleepers nearer the point toe. This is easy to arrange, and there are still plenty of chairs supporting the blade. This is further strengthened by the soldered wire links between blade and stock rail. It also seems possible to feed the knuckle rail section from the blade end of the point, rather than the frog end. This will save having to bend the point base to feed in these sections of rail.

Secondly, a touch of solder at frog and knuckle at the three points shown below will strengthen the whole structure and give electrical continuity. I will try this out on the remains of my test point!

The wiring then becomes very easy – a single feed will be needed to the whole frog, rather than two.

I will think about this, and then try it all out on one of the other points that I have to build. I will need to buy another point to replace this one – but of course FineTrax have run our of Code 40 bullhead rail and aren’t taking any orders. Never mind, I’ve plenty to do.

Despite the problems, I have to say that I strongly recommend these points. They are easy to build, stock runs through them very well, and they look wonderful. The problems are mainly due to my heavy-handedness, and I’ll find a way around that.

And today’s book purchase. An interesting survey of my favourite BR coaches.

Makes an interest contrast with the much older (and probably better, really) HMRS volume that I have.

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(Almost a) Minories of my own – 17

The problem with leaving a layout for a period of time is what accumulates on it whilst you are away. My baseboard looked like this!

It seemed to have accumulated some stray American stock, several Terriers, a Japanese brake van, a second hand Farish Jubilee, and eight suburban coaches (I think that I borrowed their blue box to get some other stock to our show.) However, all these now have new and slightly better homes, and not on top of my next project.

The loft room also looks a lot tidier, having had a good turn out, moved all the family suitcases to the back loft, and invested in a number of Really Useful Boxes to store things (hoping that I can find them again!)

I have stripped the old track off the baseboard, and this little package arrived on Wednesday…..

I’ve read the instructions, and agree that these look FAR easier to build than the first generation of points, excellent as they were. I will get one going soon.

Another parcel arrived today, from TMC with a number of half-price items. A pair of Farish Pullmans from a trainset have different names from the four that I have had for years, so will extend the rake a little. And these low relief buildings may well find a home on the layout (especially the public conveniences!)

And finally, we have the down-under HST….

And for bus enthusiasts, this is a good watch…..

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Blast from the past….

I’ve spent a few happy hours sorting out the ESNG archives – and throwing out a lot of paper whilst hopefully holding onto the key documents.  If nothing else, the AGM and the exhibition details need to be kept for posterity.

I did find some DVDs of four of our shows.  Not the greatest quality, but I’ve put them on YouTube for the record.  So lets go back to 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009….  I’ve had to mute the sound in places, as YouTube claimed that I was infringing copyright, so if it all goes quiet, you know what’s wrong.

Happy days!

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